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 Adventure of the Empty House

Found in: “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”

The Case: After his “death” three years earlier (here’s a hint: His fight with Moriarty happened entirely off-page), Sherlock Holmes reunites with Dr. John Watson to capture the last of Moriarty’s henchmen.

The Solution: *Sherlock lures the gunman into a trap.*

Impressions and Fingerprints: This story had only one very simple goal: Bring Sherlock Holmes back to life in a plausible manner. This is done with surprising ease, thanks to a very clever backdoor that Conan Doyle had evidently built for himself in “The Final Problem,” just in case he needed the money again.

Not only are all the loose ends nicely tied up, but the case also brings in such franchise favorites as Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes, and the landlady, Mrs. Hudson. Even the apartment of 221B Baker Street has been restored to its old glory, after being burnt down in the previous tale.

Is it worth it? It’s every bit as essential as “The Final Problem.” Aside from some ethical questions about leaving his faithful confidante in the dark for so long, this story is a triumphant return to form.

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”