Sherlock Holmes is one of if not the most popular and well known fictional detective of all time. His powers of observation and expertise in his field of work – investigation of crimes, led him to great popularity in the late 19th to early 20th century. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, shot to fame with his first published Sherlock appearance in, “A Study in Scarlet,” which was printed in “Beeton’s Christmas Annual,” in 1887. Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street, London.
He wore a deerstalker cap, smoked a hooked pipe, carried a large magnifying glass and was known for his subliminary addictive catchphrase, “elementary, my dear Watson,” used every time he solved a case. His image was formed from the early magazine illustrations of the stories. But of course, where would any good detective be without their trusty sidekick? The sidekick in question being Dr. Watson, Sherlock’s helpful and shrewd sidekick or “partner in crime. ” Watson plays a major role in every one of the stories although at first it seems he doesn’t.
His main purpose in the stories is to be the narrator, rather than expecting the reader to understand the situation themselves. All the stories are in first person, i. e. “I” “We”, and this is because it is as if Watson is telling the reader the story directly, which is a very clever technique used by Doyle to try and make the reader feel that they are part of the story. Sherlock however is the main character in all the stories. He manages to solve every crime he is presented with in a variety of ways.
He is extremely observant, which is believed to have come from his earlier medical background, mentioned in one of the earlier stories. The Sherlock stories, along with other fiction in the detective genre, were one of the main forms of entertainment in late Victorian times and were extremely well known throughout Britain at the time. The audience that the stories appealed to were, and still are, all classes and ages. The main reason for this was because he was portrayed as a hero. England was full of crime at the time but Holmes solved and stopped crime in his fictional world.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock stories, knew he had to add the key elements of detective fiction into his stories, crime, suspense, murder, clues, victim, perpetrator, false trails, a villain and of course, a hero with a trusty sidekick. In this case, Sherlock and Watson. Two of the techniques Doyle was particularly good at in the Sherlock stories was adding suspense and incorporating false trails into the story. These where the two key ingredients which many believe shot Doyle, and Sherlock, to fame.
Even from just the title to one of the Sherlock Stories, “The Speckled Band”, Doyle manages to add suspense. Looking at this the first thing that comes to mind is a bracelet of some sort. However, we do not know what it is, yet we want to, because we know this is what the story is about but we don’t know what is symbolises. But there was one other key component to the Sherlock stories, language. There are countless metaphors and similes within the Sherlock stories, which add atmosphere and excitement to the Sherlock stories.
Doyle was also very descriptive in his stories. A good example of his descriptiveness is his description of Upper Swandam Lane in “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” “Upper Swandam Lane is a vile alley lurking behind the high wharves which line the north side of the river to the east of London Bridge. Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop, approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave, I found the den of which I was in search.
” From this short description of Swandam Lane, Doyle sets the scene, a dark and dismal alley, with a shabby, murky opium den. A few of the stories didn’t actually involve a crime being committed, one of which is “The Man with the Twisted Lip. ” There is no murder of any kind, just a missing person scenario. The missing person in question, Isa Whitney, is an opium addict, who disguises himself as a poor beggar on the street, and goes missing for days on end. His reason for the begging is that he is in debt and makes more money a year begging than his original job.
He also wears dishevelled clothes and dirty like make-up to fool people into thinking he is really a beggar. He is thought dead until a letter arrives saying that he is alive and well. Watson is asked to find Isa, but finds Sherlock in disguise, on another case, at the opium den to where Watson goes. One of the stories which does actually involve a crime is “The Speckled Band. ” A young woman, Helen Stoner, seeks the help and investigative powers of Sherlock. Her sister is mysteriously murdered whilst in her room which has a barred window and a locked door at night.
There is no way in nor out yet she is murdered. There are false trails within the story to try and trick the reader into thinking that something else happened rather than the truth of what happened. Helen’s uncle, Dr Roylott, with whom she lives with on their estate, allows gypsies to camp on the land, “the wandering gypsies, and he would give these vagabonds leave to encamp upon the few acres of bramble-covered land which represent the family estate” leading the reader to think that they are responsible.