Author: Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was the first collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. The 12 stories had originally appeared (one-by-one) in The Strand Magazine.
Before this, Sherlock Holmes had already appeared in two full-length books: A Study in Scarlet, and The Sign of Four.
It was followed by Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, and His Last Bow. The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear were the only ones that were not short story collections (they too were full-length books).
The stories are told through the eyes of Holmes’s sidekick, Dr. John Watson.
Although Holmes had already appeared in two books, the release as short-stories over the course of two years in The Strand Magazine made him far more famous. The release of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was popular enough to keep Doyle writing in the short-story format.
Doyle said he based the character of Holmes on a colleague, Dr. Joseph Bell, who Doyle believed was excellent at learning a lot from small details. Bell, however, wrote to Doyle saying ‘you are Sherlock Holmes, and well you know it.’
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion kin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer – excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-powered lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.
Sherlock Holmes was already a well-liked character thanks to the two books and short stories; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was the perfect way for the public to buy a collection of his stories.