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Sherlock Holmes has remained one of the most famous and enduring fictional detectives since his first appearance in 1887. Explain why you think Arthur Conan Doyle's stories continue to appeal to his readers.

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Introduction

Sherlock Holmes has remained one of the most famous and enduring fictional detectives since his first appearance in 1887. Explain why you think Arthur Conan Doyle's stories continue to appeal to his readers. When the Sherlock Holmes books were written, London was rife with croime. The slums, especially, were victims to prostitution, murder and drug abuse. Jack the Ripper was free on the streets, making many people scared. The police couldn't catch him so the public resented the police force as they weren't seen to be protecting them. I think that this is one of the reasons why the Sherlock Holmes stories were so successful. The idea of a detective who solves every crime would appeal highly to a Victorian readership. Also, all the clues are given to the reader which invites them to solve the crime as well. To help me answer this question, I will refer to three Sherlock Holmes Stories; "The Speckled Band", "Silver Blaze" and "The Cardboard Box". These three stories are all very different, only two of them are murders. "The Speckled Band" is about a premeditated murder with the motive of money, whereas "The Cardboard Box" is a spur of the moment murder arising out of jealousy. "Silver Blaze", however, is not a murder, merely an accident, although until the d�nouement we are led to believe that it is. ...read more.

Middle

"The Cardboard Box", however, is set in a totally different location. The street to which the extraordinary parcel was delivered to is far more ordinary; "a very long street of two-story brick houses, neat and prim, with whitened stone steps and little groups of aproned women gossiping at the doors.". This would echo the Victorian fear of crime in their own neighbourhood. Although settings are very important, we need villains within the settings that we can believe in. In these stories we have three totally different villains, all with their own motives. Before we actually meet Dr Roylett we hear about him from his step-daughter, Miss Stoner. She describes his violent past and his current behaviour. Then, subsequently, we see his violence for ourselves as he storms in to Holmes' office and bends the fire poker, threatening Holmes. During the d�nouement , when we are told of his crime, we realise how clever and cunning he is, and how he had organised the murders; with the bell pull and ventilator. We can take from this that he was a very cold-hearted man who cared more about money, than his own kin. In "The Cardboard Box" Jim Browner commits a double murder out of jealousy. Miss Cushing gives a description of him. ...read more.

Conclusion

For a Victorian reader justice would have been more important than how it was executed and in these stories, justice is always given. Although, Holmes sometimes takes the law into his own hands and becomes the judge and jury. "I am no doubt indirectly responsible for [his] death, and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience." The world that Holmes lived in is very different to the world we live in now. The methods of detection were very na�ve and weren't nearly as accurate as the forensic detection we use today. Holmes is an upper class citizen as most detectives may have been in those days whereas the modern detective is either a member of the police force or a professional private detective. The age of the talented amateur has passed. Even though the Sherlock Holmes stories might not be as successful today as they were in Victorian times because of the difference in societies due to time, Sherlock Holmes is still one of the most famous fictional detectives of all time. I believe that this is because his stories set the basis for modern detective novels and films. I also think, that because it was one of the original detective stories it is more compelling. Overall, the likeable characters, intriguing plot, gripping climax and the sense of realism have made the Sherlock Holmes stories very successful, in the past and present. Kathryn Thompson ...read more.

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