Interesting Facts Related to Sherlock Holmes

Home Articles Interesting Facts Related to Sherlock Holmes


The first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson occurs in the story A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887 in the magazine Beeton's Christmas Annual.

Originally the story was entitled A Tangled Skein, but was rejected three times by different publishers before its publication with the new title and the sale of copyright for only 25 pounds.

A year later it would be published in the form of a book, in an edition illustrated by Doyle's father, Charles Altamont Doyle.


The character of Sherlock Holmes is inspired by the doctor Joseph Bell, professor of Doyle at the University of Edinburgh and forerunner of forensic medicine.

There are more questions about the inspiration behind Watson's character. Some identify him with Doyle's personal friend, Dr James Watson, a member of the Portsmouth Literature and Science Society; while others point to Dr Bell's personal assistant at the Edinburgh Hospital, also Doctor Patrick Watson.

Although Doyle repeatedly and publicly admitted that Joseph Bell was the inspiration behind his character and that the doctor himself was proud of this fact, Bell once wrote to Doyle: "You yourself are Sherlock Holmes, and you know it well”.


Sherlock's name has several probable origins. On the one hand, this was an English surname that means "very short hair" or "shiny lock".

It is said that originally the character would be called Sherrin ford Holmes, but Doyle would change the name by baptizing him in honour of an unidentified person with whom he used to play cricket. However, another version states that the name derives from the union of the names of two cricketers of the Notts in the 1880s, Mordecai Sherwin and TF Shacklock.

On the other hand, Holmes owes his surname to the American physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, of whom Doyle was an admirer.


Although Sherlock Holmes was the character that gave Doyle fame as an author, he always detested it, considering the detective genre as mediocre and Holmes as a work of inferior quality.


Fed up with the detective, he decided to kill him in the story The Final Problem, published in The Strand magazine in 1893. This shocked the followers of Holmes, many of whom dressed in mourning in commemoration of the character, while the magazine received near 20,000 cancellations.

Eight years later, Doyle would yield to public pressure and write a new adventure of Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, though making sure to establish that this happened before his death in the final problem.

It would be until 1903 that Doyle would completely revive Holmes in The Empty House, explaining his disappearance as a way to confuse his enemies by faking his own death.


Neither the hunting hat nor the famous curved wooden pipe (although if other kinds of pipes are mentioned) is mentioned in any of the books. The first became popular due to an artistic license of the illustrator Sydney Paget, while the second was popularized in the theatre, where the actor William Gillette used a pipe of this type in his incarnation of Holmes.

The phrase "elementary, my dear Watson" also does not come from books but comes from a written review on the occasion of the premiere of the film "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" in 1929.


Speaking of movies, Sherlock Holmes is the literary character with the most adaptations to the seventh art, having the Guinness World Record of "Most represented film character" with more than 70 actors representing him in more than 200 different films.


The adventures of Sherlock Holmes have been a milestone in the entertainment industry, being the basis for future detective novels, but also had a great impact in real life, serving as inspiration for the creation of forensic laboratories and the techniques for investigating crimes.

For his contributions in forensic chemistry, Sherlock Holmes was named an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Chemistry in 2002, being the first fictitious character to receive such recognition. The commemorative medal was placed on a statue of the detective, located on Baker Street, while those attending the ceremony were characterized as Dr Watson.

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