Creating Sherlock Holmes: The Remarkable Story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
by Charlotte Montague
During his lifetime, writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was involved in many public feuds. He argued with Irish writer George Bernard Shaw, over the sinking of the Titanic and fell out with American magician, Harry Houdini, over the trickery of spiritualist mediums. But the life-long feud that Doyle fought with his most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes, proved to be the greatest feud of all. Holmes was so popular with readers that Doyle grew to hate him. The Great Detective was taking over the author’s life – and-Doyle decided to kill him. So it was that Sherlock Holmes died in 1893, killed off by a writer who felt overshadowed by his main character. But Holmes would not die so easily, and eventually, due to overwhelming demand, Sherlock Holmes made a comeback in The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1901.
Holmes went on to feature in a total of 56 short stories and four novels written by Doyle between 1903 and 1927. Not only did Holmes become more famous than his writer, but he outlived him. Since then Sherlock Holmes has become the most prolific character in the history of entertainment, featuring in over 25,000 productions and products, including stage and screen adaptations starring many fine actors from John Barrymore in 1922 to Sir Ian McKellen in 2015.