To celebrate the detective everyone knows and loves (and his author), here are 7 little-known facts about Sherlock Holmes...
1. Detective or… Surgeon?
Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh surgeon, Joseph Bell. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an assistant for the surgeon and admired his knack for observing small details and turning them into big conclusions. Bell believed in the power of observation, so Doyle created a character who used the same belief to solve mysteries.
2. Oscar Wilde, Socialite
Thank goodness for Oscar Wilde’s social habits. If it weren’t for a dinner party thrown by Wilde, the second book in the Sherlock series, The Sign of the Four, would have never been written. We can thank Joseph Stoddart, an editor from Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, for encouraging Doyle at the dinner party to try again after his first novel, Study in Scarlet, flopped.
3. Sherrinford Holmes?
Doyle originally named his beloved detective “Sherrinford.” Thankfully, Doyle’s love for cricket is what led him to “Sherlock.” The author renamed the character after one of his favorite cricket players.
There is no 221B Baker St. in London. There was no 221B Baker St. in late 1880 when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Holmes, and technically speaking, there is still no such address. Today, you can find The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street. However, physically, the museum sits between 237 and 241 Baker Street. We can't imagine any classic lit. lover complaining about this technicality...
5. What Deerstalker?
The hat that we immediately picture Sherlock Holmes in was never once mentioned by Doyle in the novels. So then where did this distinguished image of the detective in a deerstalker come from? Sidney Paget. Works by illustrator Sidney Paget were published alongside a few of Doyle’s short stories in Strand magazine in the late 1800s. She created the look that we all know best.
Unfortunately, that famous line that Holmes supposedly says all the time, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” was also fiction, just like his cap. The character did in fact say “Elementary” and “my dear Watson” both separately, at separate times. However they were never spoken all at once by Holmes in the pages of Doyle’s books.
7. Human vs. Non-Human
Sherlock Holmes takes the cake as the most-filmed fictional human character of all time. He has been in more than 226 movies. Who is the most-filmed non-human fictional character of all time? Most vampires suck (see what we did there), however this particular blood sucker from classic lit wins it all. Dracula has been in more than 239 films and holds this title.