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On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes (Hardback)

P&S History > Literary Figures P&S History > Social History

By Stephen Browning
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526779014
Published: 18th February 2022



International Press!

These Authors Follow in the Footsteps of Earlier Travelers, Literally - Recent travel books show an interest not just in distant places, but in distant times. - Lori Sonderlind, The New York Times.

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‘There can be no question, Mr Dear Watson, of the value of exercise before breakfast’

Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of Black Peter

You may have been introduced to the magic of the greatest of English detectives by reading the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or perhaps watching some of the hundreds of films or TV shows that feature the extraordinary adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John H. Watson - now, this unique book offers a detailed itinerary for actually ‘walking’ Sherlock Holmes. Beginning, of course, at Baker Street a series of walks takes in the well-known, as well as some of the more obscure, locations of London as travelled by Holmes and Watson and a gallery of unforgettable characters in the stories. Details of each location and the story in which it features are given along with other items of interest - associated literary and historical information, social history, and events in Conan Doyle’s life. A chapter then explores Holmes’ adventures in the rest of the UK. 55 black and white original photographs accompany the text.

This book is designed to appeal to anyone who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of the stories by travelling, even if just in imagination from an armchair, exactly the same London streets as Sherlock Holmes, and perhaps also by exploring some iconic Holmesian locations farther afield. ‘Come, Watson, come!’ Holmes says in The Adventure of the Abbey Grange. ‘The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!’

Oh my. I loved this one! Learning more about Sir Conan Doyle, and the creation of Sherlock Holmes. I have long been an avid fan of the Sherlock Holmes books. But, getting this insight into the man that created him was something else. I enjoyed the back story, the different crimes of the time that Conan Doyle read about and assisted in logical thinking, and the walks about London, that take you to some of the locations that are discussed in the book.

Great read overall!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

2. What a unique book! A list of walking routes designed to educate and entertain the walker on aspects of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. But the education doesn't stop there. Included in this brilliant Holmes resource are a mini biography of Conan Doyle, detailed history of the places on the routes, details of books, movies and TV shows on Holmes, and photos of the establishment on the routes. At the back is a comprehensive list of every actor who ever portrayed Holmes and Watson. Browning has certain done his research. I cannot imagine any sherlock Holmes fan ever wanting more!

For the Love of Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a great, thoroughly researched, guide book to all the haunts of the famous Sherlock Holmes.

The author divides the book into several walking tours you can take around London to visit a number of sites described in Holmes novels and short stories. What really stands out is the level of detail he gives. He doesn't just tell you about a specific attraction. He goes into detail about which stories it featured in and the context of the site in each story.

I will concede that you need to be a real Holmes junkie to appreciate this book, but I fully admit that I am that junkie.

He also includes appendices on theatrical and film adaptations as well as books by other authors featuring Sherlock Holmes.

I could not get enough of this information-dense book and I recommend it to anyone else who is interested in classic mysteries.

NetGalley, Darlene Odenwald

As featured by -

The Sherlock Holmes Journal

As featured in


I enjoyed learning more about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Sherlock Holmes that I never knew before and would recommend this book on that basis for anyone who is a fan.

The History Fella

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Marrying a travel book with a biography- no, two biographies- is genius to my way of thinking particularly when the travel matter is historic London and the biographies are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his fictitious character, Sherlock Holmes. I happily prepared for our walking tour as I snuggled into my reading chair and anticipated a wondrous vicarious experience since I consider myself a semi-serious Holmesian.

Stephen Browning begins with the man who made the book possible. He delivers an interesting biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life up to the point he began writing the Sherlock Holmes stories. It was a perfect place to start and from there he was able to progress with bio details for Doyle even as he began to chat about Holmes and his Victorian London world through a series of Walking Tours. Each walking tour is between two-three miles long and incorporates different streets and locations mentioned in the Holmes’ stories as well as Doyle’s life. There are even tidbits about family, friends, and literary contemporaries to Doyle along with the mention of real life individuals and their stories that likely and did influence his writing of Sherlock Holmes. Like the celebrity detectives of the day who had some astounding deductions and solving of cases, Doyle’s own two dips into detective work led to the exoneration of both accused. Doyle told a story of meeting two children and their mother and overhearing the little boy talk led to the curious core of one of his favorite stories to write, The Musgrave Ritual.

Fun fact I learned was that the Raffles’ books were written by Conan Doyle’s brother in law and several people have noted some intriguing parallels. There were all sorts of little things that were new to me and I appreciate these little discoveries as I read along. Makes me want to dive back into the Holmes stories and TV/movie adaptions once again to see them in light of these revelations.

In truth, there was much to learn as we meandered along the walking tours and chatted about the scenes, characters, and places involved and bits about the history of the locale. The research and detail that went into making for a colorful backdrop to the walking tours was amazing. I should mention that the author drew mostly from the lore of the stories, but also the TV and film adaptions.On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes is not a book that will be read swiftly or make for a one-sitting read. I found it worked best to read a bit at a time because there is much to absorb between the travel facts of the Walking Tour, the Holmesian details, and the biographical data and stories. It wasn’t dry, but was full of vibe and color. Definitely a book a Holmesian would appreciate or an Anglophile in general.

NetGalley, Sophia Rose

Overall, the book is fantastic, the research, structure, and writing of it is a truly commendable work, one that I thoroughly recommend – and it certainly hasn’t been a three pipe problem for me to come to this conclusion.

Read the full review here

The True Crime Enthusiast

This incredibly researched book covers every aspect of Arthur Conan Doyle's work. Places I'm familiar with are explored through the lens of Sherlock Holmes. Essential reading for lovers of the genre.

NetGalley, David Styles

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was a riveting and informative read and it would be the perfect guide for walking tour based on Sherlock Holmes.
Well written, informative, and well researched.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a worthwhile and interesting read. I'm a self-admitted Sherlockian and there was quite a lot of minutiae of which I was previously unaware (Nicol Williamson played Holmes alongside a jaw-droppingly star studded cast? I never knew!).

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

As featured in

The Bookseller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Armchair Or Otherwise…
Aficionados of Holmes will delight in this beautifully presented book which, apart from outlining the tales and the history of the tales themselves, proceeds to provide a walking tour of Holmes through London - beginning, of course, at Baker Street. With a wholly engaging narrative and a set of photographs for illustration, travel from armchair or otherwise, the Sherlock Holmes trail.

NetGalley, Ruth Giles

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most beloved fictional characters in the world. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, formerly Dr. Arthur Doyle, penned fifty six short stories and four novels and led an adventurous life. In the first half of this fabulous book the author describes Doyle's inspiration for his characters and his personal life including his career as a doctor, spiritualism and family. He goes on to recommend eight walks within London including/starting at Baker Street. Brilliant. The walks include information on length, how much time to expect them to take (including inevitable stops), ease of the walk, loads of relevant information as well as history of the time. Not only that but the last portion includes sites of interest outside London as well as a list of actors who have played Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. To me Jeremy Brett is the only Sherlock Holmes!

I wonder how Doyle would feel about the film and movie depictions over the years since his death. His descriptions of Holmes do not include the deerstalker cap, for example. As a rabid Sherlock Holmes fan it was such fun to read about his stints at sea and literary acquaintances such as Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. I enjoyed the spa and jumper stories and The Hiatus repercussions for the public at the time. Sherlock Holmes was...and is...practically real! There are references to the likes of the wondrous Wilkie Collins, Dorothy Sayers, Thackeray and Dickens, too.

Sherlock Holmes fans in particular would enjoy this book, especially those who wish to read about and see places associated with him. If in London again I would love to embark on several of the walks and observe the Holmesian buildings, parks, statues and streets written about in this book. I like the inclusion of photos as well.

My sincere thank you to Pen & Sword and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this wonderful book!

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sherlock Holmes is everyone's favorite character. On The Trail Of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning takes us on an amazing journey, where you can find yourself on the streets of London. The author has penned down minute details of the places and people involved in Sherlock's cases. For me, the book rather came as a surprise as I was expecting a storyline. Instead, it became far more interesting for me as I loved the information, as I am an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes. Reading it was a new experience for me.

Definitely, I would love to give the book 5 stars for its creativeness.

NetGalley, Sucharita Biswas

This is a must read for Sherlock fans. The beginning is a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it was incredibly interesting, it went into not only Conan Doyle but also the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. There was so much I wasn’t aware of about the creator of Sherlock. The second half of the book goes into the places from the Sherlock stories, details about the locations and their significance to both the stories and the Conan Doyle.

NetGalley, Aisling Ching

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read and a must for all Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle fans alike. Insights into the author and characters at every turn, read it all in one sitting as couldn’t put it down.

NetGalley, Lisa Hamer

This was a quick and easy read, and definitely one for the fans of the great detective and his surrounds.

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating! This really is a gem of a book, far more detailed than I had anticipated—a veritable encyclopaedia of all things Holmes-related.
It is both an indispensable travel guide and essential addition to the bookshelf of new readers and lifelong Sherlockians alike.
I gained some fascinating new insights, and it cast fresh light on many of my long-held assumptions.

NetGalley, Richard Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

WOW, what a fantastic book. I loved from the minute I picked it up. It has been professionally written and the amount of research that has gone into it was fantastic.

I really enjoyed reading the walks the Author has recommended and all the other information on them other than about Holmes was interesting.

Definitely a book that will increase your knowledge about Sherlock and Conan Doyle. I am buying a hard copy for my son once it is released.

NetGalley, Hazel Thomson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Since listening to the Sherlock Holmes radio show with my grandfather growing up I have loved everything related to Sherlock Holmes.
This is an absolute must for any Sherlock Holmes fan, this book starts with a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I loved the fact that he and Bram Stroker knew each other, that was something I did not know. I also loved how the author explained where the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes came from. That was superb!
Then, the second half of the book was really admirable by someone who has not been to London. The author does very detailed information about the different locations in the Sherlock Holmes books and their significance to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This was an amazing book and I enjoyed reading it! The author does a very exceptional job explaining the history, social history, and everything between! I definitely recommend this to any Sherlock Fan or a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing as well!

NetGalley, Amber Machado

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book begins with a short biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The second largest segment of the text is dedicated to a series of walking tours of London as well as other famous locations scattered throughout the UK. Walking tours include general trivia, duration, landscape features, historical points of interest, connections to various stories from the Sherlock Holmes canon, and much more. This is a great read for any fan of Sherlock Holmes looking to visit London and elsewhere in the UK.

NetGalley, Katherine Wehrle

As featured in

The Bookseller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic read! Beginning, of course, at Baker Street a series of walks takes in the well-known, as well as some of the more obscure, locations of London as travelled by Holmes and Watson and a gallery of unforgettable characters in the stories. Details of each location and the story in which it features are given along with other items of interest - associated literary and historical information, social history, and events in Conan Doyle’s life.

NetGalley, Michelle Coates
 Stephen Browning

About Stephen Browning

Stephen Browning is the author of the highly acclaimed studies The World of Charles Dickens (Halsgrove 2012) and On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes (Pen and Sword 2022). His first book was a collaborative project with a dozen other students whilst at the University of Kent, Canterbury for the Disabled. He now lives in Norfolk where he has written several books about the county, some of which, including Visitors’ Historic Britain: Norwich and Norfolk, Stone age to the Great War (2020), have been published by Pen and Sword. He has co-written several books aimed at helping young people and professionals master the English Language in China and East Asia: two of these have won ‘No 1 Book of the Year’ awards from the Library Service in Taiwan.

The birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

22nd May 1859

On 22 May 1859, Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sherlock Holmes Appears

1st December 1887

Sherlock Holmes first appears in print in "Study in Scarlet" by Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle publishes "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" collection of 12 stories originally published serially in "The Strand Magazine"

14th October 1892

Arthur Conan Doyle publishes "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" collection of 12 stories originally published serially in "The Strand Magazine"

The death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

7th July 1930

Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died following a period of illness on Monday, 7 July 1930, surrounded by his family.

View all events View all anniversaries

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