Possessing a razor sharp mind, capable of dissecting souls from observation of outward appearances, Holmes is at the finishing tape while we're still tying our laces. His powers of deduction seem uncannily supernatural, until he explains all to his constant companion, with a murmured 'Elementary, dear Watson, Elementary.'
Since his first appearance in A Study in Scarlet, (1886, Beeton's Christmas Annual) Holmes has captured the imagination of readers worldwide, and when all seemed lost, his admirers went into mourning – literally – black armbands were worn. The first of the so called 'arm-chair' detectives, had obtained legendary status. Then as now, to many people Sherlock Holmes lives and breathes and walks the streets of London in his deerstalker hat. However, taking a closer look at author Conan-Doyle, it becomes apparent the great detective's eccentricities pale beside those of his creator.
Arthur Conan-Doyle appears pleasantly bemused at first on receiving requests and letters addressed to the inhabitant of 221b Baker Street. Eventually though, fearing Sherlock overshadowed his other literary outpourings, Sir Arthur decided to kill Holmes. Only the greatest criminal mind of all time could defeat the greatest detective, and so Morriarity was born.
Conan-Doyle was eventually persuaded to resurrect Holmes, which he did, purely to fund and promote the growing spiritualist movement sweeping the globe in the aftermath of the Great War. So fervent in his belief that the spirit continues to exist after flesh has failed, Conan-Doyle actually became an embarrassment to the spiritualist movement, and his widow remained convinced until her dying day that her dear husband had appeared in spirit form. Others remain bewildered, unable to reconcile the fact that Holmes's alto ego believed in ghosts and fairires. For many, Holmes's creator was a victim of his advancing years.
But the signs that this scion from a family of devout Catholics believed in the spiritual world were there all along.
Especially in The Mystery of Cloomber. This short novel features three monks who despite being dead take revenge on an English officer for an old crime. According to Daniel Stashower's outstanding biography "Teller of Tales" this almost forgotten story was published c.1887 and each chapter introduces some new paranormal idea. As Mr Stashower observes, "(It) clearly illustrates that the young novelist had already begun to question the received wisdom of science."
But there's another clue, often uttered by Sherlock himself: 'When you take away the impossible, what's left, no matter however improbable must be the truth.'
Having applied the genius behind the world's most successful detective to the great unanswered question, Conan-Doyle arrived at the only logical answer, and declared himself satisfied that other dimensions do exist.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are available free to download from Amazon.
An Explosive Time will be free to download from August 5th until August 7th. UK kindle owners click here - American Kindle owners click here. 6
Daniel Stashower's outstanding biography "Teller of Tales" must be the definitive work on Arthur Conan Doyle, a genius who straddled both Victorian and Edwardian life.
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