Questions tagged [sherlock-holmes]

For questions regarding the Sherlock Holmes series of novels and short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle or any other literary work featuring this character. For questions about the original Doyle stories, use the [arthur-conan-doyle] tag as well.

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In “Adventure of the Priory School”, what is going on with the reward money and the cheque?

In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Priory School", Holmes shows perhaps the most amount of interest in the reward money. Holmes initially confirms the terms of the reward ...
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1answer
60 views

What did Conan Doyle mean by saying the butler would adorn a bench of bishops?

I’d like to ask about the following sentence from "The Illustrious Client" by Conan Doyle. A butler, who would have adorned a bench of bishops, showed me in and… I wanted to know what ...
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1answer
428 views

Which does this part refer to, a pencil or the words?

I’d like to ask about the sentence in The Red Circle by Conan Doyle. The words are written with a broad-pointed, violet-tinted pencil of a not unusual pattern. This is uttered by Holmes when he saw ...
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1answer
294 views

What does “loose-jointed” mean in this Sherlock Holmes passage?

I’d like to ask about the following sentence from "The Three Garridebs" by Conan Doyle: Mr. Nathan Garrideb proved to be a very tall, loose-jointed, round-backed person, gaunt and bald, ...
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1answer
64 views

What is “the Segregation of the Queen” in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. I’d like to make sure ...
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1answer
106 views

What is Watson's “old service” in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. As to you, Watson, you are joining us with your old service, as I understand, so London won’t be out of your way. ...
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1answer
47 views

Implication of “your four-in-hand takes the prize” in “His Last Bow”

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. You yacht against them, you hunt with them, you play polo, you match them in every game, your four-in-hand takes ...
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1answer
5k views

Who are the main characters of “A Study in Emerald”?

Neil Gaiman calls his "A Study in Emerald"* a Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes fanfiction. And indeed it is exactly that: it uses the narration and story structure pretty characteristic to one from ...
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99 views

What was the case where Sherlock answers Watson's private thoughts?

I recall a Sherlock Holmes mystery where the detective and his assistant are in their apartment and Watson is working over some decision that he has to make. Suddenly Holmes pipes in to give his ...
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26 views

Story where undercover officer infiltrates a dangerous criminal organization; possibly connected to Sherlock Holmes and Watson

I read a story many years ago (possibly around 2010-2011) about a man who is a part of a criminal organization; it was some type of brotherhood where loyalty was incredibly important. I think they had ...
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1answer
57 views

How to interpret this “temptation”?

I’d like to ask about the sentence I’m not really sure how to interpret in The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Conan Doyle, preferably to someone who’s already read the story. “Well, it is not for me to ...
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1answer
341 views

Meaning of “He deserted me for others” in “The Veiled Lodger”

I’d like to ask about this sentence from the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger" (1927) by Arthur Conan Doyle: From that day I was in hell, and he the devil who tormented me. ...
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1answer
345 views

Which London streets mentioned in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories are fictional?

In the course of the Sherlock Holmes stories, many streets are named. Let's focus here on London streets. Many of them are real, e.g. Baker St., Oxford St., Regent St. and many more. Which of them, ...
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4answers
376 views

Was Afghanistan considered tropical or was Holmes wrong?

From the 1887 Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet: ... He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin ... Where in the tropics could an ...
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1answer
221 views

Should I read 'A Scandal in Bohemia' before I read 'A Study in Scarlet'?

Is it important to read 'A Study in Scarlet' before 'A Scandal in Bohemia'? I have heard that the former is the first book by Sir Arthur Connal Doyle. And it gives initial insights into the character ...
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61 views

In which pastiche of Sherlock Holmes does Watson end up being Moriarty?

I read a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes some time ago that ended up with Watson actually being Moriarty, fooling Holmes all those years, working his machinations under his nose. Sadly, I can't remember ...
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1answer
351 views

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 ...
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1answer
274 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 ...
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2answers
229 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 ...
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2answers
494 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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668 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, ...
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1answer
675 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
193 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
682 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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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
526 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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1k views

To what extent did Agatha Christie base Captain Hastings on Dr. Watson?

I've noticed that there are quite a few parallels between Agatha Christie's Captain Arthur Hastings and Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr. John Watson: Both served in the British military (Hasting in World War ...
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1answer
854 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 ...
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349 views

Identify non-Doylian Holmes short story: Watson outstrips Sherlock and Mycroft

About ten years ago, I read an old short story about Sherlock Holmes, which was not one of the 'canon' Doyle stories. I think it may have been written by one of the well-known later detective fiction ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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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
181 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 ...
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1answer
392 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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4answers
77k 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, ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
5k 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
2k 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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23k 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 ...