The World Famous Detective: Sherlock Holmes


Benedict Cummberbatch next to Robert Downey Jr., both who have played Sherlock Homes

Allow me to set the scene. It’s a dark and stormy night on the streets of late 1800s London. You feel the fog descending down around you as the clouds loom ominously over the surrounding buildings. A good night for a walk you think. As you peer down the wet cobbled streets you see a shadowy figure move swiftly past one of the dimly lit lamp posts. 

Suddenly, you hear a blood curdling scream coming from the alleyway to your left. You run away from the source as fast as possible, stumbling to the nearest door and slip inside. You notice only the number on the door as you enter, 221B, Bakers Street, the home of the famous Sherlock Holmes.

Everybody seems to know the most famous detective in the world, Sherlock Holmes, but how much do they really know about him? Set in the late 1800s London, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character masterminded by the British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

The first Sherlock Holmes Novel was, “A Study in Scarlette,” which Doyle wrote when he was 27 years old and he wrote it in a span of three weeks. He later went on to write many other titles such as “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Many say that this is the origin of the mastermind detective character in many popular fiction genres today.

Sherlock Holmes may be a great detective on his own, but the world famous detective would be nothing without his counterparts, such as Doctor John Watson, Sherlock’s best friend. These comrades would do anything for each other, even if one is too arrogant to admit it. They are brothers to the end. John is always looking out for Sherlock and taking care of him even if that means ignoring his own needs, and Sherlock always wants John around. 

But John cannot always be around. For example, in many adaptations of the series John marries a woman by the name of Mary Morstan. This is always a struggle for Sherlock and is probably one of the biggest subplots in the series. Losing his best friend is very hard for him but the stubbornness of his character shows, and he will not admit it no matter what.

Others on Sherlock’s side would include Inspector Lestrade, a policeman that the iconic duo John and Sherlock have quite an intricate relationship with. As they are not always acting inside the law, it can get them in some trouble with him. Lestrade on occasion will admit his admiration of Sherlock. As both of them are relatively stubborn and at odds with each other it’s good to see that they respect each other rather than the constant belittling that ensues between them.

The final notable ally to Sherlock Holmes is his brother Mycroft Holmes. We don’t know a lot about him, but what we do know is that he is a very rich and powerful man. Sherlock and he have a very interesting relationship. They act like brothers in the way that they care for each other, but they do like to get at each other’s necks every once in a while. Mycroft is always looking out for Sherlock, getting him out of sticky situations like when he gets arrested and goes to jail. Who else is going to do it?

Those are Sherlock’s friends, but what of his enemies? Possibly the most famous enemy to Sherlock Holmes, is Professor James Moriarty. Not too scary, right? He’s a teacher. No, this man is a psychotic genius evil mastermind who has no respect for human life. Seems a bit harsh writing that out but it’s true. He considers everything he does as a game, as well as that he regards Sherlock as his equal and I must admit, they are both geniuses. 

The next villain is a little bit of a mixup. Her name, Irene Adler. “What’s the big deal?” you may ask. Well she is probably the most interesting villain in the series, reason being, Sherlock is in love with her. This makes things very complicated as she is wanted by the law, but Sherlock always seems to let her slip away even when he has the opportunity to turn her into the police. She is a mastermind thief and their relationship is extremely complex and this leads to a very interesting story arc.

The most interesting part about this subject is Sherlock Holmes has had many adaptations to it. Most recognisable of late are the BBC Sherlock, TV series and Robert Downey Jr. Adaptations. Starting with Robert’s version, It is set in the more classic era and it has a nice comfortable feel to it. There’s something sinister going on and it’s exciting to see it all unravel for him to find out and solve the mystery.

In the Sherlock TV series, what makes this one so interesting and unique is that it brings these classic stories and puts them into a modern era. It answers the question of what Sherlock Holmes would look like in the 21 century? It makes it feel more real and something that we can personally relate to and it is a really great concept.

Now that you know all this about Sherlock Holmes, there are many different adaptations of Sherlock Holmes that you can enjoy! First off you could read Arthur’s books themselves and see how he truly intended the characters to be. You can also read the book spinoff series called “Enola Holmes”, in the series you follow the youngest sibling in the Holmes family unraveling her own mysteries. Investigation runs in the family, I guess! After that, you can watch the aforementioned “Sherlock” series or RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes movies. There is another series called “Elementary” you can watch to witness Sherlocks amazing investigating skills. Now, enough of this, go and enjoy the mysterious world of Sherlock Holmes. Happy sleuthing!