1891, also appears in 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'
Story code:
Sherlock Holmes is contacted by the King of Bohemia, who is seeking his aid in a rather delicate matter; it seems the King was once in love with a young prima donna named Irene Adler and sent her some rather saucy letters and a photograph. Now the King is to be married and he fears that Ms. Adler, as an act of revenge, will send the photograph to his bride-to-be, thereby ruining the marriage.

Dressed up as a groom, Holmes does some reconnaissance around the Adler household and comes to the conclusion that the photograph must be hidden somewhere either in the sitting room or bedroom. Together with Watson he manages to fake an accident outside the house, which causes Ms. Adler to have him carried into the sitting room for a lie down. Watson then tosses a smoke bomb through the window and yells "Fire!". In the ensuing tumult, Ms. Adler rushes to the secret compartment where the photograph is hidden, just as Holmes had suspected.

However, Holmes is unable to recover the photograph immediatly and is forced to leave the house. In the morning he returns, only to find that Ms. Adler had gotten suspicious and followed him home while in disguise. When she discovered who she was up against, she quickly left the country but left a letter where she vows not to expose the King.

This is the first short story that Doyle wrote about Holmes, and it is quite a good one. Several mentions are made of Holmes' cold and machine-like personality and it is stated explicitly that he is incapable of love, but still seems to have fallen for Irene Adler, the one woman who outsmarted him. To him, she is 'the woman'.

We can also note that Holmes is rather disdainful towards the King; maybe this is because repressed feelings of jealousy (Ms. Adler was his lover after all), or maybe he questions the legitimacy of the Kings right to recover the photograph in this manner (but I that case, why did he accept the mission in the first place?).

As a minor detail, Holmes' landlady is called Mrs. Turner in this story, while in all others the landlady is Mrs. Hudson. Since a true sherlockian would never admit that there was an error in the canon it has been speculated that Mrs. Turner is in fact Mrs. Hudson's sister and is filling in for her while she is away (or possibly ill).