Graphics from The Sherlock Holmes Book front cover, white symbols against brown tweed effect
Illustrated silhouette of Sherlock Holmes, black on white

12 Famous Sherlock Holmes Quotes

12 Famous Sherlock Holmes Quotes

Holding a magnifying glass to every one of Sherlock Holme's cases, The Sherlock Holmes Book brings the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective to life.

Delve into 12 of Holmes' most famous and fascinating quotes, taken from the Sherlock canon of 56 short stories and four novels...

1. A Study in Scarlet (1887)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'There's a scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life.'Within the first few pages of his 1887 novel A Study in Scarlet, Conan Doyle establishes not only the eccentric and brilliant nature of his hero Holmes, but also the great detective's essential partnership with Watson, and his atmospheric vision of Victorian London.

2. The Sign of Four (1890)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule.'It is 1888 and Holmes, with no case to occupy him, resorts to cocaine, but a puzzle for Holmes to solve appears with the arrival of Mary Morstan, the daughter of a former Indian Army officer who vanished in London 10 years earlier.

3. A Scandal in Bohemia (1891)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'You see but you do not observe'The first of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine, A Scandal in Bohemia is the tale that introduces the beautiful Irene Adler, known also as 'the woman'.

4. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (1892)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'It is my business to know what other people don't know'Set on a frosty morning two days after Christmas, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle finds Holmes and Watson inspecting an old hat, along with a fine plucked goose. It is these clues which lead Holmes on the hunt for a jewel thief (a carbuncle is actually a type of jewel).

5. The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb (1892)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'Each new discovery furnishes a step which leads to the complete truth'It is the loss of a hydraulic engineer's thumb that leads Holmes on a trail to unearth coin counterfeiters. However, in a rare instance in the Holmes canon, the perpetrators escape and suffer no retribution for their crimes.   

6. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor (1892)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'I had formed my conclusions as to the case before our client came into the room'In this story, a bride named Hatty Doran flees from her own wedding reception seemingly without reason. In classic Holmes style, he manages to solve the case almost immediately, while Detective Lestrade becomes increasingly confused.

7. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches (1892)

 Sherlock Holmes quote 'Crime is common. Logic is rare.'Set in 1890, Sherlock and Watson are visited one day by a young woman named Violet Hunter, who thinks she may be being forced to impersonate someone.

8. The Yellow Face (1893)

 Sherlock Holmes quote 'Any truth is better than indefinite doubt'This case is unusual both in that no crime has been committed, and that it is one of only a handful where Holmes' deductions are proved wrong. 

9. The Naval Treaty (1893)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'The most difficult crime to track is the one which is purposeless'

This story is a particular favourite of Conan Doyle himself. Holmes delves into the world of international espionage when he is tasked with the return of a vital naval treaty.

10. The Final Problem (1893)

 Sherlock Holmes quote 'danger is part of my trade'Of all the Holmes tales none caused as much of a stir as this story. Most significantly, it tells of Holmes's untimely death, but it also features the infamous villain Professor Moriarty - the most brilliant of all criminal masterminds.

11. The Adventure of the Illustrious Client (1925)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'Some people's affability is more deadly than the violence of coarser souls'The Adventure of the Illustrious Client is a thrilling story that blends high-society glamour with the grit of London's criminal underworld and makes up one of the twelve short stories featured in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.

12. The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place (1927)

Sherlock Holmes quote 'It is only the colourless, uneventful case which is hopeless'The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place is the last of Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes stories, published three years before Conan Doyle died at the age of 71. 

Continue exploring the world of Sherlock Holmes with The Sherlock Holmes Book, packed with witty illustrations, graphics, and memorable quotes that make it the perfect Holmes guide, covering the whole canon from A Study in Scarlet to The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place. 


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The Sherlock Holmes Book The Sherlock Holmes Book

The Sherlock Holmes Book chronicles every case of the world's greatest detective and his assistant Dr Read More

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