I am trying to identify an English language short story about Holmes, spending a year or more in a remote Himalayan rural setting. I think I first read it in the 2010s. I vaguely recall he persuades a pastoralist to assist him as he researches and keeps special bees. I think the honey produced by these bees may have contributed to longevity, or perhaps Sherlock Holmes was researching whether that was possible.

Sherlock may have been traveling under another name in the story (perhaps a Norwegian named 'Sigerson'?), and his identity as Holmes may only have been given away by clues to those familiar with Conan Doyle's work (I am unsure about this).

I had thought it was written by Neil Gaiman, but a peruse of short story titles from collections I have read, is not bringing the story to my attention.

What was this story?

1 Answer 1


There is the story The Case of Death and Honey in Gaiman's book Trigger Warning.

It differs from your description in some ways. Holmes is not incognito and the setting is unnamed mountains in China not specifically the Himalayas. However it does involve Holmes investigating honey that confers immortality in a mountain setting.

The story is mainly centred on Old Gao who keeps the bees and collects their honey. Holmes appears as the barbarian who is looking at bees. Holmes's brother Mycroft dies young and Holmes sets out to solve the last mystery - that of death. The story ends:

There is one thing left to do. My only remaining goal, and it is small enough. I shall make my way to Shanghai, and from there I shall take ship to Southampton, a half a world away.

And once I am there, I shall seek out Watson, if he still lives – and I fancy he does. It is irrational, I acknowledge, and yet I am certain that I would know, somehow, had Watson passed beyond the veil.

I shall buy theatrical makeup, disguise myself as an old man, so as not to startle him, and I shall invite my old friend over for tea.

There will be honey on buttered toast served with the tea that afternoon, I fancy.

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    Oh! That is lovely. I remember how Mycroft died young. This reminds me of Conrad Hilton's "Lost Horizon" but with a much different, more buoyant ending. I am not OP but I thank you for this. I will read the short story next. I read all of the Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle... a long time ago. Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 18:59
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    A note on the name ‘Sigerson’: That doesn't seem to appear in The Case of Death and Honey, but it does appear in Gaiman's other Sherlock Holmes pastiche, A Study in Emerald (where it's probably a reference to the 1975 Gene Wilder comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother). It's possible that OP is remembering both of these stories and mixing them up, especially since (spoiler warning) Holmes's true identity is hidden in the latter one. Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 20:09
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    @TobyBartels 'Sigerson' refers to one of Holmes' post-Reichenbach aliases, as reported in "The Adventure of the Empty House."
    – Lexible
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 3:39
  • @Lexible : Ah yes, that's true! Still, it doesn't appear in The Case of Death and Honey (or else there's an error in the PDF that I searched). Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 17:02

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