By John Watson
Despite the appearance from time to time of what their authors suggest are previously undiscovered cases that Holmes was involved in, it is to the original cases that you should first turn to understand the Great Detective’s singular talents.
These 56 short stories and 4 novels are usually referred to as “The Canon”.
In order of their publication, these are (with their usual abbreviation in brackets):
- A Study in Scarlet [STUD]
- The Sign of Four [SIGN]
- A Scandal in Bohemia [SCAN]
- The Red-Headed League [REDH]
- A Case of Identity [IDEN]
- The Boscombe Valley Mystery [BOSC]
- The Five Orange Pips [FIVE]
- The Man with the Twisted Lip [TWIS]
- The Blue Carbuncle [BLUE]
- The Speckled Band [SPEC]
- The Engineer’s Thumb [ENGR]
- The Noble Bachelor [NOBL]
- The Beryl Coronet [BERY]
- The Copper Beeches [COPP]
- Silver Blaze [SILV]
- The Cardboard Box [CARD]
- The Yellow Face [YELL]
- The Stockbroker’s Clerk [STOC]
- The Gloria Scott [GLOR]
- The Musgrave Ritual [MUSG]
- The Reigate Squire [REIG]
- The Crooked Man [CROO]
- The Resident Patient [RESI]
- The Greek Interpreter [GREE]
- The Naval Treaty [NAVA]
- The Final Problem [FINA]
- The Hound of the Baskervilles [HOUN]
- The Empty House [EMPT]
- The Norwood Builder [NORW]
- The Dancing Men [DANC]
- The Solitary Cyclist [SOLI]
- The Priory School [PRIO]
- Black Peter [BLAC]
- Charles Augustus Milverton [CHAS]
- The Six Napoleons [SIXN]
- The Three Students [3STU]
- The Golden Pince-Nez [GOLD]
- The Missing Three-Quarter [MISS]
- The Abbey Grange [ABBE]
- The Second Stain [SECO]
- Wisteria Lodge [WIST]
- The Bruce-Partington Plans [BRUC]
- The Devil’s Foot [DEVI]
- The Red Circle [REDC]
- The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax [LADY]
- The Dying Detective [DYIN]
- The Valley of Fear [VALL]
- His Last Bow [LAST]
- The Mazarin Stone [MAZA]
- Thor Bridge [THOR]
- The Creeping Man [CREE]
- The Sussex Vampire [SUSS]
- The Three Garridebs [3GAR]
- The Illustrious Client [ILLU]
- The Three Gables [3GAB]
- The Blanched Soldier [BLAN]
- The Lion’s Mane [LION]
- The Retired Colourman [RETI]
- The Veiled Lodger [VEIL]
- Shoscombe Old Place [SHOS]
The Canon can be found in many forms.
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes comprising all 60 stories.
- The Four Long Stories (STUD, SIGN, HOUN and VALL).
- The 56 Short Stories.
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (SCAN, REDH, IDEN, BOSC, FIVE, TWIS, BLUE, SPEC, ENGR, NOBL, BERY and COPP).
- The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (SILV, YELL, STOC, GLOR, MUSG, REIG, CROO, RESI, GREE, NAVA and FINA).
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes (EMPT, NORW, DANC, SOLI, PRIO, BLACK, CHAS, SIXN, 3STU, GOLD, MISS, ABBE and SECO).
- His Last Bow (WIST, CARD, REDC, BRUC, DYIN, LADY, DEVI and LAST).
- The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (ILLU, BLAN, MAZA, 3GAB, SUSS, 3GAR, THOR, CREE, LION, VEIL, SHOS, RETI).
The Cardboard Box [CARD], although published in The Strand Magazine between Silver Blaze [SILV] and The Yellow Face [YELL] was not published in the Memoirs but 24 years later in His Last Bow.
For those wanting to read the stories in the order they occurred, the following list (based on Vincent Delay’s book) presents them in chronological order.
GLOR, MUSG, STUD, SHOS, RESI, BERY
SPEC, THOR, CARD, YELL, GREE, CHAS
VALL, REIG, SILV, SIGN, FIVE, NOBL
SCAN, STOC, CROO, SECO, NAVA, DYIN
BLUE, BOSC, TWIS, ENGR, HOUN, IDEN
COPP, REDH, FINA, EMPT, LADY, NORW
VAMP, GOLD, REDC, WIST, 3STU, SOLI
BLAC, BRUC, VEIL, MISS, DEVI, ABBE
DANC, RETI, SIXN, PRIO, 3GAR, 3GAB
ILLU, CREE, BLAN, MAZA, LION, LAST
A guide to the Sherlock Holmes Canon is available here.
You May Find the Following posts of Interest
- Discovering Sherlock Holmes
- 56 Stories in 56 Days
- Eliminate the Impossible
- I hear of Sherlock everywhere [GREE] – American Radio Part 2
- Everything is in order [CHAS]
- Come at once if convenient – if inconvenient come all the same [CREE]
- Very sincerely yours, Sherlock Holmes [FINA]
- I keep a bull pup [STUD]
- The Carleton Hobbs Sherlock Holmes Collection
- Holmes Christmas List 2009