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Sherlock Holmes:
Short Stories

From the reminiscences of Dr. John Watson – As recorded by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Read by John Telfer

Casebook of Sherlock Holmes   (1927)
The Retired Colourman   Part One      Part Two
“This is my friend Mr. Barker,” said Holmes. “He has been interesting himself also in your business, Mr. Josiah Amberley, though we have been working independently. But we both have the same question to ask you!” — Mr. Amberley sat down heavily. He sensed impending danger. I read it in his straining eyes and his twitching features.— “What is the question, Mr. Holmes?” — “Only this: What did you do with the bodies?”
The Lion's Mane   Part One      Part Two
We saw the man staggering like a drunk. The next instant he threw up his hands and, with a terrible cry, fell upon his face. We rushed forward and turned him on his back. He was obviously dying. Those glazed sunken eyes and dreadful livid cheeks could mean nothing else. One glimmer of life came into his face for an instant, and he uttered two or three words with an eager air of warning. They were slurred and indistinct, but to my ear the last of them, which burst in a shriek from his lips, were “the Lion’s Mane.” Then, he was dead.
The Blanched Soldier   Part One      Part Two
“ ‘Look here!’ I cried. ‘You speak as if he were dead. What is all this mystery? What has become of Godfrey Emsworth?’ -- I gripped the old man by the shoulder, but he shrank away. -- “ ‘I don’t know what you mean, sir. Ask the master about Master Godfrey. He knows. It is not for me to interfere.’ -- “He was leaving the room, but I held his arm. -- “ ‘Listen,’ I said. ‘You are going to answer one question before you leave if I have to hold you all night. Is Godfrey dead?” -- “He could not face my eyes. He was like a man hypnotized The answer was dragged from his lips. It was a terrible and unexpected one. -- “ ‘I wish to God he was!’ he cried, and, tearing himself free he dashed from the room.
The Illustrious Client  Part One      Part Two      Part Three
‘I rather thought I should see you sooner or later, Mr. Holmes,’ said he. ‘You have been hired, no doubt by General de Merville, to try to stop my marriage with his daughter, Violet. That is so, is it not?’ I acquiesced. ‘My dear man,’ said he. ‘It is not a case in which you can possibly succeed. You will have barren work, to say nothing of incurring some danger. Let me very strongly advise you to stop at once. By the way, Mr. Holmes,’ said he, ‘did you know Le Brun, the French agent?’ ‘Yes,’ said I. ‘Do you know what befell him?’ ‘I heard that he was beaten and crippled for life.’ ‘Quite true, Mr. Holmes. By a curious coincidence he had been inquiring into my affairs only a week before. Don’t do it, Mr. Holmes; it’s not a lucky thing to do.'
The Three Garridebs  Part One      Part Two 
Clearly our moment had come. Holmes touched my wrist as a signal, and together we stole across to the open trap-door. Gently as we moved, however, the old floor must have creaked under our feet, for the head of our American emerged suddenly from the open space. His face turned upon us with a glare of baffled rage, which gradually softened into a rather shamefaced grin as he realized that two pistols were pointed at his head.“Well, well!” said he coolly as he scrambled to the surface. “I guess you have been one too many for me, Mr. Holmes. Saw through my game, I suppose. Well, sir, I hand it to you; you have me beat and —” In an instant he had whisked out a revolver from his breast and had fired two shots.
The Sussex Vampire  Part One      Part Two 
" Imagine his feelings, Mr. Holmes, as he saw his wife rise from a kneeling position beside the cot and saw blood upon the child’s exposed neck and upon the sheet. With a cry of horror, he turned his wife’s face to the light and saw blood all round her lips. It was she — she beyond all question — who had drunk the poor baby’s blood. So the matter stands. She is now confined to her room. There has been no explanation. The husband is half demented. He knows, and I know, little of vampirism beyond the name."
The Creeping Man    Part One      Part Two       Part Three
" A curious change came over the professor. He became furtive and sly. Those around him had always the feeling that he was not the man that they had known, but that he was under some shadow which had darkened his higher qualities. His intellect was not affected. His lectures were as brilliant as ever. But always there was something new, something sinister and unexpected. His daughter, who was devoted to him, tried again and again to resume the old relations and to penetrate this mask which her father seemed to have put on — but all was in vain."
The Problem of Thor Bridge    Part One      Part Two       Part Three
Dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes:
I can’t see the best woman God ever made go to her death without doing all that is possible to save her. I can’t explain things — I can’t even try to explain them, but I know beyond all doubt that Miss Dunbar is innocent. You know the facts — who doesn’t? It has been the gossip of the country. And never a voice raised for her! That woman has a heart that wouldn’t let her kill a fly. Only you can save her. If ever in your life you showed your powers, put them now into this case.
The Mazarin Stone>  Part One      Part Two 
Watson waited until the door was closed, and then he turned earnestly to his companion.  “Look here, Holmes, this is simply impossible. This is a desperate man, who sticks at nothing. He may have come to murder you.”  “I should not be surprised.”  “I insist upon staying with you.”  “You would be horribly in the way.”  “In his way?”  “No, my dear fellow — in my way.”  “Well, I can’t possibly leave you.”  “Yes, you can, Watson. And you will, for you have never failed to play the game. I am sure you will play it to the end. This man has come for his own purpose, but he may stay for mine.”
His Last Bow   (1917)
His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes     Part One      Part Two
“Curse you, you double traitor!” cried the German, straining against his bonds and glaring murder from his furious eyes. - “No, no, it is not so bad as that,” said Holmes, smiling. “As my speech surely shows you, Mr. Altamont of Chicago had no existence in fact.” - “Then who are you?” - “It is really immaterial who I am, but since the matter seems to interest you, Mr. Von Bork, I may say that I have done a good deal of business in Germany in the past and my name is probably familiar to you.” - “I would wish to know it,” said the Prussian grimly. - “It was I," said Holmes, "who brought about the separation between Irene Adler and the late King of Bohemia ..."
The Adventure of the Devil's Foot     Part One      Part Two
That first morning "was marked at the outset by an incident which left the most sinister impression upon my mind. The approach to the spot at which the tragedy occurred is down a narrow, winding, country lane. While we made our way along it we heard the rattle of a carriage coming towards us and stood aside to let it pass. As it drove by us I caught a glimpse through the closed window of a horribly contorted, grinning face glaring out at us. Those staring eyes and gnashing teeth flashed past us like a dreadful vision."
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax    Part One      Part Two 
"Here was this good and pious lady pursued from place to place by a sinister and unrelenting figure. She feared him, or she would not have fled from Lausanne. He had still followed. Sooner or later he would overtake her. Had he already overtaken her? Was that the secret of her continued silence? Could the good people who were her companions not screen her from his violence or his blackmail? What horrible purpose, what deep design, lay behind this long pursuit?"
The Dying Detective    Part One      Part Two 
“He’s dying, Dr. Watson,” said she. “For three days he has been sinking, and I doubt if he will last the day. He would not let me get a doctor. This morning when I saw his bones sticking out of his face and his great bright eyes looking at me I could stand no more of it. ‘With your leave or without it, Mr. Holmes, I am going for a doctor this very hour,’ said I. ‘Let it be Watson, then,’ said he. I wouldn’t waste an hour in coming to him, sir, or you may not see him alive.”
The Bruce-Partington Plans    Part One      Part Two 
“This is where the young man’s body lay,” said he, indicating a spot. “It could only have come from a train.” “A passenger declares that he heard a heavy thud, as of a body striking the line, just before the train reached the station... Why whatever is the matter with Mr. Holmes?” My friend was standing with an expression of strained intensity upon his face, staring at the train tracks. On these his eager, questioning eyes were fixed, and I saw on his keen, alert face that tightening of the lips, that quiver of the nostrils, and concentration of the heavy tufted brows which I knew so well.
The Red Circle    Part One      Part Two 
The door was standing ajar. Within the room, all was absolute silence and darkness. I struck a match and lit the lantern. As I did so, and as the flicker steadied into a flame, we all gave a gasp of surprise. On the boards of the carpetless floor there was outlined a fresh track of blood. The red drops pointed to a closed door which Gregson flung open. In the middle of the floor was huddled the figure of an enormous man, his clean-shaven, swarthy face grotesquely horrible in its contortion and his head encircled by a ghastly crimson halo of blood, lying in a broad wet red circle.
The Cardboard Box    Part One      Part Two 
"In choosing a few typical cases which illustrate the remarkable mental qualities of my friend, Sherlock Holmes, I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to select those which presented the minimum of sensationalism, while offering a fair field for his talents. It is, however, unfortunately impossible entirely to separate the sensational from the criminal. I shall turn to my notes of what proved to be a strange, though a peculiarly terrible, chain of events. . . ."
The Return of Sherlock Holmes   (1904)
The Second Stain     Part One      Part Two 
“The man’s death is a mere incident — a trivial episode — in comparison with our real task, which is to trace this document and save a European catastrophe. Only one important thing has happened in the last three days, and that is that nothing has happened. I get reports almost hourly from the government, and it is certain that nowhere in Europe is there any sign of trouble. Now, if this letter were loose — no, it can’t be loose — but if it isn’t loose, where can it be? Who has it? Why is it held back?"
The Abbey Grange     Part One      Part Two 
It was on a bitterly cold night and frosty morning, towards the end of the winter of ’97, that I was awakened by a tugging at my shoulder. It was Holmes. The candle in his hand shone upon his eager, stooping face, and told me at a glance that something was amiss. “Come, Watson, come!” he cried. “The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!” Ten minutes later we were both in a cab, and rattling through the silent streets on our way to Charing Cross Station.
The Missing Three-Quarter     Part One      Part Two 
“I quite understand your position,” said Holmes, with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “Perhaps you don’t quite understand mine. Godfrey Staunton appears to have been a poor man. If he has been kidnapped, it could not have been for anything which he himself possesses. The fame of your wealth has gone abroad, Lord Mount-James, and it is entirely possible that a gang of thieves have secured your nephew in order to gain from him some information as to your house, your habits, and your treasure.”
The Golden Pince-Nez     Part One      Part Two 
"There was a dreadful cry in the room below. It was a wild, hoarse scream, so strange and unnatural that it might have come either from a man or a woman. At the same instant there was a heavy thud, which shook the old house, and then all was silence. The maid stood petrified for a moment and then opened the study door. Inside, young Mr. Willoughby Smith was stretched upon the floor, blood was pouring from the underside of his neck."
The Three Students     Part One      Part Two 
"On the table I found a small ball of black dough or clay, with specks of something which looks like sawdust in it. I am convinced that these marks were left by the man who rifled the papers. There were no footmarks and no other evidence as to his identity. Either I must find the man or else the examination must be postponed. There will ensue a hideous scandal which will throw a cloud not only on the college, but on the university."
The Six Napoleons     Part One      Part Two 
"Stepping out into the dark, I nearly fell over a dead man, who was lying there. I ran back for a light, and there was the poor fellow, a great gash in his throat and the whole place swimming in blood. He lay on his back, his knees drawn up, and his mouth horribly open. I shall see him in my dreams. I had just time to blow on my police-whistle, and then I must have fainted, for I knew nothing more until I found the policeman standing over me in the hall.”
Charles Augustus Milverton     Part One      Part Two 
"Do you feel a creeping, shrinking sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in the Zoo, and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that’s how Milverton impresses me. I’ve had to do with fifty murderers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the repulsion which I have for this fellow. And yet I can’t get out of doing business with him — indeed, he is here at my invitation.”
Black Peter     Part One      Part Two 
Black Peter was in one of his blackest moods, flushed with drink and as savage as a dangerous wild beast. He roamed about the house, and the women ran for it when they heard him coming. Late in the evening, he went down to his own hut. The following morning, his daughter heard a most fearful yell from that direction, but it was no unusual thing for him to bawl and shout when he was in drink. At seven, peeping into the open door, they saw a sight which sent them flying, with white faces into the village.
The Priory School    Part One      Part Two      Part Three
“I must take the view that when a man embarks upon a crime, he is morally guilty of any other crime which may spring from it."
“Morally, Mr. Holmes. No doubt you are right. But surely not in the eyes of the law. A man cannot be condemned for a murder at which he was not present, and which he loathes and abhors as much as you do. Oh, Mr. Holmes, you must save him... we can minimize this hideous scandal."
The Solitary Cyclist     Part One      Part Two
I confess that I had not up to now taken a very serious view of the case, which had seemed to me rather grotesque and bizarre than dangerous. That a man should lie in wait for and follow a very handsome woman is no unheard-of thing, and if he has so little audacity that he not only dared not address her, but even fled from her approach, he was not a very formidable assailant. The ruffian Woodley was a very different person. It was the severity of Holmes’s manner and the fact that he slipped a revolver into his pocket before leaving our rooms which impressed me with the feeling that tragedy might lurk behind this curious train of events.
The Dancing Men     Part One      Part Two
“Well, Mr. Holmes, what do you make of these?” he cried. "I sent the paper on ahead, so that you might have time to study it before I came.” “It certainly is rather a curious,” said Holmes. “It would appear to be some childish prank. It consists of absurd little figures dancing across the paper. Why should you attribute any
importance to so grotesque an object?” “I never should, Mr. Holmes. But my wife does. It is frightening her to death. She says nothing, but I can see terror in her eyes."
The Norwood Builder     Part One      Part Two
"Listen to this, Mr. Holmes. The headlines are: ‘Mysterious Affair at Lower Norwood. Disappearance of a Well Known Builder. Suspicion of Murder and Arson. A Clue to the Criminal.’ That is the clue which they are already following, Mr. Holmes, and I know that it leads infallibly to me. I have been followed from London Bridge Station, and I am sure that they are only waiting for the warrant to arrest me. It will break my mother’s heart!" He wrung his hands in an agony of apprehension, and swayed backward and forward in his chair.
The Empty House     Part One      Part Two
I found myself seated beside Holmes in a cab, my revolver in my pocket, and the thrill of adventure in my heart. Holmes was cold and stern and silent. As the gleam of the street-lamps flashed upon his austere features, I saw that his brows were drawn down in thought and his thin lips compressed. I knew not what wild beast we were about to hunt down in the dark jungle of criminal London, but I was well assured, from the bearing of this master huntsman, that the adventure was a most grave one — while the sardonic smile which occasionally broke through his ascetic gloom boded little good for the object of our quest.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes   (1894)
The Final Problem    Part One      Part Two
“The man pervades London, and no one has heard of him. He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil in this great city. He is a genius. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed — the word is passed to Professor Moriarty, the matter is organized and carried out."
The Naval Treaty   Part One      Part Two      Part Three
“A cold hand seemed to close round my heart. Someone, then, was in that room where my precious treaty lay upon the table. I ran frantically up the stair and along the passage. There was no one in the corridors, Mr. Holmes. There was no one in the room. All was exactly as I left it, save only that the treaty which had been committed to my care had been taken from the desk on which it lay."
The Greek Interpreter   Part One      Part Two
'I must warn you, Mr. Melas, that if you attempt to raise an alarm or do anything which is against my interest, you will find it a very serious thing. I beg you to remember that no one knows where you are and you are in my power.’ His words were quiet, but he had a rasping way of saying them, which was very menacing. I sat in silence wondering what on earth could be his reason for kidnapping me.
The Resident Patient   Part One      Part Two
For a week he continued to be in a peculiar state of restlessness, peering continually out of the windows, and ceasing to take his usual short walk before dinner. It struck me that he was in mortal dread of something or somebody. Gradually, as time passed, his fears appeared to die away until a new event reduced him to the pitiable state of prostration in which he now lies.
The Crooked Man   Part One      Part Two
I saw a man coming towards us with his back very bent. We were passing him when he raised his face to look at us, and as he did so he stopped and screamed out in a dreadful voice, “My God, it’s Nancy!” Mrs. Barclay turned as white as death and would have fallen down had the dreadful-looking creature not caught hold of her. I was going to call for the police, but she, to my surprise, spoke quite civilly to the fellow, “I thought you had been dead this thirty years, Henry,” said she in a shaking voice. “So I have,” said he.
The Reigate Puzzle   Part One      Part Two
“This was found between the finger and thumb of the dead man. It appears to be a fragment torn from a larger sheet. You will observe that the hour mentioned upon it is the very time at which the poor fellow met his fate. You see that his murderer might have torn the rest of the sheet from him or he might have taken this fragment from the murderer. It reads almost as though it were an appointment.”
Holmes took up the scrap of paper: 'At quarter to twelve learn what may. . .'
The Musgrave Ritual   Part One      Part Two
A man, clad in a suit of black, squatted down with his forehead sunk upon the edge of the box and his two arms on each side of it. The attitude had drawn all the blood to the face, and no man could have recognized that distorted face; but his height, his dress, and his hair were all sufficient to show, when we had drawn the body up, that it was indeed the missing butler. He had been dead some days, but there was no wound or bruise upon his person to show how he had met his dreadful end.
The 'Gloria Scott'   Part One      Part Two
“I [was] bewildered when first I read this message. Then I reread it very carefully. Some secret meaning must lie buried in [the] words. And then in an instant the key of the riddle was in my hands... a message which might well drive old Trevor to despair. It was short and terse, the warning, as I now read it to my companion: “‘Hudson has told all. Flee for your life.’"
The Stockbroker's Clerk   Part One      Part Two
"At the single table sat the man whom we had seen in the street, with his evening paper spread out in front of him, and as he looked up at us it seemed to me that I had never looked upon a face which bore such marks of grief, and of something beyond grief — of a horror such as comes to few men in a lifetime. His brow glistened with perspiration, his cheeks were of the dull, dead white of a fish’s belly, and his eyes were wild and staring."
Silver Blaze    Part One      Part Two
"On ascending the knoll near the house, they perceived something which warned them that they were in the presence of a tragedy. About a quarter of a mile from the stables was John Straker’s overcoat. Then, they found the dead body of the horse trainer. His head had been shattered by a savage blow from some heavy weapon, and he was wounded on the thigh, where there was a long, clean cut, inflicted evidently by some very sharp instrument."
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes   (1892)
The Adventure of the Copper Beeches     Part One      Part Two
“I was so terrified that I do not know what I did. I suppose that I must have rushed past him into my room. I remember nothing until I found myself lying on my bed trembling all over. Then I thought of you, Mr. Holmes. I could not live there longer without some advice. I was frightened of the house, of the man, of the woman, of the servants, even of the child. They were all horrible to me. If I could only bring you down all would be well.”
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet     Part One      Part Two
“I see that you have had some great trouble,” said Holmes.
“God knows I have! — a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason, so sudden and so terrible is it. Public disgrace I might have faced, private affliction also is the lot of every man; but the two coming together, and in so frightful a form, have been enough to shake my very soul. Besides, it is not I alone. The very noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair.”
The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor     Part One      Part Two
"There is an announcement that the wedding had taken place, and that the honeymoon would be passed at Lord Backwater’s place. Those notices were before the disappearance of the bride.” “Before the what?” asked Holmes with a start. “The vanishing of the lady.” "There are rumours of foul play in the matter, and it is said that the police have arrested a woman who caused a disturbance, in the belief that, from jealousy, she may be involved in the strange disappearance of the bride.”
The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb     Part One      Part Two
“Suddenly, in the midst of the utter stillness, the door of my room swung slowly open. The woman was standing in the aperture, the darkness of the hall behind her, the yellow light from my lamp upon her eager and beautiful face. I could see at a glance that she was sick with fear, and the sight sent a chill to my own heart. “‘I would go,’ said she, trying hard to speak calmly; ‘I would go. I should not stay here' “‘But, madam,’ said I, ‘I have not yet done what I came for. I cannot possibly leave until I have seen the machine.’"
The Adventure of the Speckled Band    Part One      Part Two      Part Three
"Suddenly, there burst forth the wild scream of a terrified woman. I knew that it was my sister’s voice. By the light of the lamp I saw my sister, her face blanched with terror, her whole figure swaying to and fro like that of a drunkard. I ran to her and threw my arms round her, but at that moment her knees seemed to give way and she fell to the ground. She writhed as one who is in terrible pain. As I bent over her she suddenly shrieked out in a voice which I shall never forget, ‘Oh, my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!’"
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle     Part One      Part Two
"Holmes took up the stone and held it against the light. 'Just see how it sparkles. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Every good stone is. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed. This stone is not yet twenty years old. In spite of its youth, it has already a sinister history. There have been two murders, a vitriol-throwing, a suicide, and several robberies brought about for the sake of this crystallized charcoal. Who would think that so pretty a toy would lead to the gallows and the prison?'"
The Man With the Twisted Lip     Part One      Part Two
A decrepit figure had emerged from the opium den... “I suppose, Watson,” said he, “that you imagine that I have added opium-smoking to cocaine injections, and all the other little weaknesses on which you have favoured me with your medical views.” - “I was certainly surprised to find you there.” - “But not more so than I to find you.” -“I came to find a friend.” -“And I to find an enemy.”
The Five Orange Pips     Part One      Part Two
One day a letter with a foreign stamp lay upon the table in front of the colonel. ‘From India!’ said he. Opening it hurriedly, out jumped five little dried orange pips. I began to laugh at this, but the laugh was struck at the sight of his face. His lip had fallen, his eyes were protruding, his skin the colour of putty, and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his trembling hand, ‘My God, my God, my sins have overtaken me!’
The Boscombe Valley Mystery    Part One      Part Two
"There rushed into the room one of the most lovely young women that I have ever seen in my life. Her violet eyes shining, her lips parted, a pink flush upon her cheeks, all thought of her natural reserve lost in her overpowering excitement and concern.
“Oh, Mr. Sherlock Holmes!” she cried, “I am so glad that you have come. I have driven down to tell you so. I know that James didn’t do it. . ."
A Case of Identity      Part One      Part Two
"Our visitor...rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale face.
'It may be so, or it may not. Mr. Holmes,” said he. “but if you are so very sharp you ought to be sharp enough to know that it is you who are breaking the law now, and not me. I have done nothing actionable from the first, but as long as you keep that door locked you lay yourself open to an action for assault and illegal constraint.'
The Red-Headed League    Part One      Part Two
"From north, south, east, and west every man who had a shade of red in his hair had tramped into the city to answer the advertisement. Fleet Street was choked with red-headed folk... I should not have thought there were so many in the whole country as were brought together by that single advertisement."
A Scandal in Bohemia    Part One      Part Two
"To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler."
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