The best Sherlock Holmes books

12 authors have picked their favorite books about Sherlock Holmes and why they recommend each book.

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Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Book cover of Mexican Gothic

Speaking of immersive reading experiences, this book swept me up and made me feel like part of the story—and better yet, it made me truly care about the characters. I was rooting for Noemi, a strong, resilient main character, for the entire book. And I was equally riveted and terrified as she fought against the nightmarish pull of the gloom, as well as the untrustworthy inhabitants of High House. 


Who am I?

I’ve always been captivated by dark stories—from my teen years watching my favorite creepy show, The X-Files, to now as an adult writing my own thrilling stories. What really draws me to these stories of darkness are the flickers of light they inevitably contain—the love between characters; the growth when characters find their strength after enduring difficult times; and ultimately, the hope they can find even when all seems lost. To me, finding your way through the darkness and into the light—and getting creeped out along the way—makes for the best kind of story, and it’s the kind I strive to write as an author.


I wrote...

Iris in the Dark

By Elissa Grossell Dickey,

Book cover of Iris in the Dark

What is my book about?

Iris in the Dark is the story of an overprotective single mother who must face her worst fear—the past. When Iris is entrusted to house-sit at a lodge on the South Dakota prairie, she thinks she’s prepared for anything. But late one night, she hears a chilling cry for help coming from a walkie-talkie buried in a box of toys. As the calls get more desperate, personal, and menacing, Iris realizes the person on the other end isn’t reaching out for help. They’re reaching out to terrorize her. Now the only way for Iris to move forward in life is to confront the past she’s been running from…a threat that has now followed her into the dark.

The Tower Treasure

By Franklin W. Dixon,

Book cover of The Tower Treasure

Okay, I’ll just say it: I’m a sucker for mysteries. Probably one of the reasons I write my own. But here’s the thing. Before I could drive, Frank and Joe could... cars, motorcycles, motorboats, and they put me behind the wheel. They turned me into a short-wave and citizen’s band radio nut, for a while, and first introduced me to girls who could be adventure buddies, when I couldn’t even talk to one. Truth: I’ve read about fifty of them, Nancy Drew, too. They do begin to repeat. But the first ten felt like a fresh, new adventure. As my other favorite, Sherlock Holmes might have said: “Come Watson, Frank, and Joe, make all haste, the game is afoot.” And I am right behind them. 


Who am I?

I was invited to travel to Africa and the Mid East on a job and I started to say, “I’m not that kind of guy.” Then I realized I am. I‘d already traveled around the world and even off it, reading. I’ve been happy and sad in books, victorious, scared, in love, survived storms and fierce wars, mourned valiant friends, and even space traveled. Books add dimension to life. What is dimension? Simply more. Like frosting on cake, hot sauce on fries, ice cubes in soda... fudge sauce on ice cream...  I read daily, get great ideas and feelings from books, still make new friends asking, “Have you read this?” Well, have you?


I wrote...

Cheechako: An Alaska Adventure

By Jonathan Thomas Stratman,

Book cover of Cheechako: An Alaska Adventure

What is my book about?

Will Rollins, a greenhorn - cheechako - (chee-chock-oh) is miserable in his new Alaska life. He hasn’t made friends in school and doesn't know a thing about dogsleds or surviving at 40 degrees below zero. When Will darts out onto rampaging river ice to rescue a stranded dog, his bravery wins him the dog, Blackie, and a new Native American friend, Elias. 

Thanks to Elias, Will learns to drive a dogsled, to throw a hatchet, and stay alive in the deep cold. When a fierce blizzard rampages across Alaska, snowdrifts nearly burying the family log cabin, it’s up to Will and Blackie to get help. With Elias injured and Will's family in danger of freezing, can a cheechako save them? Can he save himself?

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

By Laurie R. King,

Book cover of The Beekeeper's Apprentice: Or, on the Segregation of the Queen

There are plenty of Sherlock Holmes spinoffs, but this series is the cream of the crop. While Sherlock’s fame may be what draws readers to the book, Mary Russel is the star. She’s every bit as capable as Holmes, and not afraid to disagree with him or ignore his advice. (Although ignoring his advice may not be such a good idea.) Mary’s true love is scholarship, but when she sees injustice, she willingly sets aside her personal wishes and safety to thwart crime and protect the innocent. She is an inspiration to intelligent, independent females who yearn to have their worth acknowledged. 

While each novel is a stand-alone with its own unique charms (and often a unique setting), I recommend starting here and watching their crime-solving partnership unfold.


Who am I?

I’m an engineer-turned-mystery-writer, and my taste in fiction is as unconventional as my career. I love books set in obscure periods of the past, with underdog characters who rise to the occasion through cleverness and grit. I write the kind of books I love to read, which explains why I set my novels in ancient Rome. The engineer side of my brain thrives on doing historical research while my creative side imagines quirky, imperfect characters who find unconventional ways to solve tricky mysteries. I hope you enjoy my list of clever, spunky sleuths from various periods who solve murders in unique ways. 


I wrote...

Death and a Crocodile

By Lisa E. Betz,

Book cover of Death and a Crocodile

What is my book about?

Respectable women don’t investigate crimes, but free-spirit Livia Aemilia and her spunky maidservant must find her father’s murderer before her innocent brother is executed for the crime and Livia is forced into the marriage of her nightmares. Will their meddling expose the culprit or lead them into mortal danger?

You’ll love this fast-paced mystery set in first-century Rome, featuring a feisty amateur sleuth, a cast of eccentric characters, a glimpse of the early church, and an unrepentant, sausage-snatching cat. Winner of multiple awards, including Golden Scroll Novel of the Year (2021).

The Sign of Four

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of The Sign of Four

A one-legged man and a tiny creature. Only Sherlock Holmes could discern from the smallest and strangest of clues what happened to the stolen treasure of Agra brought back to England by four men united by greed. Arthur Conan Doyle was a master at providing all the clues you need to solve the mystery, while making the solution so incredible that you refuse to accept it until he lays it out for you.  


Who am I?

For much too long a perennial student, I hold degrees in Anthropology, Arabic Studies, and Library Science. I’ve studied nine languages and lived or traveled on five of the seven continents. I do not hunt tangible treasure—gold or jewels or sunken ships; I hunt knowledge. My love for rooting out treasure troves of information began with my first job. I held passes to the Library of Congress stacks, where I tracked down sources on Ethiopian history. After months of unearthing mostly obscure references, I came upon the mother lode—the great explorers’ accounts. It was like finding a chest of doubloons. I was hooked on the treasure of the mind.


I wrote...

Hidden Gem: The Secret of St. Augustine

By M. S. Spencer,

Book cover of Hidden Gem: The Secret of St. Augustine

What is my book about?

Barnaby and Philo’s story begins with very bad chili and a dead body.

Barnaby is in St. Augustine, Florida, to teach a college seminar, and plans to use The Secret—a treasure hunt book—as a framework for his class. He enlists Philo Brice, owner of an antique map store, to aid him in seeking clues in the historic sites of the ancient city. Together they face murderers, thieves, thugs, and fanatics, heightening their already strong attraction to each other. Can they solve the puzzle and unearth the treasure before the villains do? Philo and Barnaby pursue several twisting paths and false leads before arriving at a startling conclusion.

The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes

A superior teller of yarns, his stories are beautifully written and the plots, details, along with conclusions, are fascinating. Reading his stories, e.g. The Hounds of Baskerville, The Firm of Girdlestone, or any of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, I find myself in another time, in another world. At times I needed that badly.


Who am I?

I felt compelled to write this story, not just because the eventful lives of myself and members of my family, but mostly because of its historical content. Until this day the West knows very little of what actually happened in the early 1940s and after 1945 to countries and people who, after the war, finished up behind the Iron Curtain. From Fascism to Communism, they had fallen “Out of the frying pan into the fire.” People in those European countries, who had lived through and experienced those events, are now very thin on the ground.


I wrote...

Retrospect

By Tom Tottis,

Book cover of Retrospect

What is my book about?

In the aftermath of the First World War, Julia, a young woman in Budapest, is working hard to contribute to the family’s income. Julia marries Sándor and despite being told by her doctor that she must not have children, she has a son, Tommy. The turbulent years of WWII reduce the family to just mother and son and Julia and Tommy are forced to draw upon their determination, courage, wit, and self-preservation to survive. In the wake of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, crushed by Soviet tanks, Tommy risks his life and escapes from behind the Iron Curtain and from the Communism that has risen from the ashes of Fascism.

From Budapest in the ‘twenties to London in the ‘nineties, this is a family saga of three generations, ravaged by wars and adverse circumstances.

Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2: A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes

This was one giant book I got as a gift and thought I’d never read, but when I started I couldn’t stop. These are old stories, and arguably the oldest I have ever read that ring true today. Holmes is like Thrawn, a mastermind, but he doesn’t rule Empires or command armies. Holmes works in isolation with only his trusted assistant Watson. He follows mysteries wherever they present themselves and is bored by anything else.

It’s the keen intellect that draws me to this book. The kind of stuff most people wouldn’t waste their time on because it goes over their heads. This is not the new Hollywood version of Holmes, this is much more potent. Older movies of Holmes do much better, but none match the caliber that is in these original stories. 

I can’t fully explain, but there is a magic to them that rejects the ‘mundane’ world…


Who am I?

My name is Aer-ki Jyr and I’m the creator of the Star Force Universe. I started writing because most of the new books coming out just plain sucked, so I figured if I could do better, then I should…and I did. What people only partially realize is that Star Force is filled with references and homages to the past great works. There’s far more in there than they realize, but those who have also read them will know when they see them. This list gives you the biggest influences that shaped my childhood mind, and why there are literally statues in the Star Force Universe to a lot of this stuff. 

I wrote...

Star Force: Origin Series (1-4)

By Aer-ki Jyr,

Book cover of Star Force: Origin Series (1-4)

What is my book about?

One of the longest-running science fiction series of all time, Star Force begins in near future Earth with a new space corporation not that different from Elon Musk's, but the difference is this one is being fueled by alien technology secretly discovered under the ice of Antarctica that begins to take you down the rabbit hole and see present day gradually transition into a wildly fantastic future beyond imagination.

But like The Matrix, this story is not one that can be explained. It must be experienced. Quoted by many as addictive, the story starts slow and builds following a core group of individuals chosen from across the planet to lead Humanity via Star Force into the future.

A Study in Scarlet

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of A Study in Scarlet

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite characters because although he seems to detest most people, at his core he finds justice for others. From his brusque nature to self-medicating his anxiety, to his tendency to speak in a lecture-like tone, Sherlock manages to overcome his challenges to win the day. I’ve had my own struggles using alcohol to cope with the stresses of day-to-day life. Thankfully, I rarely drink now. I also tend to ramble on about minute details if the mood strikes, and I found Sherlock’s interlinking of evidence and similar attention to detail to be an exciting part of the story. What makes Sherlock even more interesting is that the diagnosis of autism wouldn’t be conceived for well over fifty years after A Study in Scarlet was published.


Who am I?

As an author who is very likely (undiagnosed) on the spectrum, and someone who has family members who have been diagnosed with autism, I’ve found myself gravitating towards characters that I can personally relate to. These stories represent characters that rise above their challenges and encourage me to do the same. They have given me hope that what may seem to some as limitations I have are in fact positives that allow me to help others.


I wrote...

Sky Child

By T.M. Brenner,

Book cover of Sky Child

What is my book about?

After the End War, a small group of survivors struggle to rebuild civilization inside the Crag, humanity’s last refuge. Sam, a seventeen-year-old hunter, was left outside the mouth of the cave as an infant and is believed by some to be the Sky Child, the one foretold to bring peace and prosperity to the Crag.

Sam must face Chaff, a tyrant who hides the secret of the harvest to maintain control of the Crag. Cruel, manipulative, and deadly, Chaff takes something from Sam he can never give back. Sam's need for revenge could bring about the death of everyone in the Crag, which goes against everything the Sky Child stands for.

The Maracot Deep

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of The Maracot Deep

Master storyteller Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a few things to say about Atlantis. In The Maracot Deep, young zoologist Cyrus Headley travels to the edge of a deep ocean trench with a team of explorers. Suddenly, a giant sea monster attacks them and hurls them down into the trench. The explorers are rescued by the survivors of the destroyed Atlantis, who have dwelled on the seafloor for the past 8,000 years. Will Headley and his companions ever return to the surface again, or will they remain trapped for the rest of their lives like the Atlanteans? Readers expecting this novel to be like his earlier Sherlock Holms stories are in for a surprise, as it explores the spiritual and occult ideas he pondered later in his life.


Who am I?

I'm a novelis who's had a lifelong fascination with travel, lost civilizations, aquariums, swashbuckling stories (both true and fictional), dancing, dusty old bookstores and libraries, sangria, and sunny beaches. I grew up in beautiful south Louisiana and my earliest memories were in New Orleans. Living in “America's first melting pot” taught me to appreciate cultures, languages, cuisine, and music from a young age. Ancient and Medieval history and folklore remain major influences on my writing.


I wrote...

Atlantis On the Shores of Forever

By Jennifer McKeithen,

Book cover of Atlantis On the Shores of Forever

What is my book about?

A princess seeking to balance duty and her tempestuous heart... A wanderer searching for a purpose... A soldier destined for glory... A doomed civilization. The princess of an exiled kingdom, Gwenwhyfar's marriage was decided at birth. Enter Marcus Duilius, a career soldier with an eye for beauty. Although drawn to his fatal charms, she knows this son of a Roman naval hero will never allow a woman to stand in the way of his ambition. With her husband's untimely death, she discovers a freedom she never imagined possible. Ready to make her own destiny, Gwenwhyfar finds she must put aside her desires once more and reforge ties with the mighty Atlantis. Mysterious ships have arrived from the east, leaving destruction in their wake. The known world is threatened. To complicate matters, her former Norse bodyguard has suddenly returned to claim her for his own. Can she uphold her duty, save her world, and still find true love?

Holmes on the Range

By Steve Hockensmith,

Book cover of Holmes on the Range: A Mystery

Steve Hockensmith is a hoot. I love this book. It features Sherlock Holmes wannabe Old Red and boyish galoot Big Red as the Huck Finn version of Watson. Steve’s books are raucously funny while offering a brand new perspective on the last decade of the 19th century.


Who am I?

I love history and I love to laugh. That’s why I brand myself as a writer of Victorian Whodunits with a touch of humor. I’ve spent decades learning about 1800s America. I began sharing that knowledge by performing in costume as real women of history. But I couldn’t be on stage all the time so I began writing the books I want to read, books that entertain while sticking to the basic facts of history and giving the flavor of an earlier time. I seek that great marriage of words that brings readers to a new understanding. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” 


I wrote...

Have Your Ticket Punched by Frank James

By Fedora Amis,

Book cover of Have Your Ticket Punched by Frank James

What is my book about?

Investigating the death of a pugilist sends Jemmy  McBustle to illegal boxing bouts in 1898 St. Louis. She chases clues from the department store to Coroner’s office to the grand Jewish Fair. She visits City Jail to interview Jesse James’ smarter brother, legendary outlaw Frank James. She even explores the seedy world of patent medicine makers who flourished before the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Jemmy has troubles. Every person at the Illuminator newspaper hates her. Mother keeps trying to marry her off to a rich old geezer. Add into the mix a swarm of boarders at the McBustle boarding house, an uncooperative Thanksgiving turkey, and an entire family down with the flu. Oh, and there’s an ugly calico cat with a broken leg.

Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner

By Henry Goddard,

Book cover of Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner

Before the Metropolitan Police (popularly known as Scotland Yard) existed, the Bow Street Runners were in charge of criminal investigation in Britain. Henry Goddard, the brilliant and incisive Runner, employed Sherlockian techniques years before the first Sherlock Holmes story was published. In later years, as a private detective, he continued to investigate and solve famous and complex crimes-He traveled widely, pursuing suspects through the Middle East, Europe, and Australia all of which he vividly describes.

In his old age, he dictated these memoirs, which give us a detailed account of his methods, and how he found "The Man With the Hidden Limp" and how he proved "The Butler Really Did It." It also makes clear how many errors of fact crept into later accounts of these famous crimes. Anyone with an interest in early criminal history will find this fascinating.


Who am I?

I’m a crime historian and storyteller. I study old crimes, particularly those of scientific interest, and present my findings in public presentations. Sometimes I write about them- in the NY Times, Smithsonian, Lancet, Ellery Queen. I’ve researched in autopsy suites, crumbling archives, and crime labs. I was the founder and moderator of the annual Forensic Forum at Stony Brook University. I’ve consulted on criminal matters for PBS, BBC, and commercial stations. I am fascinated by ancient crime because so much great literature derives from it - the sadly dysfunctional Oedipus family, the fraternal dispute between Cain and Abel- the unhappy Borden family of Fall River. All grist for my mill.

I wrote...

The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

By E.J. Wagner,

Book cover of The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

What is my book about?

"Holmes is, first, a great detective, but he has also proven to be a great scientist, whether dabbling with poisons, tobacco ash, or tire marks. Wagner explores this fascinating aspect of his career by showing how his investigations were grounded in the cutting-edge science of his day, especially the emerging field of forensics .... Utterly compelling. " Otto Penzler, member of the Baker Street Irregulars and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop

The Science of Sherlock Holmes won an Edgar Mystery Writers' award as well.

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