The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: summary, characters, and more

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, discover all the interesting details of this series of twelve crime stories about the most famous detective of the 20th century, considered the most famous literary cultural icon of our time, portrayed in film, opera and theatre.
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Plot of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, 1959-1930, was an outstanding English writer who produced literary works that spanned the fields of poetry, fantasy or science fiction, novels and plays. He also had a medical background which inspired him to apply scientific rigour to many of his creations, although he was a practitioner of spiritualism.

Arthur I. Conan Doyle’s works include “The Lost World” 1912, “The White Company” 1891, “Study in Scarlet” 1887, and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” 1891, among many others by this entertaining and prolific British writer. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a series of 12 short stories that focus on solving crimes as he works as a consulting detective alongside his assistant Dr Watson.

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In each of the 12 stories of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, this detective and his assistant, Dr. John H. Watson, will face and try to solve cases that seem difficult to solve, but the London police rely on the good deductive judgement of Detective Holmes to solve them, and this is the argument that the narratives of the solved crimes of Sherlock Holmes are composed of. I invite you to read The Curious Incident of the Dog at Midnight.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is narrated by Dr J. Watson, his assistant, and consists of 12 short stories originally published individually between 1891 and 1892 in the British newspaper The Strand Magazine and then collected under the title The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. They are told by Dr Watson after his marriage, an event that takes place in the novel “The Sign of 4”, 1890.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes includes the stories “The Five Orange Seeds”, “The Blue Carbuncle”, “The Engineer’s Thumb”, “The Aristocratic Bachelor”, “Scandal in Bohemia”, “The League of Redheads”, “A Case of Identity”, “The Mystery of Boscombe Valley, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Polka Dot Band, The Beryl Tiara and The Copper Beeches Mystery, all of which involve criminology and the investigation and solving of the detective’s murder.

In addition to “The Beryl Tiara” and “The Copper Beeches Mystery”, all about criminology and all based on the investigation and solution of the detective Sherlock Holmes. If you want to read a different genre, try The Men Who Didn’t Love Women.

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Summary of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are twelve stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle at the end of the 19th century, in which the detective Holmes, together with his faithful assistant Dr John Watson, must solve a series of mysteries entrusted to him by the London police as their best consulting detective. The 12 stories are entertainingly told in the first person by Dr Watson, who compiled them and then published them in a single book.

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes are made up of; “Scandal in Bohemia”, in this story a beautiful woman possesses a compromising photograph showing the future king of Bohemia, this king introduces himself to Holmes Watson and hires him to recover the photograph and avoid any possible blackmail, Sherlock Holmes makes a plan to get hold of the photograph but the woman, Irene Adler, guesses his plan and keeps the photograph.

“The League of Redheads” is about a young redhead who becomes involved in a bank robbery perpetrated by a cunning thief. “A Case of Identity is the curious case of Miss Mary Sutherland, a woman with a substantial fixed income, who is deserted by her fiancé on the eve of their wedding. Sherlock Holmes discovers that the case is linked to the identity assumed by Mary’s young stepfather. I invite you to read The Angel’s Game.

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“The Boscombe Valley Mystery, Holmes solves the mystery of a murder on a country estate and exonerates an innocent man. “The Five Orange Seeds”, Sherlock Holmes stops further murders by a Ku Klux Klan leader. “The Man with the Twisted Lip”, a very mysterious case where the victim and perpetrator are closely related.

“The Blue Carbuncle, a case of jewellery theft where Sherlock Holmes gets the clues thanks to a goose. “The Band of Polka Dots” is a case of family greed that Holmes solves, but in which two members of the same family die. In “The Engineer’s Thumb”, a man has his finger cut off and Holmes’ investigation uncovers some cruel counterfeiters.

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“The Aristocratic Bachelor is the story of a pedantic English nobleman who, although married, remains a bachelor after the disappearance of his fiancée. “The Beryl Tiara” is the intricate case of the theft of a crown jewel from the custody of a banker, in which the banker’s close relatives are involved.

The last of the stories examined by Dr Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is “The Mystery of Copper Beeches”, which concerns the very strange case of a schoolmistress employed at a Hampshire town house, the Copper Beeches estate, where she solves a case of kidnapping and the eccentricities of a wealthy family. These twelve stories show how Holmes masterfully solves such diverse cases.

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Chapter Summary of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories, narrated by Dr Watson, about various criminal cases in which the investigative skills of Detective Holmes are masterfully displayed. In these stories, Watson, who married during the “Sign of the Four” case, no longer lives with Holmes, but visits him and helps him solve the cases.

The stories that make up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes were originally published individually between 1891 and 1892 in an English magazine, The Strand, which promoted the work of other great writers. His stories focus on respect for justice rather than profit from solving his clients’ cases.

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The first story or chapter of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is entitled “Scandal in Bohemia”, 1891, in which Holmes and Watson set out to solve the case of a hereditary king who is threatened by a very beautiful woman to be blackmailed during his upcoming wedding; this beautiful lady, named Irene Adler, possesses a photograph of her with the king, which could cause a scandal in his kingdom of Bohemia.

Sherlock Holmes plans to find out where Miss Irene Adler has hidden the photo, as the hereditary king of Bohemia has tried several ways to obtain the photo without any satisfactory result. Sherlock spies on Miss Adler’s movements, he already knows that she’s an opera singer, that she goes out every day and returns home at seven o’clock, and that a man visits her every day. Another good book to read is The Last Jew.

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Holmes one morning sees Miss Adler leaving with the man who visits her every day, both leave in a hurry in a carriage, Sherlock follows them and sees them arrive at the church and decides to enter pretending to be some faithful Christian devotee, his surprise begins when both subjects are talking to the priest and Adler’s companion, he turns to him and asks him to be the witness at the wedding.

After the wedding of Miss Irene Adler to the gentleman Godfrey Norton, both went their separate ways, she went home and Norton perhaps to his, Sherlock devised a plan to get Irene to reveal where she had the photograph, for this would have the co-operation of Dr Watson, as Sherlock knew at what time she would arrive pretending to be injured, outside the house of the now Mrs Norton, and thus achieve that she would introduce him into her house to give him assistance.

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Watson, once Sherlock is in Irene’s house, would throw a device that causes smoke and Holmes would shout fire, and with that he would find out where she keeps the photo, as it would be one of the few things she would try to save. The next day Sherlock carries out the plan as planned and finds out where the photo is kept, and the day after that he invites the King of Bohemia to come and rescue the photo.

The King of Bohemia would distract Mrs Irene with some excuse and he would take advantage and grab the compromising photo, but when he arrives he finds that they have left London, and the housekeeper gives him an envelope with a photo of Irene Adler alone and a note explaining how she discovered his plans, which has allowed her to escape with her husband, out of the King of Bohemia’s influence.

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Irene Adler, wife of Godfrey Norton, writes to him and tells him that she will keep the letter as insurance that the King of Bohemia will do nothing against her, and promises not to use it to harm the King, the King believes her and thanks Holmes by offering him a jewel as final payment, but keeps the picture of Irene Adler, a woman he begins to admire for being so clever and anticipating his steps.

“The League of Redheads” (1891), in is a story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes where a pawnbroker is tricked with an offer of a simple and well paid job, the redhead is called Wilson and is a not very wealthy pawnbroker who is encouraged by his employee to take a job that is offered to him by the League of Redheads, only for redheads, it is a simple job that will leave him some free time.

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The moneylender Wilson has premises near a bank containing a large stock of gold, and Holmes discovers that Wilson has been tricked into leaving his premises and his supposed employee, who is a cunning thief called John Clay, tunnels from the moneylender’s premises to the bank to rob it, but Sherlock Holmes anticipates and together with the police manages to foil the robbery. I invite you to read Lazarillo de Tormes.

The third chapter is “A Case of Identity”, in which Sherlock and Watson solve the curious case of Miss Mary Sutherland, a young woman who receives a fairly substantial fixed income, from which her mother, a middle-aged woman, and her young stepfather, James Windibank, benefit. Mary’s stepfather disguises himself and assumes the identity of a Hosmer Angel.

He manages to make his stepdaughter fall in love with him and marry him, thus preventing her from leaving home and Mr James from losing the income from the girl’s rent, as he manages to do, but on the day of the wedding James Windibank disappears, leaving the young woman desolate and she goes to Detective Holmes. Sherlock listens to young Mary’s story and investigates.

Sherlock succeeds in solving the case, he meets James and warns him not to continue deceiving his stepdaughter, that although he would not go to prison, he could receive a severe beating for being so heartless, but he does not tell Miss Mary the details, but advises her to forget about Hosmer Angel, assuring her that he will never appear again. Sherlock Holmes said it was not wise to disappoint a woman.

 

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“The Boscombe Valley Mystery”, is the fourth chapter of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, where together with Dr. Watson they solve a murder that took place on a farm and for which the victim’s son is accused, the situation is that Mr. Charles McCarthy is murdered and as some witnesses saw his son, James McCarthy, following him and carrying a shotgun, they point to him as the prime suspect.

But Holmes and Watson, spending some time at the Boscombe estate, manage to discover that a neighbouring landowner of the McCarthys, Mr John Turner, was being blackmailed by Mr Charles McCarthy and that is why he murdered him, the blackmail being that his only daughter Alice would marry the McCarthys’ only son, otherwise Mr McCarthy would confess that Mr Turner was a former assailant. Another good play is The Mystery of the Haunted Crypt.

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Holmes manages to get the old and dying Mr Turner to confess, but does not turn him over to the authorities as he is in his last days, instead he defends James McCarthy and manages to get him acquitted of his father’s murder, although he does not learn that his father-in-law killed his father, nor does Miss Alice learn who the murderer was or her father’s past. The two marry without knowing more about the case.

In the chapter “The Five Orange Seeds” of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and His Assistant Mr. Watson, the story is told of a Ku Klux Klansman who, to warn his victims of death, sends them an envelope containing 5 orange seeds and murders them days later. Holmes discovers the identity of the murderer, but too late, as he has already killed several members of the Openshaw family.

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Sherlock Holmes, the case was presented to him by a young man called John Openshaw, who told him that his father Joseph was found dead in an accident, but before he had received the letter with the 5 orange seeds, and an envelope with the same contents had been given to him, John Openshaw. Holmes accepts the case and days later the young man is found dead, Holmes discovers the murderer but he has fled on a boat.

In the sixth chapter, entitled “The Man with the Twisted Lip”, it is narrated how a man pretends to be a beggar, as in this way he obtains more money than in his formal employment, his wife goes to Holmes because she believes that her husband has been murdered by a beggar, Sherlock discovers the situation of the lady’s husband, and when he clarifies the case he does not tell the lady anything to avoid embarrassing her.

“The Blue Carbuncle”, is the seventh chapter of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, during Christmas Sherlock Holmes finds a goose and prepares a Christmas dinner, but is surprised to discover in the entrails of the animal a jewel which he recognises as belonging to the Queen, in his investigations he discovers the thief and the thief tells him that the goose was given to him by mistake, the thief is forgiven if he repents.

In the eighth chapter of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, called “The Band of Moles”, there is an interesting event where an evil stepfather, widower and prisoner of greed, has murdered one of his stepdaughters and intends to do the same with the other, in order to seize the fortune of these young women, Holmes discovers his plan and to the stepfather’s bad luck he is bitten by a snake so that he dies and Sherlock ends the case.

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In the ninth chapter the story is called “The Engineer’s Thumb” and is the story of a patient of Dr. Watson, Mr. Victor Hatherley, an engineer, who is hired by some Germans to repair a machine, but loses a finger in an act which he considers a crime, Holmes investigates and discovers that they are counterfeiters, but they escape the reach of the law.

In “The Aristocratic Bachelor”, corresponding to the tenth chapter of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, is a story where romance prevails, tells that Mr. Lord St. Simon, descendant of a duke, comes to Sherlock Holmes for the disappearance of his wife, Hatty Doran, a woman heiress to a considerable fortune, and has given her up for dead, but seeks Sherlock and Watson to investigate whether she is really dead and the details of the case.

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Sherlock discovers that Mrs Hatty Doran is not missing, but that she had eloped after her church wedding with her former husband, a man of little means called Frank, whom he believed dead, having long since gone in search of fortune so that Hatty’s father would accept him. When he heard of her, he tried to find a way for the others to find out, but Hatty made the mistake of eloping, causing the confusion.

“The Beryl Tiara” is the eleventh chapter, in which Holmes solves the case of the theft of jewels belonging to a royal crown, for which the son of the banker and custodian of the royal jewels is accused, but Mr Alexander Holder does not believe that his son Arthur has committed the theft, Holmes discovers that the theft was carried out by the banker’s niece and her boyfriend, with whom the young Arthur is released.

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In the final chapter, the twelfth, of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, entitled “The Mystery of Copper Beeches”, the deductive ingenuity of Detective Sherlock and his companion Dr Watson is once again displayed in solving the case of the young governess Violet Hunter, who, in order to accept a well-paid job, had to cut her hair, wear an electric blue dress and listen to the good jokes of her employer.

Two weeks later, Holmes receives a telegram from Winchester, from the country mansion of Copper Beeches, from Miss Hunter, asking Holmes to come to the city and meet her at the Black Swan Hotel, where Miss Hunter tells Holmes of the eccentricities of the Rucastle family.

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Violet Hunter gives him the details of why her telegram was urgent, as she discovered that the butler, surnamed Toller, a habitual drunkard, was guarding a secret room, which she entered by chance and discovered a hidden room with a great secret, for which she was threatened if she entered it again. Sherlock plans a way to find out if someone is locked in the room.

Holmes, Watson and Miss Hunter, taking advantage of the fact that the Rucastles have gone out, open the mysterious room, but to their surprise they find no one, but Mr Rucastle arrives, who has released the watchdog, but the dog, which was hungry, rips Rucastle’s neck apart, and when the housekeeper appears, she tells them that Miss Alice Rucastle had eloped earlier with her boyfriend, and she helped them.

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Characters in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The writer Arthur Conan Doyle created for his book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson different characters, some with the same name, where always the main protagonists are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson, with a pleasant and interesting style his stories entertain and capture any reader, their plots are well differentiated in each story.

In this book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, made up of twelve short stories, we find the following characters

“Scandal in Bohemia”; Count and Hereditary King of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Wilhelm von Ormstein, Miss Irene Adler, a woman admired by Holmes for her beauty and intelligence, and Godfrey Norton Adler’s lover.

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“The League of Redheads”; Mr. Wilson, a red-haired man, John Clay, a cunning thief, Mr. Merryweather, a banker, and Inspector Jones, of Scotland Yard.

“A Case of Identity; Miss Mary Sutherland, a woman deceived by her young stepfather, James Windibank, who disguises himself as Hosmer Angel.

“The Boscombe Valley Mystery; James McCarthy, a young man accused of murdering his father, Mr Charles McCarthy, Mr Turner, the murderer and former assailant, Mr Turner’s daughter Alice, who marries young James.

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“The Five Orange Seeds; Mr John Openshaw, a man who is murdered by Elias Openshaw, a follower of the Ku Klux Klan.

“The Man with the Twisted Lip; Mrs Watson, Isa Whitney, an opium user, Mrs Clair, who believes her husband has been murdered by a beggar, Mr Saint Clair, who is disguised as the beggar Hugh Boone.

“The Blue Carbuncle; Peterson, a postman who loses a hat and a goose, John Horner, a plumber accused of stealing the Carbuncle, a valuable stone, Henry Baker, the alleged thief.

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“The Polka Dot Band; Helen Stoner, a woman who believes her life is in danger at the hands of her evil stepfather, Dr Grimesby Roylott.

“The Engineer’s Thumb; Victor Hatherley, a young engineer who loses a finger and fears for his life, Fritz, a villain posing as Colonel Lysander Stark, and a coin counterfeiter.

“The Aristocratic Spinster”; Lord Robert St. Simon, an aristocrat abandoned on his wedding day by his wife Hatty Doran, a wealthy woman who discovers on her second wedding day that her former husband Frank is alive and escapes with him, Flora Millar, Hatty’s best friend, Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard. I invite you to read The Celestine.

“The Beryl Tiara”; Alexander Holder, a banker and custodian of a tiara of 39 beryl crystals, plated with fine gold, from which gems are stolen; Arthur Holder, the banker’s son, accused of the theft; Mary Holder, the banker’s niece, who committed the theft with her lover, Sir George Burnwell.

“The Copper Beeches Mystery; Violet Hunter, a governess employed by a family holding Miss Alice Rucastle captive, Mr Jephro Rucastle, Alice’s father, Mrs Rucastle, Alice’s stepmother, Edward, the Rucastles’ son, Alice’s stepbrother, Toller, the butler, Mrs Toller, the housekeeper, who helps Alice escape, Mr Fowler, Alice’s friend, with whom Alice escapes.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the series

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes were taken as a series for T.V., for the first time, between 1984 and 1994, in which 42 of the stories of this detective were adapted, each episode lasted about 50 minutes and managed to maintain a great acceptance of the public, which was worth it to maintain a good television rating, it was cancelled due to, among other issues, the death of the actor Jeremy Brett. I invite you to read The Golden Cockerel.

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Jeremy Brett was the actor who best played the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, while Dr Watson was played by actors David Burke and Edward Hardwicke, the latter appearing in most of the seasons of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. In these versions, some situations change, but not much in their plots, a commendable variation being to include the protagonist’s abandonment of cocaine use.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the film

With the English title “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, was released in 1939, the first film that personified the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, based on the characters written by the great British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, an event that paid tribute to him nine years after his physical disappearance. This film does not include the twelve stories from the book of the same name, but is based on a single plot.

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The story of the robbery of the English Crown Jewels is the plot of the film, titled “Sherlock Holmes vs. Moriarty” for the Spanish public and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” for the Spanish public. It includes the character of Professor James Moriarty, because he is his most bitter enemy, the one once used by Arthur Conan Doyle to put an end to the exploits of the detective Sherlock Holmes.

The 1939 film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring South African actor Basil Rathbone (1892-1967) as Sherlock and English actor William Nigel Ernle Bruce (1895-1953), was directed by Alfred L. Werker and Darryl F. Zanuck, who focused on showing the character of Detective Holmes, his hobbies and his addiction to harmful substances such as cocaine and morphine.

The film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes features his famous catchphrase “Elementary, my dear Watson”, which is not mentioned as such in his stories but has been a characteristic part of the Sherlock Holmes character since 1939. The most recent film about the detective was released in 2010, starring the acclaimed actor Robert John Downey Jr. Another good read is The Other Turn of the Screw.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Case of Identity

The character of Sherlock Holmes, the shrewd detective created by the famous writer Arthur Conan Doyle in the mystery and crime novel “A Study in Scarlet”, published in 1887, and then as the protagonist of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, became a cultural icon with its own identity, coming to be seen or believed by many people as a real character.

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From The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the detective takes on a life of his own for his followers, although the author was inspired by the character of C. Auguste Dupin, created by the gifted mystery writer Edgar Allan Poe. Like Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes has a biography of his own, but unlike his faithful companion, he remains an inveterate bachelor who loves his craft.

Dr John H. Watson, who narrates much of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, is the one who refers to his personality, habits and additions, of him, Watson says, a bohemian man whose dangerous addiction to cocaine is the only thing that worries him, some critics brand Sherlock Holmes a misogynist for not having married, but Holmes implies that he loves his profession very much and that it absorbs his time.

 

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In the 1893 story “The Final Problem”, Sherlock dies at the hands of his enemy Prof. James Moriarty, but due to the demands of his fans, Doyle decides to revive his character by reappearing in the 1903 novel “The Adventure of the Empty House”, a period known to his fans as the Great Sherlock Hiatus. With the stories “His Last Bow” and “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane”, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson retire. I invite you to read George Orwell’s 1984.

 

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