Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes’ life is told by his closest friend Doctor Watson, who tells of the adventures of this most notorious of detectives, and his experiences throughout many diverse and complex plots. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most remarkable and memorable detectives of all time. Holmes is unlike any other fictional detective, in that, he regularly exercises a superior intellect and very powerful abilities to observe and deduct information; Holmes is famous for his powers of observation and deduction; “”No, but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm

of your left glove. You must have started early, and yet you had a good drive in a dog-cart, along heavy roads, before you reached the station. ” The lady gave a violent start and stared in bewilderment at my companion. “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.

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” “Whatever your reasons may be, you are perfectly correct,” said she. ” This ability leaves the reader in complete awe and amazement; this is reflected by the other characters. The Sherlock Holmes stories were originally published in The Strand magazine towards the end of the nineteenth century, where they became extremely popular, with a monthly circulation of over half a million copies each month.

Most of the success of the stories is attributable to the fact that many of the concerns and issues raised in the stories were shared by the audience of the time; for instance: Holmes opinion of the then newly founded metropolitan police force was that they were mostly inept and incompetent at solving crimes; “”See the value of imagination” said Holmes “It is one quality that Gregory lacks””. Holmes satirical tone and the way that he says “one quality”, implies that there are in fact many more, and thus he is criticising the police. At the same time he is making himself seem superior in his ability as a detective.

This reflects opinions of the time since the police force were relatively new and lacked experience, so people had very little faith in their abilities. A true to life example of the police force’s incompetence is that the case of ‘Jack the Ripper’, that was never solved. Holmes has a decidedly inferior view of women. In ‘The Speckled Band’, when Holmes first encounters Miss Stoner, he treats her in a very patronising way; “”I shall order you a cup of hot coffee””. This shows that women are inferior to men, since Holmes is treating her as though she were incapable of getting herself a cup of coffee.

Holmes is also higher in terms of his social status. This is common of the Victorian era, as men were seen to be more powerful, not just physically, but also intellectually. On the other hand, Miss Stoner is also portrayed as being brave and independent; she risks the wrath of her step-father in order to go and meet with Holmes and avenge her sister’s death. Furthermore, she is well educated since, despite her apparent terror, she is eloquent and fluent in using long and complex sentences, featuring advanced and complicated language.

This could be evidence that Conan Doyle supports the Suffragette movement and the of establishment women’s right Conan Doyle has created a character that is so intriguing, complex and believable, that Holmes has become the archetypal representation of a detective; the stories have inspired many modern day crime fiction novelists who still use the basis that Conan Doyle created; Agatha Christie’s Poirot famously features many ideas first used and created by Conan Doyle, such as the use of a secondary character to serve as a comparison to the main protagonist.

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At the end of the 1800’s London was a city where crime levels, poverty and poor public health were major issues for the people. Crime was a major feature of every day life, the smog caused by the growing industries created a dark and dismal place and further added to the sense of fear felt by many of the people. At this time Jack the Ripper the infamous murderer was roaming the streets of London. He slaughtered innocent victims and even sent their body parts to the police to taunt them. Despite killing at least five prostitutes, the police continually failed to catch him.

This made the public, particularly women, the Ripper’s main targets, very scared and afraid to go out at night. As a result of their failure to catch Jack the Ripper, the London police were seen by the public to be ineffective and many were exposed as corrupt. It was into these surroundings in 1887 that Scottish physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced his fictional detective character Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend and colleague Dr Watson were a new and exciting duo, they were introduced to the public in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories which were published each week as short stories The Strand magazine.

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote sixty stories about Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and fifty six short stories of which Dr Watson narrates all but four of them. The stories were set at the time when they were written and covered a period from around 1878 up to 1903, during Queen Victoria’s reign and quickly became extremely popular. One of the main reasons that the character of Sherlock Holmes was so popular was because he always solved the crimes similar to those that the readers were reading about and seeing for themselves in their everyday life.

What made this more popular was that Holmes was not a policeman, he solved the crimes despite the police not because of them using his deductive reasoning and astute observation skills to solve even the most difficult cases. The Sherlock Holmes stories have become celebrated as the starting point of fictional detective stories and turned into films and television series. In Victorian times this unique partnership was so excitedly received and widely embraced by the public that Conan Doyle’s plan to kill off the detective was met with death threats from the public.

One of the main reasons that the Sherlock stories were so popular was because they were original and unique for that time. The Sherlock Holmes stories became an important selling point of The Strand Magazine, readers queued outside the offices of the magazine waiting for the next instalments of the Holmes stories. Circulation of the Strand Magazine reached five hundred thousand copies. This is a good indication of how engaging these stories were. It is also a good thing to note that over one hundred years later they are still as readable today.

This is because although the stories were all topical to things that were happening at the time, they were also exciting and in many cases unusual. For example The Speckled Band is topical because it is based on a famous and wealthy family at the time, the Royletts of Stoke Moran. In the story Dr Grimesby Roylett the last living survivor of the Royletts of Stoke Moran, one of the richest families in England at the time is killed. The story was probably shocking to the people who read it in The Strand Magazine because Dr Grimesby Roylett is killed by a snake that he tamed.

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