doyleSir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a Scottish physician and writer best known for his stories about detective Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the most familiar character in all of crime fiction.

Sherlock Holmes, a “consulting detective” based in London, is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases. Holmes was featured in four novels and 56 short stories.

Doyle was a prolific writer whose other works included fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, nonfiction and historical novels. After he introduced Sherlock Holmes in the novel A Study in Scarlet in 1887, Doyle wrote a series of 24 short mysteries featuring the detective and his colleague, Dr. Watson, in the pages of the Strand Magazine from 1891 to 1893. A collection of the first 12 of these tales sits atop today’s Buffet. It includes all 104 original illustrations by Sidney Paget done for Strand, along with a brief introduction and a biography of Doyle. Normally this edition costs $2.99 but today it’s free.

sherlockDoyle said that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations.

The Guinness World Records has consistently listed Sherlock Holmes as the “most portrayed movie character” of all time, with more than 70 actors playing the part in more than 200 films over the past 113 years. In a 2009 movie, Sherlock Holmes was played by Robert Downey, Jr., and sidekick Dr. John Watson was portrayed by Jude Law.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Illustrated)

Mystery Anthologies
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle, Sidney Paget

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Illustrated)

This splendid collection of mysteries carries readers back to a gas-lit era, when literature’s greatest detective team lived on Baker Street. For newcomers to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, there is no better place to start than with the dozen short stories in this edition. Highlights include:

A Scandal in Bohemia, 1891 – The very first and one of the top five Sherlock Holmes short stories. After some brilliant detective work involving disguises and acting, Holmes is outwitted by the woman Irene Adler in his quest to help the hereditary king of Bohemia regain a scandalous photograph from her.

The Red-headed League, 1891 – Generally regarded as all-time second-best Sherlock Holmes story, this bizarre tale features a pawnbroker who is paid money to join the mysterious Red-Headed League and copy out Encyclopedia Britannica, as part of an ingenious scheme to rob a bank.

The Five Orange Pips, 1891 – One of Doyle’s personal favorites, this tale recounts the death of two men, both preceded by the arrival of five mysterious orange pips. In one of his few failures, Holmes connects the events to the Ku Klux Klan, but not soon enough to prevent another death.

The Blue Carbuncle, 1892 – Another favorite all-time top 5 Holmes story, as Holmes unravels how a blue diamond ended up inside the goose intended for Mr. Henry Baker’s Christmas dinner.

The Speckled Band, 1892 – Universally regarded as the most popular short story in the Sherlock Holmes canon, and easily one of the more suspenseful and chilling. The engaged Helen Stoner is terrified when she hears the same strange whistling that preceded the death of her twin sister in a locked bedroom shortly before her wedding.