The complete Sherlock Holmes

by Arthur Conan Doyle

Other authorsChristopher Morley (Preface)
Hardcover, 1930





Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & company, inc., 1930.


A series of adventures featuring Sherlock Holmes, who let his brain compute the information he shrewdly observed; the resulting deductions and unexpected additional talents thrilled his faithful chronicler Dr Watson.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lmichet
All children should read Sherlock Holmes.
I know it's not children's literature per se, but in my experience, in my own life, it had such a formative effect upon me and the way I read that I am not sure I would be the same kind of person today had I never read these books.
1) Sherlock Holmes is a great introduction to classic literature. It's easy to read and has stable characters who, although they are in very few ways dynamic, are usually not caricatures of themselves: the kind of characters anyone can enjoy, and the kind of characters children can easily understand. Furthermore, though the language is out of date, it is not difficult to read. These books bridged the gap between pulp fiction and literature, and they can have the same effect upon modern readers. If you want a kid to start reading old classics, then get them to read something like this first. It will get them comfortable with the idea of reading 'old books' and 'old language' while never overstretching their abilities. There are no 'difficult' characters here, but there is still certainly a lot to think about.
2) These books are simply excellently written. If you want a kid to know what solid, solid writing is, hand them some Holmes. These are perfect little short stories. They're not short short stories in the sense we may think of them today-- most are a bit longer than some popular modern ones-- but they're perfect for what they are. They certainly expanded my vocabulary when I first read them.
3) They're exciting. Children should be reading exciting, compelling things that make them think and wonder.
4) A child who enjoys a good Sherlock Holmes book is going to want to read them all. Now, this particular edition, the omnibus, took me about two weeks to get through when I recently decided to plow through all of them again-- and that was reading for quite a long time every day, and I was familiar with all the stories already. Get a kid hooked on these and they'll be reading for months.
5) Cultural literacy. If a kid speaks English, they need to know who Sherlock Holmes is just as much as they're going to need to know who Darth Vader, Julius Ceasar and Brutus, and Romeo and Juliet are. All of these characters have become part of our cultural lexicon. People certainly say "No shit, Sherlock!" as often as they say "Luke, I am your father!", "Et tu, Brute?", or "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?". In fact, I'd bet that Sherlock references, conscious or not, verbal or symbolic (the deerstalker, pipe, etc.), are all in all probably more common in our society than any of these others I've mentioned.

Everyone who speaks English should at least TRY to read these. I know you can't always get adults hooked on these stories-- a lot of the joy I get from reading them comes from remembering what it was like to read them for the first time when I was eight or nine. You've got to inculcate these things early. Part of the reason for this would be my final point:
6) The whole message of these stories is that, in the end, the smartest and bravest one wins. Look at Sherlock. He's like a genius scholar boxer swordsman adventurer extraordinaire. How did he get this way? By staying in school, kids. Yup. I'd guess that at least subconsciously I was effected by these stories-- it's not every tale where the hero manages to win the praise of all despite being rude, socially backward, and romantically uninvolved. Kids need to know that effort trumps all-- and that's certainly what these stories teach.

I don't know why I made the education/indoctrination of children the main point of this review. But I believe everything I've written. If you have a kid, quick, go grab them the first collection of short stories! You haven't much time to lose!
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LibraryThing member Renz0808
These stories are such classics. This is the first time I have ever read all of the stories myself. I knew most of the basic details and had seen some of the mini-series but the books are much better. I love trying to solve the case along with Holmes and Watson and I am always amazed by the ability of Holmes to take a minute detail and shape it into a character development. Not only are the mysteries spectacular but the adventures are exciting and the period details descriptions of clothing, modes of transportation and a simple thing like lunch make the book a true classic. It is easy to see why Sherlock Holmes is considered the greatest detective of all time.… (more)
LibraryThing member Little_Girl_Blue
Excellent stories. If you enjoy mystery, then Doyle's Holmes is a must. Be transported back to London in the days of horse and buggy. Superior style and prose, plus masterful characterization, and plots that will have you up reading past your bedtime!
LibraryThing member 15louisn
This is the complete adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a “consultant” detective, with an amazing power of deduction, and his roommate at 221B, Baker Street, Dr. John Watsons they travel across England to solve cases that has left the Police clueless. Nowadays, Sherlock Holmes is a name known to everyone. I liked this book for Sherlock’s eccentric behavior, and Watson’s cluelessness about what Sherlock thinks. Conan Doyle is a very good author, who puts himself well into the skin of Watson to tell the amazing stories of his two protagonists and how they fight crime and Sherlock’s archenemy, Moriarty.… (more)
LibraryThing member Heptonj
One cannot get away from the fact that Holmes is a true classic which captivates the attention every time it is read (one never tires of these stories). I can't help but feel that if I lived in the right era I would have been right alongside those who objected to the detectives 'death' and insisted he be re-animated! I have seen many different film/TV adaptations and read untold books on Sherlock Holmes and his very appropriate down-to-earth side-kick Dr. Watson and hope to continue for many years. These stories will never enter obscurity.… (more)
LibraryThing member reading_fox
All the short stories and the novels together in one book. Reading the short stories its quickly apparent that Holmes is not that clever in most of them. He often intreprets on or two "facts" and the remainder of the story is a long and often dull narrative from the other person involved. It is of course all told from Watson's POV, but even he can't add much levity to the situation. The novels are better, and some of the short stories much better than others.… (more)
LibraryThing member MrsLee
My introduction to Sherlock Holmes. I fell in love. So nice to have most of the stories all to hand, no waiting to find the next book. The illustrations in this are great too.
LibraryThing member lightparade
Wonderful, wonderful. But only two stars, because the teeny-tiny typeface and the vast number of pages render it practically unreadable. Time to start preparing for my retirement and buying up some Folio editions.
LibraryThing member TadAD
The novels and short stories are of somewhat uneven quality but, come on, there's a reason why Doyle was forced by the reading public to resurrect Holmes from's a lot of fun!
LibraryThing member LadyBlakney
Why do I like Sherlock Holmes? Let me quote Dr. Watson:
These stories "give the prefrence to those cases which derive their interest not so much from the brutality of the crime as from the ingenuity and dramatic quality of the solution."
This make a welcome change from the many blood thirsty books and movies out there. Yet many of the Holmes stories are thrillers. Perfect reading for a dark and stormy night.… (more)
LibraryThing member TakeItOrLeaveIt
my dad is obsessed with Sherlock! it was his shizzle when he was younger. So of course, he got me an entire set of a book series I don't even like. im not a huge mystery person. its not my scene. sorry dad...thanks anyway. I tried and read a good amount.
LibraryThing member Othemts
Oh yeah, I read every single work about the master detective Sherlock Holmes. They're not all great, but they never fail to intrigue. It's especially interesting to see how the personal relationship of Holmes and Watson strengthens over the course of these works. I think everyone should read Sherlock Holmes, at least The Sign of Four and a selection of short stories.… (more)
LibraryThing member felius
It's Sherlock Holmes! How can you go wrong. For some reason I've always preferred the short stories, and with this book you have them all at easy reach. The novels are included as well though, of course.
LibraryThing member level250geek
I truly love detective stories, and they don't get any better than dear Sherlock. It's a bit verbose at times, but that's more of a sign of the times than anything; Doyle and his contemporaries loved to take their time telling the story. If you can get past the thick text, though, you'll find a lovably eccentric character and some grand adventures.… (more)
LibraryThing member dgbnumber1
Engrossing. I like the fact that these are short and they're engrossing.
LibraryThing member JeremyPreacher
This is a massive omnibus so I will be reviewing the bits as I finish them. (I have read one or two of the short story collections before - everything else should be fairly new.)

A Study in Scarlet:

I knew the bones of the mystery already - it's been riffed on so many times it's impossible not to. But I was struck by first, how charming the introduction of Our Heroes is, and secondly how wacky the random Western stuck in the middle seemed. I would have found it more charming if I had any patience right now for sinister Mormons and the caricatured portrayals thereof.

The Sign of the Four:

Similarly, this mystery is centered around discovering what happened in far-off exotic places that came home to roost. It feels more slight than A Study in Scarlet and there's a degree of period-standard racism than makes me flinch, but Watson and Holmes remain entertaining.

The Hound of the Baskervilles:

A pure English countryside mystery. Holmes is really kind of a dick to Watson, but one can't argue too much with success, and of course Watson doesn't. Definitely one of those where the reader really can't jump ahead too much, because the solution is dependent on clues we just don't get until the end. I don't mind that too much, but I know it infuriates some people.

The Valley of Fear:

Again a local mystery bracketed around an Exciting Adventure in Foreign Parts. I find this device baffling, although the interstitial story was much better than the previous two examples. Introduces Moriarty in a distant sort of way.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:

The short stories begin! This and the following volume I had read previously. I can definitely see why Holmes and Watson are such resilient characters - their relationship is delightful. The actual stories are pleasantly short, and I was satisfied that while I couldn't actually solve the mystery most of the time (the reader doesn't get enough info) I could usually see the shape of it, which made me anticipate the reveal more than I would have otherwise.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes:

Just as entertaining as the Adventures. The Final Problem was one I'd heard so much about that it seemed like I must have read it, but it was nice to actually do so. The stories don't stick in my head much - they're fairly slight - but fun and worth the read.

His Last Bow:

A few interesting variations - a story written in the third person, one written from Holmes' perspective - but otherwise more of the same.

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes:

The joy does seem to have gone out by this point. Fairly rote, although reading for homoeroticism remains a delight.

Incidental note: This is a huge cheap edition that I picked up for a song. Wouldn't recommend it - heavy, unwieldy, and unlovely.
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LibraryThing member AlannaJean
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan, is a collection of short stories that all follow a similar plotline. They exercise the use of observation skills and mysteries of the greatest kind. There is almost always an unexepected twist toward the end of each short story that leaves the reader guessing in anticipation about what Sherlock Holmes uncovers. Within each short story, there are small addings about the time history and what is going on in the era other than just the mystery. The stories also describe life in the time era with hints such as the passing of street vendors, or Sherlock Holmes’ maid always being on a timely schedule. Though the plotlines are usually similar, each case or short story has a unique approach to the mystery and has a unique group of characters, whether a redhead that owns a pawn shop, to a king with a disrespectful past.… (more)
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
The Sign of Four: I'm afraid that this entry in the Holmes canon left me fairly cold, apart from the moments between Watson and Mary Morstan, which were rather nice (if a bit twee), and Holmes's deduction regarding Watson's pocket watch, which is brilliant (and the origin of the scene in Sherlock with John's cell phone, obviously). 26 Jan 2012

A Study in Scarlet: The first Sherlock Holmes story, which I was inspired to read by my recent rewatch of the brilliant first series of the BBC show Sherlock. I think I may have read the first part of ASiS before but never finished, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if I had, as the story veers off into a flashback which sets up the conclusion of the mystery but takes us away from England, Watson, and Sherlock. Even though I figured out why we were flashing back pretty quick and the flashback works reasonably well, I found it fairly off-putting. It seems an odd move, to set up one's main characters, to lay out the mystery, to have the detective declare the case solved and himself open to questions, and then move into a completely different time, a completely different setting, a completely different cast of characters (at least at first). It rather steals the thing from Sherlock, too. I'm conscious of this being an after-the-fact, not-entirely-fair-to-the-story-itself complaint; because I know who Sherlock Holmes is, because I've seen film versions, because he's entered the public consciousness, and particularly because I've come to the story directly from a retelling I really liked, I'm waiting to see magic--and I don't want to spend twenty-five of seventy pages of the story without Sherlock on the page. But even acknowledging that, I still wonder what Doyle's thinking was here.

But ASiS does quite successfully make me want to read more Sherlock stories (I've read shockingly few--The Hound of the Baskervilles for sure at some point in the teenagerish years and a few of the shorter stories, perhaps right after Sherlock first aired here last year). And reading this story so soon after watching the Sherlock episode "A Study in Pink" illustrates how masterfully that show has adapted and updated the original material. I mean, I could tell that just watching it, but obviously actually looking at the original material shines a slightly different light on the thing. There were a few moments where I was tempted to watch the episode again with the book in my lap and make notes. It's that good. I haven't felt like that about an adaptation since The Lord of the Rings. (If you've been paying goodly attention over the years, you know that cleverly-done retellings button-smash the nerd-scholar bits of my brain but hard.) So while I don't think I'll be tearing through all 1122 pages of my copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes immediately, I don't think I'll be putting it back on the shelf just yet either. I may need to dip in again soon. 27 Dec 2011
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LibraryThing member CArceneaux
Greatest book ever! The entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in chronological order in one volume. What more is there to say. Everyone should read about the greatest detective.
LibraryThing member Kanwal
The all-time-favorite, highly intelligent, socially incapable, and overly smart detective is a brilliant character who can solve any mysterious event / case. These stories not only have lots of information on variouse subjects to offer (e.g. science, chemistry, physics) but are also entertaining. The main characters are: Holmes' friend and colleague Dr. Watson, their landlady Mrs. Hudson, the always lost and confused Inspector Lestrade, and the arch enemy Professor Moriarty.… (more)
LibraryThing member amaraduende
This is not quite the same version - I got the 1.99 version on my Nook.

Just started this. The first story introduces us to Watson, who is trying to find suitable apartments to rent. A friend of his mentions a rather odd if pleasant gentleman who is looking for a roommate for an apartment he just found...

Great so far! Love that Holmes disses other literary detectives.

12-24 Still loving this. More than halfway done with the 1,700 some pages. I'll really miss it when I'm done.

I have not quite gotten through the last of these... but I'm marking it as "read" because I've simply gone through way more than half of these numerous stories. Definitely fodder for a re-read sometime.
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LibraryThing member jmeisen
While it is handy to have the entire Canon in one volume, this edition contains a plethora of errors, as well as failing to correct the awkwardness that ensued when Doyle moved "The Cardboard Box." If you can manage it, spring for the 12-volume Oxford edition -- also unlike this volume, the Oxford books are a convenient size for carrying and reading.… (more)
LibraryThing member Maydacat
Although some of these tales may be more appealing than others, there is much to enjoy in this audio version of the complete Sherlock Holmes. Whether or not you are a Holmes fan, this collection should not be missed. The extraordinary performance of Simon Vance only adds to its pleasure.
LibraryThing member lauraodom
I just spent the last three weeks reading the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle relating to his famous character, Sherlock Holmes. Three. Weeks. It occurred to me that non-readers or not-very-fast readers may feel as I did when they read a regular novel… am I ever going to be finished with this book? But it was definitely worth the three weeks of my time to have read the 4 novels and 56 short stories contained within. In fact, it made me kind of sad to finish the last story… to know that there is no more of the original tales of Sherlock and Dr. Watson out there for me to read.

It was so refreshing to be back in my element of classic literature, not worrying about coming across f-bombs and other forms of vulgarity in the pages. The writing is witty and smart, the characters fascinating, and the stories engaging. They make you think. Toward the end of the 56 short stories, I must admit that the beginnings of the stories all seemed the same, but I suppose that must be forgiven, since some of them at least were originally released as part of a regular magazine publication, and were in need of supplying a slight background for the new reader. Overall, I would characterize the stories as creatively brilliant.

I must admit, I love all things Sherlock Holmes, and it’s surprising to me that I hadn’t read more of the original stories before now. I think I remember reading a short story or two in middle school, but other than that, I had read none of these original works. My husband and I enjoy watching deductive reasoning shows. We watched and enjoyed both recent Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. We loved the first two seasons of the BBC series “Sherlock” and are anxiously awaiting the third series. I must admit, as I was reading the book, the actors from this series were who I pictured most, even though we’ve also began watching the newest spin on the Sherlock stories, the CBS series “Elementary” (Also good – I love Watson as a woman).

As usual, however, the old standby of the book being better than the movie still applies. Nothing engages the mind quite like a book, and this one (or ones, as it’s a compilation) is definitely mind-engaging and well worth the read. 5 of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member Rosenstern
Conan Doyle's intellect never ceases to amaze me. Every time I pick up a Holmes' story, I am shocked. It's like watching Criminal Minds play out in the nineteenth century. Detective/ Crime novella fans these books are for you guys. Doyle knows his stuff.



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