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The Adventure of the Dying Detective

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This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

32 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1913

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About the author

Arthur Conan Doyle

11.5k books21.6k 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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5 stars
1,072 (38%)
4 stars
984 (35%)
3 stars
581 (20%)
2 stars
148 (5%)
1 star
24 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 183 reviews
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,382 reviews7,088 followers
November 11, 2021
Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Dying Detective, relates how Sherlock Holmes is on his death bed, apparently dying from some Eastern fever, caught when he was working a case on the docks. When Holmes’s landlady calls Dr Watson to come, his friend is appalled at the sight of Holmes, how ill he looks, and insists on treating him.

Holmes however, won’t hear of it, he doesn’t want a doctor, he wants a planter from the Far East, who had an outbreak of the disease on his plantation, and who just happens to be in London.
Shocking though it is to hear of Holmes’s terrible illness, there’s quite a twist waiting at the end!
Profile Image for Janete on hiatus due health issues.
655 reviews264 followers
November 3, 2021
I didn't know this short story with Sherlock Holmes. I found it very interesting and enjoyable.

SYNOPSIS: "Dr. Watson is called to check on Holmes, who is apparently dying of a rare Asian disease contracted while he was on a case. Watson is shocked, having heard nothing about his friend’s illness. Mrs. Hudson says that he has neither eaten nor drunk anything in three days. Upon arriving, Watson finds Holmes in his bed looking very ill and gaunt indeed, and Holmes proceeds to make several odd demands of Watson: He is not to come near Holmes, for the illness is highly contagious. He will seek no help save from the man whom Holmes names. He will wait until six o’clock before Holmes names him.
At six o’clock, Holmes tells Watson to fetch Mr. Culverton Smith. Oddly, he also tells Watson to be sure that he and Smith return to Baker Street separately. Smith is not a doctor but is supposedly an expert on the illness that ails Holmes."
Profile Image for Masoud Irannejad.
171 reviews112 followers
January 27, 2020
اگه سریال شرلوک با بازی بندیکت تیموتی کارلتون کامبربچ (ماشالا اسم) رو دنبال کرده باشید پس خوندن این کتاب رو بهتون پیشنهاد میکنم
قسمت دوم فصل چهارم اقتباسی از این کتاب است
(اقتباس بهتر از داستان اصلی بود)

لینک ترجمه کتاب رو در کامنت ها قرار دادم
Profile Image for Aishu Rehman.
817 reviews736 followers
February 29, 2020
The Adventure of the Dying Detective' focuses mainly on Sherlock Holmes himself, who claims to be quite ill and about to die from a Sumatran disease. Mrs. Hudson, his housekeeper, is quite worried about him, so she convinces Dr. Watson to visit him in the apartment. Once Watson has seen Holmes, he is also convinced that Holmes is dying, so he leaves to fetch the one person who Holmes claims can save him: Culverton Smith. Watson returns to Holmes's apartment before Smith, and hides behind the bed in order to overhear what Smith and Holmes discuss. Smith admits to Holmes that he killed his nephew, and also that he sent Holmes a package designed to infect him with the same disease. Holmes asks Smith to light the gas, which signals the investigator who is waiting outside to come inside and arrest Smith.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Divya Darshani.
46 reviews25 followers
September 8, 2022
Another interesting adventure of Sherlock Holmes; similar to finding mysteries and ultimately solving them. But this differs slightly from other adventure of Sherlock Holmes as Arthur Conan Doyle emphasizes Watson rather than Sherlock. Sherlock was quite ill and about to die from a Sumatran disease. Is the world's most famous detective on his deathbed? 😱😱

The ending twist surprises its readers and perfectly coincide with the logic of the plot. Read yourself to find it out. It's just a short read; won't take much time.
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,709 reviews178 followers
August 8, 2019
Holmes spends most of this story in bed

Review of free Kindle edition
A Public Domain Book
Publication date: May 12, 2012
Language: English
ASIN: B0082XID88
33 pages

This, the 46th Sherlock Holmes story, was published in the U.S. in Collier's November 22, 1913. The first British publication was in The Strand Magazine, December, 1913. Subsequently, it has been sometimes published simply as The Dying Detective. It was later published in a collection of eight short stories entitled His Last Bow, Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes.

It is difficult to say much about this story without spoilers. It illustrates the extremes to which Holmes is willing to go in order to accomplish his ends. Less successful, less mannerly, less generous of spirit and undoubtedly many would have regarded Holmes as an egomaniacal fanatic.

It had been many years since I last read this story so I found it suspenseful. Avoid reading any detailed description of the story and enjoy the suspense for yourself.
Profile Image for Laur.
494 reviews71 followers
September 9, 2021
Holmes hasn’t had anything to eat or drink for 3 days! He believes he caught Eastern fever on the docks and he looks dreadfully awful. He’s lost in his mind, he’s utterly delirious, babbling, and shouting nonsense: “Isn’t it funny how the brain controls the brain? What was I saying, Watson?”

Loved this short. It was brilliant!
Profile Image for Jason Parent.
Author 45 books658 followers
May 24, 2016
I love this one even though it is absolutely and utterly predictable, for the mere lengths Sherlock is willing to go to be an ass to Watson.

... and again, Watson just takes it.
Profile Image for Katja H. Labonté.
Author 16 books180 followers
June 28, 2022
5 stars & 5/10 hearts. Oh yessss! This story is so 👌🏼!

First off, it’s extremely comedic. I absolutely love Sherlock’s interaction with Watson. It’s hilarious; but also demonstrates the relationship between the two. Sherlock loved Watson, and Watson knew it, and he also knew the cost of being loved by Sherlock—and he was willing to pay it. In spite of his use of Watson for his own ends, Sherlock demonstrates his love for him by having such a deep, implicit trust in him, and I think it was this that kept Watson humbly willing to be used for Sherlock’s purposes…

The plot is fascinating and unique, the characters very interesting, but the dialogue between Sherlock & Watson was the best part. <3

Content: Good G*d; de**l; G*d knows; for He**en’s sake; good he**ens. Includes some trickery/deception/lying.

A Favourite Quote: “Do you suppose that such a consideration weighs with me of an instant? It would not affect me in the case of a stranger. Do you imagine it would prevent me from doing my duty to so old a friend?”
A Favourite Humorous Quote: “Well, I shouldn’t be surprised, Holmes. I shouldn’t be surprised if it WERE the same. A bad lookout for you if it is. Poor Victor was a dead man on the fourth day—a strong, hearty young fellow. It was certainly, as you said, very surprising that he should have contracted and out-of-the-way Asiatic disease in the heart of London—a disease, too, of which I had made such a very special study. Singular coincidence, Holmes. Very smart of you to notice it, but rather uncharitable to suggest that it was cause and effect.”
Profile Image for Jason Donoghue.
Author 4 books34 followers
June 8, 2018
I have come to the end of my admiration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the character Sherlock Holmes. I found myself almost falling asleep listening to this audio-book, when my mind begins to think of other things it is a sign, it is not a good story.

Sir Arthur seems to use the same template with each story, and after ten or more stories you will begin to see it. Sherlock Holmes is always smarter than who he faces off against apart from in one story which was one of the better stories. Having Holmes smarter than everyone else and yet we never find what he is thinking until the end is tiresome after awhile.

He is a perfect character who can do no wrong, and this bores me. at least my character's have scares and imperfections. now in no ways am i saying my writing compares to this author but i just find character with a past and who is not perfect a whole lot better to read and write about.

To end this review, i would tell people to read other stories this one is lacking.

427 reviews22 followers
January 27, 2021
This is a great adventure wherein Sherlock Holmes nearly dies of a rare eastern disease, but ends up tricking his killer. I recommend it to all.
Profile Image for Mostafa.
332 reviews30 followers
March 22, 2022
کاراگاه محتضر که اشاره به خودِ شرلوک هلمز دارد در ۱۹۱۳ نوشته شده که در آن به طور خلاقانه شرلوک هلمز بدون اینکه از منزلش خارج شود یک معمای جنایی را حل می کند... هوشمندی آرتور کانن دویل ( خالق شخصیت شرلوک هلمز) در خلق داستانهای جنایی و بیان آن در فقط ۲۰ صفحه جالب توجه و ستودنی است
Profile Image for Jen 3_Piets.
143 reviews4 followers
October 25, 2017
6/5 stars for an excellent performance by Sherlock Holmes (and reading by the exceptional Mr Simon Vance). I knew the story generally already from the BBC Sherlock series but this was better than that. Brilliant and well done ACD.
Profile Image for Abigail Harris.
Author 26 books182 followers
May 21, 2021
I've reread this several times and still enjoy it. Better then the shows too... And I enjoyed those though I didn't like all of the creepiness.
Profile Image for Francesca.
Author 6 books216 followers
February 6, 2017
He was indeed a deplorable spectacle. In the dim light of a foggy November day the sick room was a gloomy spot, but it was that gaunt, wasted face staring at me from the bed which sent a chill to my heart.
The Adventure of the Dying Detective, Arthur Conan Doyle

Unica lettura in lingua che abbia mai fatto di Sir Conan Doyle. Che bella prosa! Una storia godibile e ben narrata. E Holmes si conferma uno dei personaggi che meno sopporto in letteratura... Veramente irritante! XD
Ma vale la lettura. :)
Profile Image for Rihab.
51 reviews33 followers
April 24, 2020
" ثمة العديد من المشكلات التي تسببها الأمراض، والعديد من الاحتمالات المرضية الغريبة في الشرق يا واطسون."

"لأنه كان يعمل في أحد التحقيقات المهنية التي كان يجريها بين بحارة صينين"

"وحين ننتهي من مركز الشرطة أعتقد أننا يجب أن نحصل على شيء مغذ من محل سيمبسون. "

أمراض من الشرق (الصين)، صندوق لنقل المرض لشارلوك هولمز. ..ثم الذهاب إلى محلات سيمبسون.
بعد عقود، تعرض حلقة لعائلة آل سيمبسون تحتوي على صندوق من الصين ينقل فيروس!
Profile Image for Rob Thompson.
489 reviews44 followers
June 2, 2021

For three days, Holmes refuses to eat and will only allow Mrs Hudson to ask Dr. Watson for help. The great detective appears to dying from a highly contagious disease. One which is usually found only in Asia. Watson examines things in the room. A curious ivory box draws his attention. When he picks it up to get a better look, Holmes demands that Watson must immediately put it down. Holmes tells Watson to bring a man called Culverton Smith to see him. Culverton Smith has no professional medical training but he knows more about the disease which Holmes claims to be suffering from than anyone else in the world. Holmes admits that he and Culverton Smith are not on friendly terms. This is because Holmes suspects the man had some part in the death of his nephew.

When Smith arries, Holmes orders Watson to hide behind the head of the bed, not to move, and not to betray himself under any circumstances.

Smith promises to cure Holmes if he no longer investigates the death of his nephew. Smith suggests that Holmes received a box in the mail (which Dr. Watson picked up), opened it, scratched it, and contracted a deadly virus. Holmes asks to fulfill his dying request and turn on the light. Now, the police enter the room, and the revived Holmes demands matches and cigarettes.

All in all a decent short tale. But it sees Holmes lying to Watson to achieve his end. In a similar fashion to The Big Lie, where Holmes faked his own death which Watson believed for many years.
Profile Image for Richard Dominguez.
855 reviews102 followers
January 12, 2023
Dr. Watson is called to tend Holmes, who is apparently dying of a rare tropical disease, Tapanuli fever, contracted while he was on a case. Watson is shocked, not having heard about his friend's illness. Mrs. Hudson says that Holmes has neither eaten nor drunk anything in three days.
I thought this was going to be better, but there really wasn't much to it.
Profile Image for Sterlingcindysu.
1,342 reviews48 followers
December 30, 2022
A very short quick read for free for Kindle from Amazon.

Yes! The detective in question is Holmes himself....

Profile Image for Daniela.
153 reviews17 followers
July 12, 2022
de nuevo, sherlock resuelve un caso y desde su cama :D

me gustó bastante, en especial, que le tenga tanta confianza a watson y que lo haya cuestionado por el bien del caso JAJAJA iconic
Profile Image for Saman.
97 reviews67 followers
September 19, 2019
"Of all ruins, that of a noble mind is the most deplorable."
Holmes was ill with a coolie disease from Sumatra. Only Mr.Culverton Smith could cure him of his illness. Unfortunately, he holds a grudge against him for the death of his nephew, Victor Savage.
Was Holmes responsible for his death? Will Culverton cure him of his illness?
The story despite being short engaged with every aspect thoroughly.
Profile Image for Molly.
689 reviews
February 7, 2016
One of my absolute favorite Sherlock Holmes stories. This is one that Messrs. Gatiss and Moffat desperately need to consider for an upcoming series of Sherlock. It would showcase the brilliance of Cumberbatch, Freeman and co. to the highest levels. Such an incredible story...
Profile Image for AhmEd MokhtAr.
160 reviews
April 19, 2019
Mrs. Hudson is very worried about Sherlock Holmes
Mr. Watson went to see his doctor
But why all this ?
Yes Sherlock Holmes is sick
The doctor came and told Sherlock he would die
But what caused the disease ?
Displaying 1 - 30 of 183 reviews

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