Sherlock Holmes


Sherlock Holmes tomada del StrandTaken from wikimedia



Sherlock Holmes is the main characterof a series of4 novels y 56 ficction stories, gathered in which is named the Sherlockian Canon. They were published, in their majority, in The Strand Magazine. He is the creation of Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887 .

Sherlock Holmes is the prototype of brain detective by excellence. The character influenced toposterior detectives creations. Although we can consider to  C. August Dupin, created by Edgar Allan Poe, as a predecessor character very similar to Holmes, his weird geniality didn’t reach the huge popularity  that Holmes would obtained all over the world.

“There is nothing magical about me or my methods. I observe the world, and I observe those who live in it”.

Sherlock Holmes


Sherlock Holmes is a private detective tall, thin, aquiline nosed, non emotional, ironic, wit and intellectuality inquire. In occasions he seems abrupt but he is polite with women despite he doesn’t trust in them. Watson, his chronicler, emphasizes the presence of  a beautiful lady called Irene Adler in a case, which is always considered by Sherlock as “The Woman”. In  Holmes’s opinion she eclipses and takes under her control all his senses (A Scandal in Bohemia, 1892). He is disorganised in his daily life, he is a master in disguising, smokes a pipe and plays the violin  skilfully (a  Stradivarius, he often plays it in inadequates hours). He is an expert apiarist, excellent boxer, he has a great scientific knowledge, specially in Chemistry and, when tiene he is bored because he don’t have the intellectual challenges that his cases are, he consumes cocain in a solution 7%. This fact worries to his partner, friend and chronicler Watson, who reprimands him because  this insane occasional use. Holmes lives together Watson until the end XIX century in 221B  Baker Street, in London.  His biographer,  Dr. Watson, enumerates y analyses in depth  his knowledge in “Study in Scarlet”, the first novel, where, as a curious fact, Holmes manifests not to know the heliocentric theory…

However, his more notable feature is the use of pure reasoning to solve the more intriguing cases. He can reach the more surprising conclusions from  the more trivial details thanks to his extraordinary power of concentration and to his wide scientific and more variate disciplines knowledge.  He is the creator of his own profession, “Consulting Detective”. It consists on helping to make clear cases that present difficulties greater  than official detectives’ skills (Scotland Yard detectives) or privated detectives , like Lestrade, Gregson, Hopkins and others who get crime solving success.

Sherlock has an older brother, Mycroft Holmes, who ownes powers of obsevation and deduction greater than him, but he is unable to apply his skills to detective because he don’t have neither ambition nor energy activity. He is member of Diogenes Club.

His first case, when he is young and according what Sherlock tells to Watson, is the adventure is “The Gloria Scott Corvette”(1893), in which he helps to a friend to solve a encoded message. Doyle based his charcter’s deductive method upon the procedures of one of his professors  in the Edinburgh Infirmary, where he studied Medicine: Joseph Bell.


  • The famous words “Elementary, my dear Watson” never appear  in Doyle’s writings. However, at the beginning of the first chapter of the novel primer The Hound of the Baskervilles we find the closest case, when Sherlock Holmes says these words though not in a continuous way and with a Watson’s a answer back between them. This is the original quotation from the text:

«“Interesting, though elementary,” said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee. “There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick. It gives us the basis for several deductions.”

“Has anything escaped me?” I asked with some self-importance. “I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?”

“I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. […]»

  • The deerstalker cap, which is a detective’s characteristic, was never mentioned inDoyle’s writings: it was added by the illustrator of The Strand Magazine Sidney Paget who also  used to his brother as a model of Holmes’s appearance.

  • The Meerschaum pipe part of the iconography of Sherlock Holmes didn’t appear until it was used in a play of theatre on one of the stories developed in the 1920’s.

  • At the beginning, Doyle considered to name  Sherrinford Holmes to his detective but William S. Baring-Gould, outstanding biographer of the character, tried to make believe later that the name was the oldest Holmes brother’s name. In fact, he invented it  in order to avoid Mycroft nor Holmes inherited their father’s care properties.


This is an abstract and translation of an article from wikipedia. If you want to read the complete version in Spanish click here 


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