Better to ask "Who was Sherlock Holmes?" At this point, history has claimed him as its own. Although his death was never recorded and his obituary never appeared in any newspaper, one can safely say that Sherlock Holmes walks among us no more.
Who was Sherlock Holmes?
Why, only the man who put the "detect" in detective, practiced forensic science and criminal profiling years ahead of the rest of the world, brought down a criminal empire, and made the occupation of private detective a very cool thing to be.
Sherlock Holmes started his career in London in the early 1880s. Not much is known of him before then, but he was quick to make a name for himself with Scotland Yard, and not long after, the rest of England. Eventually his fame would spread world-wide, thanks to the pen of Dr. John H. Watson and the literary marketing genius of Arthur Conan Doyle.
What we don't know about Sherlock Holmes is as intriguing as what we do know. For example, since Jack the Ripper's murderous rampage suddenly and mysteriously came to an end, right at the peak of Holmes's early career, many have quite naturally wondered if the detective had a hand in stopping the killer. And why not?
Almost all of what we know of Sherlock Holmes comes from a series of sixty memoirs, most of which were from the pen of his friend Dr. Watson. The first of these, published in 1887 in a magazine called Beeton's Christmas Annual, was A Study in Scarlet.
These chronicles of Holmes suddenly came to an abrupt end in 1893 when "The Final Problem" reported Holmes's death at Reichenbach Falls.
Holmes was assumed dead for years, until the stories started again in 1901 with The Hound of the Baskervilles. The last of the sixty chronicles, "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place," appeared in March of 1927. And in the forty years in between 1887 and 1927, Sherlock Holmes made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who popularized the detective and his adventures, a very wealthy man.
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