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Sherlock Holmes: The Novels


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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 ScarletThe Sign of FourThe 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 or to spooky Dartmoor and its deadly Grimpen Mire or 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. ‘What you are looking at is a kind of narrative perfection- a perfect interplay between dialogue and description perfect characterization and perfect timing.’ John le Carre’Every writer owes something to Holmes.’ T. S. Eliot

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