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Sherlock Holmes #1-4, 6

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I

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Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan Doyle’s classic hero - a truly complete collection of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in crime!

Volume I includes the early novel A Study in Scarlet, which introduced the eccentric genius of Sherlock Holmes to the world. This baffling murder mystery, with the cryptic word Rache written in blood, first brought Holmes together with Dr. John Watson. Next, The Sign of Four presents Holmes’s famous “seven percent solution” and the strange puzzle of Mary Morstan in the quintessential locked - room mystery. Also included are Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as the chilling “ The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” the baffling riddle of “The Musgrave Ritual,” and the ingeniously plotted “The Five Orange Pips,” tales that bring to life a Victorian England of horse-drawn cabs, fogs, and the famous lodgings at 221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes earned his undisputed reputation as the greatest fictional detective of all time.

A study in scarlet --
The sign of four --
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A scandal in Bohemia; The red-headed league; A case of identity; The Boscombe Valley mystery; The five orange pips; The man with the twisted lip; The adventure of the blue carbuncle; The adventure of the speckled band; The adventure of the engineer's thumb; The adventure of the noble bachelor; The adventure of the beryl coronet; The adventure of the copper beeches; Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes: Silver blaze; The yellow face; The stock-broker's clerk; The "Gloria Scott"; The musgrave ritual; The Reigate puzzle; The crooked man; The resident patient; The greek interpreter; The naval treaty; The final problem; The return of Sherlock Holmes: The adventure of the empty house; The adventure of the Norwood builder; The adventure of the dancing men; The adventure of the solitary cyclist; The adventure of the priory school; The adventure of Black Peter; The adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton; The adventure of the six Napoleons; The adventure of the three students; The adventure of the golden pince-nez; The adventure of the missing three-quarter; The adventure of the abbey grange; The adventure of the second stain.

1059 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1927

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About the author

Arthur Conan Doyle

11.4k books21.7k followers
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, a talented illustrator, was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, was Irish. They were married in 1855.

Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname (if that is how he meant it to be understood) is uncertain. His baptism record in the registry of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh gives 'Arthur Ignatius Conan' as his Christian name, and simply 'Doyle' as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godfather.

At the age of nine Conan Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit preparatory school, Hodder Place, Stonyhurst. He then went on to Stonyhurst College, leaving in 1875.

From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. This required that he provide periodic medical assistance in the towns of Aston (now a district of Birmingham) and Sheffield. While studying, Conan Doyle began writing short stories. His first published story appeared in "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal" before he was 20. Following his graduation, he was employed as a ship's doctor on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885.

In 1885 Conan Doyle married Louisa (or Louise) Hawkins, known as "Touie". She suffered from tuberculosis and died on 4 July 1906. The following year he married Jean Elizabeth Leckie, whom he had first met and fallen in love with in 1897. Due to his sense of loyalty he had maintained a purely platonic relationship with Jean while his first wife was alive. Jean died in London on 27 June 1940.

Conan Doyle fathered five children. Two with his first wife—Mary Louise (28 January 1889 – 12 June 1976), and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, known as Kingsley (15 November 1892 – 28 October 1918). With his second wife he had three children—Denis Percy Stewart (17 March 1909 – 9 March 1955), second husband in 1936 of Georgian Princess Nina Mdivani (circa 1910 – 19 February 1987; former sister-in-law of Barbara Hutton); Adrian Malcolm (19 November 1910–3 June 1970) and Jean Lena Annette (21 December 1912–18 November 1997).

Conan Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He had died of a heart attack at age 71. His last words were directed toward his wife: "You are wonderful." The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard at Minstead in the New Forest, Hampshire, reads:


Conan Doyle's house, Undershaw, located in Hindhead, south of London, where he had lived for a decade, had been a hotel and restaurant between 1924 and 2004. It now stands empty while conservationists and Conan Doyle fans fight to preserve it.

A statue honours Conan Doyle at Crowborough Cross in Crowborough, where Conan Doyle lived for 23 years. There is also a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place, Edinburgh, close to the house where Conan Doyle was born.

* Sherlock Holmes

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 715 reviews
Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 18 books1,279 followers
July 9, 2007
You wanna know why I love Sherlock Holmes so much? Really? And why I've read every novel and story Arthur Conan Doyle ever wrote concerning the character, as well as many of the modern adventures and nearly all the film and TV adaptations? Because Sherlock Holmes is a magnificent a--hole. Seriously; because he's brilliant, and haughty, and doesn't affect a false modesty to appease any of the dimwitted swarm around him, and is actually rewarded for this in Conan Doyle's Victorian London world, instead of being punished for it as most brilliant disturbed geniuses are throughout history. And this I'm sure is what keeps the master detective so continually popular among even the most contemporary of audiences, even with the BBC filming yet another new version the year before I'm wrote this review (or 2006, that is), even as so many of the popular characters from Victorian fantastical literature are right now permanently turning towards obscurity, even others invented by Conan Doyle as well. (A little Professor Challenger, anyone? Hello?) A perfect read this day and age for anyone who enjoys a tightly-plotted story concerning a deeply complex character.
Profile Image for kwesi 章英狮.
292 reviews722 followers
July 23, 2014
Sherlock Holmes become popular for decades and most of his adventures had been adapted to movies, graphic novels, animation and books related to him. But who's this guy who created the best detective of all time? Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish physician and a writer, created one of the best classic detectives. He was born weak when he was young and become alone most of his life but writing is never a hindrance on his part.

He was inspired to write Sherlock Holmes when he practice his medicine in Portsmouth, because of his unsuccessful practice for many years he wrote his first novel The Narrative of John Smith, but it was published until 2011. He become aware of his talent as a writer and he proved it to everyone after writing The Study in Scarlet which was first published in Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887. After that success again, he continue writing.

The first volume of the book composes of 2 novels (The Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four) and 3 compilation of short stories and mini adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Memoir of Sherlock Holmes and The Return of Sherlock Holmes). This very thick book won't stop you from reading it but I suggest, as the reader, that you don't have to read it consecutively not because you'll bored to death but to enjoy his writing faithfully.

Another problem with his stories is that he only uses the same formula from the first novel until the last story. I think most of you guys already read his stories and I think most of you manage to find the similarities if each story but still the fun of reading it never ends because of Arthur Conan Doyle's surprises in the end of each story. So far, I only enjoyed one story or novel in the book;

The Story in Scarlet - This is the first published work of Arthur Conan Doyle and I loved it! The story first introduced the narrator, the doctor from the war, Dr. John Watson, came upon this idea to be with Sherlock Holmes after a crisis to pay his rent. After that unexpected meeting, he becomes aware of the presence of the mad scientist and they become one of the greatest superheroes without powers in their own generation.

What I love about the novel is that he uses science (of course, because he is a doctor) and common sense to solve the cases. It was simple but how he delivered the story made it more powerful and surprising. One thing he usually do is to make the killer hidden in the first few chapter and will only appear in the end of the story. That is the reason why, if you are looking for a good guess-the-murderer-book please don't read this.

And the others... Well, they have all the same formula and I don't have further comments about them or had this urge to discuss further from it. Some are interesting but some are totally duplicated by each other and a little make-up and everything is okay. I don't know where my cat goes and I'll try to find help from Sherlock Holmes later but first, I want to remind you guys that your life is at stake!

Review posted on Old-Fashioned Reader .

Rating: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume 1 by Arthur Conan Doyle, 3 Sweets

Book #269 for 2011
Book #131 for Off the Shelf!
Profile Image for Gary.
114 reviews12 followers
November 20, 2021
As some of the first “adult” fictional stories I’ve ever read as a child, this one had a heavy dose of nostalgia for me. Holmes embodies the super power of observation while still showing the human qualities of vanity and pride. There were a couple times he had to swallow some humble pie and that was fun to read.

If you are a fan of the TV show Sherlock, I wouldn’t recommend reading this. The Sherlock of the Victorian era is way more well adjusted than Benedict’s adaption, in my view.

All in all it was still a good read. It’s fun following Sherlock’s puzzle solving process and trying to establish if the logic is realistic or certainly a work of fiction.

Profile Image for Michael Perkins.
Author 6 books357 followers
January 29, 2023
I've read Holmes numerous times. I am going to add some notes as I go.

Right from page one, Conan Doyle pulls the reader in, but is brisk in telling the story where many might be tempted to add too much detail. We learn about how Watson's health was significantly compromised by serving in the British army in Afghanistan. He is definitely down in his luck when he arrives in London.

"You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive."

His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he put his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some applauding crowd conjured up by his imagination.

"I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.

Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."

"It is a capital mistake to theorise before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement."

The story of the first Holmes case is interesting as a contrast. My wife and I recently watched all the Hercule Poirot cases from beginning to end. The early mysteries are pretty simple and are largely focused on establishing Poirot as a genius.

Whereas the first Holmes case manages to flesh out Holmes, as well as giving the reader an interesting case that is not an easy one to solve.

In re-reading a Study in Scarlet, I am reminded it is one of Doyle's novellas. Except for The Hound of the Baskervilles (in which Holmes hardly appears), I consider his novellas inferior to his shorter stories. This is where readers get the crisp storytelling style that has kept all of these stories engaging.


Additional commentary....

Profile Image for Frankh.
845 reviews161 followers
August 11, 2016
Growing up with books, I used to read my father's collection of medical and legal thrillers when I was ten, and then he bought me the Harry Potter series, and I realized that I could fall in love with books after all. Though J.K Rowling may be the author that introduced me to that possibility, it was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's timeless creation Sherlock Holmes who won my heart when I was twelve and his grip hasn't let up since.

The Sherlock Holmes stories were the source of modern crime-solving adaptations that we now experience in television, and Doyle's tales of mystery and adventure were often audacious, insightful and clever. The real draw of his stories is the process of crime detection ("deductive reasoning") that Doyle allows the readers to understand, experience and apply themselves alongside Watson as Holmes investigates the cases.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes volumes 1 and 2 by Bantam publishing co. had never changed its price from the first time I bought it back in 2003 until the present. They're affordable and therefore anyone who is interested in the Great Detective will have an easy access. With the modern adaptations of Holmes lately (from the Guy Ritchie films to BBC's Sherlock), a new reader may be surprised to find out that Doyle's stories are more self-contained as opposed to the James-Bond tone and setting of the modern interpretations mentioned (in fact, the American adaptation Elementary is a lot more faithful to the original structure of the narrative). Nevertheless, the Doyle canon (composed of 56 short stories classified into the Adventures, Memoirs, Return, His Last Bow and Casebook; and four novels) are more engrossing and intimate to read as Watson's accounts manages to illuminate Holmes' methods as well as humanize the often callous, razor-sharp and unfeeling sleuth.

Volume 1 encompasses The Adventures, The Memoirs and the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. A Scarlet in Scarlet has an unusual structure; the first part was the formulaic detective exposition with the introduction of the characters, the presentation of the crime, and the roster of suspects. The second part was entirely a flashback that reveals the history of the criminal himself which is quite a perplexing plot device and Doyle had definitely experimented the first time around but has since learned to contain his cases with more creative restraint. The Sign of Four, my personal favorite, was about as close as to romance as a Holmes story could get, possibly because of Watson's relationship with his wife-to-be Mary Morstan and the struggles she faced pertaining to her heirloom. The next set of short stories, Adventures and Memoirs, are each composed of twelve cases and some of them are most unforgettable because of the blend of absurdity and horror (such as the Musgrave Ritual, Five Orange Pips, Red-Headed league and Speckled Band). The Final Problem marks the death of Sherlock Holmes which the public vehemently protested so Doyle was forced to revive his sleuth and hence the second volume of the canon.

Volume 2 contains the ever-popular The Hound of Baskervilles and the chilling novel A Valley of Fear. The short stories are divided into The Return, The Casebook and His Last Bow. My favorites include The Problem of Thor Bridge, Devil's Foot, The Dying Detective, The Illustrious Client, and His Last Bow. Holmes himself got to write his own accounts of the cases in The Blanched Solider and The Lion's Mane (which are both odd tales and here it is revealed once and for all that Watson's narrative voice is a lot more beguiling than Holmes' dry and scientific approach of storytelling). It is worth noting that when Holmes returned from the grave, Doyle has completely added more ambiguous layers to his personality and characterization which is why the second volume is the most enjoyable for its gray shades of morality and scope of justice and punishment.

It has been ages since I read this collection and I plan to pick it up again soon. For instant gratification, the Granada series starring Jeremy Brett is the closest adaptation to the original source material. You may want to check that out once you've finished or while you are reading Doyle.

* Doyle revitalized detective fiction and wrote a character he did not like himself but whose very existence still captures the imagination and hearts of many readers across generations.
Profile Image for Amy.
273 reviews1 follower
June 28, 2020
Despite this taking me one year to finish, I loved it and I didn't realize I was going to love it as much as I did. Any of the Sherlock novels are worth your time, they are delightful.
Profile Image for Carson.
Author 4 books1,476 followers
May 31, 2015
Whether it is the introduction of Holmes and Watson from "The Study in Scarlet," the intriguing "The Sign of Four," or the infamous encounters with Irene Adler and Professor Moriarty, these stories are rich, engaging, well-scripted and thoroughly enjoyable. The format of many short stories in rapid succession keeps things fresh while continuing to present Holmes' uncanny abilities and tales one after another.

The writing still feels fresh, the vocabulary extraordinary and the banter and mysteries just as relevant and exciting now as I'd imagine they were in the 19th century.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Ruchita.
45 reviews236 followers
October 12, 2011
I first devoured these stories and novels at the age of fourteen, curled up in my room on winter nights. It was a long winter, I remember. It was also quite a long book. Few points in my life have had circumstances come together and arrange themselves in such an agreeable manner so as to make a reading experience as memorable as this one.

Like most readers, I entered the world of Sherlock Holmes - at once stretching between the streets of London with in all its vividness, to the deeper, richer world beyond - into the mind of the man whose name this novel bears - with A Study In Scarlet. And from then on, there was no turning back.

Sherlock Holmes stories are interesting and endlessly entertaining. I still remember the initial scepticism (much like our dear Dr. Watson) and then the increasing awe and astonishment with which I read Holmes' descriptions of Dr. Watson without first having seen or heard of the man. (The awe and amazement that I speak of were provoked, of course, when Holmes explained how he deducted his findings. The findings were first greeted with scepticism when first pronounced in his typical, Holmes manner. 'Every thing is simple once it's explained,' Holmes once famously complained.)

To this day I remain in awe of Holmes intellect, his passion for rigorous mental athletics, his laid back approach, his suaveness and his style. If there's one man to have come out of the Victorian era who had style - encompassing both his intellectual rigour and individual eccentricity - it's this beloved fictional detective who has entertained countless generations of readers for decades, and will for years to come.

I will always look back on the December of 2005 with fond recollections of the wonder, thrill, fear and 'aha!' that I felt at various times, often simultaneously, and even after re-reads, while reading these stories.

There are few ways as good to spend long winter nights than escaping - for an escape is what these delicious stories offer us readers - into the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Here's to Holmes and Watson!
Profile Image for Brian .
414 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2020
A genius with passion, perhaps obsession, with forensic puzzles. Sherlock Holmes. What a wonderful creation! The villains: a woman who duped him, a crazy freak with a nervous laugh, a terrifying gang-leader named Moriarty. Only three of a plethora of villains. I love everything about these stories: the plots, the mysteries, the three-dimensional characters, the excitement, the wisdom. I can't wait to read the second book next year.
Profile Image for John.
1,458 reviews36 followers
December 21, 2011
While not exactly what I would call compelling reading, this is a nice collection of stories that are probably best enjoyed over breakfast, or perhaps on the subway ride to work. I know it's sacrilege, but I find Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories to be a bit underwhelming, though completely readable. They are expertly written, but very dry (after the British style of the day) and the setting up of each mystery usually takes about three times as long as the subsequent investigation and rendering of the solution. Doyle comes up with some really incredible characters here, but he generally just lets them gather dust somewhere off in the background. I mean, only one story featuring the infamous Professor Moriarty? And just a single story featuring Holmes' brilliant-but-lazy brother, Mycroft? Somehow that makes me feel cheated just a little bit. Give me the movie versions featuring Robert Downey Jr., Matt Frewer, or James D'Arcy any day of the week. Or the TV serials with Ronald Howard or Benedict Cumberbatch (sorry, not a big fan of the Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett series). As you can see by these preferences, I differ greatly in opinion from those who would likely refer to themselves as being "true" Sherlock Holmes fans. But overall I did enjoy this collection of mysteries, and it was nice to see Watson portrayed the way he was originally meant to be--and not as a buffoon constantly used for cheap comic relief, as, unfortunately, he was in so many of the TV series. Still, one or two of these stories a week is about all I can read without quickly growing tired of them.
Profile Image for Marilyn.
419 reviews20 followers
October 20, 2018
I did it, finished this book before the end of the month. I really stayed with it because the stories were that good. Doyle is brilliant in his writings and engaged me throughout this very long book. In the memoirs section, I passed by 2 stories - Silver Blaze and The Gloria Scott, the story did not catch me quickly. In the Return of Sherlock section, I passed by The Adventures of Black Peter for the same reason. Also, my question this evening what happened to Watson's wife? At the beginning of the Return of Sherlock section in the story The Adventure of the Norwood Builder, Watson mentions he has sold his medical practice and moved back to Baker Street with Holmes.
Volume 2 of this will remain on my tbr list for awhile though. FYI, never have I watched any of the TV series on PBS either.

My favourite line is on pg. 241 "As a rule," said Holmes "the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, feature-less crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify."
Profile Image for Lilifane.
452 reviews25 followers
March 26, 2018
Das war... lang.
Aber es sind ja auch eigentlich 5 Bücher die ich in einem gelesen habe.

Es gab definitiv einige Aufs und Abs beim Lesen. Die Romane sind im Vergleich zu den Kurzgeschichten tatsächlich etwas speziel. Ich mag A Study in Scarlet aber sehr, weil sich Holmes und Watson kennenlernen auch wenn die Hälfte der Story nichts mit Holmes Art zu ermitteln zu tun hat, sondern die Vorgeschichte der Tat erzählt. Die Vorgeschichte fand ich aber super interessant.

Die Kurzgeschichten sind auch sehr durchwachsen.
In The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes gibt es ein paar coole Fälle aber zwischendrin ein paar, die weniger interessant sind. Durch Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes musste ich mich etwas kämpfen, weil ich da sehr viele der Fälle schwach fand. Das Ende mit The Final Problem war dann aber doch emotionaler als ich erwartet hätte. The Return of Sherlock Holmes hat mir am meisten gefallen und ich hatte das Gefühl, dass die Fälle hier viel spannender waren. Zumindest haben mir hier fast alle gefallen.

Was ich am schönsten an den Stories finde, ist die Entwicklung der Freundschaft von Holmes und Watson. Ich mag wie sich die Charaktere weiterentwickeln, wie sie sich gegenseitig beeinflussen und wie kontinuierlich die Charakterentwicklung von statten geht. Es wird immer wieder auf alte Fälle Bezug genommen und die beiden ziehen Konsequenzen aus Ihren Abenteuern. So ist besonders in The Return of Sherlock Holmes die Beziehung zwischen den beiden so ausgeglichen, intim und eingespielt, dass es einfach nur Spaß macht, ihre Dialoge und Erlebnisse zu lesen.

Ich bin jedenfalls gespannt, was Volume II so mit sich bringen wird.
Profile Image for Ṣafā.
72 reviews66 followers
June 30, 2018
This is the most beautiful, sensational, adorable book ever. As ever, I fell in love with London, Victorian London, all over again, because this is what happens with Classics, like by Dickens, they just show you their London, and you can't stop yourself from loving it, over and over again.
It's funny that my journey with Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes began back in like 2013 probably when I found the whole giant novel Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories in my university's library where I had just enrolled in. It was so enormous I was actually daunted by the task and intimidated by the pages themselves which by the way had two columns. The book had barely been issued to 2 or 3 people and it began by me taking and returning the novel until 4 years later I was graduating and if it hadn't been for a well wishing classmate and my general lack of cunning I would've almost stolen the book from the library because I knew I couldn't find one just like it. Thank God I didn't because then I got to come by this wonderful and un-intimidating edition and was happier for it, not to mention no ink on my hands. And, here I am, 5 years later, still left with half the Holmes, which, you know, I'm excited for, more to look forward to.
I got to see Doyle's chivalrous Holmes, his London and though I did try, I couldn't help comparing Holmes and Sherlock and the funny thing, I still can't decide which I like best because both are the best in their own right, I like them both just the same which is just so so beautiful and says much about the respective writers.
This was a beautiful delightful experience though I must advise reading it in shorter parts, because this being the Vol I was like half the Sherlock Holmes so it became drudgery by the end and I had to leave the littlest portion and try a few other books. The book is not dull or abstruse at all, it's rather easy to read, it has the perfect flow but you get tired of the mystery after mystery if you decide to read like all the Holmes that's out there once and for all.
It's rather lovely for crime and mystery. It's one of those books that you must read once in a lifetime, and then maybe a time again.
Profile Image for D.J. Edwardson.
Author 12 books50 followers
May 17, 2021
The most surprising thing about the Sherlock Holmes body of work presented in this volume is that it does not consist primarily of detective stories or mystery novels. Rather, these tales are about, principally, Sherlock Holmes himself. They are a character study into one of the most eccentric, fascinating, and winsome persons to ever originate from the printed page. As masterful as Sherlock is at solving crimes and unraveling clues, even more genius is Conan Doyle's ability to present him in such a compelling, engaging way, story after story, circumstance after circumstance.

The first volume of this collection features two short novels, but the bulk of the pages are filled with 10 to 20 page short stories. As such it is the perfect bedside companion. It's quite easy and fulfilling to read through one or two just before nodding off to sleep. By the end, some of the situations do repeat with variations on murders, missing persons, and various forms of burglary or swindling, there is surprisingly little "hard crime" or deep villainy in many of these tales. It's often the case that the problem stems from "Victorians acting badly", which is refreshing. We don't really need all that grit and salaciousness and gore, it turns out to be intrigued. And especially not when we're following in the footsteps of someone as singular and fascinating as Holmes. The main draw here is simply sitting back and watching what the famous sleuth of 221 B Baker Street will do next. Holmes has to stand with Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, and Dracula, as one of the towering figures of nineteenth-century fiction.

But Holmes is not the only attraction. Watson deserves our attention as well and in his constant surprise and honest asides, he stands in the place of the reader as the perfect guide to the uncovering of the greatest mystery of all, just who Sherlock Holmes really is and what makes him tick. His reactions are just what the readers would be if we were in his place. Though he no doubt puts it more eloquently than we would have.

True crime buffs may be disappointed that they cannot connect all the dots as Sherlock Holmes does and often the revelations are presented in long confessions by the guilty are the end of a story. But if so, they're missing the point. And as I've said before, the point here is Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Yes, the mysteries are puzzling and mind-boggling at times. We're not supposed to solve them, though, we're only there to cheer Holmes for another brilliant display of logic and inductive reasoning. We aren't him. We don't have his skills. And that's just fine. It is enough that we, like Watson get to spend so many pages simply basking in awe at this "brain without a heart." If Jekyll and Hyde are the result of the separation between the good and evil in one man, Holmes represents the complete divorce between two other aspects of our nature, that which thinks and that which feels. And in him, never the twain shall meet. Well, almost never, anyway.

The brilliant use of language, stunning descriptions, and cleverly thought-out conundrums only make these stories all the more essential.

So, the game's afoot. If you're up to the challenge, here's the case for you to solve. His name is Sherlock Holmes.
Profile Image for Douglas Hackney.
26 reviews17 followers
July 20, 2012
The actual edition that I read was:
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
by Arthur Conan Doyle, Kyle Freeman (Editor)

I am unable to locate that edition on the Goodreads search engine.

The Holmes canon is one of my lifetime favorites. I read and re-read my thick compilation of the stories and novels many times as a child. This was my first return to them since then.

In the meantime, I grew up (some), and wrote a few books. Being a writer, I take a different view on the stories now than I did then. I also have a different perspective, having learned a bit about Doyle himself and his disdain for this work.

All of that enables me to see the tell-tale signs of rushed conclusions, sloppy writing (the wandering war wound of Watson, for instance) and repetitive plots.

Nonetheless, I still came away very satisfied from my reading of this entire two-volume collection. I still very much love the characters. I still very much love Doyle's patient teaching of the methods of deduction and observation. I still very much love this peek into London's people, places and things of that era.

Even with its shortcomings, this body of work is truly timeless, and remains highly recommended reading for all ages.

PS - This annotated version adds so much to the reading experience, especially in an electronic edition where you can bounce quickly between the notes and the text. Obscure and obsolete words and phrases that I simply skipped over as a child are now quickly and easily explained.
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
November 30, 2007
Despite the fact that I was able to sort of predict the outcomes of the mysteries by the end of the book (after fifty-some stories, you can't help noticing patterns), I really enjoyed each of them. The book contains two short novels and thirty five short stories, and they're all pretty interesting. I liked the short stories a lot because each of them was a complete mystery, but I could finish one in about fifteen minutes. Looking forward to reading volume two!
Best quote in the entire novel: "'Lie number one,' said the old man; 'I never saw either of them until two months ago, and I have never been in Africa in my life, so you can put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Busybody Holmes!'"
Profile Image for Maria.
1,162 reviews4 followers
October 21, 2019
The stories in this collection are truly timeless. I admire Doyle's spare and precise way of moving a story forward, at the same time as allowing Watson to humanize the scientific narrative. I can say that these stories are required reading for all mystery readers and are not in the least overrated. Thoroughly readable, quick and and elegant.
Profile Image for Rituraj.
10 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2020
Lucky are the people who are yet to read the tales of Mr Holmes and Dr Watson for the first time! Even though I remember reading some of the stories long back, the crisp writing and elaborate scene-setting of Sir Doyle always does the charm. Some of the explanations may challenge the logician inside you, but the writer inside you will keep on turning the pages.

This was the first collection of stories in which I shifted to its audiobook for some of the tales. Even if you are not a fan of audiobooks, try listening to some of the stories (especially 'Sign of Four') in Audible. Nothing compensates the boring house chores better than these stories told by Stephen Fry.
Profile Image for Heather Elroy.
72 reviews4 followers
January 11, 2012
This is a collection of the Sherlock Holmes stories in order.

My summation: I like it.

It's classic literature. It's enjoyable to read not just for the stories contained within, but because of the tone and way its written. Watson narrates the goings on of Sherlock Holmes from his own perspective and it very much gives off that sort of feel. It's his perspective so we see what HE sees, and not necessarily what Sherlock sees... or rather... deduces.

Its always a fun time trying to see if you can figure out what sort of conclusions Sherlock Holmes is going to draw from the stories. Sometimes they're kind of easy and other times they are most difficult. Sometimes I think he's a bit lucky that he was right as some things that he sees could have been made by some mere coincidence and aren't tell tale signs of what's going on at all!

I thought it was quite funny that Sherlock Holmes is prone to using Cocaine when his mind isn't adequately stimulated. Watson of course objects to this, but Sherlock will do what Sherlock will do.

I have enjoyed the trip back in time and I have enjoyed reading about the characters. The one setback I find in all of this is that it gets to be kind of redundant after a while. The new scenarios are enough to keep me coming back to see what happens, but the manner in which things occur are usually about the same. The good news is that since this is a chronicle of short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is that at the end of one I can easily put it down and read something else for a while and then come back later refreshed and ready for a new case!

Profile Image for Rohan Bendre.
14 reviews3 followers
April 14, 2023
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - 3/5
A set of fairly ordinary short mysteries. I think I am more captivated by well-constructed murder mysteries than those that merely pose a head-scratching riddle because of the whodunit aspect of the former. My favorite story from this collection was "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" and my least favorite was "A Case of Identity."

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - 3/5
I have realized that I like mysteries wherein multiple culprit candidates exist, and the motives for the crime are contained within the timeline of the story, apparent to the reader. Some of the cases in this anthology had crimes whose motives predate the story timeline by decades, and the reader has no way of knowing/anticipating them save when the narrator reveals them to us.
Also, the whole series would have been richer, I think, if Moriarty’s sinister presence was conveyed to the reader on and off, like a dark shadow looming behind everything. Instead, he was just introduced in "The Final Problem", and the reader is supposed to accept that he controls more than half the crimes in England.
My favorites from this collection were "The Musgrave Ritual" and "The Naval Treaty". My least favorite was "The Yellow Face".
Profile Image for Kaye.
62 reviews
April 12, 2020
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Fast-paced even with thorough storytelling. Simple yet baffling mysteries.

These are just few of the reasons that will keep you flipping through this book to find answers, mysteries or sort of both. Considered as a great milestone in crime fiction, the Sherlock Holmes stories will surely have your thinking caps on.

This book was written at a time when science was not yet prominently used in criminal investigations that some of Holmes' methods of deduction may seem common sense now. Nevertheless, the storytelling was perfectly done that it preserved the story's elegant air of mystery until modern times.

Read the full review at my blog :)

Until next bookdragons,
16 reviews
July 20, 2022
I'd never read these as a kid and my knowledge was strictly limited to the (excellent) Jeremy Brett BBC series from the 1980s. They're very much worth a read. One thing to keep in mind is that the novels and stories are written just as the genre of detective fiction got crystallized, i.e., the quirky detective, the sidekick, the 'big reveal.' Poe had done some work in this direction ("Murders in the Rue Morgue") about 50 years earlier, and Wilkie Collins' sensation fiction, notably The Moonstone (1868), first novelized the form, but this is the first real detective SERIES I can think of. Even Agatha Christie, who perfected the form in the 1930s, owes a debt to them. That is partly why when reading, you may be tempted to think "What's the big deal?" about some of the twists and turns. That's because Doyle basically invented all of them, and they've been cribbed so relentlessly since that they can seem old hat.
I wasn't overly fond of the two novels in this collection, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four -- both are overshadowed by the later Hound of the Baskervilles. But the stories are all pretty good. My favorites are:
"A Scandal in Bohemia" (for Irene Adler, Holmes' real match in wits)
"The Red-Headed League" (such a great concept)
"A Case of Identity" and "The Man with the Twisted Lip" (nice twists in these)
"The Blue Carbuncle" (a jolly Christmas mystery and a lot of fun)
"The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" and "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist" (good mysteries with spunky heroines)
"The Adventure of the Speckled Band" (chilling!)
"The Musgrave Ritual" (creepy!)
"The Final Problem" (Moriarty!)
"The Yellow Face" (interesting for trying to be progressive and falling flat on its face. But interesting)
"The Six Napoleons" and "The Golden Pence-Nez" (good illustrations of Holmes' methodical process).
Onward to Volume II!
Profile Image for Nora || نورا.
136 reviews25 followers
August 14, 2021
I love Sherlock and Watson’s chemistry, it’s so wonderful to read. It’s making me want to rewatch Sherlock (bbc)!

I don’t know how to write a proper review for this so instead I’ll just write down my favorite stories of this volume. (Order as in the contents of the volume):

1. A Scandal in Bohemia.
2. A Case of Identity.
3. The Man with the Twisted Lip
4. The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
5. The Yellow Face.
6. The Final Problem.
7. The Adventure of the Empty House.
8. The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milveryon.

I can definitely see myself rereading it in the future! Also I have to say that listening to Greg Wagland reading it (on YouTube) has add to the experience!
Profile Image for Teresa Krasnichuk.
100 reviews2 followers
June 14, 2017
It was a long read but worth every moment. I love the variety of stories and I am looking forward to reading the second volume.
Profile Image for Anne.
109 reviews3 followers
September 2, 2020
It's going to be sometime before I crack in with the second volume.
I know classics read differently to modern literature.. but dare I say the movie/series adaptation of this franchise far surpasses the writing. The stories are interesting, the cases ingenious... The style of narration takes all the excitement out of the story.
I understand why Sir Arthur hated Sherlock.. and I appreciate whoever read all these only to sprinkle little references in BBC's adaption of this narrative 😃
Profile Image for Tony Laplume.
Author 46 books33 followers
May 8, 2022
Quite interesting to have read this volume (I will of course shortly read the second). Plenty of observations to be had:

1) Arthur Conan Doyle most understood the art of the melodrama. Were it not for the presence and activities of Sherlock Holmes, this would have been the chief impression of his material.

2) He was often impressed with the reaction of his readers in what he wrote next. His emphasis on “novel ideas” was his way of justifying his work.

3) It was increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas. This is probably the real reason he kept trying to retire Holmes. And even then he kept returning to essentially the same ideas.

4) He didn’t really understand what made Holmes special, at first. He thought gimmicks such as Holmes having studied famous crimes or relying on disguises were relevant to his most famous talent of simple observation.

5) Holmes and his adventures were a criticism of the relatively recent invention of an official police force. Holmes frequently condescends to his professional colleagues, who are never once presented as a match to his abilities.

6) It’s also evident that dogs as a common element of households was a relatively recent development. In the next volume is the most famous Holmes story, which of course revolves around them.

7) Holmes in character is much like Hugh Laurie in the TV series House (probably quite intentionally) or Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, a genius not only without peer but also a basic disposition that makes it all the harder to find one.

8) Doyle is not much of a writer, in the final analysis. He often ends his melodramas with confessions easily obtained. Unless British society was very different in its composition of human psychology at that time, or Doyle was lazy. Probably the latter.

9) Holmes works against the law as often as he does with it. A curiosity.

10) His greatest ability is seeing the apparently counterintuitive truth hidden by surface elements that easily blind others. This is the chief lesson to be taken from his character, and the one most often ignored.

11) It is very likely that had Holmes not been created in the cusp of the age of film, he would be forgotten, aside from the fact that the British seem determined to make national heroes of all its bestselling authors.

12) Doyle wrote all this because he could never make a significant success of his other works, and that’s the other reason why he brought him back, though as far as this volume is concerned he never did solve the problem of why he wanted to stop in the first place.

13) You can see where he came up with ideas and names he later wanted to revisit. “Pycroft” very swiftly gives way to “Mycroft,” for example. He didn’t plan anything in advance.

14) The famous Professor Moriarty, at least in the pages of “The Final Problem,” is easily Doyle’s thinnest material, which Doyle himself attempts to settle with a similar character (with a far less memorable name) soon after bringing Holmes back.

15) When he tries to be vague, Doyle proves how little he thinks his readers are capable of reasoning things out for themselves. The last story in the volume, for instance, “The Adventure of the Second Stain,” contains such obvious clues of historic placement that if the details were real they would instantly make a liar of Watson.

16) The guy who wrote the forward would probably not make much of a detective. He can’t understand why Watson would appear differently fresh from his imperial adventures to a later point in his life much separated from them.
Profile Image for Edgar Duarte.
20 reviews
November 17, 2020
Sherlock Holmes is an inspiring character even more than a century since his adventures took places in the Victorian London. With his stories I traveled in time towards an epoque of cabs, pocket watches, top hats and so many details.
Watson's narrative is so precise and accurate in the sense of concentrating both in Holmes' attitudes and the human miseries that cause the crimes.
It's a long book which may deserve beeing read with intervals and not continuously.
Profile Image for JY.
68 reviews6 followers
June 7, 2012
Not a review but notes written for the sole enjoyment of Dr. Snort:

1. Read both Volume I and II in one sitting, which severely diminished my reading pleasure. Nobody to blame but myself, but I was determined to finish every single story because I was afraid I'd abandon it if I took a break to read something else.

2. Sherlock Holmes is easily one of the most enigmatic characters to exist in literature. I see why many rational adults worship him.

3. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle belongs to the "tell, don't show" category of writers. Descriptions of characters practically cartoonish.

4. I found it difficult to ignore the ethnocentrism that permeates these stories, though as an Enid Blyton veteran, I wasn't too bothered by them. Uncertain about the relevance, and even the importance of these stories in the 21st century and beyond. We need a new Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century; surly, laconic Scandinavian/Scottish detectives battling inner demons need not apply.

5. Moby Dick next?
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