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 Naval Treaty

Found in: “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”

The Case: Watson gets a letter from Percy Phelps, an old friend who currently works at the Foreign Office. Phelps was recently entrusted to copy a treaty, the contents of which would wreak international havoc if leaked prematurely. And the treaty gets stolen from under his nose. Now a catatonic wreck who stands to lose his job in disgrace, Phelps begs for the help of Holmes and Watson.

The Solution: *The brother of Phelps’ fiancée stole the treaty, hoping to sell it abroad.*

Impressions and Fingerprints: To start with, Watson is an unusually active participant from word one, and this story offers us a brief glimpse of Holmes’ boxing skills. Though of course, the main attraction of this mystery is what’s at stake.

The scale of this case is truly remarkable. The series offers very few crimes that feature impending global consequences, and fewer still in which those consequences are full-blown war. All of Europe depends on Holmes’ success here, and the tension is only increased by how difficult this particular mystery is.

Is it worth it? This one offers a ton of clues to sift through and several possible suspects. It’s easily one of the more difficult cases to solve, which makes it all the more exciting to read. Highly recommended.

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”