He has become the most famous fictional detective of this era, and it could be claimed of all time.
During the Victorian era, as Britain’s police force became more professional and successful, it was inevitable that detective novels would follow and become extremely popular, with Sherlock Holmes becoming the most fashionable.
His popularity came about after The Strand Magazine started a series of stories entitled “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. They approached Conan Doyle, following the success of his novel “A Study in Scarlet”, and persuaded him to write a series of stories about the exploits of its main character Sherlock Holmes, whose sidekick Dr Watson would describe the events as they happened
In all of them he is described as a “consulting detective”, who succeeds by using his skills and logical reasoning that almost appeared fantastic, to solve the cases he investigated for a wide variety of clients.
Conan Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories between 1880 and 1914 making Holmes into one of the best-known fictional detectives. So well know that there have been over 25,000 stage adaptations, films, television productions and publications, which at some point include him. He is even in the Guinness World Records, as they say that he is the most portrayed literary human character in film and television history.
What interests me is what inspired Conan Doyle to create Sherlock? He says the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes came from his days as a medical student where he watched Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, who was master of diagnostic deduction and noted for drawing broad conclusions from minute observation. However, Bell didn’t think so as he said that Sherlock Holmes was actually Conan Doyle, which I think is probably the truth.
Whatever happened, isn’t it intriguing that the Victorian era produced our most famous fictional detective?
Isn’t History Fun!