Conclusion: The Sixty Holmes Stories

  • Michael J. Crowe


Crowe first presents an overall assessment of the extent to which the sixty Holmes stories exhibit the pattern of a Gestalt shift, forty-two in the group clearly displaying that pattern. Fifteen are in the second category, meaning the shifts are less clear and prominent. The third category, those for which the Gestalt shift pattern does not seem to fit, contains three stories. Crowe then claims that there is a correlation between the appearance of the Gestalt shift and the quality of the stories as measured in various surveys of reader reaction to the stories. Doyle’s enthusiasm for contrasts, for rapid developments in parts of a story, and the practice of having a Gestalt shift moment in a story relates to his sensitivity to creating Gestalt shifts. This chapter ends by raising the question whether other prominent authors of detective fiction make use of Gestalt shifts.


Printed Sources

  1. Dakin, D. Martin. A Sherlock Holmes Commentary (Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1974).Google Scholar
  2. Doyle, Arthur Conan. Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and the Fifty-Six Short Stories Complete, annotated by William S. Baring-Gould, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (New York: C. N. Potter, 1975).Google Scholar
  3. Doyle, Arthur Conan. Memories and Adventures and Western Wanderings (Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).Google Scholar
  4. Doyle, Arthur Conan. New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. annotated by Leslie Klinger, 3 volumes (New York: Norton, 2005).Google Scholar

Internet Sources

  1. “Story Summary from McMurdo’s Camp” at Viewed 4 February 2015.
  2. Chesterton, G. K., “How to Write a Detective Story,” which essay is available on the internet at and was viewed 19 September 2015.
  3. Hoy aummaries of the Sherlock Holmes stories; Viewed 4 February 2015.

Audio Source

  1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, read by David Timson. Naxos Audiobooks.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Crowe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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