Sherlock Holmes

Although Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have preferred to be known for his historical fiction, or perhaps even his sci-fi, it is for Sherlock Holmes that he is most remembered. Created between 1887 and 1927 in 62 cases (4 novels and 58 short stories), Holmes is a private detective with powerful observation and deduction abilities.

Doyle was quite a prolific author, writing more than 300 fictional stories (including 24 novels) in all genres like history, fantasy, adventure, science-fiction, crime, drama, war. . . plus more than 1200 other works such as essays, pamphlets, articles, letters to the press, poems, interviews, plays. . .on so many subjects—such as politics, spiritualism, war, crimes, etc. (see a list of his Complete Works). Though Sherlock Holmes was certainly his most popular character, Doyle thought that Holmes was obscuring the rest of his works, so he decided to kill him off in 1893 at the end of the 26th story, "The Adventure of the Final Problem" (included in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes). However, eight years later, succumbing to family and editor pressure, he "resurrected" the detective and ended up writing 34 more stories between 1901 and 1927.

While these are murder mysteries, they're generally suitable for fairly young readers, including some pre-teen avid readers who aren't too sensitive. The violence isn't graphic, and there is no sexual content other than allusions to extra-marital affairs. Holmes' cocaine/opium use is sometimes brought up as a concern, as is negative mentions of the Mormons and occasional period-typical racism/classicism in the books. Some people complain that they find certain titles slow going (like Hound of the Baskervilles), but this is by no means the most common opinion. 

As the Sherlock Holmes novels and story collections were written over the course of forty years, and later gathered into books, the sequence is not entirely sequential, but these nine volumes gather all the stories in (mostly) chronological order, though not in the order they were published:

(PG = Project Gutenberg, LV = Librivox recordings (we've usually chosen narrator David Clarke)

  1. A Study in Scarlet - PG | LV
    (novel originally published November 1887 in Beeton's Christmas Annual)
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - PG | LV
    (stories published 1891–1892 in The Strand)
  3. The Sign of the Four - PG | LV
    (novel originally published February 1890 in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine)
  4. The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes - PG | LV (read by Thomas A. Copeland)
    (stories published 1921–1927)
  5. The Valley of Fear - PG | LV
    (novel originally serialized 1914–1915 in The Strand)
  6. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - PG | LV
    (stories published 1892–1893 in The Strand)
  7. The Return of Sherlock Holmes - PG | LV
    (stories published 1903–1904 in The Strand)
  8. The Hound of the Baskervilles - PG | LV
    (novel originally serialized 1901–1902 in The Strand)
  9. His Last Bow: Some Later Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes - PG | LV
    (stories published 1908–1917)

Holmes has inspired an enormous number of plays, films, knock-offs, spin-offs, and other fan fiction. Some of these try to fill in gaps in the Holmes chronology and give him adventures in other lands, for example Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon in America and the Mandala of Sherlock Holmes in India & Tibet (there are many others). But it wasn't until 2011 that the Doyle estate authorized another novel, by acclaimed author Anthony Horowitz. This one, called House of Silk, was well-received and followed up in 2014 with Moriarty (we don't recommend these for pre-teens, though).

There have been many editions of the Sherlock Holmes stories published over the years, and our goal is always to offer a good variety of quality editions. That said, we'll offer any attractive used copy that comes our way. But what about new editions? We've decided to primarily recommend the Seawolf collection of the books, because they're handsome, legible, illustrated, and affordable, available in hard or softcover, they include all the novels and stories, and Seawolf also publishes other matching novels by Doyle. (We have one quibble with an editorial issue in the story "Resident Patient" in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, but it's a minor one.) 

We've researched a number of others, but most other attractive sets are either out of print, unavailable to us, missing stories, or not illustrated. These include the Arcturus, Wordsworth, Headline and Oxford boxed sets and various collections from Penguin and others. Our favorite is the Norton Annotated Sherlock Holmes 3-volume set (though the volumes are unwieldy), and will carry them if they're ever available again. If you have any suggestions, we'd be glad to hear them!

Did you find this review helpful?
Parent Categories
Related Links
Wikipedia Article about Sherlock Holmes
Illustrators of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Sherlock Holmes Page
Librivox Recordings by David Clarke
Speedy Mystery
Sherlock Holmes: Private Investigator or Amateur Sleuth?
Penguin Publishers
Where to start with Sherlock Holmes
54 Items found Print
100-Year-Old Secret
Sherlock Files #1
by Tracy Barrett
1st edition from Square Fish Publishing
for 4th-8th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$6.79 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Conan Doyle
from Penguin Classics
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$11.90
Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Sterling Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 7th-12th grade
in Mystery & Suspense (Location: FIC-MYS)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Richard Lebenson
from Reader's Digest
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Books of Wonder
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Barry Moser
from HarperCollins
for 7th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sidney Paget
100th Anniversary from SeaWolf Press
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$9.31
Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volumes 1 & 2
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Clarkson Potter Publishers
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Beast of Blackslope
Sherlock Files #2
by Tracy Barrett
1st edition from Square Fish Publishing
for 4th-8th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$6.79 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Case of the Baker Street Irregular
by Robert Newman
from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 4th-6th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from SeaWolf Press
for 6th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$8.46
Double Trouble in Bugland
by William Kozwinkle
from David R. Godine
for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
ECL: Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (abridged)
Educator Classic Library #7
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Don Irwin
from Classic Press
for 8th-Adult
in Educator Classic Library (Location: VIN-ECL)
Exploits of Sherlock Holmes
by Adrian Conan Doyle
from Random House
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Eyewitness Classics: Hound of the Baskervilles (adapted & annotated)
by Arthur Conan Doyle
1st edition from DK Publishing
for 6th-10th grade
in Adapted or Abridged (Location: SER-ABR)
Freddy the Detective
by Walter R. Brooks, illustrated by Kurt Wiese
from Overlook Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Reader's Digest
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Puffin Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Puffin Books
Mystery for 6th-10th grade
in Puffin Classics (Location: FIC-PUF)
$7.64
His Last Bow
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
100th Anniversary from SeaWolf Press
for 6th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$7.61
Hound of the Baskervilles
Signet Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Signet Classics
Mystery for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.21
Hound of the Baskervilles
Whole Story Series
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Viking Press
Mystery for 6th-10th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Hound of the Baskervilles
by Arthur Conan Doyle
from Dover Publications
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.25
Hound of the Baskervilles
Puffin Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Reissue from Puffin Books
for 6th-10th grade
in Puffin Classics (Location: FIC-PUF)
$6.79
Hound of the Baskervilles
Children's Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sergio Martinez and Sidney Paget
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for 6th-10th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Hound of the Baskervilles
Portland House Illustrated Classics
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sergio Martinez and Sidney Paget
from Portland House
Mystery & Suspense for 6th-10th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Hound of the Baskervilles
by Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by Sidney Paget
100th Anniversary from SeaWolf Press
for 7th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$6.76
Hound of the Baskervilles
Oxford Children's Classics
by Arthur Conan Doyle
from Oxford University
for 7th-Adult
in Mystery & Suspense (Location: FIC-MYS)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Hound of the Baskervilles - Progeny Press Study Guide
by Michael Gilleland & Mike Poteet
from Progeny Press
in Progeny Press Literature Guides (Location: LIT-SGPP)
$27.99
Hound of the Baskervilles - Student Guide
by Andrew Thibaudeau
from Memoria Press
for 8th-10th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: LITSG-MP)
$8.50 (2 in stock)
Hound of the Baskervilles - Teacher Guide
by Andrew Thibaudeau
from Memoria Press
for 8th-10th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: LITSG-MP)
$13.95 $8.50 (1 in stock)
House of Silk
by Anthony Horowitz
1st edition
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Illustrated Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sidney Paget and numerous others
from Fall River Press
for 7th-Adult
in Mystery & Suspense (Location: FIC-MYS)
Mandala of Sherlock Holmes
by Jamyang Norbu
from Bloomsbury Publishing
for Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Arthur Conan Conan Doyle
from Reader's Digest
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by Sidney Paget
100th Anniversary Edition from SeaWolf Press
for 7th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$8.46
Moriarty
by Anthony Horowitz
from Harper
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Grosset & Dunlap
Mystery for 6th-10th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volume 1
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Non-slipcased edition from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volume 2
by Arthur Conan Doyle
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volume 3
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Return of Sherlock Holmes
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Arthur Conan Doyle
from Reader's Digest
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Return of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by Sidney Paget
1905 Illustrated from SeaWolf Press
for 8th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$9.31
Seawolf Sherlock Holmes Collection
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from SeaWolf Press
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$68.93
Sherlock Holmes
Junior Deluxe Editions
by Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Richard M. Powers
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 3rd-6th grade
in Action & Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sidney Paget
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon
by Larry Millett
from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer
BabyLit
by Jennifer Adams
Brdbk from Gibbs M. Smith
for Nursery-Preschool
in Board Books (Location: PIC-BOARD)
$8.49
Sherlock Holmes Scrapbook
from Bramhall House
for 6th-Adult
in Vintage Fiction & Literature (Location: VIN-FIC)
Sign of Four
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1892 Illustrated from SeaWolf Press
Mystery for 8th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$5.91
Sign of the Four
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Leonard Vosburgh
from Hart Publishing Company
Mystery for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.80 (1 in stock)
Study in Scarlet
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by George Hutchinson
1891 Illustrated from SeaWolf Press
Mystery for 8th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$6.37
Study in Scarlet & Hound of the Baskervilles
Reader's Digest World's Best Reading
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Reader's Digest
Mystery for 6th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Study in Scarlet & The Sign of Four
Dover Thrift Editions
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
from Dover Publications
Mystery for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.25 $2.40 (1 in stock)
Trouble in Bugland
by William Kozwinkle
from David R. Godine
for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Valley of Fear
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by Arthur Keller
1915 Illustrated from SeaWolf Press
Detective Stories for 10th-Adult
in Seawolf Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SW)
$6.76