Sherlock Holmes stories Essay
Sherlock Holmes stories
Can the continued popularity of the Sherlock Holmes stories be explained by the similarity to modern television detectives? Discuss this statement with reference to ‘The Speckled Band’. The Sherlock Holmes saga has a huge inspirational impact on today’s television detective stories. The reason why the Sherlock Holmes mysteries are so successful is because they contain many qualities of a classic mystery genre.
It is a fair presumption if one was to say that the stories always follow a certain pattern and that in normal circumstances it is expected of the reader to lose interest, but Sherlock managed to obtain his popularity even to present day. A clear sign of how cleverly crafted Arthur Conan Doyle made these crime stories. Sherlock Holmes is a crime detective who has the ability to solve the hardest of criminal equations with the minimalist of facts, using his somewhat superb observational skills and his incredible method of scientific deduction. ” “There is no mystery, my dear madam,” said he, smiling.
“The left arm of your jacket is spattered with mud in no less than seven places. The marks are perfectly fresh. There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way, and then only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver. ” ” Quoted from The Speckled Band. Holmes is a realistic and believable character, bringing the novels to life. Holmes always inspires a sense of confidence in other characters and indeed the reader as he shares a certainty of his attitude towards the mystery and the way he doesn’t suffer fools gladly, always using his own initiative.
This makes the reader feel as if Holmes is very confident about himself, thus making the reader confident and ultimately it makes them read on, a perfect example of Arthur Conan Doyle’s ability to captivate his readers. Always accompanying Holmes was his loyal companion and entrusted sidekick Dr Watson. With his old fashioned values and his consistent reliability, Watson is the perfect partner for Holmes. Watson shows a sense of amazement towards Holmes’s abilities and although he explains his deductions and predictions, Watson still could not do it himself.
In terms of solving the crime, Watson seems rather useless. And as most of the time it seems as if Watson does not know what’s going on inside Sherlocks mind, this adds suspense to the story. Arthur Conan Doyle has cleverly used Watson as a tool – Holmes explains his methods and deductions to Watson and therefore to the reader. Watson is also the narrator of the story. Holmes appears in four novels and fifty-seven short stories. Arthur Conan Doyle got tired of writing about Holmes and so he killed him off in 1893 by having him fall to his death over the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.
The stories had stop in production over one hundred years ago but still to this day they are very successful. Sherlock Holmes was modeled on and originated from Dr Joseph Bell, a surgeon in Edinburgh who had an extraordinary ability to deduce the backgrounds and occupations of his patients from minute details of their appearance. An excellent example of how the Sherlock Holmes saga has influenced modern crime story structures is ‘Inspector Morse’, a recently finished epic of mystery/crime television programs.
Spanning 14 years, the ever-popular series shared a certain similarity to Holmes. Written by Colin Dexter and starring John Thaw (Left) as Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as his trusted side kick Lewis (Right), Inspector Morse captivated viewers of all ages and class, again, very similar to Holmes. Morse and Lewis appear in thirty-three episodes and the stories are also available in other formats, such as paperback novels, paperback omnibus’s and audio books as are the Holmes stories.
Here is a description of the Speckled Band, one of the many successful Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle, and ‘Deadly Slumber’ one of the thirty-three stories written by Colin Dexter, purposely to give a clear contrast of the similarities,: Deadly Slumber When Dr. Brewster is found dead in his car in his locked garage, everyone but Chief Inspector Morse writes the doctor’s death off as a suicide. A comment by the doctor’s wife troubles Morse, and he thinks the good doctor’s death anything but suicide. The chief inspector’s suspicions are quickly confirmed by the autopsy – it was murder.
His investigation of the family soon uncovers a grudge against the family after a botched surgery on the daughter of Michael Steppings, a millionaire businessman who became a semi-reclusive following his daughter Avril’s surgery that left her in a vegetative state. Steppings vowed to avenge his daughter’s condition on all parties involved in the surgery after losing a civil suit against the doctor and his clinic. Steppings goes so far as to send threatening letters to the doctor, but not the two other people on the surgical team the day of the operation. This oversight puzzles Morse.
Steppings becomes Morse’s prime suspect and just as quickly is cleared by Morse and Sgt. Lewis. Then Morse is pointed in one direction by the family and another by his former prime suspect in Daniel Boyle’s extremely well crafted script. The last twenty minutes of Deadly Slumber is a roller coaster ride as the evidence leads Morse to one suspect after another. The adventure of the Speckled Band The speckled band leaves Helen Stoner’s twin sister in a state of occult horror just before her marriage. Now it’s Helen’s marriage and the same whistling sounds that her sister had heard in the nights preceding her death have come back to Stoke Moran.
Her estranged stepfather seems to be the only culprit as the only other inhabitants of the old English stately home are the wild baboon and leopard. Holmes and Watson are quickly on the case, and come to the strange conclusion that it was a rare and highly venomous snake that was to blame for the mysterious deaths. As you can see both stories share the same basic structure, with the build up of suspense and the analysis of the deduction. Though perhaps one might say that the endings of the Holmes stories were somewhat more imaginative and dramatic in comparison to Morse’s more down to earth, realistic conclusions.
To conclude, the continued popularity of the Sherlock Holmes stories, in my opinion, can be explained by the similarity to modern television detectives, as the modern television detectives are too similar to Holmes to dismiss as being created from a different origin. Taking into account the Sherlock Holmes stories were created over one hundred years ago it is fair to presume that modern day crime/mystery authors get there inspirations from the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 October 2017
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