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For questions about the author Arthur Conan Doyle or any of his literary works.

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How many of the original Sherlock Holmes stories are fixed in time?

While re-reading this Q&A, I was wondering how we know that, for example, the story "The Final Problem" is set in 1891. Presumably it's mentioned somewhere in the story. I recall the occasional ...
4
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1answer
72 views

What did Holmes mean when he referred to Watson's habit “of telling a story backward”?

In The Problem of Thor Bridge, Holmes begins running through the background of his latest case before telling Watson that he has a client: "The fact is that the problem, though exceedingly ...
4
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1answer
78 views

Was the pun on the word 'reading' intentional in “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”?

In the beginning of "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", while Holmes and Watson are on the train, we see this line: We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of papers which Holmes had ...
5
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1answer
84 views

Did Conan Doyle's belief in the supernatural influence his fiction writings in any way?

Arthur Conan Doyle was a believer in the supernatural. My source here is from the Muse magazine, published by Cricket Media, in the October 2011 issue, page 6, by Doug Stewart. One of the English ...
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2answers
222 views

Why does “The Five Orange Pips” devote an entire paragraph at the beginning to the case with the watch?

"The Five Orange Pips" opens with two rather large paragraphs. The first one describes that there are a lot of good cases. The second, however, goes into detail about one of these cases - 180 words ...
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2answers
305 views

Was Holmes written as a drug user in A Study In Scarlet?

In The Sign of the Four, Holmes is a drug user: Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morroco case. With his long, white, ...
9
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1answer
440 views

Why did Morris and Clay preemptively dissolve the Red-Headed League?

Spoilers ahead for The Red-Headed League. In this Sherlock Holmes story, Holmes and Watson are recruited by a flustered pawnbroker, Jabez Wilson, who has been tricked into joining a fake society, the ...
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1answer
132 views

Do Holmes and Challenger coinhabit the same fictional world?

Doyle published The Lost World well after both killing off and reviving Sherlock Holmes. He wrote about Professor Challenger and Holmes concurrently for about fourteen years, and continued to write ...
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Why Did Doyle Choose 221B Baker Street?

221B Baker Street. One of the most famous addresses in literature. But why? Was there any reason Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose this particular address as the residence of his famous protagonist? Did ...
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1answer
497 views

How much of “The Adventure of the Second Stain” did Conan Doyle have planned when he wrote “The Naval Treaty”?

The first paragraph of the Holmes story The Naval Treaty, from Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, reads as follows (emphasis mine): The July which immediately succeeded my marriage was made memorable by ...
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2answers
672 views

Is Professor Moriarty really Sherlock Holmes' arch-enemy in the way some people think?

Some people view Professor James Moriarty as the ultimate arch-enemy to Sherlock Holmes, and that perhaps he may have been a major character in the stories and novels. If you've watched a TV series ...
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1answer
257 views

Are any Sherlock Holmes antagonists besides Moriarty based on real people?

I've heard that Arthur Conan Doyle's depiction of Professor Moriarty was inspired by several real-life figures, including Adam Worth. Given Doyle's wide-ranging set of villains and antagonists in the ...
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1answer
344 views

What occult references caused The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to be banned in the Soviet Union?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fascination with spiritualism and the occult is well known. However, I was surprised to find out that his short stories collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was banned ...
7
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1answer
432 views

When do the events in The Valley of Fear take place?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's final Sherlock Holmes novel, "The Valley of Fear", is notable for being the only story other than the short story The Final Problem where Professor Moriarty plays a direct ...
24
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2answers
801 views

Is Sherlock Holmes religious?

In this question, it is established that Sherlock Holmes, from the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was asexual and in explaining that it is stated that he showed very little emotion in general. This ...
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1answer
120 views

Had Holmes previously encountered Charles Augustus Milverton?

The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton depicts Holmes' and Watson's encounter with Charles Augustus Milverton, a man who is, according to Holmes, "the worst man in London" (he even drives Holmes ...
15
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1answer
221 views

How much did forensic science at the time of Sherlock Holmes' publication influence it?

Was Arthur Conan Doyle influenced by any particular forensic techniques or methods used in his time? Were there any specific ones utilized a lot in the Sherlock Holmes series? And if so, what were ...
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3answers
19k views

In which order should the Sherlock Holmes stories be read?

The canonical Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle comprise: four novellas: A Study in Scarlet The Sign of Four The Hound of the Baskervilles The Valley of Fear fifty-six short stories, ...
25
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2answers
579 views

Has the phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” ever truly appeared in a Sherlock Holmes book?

A famous phrase attributed to Sherlock Holmes is "Elementary, my dear Watson" or "Elementary, dear Watson" Has this phrase ever occurred in a Sherlock Holmes book? If yes, in which novel or story ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Why did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decide to kill off this character?

In the short story "The Final Problem", Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made the decision to kill off Sherlock Holmes (although he did bring him back again in the story of "The Empty House"). This was met with ...
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2answers
511 views

Did Sherlock Holmes have a character development arc across Arthur Conan Doyle's books?

Often, in a large novel, a character would have a character development arc, which is considered an integral part of writing. But Sherlock Holmes canon consists mostly of smaller stories. Was there ...
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7k views

Did Arthur Conan Doyle code Holmes and Watson as a gay couple?

Given the Victorian era, a writer couldn't deliberately create an openly (or even quietly) gay couple for public literary consumption. But gay people existed, and had romances. Arthur Conan Doyle knew ...