Sherlock Holmes was incredibly popular in the 19th century, and still is today. The combination of twisting plots, strange settings, eccentric characters and Holmes’ unconventional but highly successful methods to solve crime make the stories interesting, exciting and realistic.
Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh on 22 May 1859. After leaving school he went to study medicine in Edinburgh, where he met Dr Joseph Bell, who is believed to by Conan Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. When Holmes was first released, Victorian readers instantly fell for him. They despised the police and enjoyed Holmes’ modern and effective detective work.
The locations where stories set are all ...view middle of the document...
However, reparations are being carried out to improve its condition: ‘some scaffolding had been erected against the end wall, and the stonework had been broken into’. This suggests that parts of the wall are being repaired, possibly higher up which would explain the need for scaffolding.
‘The Final Problem’ is set in another different location. It is mostly set in Switzerland, which would be exciting to find out about for readers in the 19th century. At this time most people had never been abroad. It takes place in the Swiss Alps, and Watson describes it as a very beautiful place: ‘It was a lovely trip, the dairty green of the spring below, the virgin of the white winter above.’
This shows that the area is picturesque, with the lush green grass of spring and the white snow-capped mountains. Holmes and Watson visit the Reichenbach waterfalls which is a fearful but magnificent place: ‘The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The river flows quickly over the edge and falls a huge distance, before creating a gigantic splash.
Conan Doyle always makes sure that Holmes solves the crime. Holmes always knows who the culprit is, and can explain anything. He knows who is responsible long before everyone else does, by studying the clues carefully and interpreting them in the way he does. He does not respect Watson very highly, seeing him as slow and naive, but appreciates him as a loyal sidekick. Holmes also does not approve highly of women, and sees them as weak and fragile, which was the common view among a society dominated by men at the time. For example, in ‘The Speckled Band’, Holmes says ‘”I shall order you a cup of hot coffee, for I observe that you are shivering”’. This shows him to have kindness and consideration towards women, but also shows that he thinks they should be protected.
Conan Doyle deliberately makes his characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories to be different, and perhaps strange and eccentric. In ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ the character Neville St. Clair (High Boone) is a very peculiar person. ‘He was a middle sized man with a coloured shirt protruding through his tattered coat. He was extremely dirty, but the grime which covered his face could not conceal its repulsive ugliness. An old scar ran right across it from eye to chin, and had turned up one side of his lip. A shock of red hair grew over his eyes and forehead.’ This vivid description by Watson shows Hugh Boone to be incredibly ugly and deformed, and would be a unique and shocking person to see. The character is made more interesting by the fact that he lives to separate lives, one as a beggar and one as a rich gentleman ‘”a gentleman, Neville St. Clair by name, who appeared to have plenty of money”’.
‘The Speckled Band’ features another one of Conan Doyle’s abnormal characters, this time in the form of Dr. Grimesby Roylott: ’His costume was a peculiar mixture...