10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes

The name of “Sherlock Holmes” is so popular that the myth is slowly engulfing the original. In fact, it is almost unavoidable that the enormous popularity of the British XIXth century detective would eventually lead to distortions of the original story, especially given the incredible number of offshoots, from movies to comic books. Here is a list with 10 untrue facts about the genius detective. 

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 10. Behavior towards Innocent People

While we believe that Sherlock would never treat innocent people badly, the truth is that the original Sherlock was not afraid to step on a few innocents if it meant breaking the case. In “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton”, he became engaged with a housemaid only to get closer to the criminal and simply abandoned the girl after the case was solved, with no explanation offered.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 9. A Progressive Liberal Thinker

While the modern version of Holmes is rather politically correct, we should not forget that the real Holmes inhabits the racial and colonialist XIXth century. He often made fun of the traits of other races, especially of African people. In “The Adventure of the Three Gables”, Sherlock makes denigrating comments regarding the large lips of a black man and his “woolly head”.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 8. Relationship with the Police

Today, Sherlock’s relation with the police is somewhat competitive. The original Sherlock always shared the necessary information with the police and helped them pursue the right line of reasoning if he felt they were losing track of the criminal.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 7. Watson and Holmes

While the two are indeed best friends and have cooperated in a great number of adventures, Holmes does not fully trust Watson. In “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, Holmes sends Watson to monitor the situation at Baskerville hall, but he immediately follows him to make sure the job is done correctly. Also, in “The Adventure of the Dying Detective”, he tricks his friend into thinking he is dying because he does not think he can keep a secret.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 6. Eccentric Manner of Dressing

Recent movies have portrayed Sherlock Holmes as being rather shaggy when it comes to the way he dresses, but the original detective had a cat-like approach to cleanliness. His attire was generally very conservative and well kept.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 5. Cap and Pipe

Today, almost all of us imagine Sherlock with a deerstalker cap on his head and a pipe in his mouth. The truth is this image of him is almost completely fabricated. The iconic outfit was introduced through the original theater play.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 4. Middle-Aged

Most of the recent renderings of the Sherlock Holmes stories portray the two main characters as being middle-aged gentlemen, but the truth is both of them were quite young. Almost all of their adventures took place while they were in their late twenties.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 3. The Length of the Cases

While most of the cases were solved very fast by the brilliant detective, in “His Last Bow”, Sherlock was willing to join a secret Irish society for two years in order to be able to capture a German secret agent.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 2. Irene Adler, the Love Interest

Many of the modern storytellers felt that, in order to make Sherlock more human and to attract more viewers, they would have to add a love interest: Irene Adler. The truth is that Irene only appeared in “A Scandal in Bohemia” and never really had any emotional connection to Sherlock. He only respected Irene for her above average intelligence and nothing else.

10 False Notions about Sherlock Holmes 1. The Nemesis, Professor James Moriarty

Contrary to modern belief, Moriarty was far from being Sherlock’s great nemesis. In fact, he only appeared in one book, “The Final Problem” and is briefly mentioned in “The Valley of Fear”. They only confronted each other on few occasions, with the battle of Reichenbach falls being by far the most spectacular. Some say that the fight was in fact an attempt made by Arthur Conan Doyle to get rid of his character. The attempt was unsuccessful due to public outrage at the news of Sherlock’s death which soon prompted Doyle to revive him.



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