M A D R I G A L'S  S H E R L O C K


R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S:


Here are some of my favourite Sherlock Holmes stories.
Stories are mainly from the BBC series Sherlock, but some may be from the original novels.
I did not like the Downey movies so don't read many stories in that universe but some may find their way here.
Click on the author's name for the link to where the stories can be found on the net.

Warning: Description of the stories may contain spoilers.

Stories marked with a are highly recommended.
I'm happy to supply a copy of any story that has no link supplied - by email on request.

These recs are sorted alphabetically by AUTHOR, then TITLE.

All stories are dated and the latest added to the site are marked  


1ELECTRICPIRATE: "You Are A Paradigm."   
73 kb
CROSSOVER with Harry Potter.
Sometimes, only sometimes, when Sherlock is very far away and absolutely guaranteed not to return for at least three hours, John sits on the sofa and lets the tea make itself. In which John is (reluctantly) a wizard, Mycroft is (apparently) omniscient, and Sherlock is (surprisingly) oblivious.

Pashtu magic is simple and utilitarian, but beautiful in its own way. In hidden shops and behind storefronts they carve amulets and chant incantations, letting the magic whirl around them on a cardamom breeze. John is drawn to it helplessly, a moth to a flame, and one night he sits for hours with an old witch who sells spices by day and spells by night and lets her teach him to feel his way from the tingling on his skin and the taste on his tongue into the current around him, saffron and cardamom and bits of glass, pomegranate sweet and apricot sour, beige and fawn and khaki and blue, white as snow on mountains and black as oil on sand. She tells him, in words that his ears do not understand but his mind somehow does, how to reach out without his hands and guide the rushing whorls of colour and light and sound, bend them gently into doing his will.

That night, for the first night, he doesn’t think about his wand locked up safe and tight in the bowels of London.

When dawn starts to lick the sky with its pink tongue, the witch presses an amulet into his hand and shows him the door, whispering something that John doesn’t understand (but knows to mean, Only what is once broken can be made whole again).

Interesting world-building, especially the magic in Afghanistan. Sequels to this include: To see You Shift and As I let You Rewrite Gravity.

ADLER, IRENE: "Absurdly Simple."
187 kb
Sherlock Holmes  has a secret client who is being blackmailed for his "proclivities" - but despite many hints, Watson fails to guess who the client is.  It's only after he follows Holmes to a sleazy part of town and finds him in a compromising situation that Watson realises just what is happening - and how he feels about it.

To my great surprise he sprang backward with a snarl, livid with rage of which I was the hapless object. "I cannot believe it," he exclaimed. "To think that a man of your age and education, having lived some two-score years upon this planet, cannot solve this simple a conundrum--is it conceivable, I ask you, that an adult member of this great British race who has lived among human beings in both the deserts of Afghanistan and this teeming metropolis, who has exercised the noble art of medicine for years, albeit with no very spectacular success, who has had I might add the not inconsiderable opportunity of observing first-hand for several years the world's leading practitioner of the science of deduction--it beggars belief that this man should, when presented with evidence that surely ought to be enough for any Scotland Yard bungler from Lestrade on downwards, still be incapable of making even the most elementary deduction! I tell you it strains human credulity to the limit. It's too bad, Watson, it really is too bad."

This is a much recommended story on the net and it's a well-written story that definitely keeps the flavour of the original Holmes stories.

ANARMYDOCTOR: "If Metal Had A Choice."
48 kb
Sherlock Holmes and Watson on the eve of The Reichenbach Falls.

If metal had a choice, if metal could make its choice and say this is what I want to be; if metal could stand up and say make me be that, then that would be this pair of handcuffs, of all things. The pair of
handcuffs that joins Sherlock and John on their last night through the cold air of London. Because if metal had the choice to decide about its consummation, then it would demand to be transformed into something important, something that changed lives, something definitive, something radiant and painful.

Primarily what I love about this shortish story is the beautiful language. Read and enjoy.

ANON: "The Deepest Secret Nobody Knows."
141 kb
Sherlock returns from the dead and John Watson is not happy with him.

Sherlock swallows, at a complete loss for words. This has never happened to him before. He usually has a million things to say. He does now as well, but he has no idea where to start. I'm sorry? Come home, for the love of God, please come home? Stop looking at me like that, like it pains you to lay eyes on me, and look at me again like I'm amazing, like I'm the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Another version of what happens after Sherlock's return and this one is a little sweeter than most, which is more to my taste. Sherlock's family make an appearance, as does manipulative Mycroft.

AraSigyrn: "The Shadow On The Wall."
195 kb
John came back from Afghanistan psychic.

Again, it starts with the extremes; a whisper that makes him shout for suction three vital seconds before the machines scream the low blood pressure warning: a nudge that draws his eye to the spreading blood stain in middle of the black shirt. But it keeps coming, the little voice and later, in the real war, the growing sense of deja vu that swells up from his hind-brain whenever he's on the cusp of a critical decision.

I love these sorts of stories and this one is very well written. A slight - very slight - criticism is that it tends to get bogged down in keeping to canon plot lines for The Great Game but otherwise this is fantastic.

Aubkae: "Spaces Between."
85 kb
Another post-death Sherlock returns story.

John hasn't been particularly fussed about what people say about them for a long while now. Grieving widower seemed a close approximation of how he felt, in the aftermath, if any term could describe it at all. Labels are meaningless when the only word that really matters is 'dead.'

Lovely, sweet, first time story. I especially like this Sherlock, who was eager to make up for his absence and obviously cares for John but not too OOC.

AUGUSTBIRD: "Equilibrium."
130 kb
At Baskerville, John is infected by a virus that turns him into a genius. When the infection progresses into neuro-degeneration, it's a race against time to save him. Flowers for Algernon fusion.

“I don’t believe it,” John says when they’re in the cab on the way back to 221B, “How the hell hasn’t this virus exploded in the scientific community yet? I’ve read almost every issue of the BMJ since getting back and there’s been absolutely no mention anywhere.”

“Don’t be so surprised by what the government can hide from you, John,” Sherlock says as he looks out the window, “I hardly think this would be the worst of it.”

“This is—this could change the entire field of neurology! And they’re just sitting on it, hoping to make, what? Supersoldiers?”

Sherlock turns and smiles, all teeth. “Not particularly fair, is it? For those of us who spent years cultivating our genius.”

John puts his face in his hands and laughs. “Of course you’re going to make this about you.”

Anyone who has read Flowers For Algernon will recognise the trajectory of this story - with a Sherlock flavour.

AUGUSTBIRD: "Reignite."      
68 kb
Mary is dead. John hasn't spoken to Sherlock in some time when he is forced to move back into Baker street with his young son, Hamish.

When Hamish asks, “Can I have a microscope for Christmas?” John realizes that it’s December and he’s been living at Sherlock’s for over three months.

“Why would you need a microscope?” John asks.

“Sherlock has a microscope,” Hamish says, “I want to be Sherlock when I grow up.”

“I thought you wanted to be an astronaut,” John says as he takes a moment to process Hamish’s words. Perhaps he’s overdue for an aneurysm.

Lovely story as John learns to forgive Sherlock.

AUGUSTBIRD: "Us Against."      
34 kb
Teenaged John lives with his abusive father and negligent mother. He turns to his friend Sherlock when things get tough, but what does he do when he murders a man?

The only rule John ever established in their friendship was that Sherlock was never to deduce anything about his parents. He knows that Sherlock can read it in his face and the way that Harry flinches sometimes at loud sounds, but Sherlock never says anything aloud which is exactly how John wants it.

Pre-Sherlock story. Warning for abuse.

AUGUSTBIRD: "Walk Through Ghosts."      
43 kb
John has met Mary and Sherlock realises what he has lost.

In a different universe, Sherlock thinks that maybe things would have turned out differently. Perhaps in that timeline, he and John would have returned from a crime scene with the thrum of adrenaline in their veins and the giddiness of a problem well solved. They would close the front door and Sherlock would lean against it with a grin. They would look at each other and Sherlock would hear the rush of blood pounding in his ears as John boxed him in with his arms. Anticipation would make Sherlock breathless and all he would have seen were the grey hairs at John’s temple and the dip of his eyelashes. John would lean in, maybe. He would change his mind last minute and stop, would exhale a breath against Sherlock’s jaw until Sherlock drew a shaky hand through the soft hair behind John’s ear and said brokenly, “Please, John.”

And in a different universe, John would press his lips to the underside of Sherlock’s jaw, and it would be too much. John would breathe against his skin and he would kiss Sherlock’s jaw, his chin, his mouth and Sherlock would be lost.

In this universe, Sherlock sits in the dark and watches television with the sound off. His phone buzzes with texts from a man who now lives miles away. Something has gone wrong with this timeline but Sherlock is tired of pinpointing what it is.

Melancholy story with no happy ending.

BARROWJANE: "The Autumn Moon Is Bright."  
156 kb
John is a shapeshifter.

He's seven, and Harry nearly ten, when their father pulls both of them aside, sits them down at the kitchen table, and explains, patiently and firmly and over and over and over again, how important it is to be careful. That being careful is the only way to be safe, that you never know how people will react to something so far outside their experience.

Very nice story in which Sherlock finds out and freaks out.

BEAUTIFULFICTION: "Electric Pink Hand Grenade."  
397 kb
Sherlock gets migraines and, because he's Sherlock, he gets really, really bad migraines. John looks after him.

John was an anchor, an island, a sanctuary in a turbulent sea, and Sherlock shielded his throbbing eyes in the dusky curve where John's neck joined his shoulder. He had been a fool to set foot outside the flat today, to agree to Lestrade's plea for help, but he had stupidly hoped the storm growing inside his head would wait another day to unleash its full fury.


He had perhaps an hour before the full assault of the pain would hit, bringing with it a vortex of disorientation and misery, and already he could feel everything starting to crumble. Every sense was turned up to eleven. Light made his eyes burn while his skin itched and crawled. Sound was sharp and bitter, a nail gun fired along his ear canal. Scent and taste confused each other, no longer partners side-by-side but lovers entwined, indistinguishable.

Lestrade's car did not purr, it roared, and the roll of the road was enough to make Sherlock press himself closer to John's side in a quest for something stable. John was a warm, strong presence, worried in a way Sherlock could do nothing to ease. The words would not work. Simple vocabulary was beyond him, his language bleeding outwards in an inarticulate wound.

And the synaesthesia was making him want to vomit. Sounds should not have associated colours, nor tastes, but every time he opened his eyes there were flickers of hues that had no place in the scene and strange ripples of flavour over his tongue: acid fumes and beef.

I get really, really bad migraines so I was interested to read this story. The writer dialed the symptoms up exponentially but she had the basics down. And I love Caring!John who looks after Sherlock. Nice slow first time story.

BENDINGSIGNPOST: "Soothsayer."  
31 kb
AU. A captive soothsayer talks to the soldier who guards him about what is, what can be, and what might have been.

“Something the matter?”

“I’m deciding.”

The soldier looks at him oddly. “Yes…?”

Though the unreadable intent behind it flows and changes, the soothsayer’s grey graze remains constant. His is the pressure of a stream upon the twig damming it. “I’m deciding,” he repeats.

“What to tell me?”

He rolls his eyes. “No, what will happen.”

This one is relatively short and an alternative universe but I love this story and I love this author's work generally. Highly recommended. There is a podcast for this story that I recommend here by consulting_smartass.