The letter of the day is S. So of course it makes sense to pay homage to one of the most, if not the most, successful literary characters of all time: Sherlock Holmes. Who is he? Elementary, my dear Watson (although you hard core Sherlockians may know that Sherlock never actually said that line in the books). He is the world’s first, and only consulting detective. There have been various incarnations of the famous detective over the years in TV shows, films, even spin off books. However, none of them can touch the original (although some come pretty darn close).
It might be good to explain the context that Sherlock Holmes first appeared on the literary radar. After a lot of criminal novels where crime was glamourized, and to be a criminal was pretty cool. However, with the rise in urban crime, it became feared, and so the police became respected. Novels about detectives solving crimes were popular. And from this Sherlock Holmes was born. He was like nothing else out there. He worked with the police, so was good, but he wasn’t the police so wasn’t restricted to their rules. He could play criminals at their own game. And he was better. It is for this reason and this reason only that Sherlock Homes still exists today.
For a book that was written in the 18th century, it has aged well. Perhaps it is because of the timelessness of Holmes himself, although the books span over many years, Holmes does not seem to get old or slow down. Or it could be that it is set in the heart of London, which has not changed too much. Or even Watson, whose narrative style does not change, nor his feelings about Holmes.
The various reincarnations of Holmes are very popular, with my favourites being the Hollywood blockbuster with Robert Downey Jnr (so cool) and the BBC’s Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (the best high functioning sociopath on the telly). Why do they remain so popular? Because they are based on the best detective novels of all time. There is no end to the number of stories to be told about Sherlock Holmes, and every generation will see him slightly differently from the last. This evolution will keep Sherlock Holmes alive, at least in the literary sense.
What is your favourite Sherlock Holmes? Which one of his stories do you just love? Comment below telling me.