In celebration of books: Sherlock Holmes

I was introduced to Sherlock Holmes as a young teenager (thanks to my brother, who was an eager reader of Arthur Conan Doyle) and have thoroughly enjoyed this character ever since.  I have read almost all the books and have watched many different versions of Sherlock Holmes on TV, currently enjoying the "modern" reincarnation of "Sherlock". It's probably thanks to Doyle that I quite enjoy a good murder mystery - including those by Agatha Christie. Here is some trivia about the author and the character. Something lite for the end of the week:)
  • Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • When Doyle was twenty years old and in his third year of medical studies, when he was offered the post of ship's surgeon on the Hope, a whaling boat, about to leave for the Arctic Circle. The Hope first stopped near the shores of Greenland, where the crew proceeded to hunt for seals. The young medical student was appalled by the brutality of the exercise. But apart from that, he greatly enjoyed the camaraderie on board the ship and the subsequent whale hunt fascinated him. "I went on board the whaler a big straggling youth" he said, "I came off a powerful well-grown man". The Arctic had "awakened the soul of a born wanderer" he concluded many years later. This adventure found its way into his first story about the sea, a chilling tale called Captain of the Pole-star.
  • The famous deerstalker cap of Holmes was not ascribed to him by Doyle, but by the illustrator of the stories, Sidney Paget.
  • A Study in Scarlet was written in three weeks in 1886 and published in 1887.
  • Doyle became so tired of Holmes that he wrote The Final Problem in order to kill him off. The public's demands for more stories lead Doyle to resurrect Holmes in The Adventure of the Empty House.
  • There’s been over 260 movies, 2 musicals and a ballet called The Great Detective all featuring Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock has been played by 75 actors, with the first film made in 1900.
  • Doyle wrote four full-lentgh Sherlock Holmes novels and 56 short stories (link).  All but four stories are narrated by Holmes friend Dr. John Watson, two are narrated by Holmes homself and two are in the third person.
  • Sherlock means blonde, but the main characters are all dark haired.
  • The phrase ‘Elementary my dear Watson’ was never mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes books.
  • The only woman to have beaten Holmes was Irene Adler, who he called "that woman".
  • Holmes lived at 221b Baker Street London (now in NW1 6XE) - however during the years of the Sherlock Holmes stories, there was no 221 Baker Street.  Baker Street was very short, less than a mile long.  The address is now the home of the Sherlock Holmes museum and has been known to get mail for the great detective. 
  • Sherlock does not mention his parents, but merely states that his ancestrs were country squires. His brother Mycrift appears in three stories and mentioned in one other. 

What was your favourite Shelock Holmes Story?
What TV/movie version is your favourite?

"Come, Watson, come!" he cried. "The game is afoot."


  1. I love Sherlock Holmes! Read so many of his books, and find it so fascinating to see how his brain works stuff out. Do you work out the answers before he does? I dont' think I have ever managed it!

  2. Bets - No, I can never guess the answers, but I do try. I can still remember being introduced to them by Nick and being hook, I think I spent one summer holiday glued to the stories!!

    Nor can I ever guess Agatha Christie crimes, even though Caius and I sit there and try and work it out.

  3. Sherlock Holmes is fun both to read and to watch. I've been really enjoying the latest version (the modern version), although it is a little scary at times! The other version I really liked was a series I can't even find on IMDB! I'll have to find out what version it was and let you know. :)


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