81 votes

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

No. They cared deeply about each other as friends, but there was never anything romantic in it. Holmes was asexual. He wasn't just uninterested in women, he was uninterested in romance. All ...
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  • 64.4k
42 votes
Accepted

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

He simply got tired of writing about Holmes, and he wanted to focus on his other writing. I'm going to quote from a book called The Best of Sherlock Holmes, by Wordsworth Classics: However, even ...
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  • 19.8k
29 votes
Accepted

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

The phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson" with the same arrangement of the words, has never been expressed even once in any Sherlock Holmes story. The closest you can get, however, seems to be ...
28 votes
Accepted

Is Sherlock Holmes religious?

The single strongest piece of evidence is surely this, from A Naval Treaty: "Thank you. I have no doubt I can get details from Forbes. The authorities are excellent at amassing facts, though ...
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27 votes
Accepted

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

TL;DR: a close reading of "The Final Problem" says YES, but a broader analysis would tend to reject this evidence and possibly to say NO instead. Holmes certainly considered Moriarty to be the most ...
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  • 64.4k
25 votes

Why Did Doyle Choose 221B Baker Street?

All the unreputable Internet sources indicate that the numbering on Baker Street in Doyle's lifetime was only up to 100. Apparently Doyle initially called the street "Upper Baker Street". One theory ...
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  • 8,087
24 votes

What does "more than I gave" mean in "I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave"?

It helps to have a bit more of the context leading up to this: There have been some very strange happenings. I have been in this house more than a year now, and as I wished to lead a retired life I ...
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  • 2,468
23 votes

In which order should the Sherlock Holmes stories be read?

TL;DR: Begin your Holmesian adventure with short stories from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Continue with the early novels before moving on to the later short ...
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  • 5,684
17 votes

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

Snopes says: Nope. Specifically: In some sense it seems a bit odd to claim that a fictional character never uttered a specific phrase, since fictional characters aren't real and therefore can'...
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  • 6,654
16 votes

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

It should be noted that the Sherlock Holmes stories (with exception to "His Last Bow", "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone", "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", and "The Adventure of the Blanched ...
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  • 177
15 votes
Accepted

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

1. Professor Moriarty I'd like to go into Moriarty in more detail, because Worth was not the only inspiration for Moriarty. Doyle did not simply draw on Worth for inspiration. Masters of Crime states ...
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  • 5,684
15 votes
Accepted

Was Afghanistan considered tropical or was Holmes wrong?

Don't interpret "the tropics" with such scientific precision. You originally posted this question on the Earth Sciences site, and you seem to have been thinking of this quote with a literal (I'd even ...
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  • 64.4k
13 votes
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How much of "The Adventure of the Second Stain" did Conan Doyle have planned when he wrote "The Naval Treaty"?

I haven't been able to find any primary source material from Doyle on the matter, and after a decent amount of reading, it doesn't seem like anyone else has, either. However, that doesn't mean I can't ...
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  • 5,684
12 votes
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Did Sherlock Holmes have a character development arc across Arthur Conan Doyle's books?

One possible case of character development is in "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" when Holmes, for the first and only time in all the canon, is shown to care for his fellow man. This ...
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  • 64.4k
12 votes

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

Searching for Doyle's works banned in USSR in 1929 yields nothing about The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, save for this question and one comment on LiveJournal. However, searching the Russian ...
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  • 8,087
12 votes

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

It transpires that part of the confusion with this sentence arises from a difference in the text between the first UK publication in the Strand magazine of September 1917 and the later collected ...
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  • 15.8k
11 votes

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

From spending a little time teaching and studying parts of the Sherlock Holmes canon, I conjecture that there is a two-fold purpose at work here: Doyle is beginning to establish an expansive universe ...
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  • 1,325
11 votes

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

Doyle makes Holmes notoriously good at analyzing footprints to determine the gender, age, and in some cases, the motivation for the exact path taken by the possible culprit. Footprints have been used ...
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  • 4,277
11 votes

Meaning of "He deserted me for others" in "The Veiled Lodger"

I've read the Wikipedia summary of the story and I'm sure your interpretation is the only likely one. After describing the violence and cruelty of the man, Mrs. Ronder is clearly not expressing regret ...
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10 votes

In which order should the Sherlock Holmes stories be read?

HDE's great answer is much more detailed than mine and has more reasoning for each of his reading order choices, but with that in mind, I thought I'd chime in. I've read all of the Sherlock Holmes ...
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  • 4,277
9 votes

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

There wasn't much development. Most of the stories are short stories, and they rely upon the relationships established for the series - Holmes as the genius, Watson as the storyteller and the person ...
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  • 1,285
9 votes

Why Did Doyle Choose 221B Baker Street?

Conan Doyle is giving the reader a clue as to Holmes' character. Educated readers at the time of publication would have picked up on these clues. At that time, Baker Street was an upmarket ...
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  • 2,066
9 votes
Accepted

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

This is the final list I've made, after sifting through The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow, The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes,...
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  • 5,684
9 votes
Accepted

Visualising a scene described in the beginning of “The Adventure of the Three Students”

This sounds like a typical description of what one might expect to see in an Oxbridge college, either in Conan Doyle's time or today (they haven't changed much). Note that "one of our great ...
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  • 64.4k
8 votes
Accepted

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

I took a look in Leslie S. Klinger's The new annotated Sherlock Holmes. This does indeed appear to be a problem that has puzzled commentators. Three suggestions are mentioned: Clay was trying to ...
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  • 3,253
8 votes
Accepted

Had Holmes previously encountered Charles Augustus Milverton?

It seems that Holmes's assessment of Milverton as "the worst man in London" was due less to long experience of the man than to the extreme revulsion he felt about him. It didn't take an exceptionally ...
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  • 64.4k
8 votes

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

The pencil. Holmes is saying that the "broad-pointed, violet-tinted" nature of the pencil is not an unusual pattern for pencils, so Holmes can't identify anything sufficiently unique about ...
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  • 6,654
8 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "She impressed me neither favorably nor the reverse."

Here "the reverse" is in reference to "favorably"; the implication is: She impressed me neither favorably nor the reverse [of favorably]. "Impress" is used to mean &...
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  • 7,915
7 votes

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

Rand al'Thor's answer is excellent. It shows that we repeatedly see Holmes referring to Moriarty with grand language, supposedly placing him on a pedestal above all other criminals. At the same time, ...
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  • 5,684
7 votes

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

Watson/Doyle does this a lot. The whole Sherlock Holmes canon is peppered both with these casual references to other cases - adventures which happened "off-stage", so to speak. More examples: I had ...
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  • 64.4k

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