Few genres can compare to crime and mystery when it comes to frantic page turning, with novels that often capture readers from start to finish without so much as a tea break. After all, that's the point of the genre, is it not? To keep you guessing, wondering, and scratching your head until the plot finally unravels, leaving you both surprised and wholly satisfied with the conclusion of the mystery at hand. And, within this genre, there is one character who arguably stands above them all. We are, of course, talking about none other than Arthur Conan Doyle's titan of crime and mystery literature - the great Sherlock Holmes.
With such a staggering and lasting impact, it's hard to imagine a literary world without Sherlock Holmes now. The influence of the character, and Arthur Conan Doyle's works, shaped the mystery genre into what it is today in a timeless fashion. The structures of the stories, the characteristics of Sherlock himself, and the many ways in which the detective stories featuring himself and Dr Watson unravel, merge together to create a still-beloved legacy rivaled only by the likes of Agatha Christie. Many of the staples of this beloved area of literature - staples which may seem common now - would not have been popularized without Doyle and the genius way he wrote them.
It almost goes without saying that the most influential aspect of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories is the titular character himself. The traits that make Sherlock Holmes exactly who and what he is continue to be the expected, go-to traits of personal detectives across not only literature but all other forms of entertainment. Witty, sharp-minded, observant, humorous, creative, and so skilled at his profession that it almost comes across as inhuman, Sherlock doesn't only capture the reader through being a capable character but for being one we all like to see a bit of ourselves in. This is something that is not exclusive to crime and mystery, but is effective in all manners of storytelling. By penning Holmes as a protagonist with traits we all aspire to have ourselves, the reader is grabbed by said protagonist just as much as (if not more than) the plot. When Holmes created a character that is both exceptionally skilled but also of a creative mind, hard-working but also eccentric and often comedic, he created a character that is both human and extraordinary - and that's where the magic of these detective tales truly stems from.
It's just the icing on the cake that such a fantastic character exists within such compelling stories. There's a reason that novels such as The Hound of the Baskervilles, as well as the many short stories and collections revolving around Sherlock Holmes, are even familiar to the ears of those who have never read the works themselves. Now classic and revered titles of literature, with enduring popularity over a century on, it's unarguable that Arthur Conan Doyle set the bar incredibly high for crime and mystery books and stories. And, considering hois birthday falls in May, there was no finer Author of the Month we could have gone with here at Country House Library!
Thank you for taking the time to read out blog on Arthur Conan Doyle and the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Feel free to browse our vintage crime and mystery book collection for more brilliant, nail-biting, and mind-boggling tales that keep you hooked from the first page to the last!