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ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1859-1930)is chiefly remembered for his celebrated creation of detective Sherlock Holmes, whose brilliant solutions to a wide variety of crimes began in “A Study in Scarlet” (1887) first published in the “Strand Magazine” and collected in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (1894), “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” etc. His friend, Dr Watson, with whom he shares rooms in Baker Street, attends him throughout most of his adventures. The success was immediate and lasting, and Arthur Conan Doyle rose rapidly to prominence as a result. The stories of Edgar Allan Poe and of Emile Gaboriau were the major sources of inspiration. Gaboriau provided the sensational and the rational elements, but the art came from Edgar Allan Poe. The first six adventures are not true detective stories, though the detective is essential to them. They are fantasies and fairy stories, and their greatness lies not in applying and developing the methods of Gaboriau and Poe, but in their relation to the style, atmosphere, and ethos of the period. The reality of Sherlock Holmes was a quality which struck readers and critics alike. T.S. Eliot also succumbed to the spell: “The greatest of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries was that when we talk of him we invariably fall into the fancy of his existence.”
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