Sherlock Holmes Short Stories

Four novelettes and fifty six short stories kept Sherlock Holmes fans begging for more. Readers today continue to bask in the adventures of the famous sleuth and his quiet side-kick.

Sherlock Holmes Pipe

Sherlock Holmes Mysteries

Four Multi-Chaptered Stories

Arthur Conan Doyle produced a total of 56 short stories and 4 full length mysteries of the famous sleuth. While the short stories are read more frequently, true Sherlock Holmes fans continue to enjoy his larger books.

These Sherlock Holmes mysteries are sometimes called novelettes. Shorter than most novels, they are multi-chaptered stories usually less than 100 pages.

A Study In Scarlet

This is the original story which shows the opening of the career of Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, and his beginning partnership with the injured army surgeon, Dr. John Watson.

Consisting of two parts, and fourteen chapters, it tells the story of a romance gone wrong. The content has a very negative portrayal of Mormons and is offensive to many modern day readers for that reason.

The Sign of Four

The second of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, The Sign of Four, introduces the detective's Science of Deduction, the Baker Street Irregulars, and his client, Miss Mary Morstan - destined to become Mrs. Watson.

Offensive content includes his regular abuse of cocaine (not recommended for younger readers for that reason) as well as stereotyping of an islander native.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The most famous of the full length Sherlock Holmes mysteries, The Hound of the Baskervilles, takes place after he has achieved notoriety as a detective. We also see Watson appearing solo as a detective for the first time as the two attempt to solve a sinister plot about a frightening family legend.

The Valley of Fear

The last of the full length Sherlock Holmes mysteries revolves around a dead body, a non-grieving wife, and an old feud. This is a two part story with fourteen chapters. In the first part Sherlock solves the mystery of the murder. The killer then has a detailed flash-back explaining the reason behind the mystery.

56 Sherlock Holmes Short Stories

Sherlock Holmes Pipe

There are a total of 56 short stories in addition to the four longer mysteries described above. These stories were written over a period of many years and published individually in magazines as they were written. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle subsequently grouped and released them in volumes after they had been published as short stories.

Adventure of Sherlock Holmes

The young detective has started to gain recognition by out-witting Scotland Yard (see Study in Scarlet above.) He further demonstrates his sagacious powers in these 12 adventures:

Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Some of the best cases of the now-famous detective are included in this set of stories. They culminate in the death of Sherlock Holmes, who Sir Arthur Conan Doyle desired to assassinate so he could get on with his own more serious writing. The stories include:
From The Adventure of the Empty House - Holmes: Describing his escape from death to Watson:
"There I was when you, my dear Watson, and all your following were investigating in the most sympathetic and inefficient manner the circumstances of my death. At last, when you had formed your inevitable and totally erroneous conclusions, you departed for the hotel and I was left alone."

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Okay, so what does a famous author do when the public demands he resurrect their favorite detective after his death? Doyle had ho choice but to bring him back to life, which he fortunately could do by the way he originally wrote of Sherlock's death.

The convenience of having such a simple explanation for Sherlock's reappearance makes us wonder? Is it possible, in spite of his own words, that Doyle may have planned to bring him back all along?

Of course life can't be that perfect, so he trades Mrs. Watson's life for Sherlock's. Nice dramatic touch there, Sir Doyle!

Conveniently eliminating Mrs. Watson allowed the good doctor to focus more on Sherlock's mysteries and less on his own practice. A wife, a medical practice, a part-time job writing Holmes adventures AND being an assistant to the now internationally-acclaimed detective would be a lot on anyone's schedule.

His fans forgave him for killing Mrs. Watson (hah, he never even mentioned what happened to her) as they enjoyed the next series of Sherlock Holmes short stories including:

His Last Bow

The partnership between the aging detective and his side-kick, Watson, changes as the decades advance.

This time, however, Doyle decides to let Sherlock retire rather than killing him off. We meet Sherlock and Watson together one last time after his retirement in the last of the Sherlock Holmes short stories - somewhat reminiscent of Robin Hood and Little John reuniting in Sherwood Forest. We learn that Sherlock has taken up bee-keeping and international espionage. Stories include:

The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes

The previous Sherlock Holmes short stories all appeared in more-or-less chronological order - and were written pretty close to the year in which the events were said to occur. In this final set of stories, Doyle gifted his readers with another 12 stories that were written towards the end of his career and told of events that occured in the earlier career of the now-retired Sherlock.

These stories include Holmes Speaking to Watson - The Adventure of the Copper Beeches "It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes celebres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves...Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales."

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Sherlock Holmes Pages

A catalog of our pages on Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes: The Unit Study Sherlock Holmes Unit Study
Our 183 Page Unit Study
of 8 popular stories
Adventure of the Speckled Band Speckled Band
Analyze the compelling mystery of the dangerous whistle in the night in this famous who-dunn-it.
Silver Blaze
Your investigation will uncover the who, the where, and the why of a murdered man and the missing horse.
The Red Headed League Red Headed League
Evaluate how Doyle turned a silly-looking prank into a serious international crime.
Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb Engineers Thumb
Assess if this strange tale is one of Doyle's best - or worst - stories.
Crooked Man
Crooked Man
Analyze who the truly crooked man is in this twisted tale of love and betrayal.
in Bohemia
Scandal in Bohemia
Our analysis uncovers multiple scandals in this internataional drama of love gone wrong.
Adventure of the Dancing Men Dancing Men
Investigate the form and outcome of one of Sherlock's saddest cases.
The Final
Final Problem
An evaluation of Doyle's daring decision and the outcry that followed.
More About Sherlock Consulting Detective
Interesting tidbits about the world's only consulting detective.
More About Dr. Watson Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes
There was more to Dr. Watson's life than the readers understood at first.
List of All Short Stories List of Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
A list of the the Sherlock Holmes short stories and books they were published in.
Sherlock Holmes Quotes
Famous quotes, brilliant sayings, and intriguing insights from Sherlock and company.
Action Plot Summary Summary of Sherlock Action Plot
See how Doyle's unique action plot made Sherlock stories a permanent feature in the halls of classic lit.
Kids and

Sherlock stories for kids
What are the most appropriate Sherlock stories for kids? Check out our recommendations.

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