The detective genre Essay
The detective genre
During the era of Queen Victoria, when flickering gas lamps lit the squalid streets casting an eerie shadow, a soon to be well known compilation of stories belonging to Detective genre were being published. They were the first of their kind, and were created by Arthur Conan Doyle. His stories became so well known, that soon after writing his stories, Arthur Conan Doyle was knighted by Queen Victoria herself. Doyle’s stories called ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,’ became legendary, as Doyle had created an original fictional pipe-smoking character, called Sherlock Holmes, whose job, it was to solve crimes.
This was ironic at the time, due to the simple fact, an infamous murderer, Jack the Ripper, was loose on the streets of London, attacking women. He knifed and ruthlessly murdered many prostitutes. Unfortunately, the police could not catch him and their methods were seen as inefficient. Conversely, when Sherlock Holmes, surfaced in 1887 many of the Victorians ‘fell for’ the fictional character, as he became the perfect detective, by cracking every case bought to him.
Many believe that Sherlock Holmes was the answer to their problems as many Victorians held a deep resentment towards the police, as they did not appear to be protecting the public. The time in which Doyle published his creations was very important to his great success, as the nation was developing and many more people were soon become wealthier. Furthermore, the introduction of compulsory schooling in the 1870 meant that many people soon became literate which meant even more Victorians had a great chance to read Doyle’s work.
Also, as for the developing middle class, they had much more leisure time and more time to read, at free libraries as they were being established in many towns and cities in Britain. This offered more reading material to entertain the Victorians. These factors help Doyle’s success, and so did the use of forensic science. As forensic science was only just developing, Sherlock Holmes was the first fictional detective to use methods of finger printing. This he uses on many occasions, but in ‘The Beryl Coronet’ one of Doyle’s most famous stories, he visits the crime scene and collects a set of fingerprints off the window seal.
This is ironic because the police officers, which have already investigated the crime, do not collect a set of fingerprints. Due to their lack of expertise, the police arrests Arthur Holder, ironically, their judgement is flow, and with the help of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Holder is found to be innocent. Sherlock Holmes reassures the readers those crimes, can be solved and justice will be done. In effect this builds up the public’s confidence in him.
‘The Sherlock Holmes’ compilations are engaging to their audience as most of the stories include the main features necessary for detective fiction, which are: victims, suspects, villains, clues, red herrings and a detective. The detective has the most important role in the whole story, as it is him, who has to engage the readers to stay focused in the story line. In order for this to work the writer has to add mystery, confidence and intelligence to his character. Doyle in his creation of Sherlock Holmes uses his own medical knowledge and background to create such an extraordinary character like Holmes.
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