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The Modern Sherlock Holmes

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Written by Sarah Dewar

Posted on 16 March 2014

Sherlock Holmes has been brought to life onscreen most recently by the BBC in the popular drama series "Sherlock." Audiences around the world have been entertained by this 2010 fixture, now at the conclusion of the third season. Benedict Cumberbatch brilliantly stars as Sherlock Holmes with Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson accompanying him on his journeys through London and beyond.

(Movie connection! Interestingly enough in "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug" (2013), Cumberbatch provides the voice for the dragon Smaug, while Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins. "Sherlock" fans may find the irony of their encounter given they work so closely in "Sherlock" as partners, rather than adversaries.)

For those unfamiliar with the Sherlock Holmes novels penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creators of "Sherlock" have prioritized the importance of maintaining details unique to the novels. There are four original Sherlock Holmes novels and fifty-six short stories. Collectively, these pieces create the world in which Sherlock Holmes lives and environment where readers are able to envision that he solves mysterious and distinguishing crimes. Obviously, the time setting differs between the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work and the work of the modern adaptation. The creators of "Sherlock" place this legendary character in the modern streets of London, where he is able to communicate using mobile devices and the internet, as well as travel in taxis or by means of the tube.

The original Sherlock Holmes novels have remained popular since their publication beginning in 1887. Readers in Europe, the United States, and beyond are intrigued by Sherlock Holmes first as a character and second as a player in the crime scene. This is apparent even today, as crime movies and television dramas are consistently the most profitable and popular genre of entertainment. However, the attractiveness of Sherlock Holmes originates from the fact that he is not a police officer but rather an independent private detective. He is made out to be smarter than the police force, to be more cunning and observational than the authorities. To state is simply, Sherlock Holmes is a crime-solving genius.

Sherlock Holmes is a man that transcends time. His character is just as effective when placed in the late 19th century as in modern times. He is supremely individualistic, neither adapting to current standards or adopting appropriate social protocol. He is quirky, sarcastic, and working for good. He is a mental powerhouse, who uses his fascination with science and his profound abilities of observation to solve implausible crimes.

The format of many original Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories is retrospective, meaning that the events have already taken place and either Sherlock Holmes or Dr. John Watson is retelling the succession of preceding phenomenon. this gives the reader insight into each criminal case so that little clues piece together with each page and the reader can solve the mystery right along with Sherlock. For readers intrigued in reading the original works, the novels are quite easy to find digitally for free. Even though there is quite a bit of reading to get through, these novels and short stories are immensely entertaining and recommended for all readers looking to immerse themselves more into the wonderfully illegal world of Sherlock Holmes.
Colorado School of Mines

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