“Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.

October 31, 1892, is the publication anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s comprehensive Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, significant as the first collection of Holmes stories that had been previously only been published in magazines. From 1878, Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six Holmes-centric short stories over the span of nearly forty years, with all but four stories narrated by Holmes’s friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson.

There are very few literary characters that have garnered the enduring recognition and imitation that this eccentric British detective commands. In 1939, the novels were developed as a series of films starring Basil Rathbone, establishing the trademark deerstalker, pipe and spyglass as a global visual icon. For an exhaustive character analysis of Sherlock Holmes, consider using The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia as a reference.

: 'It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'
Sherlock Holmes, scourge of criminals everywhere, whether they be lurking in London's foggy backstreets or plotting behind the walls of an idyllic country mansion, and his faithful colleague Dr. Watson solve twelve breathtaking and perplexing mysteries. In The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first collection of the great consulting detective's cases, we encounter some of his most famous and devilishly difficult problems, including A Scandal in Bohemia, The Speckled Band, The Red-Headed League, The Blue Carbuncle, The Five Orange Pips and The Man with the Twisted Lip.

: In 1886, a doctor living on the southern coast of England decided to try his hand at writing a mystery story. In his notes for A Study in Scarlet, he called his chief characters, if only provisionally, J. Sherrinford Holmes and Ormond Sacker. Wisely, though, Arthur Conan Doyle eventually settled on much better names - and so created two of the most beloved figures in all of fiction, the world's first and only consulting detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and his friend and chronicler Dr. John H. Watson. Collected here are all four Holmes novels - A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear - with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic and Baker Street Irregular, Michael Dirda. These often eerie tales of seemingly impossible crimes, of hidden treasure, and supernatural terror and inescapable revenge, have been thrilling reader, young and old, for generation and generation. They move swiftly from cozy 221B Baker Street to the outskirts of gaslit London, to spooky Dartmoor and its deadly Grimpen Mire, to distant India and even to the United States. In them, Holmes matches wits with some of his most formidable adversaries, including his implacable nemesis Professor James Moriarty. There is ultimately one simple but compelling reason why these four novels have been read and reread, as well as broadcast, filmed, and reinterpreted again and again- they are among the most exciting, atmospheric, and unforgettable stories in all of world literature.

: In this boxed set, Leslie Klinger, a leading world authority, reassembles Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 classic short stories in the order in which they appeared in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century book editions. Inside, readers will find a cornucopia of insights: beginners will benefit from Klinger's insightful biographies of Holmes, Watson, and Conan Doyle; history lovers will revel in the wealth of Victorian literary and cultural details; Sherlockian fanatics will puzzle over tantalizing new theories; art lovers will thrill to the 800-plus illustrations, which make this the most lavishly illustrated edition of the Holmes tales ever produced. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes illuminates the timeless genius of Arthur Conan Doyle for an entirely new generation of readers.

Ever since the expiration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s copyright, countless authors have reimagined Sherlock Holmes in myriad ways. This listing represents just a fragment of the writers tackling the venerable detective and cohorts. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery… or lack of imagination? Are these novels a disappointment to Holmes purists? It only stands to reason that any retelling would be compared to Doyle’s original efforts; whether or not there is even a comparison is at the discretion of the reader.

To put all the hubbub in perspective, according to SherlockHolmes.com, Sherlock Holmes is the 3rd most read publication on the planet behind the Bible and the Dictionary, and an additional five million Sherlock Holmes books, translated into 84 languages, are still printed in Europe and the U.S. every year. In addition to the 10,000 + independent reference books, studies and investigative publications dedicated to Sherlock Holmes, there are no less than 350 Holmes Societies around the world and thousands of dedicated websites…an obsession I don’t think Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could fathom.

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