London in the era of Queen Victoria was a captivating place to live. Flickering gas lamps lit the foul streets, casting ghostly shadows. Prostitution, drug abuse and murder where commonplace. There was much poverty and ill health; poor people lived in cramped, dirty and squalid conditions. Public hangings were frequent and Victorian people feared crime greatly. Crimes were rife in the slums of London. smog caused by factories weighed heavily on the city, creating a dark and lifeless place .
At this time an infamous murder , Jack the ripper , was loose on the streets of London, attacking women he knifed and ruthlessly murdered prostitutes , often sending body parts to the police force to show of his crimes. Sherlock Holmes has become one of the most celebrated and fictional detectives the world has ever known. When Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, surfaces in 1887 the Victorians immediately fell for the fictional character as they liked the fact that he cracked every case and always defeated evil.
Another reason that the books have remained so popular is the humour that the writer uses in the stories to lighten the mood and relieve the tension. An example of this is in the story of “The Speckled Band” when we are told that Holmes is crawling around on the floor with his magnifying glass. This projects a funny image to the reader and serves to break up the tension, which at the time is very high. Another example of this is “Is to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica”. This is the only work Jabez Wilson has to do. It is funny because the task seems so boring.
Another funny part was in “the red headed league” where Sherlock describes Jabez Wilson as obese pompous and slow” this keeps the reader very entertained and makes them want to read on. Another reason that the books have stayed popular is the fun that the audience can have trying to guess who committed the crime. An example of this is in the title of one of the stories; “The Speckled Band”. This title gives no clue to what the title is referring to, which is actually a snake, but leads the reader right down a different track.
This makes the reader surprised when they find out what the “Speckled Band” really is. It also makes them impressed with the writer and induces them to read more stories. Another way that Conan Doyle keeps the reader guessing is that he keeps throwing plot twists to confuse them and take them right back to square one. An example of this is in the story of “The Speckled Band” when Holmes thinks that it was gypsies who killed the girl, but we later see that it could not have been them. A series of clues then leads Holmes to the real killer, the girl’s father.
This makes the reader want to read on and find out what happens or in the “the blue carbuncle” where everyone was left in suspense and was not quite sure who it was. “My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know”. This from the adventures of the blue carbuncle it shows how committed he is to his job. “my life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace existence. These little problems help me to do so” (The red headed league) this shows that Sherlock wants to get far with his job. “Ah, me! It’s a wicked world, and when a clever man turns his brains to crime it is the worst of all”.
(The speckled band) this shows that if Sherlock was to turn his brains on he will solve any crime. “The speckled band “is one of the most popular stories from Conan Doyle; this is mainly due to the plots and twists that engage the reader from the start. An example of this is seen when Watson remarks about the case, there are many twists for example when the baboon is used as a diversion for the snake so the readers do no at all expect the snake was doing all the killing, another twist is when he uses a safe to keep the snake in there but they really think that something valuable is contained in there.
He uses these plots to confuse the reader and take them all the way back to square one. An example of this is in the story of “the speckled band” when Holmes think that the gypsies who killed the girl, but we soon discover that it could not have been them. A series of clues then leads Holmes to the real killer, the girl’s father. This makes the reader want to read on and find out what happens like in the “The Blue Carbuncle ” where everyone was left in suspense and was not quite sure who had stole the valuable jewel.
Sherlock Holmes is a detective he is an expert and shows this by the way he does his job. “Beyond the obvious facts that the he has at some time done manual labour, that he takes snuff, that he is in a freemason, that he has been in chine, and that he is in a freemason and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else”. This shows that he is a superior detective: Just by looking at a person he can tell what they have done recently.