Sherlock Holmes

All about Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, bio, free stories online & links to books

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied to be a doctor at the University of Edinburgh and set up a small practice at Southsea in Hampshire during his 20s. While the practice proved largely unsuccessful, the lack of patients provided him with the opportunity to create possibly the most popular character ever introduced in the history of fiction, Sherlock Holmes.

While at University, Conan Doyle had been greatly influenced by Dr. Joseph Bell, one of his professors. Bell was an expert in the use of deductive reasoning to diagnose disease. Conan Doyle was so impressed that he used these same principles when creating his famous detective.

Sherlock Holmes was introduced in A Study in Scarlet (1887), followed by A Sign of Four in 1890, but didn’t really take hold of the public’s imagination until Strand magazine, newly founded in 1890, published a series of short stories called “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” From that point on the public couldn’t get enough of Holmes and his always reliable confidant, John H. Watson, a retired military doctor.

Residing in London at 221B Baker Street, Holmes’s character and personality set him apart from all others. “Holmes, with his keen sense of observation, his lean face and hooked nose, his long legs, his deerstalker hat, his magnifying glass, and his ever-present pipe. This personality is what caught the reader’s imagination.” (The Literature of Crime and Detection)

From 1891 to 1893, Strand published stories featuring Holmes and Watson, all avidly followed by the public. When in The Final Problem (1893), Holmes and his longtime nemesis, Professor Moriarty, are killed off, the public outcry was so great, Conan Doyle was forced to bring him back to life. He continued the exploits of Holmes and Watson nine years later in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).

More novels and short stories appeared to the delight of Conan Doyle’s fans until The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927), the last to feature the brilliant sleuth.

Sherlock Holmes is without doubt one of the most beloved figures in the history of mystery fiction. Conan Doyle’s works were made into several stage plays and feature films. In all, Holmes and Watson were featured in four novels and 56 short stories.

Despite the success of his most famous character, throughout his adult life Conan Doyle sought to escape the Sherlock Holmes phenomenon and concentrate on writing about his other interests. Although he was never completely successful due to the intense popularity of Holmes, he was knighted for his nonfiction work on the Boer War and also wrote other historical works such as The White Company (1890).

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