Crime novels in this literary world are synonymous with Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a character which has inspired generations. His work still continues to be adapted and re-read. The beauty of his creation hasn’t befuddled anyone. Today marks the birthday of one of the greats to have graced this mortal world. His literary finesse and his character’s mojo has been a treat for every reader’s eternally hungry soul. A physician by profession his other works includes Professor Challenger and the mystery of Mary Celeste.
Sherlock Holmes’ character although ingenious was actually inspired by his former university teacher Joseph Bell. Doyle once famously wrote back to him saying, “It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes … round the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man.” Dr.John Watson owes his surname, but not any other obvious characteristic, to a Portsmouth medical colleague of Doyle’s, Dr James Watson. His life was no less of drama. He initially struggled to get his work printed; however Ward Lock & Co eventually agreed giving him 25 pounds for all rights to the story. His stories immediately grabbed everyone’s attention and appraisal (unsurprisingly). He left Ward Lock& Co on account of feeling exploited as a writer. He began publishing short stories with various magazines. However his attitude towards his greatest creation was a little betwixt and between. He wrote to his mother saying that he wished to slay Holmes. His mother retorted while giving him an earful about not doing anything stupid. He devised a clever plot to ensure that Holmes wasn’t a popular commodity anymore. He demanded extremely high fees from publishers in the hope that they would give up and Sherlock Holmes would be forgotten. To his surprise none of them caved. They agreed to his exceptionally high fess which ended up making him one of the highest paid authors of his time. Doyle finally decided to kill off Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty (popularised by the film: A game of shadows) in one go, so that he could focus more on his historical novels (the logic baffles me as a reader). Public outcry forced him to do otherwise. He was forced to bring him back to life and later explained it as a ploy by Holmes to distract the more dangerous criminals.
His death however was far less dramatic. He died of heart attack at the age of 71. His last words were a little more theatrical. He said,” You are wonderful” to his better half. His burial was a little bit of confusion, since avowedly he was not a Christian and he proclaimed himself as a Spiritualist. His continues to be revered as a crime writer genius. The void that was left by his death continues to be filled by works that were inspired by him. His prowess and ability as a writer is second to none. The world continues to remember him on his birthday just like he once said,” Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognises genius.”