Sherlock Holmes Book Review

Topics: Books

What features of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories make them typical of the detective Genre? Detective fiction stories are loved by many, the crime; mystery and problem solving appeal to readers, bringing them back for more. Most detective fictions stories begin by setting a scene, then a problem is introduced, then we can see how the detective solves the case. Clues are found by the detective as he begins to solve the case. We can often follow the trails of clues to lead us to the culprit but, there is always a red- herring to hoodwink us at some point.

For example in ‘The Beryl Coronet’ Francis Prosper’s ‘wooden leg’ is a very crafty red herring. When the detective has put the pieces of the puzzle together, he draws a final verdict and reveals the villain. Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories always seem to follow this tradition making them typical of the detective genre, and because the plot is predictable to a certain extent it is easier for the reader to engage with the plot.

The famous ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories were for most people the first of their kind, during the era when flickering gas lamps lit Baker Street.

This was where Sherlock Holmes lived; he is the greatest ever fictional detective and was dreamed up by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes was immensely popular with the people of the Victorian era; because he never left a ‘stone unturned’, when a villain like Jack the Ripper was loose on the streets of London, this gave people the reassurance they needed to feel secure.

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He was seen as a ray of light, in places like the slums of London where crime was rife, when villains like Jack the Ripper were free to roam the streets because of the inefficient methods used by the police, meaning that villains were not caught soon enough.

Although Sherlock Holmes has much strength which makes him a perfect role model for a fine detective, he also has an addiction to opium. This is probably his only flaw, in a way it makes him more real and human meaning that he would be easier to relate to and have faith in. Despite the fact that a number of detective stories were written well into the nineteenth century by other authors such as Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins, only a few are still read and studied today, Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are an example of Victorian literature which is still popular today.

One of the reasons why Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories were so sought after is because of the use of forensic science and also Holmes never leaves a mystery unsolved; this made the people of the Victorian era warm to the character, believing that he could solve any case. The use of forensic science was new to Doyle’s audience, and gave them immense hope in Sherlock Holmes, so that when Doyle killed off the detective in 1893, there was a public outcry and Doyle received death threats warning him to keep the detective alive. Sherlock Holmes wasn’t alone in his adventures though, he was accompanied by his ex-army officer sidekick, Dr.

Watson, who had complete faith in his associate. Conan Doyle targeted his stories at the wealthy and the well educated because of the sophisticated language used. ‘Horse drawn carriages’ were the means of transport used by the wealthy in the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories, sometimes even by Holmes to arrive at the scene of the crime, which would always be a mansion or a grand estate. The grandeur of the homes of the wealthy added a sense of mystery and suspense’, it also enabled Doyle’s target audience to empathise with the characters in his stories.

In the ‘Speckled Band’ Dr Roylott owns a grand estate called Stoke Moran, ‘The building was of grey … and two curving wings, like the claws of a crab’. The description of stoke Moran emphasizes the magnitude of it, here Cannon Doyle uses a simile to create an image of a crab he compares it’s two wings, to the claws of a crab, it also tells us what type of person Dr. Roylott is and that he is not very friendly and welcoming. The detailed descriptions used are a kind of delaying tactic and creates suspense, this is a typical feature used in all detective literature.

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Sherlock Holmes Book Review. (2017, Oct 24). Retrieved from

Sherlock Holmes Book Review
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