Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sherlock Holmes Brought to Life -- By Donna Schlachter

Sherlock Holmes statue

There are some characters in literature that we tend to think of as real people—Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Mr. Darcy, Frankenstein, Dracula, to name a few. But perhaps one of the most loved yet deeply flawed characters in all history would be Sherlock Holmes. Movies are still being made featuring him today. And not simply remakes of original stories—there are new stories being written, new adventures, even revisionist versions where, for example, Dr. Watson is really the brain behind a blundering and incompetent Holmes.

So why would we still enjoy a character written more than a hundred years ago? One portrayed by a number of actors over the years, yet each of us has that one talent we think is the epitome of the character. For me, Jeremy Brett holds that honor.

The character’s observational and deductive skills are legendary, and yet he seems always to be racing headlong into self-destruction with his dark side that neglects his physical body when he’s on a case, or indulges his addictive personality when he isn’t. Not to mention his failure to understand why his playing of the violin until all hours annoys Watson and his landlady. Or what about the dysfunctional relationship with his brother Mycroft? Or his fixation on Moriarty, whom we are never really positive exists in the real world of the story.

Sherlock Holmes museum in London, England
Perhaps it is the unique combination of skills, strengths, flaws, wounds, wrapped in a package that each of us can identify with. An odd child, perhaps, who never quite fit in, because he was too analytical for his friends, always second to his brilliant brother, believing lies that he wasn’t quite good enough, wounded to the core by the one love of his life who left him, seeking solace in the clouds of opium addiction. Which of us hasn’t experienced some of that to one degree or another?

Sherlock Holmes, no matter how low he sinks, finds strength to rise above the situation and go on to solve yet another mystery.

We can find in this character the answer to our own present-day dilemmas and problems: rise above the situation and go on. Whether we find the strength in our faith, in our friends and family, or in the needs of another, we, too, can carry on.

Here’s some interesting trivia about the character:

· Queen Victoria had a soft spot for Sherlock.
· Moriarty and Sherlock might have had a history.
· There are Hundreds of Societies Worldwide Dedicated To His Life
· Sherlock Holmes Didn’t Wear a Deerstalker
· Sherlock Holmes is the most popular film character
· Sherlock never says ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’

If you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan, following are several interesting sites I found:

About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management. Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

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  1. Thanks for posting, Donna! I love Jeremy Brett's Sherlock, but Jonny Lee Miller holds a very close second. When we were in England a few years ago, we were able to visit the museum and greatly enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Linda, thanks for leaving a comment. Some day, when I get to England, I'll go to the museum, too :)

  2. Hmmm, so who first coined that phrase, "Elementary, my dear Watson?"

  3. Great question. This is what I found:
    Yes, Sherlock Holmes never said the above phrase in any of the classic tales written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Instead, the phrase was synthesized by the readers and enthusiasts of the legendary detective and assigned to him. The character was later given the line in a movie script that was not penned by Conan Doyle.

    The canonical Holmes did use the word “elementary” when speaking with Watson. For example, Conan Doyle’s 1893 story “The Adventure of the Crooked Man” published in “The Strand Magazine” contained a scene in which Holmes carefully examined Watson’s appearance and concluded that he had recently been busy with several visits to medical patients. Holmes explained his reasoning to Watson, and the doctor was impressed. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1
    “Excellent!” I cried.
    “Elementary,” said he. “It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the basis of the deduction.