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 Crooked Man

Found in: “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”

The Case: Colonel James Barclay commanded one of the most famous regiments in the British Army, until he was found in a pool of his own blood with his face frozen into a look of abject terror. The chief suspect is his wife, who was locked in a room with him at the time. There’s just one problem: The room’s key has gone missing.

The Solution: *The culprit was Barclay’s former superior, whom Barclay left to be tortured and disfigured in an Indian prison. And then Barclay married his former comrade’s lover. Upon being confronted by the man he wronged, Barclay died of apoplexy.*

Impressions and Fingerprints: Of all Sherlock’s many quotable lines, few of them are as recognizable as “Elementary.” This is despite the fact that Sherlock only says it once in the entire written canon. You’ll find that one occasion here.

The case itself is ultimately much ado about nothing, since the police ultimately don’t need Sherlock’s help to find the cause of the murder. But even after that, Sherlock goes the extra mile and learns who the killer was, just for the heck of it.

Is it worth it? I’ll grant that there’s a solid love story at the heart of this one, but it’s definitely not the best-developed or the most surprising romance tale in the canon. Take this one or leave it.

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”