29 Mar, 2023



The Compelling Mystery of the Man Behind Sherlock Holmes


Asmaul Husna

~2 min read

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The Compelling Mystery of the Man Behind Sherlock Holmes

”When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”

-Sherlock Holmes

The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890)

Since 1887, countless have found themselves entranced by the magic woven by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that is the world of Sherlock Holmes be it in the form of books, serieses or movies. Doesn’t matter if you are team Cumberbatch or team Robert Downey Jr all we really want is to understand how Detective Holmes could carry out the investigations in such a thrilling but at the same time accurate manner?

Well, for one, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a physician who completed his Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.), Master of surgery (C.M.) and Doctor of medicine (M.D.) from University of Edinburgh and was known for being highly logical and observant. Born in 1859, Sir Doyle revolutionized the crime investigation scene by putting forth around 60 stories of brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes and many other works in which logic, deduction and science dominated the numerous detection methods. The author was such a brilliant visionary that many of the detection methods that he used in his books were later adopted by detectives in both UK and USA and consequently the world at large. For example, Detective Holmes was quick to realize the importance of fingerprints first in The Sign of the Four (1890) which was later adopted by Scotland Yard (London’s Metropolitan police service), one of the oldest police forces in the world 10 years later. Another such example is when the author used the analysis of typewritten documents in the book A Case of Identity (1891) and later on, the FBI opened its very own document analysis section in 1932. There are countless other investigative methods that were pioneered by Sir Conan Doyle in forensic science.

The author was knighted in 1902 for his work with a field hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and other services during the South African (Boer) War. He was also one of the first prominent advocates of compulsory vaccination and wrote several articles voicing his support of the practice and denouncing the anti-vaxxers. The novelist also dabbled in ophthalmology and toxicology but despite his many many contributions to forensic science and other arenas, he was famous and loved by the general public including us because of his wonderful stories of the enigmatic and eccentric Sherlock Holmes.