Sherlock Holmes

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Sherlock Holmes , charcoal drawing by Sidney Paget , 1904

Sherlock Holmes [ ʃɜ (ɹ) .lɒk hoʊ̯mz (] listen ? / I ) is a 1886 by British writer Arthur Conan Doyle created fictional character that playing in his the late 19th and early 20th century novels as Detective operates. Audio file / audio sample

Doyle's works achieved special significance for crime fiction through the forensic working method described, which is based on detailed observation and sober inference . Mostly Holmes' friend and companion Dr. Watson as chronicler of the investigation and mediator for the readers. To this day, Holmes is widely regarded as a symbol of the successful, analytical - rational thinker and the stereotype of the private detective. The detective canon includes 56 short stories and four novels .

The Sherlock Holmes series


Holmes (right) and Dr. Watson, illustration by Sidney Paget

Sherlock Holmes lives at 221b Baker Street , London , a fictitious address at the time, since Baker Street was only numbered up to 85 in Conan Doyle's time ; the place where 221b Baker Street would be today (it was extended in 1930) would have been Upper Baker Street at the time of the Sherlock Holmes stories. This is where the stories often begin with clients seeking advice, who have heard of Holmes' special abilities, and who come to the detective to ask him for help. Sherlock Holmes works as a "consulting detective " (in the original: consulting detective ), that is, he deals with mysteries that are brought to him by private clients. Holmes sees himself as a supplement or alternative to the police detective ( German  criminal investigator ). The state police (e.g. in the form of Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard ) also ask for Holmes' assistance. The detective always comes to the right perpetrator profile and motive through unusual conclusions and innovative deductions and thus usually refutes the investigation results of the police.

Sometimes Holmes is caught by reading the newspaper or by news of London society that his faithful companion and biographer, Dr. Watson tells him to draw attention to events of interest to him and takes up the investigation without commission or interferes in the work of the police. As the “last resort”, he often intervenes at the moment when clarifying the situation seems almost impossible to others. The investigative work of the detective is at the center of the stories, not all of which deal with the fight against crime: According to Doyle's own estimate, about a quarter of the stories have no crime at all.

Narrative perspective

Most of the stories are told by the practical, down-to-earth Dr. Watson , the close friend and temporary roommate of the detective who is the chronicler.

In four stories Holmes itself becomes the narrator: in The Lion's Mane (dt. The lion's mane ) and The Blanched Soldier (dt. The blanched soldier ) is Holmes the sole narrator ; The Musgrave Ritual (German: The Musgrave Ritual ) and The Gloria Scott (German: The Gloria Scott ) are designed in the form of a box story : the inner story is a memory told by Holmes, Watson becomes the listener and narrator of the brief introductory framework story .

Two more stories, His Last Bow (German: His farewell performance ) and The Mazarine Stone (German: The Mazarin Stone ) are told in the third person. In the novel A Study in Scarlet (dt. A Study in Scarlet ) is interrupted, the first-person narrative Watson by a longer slide on events of the past that is told also in the third person.

Themes and style

The themes of the stories are broad. It is about interpersonal problems in all walks of life, secret organizations, criminal associations, cryptograms, thefts, disappeared people, threats and extortions, apparently inexplicable deaths, state secrets and threats to public safety.

Typically an exceptionally challenging puzzle or crime is at the fore. In addition to particularly astute criminal plans and their thwarting, it is often about a person's unresolved past that suddenly breaks into his current life. The author also processes his own insights and opinions in his stories and in some cases expresses a social or political concern. For example, in some stories Holmes lets the perpetrators escape because he considers the act to be morally justified or believes that life has already punished the guilty enough.

The pointed dialogues between Holmes and others, often Watson, play an important role in the effect of the stories . An example:

"'Is there any other thing you would like to draw my attention to?" - 'To the strange incident with the dog that night.' - 'The dog did nothing during the night.' - 'That was exactly the strange event,' remarked Sherlock Holmes. "

- From the story Silver Blaze (German silver star )


In 1886, while working as a doctor in Southsea, Hampshire , Doyle sketched the first drafts of a story about a rational detective named Sherrinford Holmes, who lives with his friend Ormond Sacker at 221b Baker Street in London. Doyle wanted to write a new kind of crime story, in which not chance, but observation and analysis would lead to the solution of the cases: “ where science would take the place of chance.

Looking back, Doyle said in an interview in 1927: “In my spare time I read detective stories. I was really bothered by how old-fashioned they were. The detective always seemed to come up with a solution. Either by accident or not mentioned how at all. That made me think. I thought they wanted an explanation of how he came to his conclusions. So I had the idea to incorporate scientific methods into the detective work. "

The first story, the novel A Study in Scarlet ( A Study in Scarlet ), was in 1887 Beeton's Christmas Annual published. Doyle had renamed the main characters Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. The first novel received little attention from the public or critics, but caught the attention of the American publisher John Marshall Stoddart, who was looking for a crime story for his planned British literary magazine Lippinscott’s . In 1890 he published The Sign of Four (dt. The Sign of Four ). This second novel also went largely unnoticed. It was not until the publication of the first shorter story A Scandal in Bohemia (dt. A Scandal in Bohemia ) in The beach Magazine in 1891 reached a wide audience and led to a growing popularity of the stories and the main character Sherlock Holmes.


Doyle dedicated the first anthology, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , to the then renowned Joseph Bell , Doyle's professor of surgery and later superior at the University of Edinburgh. Joseph Bell astonished his patients with the fact that he made the first diagnoses even before the patients described their concerns. Bell observed and observed his fellow human beings very closely and drew his conclusions from them. In May 1892, Doyle wrote to Bell, who was the living model of his literary character: "I clearly owe Sherlock Holmes to you."

Holmes' "death"

Holmes and Moriarty in deadly battle
The Reichenbach Falls can be reached nowadays via the "Sherlock Holmes Footpath"

Since regularly writing new Holmes stories took up too much of his time, which he would have liked to devote to writing historical novels and treatises, Doyle tried to free himself from the obligation to write more stories around the detective. So he demanded ever higher sums of money from Strand Magazine for more stories, until he charged 1000 pounds for twelve short stories  . However, due to the great commercial success of the detective stories, these high fees could be paid.

Therefore, in 1893, Conan Doyle planned to end the series with the detective's death. The writer's mother, an avid reader of the stories, tried in vain to dissuade her son from the project. In the same year Doyle traveled to Switzerland with his wife, who had tuberculosis , to take part in a cure. While visiting the Reichenbach Falls , he got the idea for the last short story that would end the life of Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes in Meiringen , Switzerland (sculpture by John Doubleday )

With James Moriarty , Doyle created Holmes' most dangerous opponent, who is intellectually equal to the detective, but uses his skills as a brilliant criminal to the detriment of humanity. Moriarty is Holmes' alter ego , a "dark reflection" of the hero of the stories. In The Final Problem (dt. The last problem ), the last story in the anthology The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (dt. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes ), there will be a battle of counterparty Holmes and Moriarty in which they finally together in the Reichenbach falls near Meiringen in Switzerland . A complicated boiler system makes recovery impossible.

After publication, Doyle noted in December 1893 in his diary "Killed Holmes". In 1896 Doyle defended his decision with the words: “ If I had not killed him, he certainly would have killed me. "(German:" If I hadn't killed him, he would surely have killed me. ")

The great popularity that Holmes had now achieved led to public mourning, so that disappointed readers in London tied black ribbons around their upper arms or wore black ties. Doyle subsequently received many letters from readers of the detective stories who expressed their indignation at the abrupt end of the stories, and more than 20,000 customers also canceled their subscription to the Strand magazine .

Holmes' "Resurrection"

In 1901, a friend brought Doyle's attention to a legend that a family in Dartmoor was chased by a mysterious ghost dog. Doyle was fascinated by the material and decided to turn it into a new novel with Sherlock Holmes, which would play in the final short story before his death. The great success of the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles (Eng. The Dog of Baskerville ) combined with the enormous sums of money that Doyle was promised by his publisher, prompted him to revise Sherlock Holmes' death literary. In the novel following short story The Empty House (dt. The empty house ) can Doyle Holmes report that he could slip away Moriarty's grip at the last minute thanks to the mastery of a Japanese martial art and then climbed up the cliffs, so that in the waterfalls only Moriarty found death. When Holmes was pronounced dead, he took the opportunity to flee from Moriarty's accomplice, who was watching the process and had tried to kill Holmes with a stone's throw. At the same time, Holmes planned to return to London at the crucial moment to put an end to Moriarty's most powerful ally, Colonel Moran, and to smash the criminal organization for good. Holmes spent the three years abroad on expedition trips and scientific studies; his brother Mycroft was privy to and financed him.

In the story, Holmes speaks of baritsu . This is a typographical error in the first edition; What is meant is the self-defense art of Bartitsu , which was particularly well-known in London and popular among the bourgeoisie , a mixture of boxing, savate , wrestling and Japanese Jiu Jitsu as well as fighting with a walking stick, the stick fight according to Vigny .

With this story began Doyle's second creative period in relation to Sherlock Holmes, in which he wrote three collections of short stories and the last novel The Valley of Fear (Eng. The Valley of Fear ). 1927 appeared the last Holmes story beach-magazine The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place (dt. Shoscombe Old Place ).

Relation to reality and philosophy

In his stories about Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle succeeded in creating a self-contained, fictional world that appears so real that the famous detective is mistaken for a historical person.

The cases get their authentic character from the fact that they are mostly presented as Watson's memories. The stories take place in a setting typical of the time and include details of the Victorian lifestyle and current events as well as the colonial exoticism of the British Empire . Due to their realistic descriptions, for example of characters and locations, the stories can be attributed to the tradition of realism .

The stories reinforce the reader's trust in science and technology , since apparently incomprehensible situations and puzzles are always resolved through rational thinking. According to the Victorian zeitgeist, every event can be explained empirically and thus order can be brought into a chaotic world. The stories tend to support the social ideas of the time such as classism , xenophobia and chauvinism , but also reflect Conan Doyle's commitment to oppressed and needy people.

The working method realized in Sherlock Holmes reflects the scientific optimism of the time of origin. It is related to the ideas of the Enlightenment and rational philosophy . Their roots lie in Conan Doyle's rationally shaped imagination and his scientifically trained powers of observation. Doyle was impressed by the exceptional diagnostic skills of his medical professor Joseph Bell and describes Holmes' approach as follows: “ the hero would treat crime as Dr Bell treated disease. ”(German:“ The hero treated crimes like Dr. Bell treated diseases. ”)

Doyle calls Holmes' method of arriving at his conclusions as deduction (eng. " Deduction "). Umberto Eco and Thomas A. Sebeok also point out the similarities with the abduction method according to the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce .

Draft of the main character

Holmes' (right) first appearance as a chemistry student, illustration by Richard Gutschmidt , 1902

A comprehensive picture of the detective can be obtained from the work canon around Sherlock Holmes. However, some details of his biography show contradictions that allow readers and critics to interpret their own. Conan Doyle himself explained that these inconsistencies stem from the careless handling of the material and the long time it took to write it.


In the first story, the novel A Study in Scarlet (Eng. A Study in Scarlet ), Holmes is introduced as a self-confident, extremely scientifically oriented chemistry student who, apart from common careers, cultivates a variety of interests with the aim of realizing his ideas about detective work close. In this novel the foundation stone is laid for the following works: The special character of the factual and rational observer, the setting of the stories and the friendly relationship between Holmes and Watson.

Holmes' character is determined by his intellectual abilities and his exceptionally factual, accurate and effective way of working. This often led to his being associated with a machine by others in the stories .

In the stories, however, Holmes also shows emotional traits such as likes and dislikes, humor, empathy, anger or fear, moral judgment and a love of music. He plays the violin to relax and has a Stradivarius violin, among other things . He combines many typical role characteristics from the time of creation, such as that of the dandy .

Holmes (right) and Watson in London, illustration by Sidney Paget, 1901

It is implied that he is financially independent and can spend several weeks in his home without assignments. In this context, Watson often sees him smoking in an armchair or playing the violin .

Holmes in a dressing gown, Sidney Paget, 1891


Sherlock Holmes is often portrayed as a tall (over six feet, about 1.83 meters), slender man. In some stories, his face is described as distinctive, gaunt, angular and “bird of prey” because he has a pointed hawk nose. He is also described in some stories as pale and pale faced. One story goes that his gray eyes lit up when he thought of the solution to the case. His hair color varies from black to dark brown to light gray.

In London, Holmes is usually dressed like a normal middle- class city ​​dweller . In the country he wears either a long gray travel coat, a winter jacket, an overcoat or a raincoat. In the evenings he wears a red and gold dressing gown in all stories.

The deerstalker hat , which has become a trademark of the detective, is only mentioned explicitly in one story by Doyle: in The Adventure of Silver Blaze (German: Silberstern ) as "an ear flapped traveling cap". The popular stereotypical appearance of the detective in the Inverness coat and hunting cap goes back to the illustrations by Sidney Paget .

Personal background and career

Holmes' family comes in the person of his brother Mycroft Holmes in appearance, Holmes in the story The Greek Interpreter (dt .: The Greek translator ) gifted as even higher when calls itself, but Mycroft was a phlegmatic , tank character, so he has no ambitions to work as a detective. Mycroft is, among other things, a policy advisor in the British civil service (described in more detail in "The Bruce-Partington Plans") and a founding member of the Diogenes Club , which Holmes calls "the most unsociable men in London". In the same story, it is also learned that one of Holmes' grandmothers is the sister of the French painter Horace Vernet .

The story The Adventure of the Gloria Scott (Eng. Die Gloria Scott ) shows the circumstances that led Sherlock Holmes to take up the profession of detective: The father of a college friend complimented him on his abilities as an observer after he himself confronted them had been. During his last semester had already begun to work as a detective Holmes, with the cases of his fellow students were happened as Holmes in The Adventure of The Musgrave Ritual (dt. The Musgrave Ritual says), his third event of this period. The two stories are the only ones before Holmes meeting with Watson and chronologically before A Study in Scarlet (dt. A Study in Scarlet ) play.

In later stories, Watson reports that Holmes withdrew from public life around the turn of the century and devoted himself to beekeeping in Sussex. The Adventure of the Lion's Mane (dt. The lion's mane ) plays there at the time of his retirement. In the story His Last Bow (German: his farewell performance ), Holmes reactivated as a secret agent on behalf of the government on the eve of the First World War and convicted a German spy.

Holmes' "dark sides"

Sherlock Holmes (right) with deerstalker hat and checked coat, illustration by Sidney Paget, 1891

Some of the stories refer to Holmes' drug use. Holmes is a heavy smoker who smokes a pipe, cigar, and cigarettes. The frequency and amount of consumption seem to change depending on the feeling, stress and boredom - in complete contrast to his rational way. Watson is therefore more concerned about the health and mental abilities of his friend.

In the second novel, The Sign of Four (dt. The Sign of Four ) reports Dr. Watson reported that Holmes used cocaine and morphine in times of lack of intellectual activity , which Watson cites as Holmes' only vice that leads to conflict between the two. “What is it today, cocaine or morphine?” Watson asks his friend irritably in the first chapter.

At the time the stories were written, morphine was freely available in pharmacies and did not require a doctor's prescription . Cocaine was not yet banned as a drug; the positive effects were valued and it was often used in everyday life. When the addiction effect became known, Conan Doyle worked this into the further stories. In the last few tales, Holmes stopped using drugs. In The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter (dt .: The Missing Three-Quarter ) reports Watson that he had succeeded, Holmes about his "drug mania dissuade" and perhaps save his detective career.

As debilitating is sometimes stated that Holmes is the solution of a job is still the most important, a visit to a why him opium den not in temptation likes to lead.

Holmes' inclination to break laws in special emergencies points to Conan Doyle's own moral sense and keen sense of justice. Already in the first story A Scandal in Bohemia (dt. A Scandal in Bohemia ) instigates Holmes Watson, to throw a light candle through an open window to simulate a deflecting fire. In Charles Augustus Milverton , Holmes and Watson commit a break-in and witness a murder unnoticed; the detective prevents Watson from intervening and lets the murderess escape from moral understanding.

Walter Paget (around 1893)

Holmes in the illustrations

Sherlock Holmes with violin, illustration by Richard Gutschmidt, 1902

Most of the Holmes stories in the magazine were beach of Sidney Paget illustrated that his brother Walter chose as a model for the detective and Holmes as a slender, tall aesthetes with clear facial features and increasing receding hairline is. The detective's popular external identification marks go back to Sidney Paget's illustrations: the draftsman himself liked to wear a deerstalker hat himself , which is why he often depicted Holmes with such a hunting cap when traveling. Holmes' Inverness coat is also an invention of Paget, but it is rarely seen in the pictures. Paget's illustrations usually show Holmes in a hooded coat in the countryside. Deerstalker and coat appear for the first time in an illustration for The Boscombe Valley Mystery (dt. The secret of the Boscombe valley ) 1891 and again in The Adventure of Silver Blaze (dt. Silberstern ) 1893. They are also in some illustrations in the anthology The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Eng. The return of Sherlock Holmes ) to see.

The German first editions were illustrated between 1902 and 1908 by Richard Gutschmidt , who followed Doyle's description and portrayed Holmes as a British gentleman.

More characters

Literary context

With his stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced some significant elements into crime fiction, most notably the detective's forensic approach. He is often referred to as the inventor of the classic detective duo.


Typical everyday objects (attributes) in the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London

Was inspired Doyle of Edgar Allan Poe's detective stories The Murders in the Rue Morgue ( The Murders in the Rue Morgue , 1841), The Mystery of Marie Rogêt ( The Mystery of Marie Rogêt , 1842) and The Purloined Letter ( The Purloined Letter , 1844) around Auguste Dupin. The character of Sherlock Holmes is very similar to Poe's character of the French detective Dupin in the three stories.

Doyle himself makes references to Poe's work in his stories. Already in the first Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet (dt. A Study in Scarlet ) of 1887, he can speak Watson and Holmes about Poe's detective: Watson noted with amusement the similarity between Holmes and Dupin, after which Holmes his older predecessor as dismissing inferior to him :

He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine. "(German:" He had some analytical talent, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe apparently believed. ")

Doyle mentioned Poe's stories in The Resident Patient (dt. The established patient ) and The Adventure of the Cardboard Box (dt .: The cardboard box ). In both cases, Holmes Dr. Watson's thoughts to prove that a logical observer is capable of it. Watson had previously doubted this when reading “ one of Poe's sketches ”, referring to the Dupin story, The Double Murder on Rue Morgue .

The figure constellation of the detective with a familiar companion was also taken from Poe's model. In contrast to Poe's stories, in which the nameless narrator is only a literary medium to convey Dupin's genius to the readers, Watson becomes a supporting character within the plot and takes an active part in Holmes' investigations.

Sherlock Holmes Museum in
Baker Street, London

Another forerunner is Émile Gaboriaus detective Monsieur Lecoq, whom Holmes expressly mentions in A Study in Scarlet , but disqualified there as “ a miserable bungler ” (German: “a pitiful bungler”).


The characters Holmes and Watson were used by many authors for other novels and stories. In addition to these pastiche stories and parodies , fiction books that accompany the series have become established, which as so-called fan science are to be distinguished from Conan Doyle research in literary studies. This form of the so-called Sherlockian Reading began in 1911 with a satirical speech by the Oxford theologian and crime author Ronald Knox .

Holmes' biographies , for example by William S. Baring-Gould , reflect the widespread belief that the detective actually lived.

A house on Baker Street in London has been trading as number 221b since 1990 because it houses a Sherlock Holmes Museum. In truth it is house number 235. Instead of house number 221, or more precisely: 219–229 Baker Street, there is the former headquarters of the Abbey National Building Society, which was bought by Banco Santander in 2002 and which also employed a secretary, the mail to Sherlock Holmes answered. A memorial plaque was attached to the facade of the building, which is now considered lost.


The official canon of works comprises four novels and 56 short stories. In addition, Doyle wrote several works related to the detective series, which are not counted as part of the Sherlock Holmes series.

Official canon of works

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle initially wrote two novels about Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet (dt. A Study in Scarlet and) The Sign of the Four (dt. The Sign of Four , the 1887 and 1890 appeared).

This was followed by twelve short stories in the magazine The Strand , which were summarized on October 14, 1892 in the volume The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Eng. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes ). The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (dt. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes ) with eleven short stories appeared in 1893 and ended with the temporary death of Holmes' in The Final Problem (dt. The last problem , partly also the last case , his last case or Sherlock Holmes 'Downfall ).

In 1901 another serialized novel about Sherlock Holmes appeared in The Strand magazine : The Hound of the Baskervilles (Eng. The Dog of Baskerville ). In 1903 Doyle continued the short stories with The Empty House (Eng. The empty house ). A total of thirteen new stories were summarized after the first publication in The Strand in the anthology The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Eng. The return of Sherlock Holmes ) from 1905.

The final Sherlock Holmes novel The Valley of Fear (dt. The Valley of Fear ) appeared 1915th

His Last Bow (dt. His farewell performance ) contained in 1917 only eight short stories, followed in 1927 with The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (dt. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes ), a band of twelve stories.

Works outside the main canon

In 1896, Doyle wrote the short story The Field Bazaar for a University of Edinburgh charity event . The story appeared in The Student magazine , the proceeds of which were donated to charitable causes.

He allegedly contributed in 1903 for an anthology, the proceeds of which were used to rebuild a destroyed bridge in the town of Selkirk, anonymously the story Discovering the Border Burghs and, by Deduction, the Brig Bazaar ; this work was only rediscovered in 2015. There are, of course, many good reasons to doubt whether this story is really Doyle's - not least the fact that an anonymous publication can only partially fulfill the purpose of increasing sales for a good cause.

In 1923, Doyle wrote the parodying short story How Watson Learned the Trick for the Queen Mary's Dolls' House miniature book series , which was also reprinted in the New York Times in 1924 .

Together with William Gillette , Doyle wrote the play Sherlock Holmes: A Drama in Four Acts in 1899 , in which the phrase "Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow" occurs for the first time, which became a popular phrase when it was played by British actor Clive Brook in the first Sherlock Holmes sound film in 1929 in the version "Oh, this is elementary, my dear Watson" took up again. Gillette also starred as Sherlock Holmes in several performances of the play.

In 1902 Doyle made a stage version of The Speckled Band (dt. The Speckled Band ) under the alternative title The Stoner Case .

In 1921 Doyle wrote the piece The Crown Diamond: An Evening with Sherlock Holmes and the story based on it, The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone (German: The Mazarin Stone ).

In addition, Doyle wrote several essays on the detective series, including the readers in My favorite Sherlock Holmes adventures (1927, dt. My favorite Sherlock Holmes adventures ) before his favorites among his stories.

Radio play versions

There are several audio book and radio play versions of the works.

The radio play versions of the BBC from 1954 to 1955, spoken by Sir John Gielgud (Holmes) and Ralph Richardson (Watson) , in which Orson Welles also participated, are considered to be the classic English-language version .

Peter Pasetti spoke the detective in several German radio plays with changing line-ups for Watson. The radio plays were produced for Bayerischer Rundfunk in the 1960s . In the 1980s five radio plays with Pasetti were published for the first time on LP and MC; these are not identical to the radio recordings, but were recorded (in some cases according to different templates) especially for the sound carriers.

Between 2003 and 2011, a complete Sherlock Holmes series was published by Maritim Verlag. Sherlock Holmes is led by Christian Rode and Dr. Watson spoken by Peter Groeger .

Film adaptations


Many of the novels and short stories were made into films, the novel The Dog of Baskerville even several times.

American productions

In the 1939 film The Dog of Baskerville , Basil Rathbone first played the character of Sherlock Holmes. The great success of the film led Rathbone to take part in numerous other Holmes projects, which were no longer based on Doyle's works (including in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes ). The films of the Rathbone series, made in the 1940s, are set in World War II and allow Holmes to intervene in current political events (see The Secret Weapon , The Voice of Terror ).

An American television series under the title Sherlock Holmes dates from 1954/1955. It comprises 39 episodes and was produced by Sheldon Reynolds, who also directed nine episodes. The role of Sherlock Holmes was played by the British actor Ronald Howard , the part of Dr. John Watson took over Howard Marion-Crawford .

Between 2000 and 2002, four television films were made in Canada in which Matt Frewer (Sherlock Holmes) and Kenneth Welsh (Dr. Watson) play the leading roles. All films were directed by Rodney Gibbons.

In 2009 and 2011 there were two other film productions with Guy Ritchie as director, Robert Downey Jr. , who played Holmes and Jude Law , who played the character of Dr. Watson took over.

Elementary has been running since 2012 , so far in 7 seasons. The concept of the series in which Holmes, played by Jonny Lee Miller , emigrates to New York City because of his drug problems and is given an addiction therapist by his father. For the first time, Dr. Watson, Lucy Liu , played by a woman.

British productions

In 1959, Peter Cushing took on the role of Holmes in a full-color remake of Hound of the Baskervilles . From 1968 he played the detective in a true-to-original Holmes television series by the BBC , in which the dog of the Baskervilles was filmed again, making Cushing the only actor to star in two film adaptations of the same Holmes novel. His last appearance as Sherlock Holmes was in 1984 in the pastiche film The Masks of Death .

An extensive series of film adaptations was made on Granada TV (Great Britain) in the 1980s with Jeremy Brett as Holmes. The series, titled Sherlock Holmes, includes 36 episodes and 5 film specials. It was initially characterized by a particularly high degree of fidelity to the work, but later developed into a pastiche that was only loosely based on the original. The episodes were produced over a period of ten years (1984–1994).

The television films In the Sign of the Four and The Dog of Baskerville with Ian Richardson (Sherlock Holmes) and David Healy and Donald Churchill (Dr. Watson) were also made in 1982 and 1983 .

A more recent film adaptation is the BBC television production of The Dog of the Baskervilles with Richard Roxburgh from 2002.

Newer film adaptations that make references to the original canon include the series Sherlock , first broadcast in 2010 , which reinterprets the stories of Sherlock Holmes ( Benedict Cumberbatch ) and John Watson ( Martin Freeman ) and relocates them to the modern age. The BBC television production Sherlock has so far comprised four seasons, each with three full-length episodes and a separate film, which in turn takes place in the time of the original novel.

In 2015 the movie Mr Holmes came out, which also refers to the old cases, but also deals with cases that do not belong to the canon. In this film version, Ian McKellen plays a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes with dementia . The film is based on the book A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin . This film adaptation is also considered a reinterpretation, as Doyle Holmes was not older than 60 years and he never brought him in connection with dementia.

German productions

In January 1937 a movie was released, The Dog of Baskerville with Bruno Güttner as Holmes.

in 1955, the first German television adaptation was broadcast live, a stage version by Hessischer Rundfunk , which was staged by Fritz Umgelter . The recording is lost. Wolf Ackva and Arnulf Schröder played the main roles . In 1961, a translation of an English-language TV episode was broadcast on German television for the first time. In 1967/68 the WDR produced a six-part television series based on the original, directed by Paul May . Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were played by Erich Schellow and Paul Edwin Roth .

Russian language productions

Between 1979 and 1986 the Soviet television series Prikljutschenija Scherloka Cholmsa i doktora Watsona (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson) with Vasily Liwanow (Holmes) and Vitaly Solomin (Watson) was created. It is considered very faithful to the work.

In 2012, an eight-part television series was shot under the title Scherlok Cholms (Sherlock Holmes), which was broadcast on Russian television in spring 2013. It is based in Victorian London, but only loosely adheres to the literary model. Igor Petrenko (Holmes) and Andrei Panin (Watson) play the leading roles .

Monuments to Holmes, Dr. Watson and Sir Doyle

Pastiches and parodies

Sherlock Holmes pastiches are Sherlock Holmes works by other authors using the original characters as well as Sherlock Holmes films whose plot is not based on Doyle's stories and novels, but which use characters and motifs from the original stories.

Secondary literature


  • Ronald B. DeWaal: World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. A classified and annotated list of materials relating to their lives and adventures , New York Graphic Society, Boston, Mass. 1974, ISBN 0-8212-0420-3
  • Gerhard Lindenstruth: Arthur Conan Doyle. An illustrated bibliography of publications in the German-speaking area , Munniksma, Amsterdam 1994 (Das Phantasmaskop; Vol. 5)
  • Michael Ross (Ed.): Sherlockiana, 1894-1994. A bibliography of German-language Sherlock Holmes publications , Baskerville, Kempen 1995, 2nd edition, ISBN 3-930932-01-6
  • Jens Arne Klingsöhr: "Sherlock Holmes in Literature". Elms & Oaks, Hanover 2015

Literary works

German-language literature

  • Mattias Boström: From Mr. Holmes to Sherlock. Master detective - myth - media star. btb, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-442-71336-3 . (With extensive references; the Swedish original edition appeared in 2013)
  • Nicole Glücklich: The adventures of two British gentlemen in Switzerland: In the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes . DSHG Verlag, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, 2016, ISBN 978-3-00-052252-9 .
  • Nicole Glücklich: The adventures of two British gentlemen in Germany: In the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes . DSHG Verlag, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, 2018, ISBN 978-3-00-057285-2 .
  • Friedrich Depken: Sherlock Holmes, Raffles and their role models , in: Paul Gerhard Buchloh u. u. (Ed.): On the trail of the detective story. Essays on the form and evaluation of English detective literature , scientific. Buchgemeinschaft, Darmstadt 1977, ISBN 3-534-06143-8 , pp. 67-102
  • Umberto Eco , Thomas A. Sebeok (ed.): The circle or in the sign of three. Dupin, Holmes, Peirce , Fink, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-7705-2310-5
  • Nino Erné : Sherlock Holmes chronologically. A word for guidance , in: Ders. (Ed.): Complete Sherlock Holmes Stories , Mosaik-Verlag, Hamburg, 1967 (2 vols., Here: vol. 1, pp. 9–16)
  • Maria Fleischhack: The world of Sherlock Holmes , Lambert Schneider Verlag, Darmstadt 2015, ISBN 978-3-650-40032-1
  • Constanze Gehrke: Scheme and variation in the Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (PDF; 5.1 MB) , dissertation, University, Aachen 2003
  • Karl Heinz Göller : Doyle, the speckled band , in: Ders. inter alia (Ed.): The English short story , Bagel, Düsseldorf 1973, ISBN 3-513-02221-2 , pp. 70–79
  • Hanjo Kesting: The man who invented Sherlock Holmes , in: Die Horen . Journal for literature, art and criticism , NW Verlag für neue Wissenschaft, Bremerhaven 38th Jg. (1993), No. 172, pp. 15-22
  • Peter J. Malborn: Sherlock Holmes. Historicity of exotic and everyday , Tectum-Verlag, Marburg 1999, ISBN 3-8288-8074-6
  • Heiko Postma : "Excellent!" I shouted. - "Elementary," he said. About Sherlock Holmes & Doctor Watson with some observations about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and an appendix with three Holmes episodes outside the canon . jmb-Verlag, Hannover 2008, ISBN 978-3-940970-03-9 .
  • Viktor Schlovskij: The crime story with Conan Doyle , in: Jochen Vogt (Hrsg.): The crime novel. Poetics, Theory, History , Fink, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-8252-8147-7
  • Thomas A. Sebeok, Jean Umiker-Sebeok: “You know my method”. Charles S. Peirce and Sherlock Holmes , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / M. 1982, ISBN 3-518-11121-3

English-language literature

  • Anonymous: Introduction in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes , Wordsworth, London, 1993, pp. V-VII.
  • Clive Bloom (Ed.): Nineteenth century suspense. From Poe to Conan Doyle , St. Martin's Press, New York 1988, ISBN 0-312-01677-8 .
  • David Stuart Davies: Introduction in: The Best of Sherlock Holmes , Wordsworth, London, 1998, pp. V-XVI.
  • Loren D. Estleman: On the Significance of Boswells in: Sherlock Holmes - The Complete Novels and Stories , Bantam, New York, 1986, pp. VII-XVIII.
  • Richard Lancelyn Green: Explanatory Notes . in: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes . Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, pp. 361-367.
  • Peter Haining: Introduction in The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , New York, Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.
  • Joseph A. Kestner: Sherlock's men. Masculinity, Conan Doyle, and Cultural History , Ashgate Books, Aldershot, 1997, ISBN 1-85928-394-2
  • Jeffrey Richards: Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle and the British Empire. An investigation into Conan Doyle's links with the British Empire as expressed through his Sherlockian and other literature , Northern Musgraves Sherlock Holmes Society, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1997, ISBN 0-9522545-9-X .
  • Philip Tallon, David Baggett: The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington 2012, ISBN 978-0-8131-3671-4 .
  • John S. Whitley: Introduction in The Return on Sherlock Holmes , Wordsworth, London, 2000, pp. V-XII.
  • Dr. Julian Wolfreys: Introduction in: The Adventures and Memoir of Sherlock Holmes , Wordsworth, London, 1996, pp. V-XII.

Accompanying fiction books

German-language editions

  • Luc Brunschwig (text), Cécil (ill.), Edmund Jacoby (transl.): Holmes (1854 / † 1891?) Graphic Novel , Jacoby & Stuart publishing house, Berlin.
  • Nick Rennison: Sherlock Holmes. The Unauthorized Biography (Original title: Sherlock Holmes. The Unauthorized Biography ). German by Frank Rainer Scheck and Erik Hauser. Artemis and Winkler, Düsseldorf 2007, 279 pp., ISBN 978-3-538-07246-6 or ISBN 3-538-07246-9
  • Michael Ross (ed.): Sherlock Holmes in film and television. A manual . Baskerville, Cologne 2003. ISBN 3-930932-03-2
  • Traian Suttles: Drug Intoxication and Deduction. To the inner world of Sherlock Holmes . mainbook, Frankfurt am Main 2017, ISBN 978-3-946413-43-1
  • Martin Compart: The Sherlock Holmes Book. For the 100th birthday of the master detective , Ullstein, Frankfurt / M. 1987, ISBN 3-548-36536-1
    • 1. - Michael u. Mollie Hardwick: Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson. Portrait of a Friendship , pp. 7–40; Zeus Weinstein: Small Conan Doyle Chronicle , pp. 41–68; Appendix: The Sherlock Holmes' Schauplätze, Bibliographie , pp. 69–85, 1984, ISBN 3-251-20014-3
    • 2. - Michael u. Mollie Hardwick: The Plots of All Stories , pp. 7–54; Zeus Weinstein: Sherlock Holmes in contour , pp. 55-78, 1985, ISBN 3-251-20017-8
  • Zeus Weinstein (Ed.): Sherlock Holmes Companion , Haffmans, Zurich.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes - The Complete Works in Three Volumes . Anaconda Verlag, Cologne 2014, 2156 pp., ISBN 978-3-7306-0155-6

English language editions

  • Stephen Clarkson: The Canonical Compendium , Calabash Press, Ashcroft 1999, ISBN 1-899562-75-3
  • Christopher Redmond: In bed with Sherlock Holmes. Sexual elements in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of the great detective , Simon & Pierce, Toronto 1984, ISBN 0-88924-142-2
  • Thomas W. Ross: Good old index. The Sherlock Holmes handbook. A guide to the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle , Camden House, Columbia, SC 1997, ISBN 1-57113-049-7
  • Christopher Redmond: A Sherlock Holmes Handbook , Simon & Pierce, Toronto 1993, ISBN 0-88924-246-1
  • Jack Tracy (Ed.): The Encyclopedia Sherlockiana. Or, A Universal Dictionary of the State of Knowledge of Sherlock Holmes and His Biographer John H. Watson, MD , New English Library, London 1978, ISBN 0-450-04027-5
  • Philip Weller: Alphabetically, My Dear Watson. A Compilation of Canonical Characters. Sherlock Holmes from A to Z , Sherlock Publications, Portsmouth 1994, ISBN 1-873720-10-6
  • Philip Weller: Elementary Holmes. A Pocket Reference Guide To The World Of Sherlock Holmes , Sherlock Publications, Portsmouth 1993, ISBN 1-873720-08-4
  • Julian Wolff: The Sherlockian Atlas , Magico Magazine, New York 1984


  • The Baker Street Journal. An irregular quarterly of Sherlockiana , AMS Press, New York 1946-1949, NS 1. 1951 ff, website
  • The Sherlock Holmes Society Journal . Sherlock Holmes Society, London 1. 1965 ff, website
  • The Baker Street Chronicle (German), website
  • Sherlock Holmes Magazine (German), website

Web links

Commons : Sherlock Holmes  - Collection of Images
Wikisource: Sherlock Holmes  - Sources and full texts (English)

Societies and clubs that deal with Holmes

Further information


Individual evidence

  1. AC Doyle in a letter to Ronald Knox
  2. ^ A b John S. Whitley in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), S. VI, Wordsworth, London, 2000.
  3. Silberstern . In: Arthur Conan Doyle (ed.): Sherlock Holmes. Work edition in nine separate volumes . tape 2 : The memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Haffmans, Zurich 1985, p. 31 (Original title: Silver Blaze / SILV . Translated by Nikolaus Stingl).
  4. ^ David Stuart Davis in The Best of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), pp. V-VI, Wordsworth, London, 1998.
  5. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Memories and Adventures , 1924, see also: Sparknotes
  6. Arthur Conan Doyle Interviewed on Sherlock Holmes and Spirituality on YouTube (from 1:30 minutes)
  7. ^ David Stuart Davis in The Best of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), pp. VI – VIII, Wordsworth, London, 1998.
  8. Jürgen Thorwald : The hour of the detectives. Becomes and worlds of criminology. Droemer Knaur, Zurich and Munich 1966, pp. 286–295.
  9. Arthur Conan Doyle: The adventures of Sherlock Holmes , Haffmans Verlag 1992, editorial note in the appendix.
  10. Arthur Conan Doyle Biography at
  11. Conan Doyle is not dead - neither is Sherlock Holmes . In: Der Spiegel . No. 18 , 1949, pp. 27-28 ( Online - Apr. 30, 1949 ).
  12. ^ David Stuart Davis in The Best of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), p. IX, Wordsworth, London, 1998.
  13. Bio-bibliographic table. In: The Reichenbach Irregulars. The Swiss Sherlock Holmes Society, accessed August 9, 2017 .
  14. ^ David Stuart Davis in The Best of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), pp. IX – X, Wordsworth, London, 1998.
  15. a b Alfried Schmitz: Sherlock Holmes. In: October 5, 2010, accessed July 12, 2015 .
  16. ^ David Stuart Davis in The Best of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), p. X, Wordsworth, London, 1998.
  18. Most Britons think that Sherlock Holmes was alive and that Churchill didn't exist, February 4, 2008, Winston Churchill didn't really exist, say teens The Telegraph , February 4, 2008
  19. ^ John S. Whitley in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), S. X, Wordsworth, London, 2000.
  20. ^ John S. Whitley in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), p. VIII, Wordsworth, London, 2000.
  21. Hound of the Baskervilles Sparknotes
  22. See: A Study in Scarlet , Chapter 2: The Science of Deduction .
  23. Umberto Eco, Thomas A. Sebeok (ed.): The circle or in the sign of the three. Dupin, Holmes, Peirce , Fink, Munich 1985; Thomas A. Sebeok, Jean Umiker-Sebeok: “You know my method”. Charles S. Peirce and Sherlock Holmes , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / M. 1982.
  24. ACDoyle in a letter to Ronald Knox: "the stories have been written in a disconnected (and careless) way without referring back to what had gone before."
  25. ^ The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (Introduction), p. VI, Wordsworth, London, 1993.
  26. Tobias Rüther (2016): The nerd of all nerds - Hardly any fictional character is brought to new life as often as Sherlock Holmes
  27. The Final Problem, Sherlock Holmes Wiki
  28. ^ The Field Bazaar,
  29. The Field Bazaar
  30. Laura Elvin: Read first unseen Sherlock Holmes story in over 80 YEARS written to help save Selkirk wooden bridge . In: Daily Record (online edition), February 20, 2015.
  32. ^ How Watson Learned the Trick
  33. ^ Austin Theater, Article on William Gillette
  34. Gilette as Holmes
  35. ^ Richard Lancelyn Green: Explanatory Notes. In: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 361-367.
  36. ^ Peter Haining: Introduction. In: Arthur Conan Doyle: The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Barnes & Noble Books, New York 1993, p. 21.
  37. Sherlock Holmes in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  38. Mr. Holmes. Retrieved May 11, 2020 .
  39. His Last Bow, by Arthur Conan Doyle. Retrieved May 11, 2020 .
  40. The Hound of Baskerville. In: New Free Press. April 4, 1937, accessed July 12, 2015 .
  41. Sherlock Holmes (1954): Broadcast dates. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on July 12, 2015 ; Retrieved July 12, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  42. Sherlock Holmes TV Series