Basil of Baker Street

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Front cover of Basil of Baker Street

Basil of Baker Street is a series of children's novels written by Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone. The stories focus on Basil of Baker Street and his personal biographer Doctor David Q. Dawson. Together they solve the many crimes and cases of the mouse world. Both live in Holmestead, a mouse community built in the cellar of 221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes is a tenant upstairs. The five books were originally published from 1958 to 1982. Disney's 26th animated film was based on the Basil novels and titled The Great Mouse Detective which was released in 1986. Alternatively, Basil of Baker Street is both the name of the main character and the title of the first novel in the series, published in 1958, by Whittlesey House, a McGraw-Hill imprint.

In late 2018, 36 years after the publication of Titus' last Basil book, a new book in the series was written by American author Cathy Hapka. The first new book in the series (and sixth overall), Basil and the Big Cheese Cook-Off, written by Hapka and illustrated by David Mottram, was published in October 2018. A seventh book, Basil and the Royal Dare, was published in May 2019.


  • Basil of Baker Street – "The Sherlock Holmes of the Mouse World"; very similar to Holmes (who sometimes used the alias Basil, as in "The Adventure of Black Peter"). As his model plays the violin, however, Basil plays the flute, as revealed in Basil and the Lost Colony. His hobbies include archery, archaeology, and mountaineering. Eve Titus gave him the name "Basil" in honor of actor Basil Rathbone, who donned the role of Sherlock Holmes numerous times.[1]
  • Dr. David Q. Dawson – Basil's personal biographer; based on Dr. John H. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes stories. He is a lover of all sorts of cheeses.
  • Professor Padraic Ratigan[2] – Basil's archenemy and a master criminal; based on Professor James Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes story "The Final Problem". Although his name is "Ratigan", in the book series he is a mouse.[3]
  • Captain Doran – Ratigan's lieutenant; based on Colonel Sebastian Moran from the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Empty House".
  • Mademoiselle Relda – a beautiful opera singer; based on Irene Adler from the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia". Basil seems to have romantic feelings for Relda but not much is shown in the books as to their relationship.
  • Mrs. Judson – Basil's housekeeper; based on Mrs. Hudson from the Sherlock Holmes stories. She makes an excellent cheese souffle.


All five books were written by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone, and published by McGraw-Hill. The note A Basil of Baker Street mystery is sometimes cataloged as a subtitle.

  • Basil of Baker Street (McGraw-Hill: Whittlesey House, 1958), 96 pp., LCCN 58-8050

Basil and Dawson go searching for the missing twin children of Mr. and Mrs. Proudfoot. The search takes them from Baker Street to a harbor, and even to the countryside of England. The plot device of a typewriter as the 'smoking gun' is adapted from the Sherlock Holmes story A Case of Identity.

  • Basil and the Lost Colony (1964)

Basil leads an expedition in search of the Lost Colony of the Tellmice. Along the way he is pursued by Ratigan and his thugs.

  • Basil and the Pygmy Cats (1971)

Basil finds a clue that hints at the existence of Pygmy Cats. He and Dawson search for the truth, all the while avoiding Professor Ratigan and Captain Doran. Before they can even go searching, however, they must restore the Maharajah of Bengistan to his throne.

  • Basil in Mexico (1976)

About to embark on a trip to Mexico to help out with a case there, Basil is suddenly called upon to solve the Case of the Counterfeit Cheese. Then, upon his arrival in Mexico, he discovers that that famed "mousterpiece", the Mousa Lisa, is missing, and that it is up to him to find the culprit. Almost immediately afterwards, Dr. Dawson is kidnapped.

  • Basil in the Wild West (1982)

Basil and Dawson continue their North American adventures by solving two mysteries in the Wild West. First, they have to stop a gang of smugglers from taking control of part of the West, and then solve the mystery of the "Thing" that is scaring guests of the Hathaway Hotel.

  • Basil and the Big Cheese Cook-Off (2018)

Basil and Dawson journey to Paris to solve a mystery threatening the world-renown international cheese cook-off cooking competition.

  • Basil and the Royal Dare (2019)

Basil and Dawson come to the aid of the British and Bohemian Royal Families (of mice), when several royal teens go missing.


  1. ^ Bostrom, Mattias (2017). From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon. Mysterious Press. pp. 411–412. ISBN 978-0802126603.
  2. ^ Ratigan's given name is revealed in Basil in Mexico (page 99).
  3. ^ Basil and the Pygmy Cats (page 25).

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