Views & Reviews Past Caring

Elementary, my dear

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 03 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c586
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

    Ever since Sherlock Holmes first sprung on the Victorian literary world more than a century ago, readers have been enthralled by the enigmatic detective with the legendary powers of observation. But while Holmes enjoys enduring global fame, few general readers suspect that the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s ruthless, cocaine addicted sleuth was a humble and retiring Scottish surgeon.

    Holmes made his first appearance in 1887 when Doyle published his novel length mystery, A Study in Scarlet, in Beeton’s Christmas Annual. Readers were immediately entranced, but once they knew the identity of the double murderer in the …

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