Banner art by Chelsea Sprauer

Everyone’s heard of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, but how much do you really know about the residents of 221B Baker Street? In addition to four novellas (one of which we covered at GUY.Com), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote five collections of 56 short stories starring the world-famous detective and his faithful associate. We’ll be spotlighting 20 of them, to get you caught up just in time for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. All of these stories are public domain, so find a free copy online and read along!

Silver Blaze

Found in: “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”

The Case: All of England is in uproar over the disappearance of Silver Blaze, the horse favored to win the Wessex Cup, and the murder of his jockey. After several days of investigation and a suspect arrested on circumstantial evidence, Scotland Yard calls on Sherlock to close the case.

The Solution: *The rider tried to maim Silver Blaze, and the horse killed him out of self-defense.*

Impressions and Fingerprints: The solution to this case was such a brilliant twist that Conan Doyle himself bet his wife a shilling that she wouldn’t be able to solve it. This story contains some of Sherlock’s most complex and famous deductions, with “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” (aka “the dog that didn’t bark”) foremost among them.

Is it still worth it? It’s a mystery with a ton of peculiar evidence, a set of elegantly presented conclusions, and a fair bit of humor to boot. This is easily one of the best-crafted, most famous, and essential stories in the series.

Part 20: “The Last Bow”
Part 19: “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place”
Part 18: “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone”
Part 17: “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange”
Part 16: “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”
Part 15: “The Adventure of the Empty House”
Part 14: “The Final Problem”
Part 13: “The Naval Treaty”
Part 12: “The Crooked Man”
Part 11: “The Reigate Puzzle”
Part 10: “The Greek Interpreter”
Part 9: “The Musgrave Ritual”
Part 8: “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
Part 7: “Silver Blaze”
Part 6: “The Five Orange Pips”
Part 5: “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”
Part 4: “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”
Part 3: “A Case of Identity”
Part 2: “A Scandal in Bohemia”
Part 1: “The Red-Headed League”