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Sherlock Holmes, is a fictional character created by the Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle. The prototype for the modern mastermind detective, Holmes first appeared in Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet”, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. As the world’s first and only “consulting detective,” he pursued criminals throughout Victorian and Edwardian London, the south of England, and continental Europe. Although the fictional detective had been anticipated by Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and Émile Gaboriau’s Monsieur Lecoq, Holmes made a singular impact upon the popular imagination and has been the most enduring character of the detective story.

Conan Doyle modeled Holmes’s methods and mannerisms on those of Dr. Joseph Bell, who had been his professor at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. In particular, Holmes’s uncanny ability to gather evidence based upon his honed skills of observation and deductive reasoning paralleled Bell’s method of diagnosing a patient’s disease. Holmes offered some insight into his method, claiming that “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” His detecting abilities become clear, though no less amazing, when explained by his companion, Dr. John H. Watson, who recounts the criminal cases they jointly pursue. Although Holmes rebuffs praise, declaring his abilities to be “elementary,” the oft-quoted phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson,” never actually appears in Conan Doyle’s writings.

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 from Shmoop: About The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

 from Shmoop: Themes