Sherlock Holmes
Overview
 
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning
Logical reasoning
In logic, three kinds of logical reasoning can be distinguished: deduction, induction and abduction. Given a precondition, a conclusion, and a rule that the precondition implies the conclusion, they can be explained in the following way:...

, his ability to take almost any disguise
Disguise
A disguise can be anything which conceals or changes a person's physical appearance, including a wig, glasses, makeup, costume or other ways. Camouflage is one type of disguise for people, animals and objects...

, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases
Legal case
A legal case is a dispute between opposing parties resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case may be either civil or criminal...

.

Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. The first novel, A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual
Beeton's Christmas Annual
Beeton's Christmas Annual was a paperback magazine printed in England yearly between 1860 and 1898, founded by Samuel Orchart Beeton. The November 1887 issue contained a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle entitled A Study in Scarlet which introduced the characters Sherlock Holmes and his friend Watson.-...

 in 1887 and the second, The Sign of the Four, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine was a 19th century literary magazine published in Philadelphia from 1868 to 1915, when it relocated to New York to become McBride's Magazine. It merged with Scribner's Magazine in 1916....

 in 1890.
Quotations

His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know nothing.

Part 1, chap. 2

I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.

Part 1, chap. 2

Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.

Part 1, chap. 2, p. 23

The theories which I have expressed there, and which appear to you to be so chimerical, are really extremely practical — so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese.

Part 1, chap. 2, pp. 23-24

It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact.

Part 1, chap. 3, p. 26

It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.

Part 1, chap. 3, p. 27

"They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains," he remarked with a smile. "It's a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work."

Part 1, chap. 3, p. 31

You know a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick; and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all.

Part 1, chap. 4, p. 33

When a fact appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions, it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation.

Part. 1, chap. 7,

Encyclopedia
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning
Logical reasoning
In logic, three kinds of logical reasoning can be distinguished: deduction, induction and abduction. Given a precondition, a conclusion, and a rule that the precondition implies the conclusion, they can be explained in the following way:...

, his ability to take almost any disguise
Disguise
A disguise can be anything which conceals or changes a person's physical appearance, including a wig, glasses, makeup, costume or other ways. Camouflage is one type of disguise for people, animals and objects...

, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases
Legal case
A legal case is a dispute between opposing parties resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case may be either civil or criminal...

.

Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. The first novel, A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual
Beeton's Christmas Annual
Beeton's Christmas Annual was a paperback magazine printed in England yearly between 1860 and 1898, founded by Samuel Orchart Beeton. The November 1887 issue contained a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle entitled A Study in Scarlet which introduced the characters Sherlock Holmes and his friend Watson.-...

 in 1887 and the second, The Sign of the Four, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine was a 19th century literary magazine published in Philadelphia from 1868 to 1915, when it relocated to New York to become McBride's Magazine. It merged with Scribner's Magazine in 1916....

 in 1890. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the first series of short stories in Strand Magazine
Strand Magazine
The Strand Magazine was a monthly magazine composed of fictional stories and factual articles founded by George Newnes. It was first published in the United Kingdom from January 1891 to March 1950 running to 711 issues, though the first issue was on sale well before Christmas 1890.Its immediate...

, beginning with A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

 in 1891; further series of short stories and two novels published in serial form
Serial (literature)
In literature, a serial is a publishing format by which a single large work, most often a work of narrative fiction, is presented in contiguous installments—also known as numbers, parts, or fascicles—either issued as separate publications or appearing in sequential issues of a single periodical...

 appeared between then and 1927. The stories cover a period from around 1880 up to 1914.

All but four stories are narrated by Holmes's friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself ("The Blanched Soldier
The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier
"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes...

" and "The Lion's Mane
The Adventure of the Lion's Mane
"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. It is notable for being narrated by Holmes himself, instead of by Dr...

") and two others are written in the third person ("The Mazarin Stone
The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone
"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes....

" and "His Last Bow
His Last Bow (story)
"His Last Bow" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and one of seven collected in the anthology His Last Bow. Unlike most other Holmes stories which are written from the point of view of Dr...

"). In two stories ("The Musgrave Ritual
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
"The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1893, and was collected later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the majority of Holmes stories, the main...

" and "The Gloria Scott
The Adventure of the Gloria Scott
"The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott'", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

"), Holmes tells Watson the main story from his memories, while Watson becomes the narrator of the frame story. The first and fourth novels, A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

 and The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915, and the first book edition was published in New York on 27 February 1915.- Part I: The Tragedy of Birlstone...

, each include a long interval of omniscient narration recounting events unknown both to Holmes and to Watson.

Inspiration for the character of Holmes

Doyle said that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell
Joseph Bell
Joseph Bell, JP, DL, FRCS was a famous Scottish lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh in the 19th century. He is perhaps best known as an inspiration for the literary character Sherlock Holmes....

, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh or RIE, sometimes mistakenly referred to as Edinburgh Royal Infirmary or ERI, was established in 1729 and is the oldest voluntary hospital in Scotland. The new buildings of 1879 were claimed to be the largest voluntary hospital in the United Kingdom, and later on...

. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations. Sir Henry Littlejohn, Lecturer on Forensic Medicine and Public Health at the Royal College of Surgeons, is also cited as a source for Holmes. Littlejohn served as Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health of Edinburgh, providing for Doyle a link between medical investigation and the detection of crime.

Early life

Explicit details about Sherlock Holmes's life outside of the adventures recorded by Dr. Watson are few and far between in Conan Doyle's original stories; nevertheless, incidental details about his early life and extended families portray a loose biographical picture of the detective.

An estimate of Holmes' age in the story "His Last Bow
His Last Bow
His Last Bow is a collection of seven Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as the title of the last story in that collection...

" places his birth in 1854; the story is set in August 1914 and he is described as being 60 years of age. Commonly, the date is cited as 6 January. However, an argument for a later birthdate is posited by author Laurie R. King
Laurie R. King
Laurie R. King is an American author best known for her detective fiction. Among her books are the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, featuring Sherlock Holmes as her mentor and later partner, and a series featuring Kate Martinelli, a fictional lesbian San Francisco, California, police...

, based on two of Conan Doyle's stories: A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

 and "The Gloria Scott" Adventure
The Adventure of the Gloria Scott
"The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott'", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

. Certain details in "The Gloria Scott" Adventure indicate Holmes finished his second and final year at university in either 1880 or 1885. Watson's own account of his wounding in the Second Afghan War
Second Anglo-Afghan War
The Second Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the nation was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended in a manner...

 and subsequent return to England in A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

 place his moving in with Holmes in either early 1881 or 1882. Together, these suggest Holmes left university in 1880; if he began university at the age of 17, his birth year would likely be 1861.

Holmes states that he first developed his methods of deduction while an undergraduate. The author Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a renowned English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator and Christian humanist. She was also a student of classical and modern languages...

 suggested that, given details in two of the Adventures, Holmes must have been at Cambridge rather than Oxford and that "of all the Cambridge colleges, Sidney Sussex (College)
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Sidney Sussex College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England.The college was founded in 1596 and named after its foundress, Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex. It was from its inception an avowedly Puritan foundation: some good and godlie moniment for the mainteynance...

 perhaps offered the greatest number of advantages to a man in Holmes’ position and, in default of more exact information, we may tentatively place him there".

His earliest cases, which he pursued as an amateur, came from fellow university students. According to Holmes, it was an encounter with the father of one of his classmates that led him to take up detection as a profession, and he spent the six years following university working as a consulting detective, before financial difficulties led him to take Watson as a roommate, at which point the narrative of the stories begins.

From 1881, Holmes was described as having lodgings at 221B, Baker Street
221B Baker Street
221B Baker Street is the London address of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the United Kingdom, postal addresses with a number followed by a letter may indicate a separate address within a larger, often residential building...

, London, from where he runs his consulting detective service. 221B is an apartment up 17 steps, stated in an early manuscript to be at the "upper end" of the road. Until the arrival of Dr. Watson, Holmes worked alone, only occasionally employing agents from the city's underclass, including a host of informants and a group of street children he calls "the Baker Street Irregulars
Baker Street Irregulars
The Baker Street Irregulars are any of several different groups, all named after the original, from various Sherlock Holmes stories in which they are a gang of young street children whom Holmes often employs to aid his cases.- Original :...

". The Irregulars appear in three stories: "A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

," "The Sign of the Four," and "The Adventure of the Crooked Man
The Adventure of the Crooked Man
"The Adventure of the Crooked Man", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

".

Little is said of Holmes's family. His parents were unmentioned in the stories and he merely states that his ancestors were "country squires". In "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
"The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally serialised in Strand Magazine in 1893. This story...

", Holmes claims that his great-uncle was Vernet
Horace Vernet
Émile Jean-Horace Vernet was a French painter of battles, portraits, and Orientalist Arab subjects.Vernet was born to Carle Vernet, another famous painter, who was himself a son of Claude Joseph Vernet. He was born in the Paris Louvre, while his parents were staying there during the French...

, the French artist. His brother, Mycroft
Mycroft Holmes
Mycroft Holmes is a fictional character in the stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. He is the elder brother of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.- Profile :...

, seven years his senior, is a government official who appears in three stories and is mentioned in one other story. Mycroft has a unique civil service position as a kind of memory-man or walking database for all aspects of government policy. Mycroft is described as even more gifted than Sherlock in matters of observation and deduction, but he lacks Sherlock's drive and energy, preferring to spend his time at ease in the Diogenes Club, described as "a club for the most un-clubbable men in London".

Life with Dr. Watson

Holmes shares the majority of his professional years with his good friend and chronicler Dr. John H. Watson, who lives with Holmes for some time before his marriage in 1887, and again after his wife's death; his residence is maintained by his landlady, Mrs. Hudson.

Watson has two roles in Holmes's life. First, he gives practical assistance in the conduct of his cases; he is the detective's right-hand man, acting variously as look-out, decoy, accomplice and messenger. Second, he is Holmes's chronicler (his "Boswell
James Boswell
James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland; he is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson....

" as Holmes refers to him). Most of the Holmes stories are frame narratives, written from Watson's point of view as summaries of the detective's most interesting cases. Holmes is often described as criticising Watson's writings as sensational and populist, suggesting that they neglect to accurately and objectively report the pure calculating "science" of his craft.
Nevertheless, Holmes's friendship with Watson is his most significant relationship. In several stories, Holmes's fondness for Watson—often hidden beneath his cold, intellectual exterior—is revealed. For instance, in "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs
The Adventure of the Three Garridebs
"The Adventure of the Three Garridebs", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes....

", Watson is wounded in a confrontation with a villain; although the bullet wound proves to be "quite superficial", Watson is moved by Holmes's reaction:
In all, Holmes is described as being in active practice for 23 years, with Watson documenting his cases for 17 of them.

Retirement

In "His Last Bow
His Last Bow (story)
"His Last Bow" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and one of seven collected in the anthology His Last Bow. Unlike most other Holmes stories which are written from the point of view of Dr...

", Holmes has retired to a small farm on the Sussex Downs in 1903–1904, as chronicled by Watson in his preface to the series of stories entitled "His Last Bow." It is here that he has taken up the hobby of beekeeping
Beekeeping
Beekeeping is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive , to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers...

 as his primary occupation, eventually producing a "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen". The story features Holmes and Watson coming out of retirement one last time to aid the war
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 effort. Only one adventure, "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane
The Adventure of the Lion's Mane
"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. It is notable for being narrated by Holmes himself, instead of by Dr...

", which is narrated by Holmes as he pursues the case as an amateur, takes place during the detective's retirement. The details of his death are not known.

Habits and personality

Watson describes Holmes as "bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

" in habits and lifestyle. According to Watson, Holmes is an eccentric, with no regard for contemporary standards of tidiness or good order. In The Musgrave Ritual
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
"The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1893, and was collected later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the majority of Holmes stories, the main...

, Watson describes Holmes thus:
What appears to others as chaos, however, is to Holmes a wealth of useful information. Throughout the stories, Holmes would dive into his apparent mess of random papers and artefacts, only to retrieve precisely the specific document or eclectic item he was looking for.

Watson frequently makes note of Holmes's erratic eating habits. The detective is often described as starving himself at times of intense intellectual activity, such as during "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder
The Adventure of the Norwood Builder
"The Adventure of the Norwood Builder", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the second tale from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in 1903 with original illustrations by Sidney...

", wherein, according to Watson:
His chronicler does not consider Holmes's habitual use of a pipe, or his less frequent use of cigarettes and cigars, a vice. Nor does Watson condemn Holmes's willingness to bend the truth or break the law on behalf of a client (e.g., lying to the police, concealing evidence or breaking into houses) when he feels it morally justifiable. Even so, it is obvious that Watson has stricter limits than Holmes, and occasionally berated Holmes for creating a "poisonous atmosphere" of tobacco smoke. Holmes himself references Watson's moderation in "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
"The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow....

", saying, "I think, Watson, that I shall resume that course of tobacco-poisoning which you have so often and so justly condemned". Watson also did not condone Holmes's plans when they manipulated innocent people, such as when he toyed with a young woman's heart in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
"The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes and was published in 1904....

 although it was done with noble intentions to save many other young women from the clutches of the villainous Milverton.

Holmes is portrayed as a patriot acting on behalf of the government in matters of national security in a number of stories. He also carries out counter-intelligence work in His Last Bow
His Last Bow (story)
"His Last Bow" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and one of seven collected in the anthology His Last Bow. Unlike most other Holmes stories which are written from the point of view of Dr...

, set at the beginning of the First World War. As shooting practice, the detective adorned the wall of his Baker Street lodgings with "VR" (Victoria Regina) in bullet pocks made by his pistol.

Holmes has an ego that at times borders on arrogant, albeit with justification; he draws pleasure from baffling police inspectors with his superior deductions. He does not seek fame, however, and is usually content to allow the police to take public credit for his work. It's often only when Watson publishes his stories that Holmes's role in the case becomes apparent. Because of newspaper articles and Watson's stories, however, Holmes is well known as a detective, and many clients ask for his help instead of or alongside the police.

Holmes is pleased when he is recognised for having superior skills and responds to flattery, as Watson remarks, as a girl does to comments upon her beauty.

Holmes's demeanour is presented as dispassionate and cold. Yet when in the midst of an adventure, Holmes can sparkle with remarkable passion. He has a flair for showmanship and will prepare elaborate traps to capture and expose a culprit, often to impress Watson or one of the Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service of London, UK. It derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became...

 inspectors.

Holmes is a loner and does not strive to make friends, although he values those that he has, and none higher than Watson. He attributes his solitary ways to his particular interests and his mopey disposition. In The Adventure of the Gloria Scott
The Adventure of the Gloria Scott
"The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott'", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

, he tells Watson that during two years at college, he made only one friend, Victor Trevor. Holmes says, "I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson, always rather fond of moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods of thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my year;... my line of study was quite distinct from that of the other fellows, so that we had no points of contact at all". He is similarly described in A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

 as difficult to draw out by young Stamford.

Holmes' emotional state/mental health has been a topic of analysis for decades. At their first meeting in A Study in Scarlet, the detective warns Watson that he gets "in the dumps at times" and doesn't open his "mouth for days on end". Many readers and literary experts have suggested Holmes showed signs of manic depressive psychosis, with moments of intense enthusiasm coupled with instances of indolent self absorption. Other modern readers have speculated that Holmes may have Asperger's syndrome based on his intense attention to details, lack of interest in interpersonal relationships and tendency to speak in long monologues. The detective's isolation and near-gynophobic distrust of women is said to suggest the desire to escape; Holmes "biographer" William Baring-Gould and others, including Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer is an American screenwriter, producer, director and novelist, known best for his best-selling novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and for directing the films Time After Time, two of the Star Trek feature film series, and the 1983 television movie The Day After.Meyer graduated from...

, author of the Seven Percent Solution, have implied a severe family trauma (i.e., the murder of Holmes' mother) may be the root cause.

Personal hygiene

Holmes is described in The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an...

 as having a "cat-like" love of personal cleanliness. This in no way appears to hinder his intensely practical pursuit of his profession, however, and appears in contrast with statements that, in the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, his hands are discoloured with acid stains and Holmes uses drops of his own blood to conduct experiments in chemistry and forensics.

Use of drugs

Holmes occasionally uses addictive drugs, especially when lacking stimulating cases. He believes the use of cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 stimulates his brain when it is not in use. He is a habitual user of cocaine, which he injects in a seven-per-cent solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. is a 1974 novel by American writer Nicholas Meyer. It is written as a pastiche of a Sherlock Holmes adventure, and was made into a film of the same name in 1976....

 using a special syringe
Syringe
A syringe is a simple pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical tube , allowing the syringe to take in and expel a liquid or gas through an orifice at the open end of the tube...

 that he keeps in a leather case. Holmes is also an occasional user of morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 but expressed strong disapproval on visiting an opium den
Opium den
An opium den was an establishment where opium was sold and smoked. Opium dens were prevalent in many parts of the world in the 19th century, most notably China, Southeast Asia, North America and France...

. These drugs were legal in late 19th-century England. Both Watson and Holmes are serial tobacco users, including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Holmes is expert at identifying tobacco-ash residues, having penned a monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

 on the subject.

Dr. Watson strongly disapproves of his friend's cocaine habit, describing it as the detective's "only vice" and expressing concern over its possible effect on Holmes's mental health
Mental health
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and...

 and superior intellect. In later stories, Watson claims to have "weaned" Holmes off drugs. Even so, according to his doctor friend, Holmes remains an addict whose habit is "not dead, but merely sleeping".

Financial affairs

Although he initially needed Watson to share the rent of his comfortable residence at 221B Baker Street, Watson reveals in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
"The Adventure of the Dying Detective", in some editions simply titled "The Dying Detective", is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with seven other stories, it is collected as His Last Bow.-Plot summary:Dr...

", when Holmes was living alone, that "I have no doubt that the house might have been purchased at the price which Holmes paid for his rooms," suggesting he had developed a good income from his practice, although it is seldom revealed exactly how much he charges for his services. In "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

", he is paid the staggering sum of one thousand pounds (300 in gold and 700 in notes) as advance payment for "present expenses". In "The Problem of Thor Bridge
The Problem of Thor Bridge
"The Problem of Thor Bridge" is a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle, which appears in the collection The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes...

" he avers: "My professional charges are upon a fixed scale. I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether".

This is said in a context where a client is offering to double his fees; however, it is likely that rich clients provided Holmes a remuneration greatly in excess of his standard fee. For example, in "The Adventure of the Final Problem
The Adventure of the Final Problem
"The Final Problem" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle featuring his detective character Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893. It appears in book form as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

", Holmes states that his services to the government of France and the royal house of Scandinavia had left him with enough money to retire comfortably, while in "The Adventure of Black Peter
The Adventure of Black Peter
"The Adventure of Black Peter" is a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. This tale is in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes, but was published originally in 1904 in the Strand Magazine and Collier's.-Plot summary:...

", Watson notes that Holmes would refuse to help the wealthy and powerful if their cases did not interest him, while he could devote weeks at a time to the cases of the most humble clients. Holmes also tells Watson, in "A Case of Identity
A Case of Identity
"A Case of Identity" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is the third story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.-Plot summary:...

", of a golden snuff box received from the King of Bohemia after "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

" and a fabulous ring from the Dutch royal family; in "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
"The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow...

", Holmes receives an emerald tie-pin from Queen Victoria. Other mementos of Holmes's cases are a gold sovereign from Irene Adler
Irene Adler
Irene Adler is a fictional character featured in the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in July 1891...

 ("A Scandal in Bohemia") and an autographed letter of thanks from the French President and a Legion of Honour for tracking down an assassin named Huret ("The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez
The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez
"The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes.-Synopsis:...

"). In "The Adventure of the Priory School
The Adventure of the Priory School
"The Adventure of the Priory School", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes...

", Holmes "rubs his hands with glee" when the Duke of Holdernesse notes the 5000 pound sterling sum, which surprises even Watson, and then pats the cheque, saying, "I am a poor man", an incident that could be dismissed as representative of Holmes's tendency toward sarcastic humour. Certainly, in the course of his career Holmes had worked for both the most powerful monarchs and governments of Europe (including his own) and various wealthy aristocrat
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

s and industrialists and had also been consulted by impoverished pawnbroker
Pawnbroker
A pawnbroker is an individual or business that offers secured loans to people, with items of personal property used as collateral...

s and humble governess
Governess
A governess is a girl or woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. In contrast to a nanny or a babysitter, she concentrates on teaching children, not on meeting their physical needs...

es on the lower rungs of society.

Holmes has been known to charge clients for his expenses, and to claim any reward that might be offered for the problem's solution: he says in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
"The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the eighth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is one of four Sherlock Holmes stories that can be classified as a locked...

" that Miss Stoner may pay any expenses he may be put to, and requests that the bank in "The Red-Headed League
The Red-Headed League
"The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Conan Doyle ranked "The Red-Headed League" second in his list of his twelve favorite...

" remunerate him for the money he spent solving the case. Holmes has his wealthy banker client in "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
"The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the eleventh of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in May 1892.-Synopsis:A banker, Mr...

" pay him for the costs of recovering the stolen gems and also claims the reward the banker had put for their recovery.

Relationships with women

The only woman to impress Holmes was Irene Adler
Irene Adler
Irene Adler is a fictional character featured in the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in July 1891...

, a character introduced in "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

" who, according to Watson, was always referred to by Holmes as "the woman". Holmes himself is never directly quoted as using this term and even mentions her name in other cases (although it is worth noting that all of the stories using Adler's name come after "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

", which was the third tale published about Holmes and the first short story so Holmes may have shifted how he referred to Adler over time. Adler is one of the few women who are mentioned in multiple Holmes stories, appearing in person in only one.

In one story, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
"The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes and was published in 1904....

," Holmes is engaged to be married, but only to gain information for his case. Although Holmes appears to show initial interest in some of his female clients (in particular, Violet Hunter in "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
"The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the last of the twelve collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes...

"), Watson says he inevitably "manifested no further interest in the client when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems". Holmes finds their youth, beauty, and energy (and the cases they bring to him) invigorating, distinct from any romantic interest. These episodes show Holmes possesses a degree of charm; yet apart from the case of Adler, there is no indication of a serious or long-term interest. Watson states that Holmes has an "aversion to women" but "a peculiarly ingratiating way with [them]". Holmes states, "I am not a whole-souled admirer of womankind"; in fact, he finds "the motives of women... so inscrutable.... How can you build on such quicksand? Their most trivial actions may mean volumes;... their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin".

As Doyle remarked to muse Joseph Bell, "Holmes is as inhuman as a Babbage's calculating machine and just about as likely to fall in love". The only joy Holmes derives from the company of women is the problems they bring to him to solve. In The Sign of the Four, Watson quotes Holmes as being "an automaton, a calculating machine", and Holmes is quoted as saying, "It is of the first importance not to allow your judgement to be biased by personal qualities. A client is to me a mere unit—a factor in a problem. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money". This points to Holmes's lack of interest in relationships with women in general, and clients in particular, leading Watson to remark that "there is something positively inhuman in you at times". At the end of "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
"The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow....

", Holmes states: "I have never loved, Watson, but if I did and if the woman I loved had met such an end, I might act as our lawless lion-hunter had done". In the story, the explorer Dr Sterndale had killed the man who murdered his beloved, Brenda Tregennis, to exact a revenge which the law could not provide. Watson writes in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
"The Adventure of the Dying Detective", in some editions simply titled "The Dying Detective", is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with seven other stories, it is collected as His Last Bow.-Plot summary:Dr...

" that Mrs. Hudson is fond of Holmes in her own way, despite his bothersome eccentricities as a lodger, owing to his "remarkable gentleness and courtesy in his dealings with women". Again in The Sign of the Four, Watson quotes Holmes as saying, "I would not tell them too much. Women are never to be entirely trusted—not the best of them". Watson notes that while he dislikes and distrusts them, he is nonetheless a "chivalrous opponent".

Holmesian deduction

Holmes's primary intellectual detection method is induction
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

, which Holmes rather inaccurately calls deduction
Deduction
Deduction may refer to:in logic:* Deductive reasoning, inference in which the conclusion is of no greater generality than the premises...

. "From a drop of water", he writes, "a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 or a Niagara
Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is the collective name for the Horseshoe Falls and the adjacent American Falls along with the comparatively small Bridal Veil Falls, which combined form the highest flow rate of any waterfalls in the world and has...

 without having seen or heard of one or the other". Holmes stories often begin with a bravura display of his talent for "deduction
Deductive reasoning
Deductive reasoning, also called deductive logic, is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises or hypothesis...

". It is of some interest to logicians and those interested in logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 to try to analyse just what Holmes is doing when he performs his induction. "Holmesian deduction" appears to consist primarily of drawing inferences based on either straightforward practical principles—which are the result of careful inductive
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

 study, such as Holmes's study of different kinds of cigar ashes—or inference to the best explanation. One quote often heard from Holmes is "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

Sherlock Holmes's straightforward practical principles are generally of the form, "If 'p', then 'q'," where 'p' is observed evidence and 'q' is what the evidence indicates. But there are also, as may be observed in the following example, intermediate principles. In "A Scandal in Bohemia" Holmes deduces that Watson had got very wet lately and that he had "a most clumsy and careless servant girl". When Watson, in amazement, asks how Holmes knows this, Holmes answers:
In this case, Holmes employed several connected principles:
  • If leather on the side of a shoe is scored by several parallel cuts, it was caused by someone who scraped around the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud.
  • If a London doctor's shoes are scraped to remove crusted mud, the person who so scraped them is the doctor's servant girl.
  • If someone cuts a shoe while scraping it to remove encrusted mud, that person is clumsy and careless.
  • If someone's shoes had encrusted mud on them, then they are likely to have been worn by him in the rain, when it is likely he became very wet.

By applying such principles in an obvious way (using repeated applications of modus ponens
Modus ponens
In classical logic, modus ponendo ponens or implication elimination is a valid, simple argument form. It is related to another valid form of argument, modus tollens. Both Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens can be mistakenly used when proving arguments...

), Holmes is able to infer from his observation that "the sides of Watson's shoes are scored by several parallel cuts" that:

"Watson's servant girl is clumsy and careless" and "Watson has been very wet lately and has been out in vile weather".

Deductive reasoning allows Holmes to impressively reveal a stranger's occupation, such as a Retired Sergeant of Marines in A Study in Scarlet; a former ship's carpenter turned pawnbroker in "The Red-Headed League
The Red-Headed League
"The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Conan Doyle ranked "The Red-Headed League" second in his list of his twelve favorite...

"; and a billiard-marker and a retired artillery NCO in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
"The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally serialised in Strand Magazine in 1893. This story...

". Similarly, by studying inanimate objects, Holmes is able to make astonishingly detailed deductions about their owners, including Watson's pocket-watch in "The Sign of the Four" as well as a hat, a pipe, and a walking stick in other stories.

Yet Doyle is careful not to present Holmes as infallible—a central theme in "The Adventure of the Yellow Face
The Adventure of the Yellow Face
"The Adventure of the Yellow Face", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the third tale from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

". At the end of the tale a sobered Holmes tells Watson, “If it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you”.

Disguise

Holmes displays a strong aptitude for acting and disguise. In several stories, he adopts disguises to gather evidence while 'under cover' so convincing that even Watson fails to penetrate them, such as in "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
"The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes and was published in 1904....

", "The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Man with the Twisted Lip
"The Man with the Twisted Lip", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the sixth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in December 1891...

", "The Adventure of the Empty House
The Adventure of the Empty House
"The Adventure of the Empty House", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Public pressure forced Conan Doyle to bring the sleuth back to life, and explain his...

" and "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

". In other adventures, Holmes feigns being wounded or ill to give effect to his case, or to incriminate those involved, as in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
"The Adventure of the Dying Detective", in some editions simply titled "The Dying Detective", is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with seven other stories, it is collected as His Last Bow.-Plot summary:Dr...

".

Weapons and martial arts

Pistols
Holmes and Watson carry pistols with them; in the case of Watson often his old service revolver
Revolver
A revolver is a repeating firearm that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. The first revolver ever made was built by Elisha Collier in 1818. The percussion cap revolver was invented by Samuel Colt in 1836. This weapon became known as the Colt Paterson...

. Watson describes these weapons as being used on seven occasions.

Cane
Holmes, as a gentleman, often carries a stick or cane. He is described by Watson as an expert at singlestick
Singlestick
Singlestick, also known as cudgels, refers to both a martial art that uses a wooden stick as well as the weapon used in the art. It began as a way of training soldiers in the use of swords such as the sabre...

 and twice uses his cane as a weapon.


Sword
In "A Study in Scarlet" Watson describes Holmes as an expert with a sword—although none of the stories have Holmes using a sword. It is mentioned in "Gloria Scott" that Holmes practised fencing
Fencing
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games...

.


Riding crop
Crop (implement)
A crop, sometimes called a riding crop or hunting crop, is a short type of whip without a lash, used in horse riding, part of the family of tools known as horse whips.-Types and uses:...

In several stories, Holmes appears equipped with a riding crop and in "A Case of Identity
A Case of Identity
"A Case of Identity" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is the third story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.-Plot summary:...

" comes close to thrashing a swindler with it. Using a "hunting crop", Holmes knocks a pistol from John Clay's hand in "The Red-Headed League
The Red-Headed League
"The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Conan Doyle ranked "The Red-Headed League" second in his list of his twelve favorite...

". In "The Six Napoleons" it is described as his favourite weapon—he uses it to break open one of the plaster busts.


Fist-fighting
Holmes is described as a formidable bare-knuckle
Bare-knuckle boxing
Bare-knuckle boxing is the original form of boxing, closely related to ancient combat sports...

 fighter. In The Sign of the Four, Holmes introduces himself to a prize-fighter
Professional Boxing
Professional boxing, or prizefighting, emerged in the early twentieth century as boxing gradually attained legitimacy and became a regulated, sanctioned sport. Professional boxing bouts are fought for a purse which is divided among the fighters and promoters as determined by contract...

 as:

Holmes engages in hand-to-hand combat with his adversaries on occasions throughout the stories, inevitably emerging the victor. It is mentioned also in "Gloria Scott" that Holmes trained as a boxer, and in "The Yellow Face" Watson comments that "he was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have ever seen."


Martial arts
In "The Adventure of the Empty House", Holmes recounts to Watson how he used martial arts to overcome Professor Moriarty
Professor Moriarty
Professor James Moriarty is a fictional character and the archenemy of the detective Sherlock Holmes in the fiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind, described by Holmes as the "Napoleon of Crime". Doyle lifted the phrase from a real Scotland Yard inspector who was...

 and fling his adversary to his death down the Reichenbach Falls
Reichenbach Falls
The Reichenbach Falls are a series of waterfalls on the River Aar near Meiringen in Bern canton in central Switzerland. They have a total drop of 250 m . At 90 m , the Upper Reichenbach Falls is one of the highest cataracts in the Alps...

. He states, "I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu
Baritsu
Baritsu is a fictional martial art, described by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Empty House", the first of The Return of Sherlock Holmes, to explain how Holmes had managed to avoid falling into the Reichenbach Falls with Professor Moriarty as described in...

, or the Japanese system
Japanese martial arts
Japanese martial arts refers to the enormous variety of martial arts native to Japan. At least three Japanese terms are often used interchangeably with the English phrase "Japanese martial arts": , literally meaning "martial way", , which has no perfect translation but means something like science,...

 of wrestling
Grappling
Grappling refers to techniques, maneuvers, and counters applied to an opponent in order to gain a physical advantage, such as improving relative position, escaping, submitting, or injury to the opponent. Grappling is a general term that covers techniques used in many disciplines, styles and martial...

, which has more than once been very useful to me". The name "baritsu" appears to be a reference to the real-life martial art of Bartitsu
Bartitsu
Bartitsu is an eclectic martial art and self-defence method originally developed in England during the years 1898–1902. In 1901 it was immortalised by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories...

, which combined jujitsu with Holmes' canonical skills of boxing and cane fencing.


Physical Condition
In several stories, Holmes is described or demonstrated as having above average physical strength. As an example, in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", Dr. Roylott, 6 feet tall and wide as a doorframe, demonstrates his strength by bending a fire poker in half. After the Doctor leaves, Holmes "said laughing. 'I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.' As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again."

In "The Yellow Face" Watson comments of Holmes, that "Few men were capable of greater muscular effort."

Knowledge and skills

In the first story, A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

, something of Holmes's background is given. In early 1881, he is presented as an independent student of chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 with a variety of very curious side interests, almost all of which turn out to be single-mindedly bent towards making him superior at solving crimes. (When he appears for the first time, he is crowing with delight at having invented a new method for detecting bloodstains; in other stories he indulges in recreational home-chemistry experiments, sometimes filling the rooms with foul-smelling vapours.) An early story, "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott
The Adventure of the Gloria Scott
"The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott'", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

", presents more background on what influenced Holmes to become a detective: a college friend's father richly complimented his deductive skills. Holmes maintains strict adherence to scientific methods and focuses on logic and the powers of observation and deduction.

Holmes also makes use of phrenology
Phrenology
Phrenology is a pseudoscience primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules...

, which was widely popular in Victorian times but now regarded as pseudo-scientific: In "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
"The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the seventh story of twelve in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes...

", he infers from the large size of a man's hat that the owner is intelligent and intellectually inclined, on the grounds that “a man with so large a brain must have something in it”.

In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes claims he does not know that the Earth revolves around the Sun, as such information is irrelevant to his work. Directly after having heard that fact from Watson, he says he will immediately try to forget it. He says he believes that the mind has a finite capacity for information storage, and so learning useless things would merely reduce his ability to learn useful things. Dr. Watson subsequently assesses Holmes's abilities thus:

  1. Knowledge of Literature – nil.

  2. Knowledge of Philosophy – nil.

  3. Knowledge of Astronomy

    Astronomy
    Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

     – nil.

  4. Knowledge of Politics – Feeble.

  5. Knowledge of Botany

    Botany
    Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

     – Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium
    Opium
    Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

     and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.

  6. Knowledge of Geology – Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks, has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London

    Geology of London
    The geology of London comprises various differing layers of sedimentary rock upon which London, England is built.-Oldest rocks:The oldest rocks proved through boreholes to exist below London are the old, hard rocks of the Palaeozoic. These consist of Silurian mudstones and sandstones, generally...

     he had received them.

  7. Knowledge of Chemistry

    Chemistry
    Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

     – Profound.

  8. Knowledge of Anatomy

    Anatomy
    Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

     – Accurate, but unsystematic.

  9. Knowledge of Sensational Literature

    Sensationalism
    Sensationalism is a type of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers...

     – Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.

  10. Plays the violin well.

  11. Is an expert singlestick

    Singlestick
    Singlestick, also known as cudgels, refers to both a martial art that uses a wooden stick as well as the weapon used in the art. It began as a way of training soldiers in the use of swords such as the sabre...

     player, boxer and swordsman.

  12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.




--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...




At the very end of A Study in Scarlet itself, it is shown that Holmes knows Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and needs no translation of Roman epigrams in the original—though knowledge of the language would be of dubious direct utility for detective work, all university students were required to learn Latin at that time.

Later stories also contradict the list. Despite Holmes's supposed ignorance of politics, in "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

" he immediately recognises the true identity of the supposed "Count von Kramm". Regarding nonsensational literature, his speech is replete with references to the Bible, Shakespeare, even Goethe. He is able to quote from a letter of Flaubert to George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

 and in the original French.

Moreover, in "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
"The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow...

" Watson reports that in November 1895 "Holmes lost himself in a monograph which he had undertaken upon the Polyphonic Motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

s of Lassus"—a most esoteric field, for which Holmes would have had to "clutter his memory" with an enormous amount of information which had absolutely nothing to do with crime-fighting—knowledge so extensive that his monograph was regarded as "the last word" on the subject. The later stories abandon the notion that Holmes did not want to know anything unless it had immediate relevance for his profession; in the second chapter of The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915, and the first book edition was published in New York on 27 February 1915.- Part I: The Tragedy of Birlstone...

, Holmes instead declares that "all knowledge comes useful to the detective", and near the end of "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane
The Adventure of the Lion's Mane
"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. It is notable for being narrated by Holmes himself, instead of by Dr...

" he describes himself as "an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles".

Holmes is also a competent cryptanalyst. He relates to Watson, "I am fairly familiar with all forms of secret writing, and am myself the author of a trifling monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

 upon the subject, in which I analyse one hundred and sixty separate cipher
Cipher
In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption — a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure. An alternative, less common term is encipherment. In non-technical usage, a “cipher” is the same thing as a “code”; however, the concepts...

s". One such scheme is solved using frequency analysis
Frequency analysis
In cryptanalysis, frequency analysis is the study of the frequency of letters or groups of letters in a ciphertext. The method is used as an aid to breaking classical ciphers....

 in "The Adventure of the Dancing Men
The Adventure of the Dancing Men
"The Adventure of the Dancing Men", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes....

".

Holmes's analysis of physical evidence is both scientific and precise. His methods include the use of latent prints such as footprints, hoof prints and bicycle tracks to identify actions at a crime scene (A Study in Scarlet, "The Adventure of Silver Blaze", "The Adventure of the Priory School", The Hound of the Baskervilles, "The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
"The Boscombe Valley Mystery", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the fourth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1891.-Plot summary:Lestrade summons Holmes to a...

"), the use of tobacco ashes and cigarette butts to identify criminals ("The Adventure of the Resident Patient
The Adventure of the Resident Patient
"The Adventure of the Resident Patient", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

", The Hound of the Baskervilles), the comparison of typewritten letters to expose a fraud ("A Case of Identity
A Case of Identity
"A Case of Identity" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is the third story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.-Plot summary:...

"), the use of gunpowder residue to expose two murderers ("The Adventure of the Reigate Squire"), bullet comparison from two crime scenes ("The Adventure of the Empty House
The Adventure of the Empty House
"The Adventure of the Empty House", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Public pressure forced Conan Doyle to bring the sleuth back to life, and explain his...

"), analysis of small pieces of human remains to expose two murders (The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
"The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the second of the twelve Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in most British editions of the canon, and second of the eight stories from His Last Bow in most American...

) and even an early use of fingerprints ("The Norwood Builder"). Holmes also demonstrates knowledge of psychology in "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

", luring Irene Adler into betraying where she had hidden a photograph based on the "premise" that an unmarried woman will seek her most valuable possession in case of fire, whereas a married woman will grab her baby instead.

Despite the excitement of his life (or perhaps seeking to leave it behind), Holmes retired to the Sussex Downs to take up beekeeping ("The Second Stain") and wrote a book on the subject entitled "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen". His search for relaxation can also be seen in his love for music, notably in "The Red-Headed League
The Red-Headed League
"The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Conan Doyle ranked "The Red-Headed League" second in his list of his twelve favorite...

", wherein Holmes takes an evening off from a case to listen to Pablo de Sarasate
Pablo de Sarasate
Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués was a Navarrese Spanish violinist and composer of the Romantic period.-Career:Pablo Sarasate was born in Pamplona, Navarre, the son of an artillery bandmaster...

 play violin.

He also enjoys vocal music, particularly Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 ("The Adventure of the Red Circle
The Adventure of the Red Circle
"The Adventure of the Red Circle" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. It is included in the anthology His Last Bow.-Synopsis:...

").

The film Young Sherlock Holmes
Young Sherlock Holmes
Young Sherlock Holmes is a 1985 mystery/adventure film directed by Barry Levinson, produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, based on characters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

 (1985), which speculates about Holmes's youthful adventures, shows Holmes as a brilliant secondary school student, being mentored simultaneously by an eccentric professor/inventor and his dedicated fencing instructor.

Forensic science

Sherlock Holmes remains a great inspiration for forensic science, especially for the way his acute study of a crime scene yields small clues as to the precise sequence of events. He makes great use of trace evidence
Trace evidence
Trace evidence is evidence that occurs when different objects contact one another. Such materials are often transferred by heat induced by contact friction....

 such as shoe and tire impressions, as well as fingerprint
Fingerprint
A fingerprint in its narrow sense is an impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger. In a wider use of the term, fingerprints are the traces of an impression from the friction ridges of any part of a human hand. A print from the foot can also leave an impression of friction ridges...

s, ballistics
Ballistics
Ballistics is the science of mechanics that deals with the flight, behavior, and effects of projectiles, especially bullets, gravity bombs, rockets, or the like; the science or art of designing and accelerating projectiles so as to achieve a desired performance.A ballistic body is a body which is...

 and handwriting analysis, now known as questioned document examination
Questioned document examination
Questioned document examination is the forensic science discipline pertaining to documents that are in dispute in a court of law...

. Such evidence is used to test theories conceived by the police, for example, or by the investigator himself. All of the techniques advocated by Holmes later became reality, but were generally in their infancy at the time Conan Doyle was writing. In many of his reported cases, Holmes frequently complains of the way the crime scene
Crime scene
A crime scene is a location where an illegal act took place, and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by trained law enforcement personnel, crime scene investigators or in rare circumstances, forensic scientists....

 has been contaminated by others, especially by the police, emphasising the critical importance of maintaining its integrity, a now well-known feature of crime scene
Crime scene
A crime scene is a location where an illegal act took place, and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by trained law enforcement personnel, crime scene investigators or in rare circumstances, forensic scientists....

 examination.

Owing to the small scale of the trace evidence (such as tobacco ash, hair or fingerprint
Fingerprint
A fingerprint in its narrow sense is an impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger. In a wider use of the term, fingerprints are the traces of an impression from the friction ridges of any part of a human hand. A print from the foot can also leave an impression of friction ridges...

s), he often uses a magnifying glass
Magnifying glass
A magnifying glass is a convex lens that is used to produce a magnified image of an object. The lens is usually mounted in a frame with a handle ....

 at the scene, and an optical microscope
Optical microscope
The optical microscope, often referred to as the "light microscope", is a type of microscope which uses visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. Optical microscopes are the oldest design of microscope and were possibly designed in their present compound form in the...

 back at his lodgings in Baker Street. He uses analytical chemistry
Analytical chemistry
Analytical chemistry is the study of the separation, identification, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. Qualitative analysis gives an indication of the identity of the chemical species in the sample and quantitative analysis determines the amount of...

 for blood residue
Blood residue
In forensic science, blood residue – wet and dry remnants of blood, as well the discoloration of surfaces on which blood has been shed – can help investigators identify weapons, reconstruct a criminal action, and link suspects to the crime...

 analysis as well as toxicology
Toxicology
Toxicology is a branch of biology, chemistry, and medicine concerned with the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms...

 examination and determination for poison
Poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

s. Holmes seems to have maintained a small chemistry laboratory in his lodgings, presumably using simple wet chemical methods for detection of specific toxins, for example. Ballistics
Ballistics
Ballistics is the science of mechanics that deals with the flight, behavior, and effects of projectiles, especially bullets, gravity bombs, rockets, or the like; the science or art of designing and accelerating projectiles so as to achieve a desired performance.A ballistic body is a body which is...

 is used when spent bullets can be recovered, and their calibre measured and matched with a suspect murder weapon.

Holmes was also very perceptive of the dress and attitude of his clients and suspects, noting style and state of wear of their clothes, any contamination (such as clay on boots), their state of mind and physical condition in order to infer their origin and recent history. Skin marks such as tattoos could reveal much about their past history. He applied the same method to personal items such as walking stick
Walking stick
A walking stick is a device used by many people to facilitate balancing while walking.Walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes, and can be sought by collectors. Some kinds of walking stick may be used by people with disabilities as a crutch...

s (famously in The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an...

) or hats (in the case of The Blue Carbuncle), with small details such as medallions, wear
Wear
In materials science, wear is erosion or sideways displacement of material from its "derivative" and original position on a solid surface performed by the action of another surface....

 and contamination
Contamination
Contamination is the presence of a minor and unwanted constituent in material, physical body, natural environment, at a workplace, etc.-Specifics:"Contamination" also has more specific meanings in science:...

 yielding vital indicators of their absent owners.

An omission from the stories is the use of forensic photography
Forensic photography
Forensic photography, sometimes referred to as forensic imaging or crime scene photography, is the art of producing an accurate reproduction of a crime scene or an accident scene using photography for the benefit of a court or to aid in an investigation. It is part of the process of evidence...

. Even before Holmes' time, high quality photography was used to record accident scenes, as in the Tay Bridge disaster
Tay Bridge disaster
The Tay Bridge disaster occurred on 28 December 1879, when the first Tay Rail Bridge, which crossed the Firth of Tay between Dundee and Wormit in Scotland, collapsed during a violent storm while a train was passing over it. The bridge was designed by the noted railway engineer Sir Thomas Bouch,...

 of 1879, murders in 1888.

In 2002, the Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry is a learned society in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences." It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new...

 bestowed an honorary fellowship of their organisation upon Sherlock Holmes, for his use of forensic science and analytical chemistry in popular literature, making him the only (as of 2010) fictional character to be thus honoured.

Role in the history of the detective story

Although Sherlock Holmes is not the original fiction detective (he was influenced by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

's C. Auguste Dupin and Émile Gaboriau
Émile Gaboriau
Émile Gaboriau , was a French writer, novelist, and journalist, and a pioneer of modern detective fiction.- Life :Gaboriau was born in the small town of Saujon, Charente-Maritime...

's Monsieur Lecoq
Monsieur Lecoq
Monsieur Lecoq is the creation of Émile Gaboriau, a 19th-century French writer and journalist. Monsieur Lecoq is a fictional detective employed by the French Sûreté...

), his name has become a byword for the part. His stories also include several detective story characters such as the loyal but less intelligent assistant, a role for which Dr Watson has become the archetype
Archetype
An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated...

. The investigating detective became a popular genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 with many authors such as Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie DBE was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections , and her successful West End plays.According to...

 and Dorothy Sayers after the demise of Holmes, with characters such as Hercule Poirot
Hercule Poirot
Hercule Poirot is a fictional Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie. Along with Miss Marple, Poirot is one of Christie's most famous and long-lived characters, appearing in 33 novels and 51 short stories published between 1920 and 1975 and set in the same era.Poirot has been portrayed on...

 and Lord Peter Wimsey
Lord Peter Wimsey
Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey is a bon vivant amateur sleuth in a series of detective novels and short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers, in which he solves mysteries; usually, but not always, murders...

. Forensic methods became less important than the psychology of the criminal, despite the strong growth in forensics in use by the police in the early 20th century.

Scientific literature

Sherlock Holmes has occasionally been used in the scientific literature. John Radford (1999) speculates on his intelligence. Using Conan Doyle’s stories as data, Radford applies three different methods to estimate Sherlock Holmes’s IQ, and concludes that his intelligence was very high indeed, estimated at approximately 190 points. Snyder (2004) examines Holmes’ methods in the light of the science and the criminology of the mid to late 19th century. Kempster (2006) compares neurologists’ skills with those displayed by Holmes. Finally, Didierjean and Gobet (2008) review the literature on the psychology of expertise by taking as model a fictional expert: Sherlock Holmes. They highlight aspects of Doyle’s books that are in line with what is currently known about expertise, aspects that are implausible, and aspects that suggest further research.

Fan speculation

The fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Conan Doyle are termed the "canon
Canon of Sherlock Holmes
Traditionally, the canon of Sherlock Holmes consists of the fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this context, the term "canon" is an attempt to distinguish between Doyle's original works and subsequent works by other authors using the same...

" by Sherlock Holmes fans. Early scholars of the canon included Ronald Knox
Ronald Knox
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was an English priest, theologian and writer.-Life:Ronald Knox was born in Kibworth, Leicestershire, England into an Anglican family and was educated at Eton College, where he took the first scholarship in 1900 and Balliol College, Oxford, where again...

 in Britain and Christopher Morley
Christopher Morley
Christopher Morley was an American journalist, novelist, essayist and poet. He also produced stage productions for a few years and gave college lectures.-Biography:Christopher Morley was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania...

 in New York, the latter having founded the Baker Street Irregulars
Baker Street Irregulars
The Baker Street Irregulars are any of several different groups, all named after the original, from various Sherlock Holmes stories in which they are a gang of young street children whom Holmes often employs to aid his cases.- Original :...

, the first society devoted exclusively to the canon of Holmes, in 1934.

Writers have produced many pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes
Pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes
Many writers make references to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous literary creation, the detective Sherlock Holmes, and these often become embedded within popular culture. While Holmes exists predominately in the context of Victorian-era London, he has been mentioned in such outre contexts as the...

, Conan Doyle, or characters from the stories in homage, to a greater or lesser degree. Such allusions can form a plot development, raise the intellectual level of the piece, or act as Easter eggs
Easter egg (media)
Image:Carl Oswald Rostosky - Zwei Kaninchen und ein Igel 1861.jpg|250px|thumb|right|Example of Easter egg hidden within imagerect 467 383 539 434 desc none...

 for an observant audience.

Some have been overt, introducing Holmes as a character in a new setting, or a more subtle allusion, such as making a logical character live in an apartment at number 221B. One well-known example of this is the character Gregory House
Gregory House
Gregory House, M.D., or simply referred to as House, is a fictional antihero and title character of the American television series House, played by Hugh Laurie. He is the Chief of Diagnostic Medicine at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, where he leads a team of diagnosticians...

 on the show House M.D, whose name and apartment number are both references to Holmes. Often the simplest reference is to dress anybody who does some kind of detective work in a deerstalker
Deerstalker
A deerstalker is a type of hat that is typically worn in rural areas, often for hunting, especially deer stalking. Because of the hat's popular association with Sherlock Holmes, it is also a stereotypical hat of a detective.-Construction:...

 and cape.

However, throughout the entire novel series, Holmes is never explicitly described as wearing a "deerstalker hat". Holmes dons "his ear-flapped travelling cap" in "The Adventure of Silver Blaze". Sidney Paget
Sidney Paget
Sidney Edward Paget was a British illustrator of the Victorian era, best known for his illustrations that accompanied Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories in The Strand magazine.- Life :...

 first drew Holmes wearing the deerstalker cap and Inverness cape
Inverness Cape
Even though a wide variety of coats, overcoats, and rain gear are worn with Highland Dress to deal with inclement weather, the Inverness cape has come to be almost universally adopted for rainy weather by pipe bands the world over, and many other kilt wearers also find it to be the preferable...

 in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
"The Boscombe Valley Mystery", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the fourth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1891.-Plot summary:Lestrade summons Holmes to a...

" and subsequently in several other stories.

"Elementary, my dear Watson"

A third major reference is the oft-quoted but non-canonical catchphrase: "Elementary, my dear Watson". This phrase is never actually uttered by Holmes in any of the sixty Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle. In the stories, Holmes often remarks that his logical conclusions are "elementary", in that he considers them to be simple and obvious. He also, on occasion, refers to Dr. Watson as "my dear Watson". The two fragments, however, never appear together. One of the closest examples to this phrase appears in "The Adventure of the Crooked Man
The Adventure of the Crooked Man
"The Adventure of the Crooked Man", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

", when Holmes explains a deduction:
The first known use of this phrase was in the 1915 novel, Psmith Journalist, by P. G. Wodehouse. It also appears at the very end of the 1929 film, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, the first Sherlock Holmes sound film. William Gillette
William Gillette
William Hooker Gillette was an American actor, playwright and stage-manager in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who is best remembered today for portraying Sherlock Holmes....

, who played Holmes on stage and radio, had previously used the similar phrase, Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow. The phrase might owe its household familiarity to its use in Edith Meiser's scripts for The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was an old-time radio show which aired in the USA from October 2, 1939 to July 7, 1947. Most episodes were written by the team of Dennis Green and Anthony Boucher....

 radio series, broadcast from 1939 to 1947.

The Great Hiatus

Holmes aficionados refer to the period from 1891 to 1894—the time between Holmes's disappearance and presumed death in "The Adventure of the Final Problem
The Adventure of the Final Problem
"The Final Problem" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle featuring his detective character Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893. It appears in book form as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

" and his reappearance in "The Adventure of the Empty House"—as "the Great Hiatus". It is notable, though, that one later story ("The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
"The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" is one of the fifty-six Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. One of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, it is a lengthy, two-part story consisting of "The Singular Experience of Mr...

") is described as taking place in 1892.

Conan Doyle wrote the first set of stories over the course of a decade. Wanting to devote more time to his historical novels, he killed off Holmes in "The Final Problem," which appeared in print in 1893. After resisting public pressure for eight years, the author wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles, which appeared in 1901, implicitly setting it before Holmes's "death" (some theorise that it actually took place after "The Return" but with Watson planting clues to an earlier date). The public, while pleased with the story, was not satisfied with a posthumous Holmes, and so Conan Doyle revived Holmes two years later. Many have speculated on his motives for bringing Holmes back to life, notably writer-director Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer is an American screenwriter, producer, director and novelist, known best for his best-selling novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and for directing the films Time After Time, two of the Star Trek feature film series, and the 1983 television movie The Day After.Meyer graduated from...

, who wrote an essay on the subject in the 1970s entitled "The Great Man Takes a Walk". The actual reasons are not known, other than the obvious: publishers offered to pay generously. For whatever reason, Conan Doyle continued to write Holmes stories for another 24 years.

Some writers have come up with other explanations for the hiatus. In Meyer's novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. is a 1974 novel by American writer Nicholas Meyer. It is written as a pastiche of a Sherlock Holmes adventure, and was made into a film of the same name in 1976....

, the hiatus is depicted as a secret sabbatical following Holmes's treatment for cocaine addiction at the hands of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

, and presents Holmes making the light-hearted suggestion that Watson write a fictitious account claiming he had been killed by Moriarty, saying of the public: "They'll never believe you in any case".

In his memoirs, Conan Doyle quotes a reader, who judged the later stories inferior to the earlier ones, to the effect that when Holmes went over the Reichenbach Falls, he may not have been killed, but was never quite the same man. This is contradicted in part by Watson's evaluation in "The Adventure of Black Peter" that "I have never known my friend to be in better form, both mental and physical, than in the year '95," which would have been 4 years after the fall over Reichenbach Falls. The differences in the pre- and post-Hiatus Holmes have in fact created speculation among those who play "The Great Game" (making believe Sherlock Holmes was a historical person). Among the more fanciful theories, the story "The Case of the Detective's Smile" by Mark Bourne, published in the anthology Sherlock Holmes in Orbit, posits that one of the places Holmes visited during his hiatus was Alice's Wonderland. While there, he solved the case of the stolen tarts, and his experiences there contributed to his kicking the cocaine addiction.

Societies

In 1934, the Sherlock Holmes Society, in London, and the Baker Street Irregulars
Baker Street Irregulars
The Baker Street Irregulars are any of several different groups, all named after the original, from various Sherlock Holmes stories in which they are a gang of young street children whom Holmes often employs to aid his cases.- Original :...

, in New York were founded. Both are still active (though the Sherlock Holmes Society was dissolved in 1937 to be resuscitated only in 1951). The London-based society is one of many worldwide who arrange visits to the scenes of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, such as the Reichenbach Falls
Reichenbach Falls
The Reichenbach Falls are a series of waterfalls on the River Aar near Meiringen in Bern canton in central Switzerland. They have a total drop of 250 m . At 90 m , the Upper Reichenbach Falls is one of the highest cataracts in the Alps...

 in the Swiss Alps
Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps are the portion of the Alps mountain range that lies within Switzerland. Because of their central position within the entire Alpine range, they are also known as the Central Alps....

.

The two initial societies founded in 1934 were followed by many more Holmesians circles, first of all in America (where they are called "scion societies"—offshoots—of the Baker Street Irregulars), then in England and Denmark. Nowadays, there are Sherlockian societies in many countries, such as India and Japan.

Museums

During the 1951 Festival of Britain
Festival of Britain
The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition in Britain in the summer of 1951. It was organised by the government to give Britons a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of war and to promote good quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities. The Festival's centrepiece was in...

, Sherlock Holmes's sitting-room was reconstructed as the masterpiece of a Sherlock Holmes Exhibition, displaying a unique collection of original material.
After the 1951 exhibition closed, items were transferred to the Sherlock Holmes Pub, in London, and to the Conan Doyle Collection in Lucens (Switzerland). Both exhibitions, each including its own Baker Street Sitting-Room reconstruction, are still open to the public.
In 1990, the Sherlock Holmes Museum
Sherlock Holmes Museum
The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a popular privately-run museum in London, England, dedicated to the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. It opened in 1990 and is situated in Baker Street, bearing the number 221B by permission of the City of Westminster, although it lies between numbers 237 and...

 opened in Baker Street London and the following year in Meiringen, Switzerland another museum opened; naturally, they include less historical material about Conan Doyle than about Sherlock Holmes himself. The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street, London was the first Museum in the world to be dedicated to a fictional character.
A private collection of Conan Doyle is also housed in the Portsmouth City Museum which has a permanent exhibit, due to his importance in the city where he lived and worked for many years.

Adaptations and derived works

The enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes has led to hundreds of works based on the character – both adaptations into other media and original stories. The copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 in all of Conan Doyle's works expired in the United Kingdom in 2000 (1980 in Canada and Australia) and they are therefore in the public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

 throughout most of the world (where the expiry term is 50 or 70 years following the year of death). All works published in the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain; this includes all Sherlock Holmes stories with the exception of some of the stories contained within The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is the final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Originally published in 1927, it contains stories published between 1921 and 1927....

. For works published after 1923 but before 1963, if the copyright was registered, its term lasts for 95 years. The Conan Doyle heirs registered the copyright to The Case Book (published in the USA after 1923) in 1981.

Stage and screen adaptations

The Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records , is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world...

 has consistently listed Sherlock Holmes as the "most portrayed movie character" with 75 actors playing the part in over 211 films. Holmes' first screen appearance was in the Mutoscope film Sherlock Holmes Baffled
Sherlock Holmes Baffled
Sherlock Holmes Baffled is a very short American silent film created in 1900 with cinematography by Arthur Marvin. It is the earliest known film to feature Arthur Conan Doyle's detective character Sherlock Holmes, albeit in a form unlike that of later screen incarnations. The inclusion of the...

 in 1900, albeit in a barely-recognisable form.

William Gillette
William Gillette
William Hooker Gillette was an American actor, playwright and stage-manager in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who is best remembered today for portraying Sherlock Holmes....

’s 1899 play Sherlock Holmes, or The Strange Case of Miss Faulkner was a synthesis of several stories by Doyle, mostly based on A Scandal in Bohemia adding love interest, with the Holmes-Moriarty exchange from The Final Problem, as well as elements from The Copper Beeches and A Study in Scarlet. By 1916, Harry Arthur Saintsbury
Harry Arthur Saintsbury
Harry Arthur Saintsbury, usually called H. A. Saintsbury was an English actor and playwright. A leading man, he became well known for his stage interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, was an early mentor of Charlie Chaplin and is considered an authority on the work of Sir Henry Irving.Called Arthur by...

 had played Holmes on stage more than a thousand times. This play formed the basis for Gillette's 1916 motion picture, Sherlock Holmes.

In a 1924 comedy film "Sherlock Jr." Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

's character longs to be a detective.
Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone
Sir Basil Rathbone, KBE, MC, Kt was an English actor. He rose to prominence in England as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in over 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films...

 starred as Sherlock Holmes, alongside Nigel Bruce
Nigel Bruce
William Nigel Ernle Bruce , best known as Nigel Bruce, was a British character actor on stage and screen. He was best known for his portrayal of Doctor Watson in a series of films and in the radio series The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes...

 as Dr Watson, in fourteen US films (two for 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 and a dozen for Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

) from 1939 to 1946, as well as a number of radio plays. It is these films that produced the iconic though noncanonical line, "Elementary, my dear Watson".

Ronald Howard
Ronald Howard (British actor)
Ronald Howard was an English actor and writer best known in the U.S. for starring in a weekly Sherlock Holmes television series in 1954. He was the son of actor Leslie Howard.- Life and work :...

 starred in 39 episodes of the Sherlock Holmes 1954 American TV series
Sherlock Holmes (1954 TV Series)
The first and only American television series of Sherlock Holmes adventures aired in syndication in the fall of 1954. The 39 half-hour mostly original stories were produced by Sheldon Reynolds and filmed in France by Guild Films, starring Ronald Howard as Holmes and Howard Marion Crawford as Watson...

 with Howard Marion Crawford as Watson. The storylines deviated from the books of Conan Doyle, changing characters and other details.

Fritz Weaver
Fritz Weaver
Fritz William Weaver is an American actor and voice actor.-Life and career:Weaver was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Elsa W. and John Carson Weaver. His mother was of Italian descent and his father was a social worker from Pittsburgh. Weaver attended Peabody High School...

 appeared as Sherlock Holmes in the musical Baker Street
Baker Street
Baker Street is a street in the Marylebone district of the City of Westminster in London. It is named after builder William Baker, who laid the street out in the 18th century. The street is most famous for its connection to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who lived at a fictional 221B...

, which ran on Broadway between 16 February and 14 November 1965. Peter Sallis
Peter Sallis
Peter Sallis, OBE is an English actor and entertainer, well-known for his work on British television. Although he was born and brought up in London, his two most notable roles require him to adopt the accents and mannerisms of a Northerner.Sallis is best known for his role as the main character...

 portrayed Dr. Watson, Inga Swenson
Inga Swenson
Inga Swenson is an American actress.Inga Swenson was a graduate of Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska, Class of 1950...

 appeared as The Woman, Irene Adler
Irene Adler
Irene Adler is a fictional character featured in the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in July 1891...

, and Martin Gabel
Martin Gabel
Martin Gabel was an American actor, film director and film producer.-Life and career:Gabel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Ruth and Israel Gabel, who was a jeweler...

 played Moriarty. Virginia Vestoff
Virginia Vestoff
Virginia Vestoff was an American actress of film, television and Broadway.Vestoff was born into a family of vaudeville performers in New York City. Both her Russian immigrant father and mother, who was the great niece of American composer Stephen Foster, died and left Virginia an orphan at the age...

, Tommy Tune
Tommy Tune
Thomas James "Tommy" Tune is an American actor, dancer, singer, theatre director, producer, and choreographer. Over the course of his career, he has won nine Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts.-Early years:...

, and Christopher Walken
Christopher Walken
Christopher Walken is an American stage and screen actor. He has appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows, including Joe Dirt, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, The Prophecy trilogy, The Dogs of War, Sleepy Hollow, Brainstorm, The Dead Zone, A View to a Kill, At Close Range, King of New...

 were also members of the original cast.
In The Return Of Sherlock Holmes, a TV movie aired in 1987, Margaret Colin
Margaret Colin
Margaret Colin is an American actress. She is known for her role as Margo Montgomery Hughes # 1 on As the World Turns and for her role as Eleanor Waldorf-Rose on Gossip Girl.-Early life:...

 stars as Dr. Watson's great-granddaughter Jane Watson, a Boston private eye, who stumbles upon Sherlock Holmes' (played by Michael Pennington
Michael Pennington
Michael Vivian Fyfe Pennington is a British director and actor who, together with director Michael Bogdanov, founded the English Shakespeare Company...

) body in frozen suspension and restores the Victorian sleuth to life in the 1980s. The film was intended as a pilot for a TV series which never materialised. A similar plot line was used in Sherlock Holmes Returns: 1994 Baker Street where Dr Amy Winslow (played by Debrah Farentino
Debrah Farentino
Debrah Farentino is an American model and actress.-Early life:Farentino was born Deborah Mullowney in Lucas Valley, California. She attended Miller Creek Junior High School, and Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California...

) discovers Sherlock Holmes frozen in the cellar of house in San Francisco owned by a descendant of Mrs Hudson. Holmes (played by Anthony Higgins
Anthony Higgins
Anthony C. Higgins was a lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a veteran of the Civil War and a member of the Republican, who served as United States Senator from Delaware....

) froze himself in the hopes that crimes in the future would be less dull. He discovers that consulting detectives have been replaced by the police department's forensic science lab and that the Moriarty family are still the Napoleons of crime.

Jeremy Brett
Jeremy Brett
Jeremy Brett , born Peter Jeremy William Huggins, was an English actor, most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in four Granada TV series.-Early life:...

 is generally considered the definitive Holmes, having played the role in four series of Sherlock Holmes, created by John Hawkesworth
John Hawkesworth (producer)
John Hawkesworth was an English television and film producer and writer best known for his work on the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs.-Early life:...

 for Britain's Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

, from 1984 through to 1994, as well as depicting Holmes on stage. Brett's Dr Watson was played by David Burke (pre-hiatus) and Edward Hardwicke
Edward Hardwicke
Edward Hardwicke , sometimes credited as Edward Hardwick, was an English actor.-Early life and career:...

 (post-hiatus) in the series. Jeremy Brett wished to be the best Sherlock Holmes the world had ever seen and conducted extensive research into the character and the author that created him. He strove to bring passion and life to the role and in his obituary it was said, "Mr. Brett was regarded as the quintessential Holmes: breathtakingly analytical, given to outrageous disguises and the blackest moods and relentless in his enthusiasm for solving the most intricate crimes."
Nicol Williamson
Nicol Williamson
Nicol Williamson is a Scottish-born English actor who was described by English playwright John Osborne as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando".-Early life:...

 portrayed Holmes in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (film)
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is a 1976 Universal Studios Sherlock Holmes film, directed by Herbert Ross and written by Nicholas Meyer. It is based on Meyer's 1974 novel of the same name. The film stars Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, and Laurence Olivier.-Plot synopsis:When Dr...

 with Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

 playing Watson and featuring Alan Arkin
Alan Arkin
Alan Wolf Arkin is an American actor, director, musician and singer. He is known for starring in such films as Wait Until Dark, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, The In-Laws, Edward Scissorhands, Glengarry Glen Ross, Marley & Me, and...

 as Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

. The 1976 adaption was written by Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer is an American screenwriter, producer, director and novelist, known best for his best-selling novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and for directing the films Time After Time, two of the Star Trek feature film series, and the 1983 television movie The Day After.Meyer graduated from...

 from his 1974 book of the same name, and directed by Herbert Ross
Herbert Ross
Herbert Ross was an American film director, producer, choreographer and actor.-Early life and career:Born Herbert David Ross in Brooklyn, New York, he made his stage debut as Third Witch with a touring company of Macbeth in 1942...

.

Bob Clarke
Bob Clarke
Bob Clarke is an illustrator whose elegant line appeared in innumerable advertisements as well as MAD Magazine. The label of the Cutty Sark bottle is his creation. Clarke was born in Mamaroneck, NY, USA in 1926. He now resides in Seaford, Delaware....

 directed Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

 an James Mason
James Mason
James Neville Mason was an English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. Mason remained a powerful figure in the industry throughout his career and was nominated for three Academy Awards as well as three Golden Globes .- Early life :Mason was born in Huddersfield, in the...

 in the 1979 created film Murder by Decree
Murder by Decree
Murder by Decree is an Anglo-Canadian thriller film involving Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in the case of the serial murderer Jack the Ripper...

, which followed Holmes, hunting Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

.

Between 1979 and 1986, Soviet television broadcast a series of five made-for-TV films in a total of eleven parts, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, starring Vasily Livanov
Vasily Livanov
Vasily Borisovich Livanov MBE is a Soviet and Russian film actor, and screenwriter.-Biography:His father Boris Livanov was a prominent actor of the Moscow Art Theatre...

 as Holmes and Vitaly Solomin
Vitaly Solomin
Vitaly Mefodievich Solomin was a Soviet and Russian actor, director and screenwriter. He was the younger brother of Yury Solomin....

 as Watson.

Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ is an English actor and musician. Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films...

 starred as Holmes in three screen adaptions, namely Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace
Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace
Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace is a 1962 black-and-white film directed by Terence Fisher and Frank Winterstein. It was a German-French-Italian co-production. It stars Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes and Thorley Walters as Dr. Watson...

 (1962), Incident at Victoria Falls
Incident at Victoria Falls (1991 TV film)
Incident at Victoria Falls was the second and final film in the proposed series of television films Sherlock Holmes the Golden Years written by Bob Shayne. It starred Christopher Lee and Patrick Macnee as Holmes and Watson in old age...

 (1991) and Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady
Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1992 TV film)
Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady was the first of two TV films made in late-1990 under the banner Sherlock Holmes the Golden Years. Harry Alan Towers was executive producer...

 (1992) together with Morgan Fairchild
Morgan Fairchild
Morgan Fairchild is an American actress. She achieved prominence during the late 1970s and early 1980s with continuing roles in several television series, in which she usually conveyed a glamorous image. Fairchild has also performed in live theater and played guest roles in television comedies...

 as "The Woman".

In 2002 made-for-television movie Sherlock: Case of Evil, James D'Arcy
James D'Arcy
-Early life:James D'Arcy was born as Simon D'Arcy and grew up in Fulham, London, with his mother, Caroline and his younger sister Charlotte. His father died when he was young. After completing his education at Christ's Hospital in 1991, he went to Australia for a year and worked in the drama...

 starred as Holmes in his 20s. The story noticeably departs from the style and backstory of the canon and D'Arcy's portrayal of Holmes is slightly different from prior incarnations of the character, psychologically disturbed, an absinthe
Absinthe
Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage. It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, commonly referred to as "grande wormwood", together with green anise and sweet fennel...

 addicted
Substance dependence
The section about substance dependence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not use the word addiction at all. It explains:...

, a heavy drinker and a ladies' man
Seduction
In social science, seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person to engage. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation...

.

The Fox
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

 television series House
House (TV series)
House is an American television medical drama that debuted on the Fox network on November 16, 2004. The show's central character is Dr. Gregory House , an unconventional and misanthropic medical genius who heads a team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in...

 contains numerous similarities and references to Holmes. Show creator David Shore
David Shore
David Shore is a Canadian writer, best known for his work writing and producing in television. As a former lawyer, Shore became known for his work on Family Law, NYPD Blue, and Due South...

 has acknowledged this "subtle homage".

In the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes (2009 film)
Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 action-mystery film based on the character of the same name created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin. The screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon...

, based on a story by Lionel Wigram
Lionel Wigram
Lionel Wigram is a British film producer and screenplay writer. He was named a senior vice president of production at Warner Bros. in November 2000....

 and images by John Watkiss
John Watkiss
John Watkiss is an artist who has worked in both comics and film. Born in England in 1961.After growing up in the Midlands in England, John Watkiss graduated from The Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Brighton University with a bachelor of Fine Arts degree...

, directed by Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie
Guy Stuart Ritchie is an English screenwriter and film maker who directed Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Revolver, RocknRolla and Sherlock Holmes.-Early life:...

, the role of Holmes is performed by Robert Downey, Jr. with Jude Law
Jude Law
David Jude Heyworth Law , known professionally as Jude Law, is an English actor, film producer and director.He began acting with the National Youth Music Theatre in 1987, and had his first television role in 1989...

 portraying Watson. It is a reinterpretation which heavily focuses on Holmes's more anti-social personality traits as an unkempt eccentric with a brilliant analytical mind and formidable martial abilities
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

, making this the most cynical incarnation of Holmes. Robert Downey Jr. won the Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
The Golden Globe Award is an accolade bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign...

 for his portrayal. Downey Jr. will return in the 2011 sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is an upcoming 2011 British-American action mystery film directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey, and Dan Lin. It is a sequel to the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes, based on the character of the same name created by Sir Arthur...

.

Independent film company The Asylum
The Asylum
The Asylum is an American film studio and distributor which focuses on producing low-budget, usually direct-to-video productions. The studio has produced titles that capitalize on productions by major studios; these titles have been dubbed "mockbusters" by the press.-History:The Asylum was founded...

 released the direct-to-DVD film Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes (2010 film)
Sherlock Holmes is a 2010 direct-to-DVD mystery film directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, produced by independent American film studio The Asylum and released by British distributor Revolver Entertainment. It is based on the Sherlock Holmes characters created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

 in January 2010. In the film, Holmes and Watson battle a criminal mastermind dubbed "Spring-Heeled Jack", who controls several mechanical creatures to commit crimes across London. Holmes (Ben Syder) is portrayed as considerably younger than most actors who have played him, and his disapproval of Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service of London, UK. It derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became...

 is undertoned, though things like his drug additction remain mostly unchanged. The film features a brother of Holmes's called Thorpe, who was invented by the producers of the film out of creative liberty. His companion Watson is played by Torchwood
Torchwood
Torchwood is a British science fiction television programme created by Russell T Davies. The series is a spin-off from Davies's 2005 revival of the long-running science fiction programme Doctor Who. The show has shifted its broadcast channel each series to reflect its growing audience, moving from...

 actor Gareth David-Lloyd
Gareth David-Lloyd
Gareth David-Lloyd is a Welsh actor best known for his role as Ianto Jones in the British science fiction television programme Torchwood.- Early life :...

.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is an English film, television, and theatre actor. His most acclaimed roles include Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama Hawking ; William Pitt in the historical film Amazing Grace ; the protagonist Stephen Ezard in the miniseries thriller The Last Enemy ; Paul...

 plays a modern-day version of the detective in the BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 TV series Sherlock, which premiered on 25 July 2010. The series changes the books' original Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 setting to the shady and violent present-day London. The show was created by Mark Gatiss
Mark Gatiss
Mark Gatiss is an English actor, screenwriter and novelist. He is best known as a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen, and has both written for and acted in the TV series Doctor Who and Sherlock....

 and Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat is a Scottish television writer and producer.Moffat's first television work was the teen drama series Press Gang. His first sitcom, Joking Apart, was inspired by the breakdown of his first marriage; conversely, his later sitcom Coupling was based upon the development of his...

, best known as writers for the BBC television series Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

. Says Moffat, "Conan Doyle's stories were never about frock coats and gas light; they're about brilliant detection, dreadful villains and blood-curdling crimes – and frankly, to hell with the crinoline. Other detectives have cases, Sherlock Holmes has adventures, and that's what matters."

Cumberbatch's Holmes was described by the BBC as
brilliant, aloof and almost entirely lacking in social graces. Sherlock is a unique young man with a mind like a 'racing engine'. Without problems to solve, it will tear itself to pieces. And the more bizarre and baffling the problems the better. He has set himself up as the world's only consulting detective, whom the police grudgingly accept as their superior.
He also uses modern technology, such as texting and internet blogging, to solve the crimes, and in a nod towards changing social attitudes and broadcasting regulations, he has replaced his pipe with multiple nicotine patch
Nicotine patch
A nicotine patch is a transdermal patch that releases nicotine into the body through the skin. It is used as an aid in nicotine replacement therapy , a process for smoking cessation. The first published study of the pharmacokinetics of a transdermal nicotine patch in humans was authored by Jed E....

es.

Related and derivative works

In addition to the Sherlock Holmes corpus, Conan Doyle's "The Lost Special
The Lost Special
"The Lost Special" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in 1898. It is implied to be a Sherlock Holmes story, though his name is not used.-Synopsis:This story concerns the baffling disappearance of a special train on its journey to London...

" (1898) features an unnamed "amateur reasoner" clearly intended to be identified as Holmes by his readers. His explanation for a baffling disappearance, argued in Holmes's characteristic style, turns out to be quite wrong—evidently Conan Doyle was not above poking fun at his own hero. A short story by Conan Doyle using the same idea is "The Man with the Watches". Another example of Conan Doyle's humour is "How Watson Learned the Trick
How Watson Learned the Trick
How Watson Learned the Trick is a Sherlock Holmes parody written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1922. It concerns Doctor Watson attempting to demonstrate to Holmes how he has learned the latter's "superficial trick" of logical deduction by giving a summary of Holmes' current state of mind and plans for...

" (1924), a parody
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of the frequent Watson-Holmes breakfast table scenes. A further (and earlier) parody by Conan Doyle is "The Field Bazaar". He also wrote other material, especially plays, featuring Holmes. Many of these are collected in Sherlock Holmes: The Published Apocrypha edited by Jack Tracy
Jack Tracy
Jack Tracy was an American jazz producer and journalist.- Early years :...

, The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by Peter Haining
Peter Haining
Peter Alexander Haining was a British journalist, author and anthologist who lived and worked in Suffolk...

 and The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes compiled by Richard Lancelyn Green
Richard Lancelyn Green
Richard Lancelyn Green was a British scholar of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, generally considered the world's foremost scholar of these topics.-Background:...

.

In 1907, Sherlock Holmes began featuring in a series of German booklets. Among the writers was Theo van Blankensee. Watson had been replaced by a 19 year old assistant from the street, among his Baker Street Irregulars, with the name Harry Taxon, and Mrs. Hudson had been replaced by one Mrs. Bonnet. From number 10 the series changed its name to "Aus den Geheimakten des Welt-Detektivs". The French edition changed its name from "Les Dossiers Secrets de Sherlock Holmes" to "Les Dossiers du Roi des Detectives".

Sherlock Holmes's abilities as both a good fighter and as an excellent logician have been a boon to other authors who have lifted his name, or details of his exploits, for their plots. These range from Holmes as a cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 addict, whose drug-fuelled fantasies lead him to cast an innocent Professor Moriarty as a super villain (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. is a 1974 novel by American writer Nicholas Meyer. It is written as a pastiche of a Sherlock Holmes adventure, and was made into a film of the same name in 1976....

), to science-fiction plots involving him being re-animated after death to fight crime in the future (Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century
Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century
Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is a animation series, in which Sherlock Holmes is brought back to life in the 22nd century. The series is a co–production by DiC and Scottish Television and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Special Class Animated Program.- Overview :The concept series was...

).

Some authors have supplied stories to fit the tantalising references in the canon to unpublished cases (e.g. "The giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared" in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short-stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes.- Plot summary :...

"), notably The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes
The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes
The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes is a short story collection written by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr, first published in 1954.The stories contained in the collection are:*"The Adventure of the Seven Clocks"*"The Adventure of the Gold Hunter"...

 by Conan Doyle's son Adrian Conan Doyle
Adrian Conan Doyle
Adrian Malcolm Conan Doyle was the youngest son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his second wife Jean, Lady Conan Doyle. He had two siblings, a sister, Jean, and a brother, Denis....

 with John Dickson Carr
John Dickson Carr
John Dickson Carr was an American author of detective stories, who also published under the pen names Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn....

, and The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Ken Greenwald, based rather closely on episodes of the 1945 Sherlock Holmes radio show that starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce and for which scripts were written by Dennis Green and Anthony Boucher
Anthony Boucher
Anthony Boucher was an American science fiction editor and author of mystery novels and short stories. He was particularly influential as an editor. Between 1942 and 1947 he acted as reviewer of mostly mystery fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle...

. Others have used different characters from the stories as their own detective, e.g. Mycroft Holmes in Enter the Lion by Michael P. Hodel and Sean M. Wright (1979) or Dr James Mortimer (from The Hound of the Baskervilles) in books by Gerard Williams.

Laurie R. King
Laurie R. King
Laurie R. King is an American author best known for her detective fiction. Among her books are the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, featuring Sherlock Holmes as her mentor and later partner, and a series featuring Kate Martinelli, a fictional lesbian San Francisco, California, police...

 recreates Sherlock Holmes in her Mary Russell series (starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice
The Beekeeper's Apprentice
The Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first book in the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King. It was nominated for the Agatha best novel award and was deemed a Notable Young Adult book by the American Library Association....

), set during the First World War and the 1920s. Her Holmes is (semi)retired in Sussex, where he is literally stumbled over by a teenage American girl. Recognising a kindred spirit, he gradually trains her as his apprentice. the series includes nine novels and a novella tie-in with a book from King's present-time Kate Martinelli series, The Art of Detection
The Art of Detection
The Art of Detection is the fifth book in the Kate Martinelli series by Laurie R. King. It is preceded by Night Work.-Plot summary:Philip Gilbert, the head of a group of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts, is found dead in a national park's artillery battery...

.

Carole Nelson Douglas
Carole Nelson Douglas
Carole Nelson Douglas is an American writer. She is best known for two popular mystery series, the Irene Adler mysteries and the Midnight Louie mystery series....

' series, the Irene Adler
Irene Adler
Irene Adler is a fictional character featured in the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in July 1891...

 Adventures, is based on the character from Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia
A Scandal in Bohemia
"A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget....

". The first book, Good Night, Mr. Holmes, retells that tale from Irene's point of view. The series is narrated by Adler's companion, Penelope Huxleigh, in a role similar to that of Dr. Watson.

The film They Might Be Giants
They Might Be Giants (film)
They Might Be Giants is a 1971 film based on the play of the same name starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. Occasionally cited mistakenly as a Broadway play, it never in fact opened in the USA...

 is a 1971 romantic comedy based on the 1961 play of the same name (both written by James Goldman
James Goldman
James Goldman was an American screenwriter and playwright, and the brother of screenwriter and novelist William Goldman.He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up primarily in Highland Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb...

) in which the character Justin Playfair, played by George C. Scott
George C. Scott
George Campbell Scott was an American stage and film actor, director and producer. He was best known for his stage work, as well as his portrayal of General George S. Patton in the film Patton, and as General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's Dr...

, is convinced he is Sherlock Holmes, and manages to convince many others of same, including the psychiatrist Dr. Watson, played by Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward is an American actress, television and theatrical producer, and widow of Paul Newman...

, who is assigned to evaluate him so he can be committed to a mental institution.

The film Young Sherlock Holmes
Young Sherlock Holmes
Young Sherlock Holmes is a 1985 mystery/adventure film directed by Barry Levinson, produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, based on characters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

 (1985) explores adventures of Holmes and Watson as boarding school
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...

 pupils.

The Japanese anime series "Detective Conan", also called "Case Closed
Case Closed
Case Closed, known as in Japan, is a Japanese detective manga series written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama. The series is serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday since February 2, 1994, and has been collected in 73 tankōbon volumes as of September 2011...

" in English, is an homage to Doyle's work.
The 2002 film The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire
The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire
The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is a non-canonical Sherlock Holmes film utilizing an original story. The film was produced in 2002 for The Hallmark Channel as the last installment in a series of Hallmark Sherlock Holmes films.-Plot:...

 is loosely based on Doyle's story "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short-stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes.- Plot summary :...

".

In the 1980s Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley
Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE is a British actor. He has won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards in his career. He is known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film Gandhi in 1982, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor...

 played Dr. Watson in Without a Clue
Without a Clue
Without a Clue is a 1988 British comedy film directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Lysette Anthony.-Plot:...

. In this film, the comic premise is that Dr. Watson is actually a brilliant detective, and that he has hired an actor, Sherlock Holmes (Michael Caine
Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine, CBE is an English actor. He won Academy Awards for best supporting actor in both Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules ....

), to take credit for the cases that Watson has been writing about, to draw attention away from himself. The powerful criminal Dr. Moriarty is said to know that Sherlock Holmes has no abilities as a detective whatsoever.

The novel A Dog About Town by J. F. Englert makes reference to Sherlock Holmes, comparing the black Labrador retriever narrator, Randolph, to Doyle's detective as well as naming a fictitious spirit guide after him.

The Final Solution is a 2004 novel by Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon born May 24, 1963) is an American author and "one of the most celebrated writers of his generation", according to The Virginia Quarterly Review....

. The story, set in 1944, revolves around an 89-year-old long-retired detective who may or may not be Sherlock Holmes but is always called just "the old man", now interested mostly in beekeeping
Beekeeping
Beekeeping is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive , to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers...

, and his quest to find a missing parrot, the only friend of a mute Jewish boy. The title references both Doyle's story "The Final Problem" and the Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

, the Nazis' plan for the genocide of the Jewish people.

In 2006, a southern California "vaudeville-nouveau" group known as Sound & Fury began performing a theatre in the round parody show entitled "Sherlock Holmes & The Saline Solution" which depicts Holmes as a bumbling figure guided by a slightly less clueless Watson. The show ran in Los Angeles as well as the Edinburgh and Adelaide
Adelaide Fringe Festival
The Adelaide Fringe Festival is an arts festival held annually in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. The event is the Southern Hemisphere's largest arts event and the second-largest fringe festival in the world, second in size only to the Edinburgh Fringe...

 Fringe Festivals through 2009.

In a novella "The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men" by Boris Akunin
Boris Akunin
Boris Akunin is the pen name of Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili , a Russian writer. He is an essayist, literary translator and writer of detective fiction.-Life and career:...

 published in 2008 in Russia as the conclusion of "Jade Rosary Beads" book, Sherlock Holmes and Erast Fandorin
Erast Fandorin
Erast Petrovich Fandorin is a fictional 19th-century Russian detective and the hero of a series of Russian historical detective novels by Boris Akunin. The first novel was published in Russia in 1998, and the latest was published in December 2009...

 oppose Arsène Lupin
Arsène Lupin
Arsène Lupin is a fictional character who appears in a book series of detective fiction / crime fiction novels written by French writer Maurice Leblanc, as well as a number of non-canonical sequels and numerous film, television such as Night Hood, stage play and comic book adaptations.- Overview :A...

 on 31 December 1899.

In June 2010 it was announced that Franklin Watts
Franklin Watts
-History:Franklin Watts Inc. was formed in 1942. The company was sold to Grolier in 1957. When the namesake founder retired in 1967, he moved to London to start Franklin Watts Ltd. in 1969. Franklin Watts retired again in 1976....

 books, a part of Hachette Children's Books are to release a series of four children's graphic novels by writer Tony Lee
Tony Lee
Tony Lee is a British comics writer, screenwriter, audio playwright and novelist.-Early life:Lee was born in Hayes, Middlesex in England...

 and artist Dan Boultwood in spring 2011 based around the Baker Street Irregulars
Baker Street Irregulars
The Baker Street Irregulars are any of several different groups, all named after the original, from various Sherlock Holmes stories in which they are a gang of young street children whom Holmes often employs to aid his cases.- Original :...

 during the three years that Sherlock Holmes was believed dead, between The Adventure of the Final Problem
The Adventure of the Final Problem
"The Final Problem" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle featuring his detective character Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893. It appears in book form as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes...

 and The Adventure of the Empty House
The Adventure of the Empty House
"The Adventure of the Empty House", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Public pressure forced Conan Doyle to bring the sleuth back to life, and explain his...

. Although not specifying whether Sherlock Holmes actually appears in the books, the early reports include appearances by Doctor Watson, Inspector Lestrade
Inspector Lestrade
Inspector G. Lestrade is a fictional character, a Scotland Yard detective appearing in several of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle used the name of a friend from his days at the University of Edinburgh, a Saint Lucian medical student by the name of Joseph Alexandre Lestrade....

 and Irene Adler
Irene Adler
Irene Adler is a fictional character featured in the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in July 1891...

.

On 17 January 2011, it was announced that the Conan Doyle estate had commissioned Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Craig Horowitz is an English novelist and screenwriter. He has written many children's novels, including The Power of Five, Alex Rider and The Diamond Brothers series and has written over fifty books. He has also written extensively for television, adapting many of Agatha Christie's...

, author of the Alex Rider
Alex Rider
Alex Rider is a series of spy novels by British author Anthony Horowitz about a 14-15 year old spy named Alex Rider. The series is aimed primarily at young adults. Nine novels have been published to date, as well as three graphic novels, three short stories and a supplementary book...

 novels, The Power of Five
The Power of Five
The Power of Five is a series of fantasy and suspense novels, written by British author Anthony Horowitz. Four installments have been published to date but another one is to be released...

 and TV's Foyle's War
Foyle's War
Foyle's War is a British detective drama television series set during World War II, created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz, and was commissioned by ITV after the long-running series Inspector Morse came to an end in 2000. It has aired on ITV since 2002...

, to write a brand new, authorised Sherlock Holmes novel to be published by Orion Books in September 2011. "The content of the new tale – and indeed the title – remain a closely guarded secret."

The original stories

The original Sherlock Holmes stories consist of fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Novels

  • A Study in Scarlet
    A Study in Scarlet
    A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

     (published 1887, in Beeton's Christmas Annual)
  • The Sign of the Four (published 1890, Lippincott's Monthly Magazine)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    The Hound of the Baskervilles
    The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an...

     (serialised 1901–1902 in The Strand)
  • The Valley of Fear
    The Valley of Fear
    The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915, and the first book edition was published in New York on 27 February 1915.- Part I: The Tragedy of Birlstone...

     (serialised 1914–1915 in The Strand)

Short stories

For more detail see List of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short stories.

The short stories, originally published in periodicals, were later gathered into five anthologies:
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his famous detective and illustrated by Sidney Paget....

     (contains stories published 1891–1892 in The Strand)
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
    The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
    The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, originally published in 1894, by Arthur Conan Doyle.-Contents:The twelve stories of the Memoirs are:*"Silver Blaze"...

     (contains stories published 1892–1893 in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures)
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes
    The Return of Sherlock Holmes
    The Return of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of 13 Sherlock Holmes stories, originally published in 1903-1904, by Arthur Conan Doyle.-History:...

     (contains stories published 1903–1904 in The Strand)
  • The Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes (including His Last Bow)
    His Last Bow
    His Last Bow is a collection of seven Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as the title of the last story in that collection...

      (contains stories published 1908–1913 and 1917)
  • The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
    The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
    The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is the final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Originally published in 1927, it contains stories published between 1921 and 1927....

     (contains stories published 1921–1927)

See also

  • "Holmes-ian" Detection:
    • Forensic chemistry
      Forensic chemistry
      Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry to law enforcement or the failure of products or processes. Many different analytical methods may be used to reveal what chemical changes occurred during an incident, and so help reconstruct the sequence of events...

    • Forensic engineering
      Forensic engineering
      Forensic engineering is the investigation of materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not operate or function as intended, causing personal injury or damage to property. The consequences of failure are dealt with by the law of product liability. The field also deals with...

    • HOLMES2
      HOLMES2
      HOLMES 2 is an Information Technology system that is predominantly used by UK Police forces for the investigation of major incidents such as serial murders and multi-million pound frauds....

       (police computer system)
  • List of actors who have played Sherlock Holmes
  • List of Holmesian studies
  • Other Arthur Conan Doyle characters:
    • Professor Challenger
      Professor Challenger
      George Edward Challenger, better known as Professor Challenger, is a fictional character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...


  • Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes
    • Games:
    • Sherlock
      Sherlock (video game)
      Sherlock is a 1984 text adventure developed under the lead of Philip Mitchell by Beam Software. It was published by Melbourne House. Five programmers worked for 18 months on the title and a Sherlock Holmes expert was employed full-time for a year to advise the team on accuracy.Technically, the...

       (1984) (Philip Mitchell) (PC text adventure)
    • 221B Baker Street (1987) (Datasoft
      Datasoft
      Datasoft, Inc. was a video game developer and publisher founded in 1980 by Pat Ketchum. Based out of Chatsworth, California, Datasoft ported games from arcade systems to personal computers and acquired licenses for games from famous movies and TV shows....

      ) (PC and Mac)
    • Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels
      Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels
      Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels is an interactive fiction computer game designed by Bob Bates and published by Infocom in 1988. Like most titles Infocom produced, the use of ZIL made it possible to release the game simultaneously for many popular computer platforms, including the Apple II,...

       (1988) (Infocom
      Infocom
      Infocom was a software company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that produced numerous works of interactive fiction. They also produced one notable business application, a relational database called Cornerstone....

      )
    • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
      Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
      Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a full motion video based video game predicated on a book-based game of the same name. It was first developed by ICOM Simulations for the FM Towns computer and later ported to DOS, Apple Macintosh, Commodore CDTV, TurboGrafx-CD and Sega CD with all versions...

       (1991) (ICOM Simulations
      ICOM Simulations
      ICOM Simulations was a software company based in Wheeling, Illinois. It is best known for creating the MacVenture series of adventure games including Shadowgate.Following the foundation in 1983 a number of game titles for the Panasonic JR-200 were produced...

      )
    • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II
      Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II
      Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II is the title of a full motion video computer game released for the Sega CD, TurboGrafx-CD, and DOS...

       (1992) (ICOM Simulations)
    • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III
      Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III
      Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III is the title of a full motion video computer game released for the DOS. The game is a sequel to Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol...

       (1993) (ICOM Simulations)
    • The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel
      The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes
      The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes is an adventure game series developed by Mythos Software and published by the American computer game company Electronic Arts for DOS in the 1990s...

       (1992) (Electronic Arts)
      Electronic Arts
      Electronic Arts, Inc. is a major American developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games. Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers...

       (PC)
    • The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo
      The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes
      The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes is an adventure game series developed by Mythos Software and published by the American computer game company Electronic Arts for DOS in the 1990s...

       (1996) (Electronic Arts) (PC)
    • Sherlock Holmes series
      Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series
      The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series is a series of adventure games, developed by the independent game development studio Frogwares, based on Arthur Conan Doyle's famous work The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, featuring the famous detective and his companion Dr. John H. Watson. To date, five...

      : (Frogwares
      Frogwares
      Frogwares is an independent adventure game development studio, having branches in Ukraine, Ireland and France. Its president is Waël Amr.It is best known for its ongoing Sherlock Holmes series of adventure computer games starring Sherlock Holmes and Dr...

      ) (PC)
      • Sherlock Holmes: Mystery of the Mummy (2002) (Frogwares) (PC)
      • Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring
        Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring
        Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring is a computer game developed by Frogwares and published in 2004 on two CD-ROMs for Microsoft Windows by Digital Jesters in Europe and Ubisoft in North America...

         (2004) (Frogwares) (PC)
      • Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened
        Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened
        Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is an adventure game developed by Frogwares and published in 2006 for Microsoft Windows. The game follows an original plotline as Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John H...

         (2006) (Frogwares) (PC)
      • Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin
        Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin
        Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin is an adventure game, developed by the game development studio Frogwares. The fourth game in the Adventure of Sherlock Holmes series of adventure games developed by Frogwares, it was released in the October of 2007 and is published by Focus Home Interactive...

         (2007) (Frogwares) (PC)
      • Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Persian Carpet (Frogwares) (PC)
      • Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
        Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
        Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper is an adventure game for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360, developed by Frogwares. It is the fifth game in the Sherlock Holmes series of adventure games developed by Frogwares...

         (2009) (Frogwares) (PC)(X360)

Further reading

  • Fenoli Marc, Qui a tué Sherlock Holmes ? [Who shot Sherlock Holmes ?], Review L’Alpe 45, Glénat-Musée Dauphinois, Grenoble-France, 2009. ISBN 978-2-7234-6902-9
  • Lieboe, Eli. Doctor Joe Bell: Model for Sherlock Holmes. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1982; Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press
    University of Wisconsin Press
    The University of Wisconsin Press is a non-profit university press publishing peer-reviewed books and journals. It primarily publishes work by scholars from the global academic community but also serves the citizens of Wisconsin by publishing important books about Wisconsin, the Upper Midwest, and...

    , 2007. ISBN 978-0-87972-198-5


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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