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What Has Made the Detective Stories of Sherlock Holmes so Popular over the Last 100 Years?

  • Date Submitted: 03/29/2010 11:02 AM
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What has made the detective stories of
Sherlock Holmes so popular over the last 100 years?

In this essay I will be analysing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes stories and looking at what has made them so popular over the last 100 years.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 22nd May. He was the eldest of 10 children, seven of which survived to adulthood. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was a poorly paid civil servant and became a chronic alcoholic and epileptic, also suffering from depression.
His mother, however, was vivacious and well-educated’ like Arthur she had a passion for books and was an excellent story-teller.
“In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all, the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clearly that they obscure the real facts of my life.” (Arthur Conan Doyle talking about his mother). His mother was a beneficial influence on him.

The origins of Sherlock Holmes:
Conan Doyle studies medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he met Doctor Joseph Bell, one of his professors. Bell was an expert at the use of observation and deduction to diagnose his patients.
Joseph Bell was often able to diagnose patients before they had said a word about their symptoms. He was often able to find out a number of facts about the patients by simply observing and could even guess their occupation. This fascinated Doyle, who was inspired by these highly effective methods and used them in creating his famous detective. It is clear that Bell was a huge inspiration for the character. Like Bell, Holmes was lean and dark, with piercing grey eyes and a nose like an eagle’s beak.

The beginning of Sherlock Holmes:
Conan Doyle set up a medical practice in Southsea, which was initially not very successful; while waiting for patients he again began writing stories.
Sherlock Holmes first appeared in ‘A Study in Scarlet’, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual for...


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