Author Conan Doyle’s about Sherlock Holmes first appeared in 1806. At this time there were great inequalities in wealth in the slum areas of London, prostitution, drug abuse and murder were a commonplace. There was much poverty, ill health, poor living conditions and very dirty sanitation, smoke caused by the factories weighed heavily on the city creating a dark, dreary place. Public hangings and murder was frequent and the upper class people feared crime greatly, at this time murder, prostitution and theft was at an all time high.
At this time queen Victoria ruled over England. During the Victorian times an infamous murderer was loose on the streets. He was known as jack the ripper. This man was feared greatly by all, jack the ripper was a well known criminal to all, he would knife and murder women and then send there body parts to the police to show how easily he would get away with it. The police found it impossible to find this criminal. Meanwhile, the Victorians had lost all hope that this murderer would be caught and began to resent the police. The Victorians and the public would never believe they were in safe hand while jack the ripper was about. It was partly due to these circumstances that Conan Doyle’s had written the Sherlock Holmes stories which became very successful, the Victorians felt that inspector Sherlock was the answer to their problems.
In author Conan Doyle’s stories they could find a fictional detective who they could admire, a clever detective who could always found the villain.
Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant London-based consulting detective, Holmes is famous for his intellectual prowess, and is renowned for his skillful use of “deductive reasoning” while using deductive reasoning (inference to the best explanation) and astute observation to solve difficult cases.
The detective in this genre is frequently aware of the situation around him and knows what is happening, the detective is very clever and well respected by all people, Sherlock Holmes is a very unique detective because he suspects and investigates everyone without letting them know. Sherlock Holmes is a very crude but clever man which makes him a good detective, Sherlock Holmes comes from a middle class background but he is well respected by the upper class people.
I think what makes Holmes a good detective is the qualities he possesses for example he has good determination to solve the crime but at the same time keeps his professional distance so he doesn’t get emotionally involved in the case. He has all the abilities that make him an ideal detective.
The three stories which Conan Doyle written were ‘Silver blaze’, ‘The Red Headed League’ and ‘Speckled Band’. In these three stories I will compare the differences and similarities between each story. I will discuss structure of the stories as well, the different characters which are involved in the stories and the roles they play. The settings in the stories and how each story is organised will also be taken into consideration.
The phrase “dipping rapidly into the papers” suggest to me that Holmes is very eager to find clues, this gives us an feeling of Holmes being hasty quickly reviewing information, to work as fast. In the ‘red-headed league’ Sherlock Holmes used his impressive skills of deduction. The adverb ‘rapidly’ suggests to me Holmes is quickly reviewing information. In the ‘The Red Headed League’ Holmes skills of deduction are evident when he examines Jabez Wilson
“….. He has at some time done manual labour, which he takes a snuff, which he is a freemason, that he has been in china, and that he has done a considerable amount writing lately, I can deduce nothing else.”
Sherlock Holmes has a quick eye and can tell a lot about a person just by looking at them. Sherlock Holmes is extremely polite, which is shown in ‘the speckled band’ “ha I am glad to see that Mrs. Hudson has had the good sense to light the fire. Pray draw up to it, and I shall order you a hot cup of coffee, for I observe that you are shivering.”
This shows that Holmes is considerate of others and that he is a kind gentleman.
The detective does not usually work alone, he has an assistant called Watson, Watson greatly admires Sherlock Holmes, he is not as clever as the detective but wants to become like Holmes, Watson also makes the audience admire Holmes and tell the audience the qualities of Holmes. I think after everything Watson respects and admires Holmes is work, Sherlock Holmes also returns the favour and speaks to Watson with respect, For Holmes says to Watson “my dear Watson, you would confer a great favour upon me by coming. And I think that your time will not be miss-spent….” even to Dr Watson his closest friend and faithful assistant, he talks formally and shows him he is a man of good manners. Sherlock Holmes has a sharp mind and is eager to solve the latest case. In ‘silver blaze’ Sherlock Holmes said “my dear Watson… “Dr Watson also replied “I should be happy to go down with you if I should be in the way.” In ‘the red-headed league’, even though Holmes disturbed Holmes’ conversation with Mr. Wilson, Holmes introduced them to each other. “You could not have possibly have come at a better time, my dear Watson.” This quote suggest to me the respect they have for each other, even though Holmes was disturbed he introduced Watson to Mr. Wilson. Watson admires Holmes work; author Conan Doyle has made the audience see the admiration of Watson for Holmes repeatedly in the stories.
I think Holmes also values Watson works and appreciates the help which Watson gives to Holmes, Holmes says to Watson “you would oblige me by bringing with you your very excellent field-grass.” I think throughout the story the audience know what admiration Watson has for Holmes but I think they also realize Holmes appreciation for Watson.
The criminal in the story ‘Silver Blaze’ is John Straker, John Straker was not obvious criminal in the play until we find out later in the play, John Straker was not suspected by anyone until the truth was revealed, according to Colonel Ross john straker was a good servant and a very good trainer.
The trainer, John Straker, is a retired jockey who rode in Colonel Ross’s colors before he became too heavy for the weighing-chair. He has served the Colonel for five years as jockey and for seven as trainer, and has always shown himself to be a ‘zealous and honest servant.’
As John Straker was revealed to be the criminal Colonel Ross and Holmes and had also found out that John Straker had a very expensive mistress who loved extravagant and expensive gifts, Holmes had come to know of this when he found a receipt of one of the gifts which he had bought for his mistress. John straker wanted to keep his mistress so he was forced to commit crime which in the end resulted with his death.
John Straker, Silver Blaze’s late trainer, has been killed by a great blow to the skull,
A knife was also found the crime scene, a peculiarly delicate-looking knife one with a small blade. Dr. Watson, from his medical experience, identifies it as a cataract knife, used in the most intricate of operations. Useful as it is for surgery, it would be rather useless as a weapon. Straker also seems to have stabbed himself in the leg with it.
I think Colonel Ross is very appreciative of Holmes after solving the case a pays him a complement by saying “my dear sir, you have done wonders”. I think Colonel Ross always knew the ability of Holmes and knew what he’s capable of but still respects him and has high regards for him.
In the next story ‘speckled band’, Dr Grimsby Roylott is the criminal, Dr roylott also happens to be the step-father of the victim, this criminal is not fond of Sherlock Holmes and sees him as an interfering character, Holmes chooses not to take his word seriously and laughs at his childishness. “I know you, you scoundrel! You are Holmes the meddler. ‘My friend smiled. ‘Holmes the busybody!’ his smile broadened. ‘Holmes the Scotland yard jack-in-office!’ Holmes chuckled heartedly. ‘Your conversation is most entertaining’ said he.”
This quote suggest the clear disrespect which Dr Roylott has for Holmes but on the other hand it test the character of Holmes, Holmes can tolerate Dr Roylott’s insult towards Holmes and can keep his cool after being insulted by giving these suggestions a blind eye and saying ‘Your conversation is most entertaining’.
The words ‘Scotland yard jack-in-office!’ tells me that Dr Roylott is already underestimating the ability of Holmes and seems to think that Holmes is a typical detective and is unaware of the ability of Holmes.
Dr Roylett has a strange interest in exotic pets; one of the exotic pets which Dr Roylett had was a “swamp adder, the deadliest snake in India.” Dr Roylett interest in exotic pets had been feared by the villagers, Dr Roylett wants to show that he is powerful and dangerous man.
Dr. Roylott has required Helen to move into a particular room of his heavily mortgaged ancestral home, Stoke Moran. A number of details about the place are mysterious and disturbing. A low whistling sound is heard late at night, as well as a metallic clank. There is a strange bell cord over the bed, and it does not seem to work any bell. There are also Julia’s dying words about a “speckled band.” Stoner surmises that Julia might have been murdered by the gypsies, whom Dr. Roylott permits to live on the grounds-they wear speckled handkerchiefs around their necks. A cheetah and a baboon also have the run of the property, for Dr. Roylott keeps exotic pets. Helen feels reluctant to sleep in her room.
Holmes had realized that Helen was very cautious so he comforted her by saying ” goodbye, and be brave, for you do what I have told you, you may rest assured that we shall soon drive the dangers that threaten you” Holmes vows to Helen that the criminal will be caught and this gives Miss Stoner a sense of security.
Having arranged for Helen to spend the night somewhere else, Holmes and Watson sneak into her room without Dr. Roylott’s knowledge. Holmes says that he has already deduced the solution to the mystery, and that this test of his theory turns out to be successful. They hear the whistle, and Holmes also sees what the bell cord is really for, although Watson does not. Julia’s last words about a “speckled band” were in fact describing a “swamp adder, the deadliest snake in India.” The venomous snake had been sent to Julia’s room by Dr. Roylott to murder her. After the swamp adder bit Julia he called off the snake with the whistling, which made the snake climb up through the bell cord, disappearing from the scene.
Now the swamp adder is sent again to kill Julia’s sister Helen. Holmes attacks the snake, sending it back through an air ventilator connected to the next room. The angry snake bites Dr. Roylott instead, and, within seconds, he is dead. Grimly noting that he is indirectly responsible for Dr. Roylott’s death, Holmes remarks that he is unlikely to feel much remorse because of it. This shows the detective has a strong sense of justice.
The first victim is from ‘The Red Headed League’. His name is Jabez Wilson. Jabez Wilson was a London pawnbroker. Wilson is taken aback by Holmes’ ability to deduce. “How is the name good fortune did you know all that, Mr. Holmes?” jabez Wilson’s first impression of Sherlock Holmes appears to be is surely a good detective as he has already deduced these facts about Mr. Wilson. Secondly, Dr Watson noticed some obvious facts about the victim jabez Wilson as well. “I did not gain very much, however, by my inspection. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman…” this shows that the victim is a working class person. Similarly, in ‘the speckled band’ shows his powers of deduction to Helen stone, “No, but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glove. You must have started early, and yet you had a good drive in a dog-cart, along heavy roads, before you reached the station.” Again, the victim is shocked and taken aback by Holmes’ ability to deduce so well. However, unlike jabez Wilson, Helen stoner comes from a rich family. The family was at one time amongst the richest in England…” so this means that Helen stoner is an upper class victim.
The criminal in the red headed league is John Clay, I think out of all the stories this criminal seems to be the trickiest and the most dangerous because not only is he a criminal but he is extremely clever and very crude, Holmes takes this case very seriously because he possesses the biggest threat out of all the criminals, Holmes says “john clay, the murderer, thief, smasher, and forger.” Homes has an extra incentive to catch this criminal because his is the only that could test Holmes ability.
The criminal John clay always thought he was superior to everyone else because he had royal blood in his veins “I beg that you not touch me with your filthy hands … I have royal blood in my veins.” Even when he is caught he demands respects and displays arrogance, he seems to think he’s untouchable.
John clay was a very arrogant man but knew he was outwitted by Holmes and pays him a compliment saying “…you seem to have done the thing very completely. I must compliment you.” I think both characters couldn’t be more opposite but have respect for each other; Holmes says “he is a remarkable young man. His grandfather was a royal, and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford.” Holmes respects his family heritage and what he has accomplished before he turned to crime.
The settings of most of the Sherlock Holmes story begins at home, in the story Silver Blaze Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes breakfast in the morning at dr Watson house, “….said Holmes as we sat down together to our breakfast one morning.” Similarly in the story speckled band we can tell, although not stated the story begins at home. “….that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing fully dressed, by the bed side.” Starting the story at Baker Street gives Sherlock Holmes the chance to introduce us to the victim, discuss the important details of the case, and it also tells us what we need to know before inspector makes begins his investigation. In ‘silver blaze’, the story takes place at king Pylard stables and Dartmoor racetracks the story speckled band is situated outside manor house. “…. The light among the trees extinguished, and all was dark in the direction of manor house.” This suggests to me that the fact that everything was dark it creates a dark gloomy atmosphere and this keeps the reader interested for Holmes next move.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s style of writing is superior. He has a consistent and mature writing style which allows him to explore subjects as no Arthur could. Use of complex vocabulary makes a good form literature and makes the story what it is there is much more detail in terms of description is vast and elaborated. “The building was grey, lichen-blotched stone, with a high central portion and two curving wings, like the claws of a crab, thrown out on each side. In one of these wings the window were broken and blocked with wooden boards, while the roof was partly caved in, in a picture of ruin.” Having more descriptions in fewer sentences, gives the reader a more vivid image. This the reader to foresee a greater picture in their mind, in a shorter amount of time and even more clearly, without them hardly realizing.
To conclude, it is fairly obvious that Conan Doyle uses a particular formula which is typical of detective fiction: the beginning in which a crime is discovered; the development in which gathers clues; the climax where the detective names the criminal, who is usually arrested; and finally, the resolution in which the detective explains what happened. The story is wrapped up and everything is back to normal (order is restored). The Sherlock Holmes stories gave rise to the entire genre of detective fiction. Many fictional detectives have tried to imitate Holmes, logical methods and followed in his footsteps in various ways.
Some of the more detectives try to continue Holmes legacy. Many writers have references to Conan Doyle’s, or characters from the stories in homage, to a greater or lesser degree. Such allusions can form a plot development and raise intellectual level of the piece or acts for an observant audience. Finally, these modern day detective films, programmes, stories etc. would never have been the su