12 best Sherlock Holmes stories handpicked by creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Monday, 6 January 2014 - 5:44pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

BBC's 'Sherlock' season 3 debuted on January 1 with the first episode drawing from 'The Empty House' short story. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the character Sherlock Holmes released his 12 favourite Sherlock Holmes stories to The Strand Magazine in 1927. Here's the list of the stories, which should hopefully make their way into the 'Sherlock' mythology or the episode list of its US counterpart 'Elementary'

Shelock Holmes, possibly one of the world's most well known detectives, has been absorbed by almost every time of media platform. But only lately with Robert Downey Jr portraying him on the big screen, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller playing him in Sherlock and Elementary respectively, has the flame for the titular detective been reignited. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the opium smoking sleuth, created history as his stories about Holmes are considered milestones in the genre of crime fiction novels. Almost a century after he died, his novels are still circulating the globe as the cult following of the master detective and his sidekick Dr. John Watson continues to grow with no sign of slowing down.

BBC's Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson, is a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes that incorporates technology and modern devices to revamp the stories that Doyle wrote. 

Similarly, CBS's Elementary another modern retelling of the adventures of Holmes and Watson, uses some facts from Doyle's canon but modifies them to suit a contemporary audience. Johnny Lee Miller stars as the titular detective, living in New York. The most notable change from the original stories is Lucy Lui portrays Joan Watson, a take on John Watson. Elementary remains the first Sherlock Holmes adaptation to switch the gender of a main character.

Although these shows focus and uses material from some of the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, they stray away from some of the main attributes of the original stories. Sherlock Holmes has appeared in 56 short stories and 4 full length novels. The plethora of adventures out there could mean these television shows could go on for years and years to come.

In 1927 The Strand Magazine set a competition for its readers to decide the 12 best Sherlock Holmes stories, and invited Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to make his own list as well.

Here are the 12 stories chosen by the man who brought us one of the most famous detectives the world has ever seen:  

1. The Adventure of the Speckled Band (1892)

A young woman named Helen Stoner employs Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in foiling the villainous plans of her stepfather, Grimesby Roylott.

2. The Red-Headed League (1891)

In 1890, a pawnbroker named Jabez Wilson comes to Holmes and Watson and tells them about a very strange business with a group of red-headed men called "The Red-Headed League."

3. The Adventure of the Dancing Men (1903)

In the story, Holmes assists a man whose wife is frightened by a series of encrypted notes left around their property.

4. The Final Problem (1893)

The Final Problem is the last of the short stories of Sherlock Holmes from the The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in The Strand Magazine in December 1893. It appears in book form as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle later ranked The Final Problem fourth on his personal list of the twelve best Holmes stories. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote it he originally intended it to be the last Sherlock Holmes story.

This story puts Sherlock Holmes skills to the test when he is faced by the greatest criminal mind (Professor James Moriarty) in England that has endeavoured to kill Sherlock Holmes.

5. A Scandal in Bohemia (1891)

The King of Bohemia engaged to Clotilde Lothman, princess of Scandinavia enlists Sherlock Holmes services to recover incriminating photographs from his former lover, Irene Adler.

6. The Adventure of the Empty House (1903)

The Adventure of the Empty House is the first Sherlock Holmes short story of the 13 collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Public pressure forced Conan Doyle to bring Holmes back to life, and explain his apparently miraculous survival of a deadly struggle with Professor Moriarty. The story explains how Sherlock survived his near certain death at the end of The Final Problem

7. The Five Orange Pips (1891)

At the outset of the story Dr. John Watson is staying with Sherlock Holmes for a few days and one evening during his visit a young man named John Openshaw comes to consult Holmes about threats he recieves from the  Ku Klux Klan.

8. The Adventure of the Second Stain

The Adventure of the Second Stain, one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. The story revolves around a letter that could spark a war and Holmes' attempt to solve a murder that could resolve all of it.

9. The Adventure of the Devil's Foot (1910)

It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected in His Last Bow. The story takes place in Cornwall where Sherlock Holmes is taking a holiday because he has been pushing himself too hard. But as with any great detective murder follows him through the countryside, and there is naturally a murder that he is the only one but him can solve.

10. The Adventure of the Priory School (1903)

Holmes receives a visit from Dr. Thorneycroft Huxtable, the founder and principal of a preparatory school called Priory School in Northern England. He beseeches Holmes to come back to Mackleton with him to look into the kidnapping of one of his pupils.

11. The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual (1893)

Sherlock Holmes narrates one of his very first cases to Watson, which contains a mysterious ritual and the disappearance of two of Musgrave's staff members.

12. The Adventure of the Reigate Squire (1893)

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson visit Watson's old friend Colonel Hayter in Reigate, but end up getting involved in a new mystery

For a complete list of Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, click here.

(Inputs from Baker Street Wiki)

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