16 Sherlock Holmes books in Order: The Chronology of Sherlock Holmes novels

Sherlock Holmes the great detective in history whose character fascinated us all is the creation of Arthur Conan Doyle. Traditionally the author has written about 56 short stories and 4 four novels around his creation. The ‘Conan’ word is used to distinguish the original novels by the author Arthur Doyle from the other artists that wrote about the same character.

The widely famous detective has inspired a lot of adaptations whether in the field of literature or cinema. Well, not just the adaptations but the character has also inspired the readers and Sherlock Holmes always woke up the inner detective in us and made us want to solve cases and become the virtual detectives of his stories. 

The first-ever story of Sherlock Holmes was released in the year 1887 and since then the author has written numerous novels based on the character and got recognition for it. Apart from the original creator himself, many other writers also took an interest in this astonishing detective and wrote books about him. 

The real fans of Sherlock Holmes are more interested in reading the original content written by Arthur Conan Doyle and often wonder about the correct chronology in which they were written or should be read. Well, your quest ends here because below we have listed the original Sherlock Holmes books by order as per their publishing year. Have a look below:

1. A Study in Scarlet

Publishing Year: 1887

first book: Sherlock Holmes books in Order

A Study in Scarlet is the first-ever novel written by Arthur Conan Doyle to feature Sherlock Holmes. That means this is the book that gave birth to one of the most remembered and celebrated characters from history, the great detective Sherlock Holmes. It is also the book that marks the first appearance of Dr. Watson. 

The duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with time has become the most famous detective duo in fiction. The book shares their early story when Dr. Watson has returned from a war in Afghanistan and meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time. 

Soon they become flat-mates and since then he has been accompanying Holmes in solving a mystery and witnessing his amazing abilities to solve a case.

2. The Sign of the Four

Publishing Year: 1890

The Sign of Four is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes. In this novel, the detective is seen seeking comfort in the arms of a woman named Mary. The woman is actually very distressed as four years ago she started receiving exquisite gifts every year which is a large and lustrous pearl. 

After that, one day she also gets a special invite from that unknown admirer, and Sherlock and Dr. Watson want to accompany her in finding out who this man is. What follows after is the tale of a stolen Indian treasure, wronged woman, a dog that helps, and a secret love affair. 

3.  A Case of Identity

Publishing Year: 1891

A Case of Identity published in the year 1891 concerns the woman named Mary Sutherland. Mary is in love with a man whose personality is a kind of shy and attentive. The man who couldn’t possibly hurt anyone has mysteriously disappeared on the very day when he was going to marry the love of his life.

Later Mary approaches Sherlock Holmes to help her find her love and find out what is the reason behind his sudden and mysterious disappearance. The engaging read will make you be impressed by the detective skills of Holmes even more and let’s not forget to mention the effort of his partner, Dr. Watson. 

4. The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Publishing Year: 1891

Right after its release, the book became a famous one. The story of murder and treasure makes a perfect recipe for a mystery and thriller and the Boscombe Valley Mystery makes it pretty evident. The story of the book concerns a community in Herefordshire. Lestrade summons the detective Holmes that a local landowner of the community has been murdered.

They are also pretty sure that his emotionally distant son is involved in this crime. But for Sherlock Holmes the story is not all black and white, he immediately determined that there is certainly some third person who is behind all this or at least is involved. 

As the plot progresses you will get introduced with the secret past of a criminal, a story of blackmailing, and a forbidden love story. 

5. A Scandal in Bohemia

Publishing Year: 1891

A Scandal in Bohemia marks the beginning of the short stories written on Sherlock Holmes by his original creator Arthur Doyle. It is the first of the 56 short stories centralizing Sherlock Holmes and fifth overall work. The first 38 works of short stories were illustrated by Sidney Paget. 

The famous story shows us the first encounter of the detective with royalty when the King of Bohemia informs him he is soon going to marry but before that, he had a love affair with an Opera singer, Irene Adler.

Now Irene is threatening him that she will send all the pictures to the press and will destroy him completely. When his several attempts to retrieve the photographs failed, he approached Sherlock to do the work for him. 

6. The Red-Headed League

Publishing Year: 1891

The Red-Headed League is another short story concerning Sherlock Holmes when again the detective duo is out on solving their next mystery. A Businessman named Mr. Wilson approaches Sherlock Holmes and summons him about the possibly upcoming crime or mystery. 

The man with red hair who manages a small pawnshop tells the detective that he saw an advertisement in the local newspaper some days ago where a company specifically asked for a man with red hair. Since his business has been struggling, he went for the interview and joined other applicants. 

At the end of the day, he was the only one hired because the other men with red hair were either too bright or either too dark. The man suspects something fishy is going on and contacts Holmes to solve the mystery. 

7. The Five Orange Pips

Publishing Year: 1892

The Five Orange Pips concern a young gentleman named John Openshaw who has a series of suspicion on his uncle about an ongoing crime who just returned from England and wants to settle down in Horsham. The man has also served as a colonel in the Confederate Army and a planter in Florida. 

The man named Elias has not been married and since he was living alone; he invited John to accompany him in the house. When living at his place John witnesses some strange things that were going on. 

There was one specific room in his house where John was not allowed and his suspicion only rose when one day his uncle received a letter inscribed only K.K.K. and has five orange pips enclosed. As the plot progresses more strange things start to happen, and that’s when he approaches a detective to get to the root of it. 

8. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Publishing Year: 1892

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle is the seventh story in the collection The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes consisting of a total of twelve stories. The story focuses on the disappearance of Blue Carbuncle which is a precious gem that is supposedly stolen from the hotel suite of the Countess of Morcar. 

At the same time, the city of London is preparing for Christmas and the newspapers are filled with the news of the precious gemstone being stolen. A plumber and a previously convicted felon are arrested for the crime and despite his repeated claims that he had nothing to do with the robbery, the police is confirmed that he is the thief as he was there around the tome when the Blue Carbuncle disappeared. 

On the other hand, Sherlock Holmes explores a whole other story of the disappearance of the precious gem and tries to solve the mystery that how the Carbuncle ends up in a goose. 

9. The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Publishing Year: 1892

‘The Speckled Band’ were the last words that Helen heard from her sister before she died a night before her wedding. Though Helen Stoner is unable to decode the meaning of it he seeks the detective Sherlock Holmes and reveals the whole story in front of him. 

She also tells him that she is afraid she is going to be dead soon as she fears her life is threatened by her stepfather. Dr. Grimsby Rylott who practiced in Kolkata has already served a jail sentence for killing his butler in the rage of anger.

Her late mother married him when she was a widow living there. The last words that she heard from her twin sister’s definitely meant something and she wants Holmes to decode it.

10. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

Publishing Year: 1892

And what’s an enthralling mystery without the sudden disappearance of anyone or someone’s life being threatened? Well, following the pattern of writing an engaging mystery story this story features the disappearance of Lord St. Simon’s bride, Hatty on the day of her wedding.

Though Hatty participated in the marriage and the ceremony went pretty smoothly but as soon as the rituals got over and she entered the reception, she disappeared mysteriously. Though a lot of little strange things that happened on her wedding day, Holmes must sit through every little detail to get to the root of the story. 

11. The Adventure of the Copper Beaches

Publishing Year: 1892

The Adventure of the Copper Beaches is the last of the twelve stories in the book The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. In the story, a woman named Violet Hunter approaches Holmes and tells him about an attractive job offer that she has received that has pretty strange conditions. 

The highly paid job as a governess comes with annual pay of 100 pounds a year which will be increased to 120 pounds a year if she is ready to cut her hair short. Though the employer seems like a pretty decent person somehow she is still suspicious because of the strange demands. 

She informs Holmes that she is ready to accept the job as it is a very attractive offer but Holmes asked her to inform him as soon as something wrong happens and he will make sure to visit her at the Copper Beaches where the job is situated. 

12. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Publishing Year: 1892

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a combined book of twelve short stories. Though the stories have no fiction chronology as all of them were released in the year 1892 as part of the book ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’. All the stories in the book are told from the first-person narration of Dr. Watson.

13. The Hound of the Baskervilles

Publishing Year: 1902

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the fourth crime novels written by Arthur Conan Doyle concerning Sherlock Holmes. The novel is set before the “death” of the detective. It tells the story of a murder mystery and the presence of a diabolical hound of supernatural origin.

The story is one of the favorite books of Sherlockian enthusiasts and was listed 128 of 200 on The Big Read Poll of BBC of the UK’s best-loved novel. 

14. The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Publishing Year: 1905

The Return of Sherlock Holmes published in the year 1905 is the collection of thirteen short stories following the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. As soon as the book. The Hound of the Baskervilles got published in the year 1901-1902, the author felt immense pressure to revive his character as the novel was set before his death. 

The novel is the attempt to revive him; the work has also been adapted for a radio show by BBC radio starring Clive Merrison as Sherlock Holmes and Michael Williams as Dr. Watson.

15. The Valley of Fear

Publishing Year: 1915

The Valley of Fear is the fourth and the final draft in the crime novels of Sherlock Holmes written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The book concerns a pseudonymous agent of Professor Moriarty named Fred Porlock. 

The detective receives a cipher message from the agent. However, later the agent decides not to send the key to the cipher because he is afraid that when the professor finds out that he is the traitor, he will have to face some serious consequences. But Fred does inform the detective about his decision. 

Sometime later Holmes receives a news that there has been a committed murder in the area. The gripping read will have you on your edge the whole time. 

16. His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes

Publishing Year: 1917

His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes is the book published n the year 1917 which is the collection of previously published short stories by the author. The book is illustrated by Richard Gutschmid. The book contains a total of eight short stories that are named below:

  1. The Adventures of Wisteria Lodge
  2. The Adventures of the Cardboard Box
  3. The Adventure of the Red Circle
  4. The Adventure of the Cruce-Partington
  5. The Adventure of the Dying Detective
  6. The Disappearance of Lady Frances
  7. The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
  8. His Last Bow: The War Service of Sherlock Holmes


The renowned detective in the history that will forever be remembered for his amazing skills to solve the mysteries has impressed us all. I mean who doesn’t know about ‘The Sherlock Holmes’. The story of these detectives has inspired a lot of works in different forms and the dynamic detective duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson became a household name. 

The above-mentioned works concerning the detective are the original books and stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. His books also inspired other authors to write about Sherlock Holmes. 

Do let us know in the comment section how you liked this article. Also, if you have any queries or questions, we will be thrilled to help you with that. 

Scroll to Top