Sherlock Holmes: The most real and beloved fictional detective

Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes

Money and prestige never mattered to him. The world’s first-ever and greatest consulting detective, the only thing that thrilled Sherlock Holmes was unsolved murders. Government detectives and many private ones would seek him when they were unable to solve a mystery, laying all the evidence before him. And Holmes was able to solve them with his keen intellect, acute observation, and deduction.

Sherlock Holmes, a name that immediately reminds us of deerstalker hats, magnifying glasses, and the thrill of solving the most perplexing mysteries. This iconic fictional character was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century. Holmes solves puzzling mysteries that baffle both the police and ordinary citizens. He stands out as arguably the most renowned fictional detective and, undeniably, one of the most universally acknowledged figures in literature.

Sherlock Holmes's smallest actions were all directed towards some definite and practical end. His personality and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. The train of thoughts ran so swiftly through his mind that he could arrive at conclusions without being conscious of the intermediate steps. The character was inspired by Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, whom Sir Arthur Conan Doyle met in 1877. Similar to Sherlock Holmes, Joseph Bell himself was well known for being able to carry out deductions about people from minute observations.

Sherlock Holmes's one and only companion is Dr. John Watson. Many may wonder why such an ingenious person as Sherlock would need a companion. However, Watson is often considered the perfect partner for Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes's amazing deduction skills helped him understand how criminals looked and how their minds worked. Yet, it was Watson's practical thinking, medical background, loyalty, and reliability that propelled Holmes toward the solution of any case.

Robert Downey Jr. played the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes

"A Study in Scarlet," a baffling murder mystery, first brought Sherlock Holmes together with Dr. Watson. Watson arrived in London after injuring his left arm as an army doctor during the war. Sherlock Holmes was seeking someone to share the rent at a flat at 221B Baker Street, and that's when he met Dr. Watson. Through his incredible deduction skills, Holmes immediately knew everything about him. While the rest of the world considered Holmes a freak and a primary psychopath, Watson was the only person who could cope with him, making him invaluable as a friend.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes, doesn’t exist in real life and is unreal, but less unreal than many other fictional characters

The world of Sherlock Holmes was first created by British author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which first appeared in publication in 1887. Doyle wrote four novels: "A Study in Scarlet" (1887), "The Sign of the Four" (1890), "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1901-1902), and "The Valley of Fear" (1914-1915), along with 56 short stories collected in five books: "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (1892), "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" (1894), "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" (1905), "His Last Bow" (1917), and "The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes" (1927). Most of these were narrated by Holmes's companion, Dr. John Watson, with only two being narrated by Sherlock Holmes himself. The majority of the novels and stories were published in "The Strand Magazine" and "Collier’s Magazine," receiving high praise and recognition from the public.

Inside Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street, London

 In 2012, Guinness World Records listed Sherlock Holmes as the most portrayed human literary character in film and television history, having been depicted on screen 254 times. Since 1887, the fictional character Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed by over 75 actors, including Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett, Basil Rathbone, Jonny Lee Miller, Vasily Livanov, and other esteemed actors.

In 1893, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill off the famous consulting detective in ‘’The Final Problem’’ that was published in the Strand Magazine, to give closure to Sherlock Holmes. Before this, in 1891, he wrote to his mother about it and his mother’s reply was, "You won’t! You can’t! You mustn’t!” But still, the author stuck with his plan. Fans weren’t happy about it. The public outcry was massive, everybody was left shocked. According to BBC, more than 20,000 readers cancelled their subscriptions to the Strand Magazine after this, and the staff of the magazine referred to this as “the dreadful event.”

The Sherlock Holmes Museum, London

Thousands of people wrote to the author directly, begging him to bring back the iconic character. It is also said that many people wore black armbands in mourning, though there is no evidence to prove that it happened. Eventually, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decided to resurrect Sherlock Holmes in the “Adventure of the Empty House,” published in 1903. The time between his so-called ‘’death’’ and his return is known as the ‘’The Great Hiatus’’.

Benedict Cumberbatch played the role of Sherlock Holmes in the TV series, Sherlock

People usually don’t take fictional characters seriously as they are products of imagination. But Sherlock Holmes is an exception. There is something about Sherlock’s thought process that we admire and thoroughly enjoy. A man who never existed but is beloved and known by nearly everybody. People even opened a museum in his honour. The Sherlock Holmes Museum is situated at 221B Baker Street, London, one of the most famous addresses in the world, the home of the fictional character. The museum gives insight into the life of the world’s first consulting detective. The museum first opened its doors to visitors in 1990 and now attracts people from all over the world. There is even a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, London, by the sculptor John Doubleday.

Statue of Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street, London

The Sherlock Holmes books are considered classics of detective fiction and have had an enormous impact on the public. The books have rightly earned the reputation as the finest murder mysteries ever written. The novels and stories are massively known for their clever plots, characters, and the brilliant deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes to solve even the most perplexing cases. The brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes, doesn’t exist in real life and is unreal, but less unreal than many other fictional characters.

Nufaiysa M Rahman is student of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka