Over the years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first wrote them, the characters and stories of Sherlock Holmes have remained very popular, both in their original form and in the form of various adaptations. Sherlock Holmes has also had an influence on various stories, TV shows and other works.

Role in the history of the detective story

A popular misconception is that the Sherlock Holmes stories gave rise to the entire genre of detective fiction. In fact, the Holmes character and his modus operandi were inspired by two predecessors, C. Auguste Dupin and Monsieur Lecoq and their technique for solving crime. Created by Edgar Allan Poe and Émile Gaboriau respectively, they were both investigators to whom even Holmes himself alluded. Many fictional sleuths have imitated Holmes' logical methods and followed in his footsteps, in various ways.

Some of the more popular to continue Holmes' legacy include Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Ellery Queen, Robert Goren, Philip Marlowe, Gil Grisom, Sam Spade, Patrick Jane, Perry Mason, Jonathan Creek, Shawn Spencer, Columbo, Dick Tracy, Adrian Monk, Gregory House, Dr Edward Fitzgerald, the children's book series Encyclopedia Brown, and even the comic book hero Batman. Teddy Valiant (Brother of Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit) even sported Sherlock's traditional tobacco pipe and magnifying glass among the paraphernalia on his untouched side of the desk.

The long running Japanese manga and anime Detective Conan, known as Meitantei Conan in Japan and released as Case Closed in English due to copyright issues, was also heavily influenced by Sherlock Holmes, with the main character himself taking after Holmes' and giving himself a nickname based on Sir Arthur's middle name. He uses it as a pseudonym to cover up his true identity.

Other pop culture references

Writers have produced many pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle, or characters from the stories in homage, to a greater or lesser degree. Such allusions can form a plot development, raise the intellectual level of the piece or act as easter eggs for an observant audience.

Some have been overt, introducing Holmes as a character in a new setting, or a more subtle allusion, such as making a logical character live in an apartment at number 221B. Often the simplest reference is to dress anybody who does some kind of detective work in a deerstalker and cloak. Another rich field of pop culture references is Holmes' ancestry and descendants (as discussed here) but really the only limit is the writer's imagination. A third major reference is the supposed quote, "Elementary, my dear Watson." However Holmes is never recorded to have said this. The fame of Sherlock Holmes ensures that he will in many forms during the coming century, probably because Holmes embodies so many of the qualities that modern society feels are good, combined with the flashes of a darker personality (see especially "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton") that give him depth as a character.

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

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.