Sherlock Holmes’ stories were first published in 1887. The author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish author and physician; he wrote 4 novels and 56 short stories that included the character Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle claims that the stories were inspired by a man he once worked for at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary call Dr Joseph Bell. Other than Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson plays a main part in the majority of the stories, playing the part of a friend, colleague, and “side-kick”.
Many of the stories are narrated by Dr Watson, who was shown to keep written records of the cases. Sherlock Holmes was a well-known detective in Victorian England; this means that all of his stories contain great mystery and suspense, both great qualities to hook any audience over the many years. The mystery is portrayed taking several different angles into the stories. The most common frame of mystery is the person who appears at the beginning of the story asking for help: “A lady dressed in black and heavily veiled, who had been sitting in the window rise as we entered,”
this quote from “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is similar to quotes found in many of Conan Doyle’s other stories, dark figures, hiding identities and appearing at inconvenient times of the day are all aspects that regularly play part in the opening of the story. These types of openings are well written to encourage any reader into questioning who the strange person is and what has caused them to ask for help. The character of Sherlock Holmes is a strange one, who always manages to impress you with his great intelligence and ability to think out side the box. He is shown to be very observant by noticing small details about people:
“The left arm of your jacket is spattered with mud in no less than several places… There is no vehicle save a dog cart which throw up mud that way, and only when you sit on the left hand side of the driver. ” The way he takes in each small detail of a person or object shows to assist him in solving his difficult and extraordinary cases. Holmes attention to detail is used to amaze a reader as usually the things he points out are things that you would not usually even think about to take notice of, such as that the lady had sat on the left hand side of the dogcart.
Sherlock Holmes is also shown to be a strange man in the way that whenever he has a case to solve, he refuses to sleep but instead spends his night sitting smoking on the floor, going over and over the facts and evidence in his head until he eventually works out what has happened, usually at some early hour of the morning: “He took off his coat and waist coat, put on a large blue dressing-gown, and then wandered about the room collecting pillows from his bed, and the cushions from the sofa and armchairs…. upon which he perched
himself cross-legged, with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches. ” In this scene Sherlock Holmes shows that he is a man who enjoys comfort and freedom, this is demonstrated by the fact he wears a large blue dressing gown, and sits himself up on a large pile of cushions and pillows. The fact he is shown to be very used to having the finer things in life shows that he is most likely to be a wealthy man, who grew up in a privileged family. For people who grew up in a not so privileged family they may enjoy reading these books, as to gain an idea of what it is like to live an upper class life.
In “The Man With The Twisted Lip” Sherlock Holmes is found in an opium den, this was a very strange place to find him, and when Watson, notices him, you begin to question in your mind, as to weather he really is a respectable character, or whether its Watson who has got it wrong, as traditionally an opium den was used by the lower class, rougher characters. It is the unexpected twists in the stories that have helped to grip readers and sustain the popularity of the stories over the many years.