Sherlock Holmes Books In Order Of Publication

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional consulting detective in London, created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The majority of the stories were first published in The Strand Magazine accumulated to four novels and fifty-six short stories set between 1880 and 1914.

All but four stories are narrated by Holmes’s friend and biographer, Dr John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself (The Blanched Soldier and The Lion’s Mane) and two others are written in the third person (The Mazarin Stone and His Last Bow).

In two stories (The Musgrave Ritual and The Gloria Scott), Holmes tells Watson the main story from his memories, while Watson becomes the narrator of the frame story. The first and fourth novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear, each include long omniscient narration of events unknown to Holmes or Watson.

In this article, we’ll go through Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books in order of publication. Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

A Study in Scarlet 

First Published: October 14, 1887
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: Our first meeting with Sherlock Holmes, and John Watson’s too! The young doctor is astonished by Holmes’ many idiosyncrasies, including his talents on the violin.

But it’s not long before Sherlock Holmes, with Watson in tow, is working with Scotland Yard investigating the murder of two Americans whose deaths have some mysterious connection to sinister groups gathering power in both Britain and America.

Here’s where it all began, ‘A Study in Scarlet.’ Meet Sherlock Holmes, one of the world’s leading consulting detectives – fictional of course!

The Sign of Four 

First Published: February, 1890
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman – Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before.

Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. And in the ensuing investigation – which involves a wronged woman, a stolen hoard of Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian, a helpful dog and a love affair – even the jaded Holmes is moved to exclaim, ‘Isn’t it gorgeous!’

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

First Published: October 14, 1892
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the series of short stories that made the fortunes of the Strand magazine, in which they were first published, and won immense popularity for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including ‘The Red-Headed League’, ‘The Blue Carbuncle’, and ‘The Speckled Band’.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 

First Published: 1893
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of captivating detective stories that showcase the brilliant mind of Sherlock Holmes and the unwavering loyalty of his trusted companion, Dr. Watson. Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterful storytelling keeps readers engaged as they unravel perplexing mysteries alongside the iconic duo.

The Hound of the Baskervilles 

First Published: 1902
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: In this, one of the most famous of Doyle’s mysteries, the tale of an ancient curse and a savage ghostly hound comes frighteningly to life. The gray towers of Baskerville Hall and the wild open country of Dartmoor will haunt the reader as Holmes and Watson seek to unravel the many secrets of the misty English bogs.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes 

First Published: February, 1905
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: ‘Holmes,’ I cried. ‘Is it really you? Can it indeed be that you are alive? Is it possible that you succeeded in climbing out of that awful abyss?’

Missing, presumed dead, for three years, Sherlock Holmes returns triumphantly to his dear companion Dr Watson. And not before time! London has never been in more need of his extraordinary services: a murderous individual with an air gun stalks the city.

Among thirteen further brilliant tales of mystery, detection and deduction, Sherlock Holmes investigates the problem of the Norwood Builder, deciphers the message of the Dancing Men, and cracks the case of the Six Napoleons.

The Valley of Fear

First Published: February 27, 1915
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: Doyle’s final novel featuring the beloved sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, brings the detective and his friend to a country manor where they are preceded by either a murder or a suicide. A secretive organization lies culprit and an infiltration of it is in order.

His Last Bow 

First Published: October 22, 1917
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: ‘His Last Bow’, the title story of this collection, tells how Sherlock Holmes is brought out of retirement to help the Government fight the German threat at the approach of the First World War. The Prime Minister himself requests Holmes’s services to hunt down the remarkable German agent, Von Bork.

Several of the detective’s earlier cases complete the volume, including ‘Wisteria Lodge’, ‘The Bruce-Partington Plans’, and ‘The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax’. In ‘The Dying Detective’, Dr Watson is horrified to discover Holmes at death’s door from a mysterious tropical disease as his friend lays a trap for a murderer.

The Case-Book Of Sherlock Holmes

First Published: 1927
Type – Fiction
Genre – Mystery, Crime Fiction

Synopsis: ‘When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’

In this, the final collection of Sherlock Holmes adventures, the intrepid detective and his faithful companion Dr Watson examine and solve twelve cases that puzzle clients, baffle the police and provide readers with the thrill of the chase.

These mysteries – involving an illustrious client and a Sussex vampire; the problems of Thor Bridge and of the Lions Mane; a creeping man and the three-gabled house – all test the bravery of Dr Watson and the brilliant mind of Mr Sherlock Homes, the greatest detective we have ever known.

So there we have it! All the Sherlock Holmes books in order of publication. Have you read any? Which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments below!

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