Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who first appeared in publication in 1887. He is the creation of British author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A brilliant London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his intellectual prowess and is renowned for his skillful use of astute observation, deductive reasoning (though in reality, he uses abductive reasoning) and forensic skills to solve difficult cases.
Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six short stories that feature Holmes. The first story, A Study in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887 and Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890, respectively. The character grew tremendously in popularity with the beginning of the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine in 1891; further series of short stories and two serialised novels appeared until 1927. The stories cover a period from around 1875 up to 1907, with a final case in 1914.
All but four stories are narrated by Holmes's friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson, two are narrated by Holmes himself and two others are written in the third person. In two stories ("The Musgrave Ritual" and "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott"), Holmes tells Watson the main story from his memories, whereas Watson becomes the narrator of the frame story.
Conan Doyle said that the character of Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom Doyle had worked as a clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing large conclusions from the smallest observations.
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