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Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume 1

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Sherlock Holmes
The Complete Novels and Stories

Volume I

Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan ...

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Overview

Sherlock Holmes
The Complete Novels and Stories

Volume I

Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan Doyle’s classic hero—a truly complete collection of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in crime!

Volume I includes the early novel A Study in Scarlet, which introduced the eccentric genius of Sherlock Holmes to the world. This baffling murder mystery, with the cryptic word Rache written in blood, first brought Holmes together with Dr. John Watson. Next, The Sign of Four presents Holmes’s famous “seven percent solution” and the strange puzzle of Mary Morstan in the quintessential locked-room mystery.

Also included are Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as the chilling “ The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” the baffling riddle of “The Musgrave Ritual,” and the ingeniously plotted “The Five Orange Pips,” tales that bring to life a Victorian England of horse-drawn cabs, fogs, and the famous lodgings at 221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes earned his undisputed reputation as the greatest fictional detective of all time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553212419
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1986
  • Series: Sherlock Holmes Mystery Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 1088
  • Sales rank: 113,090
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was both a doctor and a believer in spirits, which may partly explain why his Sherlock Holmes is one of literature's most beloved detectives: Holmes always approaches his cases with the gentility and logic of a scientist, but the stories are suffused with an aura of the supernatural. Narrated by devoted assistant Dr. John H. Watson, Holmes's adventures were so addictive that fans protested the master deducer's "death" in 1893 and Doyle had to resurrect him.

Biography

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859. After nine years in Jesuit schools, he went to Edinburgh University, receiving a degree in medicine in 1881. He then became an eye specialist in Southsea, with a distressing lack of success. Hoping to augment his income, he wrote his first story, A Study in Scarlet. His detective, Sherlock Holmes, was modeled in part after Dr. Joseph Bell of the Edinburgh Infirmary, a man with spectacular powers of observation, analysis, and inference. Conan Doyle may have been influenced also by his admiration for the neat plots of Gaboriau and for Poe's detective, M. Dupin. After several rejections, the story was sold to a British publisher for £25, and thus was born the world's best-known and most-loved fictional detective. Fifty-nine more Sherlock Holmes adventures followed.

Once, wearying of Holmes, his creator killed him off, but was forced by popular demand to resurrect him. Sir Arthur -- he had been knighted for this defense of the British cause in his The Great Boer War -- became an ardent Spiritualist after the death of his son Kingsley, who had been wounded at the Somme in World War I. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in Sussex in 1930.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 22, 1859
    2. Place of Birth:
      Edinburgh, Scotland
    1. Date of Death:
      July 7, 1930
    2. Place of Death:
      Crowborough, Sussex, England

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

Mr. Sherlock Holmes

IN THE year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as assistant surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy's country. I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.

The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a packhorse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines.

Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the veranda, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lost in sending me back to England. I was despatched, accordingly, in the troopship Orontes, and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it.

I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freely than I ought. So alarming did the state of my finances become, that I soon realized that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere in the country, or that I must make a complete alteration in my style of living. Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the hotel, and take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive domicile.

On the very day that I had come to this conclusion, I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when someone tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round I recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Bart's. The sight of a friendly face in the great wilderness of London is a pleasant thing indeed to a lonely man. In old days Stamford had never been a particular crony of mine, but now I hailed him with enthusiasm, and he, in his turn, appeared to be delighted to see me. In the exuberance of my joy, I asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off together in a hansom.

"Whatever have you been doing with yourself, Watson?" he asked in undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. "You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut."

I gave him a short sketch of my adventures, and had hardly concluded it by the time that we reached our destination.

"Poor devil!" he said, commiseratingly, after he had listened to my misfortunes. "What are you up to now?"

"Looking for lodgings," I answered. "Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price."

"That's a strange thing," remarked my companion; "you are the second man today that has used that expression to me."

"And who was the first?" I asked.

"A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get someone to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse."

"By Jove!" I cried; "if he really wants someone to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone."

Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me over his wineglass. "You don't know Sherlock Holmes yet," he said; "perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion."

"Why, what is there against him?"

"Oh, I didn't say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough."

"A medical student, I suppose?" said I.

"No—I have no idea what he intends to go in for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first-class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the-way knowledge which would astonish his professors."

"Did you never ask him what he was going in for?" I asked.

"No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him."

"I should like to meet him," I said. "If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?"

"He is sure to be at the laboratory," returned my companion. "He either avoids the place for weeks, or else he works there from morning till night. If you like, we will drive round together after luncheon."

"Certainly," I answered, and the conversation drifted away into other channels.

As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particulars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as a fellow-lodger.

"You mustn't blame me if you don't get on with him," he said; "I know nothing more of him than I have learned from meeting him occasionally in the laboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you must not hold me responsible."

"If we don't get on it will be easy to part company," I answered. "It seems to me, Stamford," I added, looking hard at my companion, "that you have some reason for washing your hands of the matter. Is this fellow's temper so formidable, or what is it? Don't be mealymouthed about it."

"It is not easy to express the inexpressible," he answered with a laugh. "Holmes is a little too scientific for my tastes—it approaches to cold-bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think that he would take it himself with the same readiness. He appears to have a passion for definite and exact knowledge."

"Very right too."

"Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape."

"Beating the subjects!"

"Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes."

"And yet you say he is not a medical student?"

"No. Heaven knows what the objects of his studies are. But here we are, and you must form your own impressions about him." As he spoke, we turned down a narrow lane and passed through a small side door, which opened into a wing of the great hospital. It was familiar ground to me, and I needed no guiding as we ascended the bleak stone staircase and made our way down the long corridor with its vista of whitewashed wall and dun-coloured doors. Near the farther end a low arched passage branched away from it and led to the chemical laboratory.

This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure. "I've found it! I've found it," he shouted to my companion, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand. "I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hómoglobin, and by nothing else." Had he discovered a gold mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features.

"Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," said Stamford, introducing us.

"How are you?" he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly have given him credit. "You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive."

"How on earth did you know that?" I asked in astonishment.

"Never mind," said he, chuckling to himself. "The question now is about hómoglobin. No doubt you see the significance of this discovery of mine?"

"It is interesting, chemically, no doubt," I answered, "but practically——"

"Why, man, it is the most practical medico-legal discovery for years. Don't you see that it gives us an infallible test for blood stains? Come over here now!" He seized me by the coat-sleeve in his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at which he had been working. "Let us have some fresh blood," he said, digging a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of blood in a chemical pipette. "Now, I add this small quantity of blood to a litre of water. You perceive that the resulting mixture has the appearance of pure water. The proportion of blood cannot be more than one in a million. I have no doubt, however, that we shall be able to obtain the characteristic reaction." As he spoke, he threw into the vessel a few white crystals, and then added some drops of a transparent fluid. In an instant the contents assumed a dull mahogany colour, and a brownish dust was precipitated to the bottom of the glass jar.

"Ha! ha!" he cried, clapping his hands, and looking as delighted as a child with a new toy. "What do you think of that?"

"It seems to be a very delicate test," I remarked.

"Beautiful! beautiful! The old guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain. So is the microscopic examination for blood corpuscles. The latter is valueless if the stains are a few hours old. Now, this appears to act as well whether the blood is old or new. Had this test been invented, there are hundreds of men now walking the earth who would long ago have paid the penalty of their crimes."

"Indeed!" I murmured.

"Criminal cases are continually hinging upon that one point. A man is suspected of a crime months perhaps after it has been committed. His linen or clothes are examined and brownish stains discovered upon them. Are they blood stains, or mud stains, or rust stains, or fruit stains, or what are they? That is a question which has puzzled many an expert, and why? Because there was no reliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes's test, and there will no longer be any difficulty."

His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he put his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some applauding crowd conjured up by his imagination.

"You are to be congratulated," I remarked, considerably surprised at his enthusiasm.

"There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frankfort last year. He would certainly have been hung had this test been in existence. Then there was Mason of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and Lefevre of Montpellier, and Samson of New Orleans. I could name a score of cases in which it would have been decisive."

"You seem to be a walking calendar of crime," said Stamford with a laugh. "You might start a paper on those lines. Call it the 'Police News of the Past.' "

"Very interesting reading it might be made, too," remarked Sherlock Holmes, sticking a small piece of plaster over the prick on his finger. "I have to be careful," he continued, turning to me with a smile, "for I dabble with poisons a good deal." He held out his hand as he spoke, and I noticed that it was all mottled over with similar pieces of plaster, and discoloured with strong acids.

"We came here on business," said Stamford, sitting down on a high three-legged stool, and pushing another one in my direction with his foot. "My friend here wants to take diggings; and as you were complaining that you could get no one to go halves with you, I thought that I had better bring you together."

Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me. "I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street," he said, "which would suit us down to the ground. You don't mind the smell of strong tobacco, I hope?"

"I always smoke 'ship's' myself," I answered.

"That's good enough. I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that annoy you?"

"By no means."

"Let me see—what are my other shortcomings? I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It's just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together."

I laughed at this cross-examination. "I keep a bull pup," I said, "and I object to rows because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I'm well, but those are the principal ones at present."

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First Chapter

chapter 1



Mr. Sherlock Holmes



MR. SHERLOCK Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was a fine, thick piece of wood, bulbous-headed, of the sort which is known as a "Penang lawyer." Just under the head was a broad silver band, nearly an inch across. "To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.," was engraved upon it, with the date "1884." It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry--dignified, solid, and reassuring.

"Well, Watson, what do you make of it?"

Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation.

"How did you know what I was doing? I believe you have eyes in the back of your head."

"I have, at least, a well-polished, silver-plated coffee-pot in front of me," said he. "But, tell me, Watson, what do you make of our visitor's stick? Since we have been so unfortunate as to miss him and have no notion of his errand, this accidental souvenir becomes of importance. Let me hear you reconstruct the man by an examination of it."

"I think," said I, following as far as I could the methods of my companion, "that Dr. Mortimer is a successful, elderly medical man, well-esteemed, since those who know him give him this mark of their appreciation."

"Good!" said Holmes. "Excellent!"

"I think also that the probability is in favour of his being a country practitioner who does a great deal of his visiting onfoot."

"Why so?"

"Because this stick, though originally a very handsome one, has been so knocked about that I can hardly imagine a town practitioner carrying it. The thick iron ferrule is worn down, so it is evident that he has done a great amount of walking with it."

"Perfectly sound!" said Holmes.

"And then again, there is the 'friends of the C.C.H.' I should guess that to be the Something Hunt, the local hunt to whose members he has possibly given some surgical assistance, and which has made him a small presentation in return."

"Really, Watson, you excel yourself," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt."

He had never said as much before, and I must admit that his words gave me keen pleasure, for I had often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts which I had made to give publicity to his methods. I was proud, too, to think that I had so far mastered his system as to apply it in a way which earned his approval. He now took the stick from my hands and examined it for a few minutes with his naked eyes. Then with an expression of interest he laid down his cigarette, and, carrying the cane to the window, he looked over it again with a convex lens.

"Interesting, though elementary," said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee. "There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick. It gives us the basis for several deductions."

"Has anything escaped me?" I asked with some self-importance. "I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?"

"I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. Not that you are entirely wrong in this instance. The man is certainly a country practitioner. And he walks a good deal."

"Then I was right."

"To that extent."

"But that was all."

"No, no, my dear Watson, not all--by no means all. I would suggest, for example, that a presentation to a doctor is more likely to come from a hospital than from a hunt, and that when the initials 'C.C.' are placed before that hospital the words 'Charing Cross' very naturally suggest themselves."

"You may be right."

"The probability lies in that direction. And if we take this as a working hypothesis we have a fresh basis from which to start our construction of this unknown visitor."

"Well, then, supposing that 'C.C.H.' does stand for 'Charing Cross Hospital,' what further inferences may we draw?"

"Do none suggest themselves? You know my methods. Apply them!"

"I can only think of the obvious conclusion that the man has practised in town before going to the country."

"I think that we might venture a little farther than this. Look at it in this light. On what occasion would it be most probable that such a presentation would be made? When would his friends unite to give him a pledge of their good will? Obviously at the moment when Dr. Mortimer withdrew from the service of the hospital in order to start in practice for himself. We know there has been a presentation. We believe there has been a change from a town hospital to a country practice. Is it, then, stretching our inference too far to say that the presentation was on the occasion of the change?"

"It certainly seems probable."

"Now, you will observe that he could not have been on the staff of the hospital, since only a man well-established in a London practice could hold such a position, and such a one would not drift into the country. What was he, then? If he was in the hospital and yet not on the staff he could only have been a house-surgeon or a house-physician--little more than a senior student. And he left five years ago--the date is on the stick. So your grave, middle-aged family practitioner vanishes into thin air, my dear Watson, and there emerges a young fellow under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded, and the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff."

I laughed incredulously as Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his settee and blew little wavering rings of smoke up to the ceiling.

"As to the latter part, I have no means of checking you," said I, "but at least it is not difficult to find out a few particulars about the man's age and professional career." From my small medical shelf I took down the Medical Directory and turned up the name. There were several Mortimers, but only one who could be our visitor. I read his record aloud.

"Mortimer, James, M.R.C.S., 1882, Grimpen, Dartmoor, Devon. House-surgeon, from 1882 to 1884, at Charing Cross Hospital. Winner of the Jackson prize for Comparative Pathology, with essay entitled 'Is Disease a Reversion?' Corresponding member of the Swedish Pathological Society. Author of 'Some Freaks of Atavism' (Lancet 1882). 'Do We Progress?' (Journal of Psychology, March, 1883). Medical Officer for the parishes of Grimpen, Thorsley, and High Barrow."



"No mention of that local hunt, Watson," said Holmes with a mischievous smile, "but a country doctor, as you very astutely observed. I think that I am fairly justified in my inferences. As to the adjectives, I said, if I remember right, amiable, unambitious, and absent-minded. It is my experience that it is only an amiable man in this world who receives testimonials, only an unambitious one who abandons a London career for the country, and only an absent-minded one who leaves his stick and not his visiting-card after waiting an hour in your room."

"And the dog?"

"Has been in the habit of carrying this stick behind his master. Being a heavy stick the dog has held it tightly by the middle, and the marks of his teeth are very plainly visible. The dog's jaw, as shown in the space between these marks, is too broad in my opinion for a terrier and not broad enough for a mastiff. It may have been--yes, by Jove, it is a curly-haired spaniel."

He had risen and paced the room as he spoke. Now he halted in the recess of the window. There was such a ring of conviction in his voice that I glanced up in surprise.

"My dear fellow, how can you possibly be so sure of that?"

"For the very simple reason that I see the dog himself on our very door-step, and there is the ring of its owner. Don't move, I beg you, Watson. He is a professional brother of yours, and your presence may be of assistance to me. Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill. What does Dr. James Mortimer, the man of science, ask of Sherlock Holmes, the specialist in crime? Come in!"

The appearance of our visitor was a surprise to me, since I had expected a typical country practitioner. He was a very tall, thin man, with a long nose like a beak, which jutted out between two keen, gray eyes, set closely together and sparkling brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion, for his frock-coat was dingy and his trousers frayed. Though young, his long back was already bowed, and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence. As he entered his eyes fell upon the stick in Holmes's hand, and he ran towards it with an exclamation of joy. "I am so very glad," said he. "I was not sure whether I had left it here or in the Shipping Office. I would not lose that stick for the world."

"A presentation, I see," said Holmes.

"Yes, sir."

"From Charing Cross Hospital?"

"From one or two friends there on the occasion of my marriage."

"Dear, dear, that's bad!" said Holmes, shaking his head.

Dr. Mortimer blinked through his glasses in mild astonishment.

"Why was it bad?"

"Only that you have disarranged our little deductions. Your marriage, you say?"

"Yes, sir. I married, and so left the hospital, and with it all hopes of a consulting practice. It was necessary to make a home of my own."

"Come, come, we are not so far wrong, after all," said Holmes. "And now, Dr. James Mortimer----"

"Mister, sir, Mister--a humble M.R.C.S."

"And a man of precise mind, evidently."

"A dabbler in science, Mr. Holmes, a picker up of shells on the shores of the great unknown ocean. I presume that it is Mr. Sherlock Holmes whom I am addressing and not----"

"No, this is my friend Dr. Watson."

"Glad to meet you, sir. I have heard your name mentioned in connection with that of your friend. You interest me very much, Mr. Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull."

Sherlock Holmes waved our strange visitor into a chair. "You are an enthusiast in your line of thought, I perceive, sir, as I am in mine," said he. "I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes. Have no hesitation in lighting one."

The man drew out paper and tobacco and twirled the one up in the other with surprising dexterity. He had long, quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect.

Holmes was silent, but his little darting glances showed me the interest which he took in our curious companion.

"I presume, sir," said he at last, "that it was not merely for the purpose of examining my skull that you have done me the honour to call here last night and again to-day?"

"No, sir, no; though I am happy to have had the opportunity of doing that as well. I came to you, Mr. Holmes, because I recognized that I am myself an unpractical man and because I am suddenly confronted with a most serious and extraordinary problem. Recognizing, as I do, that you are the second highest expert in Europe----"

"Indeed, sir! May I inquire who has the honour to be the first?" asked Holmes with some asperity.

"To the man of precisely scientific mind the work of Monsieur Bertillon must always appeal strongly."

"Then had you not better consult him?"

"I said, sir, to the precisely scientific mind. But as a practical man of affairs it is acknowledged that you stand alone. I trust, sir, that I have not inadvertently----"

"Just a little," said Holmes. "I think, Dr. Mortimer, you would do wisely if without more ado you would kindly tell me plainly what the exact nature of the problem is in which you demand my assistance."



chapter 2



The Curse of the Baskervilles



I HAVE in my pocket a manuscript," said Dr. James Mortimer.

    "I observed it as you entered the room," said Holmes.

"It is an old manuscript."

"Early eighteenth century, unless it is a forgery."

"How can you say that, sir?"

"You have presented an inch or two of it to my examination all the time that you have been talking. It would be a poor expert who could not give the date of a document within a decade or so. You may possibly have read my little monograph upon the subject. I put that at 1730."

"The exact date is 1742." Dr. Mortimer drew it from his breast-pocket. "This family paper was committed to my care by Sir Charles Baskerville, whose sudden and tragic death some three months ago created so much excitement in Devonshire. I may say that I was his personal friend as well as his medical attendant. He was a strong-minded man, sir, shrewd, practical, and as unimaginative as I am myself. Yet he took this document very seriously, and his mind was prepared for just such an end as did eventually overtake him."

Holmes stretched out his hand for the manuscript and flattened it upon his knee.

"You will observe, Watson, the alternative use of the long s and the short. It is one of several indications which enabled me to fix the date."

I looked over his shoulder at the yellow paper and the faded script. At the head was written: "Baskerville Hall," and below, in large, scrawling figures: "1742."

Copyright© 1986 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 411 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(279)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(32)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(33)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 415 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 2, 2011

    Not as illustrated as they would like you to believe

    I will assume that the reader of this review has read Sherlock Holmes before and is trying to pick which one of several options to download for his library. I will leave content analysis for other reviewers and discuss the technical merits of this particular download. The text is well edited, all the pages are there, and the links work, but their idea of "illustrated" means one microscopic picture every several stories. I have a copy in hardback of the same stories and there are usually half a dozen or so pictures for each story. It is still closer to the mark than anything else I have tried.

    55 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    Awesome Book!

    Sherlock Holmes is a great role model for young children from the ages of 8-12. I stared reading his stories when I was 7, I am 9 now and have been reading them ever since. See I think Holmes would be my favorite person but Nancy Drew is my role model. But I get my tecnices and judgment from Holmes but my courge and pride of sleuthing from Nancy. But they must be the bestpeople in my book life. They are my best friends. Now you can see I would oviously love to read Nancy Drew. So if you guessed I loved to read them you are right. What I do is read a Holmes book and then I Nancy Drew book. I hope you liked my review!

    26 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Great book, but you can get it free

    I love the sherlock stories. I just wanted to say this book is legally available free (because apparently the copyright has expired on the original books) from Project Gutenberg (google it) along with my others.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it more than I expected to!

    I loved the first Holmes story so much that I decided to buy this full edition instead of continuing to put up with the frequent typos in the free scanned version. However, I already found one mistake: the link to Chapter 4 of The Sign of Four takes me to a much later story instead. I hope this paid e-book isn't as full of mistakes as the free version, or I'll be annoyed, since you can't return an e-book (I don't think so anyway).

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    LOVE Sherlock Holmes

    Summary:
    This book contains relatively short stories of Holmes' adventures and mysteries with Watson. The first story, "A Study in Scarlet" introduces the reader to John H. Watson, a doctor who had just come back from the war in Afghanistan and Sherlock Holmes, a "consulting detective." The two men has become roommate through a common friend, and began their first case together with the peculiar murder of Enoch J. Drebber. With his detailed analysis of the crime, he was able to figure out the culprit while the two main officers on the case struggled to even get a lead. The second part of this story explains the event that lead up to the murder, and how Holmes figures everything out. The other stories I have read so far include The Sign of Four, and "A Scandal in Bohemia" which all follow how Holmes and Watson solve mysteries together.

    Themes:
    There are many themes incorporated into the series of Sherlock Holmes, with some being more obvious that others. For example friendships deepen with time and as you read the stories you can see the friendship between Holmes and Watson deepen as they solve more mysteries.

    Likes:
    I really like this book, and can say that I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and have been one even before the movies came out. Some things that I noticed that I really enjoyed in the book was its use of metaphors. Being written in Watson's point of view also was a good choice on the author's part. It keeps the readers in suspense and wanting to know more, and try to figure out the mystery ourselves. The reader is also in awe when Holmes reveals the culprit and how he deduced all of it.

    Dislikes:
    I didn't really dislike anything except the use of advanced vocabulary at times. Also since this was written by an Englishman, their are some provincial words and phrases that I don't understand.

    Who should read:
    I would recommend this book to anyone, in high school or older, who likes mysteries. If you enjoy a challenge and have a pretty advanced vocabulary, some could even start reading these stories in middle school. People who also enjoyed the movies will probably also enjoy these.

    Recommendations:
    I would also recommend the second and third books of this collection. They are worth their money, even if you can find most the the stories online now.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    Great Idea . . . Needs to be better Quality

    I loved the idea of having all the stories in one place not in two like the bound copies. The only reason I gave this book 3 stars is because my copy is missing two pages out of A Study in Scarlet. I read a couple of shorter stories before I went back to read the first novel and had no problems with them but A Study in Scarlet is missing two pages, so far. The really frustrating part is that the two pages that are missing are in mid conversation. The page before has Holmes and Watson talking and then a blank page and then the story continues. The missing page contains the rest of their conversation! Annoying.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2000

    The beginning book of thrilling mysteries told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Volume 1 of the Sherlock Holmes series is absolutely great for introducing the great detective Sherlock Homes and his companion, Dr. Watson, who has accompanied Holmes in many of his adventures. This book includes all different types of mysteries, like murder, crime, blackmail, and other bloodthirsty mysteries. It's a thrilling book, and I recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries. This book will definitely make you want to buy the second volume!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intoxicating

    Having been acquainted with Sherlock Holmes in film and T.V. from Basil Rathbone to Robert Downey jr., I thought I would pick up one of collections to see if the stories were really any good. The Bantam Classics version was priced right, the stories were in chronlogical order, and the introduction was spot on and gave a good overview of the book. A fast entertaining read(1000 plus pages), well recommended. Oh, by the way, I think I like the Jeremy Brett version of Holmes of all of them.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutey Brilliant!

    I'm not in any way a fan of crime/mystery books. Never have been, and never will be perhaps. However, I could not put this book down. For me, it was purely my love for and interest in the characters Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson, and I was completely satisfied. There was such chemistry between the two men. Also, the stories kept me guessing, and despite the fact that they seemed a bit redundant, all well done and unique. Intensly fascinating, surprisingly witty, deeply intimate, and wonderfully engaging, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories draw you in and take hold of you imagination. A wonderlful world to be lost in on a rainy day.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    Only one word... fabulous!

    I remember reading the kids versions of these stories years ago, and I appreciate them now more than I did back then. I bought this version because it had every Sherlock Holmes story for a really low price. Having it on my Nook beat having to carry my 4 inch hardback version to work everyday! I could get lost in these stories for hours. Doyle must have been in interesting man to be able to turn out such stimulating works. I would have liked to spend and afternoon on a porch talking to him... or better yet in the famed sitting room on Baker Street! A true classic, and a must read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    Doyle is one of the best who-done-it writers

    The book has more than 20 stories which will test your powers of observation and deduction. I was only able to guess the outcome of two of the detective's tales.
    Each story is different; each set of clues is unique; each line of reasoning is flawless; each result is obvious once Sherlock explains it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    A must for Holmes fans

    I love Sherlock Holmes and I loved this audio dramatization. It's not like an audio book being read by someone, it's like listening to a play. Each well known and awesome performer a different character. Each character a different voice. Plus there were sound effects that brought you into the scene. It was so much better. I wish all audio books were like this.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    Fantastic!

    Absolutely an amazing read! I felt smarter just by reading it! Its a truly wonderful collection that will entertain anyone with a craving for a good book. I highly suggest this collection to any sort of reader. The short stories are great for a quick fix while the novels allow room for pondering and deduction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Sherlock

    Whithout you, Mr. Doyle, we would never have the BBC show Sherlock. We thank you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    Sherlock!!!

    I never really took interest in Sherlock Holmes until I first started watching the TV show wih Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Then I read the stories and fell in love with them!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Sherlocked

    .......... I believe in Sherlock Holmes

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Yeah

    Ntgvfhgf

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Amazing

    I love Sherlock and it was great to get all of his adventures in one book for only 2.99. This volume is a must buy and I have not had any of the problems detailed in the other reviews despite finishibg all 1638 pages of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Excellent series

    This is my first time reading through the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I am very glad I purchased this edition. The format is easy to read, and it's easy to navigate to different stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2010

    interesting must rad

    If you want some amazing mysteries, Sherlock Holmes is for you. It's a challenging book but definitely worth your time. I like the mysteries which seem so impossible and yet they turn out to be so obvious and interesting. Some of the best are Case of Identity, Red-Headed League, Five Orange Pips, The Man with the Twisted Lip and, if you'd want a thriller, Sign of Four . Watson, the narrator and Sherlock's companion, like most readers, also tries to figure out Holmes' methods but, like most of us, has to have them explained over and over an over again. It's thanks to him I wasn't left in the dark. Sherlock Holmes is all in all captivating, smart and to good to drop or even put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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