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Who Was The Inspiration For Sherlock Holmes?

Sherlock Holmes InspirationWho Was The Inspiration For Sherlock Holmes?

Well doesn’t that sound like a mystery in itself!?  Sherlock Holmes is one of the most well known iconic characters of literature, so much so that we almost forget he is fictional! We all know very well who he is and what he was able to accomplish in his life as an amateur detective. But who was the Sherlock Holmes inspiration? Who are those people that came before that may have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the original Sherlock Holmes stories? There are in fact many detectives going back in time long before Sherlock Holmes arrived on the scene in A Study in Scarlet.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by people such as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Emile Gaboriau.  These were very eminent writers that he would have studied. In his own lifetime Doyle was inspired by the forensic surgeon Dr. Joseph Bell whom he had met at the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary. Doyle had noted Dr. Bell’s observant skill and attention to detail which later translated into the Sherlock Holmes adventures.

Sherlock Holmes Inspiration – Edgar Allen Poeinspiration sherlock holmes

Conan Doyle once wrote, “Each [of Poe’s detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed…Where was the detective story until Edgar Allen Poe Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”

Edgar Allan Poe wrote detective mysteries using a fellow named C. August Dupin. The character was created before the word detective had been coined and was one of the leading sleuths upon which Sherlock Holmes was developed. It should be noted that Poe wrote into Dupin’s character many of those same skills of observation and detail that we see in the Sherlock Holmes adventures.

As quoted from “The Murders in The Rue Morgue”, “But it is in matters beyond the limits of mere rule that the skill of the analyst is evinced. He makes in silence a host of observations and inferences….”. The Murders in The Rue Morgue is considered to be the first detective story. Edgar Allan Poe’s character Dupin was also the basis for Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

sherlock holmes inspirationSherlock Holmes Inspiration – Emile Gabroriau

M. Lecoq was the detective character of Emile Gabroriau stories. Unlike Dupin and Sherlock Holmes, M. Lecoq was a professional sleuth as he was a member of French Sûreté. Like Dupin and Holmes, M. Lecoq used methods of observation and deductive reasoning,  apparently antagonizing his colleagues in the process. In ‘A Study in Scarlet’, Sherlock calls M. Lecoq “a miserable bungler”.

Other Traits and Commonalities for Sherlock Holmes Inspiration

August Dupin, M. Lecoq and Sherlock Holmes all had another common thread, each of them used armchair detectives. The armchair detective is a term used for a fictional investigator who does not personally visit a crime scene or interview witnesses.

In the case of Sherlock Holmes ‘The Greek Interpreter’ he has his brother Mycroft Holmes.   In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Mystery of Marie Roget” C. Auguste Dupin, is able to work from newspaper clippings and solve a young woman’s mysterious disappearance while  Emile Gaboriau had created an older mentor for Lecoq who helps the hero solve particularly challenging puzzles while remaining largely inactive physically from the comfort of his bed.

Long before M. Lecoq and even Dupin there are books that write about the powers of deduction and observation. One such example is a Persian book called ‘Nigaristan’ (translated as the picture gallery). Written in 1335 it was later founded by an Italian, translated and then used by author Gueulette as the basis for stories ‘Soirees Bretonnes’. These stories revolved around a hero named Zadig who was very much like Sherlock in his ways of problem solving. Sherlock can certainly trace his ‘ancestry’ back a long way.

Without all these writings, whether it be as far back as the 14th century or Edgar Allen Poe writing about C. August Dupin in 1841 or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle not meeting Dr. Bell, the adventures of Sherlock Holmes potentially might not have been written.

All of us readers are indeed fortunate!

Some cool additions to your Detective library, your chance to read more Sherlock Holmes inspiration!

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan PoeComplete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan PoeHercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories: A Hercule Poirot CollectionHercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories: A Hercule Poirot CollectionThe Complete Sherlock Holmes (2 Volumes)The Complete Sherlock Holmes (2 Volumes)

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Sherlock Latest News April Roundup

Sherlock Latest NewsSherlock Latest News April Roundup

Not sure if I will do this every month, but there sure was a lot going on in April for Sherlock fans!  Here is my edition of The Sherlock Latest News April Roundup!

 

Sherlock Holmes Actor

Sherlock Holmes BBC Actor Dies

Although this happened on March 31st, I feel it needs to be included here.  Douglas Wilmer passed away at the age of 96.  He was probably my very first exposure to Sherlock Holmes in the movies, as my Dad loved watching old movies on TV.  Wilmer is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series of the 1960’s.  He was not happy there and only did the pilot and the first season.  He left the show and was replaced by David Niven.  An interesting factoid is that he made a cameo appearance on the 2012 BBC Sherlock episode The Reichenbach Fall.  Read more about Douglas Wilmer on his IMDB page.

BBC Sherlock Series BBC Sherlock News

Rumors have been flying about the start of the BBC Sherlock Series 4 .  It appeared to be official by the end of the first week in April.  Now of course the chatter is all about who is coming back, who is not coming back, will this be the last series?  Of course we all want more of this great series.  If you are looking to catch up, it is still on Netflix.  If you like to own your entertainment, the BBC Sherlock series is available on Amazon.

Hype is Building for the New Sherlock Game Devil’s Daughter

You can watch the trailer below, it looks pretty cool!  It was supposed to be released in May but has now been delayed until June 10, 2016.

Sherlock Holmes 3 is Going to Happen!

sherlock holmes movies

I am talking about the third installment of the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  I can’t love these movies enough and am so happy it’s happening!  Filming is supposed to start in late 2016.

 

Watch next month for more news on Everything Sherlock!  In the meantime, check out our favorite ways to pass the time below.

Limited Edition Gift Set (The Complete Seasons 1-3 Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Limited Edition Gift Set (The Complete Seasons 1-3 Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television SeriesSherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television SeriesCollection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Vol. 1Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Vol. 1Elementary : Complete Seasons 1 - 3 Collection (18-Disc, DVD, 2015)Elementary : Complete Seasons 1 – 3 Collection (18-Disc, DVD, 2015)

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Sherlock Holmes Transportation History

Sherlock Holmes Transportation

Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes in a Hansom Cab

Sherlock Holmes Transportation History

We can look at the various modes of transportation used by Sherlock Holmes by taking a look at the favored modes of transportation used in that time period. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s transportation was evolving at a rapid pace in England. In the late nineteenth century London was a thriving, bustling city teeming with people and goods, all of which need to be transported somehow.

There were various forms of carriages, trains (including the underground), and of course bicycles. All of which were used by Holmes and Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Sherlock Holmes Transportation with Bicycles

Frequently Holmes and Watson would use bicycles. In the late 1890’s there was a huge craze to use bicycles because they were cheap and relatively safe. In 1869, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote for Scientific American:

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.

Most likely it was then quite easy for Doyle to incorporate the bicycle into the Sherlock Holmes adventures. In the “Solitary Cyclist” and the “Priory School” adventures, bicycles play a prominent part in the way Watson, Sherlock and others get around.

Sherlock Holmes Transportation with Cabs and Carriages

In the various Sherlock Holmes stories there are a variety of cabs or carriages used. Popular at the time were a type of carriage called “growlers” which were four wheeled cabs.  These were best suited to groups of people. The cabs that were favored by Holmes were the two wheeled Hansom cabs. The advantage of the two wheeled cab was that there was easy viewing of the masses through the two side windows, something that would have been important to Sherlock. Another advantage of the Hansom cab for Watson and Holmes was that it was quick and easily maneuvered through the bustling streets of London.

Of interest is how either Watson or Holmes would hail a cab. Typically Watson preferred the popular cab whistle whereas Holmes used his voice except for any time he thought criminals such as Moriarty’s gang might be close at hand. One whistle would summon a four wheeler (growler) and two whistles would get a Hansom cab. “The Sign of Four”, “A Study in Scarlet”, “The Adventure of The Creeping Man” and many more all involve Holmes and Watson riding in cabs to help solve a mystery.

Sherlock Holmes Transportation Hansom Cab

Sherlock Holmes Transportation – Trains

The cabs would allow Sherlock and Watson to leave 221B Baker St to get to a crime scene quickly but sometimes the distances would require a train. Trains (or other words referencing trains) played a very large role in thirty nine of Sherlock Holmes adventures. Train routes crisscrossed England,  enabling Holmes, Watson and the occasional police detective to travel to Dartmoor (The Hound of the Baskervilles), Cambridge (The Missing Three Quarter), Surrey (The Retired Colourman) or perhaps the most interesting of all being “The Final Problem” where a train chase ensues eventually leading to the continent.
Sometimes being on a train would involve danger, made more palpable with the claustrophobic nature of this type of transportation.  This train fight scene from 2011 Sherlock Holmes movie Game of Shadows was listed as one of the top 10 movie Train scenes by WatchMojo.com.

Sherlock Holmes Transportation – Train Scene from Game of Shadows

Charing Cross Station (close to 221 B Bakers St) and Victoria Station (four different train lines) are two of the more frequently used by Holmes. Other railway stations would have included Paddington, Euston, Waterloo and London Bridge, all of which are featured in many of the  Sherlock Holmes stories.

These were the ways Sherlock Holmes and John Watson would have traveled. Times have changed and the modern Sherlock’s (Benedict Cumberbatch or Jonny Lee Millar) are of course using transportation available to us today. There are many scenes in the BBC Sherlock series with Watson on the subway. Sherlock prefers the Yellow cabs and one of my favorite scenes was where he took a cab and left Watson behind to get his own cab because he needed quiet time to think.

Whether you are a fan of Sherlock of old or the modern Sherlock, check out our favorite picks for Sherlock fans!

Limited Edition Gift Set (The Complete Seasons 1-3 Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Limited Edition Gift Set (The Complete Seasons 1-3 Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television SeriesSherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television SeriesCollection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Vol. 1Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Vol. 1Elementary : Complete Seasons 1 - 3 Collection (18-Disc, DVD, 2015)Elementary : Complete Seasons 1 – 3 Collection (18-Disc, DVD, 2015)

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Sherlock Adult Coloring Book

Sherlock Adult Coloring BookI Love My Sherlock Adult Coloring Book!

Fans of the BBC Sherlock Series are going to love this Sherlock Adult Coloring Book!  I’ve got mine now and I’m loving it! It’s packed with great memorable scenes from the TV series and it even gives you clues to help you solve the crimes from the shows as you color your way through the book.

If you’ve been hiding in your room watching watching Sherlock on Netflix then you might be wondering what an adult coloring book is?  Well they are hot, red hot.  They are the latest way for people to relax and unwind.  Therapists are recommending them, people are buying them.  They make an awesome gift for Sherlock fans and they are fun.  We knew what we were doing in Kindergarten and now we can color out in the open with no shame!

What’s Inside the Sherlock Coloring Book?

This adult coloring book contains over 50 drawings of scenes straight out of the BBC Sherlock Series 1,2 and 3.  We Sherlock Coloring Bookget a chance to add our own take of color onto many favorite scenes.

The scenes were drawn my Mike Collins, artist and storyboard illustrator for the Doctor Who series. In addition he has illustrated some of the Dr. Who graphic novels.

There are 9 clues hidden throughout the pages.  These clues were essential in solving the crimes in the BBC Series.

Highlights include scenes of London, scenes from Chinatown, John and Mary’s wedding, Moriarty wearing the Crown Jewels, the visit to Buckingham Palace and much more.

Some Things to Note About The Sherlock Coloring Book

Unlike other coloring books, the pages are not meant to come out of the book.  At first I was disappointed about that but then I realized this book is more like a souvenir of the Sherlock BBC Series and I would want to keep it all together.

Don’t use crayons.  Although I do use crayons often, the Sherlock Coloring book pages have a bit of a sheen and they just don’t take the color well from wax crayons. You need either gel pens or pencil crayons.  I like to use both.  The gel pens give a nice saturation of color and the pencil crayons are great for more subtle effects and for blending and shading.  My son who is an artist, prefers Copic pens which are very pricey. Almost as good are these Sakura gelly pens I used in the coloring example of the ‘Sherlocked’ phone. It was like painting with a pen!  You also have to get some metallic gel pens, I love the added effects!  As far as pencil crayons, my son uses only Prismacolor pencil crayons, which he sometimes lets me borrow. I think they are pretty awesome.

Pens and Crayons for your Sherlock Coloring Book

Sakura 10-Piece Glaze Assorted Color 3-Dimensional Glossy Ink Pen Set, BrightSakura 10-Piece Glaze Assorted Color 3-Dimensional Glossy Ink Pen Set, BrightCopic GL12SET Copic Atyou Spica Glitter Pens 12/PkgCopic GL12SET Copic Atyou Spica Glitter Pens 12/PkgPrismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil, Set of 48 Assorted Colors (3598T)Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil, Set of 48 Assorted Colors (3598T)

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If you like this Sherlock Coloring Book, you might also like these …

Doctor Who Coloring BookDoctor Who Coloring BookArt of Coloring Star WarsArt of Coloring Star WarsHarry Potter Coloring BookHarry Potter Coloring Book

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So are you ready to get out the pencil crayons and color!?  BBC Sherlock Series 4 is being filmed as I write this.  What better way to pass the time while you wait for it!

 

 

Sherlock Adult Coloring Book

Sherlock Holmes Fighting Style and Skills

sherlock holmes fighting styleMost readers of Sherlock Holmes stories and adventures are already very familiar with the character’s  methods of deduction and observation.  It is after all the stuff of legend.  But what of Sherlock Holmes fighting style? Dealing with criminals and murderers requires physical prowess to match the mental acuity.

Sherlock Holmes Fighting Style and Skills

The Complete Sherlock Holmes (The Heirloom Collection)The Complete Sherlock Holmes (The Heirloom Collection)

Throughout the many Sherlock Holmes stories Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduces us to the various ways that Holmes could physically take on a criminal. Sherlock was a master with both a weapon and hands, and was quite able to disable an attacker.

Sherlock Holmes was physically a strong man although he did not exercise for exercise sake; bodily exertion being a waste of energy. However he did possess strong fingers (The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet) and was an exceptional runner (The Hound of The Baskervilles).

Holmes demonstrates his strength in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”. Watson writes that Dr. Grimsbey Roylott in his tirade against Holmes for meddling picks up a steel poker and bends it into a curve with his bare hands. After the Doctor leaves, Holmes said, “laughing, ‘I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.’

As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again.” In “The Yellow Face” Watson comments of Holmes, that “Few men were capable of greater muscular effort.”

Sherlock Holmes Martial Arts and Boxing Skills

sherlock holmes martial arts

Bartitsu – The martial arts of gentlemen

Sherlock Holmes was a noted boxer who was quite adept with his fists and was also familiar with the martial arts. In “The Adventure of Empty House”, Holmes remarks to John that it was his knowledge of martial arts that enabled him to fling Moriarty to his death at the Reichenbach Falls. Holmes says: “I have some knowledge … of bartitsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me”.

In “The Sign of Four”, Holmes confronts McMurdo, a prize fighter, as “the amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison’s rooms on the night of your benefit four years back.” McMurdo remembers: “Ah, you’re one that has wasted your gifts, you have! You might have aimed high, if you had joined the fancy”.

Other stories that remark about Sherlock Holmes boxing abilities include “The Adventure of The Gloria Scott”, “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” and “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty”. Apparently Holmes was an excellent boxer as he was always victorious.

And who could forget the famous boxing scene in the 2011 movie  Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows?

Sherlock Holmes Boxing Scene

Sherlock Holmes Weapons

Watson and Sherlock frequently set off on their adventures with pistols “in hand”. Watson most likely had his army service revolver (probably a Mark III Adams revolver) issued to British troops during the 1870s) and Holmes had a Webley Bulldog. There are numerous mentions of pistols in many of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

In “The Musgrave Ritual”, Holmes “decorates the wall of his flat with a patriotic VR (Victoria Regina) of bullet holes”, in “the Hound of The Baskervilles” the hound is killed by a well placed shot by Holmes. “The Adventure of the Empty House” sees Holmes pistol-whipping Colonel Sebastian Moran and in “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”, “The Adventure of Black Peter and “The Adventure of The Dancing Men” guns are used to capture the criminals. A pistol is used by Sherlock in “The Adventure of Thor Bridge” but only as a demonstration piece when he borrows Watson’s pistol.

The cane sword (“The Adventure of the Gloria Scott” Sherlock practices fencing.) and riding crop are other tools thatSherlock Holmes Fighting Styles Holmes was adept at using. Holmes usually carried a cane and in several stories he had cause to use it. In “The Adventure of The Speckled Band” Holmes uses the riding crop to drive off the adder and in “The Six Napoleans” he uses the crop to break open a plaster bust.

When Sherlock Holmes fighting skills are combined with his powers of deduction and observation it is easy to see why he was a formidable opponent to the criminal mind.

This marriage of intellect and physical control is illustrated so beautifully in this final fight scene between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Moriarty in A Game of Shadows.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Secret Fiend by Shane Peacock

Young Sherlock Holmes book reviewThe Secret Fiend: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 4th Case

The Secret Fiend by Shane Peacock

It is 1868 and Benjamin Disraeli has just become Prime Minister of the British Empire. He is Jewish and thus holds utter fascination for the half Jewish young Sherlock Holmes. Many in England are offended by this turn of events and fear mongering and paranoia run rampant in the streets of London.

With this political upheaval in the background, suddenly a fiend is running loose in London, attacking young women in the dark hours of the night.

When one of Sherlock’s young friends appears at his door shaking in terror, he is once again drawn into detective work. The only problem is that when Beatrice, the hatter’s beautiful daughter, describes the fiend, she describes what Sherlock knows to be a fictional character from a popular children’s story. Sherlock suspects she is just trying to get his attention but soon realizes that they are being pulled into a dangerous game of murder and politics.

The Secret Fiend by Shane Peacock is the fourth book in the award winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series written by this  Canadian author.

I absolutely love this series of young Sherlock Holmes books and not just because I am a fan of everything Sherlock!  Peacock manages to combine a great story along with fascinating historical detail and that is just the sort of thing I love in a book.  Just enough true detail to make a fictional story seem real.  Interestingly enough, in the Series 2 BBC Sherlock, this is how Moriarty gains the upper hand on Sherlock, by fabricating false details with just enough truth sprinkled in to make you believe the lies.  But I digress!

If you have young tweens (ages 7 and up), they will love this series of Sherlock Holmes stories!    My own son read this whole series as have I and it is a great read for mystery and detective lovers of all ages.

I wish there was a boxed set available for Christmas gift giving but they have not thought of that yet!  Here is the complete set of six books.

Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 1st CaseEye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 1st CaseDeath in the Air (The Boy Sherlock Holmes)Death in the Air (The Boy Sherlock Holmes)Vanishing Girl: THE BOY SHERLOCK HOLMES, HIS 3RD CASEVanishing Girl: THE BOY SHERLOCK HOLMES, HIS 3RD CASEThe Secret Fiend: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 4th CaseThe Secret Fiend: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 4th CaseThe Dragon Turn: The Boy Sherlock Holmes , His 5th CaseThe Dragon Turn: The Boy Sherlock Holmes , His 5th CaseBecoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final CaseBecoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case

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Sherlock Holmes Story Review – The Adventure of The Norwood Builder

 Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

There is a never ending fascination with Sherlock Holmes deduction skills and this story is a great illustration.

The Adventure of the Norwood Builder was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Sydney Paget and published by The Strand in 1903.  An interesting bit of trivia is that Conan Doyle lived in Norwood.

The story is the second tale from the “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” which is the series of stories Watson wrote after Sherlock Holmes returns from the “dead”.

 

 

Sherlock Holmes Story Review – The Adventure of The Norwood Builder

Sherlock Holmes: Fire Fire Fire!

“Fire!” we all yelled.

“Thank you. I will trouble you once again.”

“Fire!”

“Just once more, gentlemen, and all together.”

“Fire!” The shout must have rung over Norwood.

With those words came the conclusion of a very interesting case for Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

The Adventure of The Norwood Builder begins with Holmes lamenting about the city of London becoming most uninteresting since the demise of Professor Moriarty; there being no stimulation for his mind.

As Holmes and Watson are talking, there are noisy footsteps in the hall and on the stairway. Without so much as a Sherlock Holmes Story Reviews - The Adventure of The Norwood Builderknock, John Hector MacFarlane bursts into the room.

Very quickly Holmes makes observations and relates to Watson and Mr. MacFarlane that “You mentioned your name, as if I should recognize it, but I assure you that, beyond the obvious facts that you are a bachelor, a solicitor, a Freemason, and an asthmatic, I know nothing whatever about you”.

If one was a teacher of observation and deduction skills, The Adventure of The Norwood Builder is filled with many examples of Sherlock Holmes’ qualities that made him a great detective. There are many characters in the story that put Holmes mettle to the test, people such as Lestrade, Jonas Oldacre, and a surly housekeeper named Mrs. Lexington. Each one of these has a part to play in displaying Sherlock Holmes remarkable skill set.

Detective Lestrade feels that Homes’ methods are quite unorthodox, yet it is Holmes attention to detail that brings results. In the story Lestrade and Holmes take different paths in seeking out the truth. As an example Sherlock Holmes sets off to Blackheath to find information about Mr. MacFarlane’s family whereas Lestrade prefers to go to Mr. Oldacre’s home. Holmes returns to Watson frustrated, yet he knows the information he gathered is valuable and will have a bearing on the outcome of the case.

Later, Mr. Lestrade gloats to Holmes that he has proof of a thumbprint from the hallway that belongs to John MacFarlane implicating him as the murderer. Sherlock is skeptical as he has already made a thorough investigation of the hallway and home. Holmes deduces that the thumbprint in the hallway had been placed there by Mrs. Lexington to help deceive Lestrade.

Jonas Oldacre was a builder and this makes Sherlock curious as to the layout of the house. Holmes spends time Sherlock Holmes Story reviews - The Adventure of The Norwood Builderinvestigating the entire house and noting any discrepancies. The time that Sherlock spent has a great bearing on the conclusion to the “murder” of Jonas Oldacre.

Knowing that the house is not what it seems to be, Holmes gathers Watson, Lestrade and constables in a hallway where they start a straw fire filled with smoke. “Fire” they all yell and suddenly a small door opens, Jonas Oldacre emerges and is immediately captured.

The following from A Scandal in Bohemia sums up this story

 It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

 Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] The Complete Sherlock Holmes (The Heirloom Collection) The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes

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The Importance of Sherlock Holmes Violin

sherlock holmes violinThe Importance of Sherlock Holmes Violin

Next to the deerstalker hat and the pipe, the item most often associated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective is the Sherlock Holmes violin.  And while the pipe and hat are clearly accessories, the violin appears to be central to the character of Sherlock Holmes and teaches us a little more about what makes him tick.

In A Study in Scarlet, Watson offers the following:

 That he could play pieces, and difficult pieces, I knew well, because at my request he has played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder, and other favourites.  When left to himself, however, he would seldom produce any music or attempt any recognized air. Leaning back in his arm-chair of an evening, he would close his eyes and scrape carelessly at the fiddle which was thrown across his knee. Sometimes the chords were sonorous and melancholy. Occasionally they were fantastic and cheerful. Clearly they reflected the thoughts which possessed him, but whether the music aided those thoughts, or whether the playing was simply the result of a whim or fancy, was more than I could determine.

 

If you have heard that kids who play music do better in school, there seems to be plenty of studies done to support this.

Recently on Facebook, an interesting post came across my newsfeed. It was about the playing of musical instruments and how the various parts of the brain react as the person plays. The video from the Ted-Ed lessons describes how the brains of those playing a musical instrument light up like fireworks in the auditory, motor and visual parts of the brain.

From a site called quora.com, the violin helps Sherlock think in these ways:

  • Distancing. leave the problem alone for awhile
  • Meditation.  Clears the mind
  • Distraction from physical needs
  • Enables creative process

Sherlock Playing Violin in the Original Stories

Interestingly, Dr. Joseph Bell, who was the inspiration for the character of Sherlock Holmes had little musical interest and apparently neither did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Did Sherlock paying violin allow his brain to think about the current mystery he was trying to solve?  Was Holmes able to use his powers of deduction while all the time playing the violin?

Examples of Sherlock playing violin is in many of the stories and of course the television shows and movies.  In the Adventure of The Cardboard Box, Sherlock Holmes over lunch with Watson talks constantly about violins and offers up that he purchased his own Stradavarius from a broker in Tottenham Court Road for 55 shillings.  In Holmes’ own estimation that Stradavarius he purchased was worth at least 500 Guineas; quite a steal!  In The Adventure of The Mazarin Stone, Dr. Watson describes a visit to 221B Baker St where he notices “‘the scientific charts upon the wall, the acid-charred bench of chemicals, the violin-case leaning in the corner, the coal scuttle which contained of old the pipes and tobacco’.

Does Benedict Cumberbatch Play Violin ?

Many of the actors who have played Sherlock Holmes over the years have learned how to play the violin in order to bring reality to the part.  Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Jonny Lee Miller and yes, Benedict Cumberbatch all learned from teachers how to play the violin. You can even download the BBC Sherlock violin music from Amazon.

Holmes obviously very much enjoyed music and playing the violin.  As Watson notes in his writings from A Study in Scarlet he is quite unsure on whether Sherlock playing violin had any effect on his problem solving.  Imagine Holmes in his chair playing, Watson in the corner listening and observing Holmes, then with a burst of energy they would be off; “the game is afoot”!

 

 

 

Developing Sherlock Holmes Observation Skills

Sherlock holmes observation skills

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

The quote above comes from one of the original Sherlock Holmes stories called The Hound of the Baskervilles .  If you have read any of the stories or even if you have only seen the movies or TV shows, then you already know that much of Sherlock Holmes work is about paying attention to detail.  For most people, the fascination with this character centers around the famous Sherlock Holmes observation skills.

The best Sherlock Holmes cases revolved around finding minute detail that ultimately made a difference in finding the culprit and making an arrest.  The words in the quote refer to an observation that Holmes made when Watson returned to the flat at 221B Baker Street. Holmes observes that Watson appears ‘fresh’ and deduces that he has been out to his club.  Sherlock does this by simply observing Watson’s outward appearance, looking for that small detail that gives the whole picture.

Sherlock Holmes Observation Skills In The Original Books

Time and time again throughout all the Sherlock Holmes stories and adventures,  Holmes looks for those small details that help build the bigger picture. And he made it look so easy!  Elementary!

In writing these stories when he did, Sir Conan Doyle helped to open up the field of forensic science and detective sherlock holmes observation skills work.  Doyle was certainly not the first to discover techniques such as fingerprints, sometimes also called fingermarks.  Fingerprints had already been  discovered in the 1870’s  by French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon. And they were already in use when Doyle wrote the original Sherlock Holmes stories.

There is more than one reference throughout the stories in which Holmes talks to Watson about the use of fingerprints in detection.  By careful observation of the scene and a person’s clothing,  he could deduce and gather much valuable information.

In the book The Adventure of the Priory School,  Holmes is able to tell the difference between bike treads because he knows of 54 different types of bike treads! This eventually leads to an arrest.  Obviously a knowledge base about a subject is very important whether it be bicycle tire treads, the many types of tobacco ash (The Sign of Four ) or even something as simple as the “the dog did nothing in the night time” (Silver Blaze) referring to the dog who did not bark.

Sherlock Holmes Observation Skills on Television

Today it is very common to witness the use of Sherlock’s skills in many of the television shows.  A very popular show on TV right now is Elementary starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu.  This show often contains references to the original Sherlock Holmes stories and many of the techniques that Sherlock Holmes would have used.

The BBC Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman makes great use of modern technology combined with the methods of Holmes from the original stories written by Doyle and it makes for very interesting shows.  And many of these shows where a coroner or pathologist is involved in the plot, you can see that the characters have been written in such a manner as to use Sherlock Holmes observation skills and deduction.

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Sherlock: Season 1Sherlock: Season 1The Complete Sherlock HolmesThe Complete Sherlock HolmesElementary: Three Season PackElementary: Three Season Pack

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Is there such a thing as a Think Like Sherlock Holmes Book ?

Are you a detective, do you enjoy sleuthing? If you are interested in improving your own observational skills you can try a Google search of  “Sherlock Holmes observation skills”.   You are going to get some very interesting sites. Now if only the original Sherlock Holmes had Google!

There are also a surprising number of books available to teach you these Sherlock Holmes  observation skills.   One that has a high rating is  Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by psychologist Maria Konnikova.    The Deduction Guide by Louise Blackwood is not as highly rated but it has incredible reviews.

Read through the information, practice using your new found skills of deduction and observation and see if you can be as successful as Sherlock Holmes.

Observation skills are a wonderful gift, one that everyone can put to use.

New Everything Sherlock Website Contributor

sherlock holmes booksAnyone looking at this website can see that it has been languishing for some time. With a full time job and a thriving gift business on the side I had to make a decision.  Either find another writer or shut the website down.  I remember when I first started Everything Sherlock there was one friend who was very excited.  I was soon to discover that she was even more passionate and knowledgeable about Sherlock Holmes than I was! So over the past year every time I thought about this problem, her name to came to mind as a potential solution, as long as she was willing to try her hand at being a writer.  And she was!  Here is her Sherlock story below:

Introducing Jacqueline, our new writer!

My Introduction to Sherlock Holmes

As a young child I remember my parent’s home having a multitude of books about. Most were medical as that was their professions but there was also an assortment of other books about including “The Wizard of Oz”, The Books of Knowledge and two volumes of Sir Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes”. These two thick grey old books somehow caught my eye and soon I was reading the mysteries inside. It is entirely possible that my parents or grandparents read these books to me although I have no recollection of that. If they did read to me I am very grateful as the seed was set for a lifelong passion for Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes Book ReviewsThe books have since disappeared somewhere, hopefully to someone who is truly interested. I still remember small print, textured coverings and bindings but most of all the few illustrations throughout the books. The pictures were of the old black and white illustrations, simple yet effective. So that was what Sherlock Holmes looked like, referring to the “beak” like nose, the pipe, the long heavy coat and the of course the deer stalker hat? The illustrations helped, giving an impression of Sherlock moving about as he went about his business hunting down Moriarty or some other criminal. I do not believe there were drawings of Dr. Watson which is a shame as he was an integral part of all the wonderful adventures.

Most of us are familiar with the modern versions from movies and television. I wonder what Watson would have looked like if drawn by the same person who drew Sherlock? The drawings in these books have stuck with me and still give me an impression of who Sherlock is to this day. The illustrations also influence who I truly like as the movie or television version of Sherlock Holmes; many fall by the wayside.

Which stories do I remember most from long ago? Great question as there are many but a few standout from my childhood. Stories such as “The Speckled Band”, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Valley of Fear” to name a few kept my attention; wonderful memories!

The writing style and the actual adventure drew me in, whether combing the moors for the hound or catching the “assailant” moving through the vents of an old English home. Then there are all the characters within these stories. Dr. Watson of course, but many a lady, strange creatures and many peoples whose lives had been changed by crime all graced us with their presence through Doyle’s writings. It was sometimes very hard to put the story down as I always wanted to know the conclusion.

In my youth I believe I read all of the stories although guaranteed I have now read all and watched many of them either in movies or television.

Thank you to Sir Conan Doyle for creating and writing about Sherlock Holmes. The stories have brought much enjoyment to my life and have taught me many lessons.

Thank you for bringing much pleasure and intrigue to my life.

“The game is a foot”