The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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by Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable…  See more details below


The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.


The Complete Sherlock Holmes comprises four novels and fifty-six short stories revolving around the world’s most popular and influential fictional detective—the eccentric, arrogant, and ingenious Sherlock Holmes. He and his trusted friend, Dr. Watson, step from Holmes’s comfortable quarters at 221b Baker Street into the swirling fog of Victorian London to combine detailed observation and vast knowledge with brilliant deduction. Inevitably, Holmes rescues the innocent, confounds the guilty, and solves the most perplexing puzzles known to literature.

Volume II of The Complete Sherlock Holmes begins with The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, tired of writing about Holmes, had killed him off at the end of “The Final Problem,” the last tale in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (found in Volume I of The Complete Sherlock Holmes). Public demand for new Holmes stories was so great, however, that Conan Doyle eventually resurrected him. The first story in The Return, “The Adventure of the Empty House,” features Conan Doyle’s infamously inventive explanation of how Holmes escaped what seemed like certain death.

This volume also includes two other collections of Holmes stories, His Last Bow and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes; Conan Doyle’s final full-length Holmes novel, The Valley of Fear; a pair of parodies, “The Field Bazaar” and “How Watson Learned the Trick”; and two essays about the “private life” of the beloved sleuth.


Kyle Freeman, a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast for many years, earned two graduate degrees in English literature from Columbia University, where his major was twentieth-century British literature.

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From Kyle Freeman’s Introduction to The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II


            When in 1891 Sherlock Holmes tumbled to his apparent death over the falls at Reichenbach in Switzerland, locked in the embrace of the sinister Professor Moriarty, readers all over the world were stunned and saddened. Letters poured in to Arthur Conan Doyle and to his publisher, the Strand Magazine, urging the revival of the beloved detective. Conan Doyle was adamant that he wouldn’t do it. “I couldn’t revive him if I would, at least not for years,” he wrote to a friend, “for I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards pâté-de-foie-gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day” (Baring-Gould, The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, vol. 1, p. 16; see “For Further Reading”). Then seven years later, after a young friend told him a legend from Dartmoor about a supernatural hound, Conan Doyle relented by writing The Hound of the Baskervilles. He was careful, however, to make it a reminiscence, not a resurrection, of his famous consulting detective. The story was set in 1889, two years before the Swiss misadventure. The resumption of writing about his most famous creation must have set into motion something in Conan Doyle’s soul, for in an interview quoted in the Harper’s Weekly issue of August 31, 1901, the month The Hound was first serialized, one can see his resolve starting to weaken. “I know that my friend Dr. Watson is a most trustworthy man, and I gave the utmost credit to his story of the dreadful affair in Switzerland. He may have been mistaken, of course. It may not have been Mr. Holmes who fell from the ledge at all, or the whole affair might be the result of hallucination.” It wasn’t long before Conan Doyle decided—perhaps after a wistful look at his bank balance—that the enforced absence of his sleuth had gone on for too long. In 1903 he called on his friend Dr. Watson once more for another series of stories about his colleague, and in October 1903 the Strand published “The Adventure of the Empty House.” There it was revealed, almost plausibly, that only Moriarty had gone over the falls at Reichenbach. Thus readers learned to their delight that they would be treated to many more adventures of the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.

            A series of twelve more stories followed, ending with “The Adventure of the Second Stain,” the last published in the December 1904 issue of the Strand Magazine. In quick order the series was published as a book by George Newnes of London in 1905, under the title The Return of Sherlock Holmes, with sixteen illustrations by Sidney Paget, the great illustrator whose drawings for the first Strand stories had done so much to establish the popular image of Holmes. The new stories appeared to take up just where the old ones left off. Holmes and Watson resumed their cozy relationship; Holmes continued to solve mysteries that baffled Watson, Scotland Yard, and the reader; and the world of 221B Baker Street seemed as solid and unchanging as ever.

            It seems that way only until one examines the stories more carefully. A closer reading reveals subtle but significant changes in Holmes. The first one we might notice is Holmes’s willingness to take the law into his own hands. In one of the early Sherlock Holmes stories, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” we recall that Holmes did not divulge the name of John Turner as the man responsible for the death of his neighbor, Mr. McCarthy, when Holmes learned that McCarthy was a blackmailer and that Turner didn’t have long to live. Technically it’s a crime to conceal such evidence, but in view of the circumstances few would quarrel with Holmes’s decision. But before his resurrection, such behavior by Holmes was unique to that story, and we might note that he merely withheld information he had deduced himself—passive misbehavior at worst. In his defense we might also recall that in the case of “The Greek Interpreter” in the second series of stories, Holmes insisted on getting a warrant to search the premises of kidnappers.

            In The Return such niceties are almost scornfully dismissed. Holmes aggressively pursues his own justice, actively breaking the law on several occasions and coming close to morally censurable conduct on several others. We first see this change in “The Adventure of the Priory School,” where we learn that the murder of a German teacher named Heidegger and the kidnapping of the son of the Duke of Holdernesse were part of a plot by the duke’s illegitimate son. It’s clear that the son, acting as the duke’s secretary, and the duke himself were complicit in aiding the killer’s escape. Holmes, claiming he is a poor man, agrees to keep silent about the whole nasty business in exchange for a huge check from his lordship. This is rather shocking. Unlike the previous case in Boscombe Valley, where we feel some sympathy for the wronged man, who will die soon anyway, we have no extenuating circumstances here. In fact, we have a prime example of the high-handedness of aristocracy in covering up its dirty family business at the cost of other people’s lives. Holmes’s acceptance of an enormous check could be seen as a bribe. When we compare this with his acid-toned retort in “The Problem of Thor Bridge,”—“‘My professional charges are upon a fixed scale,’ said Holmes coldly. ‘I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether’”—it looks as if Holmes has sold out here.

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The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 635 reviews.
Kaydern More than 1 year ago
I suppose I started reading this collection for the same reason I watch regular TV shows every week. I wanted consistently interesting short stories, and that's exactly what I got. However I made a mistake reading them all straight through in this convenient collection, and the formulaic plots bothered me more than they would have otherwise. I did notice an improvement in terms of the mystery complexity, which I appreciated. No where is this more evident than in "The Valley of Fear", which uses an extremely similar set-up to "A Study in Scarlet". Both stories have two parts, the first of which takes place in 1890's England and the second some years previous in America. However everything else about "The Valley of Fear" is a vast improvement! The murder mystery is much more clever, the action is better paced, and the second part was well-introduced as well as being a mystery story in it's own right! Clearly Sir. Doyle had come into his own as an author by this point, and his skills greatly improved with practice. I also enjoyed the change in Watson's "voice" over time. Sir Doyle seems much more comfortable in his writing abilities by "The Valley of Fear", and I felt there was less awkward prose. I noticed Sir Doyle has a very fanciful way of describing the scene, which appeals to me greatly. I shall always imagine a foggy London day as John Watson saw it.
Darko More than 1 year ago
So you think you know Sherlock Holmes. Be prepared to get the details of Holmes' life and thought processes. He lives for the chase and does not know what to do with himself without one. Many stories are told by Dr. Watson as the keeper of the case records. You'll learn about Watson as well and how he and Holmes ended up living together. Mostly short readings for one evening with some longer stories included. Classics like The Hound of the Baskervilles and more. A real opportunity to get inside Holmes' head. Highly recommend!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When i first had to read this book, i had the notion that it was some old boring book but it is NOT!!! The adventures in the book are captivating. This book is truly worth the read. It is so awesome! Be not afraid of the length because it is composed of only short stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! I've been a Sherlock fan since a little girl and to have all his stories in one collection is good. I try to draw my conclusion as I read the stories and see if I'm as good as he is. It is great reading. He's the most fascinating character ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My current one is Time&star . I just want something unique. Thank you! ~Time&star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I need a signature please
LDAJr More than 1 year ago
This B & N Classics edition is well organized and has the benefit of a thoughtful and illuminating introduction by Kyle Freeman.
francis azzarto More than 1 year ago
B&N version is perfect!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago the human girl harder & harder, ignoring the other dog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mounted hef and began pumping in and out of her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looked at the horse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Farmer Dayle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love sherlock so i say read!!!
NellyDT More than 1 year ago
love Sherlock
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly entertaining as well as a cliff hanger
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Sherlock Holmes. I always wanted to read all of his stories.
countrygirlJE More than 1 year ago
Bioigraphy and history but very few stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, you wish to know whether you ought to buy it? Well, it's elementary, my dear Watson. Of course.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it worth buying both volumes?
enlightenedLV More than 1 year ago
Have enjoyed reading both volumes and wonder why I hadn't done it sooner.
Dragongirl7 More than 1 year ago
Sherlock Holmes stories are AMAZING!!!! Just don't read them if you have a short attention span as they can be a bit dry at times, due to the time period in which they were written. The full-length stories aren't AS good as the short ones, with the exception of Hound of the Baskervilles, because they go into a lot of background information with no Holmes-Watson-deduction action going on whatsoever. But other than that they are fantastic! This edition was really great, besides being really fat. I didn't have to worry about which story came chronologically next, and there were interesting little footnotes that tell you things that you wouldn't have otherwise found out unless you are an expert on Holmes and Watson.
lizPA More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book.
Alan Bluhm More than 1 year ago
Always worth any avid readers time. Very good piece of literature. Would highky recommend volume 1 over this volume though
Collth More than 1 year ago
Who hasn't heard of Sherlock Holmes nowadays? The 221B Baker street most famous resident has solved many seemingly impossible cases, and is one of the greatest influences on modern detective characters. This in a complete work, with great introductions, a Conan Doyle short biography, endnotes and even two parodies and essays about one of England's greatest literary works. Recommended!