Fiction, History, Literature, Novels, Short stories

Ten Facts about Sherlock Holmes

This post is the first part of a two-part bumper post featuring interesting facts about Sherlock Holmes. If you like these facts, have a read of the sequel to this post which gathers together further little-known facts about the great sleuth. For more great facts about popular fictional characters, check out our pick of the most interesting Harry Potter facts and our fascinating facts about Romeo and Juliet.

1. Sherlock Holmes was originally going to be called Sherrinford. The name was altered to Sherlock, possibly because of a cricketer who bore the name. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Holmes (of course), was a fan of cricket and the name ‘Sherlock’ appears to have stuck in his memory. Doyle was also a keen cricketer himself, and between 1899 and 1907 he played ten first-class matches for the Marylebone Cricket Club – quite fitting, since Baker Street is situated in the Marylebone district of London. For more on the creation of Holmes, see the detailed ‘Introduction’ in The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes.

sherlock22. The first Sherlock Holmes novel was something of a flop. The detective made his debut in the novel A Study in Scarlet (1887), written by a twenty-seven-year-old Doyle in just three weeks. Famously, Doyle was inspired by a real-life lecturer of his at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Joseph Bell, who could diagnose patients simply by looking at them when they walked into his surgery; the other important influence on the creation of Sherlock Holmes was Edgar Allan Poe’s fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, two of whose adventures we include in our pick of Poe’s best short stories. Doyle wrote the book while he was running a struggling doctor’s surgery down in Portsmouth. The novel was rejected by many publishers and eventually published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual (named after the husband of Mrs Beeton, of the book of cookery and household management). It didn’t sell well, and more or less sank without trace.

3. The second Sherlock Holmes novel was the result of a dinner party with Oscar Wilde. One person who had admired the first novel was the editor Joseph Stoddart, who edited Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. He convinced Doyle, at a dinner party in 1889, to write a second novel featuring the detective, for serialisation in the magazine. Wilde, who was also present, also agreed to write a novel for the magazine – his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which appeared in 1890, the same year as The Sign of the Four, Doyle’s novel.

4. Sherlock Holmes didn’t wear a deerstalker. Much. The famous image of Holmes wearing a deerstalker hat is a product of the celebrated images which accompanied the short stories, which appeared in the Strand magazine from 1891 (beginning with the wonderful story ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’). It is when the stories began to appear that Sherlock Holmes became a worldwide sensation. Sidney Paget, who drew the illustrations, had Holmes wearing a deerstalker when the detective went into the country to investigate mysteries at country houses and in small rural villages, but most people think of the detective as always donning the hat when off to investigate a case.

5. Sherlock Holmes is the most-filmed fictional character. According to IMDb, Holmes has appeared in 226 films and been played by dozens of different actors since the advent of cinema in the late nineteenth century. It’s hardly surprising that the sleuth’s popularity inspired a raft of other writers to create rivals to Sherlock Holmes.

6. Sherlock Holmes is not the most-filmed fictional character. That is, not if you include non-humans (or partial humans). Dracula has been filmed more times than the great sleuth, at 239 times, but since Dracula is part-man, part-vampire, Holmes is the most-filmed fully human character.

sherlock17. Sherlock Holmes didn’t make deductions. At least, not most of the time. Instead, and if we want to be technically accurate, he used the logical process known as abduction. The difference between deductive and abductive reasoning is that the latter is based more on inference from observation, where the conclusion drawn may not always necessarily be true. However, in deduction, the conclusion drawn from the available data is always necessarily true. But then again, since Holmes’s reasoning always seems to be correct, perhaps it is deduction after all!

8. Holmes never says ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’. Not in the ‘canon’ of original Conan Doyle novels and stories. Holmes says ‘Elementary!’ and ‘my dear Watson’ at various points, but the idea of putting them together was a later meme, which possibly arose because it neatly conveys Holmes’s effortless superiority to his ‘dear’ friend and foil. The first recorded use of this exact phrase is actually in a P. G. Wodehouse novel of 1915, Psmith, Journalist.

9. The Sherlock Holmes Museum both is and isn’t at 221B Baker Street. Although the museum in London bears the official address ‘221B’, in line with the celebrated address from the stories, the museum’s building lies between 237 and 241 Baker Street, making it physically – if not officially – at number 239.

10. There’s more to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle than Sherlock Holmes. Much more, in fact. Among other achievements, his legal campaigning led to the establishment of the Court of Criminal Appeal. He was knighted for his journalistic work during the Second Boer War, not for his achievements in fiction, law, or medicine. We owe the word ‘grimpen’ to him (from Grimpen Mire, in The Hound of the Baskervilles). He wrote historical novels (such as The White Company and Sir Nigel, set during the fourteenth century) which he prized more highly than his detective fiction. Winston Churchill agreed, and was a devoted fan of the historical novels. Doyle also wrote science fiction romances, such as The Lost World (1912), which would inspire Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and, subsequently, Steven Spielberg’s film (the sequel to the novel and film being named, in homage to Doyle, The Lost World). Doyle also took up legal causes himself: read Julian Barnes’s novel Arthur and George for his most famous real-life case. We’ve detailed some of Conan Doyle’s other extraordinary achievements in this post all about Doyle and his writing.

If this post has whetted your appetite, why not get hold of some of the greatest detective stories ever written? We recommend Sherlock Holmes Boxset (containing 10 Titles), which includes all five volumes of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short stories, the four full-length novels, and a collection of other Sherlock-inspired fun. In other words, the entire Sherlock Holmes ‘canon’. Well worth reading. We also have more about Sherlock Holmes, and a host of other literary curiosities, in our book The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History.

Fans of detective fiction might also enjoy our fascinating Agatha Christie facts, featuring an interesting anecdote involving a hedgehog.

Images: Top: ‘Sherlock Holmes’, © 1904 Sidney Paget, public domain. Bottom: ‘Benedict Cumberbatch filming Sherlock’, © 2011 Fat Les, free licence.


  1. Pingback: FACTS ABOUT SHERLOCK HOLMES | History Anecdotes for Teachers

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  5. Our local museum (Denver Museum of Nature & Science) is doing an exhibition on Sherlock Holmes – we are going in December for a full day/evening of viewing/programs, etc. Can’t wait!

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  10. Pingback: Ten Facts about Sherlock Holmes | yllibsomar

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  15. Pingback: 10 Great Conan Doyle Books That Don’t Feature Sherlock Holmes | Interesting Literature

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  17. Terrific obra! Esto es el tipo de información info que están destinados a todo el web .

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  20. movie star cool2411

    really good and intresting facts

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  22. Loved Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. Like the film versions that are based on the original stories as well.

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  24. Very enlightening for the fan of Sherlock’s Home that I am.

  25. Pingback: Gwen’s Summer Challenge: A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes) by Arthur Conan Doyle (Classics) | Gwen & Kate's Library

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  31. Wow! I really enjoyed this! Thank you, from so many of us who loved the stories. I am glad to know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote other things, and I am interested in the science fiction! Also thank you for following my blog! I look forward to following yours!

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  38. Here’s some stuff, from a handout I made for a logic course, on abduction.

    Abduction, in the sense at issue (which owes to C. S. Peirce, who believed he found it in Aristotle) is ‘inference to the best explanation’, defined by Mautner’s Dictionary of Philosophy (Penguin, 2000, p. 1) thus: ‘(1) D is a collection of data; (2) H (a hypothesis) would, if true, explain D; (3) no other hypothesis can explain D as well as H does. (4) Therefore, H is probably true.’ Peirce ‘used the example of arriving at a Turkish seaport and observing a man on horseback surrounded by horsemen holding a canopy over his head. He [Peirce, presumably] inferred that this was the governor of the province since he could think of no other figure who would be so greatly honoured’ (Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed. Honderich, new edition, Oxford University Press, p. 1)

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  44. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!
    It is the little changes that produce the most significant changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  45. Thank you for liking my blog. Yours is interesting .I never knew things like that with Sherlock Holmes. Thanks:)

  46. Thanks for visiting and following! I love this! I not just a Sherlock Holmes fan, but a Cumberbatch (Cumberbitch??) fan as well. Wish there were more than 3 episodes per season! Gail

  47. Pingback: A Study in Grumpiness | readingalphabetically

  48. Very interesting.. Nice work

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  50. I enjoyed this. Sherlock Holmes is a character which has fascinated people for many years and the films and TV programmes portraying him have been many and varied. I live quite near to Undershaw, in Haslemere, Surrey in England where Arthur Conan Doyle lived. He wrote THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES in this house. They lived here because of the health benefits which could be derived from living in an area such as this as his wife had health problems.
    Unfortunately, UNDERSHAW is now in need of assistance as it is slowly and sadly deteriorating. This splendid old house must have memories of Sherlock Holmes deep within its walls. The house was used as a restaurant for several years, but it is now up for sale. It would be such a pity for this famous old house to disappear into obscurity. There are plans to buy the house and turn it into three town houses. Please support THE UNDERSHAW PRESERVATION TRUST, it needs YOU. Sign a petition on : if you would like to see it survive and become a centre for all things ‘SHERLOCK’!

  51. Reblogged this on MorgEn Bailey's Writing Blog and commented:
    Having read (or rather listened to) Julian Barnes’ Arthur & George (which I only half-liked; the George parts!), I knew part of no.10 but the others had escaped my radar. I’d be useless in a literary quiz. :)

  52. Pingback: Ten Facts (and 10 more) about Sherlock Holmes | Rational Panic

  53. 226 times? Wow!!! Think Cumberbatch is the best till date though have not seen much adaptations of Sherlock Holmes

  54. Oh to have been at that dinner party with oscar wilde and doyle

  55. Well, you got me on #6 and #7. Never heard of abduction.

  56. Pingback: Holmes never did say “Elemantary, my dear watson!” | myseluch

  57. I had no idea that the Jurassic Park movie was based off of a Doyle work.

  58. Absolutely fascinating and entertaining and thank you for liking my blogs. I learned so much here. The Doyle and Wilde connection, just one example. Recovering from two computer viruses or I could see spending the day here. Peace and GREAT work-works.

  59. Great post, as always! Thanks for liking my little Neil/Nigel, leonardcohensushi post. I’m really honored because I think your blog is tops. :-)

  60. Reblogged this on sigurlaugs.

  61. One of my favorite guilty pleasures was a Saturday morning watching Sherlock and Watson, eating bagels with lox and cream cheese. Those were the days.

  62. Are you familiar with C. Auguste Dupin?

  63. Reblogueó esto en pilar221b.

  64. Reblogueó esto en Trópico de cáncery comentado:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

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  66. Thanks for stopping by my blog :) I am intrigued by yours. I confess, I’m loving both the UK Sherlock and US Elementary series! Looking forward to reading more of your writing!

  67. i love being informed on writers especially, so thank you for that…and thanks for following me too

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  69. Sherlock Holmes intrigues me; I love it that he plays violin, to think! Thanks for liking and following my blog, I follow yours from now on; look forward to reading you, cheers!

  70. Great blog ! I am humbled that you saw mine . I look forward to more of your posts :)

  71. Thank you for liking my latest post and following my blog. I used to love reading Sherlock Holmes books when I was at school. This post is fascinating and taught me a lot of things I didn’t know. It is great to know Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet in just 3 weeks. It gives me hope that I may still manage to get my novel written before the end of the month. :-)

  72. Intresting blog ! It was nice to know about #SH

  73. With a resurgence of interest in the character of Sherlock Holmes (both on cable and the big-screen), both my husband and I talked about how much we thoroughly loved reading Doyle as kids. In fact, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” was my first taste of real literature. Doyle certainly created a memorable character, in addition to stories I want to re-read. Thanks for your post!

  74. Very interesting post. I love learning new things!

  75. Pingback: Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: Dust and Shadow | Blueagain: Film and Lit.

  76. Pingback: The Best Anecdotes about Oscar Wilde | Interesting Literature

  77. Knowledge of history always enhances the enjoyment of literature.

  78. Very interesting, I love the Sherlock Holmes canon.

  79. Many years ago while visiting Switzerland, I believe it was Lucens, we came across a fun Sherlock Holme s museum. Loved the post, interesting blog.

    • Thanks! Apparently Conan Doyle took holidays in Switzerland and even helped to popularise skiing in the Alps. So it makes sense (especially with the Reichenbach Falls, too) that there’d be a museum there, though I must confess I didn’t know this. Great fact!

  80. Pingback: Ten Facts about Sherlock Holmes | bluewhimsywriting

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  82. I was interested to read in The Guardian that a small number of the Sherlock Holmes stories remain in copyright in America and that this has provoked a court case. Until very recently I blithely assumed that all the stories where out of copyright throughout the world.

  83. You could write a whole book about what characters were originally named: Frodo Baggins was originally named Bingo. Really. (According to an excellent biography of Tolkien.)

  84. really helpful with my homework thx!!!

  85. Love articles like this! The first fact will even become my fb update :)

  86. Wow what a treat….thank you

  87. Ah, let’s make that Doyle tried to kill Sherlock off. (Heading to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee!)

  88. Excellent post! It’s interesting that there are currently two “fan fic” versions of Sherlock airing on television today. And they differ vastly from each other. I enjoy watching both, but am a wee bit more partial to the U. S. version, “Elementary.” I think that runs on CBS. Holmes tried to kill Sherlock off, but he refuses to die~

  89. amazing facts man love it! very interesting! lolholmes!xoxoxoxoxohehehehhohoho xoxo

  90. Great post! I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes but didn’t know any of these facts

  91. Great article and great concept for a blog. Thank you also for liking and following mine, I appreciate it.

  92. Wow, I love these facts! Never knew any of this. Just goes to show, we are never too old to learn…

  93. This is my first visit to your site. Enjoyed “new” information. I’m a follower. And thank you for stopping by my blog!

  94. Hey, thanks for liking my post, and for the enlightenment on Sherlock Holmes, a favorite of mine when I was a child.

  95. If you are looking for a way to make literary research interesting this is it! Love your blog and this post. Thank you for sharing this. I’m wondering if some of my Holmes fans will know some of these – all I knew was the location of the museum and the phrase – elementary my dear Watson – not being together in any books.

    • Thanks for the comment, Patty! I’d be interested to hear if these facts/questions stump any of your Sherlockian friends – I found some of them surprising when I first came across them. Let me know their reactions! :)

  96. Reblogged this on misplaced smiles and commented:
    My kind of post! :D

  97. Love it, love it, loved it!!!!!!!!!!! :D

  98. I loved reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and am very excited to discover the Oscar Wilde connection! I’ve read The Lost World and after reading this post am very excited to read more of Doyle’s other works! Also, he was a legal campaigner? Be still, my beating heart!!:)

  99. I have always loved reading and watching sherlock holmes but never knew these facts. Just loved to read them.

  100. Very interesting! I’ve been reading through the Sherlock Holmes stories & enjoying them :)

  101. Thanks for checking out! I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan as well and thought your facts were very interesting – I love hearing about the story behind the story. Keep it up!

  102. Fantastic list! I love details like this (although peoples use of #8 drives me batty)

  103. Great post! A topic after my own heart!

  104. I love this! I’m an English teacher and I do a unit on Sherlock Holmes for my 6th grade class. I’ll use this entry next time and I’ll follow because I’m sure you have a lot that I could use in my teaching! And thanks for following me!

    • Thanks! It’s a very high compliment when teachers find things I’ve posted on this blog useful in their teaching. Do let me know how you get on using these facts in your class :)

  105. This is amazing and very informative. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve done several list blog posts and know how much work goes into making one. This is very well done.

  106. Reblogged this on Cabinet of Curiosities and commented:
    Reblogged from Interesting Literature. Some interesting facts about one of my favorites…Sherlock.

  107. I’ve always been a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle and, of course, Sherlock Holmes, but never knew of his connection to one of my other favorites, Oscar Wilde. Simply amazing. What a wonderful site you’ve created here for lit buffs who also crave nifty factoids. I love it.

    • Thanks, Sarah! Love your blog too – couldn’t agree more with your most recent post. I could never give up traditional books – no matter how much space they take up! Glad you enjoyed the Doyle-Wilde connection. Surprising connections like that are what I try to make this blog all about :)

  108. Love all this historial information and research. I have to say that love a mystery as I do, Sherlock Holmes always left out some key clue that blocked me from solving the cases. Enjoyed your post.

  109. This was incredible :)
    Amazing. Specially when I have been trying to put something on literature myself

  110. Interestingly, I’ve noticed several pub/cafe/restaurants here in Switzerland are named for Sherlock Holmes. Not (yet) being an avid reader of the canon, I’ve just assumed that perhaps one or more novels might feature a Swiss location/connection – but I’m sure YOU, dear interestingliterature would know. And here’s a reciprocal “follow” – the info-maniac in me loves your style

    • That is interesting – I assume it’s because Holmes ‘died’ (yet didn’t die because Conan Doyle brought him back) by falling over the Reichenbach Falls with Professor Moriarty. The Falls have become a sort of tourist site for Holmes fans now – though I’m not sure how many fans make a pilgrimage there! And thanks for the nice comment :)

  111. You should be a part of a contest for one of the best sites online.
    I most certainly will highly recommend this blog!

  112. I have read every Sherlock book and I cannot wait for the TV series to come back on!

  113. Fascinating read! Had no idea about most of the list. . .And thank you for following my blog, and for celebrating my book release (Global Mom: A Memoir) with me. Very kind of you.–Melissa

  114. Fascinating. The Oscar Wilde connection to the second Holmes novel was especially interesting

  115. Awesome. I’m a total fan of Sherlock. Always neat to hear details like those :) Thanks!

  116. Thank you for the informative and entertaining article!

  117. As entertaining as the Robert Downey series is, I do hope people realize the series is designed for modern tastes and strays from the Doyle versions. I have always appreciated Jeremy Brett’s interpretation the most.

    • Yes, the Brett ones set the standard for producing faithful adaptations of the Holmes canon. Brett was superb – though the role didn’t do the poor fellow a lot of good in the end, health-wise…

  118. Oh now this is a blog I can get into. Fascinating stuff! Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to reading more here!

  119. Fascinating! Thank you for the article. I agree that A Study in Scarlet isn’t the best Conan Doyle story, but thank God for Moffat for changing that. :D

  120. So HE wrote the Lost World! i saw the film once, a sort of king Kong effort if I remember rightly, and quite scary, to me! Thank you also for telling me about abductive reasoning, I hadn’t heard of that.

    • I know, that’s a nice little fact, isn’t it? I originally had it as ‘inductive’, but having looked into it more, he definitely uses abductive reasoning. But I suppose if Watson were always talking about ‘Holmes’s abductions’, people would think he’d turned into a kidnapper!

  121. Now, that’s really neat!

  122. Really good stuff! I like Doyle even more now.

  123. Been a dedicated Sherlockian since I was 10. Love all the books. Seen many, many movies. I have a thing for adaptations of “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. Am a devoted fan of “Sherlock” One thing I love is the fact that “Sherlock” could not be filmed actually on Baker Street. Too many tourists and too much Sherlock Holmes. It’s filmed up the road a bit on North Gower Street.

    • Ooh thanks for that extra Sherlock fact! Lovely stuff. I can imagine if film crews tried to film any Sherlock Holmes adaptation on Baker Street itself they’d be swamped by fans… Makes sense I suppose :)

  124. Wow. That is fascinating. :) The Sherlock Holmes series were the first “real” books I read. Before that, I was more of a Tin Tin and Archie comic type of girl. :D

  125. Fascinating. I didn’t know about the museum. Living in London I will be sure to visit. My favourite novel is The Hound of The Baskervilles, it is very atmospheric, particularly the descriptions of the moors.

    • For me, The Hound of the Baskervilles is the only one of the four SH novels in the canon which fully works as a novel – the other three are really slightly longer short stories with a long back story appended. (Still great, but I’m always put in mind of Franco Moretti’s remark that a detective novel can be as long as it wants, it’s still essentially a short story…) Thanks for the comment – glad you enjoyed the post.

  126. Glad to see a pic here of the modernised BBC Holmes! :-)

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  128. Fascinating. I enjoy reading about the backgrounds of literary works and their characters. Thank you for sharing, and for liking and following my blog.

  129. Pingback: Ten Facts about Sherlock Holmes | Cozy Books

  130. Good job! I was surprised by #1 and #5, and I love being surprised.

    • Thanks, Marylin! We aim to include facts which will make the reader go ‘huh?’ and then ‘oh…’ in every post, so we’re glad we achieved that surprisingness here :)

  131. Thanks for the follow and the like – I enjoyed reading this post and look forward to more.

  132. I learned a lot from you today. Thank you.

  133. Love your blog! I have just nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award! I hope that you will accept this nomination!

  134. You mean Sherlock Holmes was not a real person, just a little shock to reality. I would like to thank you for the follow.

  135. I always took Sherlock Holmes to be a mentalist, using thought that amazed some and that he acted theatrical about, but really, he was bombastic if not insecure behind a well constructed farce of the amviance of pipe smoking and slow English morbid staring contests.

    I like this exposé. I enjoy factual revelation of reality. Then I can act like I am as smart as Sherlock! Thanks for reading it. I surmise that… you read it… then you “liked” my blog. I know this is true. I cannot reveal my methods of extrapolatorian deductionary preduction duct functionary running function refictionalized… yes. Yes, this would be reckless to reveal the glorious method, the zen of zen zaizen zen from the zoo of my mind, like a mad, mad, almost superhero mind. And I think, google and wikipedia… heh heh heh!!

  136. One of my favourite characters ever! And thanks for spreading the word about the quote “elementary, my dear Watson” not being said even once on the books!

  137. Sherrinford…could he ever have been famous with such a name? well, yes, but Sherlock is much better. Psmith, Journalist is my favorite humor book, but I don’t remember the ‘elementary’ phrase. I guess that’s an excuse to go read it again. : )
    thanks for the follow

  138. Thanks for following my blog-I cant wait to check yorurs out-Sherlock Holmes is a favorite! beebeesworld

  139. Reblogged this on robertbyron22 and commented:
    From a blog that I follow. I am a faithful Sherlock Holmes fan, but even more a fan of P.G. Wodehouse and, therefore, Fact #8 made my day. You’d think something that important would have made it into a Wodehouse biography!

  140. This was very interesting to me since I absolutely love the Sherlock Holmes books. I may have read every one.

  141. Pingback: Sherlock Holmes Museum | Weirdest Museums

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  143. As a fan of the blockbuster, Robert Downey, Jr. movies as well as the newer BBC offspring with Benedict and Martin, I find these few facts quite interesting. Thanks :)

  144. Loved the article – I learned lots. Doyle also famously defended the ‘Cottingley Fairies’ photographs making something of a fool of himself in the process. Fascinating man :)

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  146. Great post. I enjoyed it very much! Concerning fact number 6, I guess it could be argued that Holmes is not human either; his deductive (or abductive?) powers make him at least “superhuman”, at least to the eyes of dumb ones like myself!

    • I think that’s a good point – Holmes is a superhero in many ways, with superhuman powers. The episodic nature of his adventures, his sidekick, and his (depressive) alternative state (the violin, the cocaine), all chime with twentieth-century comic-book superheroes too.

  147. Fantastic post! I am such a Sherlock Holmes groupie, and this was fun to read! your blog looks so interesting–I will definitely be reading more!

  148. Reblogged this on ABCKARROTS and commented:
    Interesting read from interesting literature!

  149. I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes, he’s very much a part of my character, he’s made me a much more observant person and hone my deductive reasoning – my spiritual father.

  150. I love number 3! Oh, and fortunately he wasn’t named Sherrinford!

    “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Holmes (of course)…” — it would be interesting to note that a lot of Sherlockians consider Sherlock Holmes and Watson to be real people, existing on their own. I am currently reading a thoroughly annotated edition which upholds this view, and as such they pose theories and guesses as to who Holmes’s real clients were, the real identity of Irene Adler, etc.

    I am also surprised that a Dr. Bell fact did not make it up there! :)

  151. Ah, my most favourite character! Thanks for this post. :)

  152. Love Sherlock Holmes! Funny — I remember liking a Study in Scarlet .. — Did you ever see the Movie called Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle? Pretty fun .. Thanks for liking my post!

    • I’d not heard of that film, so thanks for the heads up! Sounds intriguing – there have been some good documentaries over the last few years on Bell’s influence on Holmes, but I’ve not seen any dramatisations. I’ll have to go and look…

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  154. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  155. Pingback: Ten Facts about Sherlock Holmes | Sarahs verden

  156. Reblogged this on Flying Carpet and commented:
    Must read for every Sherlock Holmes fan out there!

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  158. Reblogged this on We Will Wait.

  159. Nice fact that the old british lion liked the books.

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  161. As I understand it, Doyle somewhat despised his Sherlock Holmes novels and came to resent his “brand” so to speak, but the public clamored for them. Thanks for this great post!

  162. Interesting indeed. I didn’t know about the historical fiction Doyle wrote. How exciting!

  163. I’ve just been to visit Holmes’ house in Baker Street so your post dedicated to the great man was perfect timing for me! Dying to start reading even more of the books now.

  164. I love Sir Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and dear Watson equally (read: excessively—I may even have a tattoo of Holmes’ “However Improbable” theory somewhere).

    I’ve read all the works of Doyle that I can find, and he was an excellent writer. But of all his creations, Sherlock and Watson sort of surpass characterhood to the point where it’s difficult to remember there was an author involved at all . . . No wonder he was resentful.

    Thanks for sharing more about him!

    • A tattoo? Now that’s fandom! Love it.

      And I couldn’t agree more – Sherlock Holmes is one of those ‘archetypal’ characters, for want of a better word. Like Dracula or Frankenstein or Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, the character has taken on a life of his own. No wonder Conan Doyle came to resent the old sleuth.

  165. Wonderful post! I grew up reading all the Holmes mysteries. He was like my intellectual hero.

  166. Given that today is Doyles’ birthday, perhaps it is not a coincidence that this blog was posted. As others have mentioned, he certainly was among the most ardent proponents of Spiritualism and metaphysics, although he was remarkably restrained when it came to writing about his beliefs.

  167. I’ve been a Sherlock Homes fan since i was 10. I loved this post. I re-read the short-stories regularly and never get tired of them. Here’s another Holmesian myth for you: In movies and drawings Holmes is often seen smoking a Calabash pipe, but he never did in any of the stories and novels Conan Doyle wrote.

    • Oh yes, that’s excellent – it was a Meerschaum in the stories, wasn’t it? The old ‘three pipe problem’ referred to a very differently shaped pipe from the one people associate with Holmes.

  168. Good elementary stuff! Thank you. I never thought I’d be in search of a grimpen..

    • Grimpen should have made it onto our ‘Ten More Words We Got from Literature’ – two great writers, Doyle and T. S. Eliot, have used it. I’m sure others have followed suit – will have to look into it…

  169. Author Conan Doyle’s birth date is today, May 22.

    • Indeed, Paula – we felt it was about time we wrote a SH post, and what better day than his creator’s birthday? Even if Doyle himself may have grumbled about it (given what he thought of Holmes)…

  170. Grimpen, eh? Actually I have never heard the word before … but now I’m going to use in whenever I can, IL … better find out what it means first :)

    • TS Eliot, a Sherlock Holmes fan himself, uses the word in East Coker:
      ‘In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
      But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
      On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
      And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
      Risking enchantment.’

      • Cheers for that, jfm … I did look it up and am now on the lookout for any grimpens that cross my path.

        • Absolutely. It’s a fine word. I think it was down to Eliot – who replaced the capital ‘G’ with a lower-case one – that the proper noun became a common (if rare) one (how’s that for a paradox: a rare common noun!). Donald Davie pointed out that the word had taken on a life beyond Baskerville Hall, and I think that’s how it ended up earning its place in the OED.

  171. Fascinating post – I’m sad that there was no mention of the (in)famous Allahakbarries cricket team of which he was also a member though!

  172. Reblogged this on Mel Clayton.

  173. Fascinating, my dear “interesting literature” (Yes, I read number 8). I would have loved to have been at that dinner with Conan Doyle and Wilde. I love them both. Once again, most interesting post.

  174. Excellent post. very informative. Thank you.

  175. Historical fiction really..i hardly know of his any other wrk than sherlock..guess time to find out.

  176. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is my favorite, think detective, think Sherlock Holmes…

  177. And, of course, Conan Doyle believed in fairies… Abductive reasoning, I presume.
    Good post!

    • Haha, yes – forgot to mention the fairies and spiritualism thing. One of his later Professor Challenger books, ‘The Land of Mist’, explores that side of his interests. It’s actually not a bad story, whatever one may think of the whole world of seances and table rapping!

    • I, too, was interested that you didn’t mention Conan Doyle’s interest in spiritualism and fairies. it’s hard to imagine Mr. Holmes seeing fairies other than as a result of his cocaine habit.