A collection of the most profound, thought-provoking, and inspirational Sherlock Holmes quotes concerning observation, deduction, and philosophy. Expressions and sayings extracted from The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes, a comprised release containing 37 short stories from: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
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These short stories were written by Arthur Conan Doyle between 1892 and 1905, and originally published in The Strand Magazine. Now loved with recent portrayals of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the BBC series, and Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in movies.
This version of The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes was released by Castle Books in 1976, featuring the remarkable, classic illustrations of Sidney Paget – which bring the stories to life in such a truly vivid and captivating way!
“It would be impossible to overestimate the influence that he exerted upon the thousands who based their conception then – as they still continue to do after sixty years – on his interpretation of Holmes, Watson, and the golden time ‘where it is always 1895’. From that day to this no characterisation, no other mood has been accepted by English readers, and when his untimely death in 1908 necessarily shifted his mantle to other shoulders, the artists who followed him – several of greater skill and reputation – were compelled to subordinate themselves to the Paget style in all essential particulars. It has been truly said that what Phiz did for Pickwick, Paget did for Sherlock Holmes.”James Montgomery, A Study in Pictures: Being a “Trifling Monograph” on the Iconography of Sherlock Holmes (Philadelphia, 1954).
Remarkably, Sidney Paget was, in fact, commissioned for the Sherlock Holmes illustrations in error by the editors of The Strand, who thought they were hiring Sidney’s brother Walter, who had illustrated “King Solomon’s Mines” and “Treasure Island”. Walter, however, went on to serve as Sidney’s model for the character of Sherlock Homes.
You can find The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, or for Kindle all over on Amazon.
List updated as I progress through the stories!
Part 1: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Published in The Strand between July 1891 and December 1892.
Adventure I: A scandal in Bohemia
“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.”– Sherlock Holmes
“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure II: The red-headed league
“I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside of conventions and humdrum routine of every-day life.”– Sherlock Holmes
“You have heard me remark that the strangest and most unique things are very often connected not with the larger but with the smaller crimes, and occasionally, indeed where there is room for doubt whether any positive crime has been committed.”– Sherlock Holmes
“I begin to think, Watson, that I make a mistake in explaining. Omne ignotum pro magnifico, you know, and my poor little reputation, such as it is, will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid.”– Sherlock Holmes
“My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me do so.”– Sherlock Holmes
“L’homme c’est rien – l’œuvre c’est tout, as Gustave Flaubert wrote to Georges Sand.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure III: A case of identity
“My dear fellow, life is stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence.”– Sherlock Holmes
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure IV: The Boscombe Valley mystery
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”– Sherlock Holmes
“Well, I say now, as I said then, that a man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure VI: The man with the twisted lip
“I confess that I have been as blind as a mole, but it is better to learn wisdom late, than never at all.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure VII: The adventure of the blue carbuncle
“On the contrary, Watson, you can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. You are too timid in drawing your inferences.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure X: The adventure of the noble bachelor
“My whole examination served to turn my conjecture into a certainty. Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing, as when you find a trout in the milk, to quote Thoreau’s example.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure XI: The adventure of the beryl coronet
“I will tell you, then, what occurred in your house last night. Your niece, when you had, as she thought, gone to your room, slipped down and talked to her lover through the window which leads to the stable lane. His footmarks had pressed right through the snow, so long had he stood there. She told him of the coronet. His wicked lust for gold kindled at the news, as he bent her to his will. I have no doubt that she loved you, but there are women in whom the love of a lover extinguishes all other loves, and I think she must have been one.”– Sherlock Holmes
“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure XII: The adventure of the copper beeches
“To the man who loves art for its own sake, it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived.”– Sherlock Holmes
(To Watson) “You have erred perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your statements, instead of confining yourself to the task of placing upon record that severe reasoning from cause to effect is really the only notable feature about the thing […] If I claim full justice for my art it is because it is an immense personal—a thing beyond myself. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales.”– Sherlock Holmes
Miss Hunter: “Danger! What danger do you foresee?”
“It would cease to be a danger if we could definite it.”– Sherlock Holmes
“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”– Sherlock Holmes
“It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowliest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”– Sherlock Holmes
Part 2: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Published in The Strand as additional episodes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes between December 1892 and November 1893.
Adventure XIII: The adventure of Silver Blaze
“See the value of imagination, […] we imagined what might have happened, acted upon the supposition, and find ourselves justified.”– Sherlock Holmes
Adventure XIV: The adventure of the cardboard box
“Finding that Holmes was too absorbed for conversation I had tossed aside the barren paper and, leaning back in my chair, I fell into a brown study.”– Dr. Watson
Sadie Stein writes in The Paris Review that “brown was once used the way we do blue today—to connote melancholy”. The expression ‘brown study’ describes “a state of intense, sometimes melancholy reverie”
“What is the meaning of it, Watson? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”– Sherlock Holmes
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