The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is the final set of twelve (out of a total of fifty-six) Sherlock Holmes short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927.

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Dust-jacket illustration of the first edition of The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
AuthorArthur Conan Doyle
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesSherlock Holmes
GenreDetective fiction
PublisherJohn Murray
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages320 pp
Preceded byHis Last Bow 
TextThe Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes at Wikisource

Title of collection

The first British edition and the first American edition of the collection were both published in June 1927. However, they had slightly different titles. The title of the British collection was The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (hyphenated "Case-Book"), whereas the title of the American edition was The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes ("Case Book" as two words).

Further confusing the issue of the title, some later publishers released the collection under the title The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes ("Casebook" as a single word).


The first edition of The Case-Book, published by John Murray in 1927, does not present the stories in the order in which they were published:[1]

First edition (John Murray, 1927)
ChapterStoryFirst publicationRefs
1"The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"8 November 1924Collier's[2][3]
2"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier"16 October 1926Liberty[4][5]
3"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone"October 1921The Strand Magazine[4][6]
4"The Adventure of the Three Gables"18 September 1926Liberty[4][5]
5"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"January 1924The Strand Magazine
Hearst's International
6"The Adventure of the Three Garridebs"25 October 1924Collier's[3][7]
7"The Problem of Thor Bridge"February–March 1922The Strand Magazine
Hearst's International
8"The Adventure of the Creeping Man"March 1923The Strand Magazine
Hearst's International
9"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane"27 November 1926Liberty[5][9]
10"The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger"22 January 1927Liberty[5][9]
11"The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place"5 March 1927Liberty[5][9]
12"The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"18 December 1926Liberty[5][9]

The copyrights for Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories expired in 1980 in Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the only Sherlock Holmes works by Doyle still protected by copyrights are nine of the twelve short stories from The Case-Book. The first three stories ("The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone", 1921; "The Problem of Thor Bridge", 1922; and "The Adventure of the Creeping Man, 1923") are already in the public domain since they were published before 1924. The other stories will enter the public domain on 1 January of the year after the 95th anniversary of each story's publication: 1 January 2020 for "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" and "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"; 1 January 2022 for "The Adventure of the Three Gables", "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier", "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" and "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"; 1 January 2023 for "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger" and "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place".

The Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. claim they hold the American copyrights. The company has a web page setting out its views about other claimants to those rights. For background, see a note by Peter Blau, January 2011.[10]

As 2013 came to an end, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois handed down a ruling about copyright protection, not for the stories themselves, but for the characters of Holmes and Watson. The defendant in the case was Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. The plaintiff was well-known Sherlockian editor, and Los Angeles entertainment lawyer, Leslie S. Klinger. In the case of Klinger vs. Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., the court ruled that the Holmes and Watson characters as described in the "story elements" that stem from most of the stories—those published before 1924—are in the public domain.[10]

Literary significance and reception

Although some of the stories are comparable with Doyle's earlier work, this collection is often considered a lesser entry in the Sherlock Holmes canon. David Stuart Davies has commented that "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" "veers towards risible science fiction"; in the 1974 novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, author Nicholas Meyer's Watson claims that this entry, as well as three others from the Case-Book ("The Mazarin Stone", "The Three Gables" and "The Lion's Mane"), are forged "drivel". Kyle Freeman also suggests that "The Mazarin Stone" and "The Three Gables" may not be Conan Doyle's work, stating that "[a]lmost nothing about either of "The Mazarin Stone" or "The Three Gables" has the true ring of Conan Doyle's style about them."[11]

Three stories of the collection are not narrated by Dr. Watson, as most Sherlock Holmes stories are. "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" is narrated in the third person, since it was adapted from a stage play in which Watson hardly appeared. "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" and "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" are both narrated by Holmes himself, the latter being set after his retirement.


The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes was adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 1994–5 as part of Bert Coules' complete radio adaptation of the canon, starring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. Notable guest stars included Robert Glenister as James Dodd in "The Blanched Soldier" and Harriet Walter as Eugenia Ronder in "The Veiled Lodger". The episodes were written by Bert Coules, Roger Danes, Peter Ling, David Ashton, Robert Forrest, and Michael Bakewell, and directed by Enyd Williams and Patrick Rayner.[12]


  1. Redmond (2009), p. 34
  2. Redmond (2009), pp. 34–35
  3. Pugh (2011), p. 169
  4. Redmond (2009), p. 35
  5. Pugh (2011), p. 170
  6. Pugh (2011), p. 166
  7. Redmond (2009), p. 36
  8. Pugh (2011), p. 168
  9. Redmond (2009), p. 37
  10. "Copyright Notes on the ownership of the Sherlock Holmes stories". Sherlockian.Net. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  11. Freeman, Kyle. "Introduction". The Complete Sherlock Holmes. 2: 35. ISBN 978-1-59308-040-2.
  12. Bert Coules. "His Last Bow". The BBC complete audio Sherlock Holmes. Retrieved 12 December 2016.


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