Readers of Collier’s Weekly found this announcement just below the Table of Contents for the September 19, 1903 issue:
Sherlock Holmes Returns!
In next week’s issue of COLLIER’S, the Household Number for October, will begin the most notable series of short stories of the year, – “The Return of Sherlock Holmes,” by Sir A. Conan Doyle. Those familiar with the previous adventures of the famous detective – and are there any who are not? – will remember that the last heard of Mr. Holmes was the report that he had been hurled headlong over a precipitous cliff. It was not believed that any man – either in fact or in fiction – could survive such a shock as this, and even the detective’s best friends (even those who most realized the very good reasons Holmes might have for wishing himself to be considered dead) began to give up hope of ever again hearing of his wonderful genius or of witnessing its almost infallible operation. But Holmes did not die. He survived the deadly peril through which he passed, and of this and of the ensuing adventures Sir Conan Doyle tells us in the remarkable series which he has called “The Return of Sherlock Holmes.” The first story is entitled “The Adventure of the Empty House,” and will be published next week. The second story will follow in the November Household Number. The illustrations for the series have been made by Frederic Dorr Steele and form a perfect complement to the text.
What a delightful surprise that must have been!