Sherlock Holmes: Facts About the Fictional Detective

Here are some facts about Sherlock Holmes.

  • Sherlock Holmes was a popular fictional detective who featured in books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He has become by far the best known literary detective ever created.
  • Holmes appeared in 4 long stories and 56 short stories written by Doyle.

  • Doyle became tired of his creation, killing him off in 1893, but then bringing him back to life due to public complaints.
  • Sherlock Holmes was probably based on a real person, a forensic science lecturer named Joseph Bell. The Holmes books themselves influenced the development of forensic science.
  • Holmes has also been portrayed in dozens of films, and is the character most often portrayed in films. He has been portrayed by Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett.

Sherlock Holmes

  • In the books, Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street in London, along with his assistant Dr. Watson. At that address today is a Sherlock Holmes museum where letters are received daily asking for Holmes’ help.
  • The first Sherlock Holmes long story was A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887. The first short story was A Scandal in Bohemia, published in The Strand magazine in 1891.
  • Sherlock Holmes is a master of disguise, an expert boxer and swordsman and he can play the violin. However, he has no knowledge of politics, literature or astronomy.
  • Holmes does not wear a deerstalker hat in the stories, despite many illustrations showing this. Neither does he say his most famous phrase of “Elementary, my dear Watson” in the books.
  • In Sherlock, a British TV series, Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr Watson (played by Martin Freeman) solve crimes in present-day London.
  • The dates of Holmes’ birth and date are never clear in the original books. Holmes retired to the Sussex coast to keep bees and to write a book about bee keeping.
  • There are statues of Sherlock Holmes in both Edinburgh and London. London also has a Sherlock Holmes hotel and pub, as well as streets named after Holmes and Watson.