Meet Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes
A brief intro
Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, and died on July 7, 1930, in London. He was a British writer and physician best known for creating one of the most endearing characters in English crime fiction, Sherlock Holmes. In 1887, he created the character Sherlock Holmes for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories featuring Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Creating Sherlock Holmes
Doyle, like many other writers of his generation, struggled to find a publisher. When he was 27, he wrote A Study in Scarlet and it was accepted for publication by Ward Lock & Co for £25 in exchange for all rights to the story. The piece gradually garnered positive feedback from other publishers.
A lecturer inspired the character
Interestingly, Sherlock Holmes was partially modeled after Joseph Bell, Doyle’s mentor, and med school lecturer. Doyle was inspired to create his famous fictional detective character, Sherlock Holmes, by his keen powers of observation. “It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes… round the center of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man,” Doyle wrote in a letter to Bell in 1892. He remarked in his 1924 autobiography, “It is no wonder that after the study of such a character, I used and amplified his methods when in later life I tried to build up a scientific detective who solved cases on his own.”
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His ambivalent attitude towards his most famous creation
Doyle attempted to kill off his Sherlock Holmes character in 1893, much to the chagrin of his readers, in order to devote more time to writing about Spiritualism. He wrote to his mother in November 1891(paraphrased): “I consider killing Holmes… and winding him up for good. He diverts my attention away from more important matters.” His mother’s response was, “You will not! You simply cannot! You cannot!”
Doyle, on the other hand, reintroduced Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1901 and later brought him back to life in The Adventure of the Empty House in order for the lucrative character to earn Doyle the money he needed to fund his missionary work.
Sherlock Holmes; a milestone in the field of crime fiction
To deflect publishers’ demands for more Holmes stories, he raised his price to a level intended to discourage them. On the contrary, he discovered that they were willing to pay even the large sums he demanded. As a result, he rose to become one of the highest-paid authors of his generation. Apart from his 62 stories about Sherlock Holmes, a host of other writers soon began to feature this intriguing character in their works. There’s even a movie adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.
Doyle was a prolific writer
Aside from Holmes stories, he also wrote fantasy, science fiction stories, humorous stories, short stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels.
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