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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Updated on February 25, 2015
Colin Quartermain profile image

Colin has been reading as long as he can remember, and the works of Conan Doyle were some of the early works that kept him reading.

Sherlock Holmes is one of English literature’s most enduring fictional characters. For 40 years, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would write short stories and novels featuring the world’s only consulting detective, and by the time of Conan Doyle’s death 4 novels and 56 short stories had been produced.

The short stories were the perfect length to feature in the monthly editions of the Strand Magazine, but were far too short to be reprinted in book form, so compilation books were produced, the first of which was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

1st Edition of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes PD US PD US | Source

Publication of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The first Holmes story was a novel, A Study in Scarlet, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, and this was followed three years later by The Sign of the Four, another novel.

In 1891 the Strand Magazine then commissioned Conan Doyle to produce short stories for their publication; and in July 1891 A Scandal in Bohemia, the first short Sherlock Holmes story appeared. Each subsequent month a new case for the detective was written, and so in June 1892, with the publication of The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, 12 short stories now existed.

These 12 cases would then be collected together, and reprinted as a new book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a work which also included the illustrations of Sidney Paget. The first publication being undertaken by George Newnes Ltd in the United Kingdom on 14 October 1892, and three days in the United States by Harper. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes though, has been republished regularly ever since.

The Client from A Scandal in Bohemia

Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908) PD-life-70
Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908) PD-life-70 | Source

Contents of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The running order of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes would follow the Strand Magazine publishing order.

A Scandal in Bohemia - Sherlock Holmes is engaged by the King of Bohemia to retrieve a photograph from Irene Adler, a photo which might endanger the future wedding of the king.

The Adventure of the Red-Headed League ­– A London pawnbroker, Jabez Wilson, asks Holmes to investigate just why he has lost his part-time job working for the Red-Headed League.

A Case of Identity - Sherlock Holmes is hired by Mary Sutherland to investigate the disappearance of her fiancé as he was on the way to the church for the pair to be married.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery - Holmes is called down to the Boscombe Valley by Alice Turner and Inspector Lestrade. Charles McCarthy had been murdered and his son, James, is the chief suspect.

The Five Orange PipsSherlock Holmes investigates why the delivery of five orange pips in a letter proves so deadly for members of the Openshaw family.

The Man with the Twisted LipNeville St Clair has disappeared, virtually in front of the eyes of Mrs St Clair, and Holmes has to find out what a beggar has to do with the disappearance and possible murder.

The Mystery Hat from the Blue Carbuncle

Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908) PD-life-70
Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908) PD-life-70 | Source

The Wedding Ceremony from the Noble Bachelor

Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908) PD-life-70
Sidney Paget (1860 - 1908) PD-life-70 | Source

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle – Its Christmas time and Sherlock Holmes has just been presented with the mystery of an abandoned hat and goose; with the detective trying to find their rightful owners.

The Adventure of the Speckled BandHelen Stoner is worried, her life seems to be mirroring that of her dead sister. Helen has started to hear strange noises at night, and Holmes is immediately concerned for her safety.

The Adventure of the Engineer’s ThumbDr Watson brings one of his patients to Holmes. A hydraulic engineer called Victor Hatherley has had his thumb chopped off during a night of misadventure.

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor The new wife of Lord Robert St Simon has disappeared shortly after the wedding ceremony, with her wedding dress found shortly afterwards by the Serpentine. Holmes has to find out just what has happened.

The Adventure of the Beryl CoronetAlexander Holder has been keeping a valuable coronet as collateral for a loan, but his son Arthur had been caught red handed trying to steal. Holmes though is not so sure of Arthur’s guilt.

The Adventure of the Copper BeechesMiss Violet Hunter has been trying to decide whether to take a governess position at the Copper Beeches, a position with some strange requirements, and seeks out Holmes for his guidance.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett

The TV Series

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is also the title given to the first two series of the Granada Television series based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The production would run from 1984 through to 1994, with Jeremy Brett playing Sherlock Holmes, and David Burke, and then Edward Hardwicke, playing Dr Watson.

The production was known for keeping to the original storylines, as penned by Conan Doyle, but the order of the episodes was not the same as the original stories.

There were 13 episodes in Granada’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but only five episodes were actually taken from the original compilation work; other stories from the Sherlock Holmes canon being filmed instead. Some of the missing stories were filmed in later years, but when the production ended in 1994 (with Brett’s death), four stories, A Case of Identity, The Five Orange Pips, The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb, and The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet had not been adapted.


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