Sherlock Holmes (/ˈʃɜrlɒk ˈhoʊmz/) is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A London-based "consulting detective" whose abilities border on the fantastic, Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science to solve difficult cases. Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. The first novel, A Study in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887 and the second, The Sign of the Four, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine, beginning with "A Scandal in Bohemia" in 1891; further series of short stories and two novels published in serial form appeared between then and 1927. The stories cover a period from around 1880 up to 1914. All but four stories are narrated by Holmes's friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself ("The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" and "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane"), and two others are written in the third person ("The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" and "His Last Bow"). In two stories ("The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" and "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott"), Holmes tells Watson the main story from his memories, while Watson becomes the narrator of the frame story. The first and fourth novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear, include long intervals of omniscient narration recounting events unknown to either Holmes or Watson. Inspiration for the character of Holmes
Doyle said that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations. Some years later Bell wrote in a letter to Conan Doyle: "You are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it". Sir Henry Littlejohn, Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, is also cited as an inspiration for Holmes. Littlejohn served as Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health of Edinburgh, providing for Doyle a link between medical investigation and the detection of crime Early life
The first appearance of Holmes, 1887
Details about Sherlock Holmes's life, outside of the adventures of the books, are few and far between in Conan Doyle's original stories; nevertheless, incidental details about his early life and extended families portray a loose biographical picture of the detective. An estimate of Holmes's age in the story "His Last Bow" places his birth in 1854; the story is set in August 1914 and he is described as being 60 years of age. Leslie Klinger cites the date as 6 January. Holmes states that he first developed his methods of deduction while an undergraduate. His earliest cases, which he pursued as an amateur, came from fellow university students. According to Holmes, an encounter with the father of one of his classmates led him to take detection as a profession, and he spent the six years following university as a consultant, before financial difficulties led him to take Watson as a housemate, at which point the narrative of the stories begins. From 1881, Holmes was described as having lodgings at 221B, Baker Street, London. 221B was an apartment 17 steps up, at the upper end of the road, as stated in an early manuscript. Until the arrival of Dr. Watson, Holmes worked alone, only occasionally employing agents from the city's underclass, including a host of informants and a group of street children he called "the Baker Street Irregulars". The Irregulars appeared in three stories: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, and "The Adventure of the Crooked Man". His parents were unmentioned in the stories and he merely states that his ancestors were "country squires"....
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