The Sherlock Holmes franchise is a best-selling series created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It centers around the titular character, a London-based "consulting detective" who's abilities border on the fantastic.

Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. The first novel, A Study in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887 and the second, The Sign of the Four, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine, beginning with "A Scandal in Bohemia" in 1891; further series of short stories and two novels published in serial form 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" and "The Lion's Mane") and two others are written in the third person ("The Mazarin Stone" and "His Last Bow"). In two stories ("The Musgrave Ritual" and "The Gloria Scott"), 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 and The Valley of Fear, each include a long interval of omniscient narration recounting events unknown to either Holmes or Watson.


Doyle said that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations.[1] However, some years later Bell wrote in a letter to Conan Doyle: "you are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it."[2] 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.[3]


Forensic scienceEdit


Sherlock Holmes remains a great inspiration for forensic science in literature, 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 such as shoe and tire impressions, as well as fingerprints, ballistics and handwriting analysis, now known as questioned document examination. 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 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 examination.

Owing to the small scale of the trace evidence (such as tobacco ash, hair or fingerprints), he often uses a magnifying glass at the scene, and an optical microscope back at his lodgings in Baker Street. He uses analytical chemistry for blood residue analysis as well as toxicology examination and determination for poisons. 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 The Adventure of the Naval Treaty. Ballistics is used when spent bullets can be recovered, and their calibre measured and matched with a suspected murder weapon, as in The Adventure of the Empty House.

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 history. He applied the same method to personal items such as walking sticks (famously in The Hound of the Baskervilles) or hats (in the case of The Blue Carbuncle), with small details such as medallions, wear and contamination yielding vital indicators of their absent owners.

In 2002, the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed an honorary fellowship of their organisation upon Sherlock Holmes,[4] 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 storyEdit

The Purloined Letter

Auguste Dupin in "The Purloined Letter"

Although Sherlock Holmes is not the original fictional detective (he was influenced by Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin and Émile Gaboriau's Monsieur Lecoq, for both of whom the character openly expressed disdain or contempt), 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. The investigating detective became a popular genre with many authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers after the demise of Holmes, with characters such as Hercule Poirot and Lord Peter Wimsey. 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 literatureEdit

Sherlock Holmes has occasionally been used in the scientific literature. John Radford (1999)[5] 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)[6] examines Holmes's methods in the light of the science and the criminology of the mid to late 19th century. Kempster (2006)[7] compares neurologists' skills with those displayed by Holmes. Finally, Didierjean and Gobet (2008)[8] reviewed the literature on the psychology of expertise by taking as model a fictional expert: Sherlock Holmes. They highlighted 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 speculationEdit

Main article: Sherlock Holmes speculation

The fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Conan Doyle are termed the "canon" by Sherlock Holmes fans. Early scholars of the canon included Ronald Knox[9] in Britain and Christopher Morley in New York,[10] the latter having founded the Baker Street Irregulars, the first society devoted exclusively to the canon of Holmes, in 1934.[11]

According to Morley, Holmes's birthday was January 6, 1854.[12][13]

Author Laurie R. King has speculated about Holmes's birth date, based on two of Conan Doyle's stories: A Study in Scarlet and "The Gloria Scott" Adventure. 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 and subsequent return to England in A Study in Scarlet 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.[14]

The author Dorothy L. Sayers 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) perhaps offered the greatest number of advantages to a man in Holmes's position and, in default of more exact information, we may tentatively place him there".[15]

Holmes's emotional state and mental health have 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 [citation needed]

have suggested Holmes showed signs of manic depression, 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.[16] 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, author of the Seven Percent Solution, have implied a severe family trauma (i.e., the murder of Holmes's mother) may be the root cause.

Writers have produced many pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle, or characters from the stories in homage, to a greater or lesser degree. 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 on the show House M.D, whose name and apartment number are both references to Holmes.

Often the simplest reference a writer can make is to portray anybody who does some kind of detective work in a deerstalker and Inverness 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 first drew Holmes wearing the deerstalker cap and Inverness cape in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" and subsequently in several other stories.[citation needed]

"Elementary, my dear Watson"Edit

A third major reference is the oft-quoted catchphrase: "Elementary, my dear Watson", which 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", when Holmes explains a deduction: Template:"'Excellent!' I cried. 'Elementary,' said he."

The first known use of this phrase was in the 1915 novel, Psmith, Journalist, by P. G. Wodehouse ("Elementary, my dear fellow, quite elementary" in Psmith in the City, 1909-1910). It also appears at the very end of the 1929 film, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, the first Sherlock Holmes sound film. William Gillette, 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 radio series, broadcast from 1939 to 1947.

"Great Hiatus"Edit

File:Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.jpg

Holmes aficionados refer to the period from 1891 to 1894—the time between Holmes's disappearance and presumed death in "The Final Problem" and his reappearance in "The Adventure of the Empty House"—as the "Great Hiatus".[citation needed]

It is notable, though, that one later story ("The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge") 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).[17][18]

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 four years after the fall over Reichenbach Falls.


Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh

Statue of Sherlock Holmes on Picardy Place in Edinburgh, Conan Doyle's birthplace. The statue shows Holmes wearing an Inverness cape and a deerstalker cap.

In 1934, the Sherlock Holmes Society, in London, and the Baker Street Irregulars, 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 in the Swiss 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 Australia, India and Japan.


During the 1951 Festival of Britain, 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 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.

Other honoursEdit

The London Metropolitan Railway named one of its 20 electric locomotives deployed in the 1920s after Sherlock Holmes. He was the only fictional character so honored, alongside fellow eminent Britons such as Lord Byron, Benjamin Disraeli, and Florence Nightingale.[19]

Adaptations and derived worksEdit

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 in all of Conan Doyle's works expired in the United Kingdom in 1980 and are public domain there.[20] 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. For works published after 1923 but before 1963, if the copyright was registered, its term lasts for 95 years.[21] The Conan Doyle heirs registered the copyright to The Case Book (published in the USA after 1923) in 1981 through the Copyright Act of 1976.[20][22][23]

On February 14, 2013, noted Holmes scholar Leslie S. Klinger filed a declaratory judgment suit against the Conan Doyle estate in the Northern District of Illinois, asking that the court acknowledge that the characters of Holmes and Watson are in the public domain, no longer protected by copyright in the U.S.[24]

Stage, screen and radio adaptationsEdit

Main article: Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes
File:Sherlock Holmes William Gillette play.jpeg
File:Sherlock Holmes Baffled.jpg
Jeremy Brett

Jeremy Brett at one of his performances as Sherlock Holmes in the Granada Series

The Guinness World Records has consistently listed Sherlock Holmes as the "most portrayed movie character"[25] with more than 70 actors playing the part in over 200 films. Holmes's first screen appearance was in the Mutoscope film Sherlock Holmes Baffled in 1900, albeit in a barely recognisable form.[26]

William Gillette'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 had played Holmes on stage more than a thousand times.[27] This play formed the basis for Gillette's 1916 motion picture, Sherlock Holmes.

From 1921 to 1923, Stoll Pictures produced a series of silent black-and-white films based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Forty-five short films and two feature length films were produced[28] featuring Eille Norwood in the role of Holmes and Hubert Willis cast as Dr Watson with the exception of the final film, The Sign of Four, where Willis was replaced with Arthur Cullin.

The first sound film to feature Sherlock Holmes was the sound-on-disk The Return of Sherlock Holmes, written by Basil Dean, and filmed in New York City in 1929.[29] It starred Clive Brook as Sherlock Holmes. A silent version of the film was also produced to accommodate theaters which did not feature sound.[29]

Basil Rathbone starred as Sherlock Holmes alongside Nigel Bruce as Dr Watson in fourteen US films (two for 20th Century Fox and a dozen for Universal Pictures) from 1939 to 1946, as well as the radio show "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1939 to 1946 before passing the role to Tom Conway. The 1939 20th Century Fox Hound of the Baskervilles contains an unusually direct reference to Holmes's drug use in the last line of the film, "Watson, the needle". The Universal Pictures are distinctive for being set in the then contemporary post-World War II era.

Ronald Howard starred in 39 episodes of the Sherlock Holmes 1954 American TV series with Howard Marion Crawford as Watson. The storylines deviated from the books of Conan Doyle, changing characters and other details.

In 1959 Peter Cushing starred in Hammer Film Productions' The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), marking Holmes's first screen appearance in colour. He would return to the role several times in both film and television performances.

Fritz Weaver appeared as Sherlock Holmes in the musical Baker Street, which ran on Broadway between 16 February and 14 November 1965. Peter Sallis portrayed Dr. Watson, Inga Swenson appeared as The Woman, Irene Adler, and Martin Gabel played Moriarty. Virginia Vestoff, Tommy Tune, and Christopher Walken were also members of the original cast.[30]

Roger Moore played the detective in the 1976 film Sherlock Holmes in New York alongside Patrick Macnee as Watson.

Template:Reference necessary

In The Return Of Sherlock Holmes, a TV movie aired in 1987, Margaret Colin stars as Dr. Watson's great-granddaughter Jane Watson, a Boston private eye, who stumbles upon Sherlock Holmes's (played by Michael Pennington) 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 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns where Dr Amy Winslow (played by Debrah Farentino) discovers Sherlock Holmes frozen in the cellar of house in San Francisco owned by a descendant of Mrs Hudson. Holmes (played by Anthony Higgins) 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 is considered by critic Julian Wolfreys to be the definitive Holmes,[31] having played the role in four series of Sherlock Holmes, created by John Hawkesworth for Britain's Granada Television, 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 (post-hiatus) in the series.

File:Holmes and Watson.jpg

Nicol Williamson portrayed Holmes in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution with Robert Duvall playing Watson and featuring Alan Arkin as Sigmund Freud. The 1976 adaption was written by Nicholas Meyer from his 1974 book of the same name, and directed by Herbert Ross.

Bob Clark directed Christopher Plummer and James Mason in the 1979 created film Murder by Decree, which followed Holmes, hunting Jack the Ripper.

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 as Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Watson. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth awarded Livanov an MBE(Order of the British Empire) for his work as Sherlock Holmes.

Christopher Lee starred as Holmes in three screen adaptions, namely Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962), Incident at Victoria Falls (1991) and Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1992) together with Morgan Fairchild as "The Woman".

The only actors to have portrayed Holmes and Watson in adaptations of every story in the canon are Clive Merrison and Michael Williams, who played the detective and the doctor respectively in a BBC Radio 4 series which ran from 1989 until 1998.[32]

Related and derivative worksEdit

Main article: Non-canonical Sherlock Holmes works

In addition to the Sherlock Holmes corpus, Conan Doyle's "The Lost Special" (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" (1924), a parody 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, The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by Peter Haining and The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes compiled by Richard Lancelyn Green.

Starting in 1907, Sherlock Holmes was featured 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".[33]

Sherlock Holmes's abilities as both a good fighter and an excellent logician has 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 addict, whose drug-fuelled fantasies lead him to cast an innocent Professor Moriarty as a super villain (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution), to science-fiction plots involving him being re-animated after death to fight crime in the future (Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century).

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"), notably The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle's son Adrian Conan Doyle with John Dickson Carr, 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. 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 recreates Sherlock Holmes in her Mary Russell series (starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice), 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 and subsequently marries her. As of 2012 the series includes twelve novels and a novella tie-in with a book from King's present-time Kate Martinelli series, The Art of Detection.

Carole Nelson Douglas' series, the Irene Adler Adventures, is based on the character from Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia". 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 is a 1971 romantic comedy based on the 1961 play of the same name (both written by James Goldman) in which the character Justin Playfair, played by George C. Scott, is convinced he is Sherlock Holmes, and manages to convince many others of same, including the psychiatrist Dr. Watson, played by Joanne Woodward, who is assigned to evaluate him so he can be committed to a mental institution.

The film Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) explores adventures of Holmes and Watson as boarding school pupils.[34]

In the 1980s Ben Kingsley played Dr. Watson in Without a Clue. 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), 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 1984-1985 Japanese anime series Sherlock Hound adapted the Holmes stories for children and had the characters portrayed as anthropomorphic dogs. The series was co-directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who later went on to direct the Oscar winning film Spirited Away.[35] The Japanese anime series Detective Conan, also called Case Closed in English, is an homage to Doyle's work.

The 2002 film The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is loosely based on Doyle's story "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire".

In 2002 made-for-television movie Sherlock: Case of Evil, James D'Arcy 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 addicted, a heavy drinker and a ladies' man.

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.[36]

The Final Solution is a 2004 novel by Michael Chabon. 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, 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, 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 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 published in 2008 in Russia as the conclusion of the book "Jade Rosary Beads", Sherlock Holmes and Erast Fandorin oppose Arsène Lupin on 31 December 1899.

In the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes, based on a story by Lionel Wigram and images by John Watkiss,[37] directed by Guy Ritchie, the role of Holmes is performed by Robert Downey, Jr. with Jude Law portraying Watson. It is a reinterpretation which focuses on Holmes's more anti-social personality traits as an unkempt eccentric with a brilliant analytical mind and formidable martial abilities. Robert Downey Jr. won the Golden Globe Award for his portrayal.[38] Both Downey Jr. and Law returned in the 2011 sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Holmes featured in the episode "Trials of the Demon" from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. [citation needed]

Benedict Cumberbatch filming Sherlock cropped

Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes in Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a modern-day version of the detective, with Martin Freeman as Watson, in the BBC One TV series Sherlock, which premiered on 25 July 2010. The series changes the books' original Victorian setting to the shady and violent present-day London. The show was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, best known as writers for the BBC television series Doctor Who. 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.[39]

He also uses modern technology, such as texting and blogging, to solve crimes,[40] and in a nod towards changing smoking legislature, he has replaced his pipe with multiple nicotine patches, as London has forbidden smoking in most public areas, yet this interpretation of Holmes still finds nicotine to help the cognitive process.[41]

In June 2010 it was announced that Franklin Watts books, a part of Hachette Children's Books are to release a series of four children's graphic novels by writer Tony Lee and artist Dan Boultwood in spring 2011 based around the Baker Street Irregulars during the three years that Sherlock Holmes was believed dead, between The Final Problem and The Adventure of the Empty House. Although not specifying whether Sherlock Holmes actually appears in the books, the early reports include appearances by Doctor Watson, Inspector Lestrade and Irene Adler.

Independent film company The Asylum released the direct-to-DVD film Sherlock Holmes 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 is undertoned, though things like his drug addiction remain mostly unchanged. Throughout the film, Holmes is hinted to be strongly addicted to tobacco even with such a case that requires his analytical skills. 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 actor Gareth David-Lloyd.

Sherlock Holmes has also appeared in video games. Most successful to date[citation needed]

is the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes video game series which comprises six main titles. Holmes in this video game series was based upon Jeremy Brett, and presents an original story and plot that isn't based upon any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works.

In 2011, Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider novels, The Power of Five and TV's Foyle's War, published a new "authorised" Sherlock Holmes novel: The House of Silk, commissioned by the Conan Doyle estate. The novel is presented as a continuation of Conan Doyle's work and is narrated by Dr. Watson.[42]

On 27 September 2012, Elementary, premiered on CBS. It takes place in modern day New York starring Jonny Lee Miller as recovering British drug addict Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson.

Original storiesEdit

Main article: Canon of Sherlock Holmes

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


Short storiesEdit

The short stories, originally published in periodicals, were later gathered into five anthologies:


  1. Lycett, Andrew (2007). The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Free Press. pp. 53–54, 190. ISBN 978-0-7432-7523-1. 
  2. Barring-Gould, William S.. The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.. p. 8. ISBN 0-517-50291-7. 
  3. Doyle, A. Conan (1961). The Boys' Sherlock Holmes, New & Enlarged Edition. Harper & Row. p. 88. 
  4. "NI chemist honours Sherlock Holmes". BBC News. 16 October 2002. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  5. Radford, John (1999). The Intelligence of Sherlock Holmes and Other Three-pipe Problems. Sigma Forlag. ISBN 82-7916-004-3. 
  6. Snyder LJ (2004). "Sherlock Holmes: Scientific detective". Endeavour 28 (3): 104–108. doi:10.1016/j.endeavour.2004.07.007. PMID 15350761. 
  7. Kempster PA (2006). "Looking for clues". Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 13 (2): 178–180. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2005.03.021. PMID 16459091. 
  8. Didierjean, A & Gobet, F (2008). "Sherlock Holmes – An expert's view of expertise". British Journal of Psychology 99 (Pt 1): 109–125. doi:10.1348/000712607X224469. PMID 17621416. 
  9. "Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (1888–1957)". Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  10. "Christopher Morley". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  11. "Sherlockian.Net: Societies". Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  12. "The world of Holmes and Watson". Sherlockian.Net. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  13. "Baker Street Irregulars Weekend". 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  14. "LRK on: Sherlock Holmes : Laurie R. King: Mystery Writer". Laurie R. King. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 
  15. Dorothy L. Sayers, "Holmes's College Career," for the Baker Street Studies, edited by H.W. Bell, 1934. In the foreword to Unpopular Opinions, in which her essay appeared, Sayers says that the "game of applying the methods of the Higher Criticism to the Sherlock Holmes canon... has become a hobby among a select set of jesters here and in America."
  16. Lisa Sanders M.D. (4 December 2009). "Hidden Clues". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  17. Dakin, D. Martin (1972). A Sherlock Holmes Commentary. David & Charles, Newton Abbot. ISBN 0-7153-5493-0. 
  18. McQueen, Ian (1974). Sherlock Holmes Detected. David & Charles, Newton Abbot. ISBN 0-7153-6453-7. 
  19. Reed, Brian (1934). Railway Engines of the World. Oxford University Press. p. 133. 
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