Sherlock Holmes first appeared in 1887 in ‘A Study in Scarlet’. Four years later, Sherlock Holmes grew to extremes in popularity thanks to its series of short stories in ‘The Strand Magazine’ in 1891. Over a hundred years later, Sherlock Holmes stories are still being read by a variety of different ages and cultures. But why is this? Why are people so ‘caught up’ in this series of books and short stories? Is it because of the stories’ nail-biting plots? Or is it because of the engrossing characters that the inventive Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has perfectly produced?
Or is it both the plot and the characters? This is of course, is an opinion question, and answers will vary, but this is mine: During Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life, he enjoyed a very high level of popularity for his stories about Holmes, even in countries other than England. At that time, his great success would have been due to Conan Doyle’s excellent writing abilities, Holmes’ great abilities of deduction that could be used to solve any crime, and the fact that common and poor people of England and especially London could look to Holmes for inspiration, and as a national symbol of pride.
But Conan Doyle wrote these stories over a century ago. Why are they still so popular today? Holmes became an icon, his analysis of Watson and other people’s habits and activities seemed to them, baffling, but to him it was “Elementary. ” His deerstalker cap, pipe, overcoat, and magnifying glass came to symbolize detectives and their art through Sherlock Holmes’ early popularity. And simply put, people enjoy a good story, especially a mystery. In our modern time of fast living, modern conveniences, and computerised crime and detection, Sherlock Holmes represents the spirit an earlier, simpler and more romantic period. Perhaps, as Watson was to him, Holmes is to us “the one fixed point in a changing age. ”   Clive Hopwood? Sherlock Holmes Illustrated copyright 1981 by World International Publishing Limited. Published in Great Britain.