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!

The Greek Interpreter

Found in: “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”

The Case: Mr. Melas is a Greek interpreter who was kidnapped and taken to an undisclosed location. There, he mediates a conversation between a sinister individual and a badly wounded man named Paul Kratides. After repeated threats and demands to sign documents of some kind or other – all of them refused by Kratides – the discussion is interrupted by a woman named Sophy. Mr. Melas is given some money and sent on his way.

The Solution: *Kratides and Sophy are siblings, and the kidnappers are trying to get their property.*

Impressions and Fingerprints: Introducing Mycroft Holmes. Though he isn’t nearly as well-known or beloved as his younger brother, the first thing we learn about Mycroft is that he’s even better at observation and deduction than Sherlock. The difference is that Sherlock sees his talent as a higher calling that comes with a responsibility to solve crimes, while Mycroft thinks of deduction as nothing more than a parlor trick. Thus, the two brothers are often seen at loggerheads, both in and out of canon.

Generally, Mycroft is seen to be rather fat and lazy. To wit, he’s the co-founder of the Diogenes Club, in which the wealthy, powerful, and anti-social can gather in complete silence. Seriously, the whole point of this club is that talking isn’t allowed. Last but not least, though this isn’t mentioned until a later story called “The Bruce-Partington Plans,” Mycroft is said to be in a position of government. In fact, according to Sherlock, “occasionally he is the British government.” To sum up, Mycroft is basically a parody of the rich and powerful.

Is it worth it? The case is surprisingly dull, and solved with very little effort. Still, Mycroft makes this worth a read. The exchanges between the Holmes brothers are simply priceless.

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”