These are the first of the Sherlock Holmes short stories, originally published as single stories in the Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. The book was published in England on October 14, 1892 by George Newnes Ltd and in a US Edition on October 15 by Harper. The initial combined print run was 14,500 copies.
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About the Author
Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859. After a rigorous Jesuit education, at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, he trained to be a doctor at Edinburgh University. Eventually he set up in medical practice in Southsea and, during the quiet periods between patients, he turned his hand to writing. Although Sherlock Holmes was Doyle's greatest creation, he believed his historical novels such as Micah Clarke and The White Company were of greater literary quality. He also created the irascible Professor Challenger in The Lost World and the comic French soldier Brigadier Gerard who appeared in a series of short stories. Doyle was knighted in 1902. Towards the end of his life he devoted much of his time to his belief in Spiritualism, using his writings as a means of providing funds to support his activities in this field. He died in 1930.
Date of Birth:May 22, 1859
Date of Death:July 7, 1930
Place of Birth:Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of Death:Crowborough, Sussex, England
Education:Edinburgh University, B.M., 1881; M.D., 1885
Read an Excerpt
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 1988 Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
All rights reserved.
A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA
TO SHERLOCK HOLMES she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer — excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.
I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. My own complete happiness, and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient to absorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of the drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. He was still, as ever, deeply attracted by the study of crime, and occupied his immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clues, and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. Beyond these signs of his activity, however, which I merely shared with all the readers of the daily press, I knew little of my former friend and companion.
One night — it was on the twentieth of March, 1888 — I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice), when my way led me through Baker Street. As I passed the well-remembered door, which must always be associated in my mind with my wooing, and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet, I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again, and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. His rooms were brilliantly lit, and, even as I looked up, I saw his tall, spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against the blind. He was pacing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. To me, who knew his every mood and habit, his attitude and manner told their own story. He was at work again. He had risen out of his drug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of some new problem. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which had formerly been in part my own.
His manner was not effusive. It seldom was; but he was glad, I think, to see me. With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to an armchair, threw across his case of cigars, and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. Then he stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular introspective fashion.
"Wedlock suits you," he remarked. "I think, Watson, that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you."
"Seven!" I answered.
"Indeed, I should have thought a little more. Just a trifle more, I fancy, Watson. And in practice again, I observe. You did not tell me that you intended to go into harness."
"Then, how do you know?"
"I see it, I deduce it. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately, and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl?"
"My dear Holmes," said I, "this is too much. You would certainly have been burned, had you lived a few centuries ago. It is true that I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadful mess, but as I have changed my clothes I can't imagine how you deduce it. As to Mary Jane, she is incorrigible, and my wife has given her notice; but there, again, I fail to see how you work it out."
He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long, nervous hands together.
"It is simplicity itself," said he; "my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe, just where the firelight strikes it, the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it. Hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey. As to your practice, if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform, with a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger, and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope, I must be dull, indeed, if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession."
I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction. "When I hear you give your reasons," I remarked, "the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours."
"Quite so," he answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an armchair. "You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room."
"Well, some hundreds of times."
"Then how many are there?"
"How many? I don't know."
"Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed. By the way, since you are interested in these little problems, and since you are good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences, you may be interested in this." He threw over a sheet of thick, pink-tinted note-paper which had been lying open upon the table. "It came by the last post," said he. "Read it aloud."
The note was undated, and without either signature or address.
"There will call upon you to-night, at a quarter to eight o'clock [it said], a gentleman who desires to consult you upon a matter of the very deepest moment. Your recent services to one of the royal houses of Europe have shown that you are one who may safely be trusted with matters which are of an importance which can hardly be exaggerated. This account of you we have from all quarters received. Be in your chamber then at that hour, and do not take it amiss if your visitor wear a mask.
"This is indeed a mystery," I remarked. "What do you imagine that it means?"
"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. But the note itself. What do you deduce from it?"
I carefully examined the writing, and the paper upon which it was written.
"The man who wrote it was presumably well to do," I remarked, endeavouring to imitate my companion's processes. "Such paper could not be bought under half a crown a packet. It is peculiarly strong and stiff."
"Peculiar — that is the very word," said Holmes. "It is not an English paper at all. Hold it up to the light."
I did so, and saw a large "E" with a small "g," a "P," and a large "G" with a small "t" woven into the texture of the paper.
"What do you make of that?" asked Holmes.
"The name of the maker, no doubt; or his monogram, rather."
"Not at all. The 'G' with the small 't' stands for 'Gesellschaft,' which is the German for 'Company.' It is a customary contraction like our 'Co.' 'P,' of course, stands for 'Papier.' Now for the 'Eg.' Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer." He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves. "Eglow, Eglonitz — here we are, Egria. It is in a German-speaking country — in Bohemia, not far from Carlsbad. 'Remarkable as being the scene of the death of Wallenstein, and for its numerous glass-factories and paper-mills.' Ha, ha, my boy, what do you make of that?" His eyes sparkled, and he sent up a great blue triumphant cloud from his cigarette.
"The paper was made in Bohemia," I said.
"Precisely. And the man who wrote the note is a German. Do you note the peculiar construction of the sentence — 'This account of you we have from all quarters received.' A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs. It only remains, therefore, to discover what is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper and prefers wearing a mask to showing his face. And here he comes, if I am not mistaken, to resolve all our doubts."
As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses' hoofs and grating wheels against the curb, followed by a sharp pull at the bell. Holmes whistled.
"A pair, by the sound," said he. "Yes," he continued, glancing out of the window. "A nice little brougham and a pair of beauties. A hundred and fifty guineas apiece. There's money in this case, Watson, if there is nothing else."
"I think that I had better go, Holmes."
"Not a bit, Doctor. Stay where you are. I am lost without my Boswell. And this promises to be interesting. It would be a pity to miss it."
"But your client —"
"Never mind him. I may want your help, and so may he. Here he comes. Sit down in that armchair, Doctor, and give us your best attention."
A slow and heavy step, which had been heard upon the stairs and in the passage, paused immediately outside the door. Then there was a loud and authoritative tap.
"Come in!" said Holmes.
A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height, with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. His dress was rich with a richness which would, in England, be looked upon as akin to bad taste. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat, while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-coloured silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single flaming beryl. Boots which extended halfway up his calves, and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur, completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand, while he wore across the upper part of his face, extending down past the cheekbones, a black vizard mask, which he had apparently adjusted that very moment, for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character, with a thick, hanging lip, and a long, straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy.
"You had my note?" he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German accent. "I told you that I would call." He looked from one to the other of us, as if uncertain which to address.
"Pray take a seat," said Holmes. "This is my friend and colleague, Dr. Watson, who is occasionally good enough to help me in my cases. Whom have I the honour to address?"
"You may address me as the Count Von Kramm, a Bohemian nobleman. I understand that this gentleman, your friend, is a man of honour and discretion, whom I may trust with a matter of the most extreme importance. If not, I should much prefer to communicate with you alone."
I rose to go, but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair. "It is both, or none," said he. "You may say before this gentleman anything which you may say to me."
The Count shrugged his broad shoulders. "Then I must begin," said he, "by binding you both to absolute secrecy for two years; at the end of that time the matter will be of no importance. At present it is not too much to say that it is not too much to say that it is of such weight it may have an influence upon European history."
"I promise," said Holmes.
"You will excuse this mask," continued our strange visitor. "The august person who employs me wishes his agent to be unknown to you, and I may confess at once that the title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own."
"I was aware of it," said Holmes drily.
"The circumstances are of great delicacy, and every precaution has to be taken to quench what might grow to be an immense scandal and seriously compromise one of the reigning families of Europe. To speak plainly, the matter implicates the great House of Ormstein, hereditary kings of Bohemia."
"I was also aware of that," murmured Holmes, settling himself down in his armchair and closing his eyes.
Our visitor glanced with some apparent surprise at the languid, lounging figure of the man who had been no doubt depicted to him as the most incisive reasoner and most energetic agent in Europe. Holmes slowly reopened his eyes and looked impatiently at his gigantic client.
"If your Majesty would condescend to state your case," he remarked, "I should be better able to advise you."
The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable agitation. Then, with a gesture of desperation, he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground. "You are right," he cried; "I am the King. Why should I attempt to conceal it?"
"Why, indeed?" murmured Holmes. "Your Majesty had not spoken before I was aware that I was addressing Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein, and hereditary King of Bohemia."
"But you can understand," said our strange visitor, sitting down once more and passing his hand over his high white forehead, "you can understand that I am not accustomed to doing such business in my own person. Yet the matter was so delicate that I could not confide it to an agent without putting myself in his power. I have come incognito from Prague for the purpose of consulting you."
"Then, pray consult," said Holmes, shutting his eyes once more.
"The facts are briefly these: Some five years ago, during a lengthy visit to Warsaw, I made the acquaintance of the well-known adventuress, Irene Adler. The name is no doubt familiar to you."
"Kindly look her up in my index, Doctor," murmured Holmes without opening his eyes. For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information. In this case I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had written a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes.
"Let me see!" said Holmes. "Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858. Contralto — hum! La Scala, hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw — yes! Retired from operatic stage — ha! Living in London — quite so! Your Majesty, as I understand, became entangled with this young person, wrote her some compromising letters, and is now desirous of getting those letters back."
"Precisely so. But how —"
"Was there a secret marriage?"
"No legal papers or certificates?"
"Then I fail to follow your Majesty. If this young person should produce her letters for blackmailing or other purposes, how is she to prove their authenticity?"
"There is the writing."
"Pooh, pooh! Forgery."
"My private note-paper."
"My own seal."
"We were both in the photograph."
"Oh, dear! That is very bad! Your Majesty has indeed committed an indiscretion."
"I was mad — insane."
"You have compromised yourself seriously."
Excerpted from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Copyright © 1988 Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Five Orange Pips
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Blue Carbuncle
The Speckled Band
The Engineer's Thumb
The Noble Bachelor
The Beryl Coronet
The Copper Beeches
What People are Saying About This
"Prebble's performance is spot on; he ably and admirably assumes the tales' many voices and dialects." -Library Journal Audio Review
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was obviously scanned from a book and then posted here. Many characters were not translated correctly and thus it is very difficult to read. I guess you get what you pay for! I would not recommend downloading this book even though it is free unless you e6j0y rea6ing teXt in th15 fo4ma+.
This book is simply unreadable. There is no attempt at typographical consistency or formatting. I am tempted to ask Customer Service how to delete this piece of garbage, and I regret that I cannot give this ebook zero stars. It is a download only diehard Holmes fans without any money to spare should even consider purchasing.
Great book, but the copy quality was so poor it wasn't possible to read.
The pages are all mixed up and hard to understand about the book that way if you want to read then buy one for better quality DO NOT GET THE FREE ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THis book is almost impossible to read. Lots of mistakes when it was scanned in.
Many, MANY of the free copies of public domain books available on the Nook are disappointingly unreadable. They either start in the middle of the novel, are written only half in English, or have rampant symbols and punctuation in the middle of words, or all three. The fact that there are anywhere from 3 to 15 copies or more of these free books just makes it harder to wade through the multiple copies to find one that may be readable. Having heard better reviews from Kindle readers, I have to sadly say I am starting to regret my decision to go with the Nook. I would feel a whole lot better about my purchase if I thought any of these problems were being addressed.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, written by Conan Doyle, is a series of short stories about cases Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson have solved. Sherlock Holmes is an observant man and his intuition is unmatched by anyone in Europe. Dr.Watson is Holmes's sidekick in this book, trying to solve difficult cases applying Holmes's techniques. In this short story, the people that need a case to be solved are the Baskervilles. In the past, there was a man named Hugo that was obsessed with a young girl, and eventually kidnapped her and molested her. She escaped with the help of an ivy covered wall. Hugo supposedly made a deal with the devil in order to find the girl. Later Hugo's companions found his body next to the girl's with his throat ripped open by a big black beast. Mortimer, the family doctor, reports that the supernatural beast haunts the family. I enjoyed reading this book, but I somewhat dislike it just because some of the things Conan Doyle writes can get confusing. Whenever Holmes is on a case, he observes every detail and listens to everything a person has to say. This shows his intelligence and his determination to show this intelligence to the people around him. Dr.Watson admires Holmes's skills and tries to apply them to what he does to contribute to solve a case. This supports the fact that Holmes is person people look up to. The supernatural hound is symbolism for truth and fantasy; Sir Charles Baskerville was the man that was afraid of the curse. The fact that Sir Charles had poor health supports the fact that he was scared to death by the "hound." I would recommend this book to people of all shapes and sizes. The book makes you think; The mysteries makes the book suspenseful, but Holmes solves these cases with unmatched logic.
This book is a mix up of lots of stories. It is a wonderfull book to read on the go as the stories are relitively short and if you get bored with one you can move onto the next!
Because of all the typos in this scan of the book, it is very hard to read it.
I absolutely LOVE Sherlock Holmes but this version has lots of scan errors. To people interested in these stories, I would suggest finding a different version. It would be worth a few dollars extra.
While these stories are classics, find another edition to read. This one is very badly scanned, and most words are unrecognizable.
This must be one of the best books I have ever read in all my life. Sherlock is unbeliveable in the way that he solves his cases. He is like a more adult version of Scooby Doo.
This is the best book i have ever read in my life!
I can't read this book. I thaught a free book would be good, but I was wrong. All the chapters are called: Hosted By Google.
This book consists of several bite-sized nuggets of mystery, each of the tales being 20-25 pps long. Holmes usually has the answer to the case before he hears the end of the story, and Watson always tries to be as perceptive as Holmes, but fails. However, we need Watson because he is the narrator! I can't decide which was scarier: The Speckled Band or The Engineer's Thumb. Gripping! I am glad to have finally discovered Watson and Holmes!
On the cover. Cumberbatch?
I grew up on the Sherlock Holmes stores when I was a child. Reading these stories takes me back to the good old days. :) Have fun reading!!
I have always been wondering what Sherlock Holmes is like, and here's my chance!!!
Write on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!!!
Great book by author Arthur Conan Doyle! Great book for children and adults alike! Wonder full and fast read. This is a must read!
I have almost no words for how wonderful this book is. Even though there are some errors, it's great for those who want to be detectives. All you young detectives-to-be, read this book and follow in Holmes' footsteps to acheive your goals of being a smart detective like him! :)
Lots of growing and shrinking Fantasy But all in all a good book
Sherlock is timeless
This is the best book ever