The Peak (Malaysia) - - Lifestyle • Expressions -

One hun­dred and thirty years af­ter his first ap­pear­ance, Sher­lock Holmes is still as pop­u­lar and in­spir­ing as ever.

Hard to credit it but it was ex­actly 130 years ago this month that Sher­lock Holmes, Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s great ‘con­sult­ing de­tec­tive’, was in­tro­duced to the pub­lic. The novel Study in Scar­let, which first ap­peared in the 1887 is­sue of Bee­ton’s Christ­mas An­nual, and the sub­se­quent novel, The Sign of the Four (which ap­peared in the 1890 edi­tion of Lip­pin­cott’s Monthly Mag­a­zine), at­tracted lit­tle

Aat­ten­tion ini­tially. It wasn’t un­til the short sto­ries ap­peared – be­gin­ning with A Scan­dal in Bo­hemia in 1891 – that Doyle’s de­tec­tive would start his rise in pop­u­lar­ity, one that doesn’t seem to be end­ing any time soon.

Hav­ing out­stripped the fame of his cre­ator (Doyle was fa­mously am­biva­lent about his great­est, and most lu­cra­tive, cre­ation), Holmes be­came even more fa­mous with the ad­vent of mod­ern me­dia. Guin­ness World Records lists him as the ‘most por­trayed movie char­ac­ter’ in his­tory, ap­pear­ing in film, TV, ra­dio and stage all over the world – in fact, the first in­stance of Holmes ap­pear­ing in a film was a Hun­gar­ian pro­duc­tion from 1905; the lat­est is a 2015 Ja­panese science fic­tion ad­ven­ture anime film.

There is also the phe­nom­e­non of many peo­ple be­liev­ing that Holmes ac­tu­ally is a real-life per­son – from the be­gin­ning, let­ters have ar­rived at the de­tec­tive’s fic­tional home, 221B Baker Street in London, seek­ing his help. That, per­haps, might ex­plain Holmes en­dur­ing, and ever in­creas­ing, pop­u­lar­ity – in a world be­set by un­cer­tain­ties, there is great ap­peal for a fig­ure who re­lies solely on his wits to solve prob­lems, and makes it look easy while do­ing so. Holmes, in a way, gives us the be­lief that we, too, with a bit of brain power, can change things and make a dif­fer­ence. It’s only el­e­men­tary, af­ter all.

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