Sherlock Holmes is arguably the greatest fictional character ever created. He is the original master detective able to outwit and bring to justice the most devious criminals. His creator Arthur Conan Doyle became a major innovator in the field of crime writing using forensic science and painstaking methods of deduction to thwart Holmes adversaries and astound his readers. His model of the clever detective has been copied by countless crime writers ever since, but the power of the original character lives on.
The new BBC series, “Sherlock”, is a case in point but it must be hoped that Monday’s episode, “A Study in Pink”, will drive audiences back to the original title where “pink” is “scarlet”.
Conan Doyle’s collection of short stories under the title “Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” was meant to be the last featuring the famous detective. It is ironic that the penultimate adventure in this series, “The Navel Treaty,” featured the town Woking, home of Peatmore Press, as the final story describes the confrontation between Holmes and his arch enemy Moriarty above the Reichenbach Falls, since it inspired a similar scene in Peatmore’s first publication, “Cogrill’s Mill”.
The final story, called the Final Problem, was also Conan Dole’s Problem as he wished to be rid of his tiresome creation. But such was the public clamour on reading of Sherlock Holmes’s demise that he was forced to bring him back to life. Thus the character became transformed from mere hero to a literary god.