Crime Monthly

Adam Harrison – Review three of the stories for a magazine called 'Crime Monthly', saying why such 'old' examples of the crime genre are still popular today. This month, crime monthly are reviewing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of Sherlock Holmes, they are entitled; "The Red Headed League", "The Speckled Band" and "The Man with the Twisted Lip" Let's start with the author and a bit of history. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Scotland on the 22nd of May 1859. He went to a boarding school at the age of nine and so no longer lived at home.

After graduating he left to study medicine in Edinburgh. Doyle ended up working with a doctor called Joseph Bell. Some say he was Doyle's biggest influence as he seemed to share many characters with Doyle's most famous fictional character, Sherlock Holmes. Bell was said to be observational, logical and able to diagnose a patient without them even speaking. These characteristics are later7 evident in Sherlock Holmes; thus creating the basis of his character. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the writer of arguably the most famous fictional detective ever, Sherlock Holmes.

He wrote his Sherlock Holmes stories in the Victorian era. The Victorian audience was fear-stricken and lived in constant terror of crime. Holmes surfaced at a time when crime was commonplace and the corrupted Police forces were incapable of protecting the public. An infamous example was Jack the Ripper renowned for mercilessly murdering prostitutes throughout London. To taunt the authorities, anonymous packages were sent containing mutilated body parts of his victims. The Victorian setting is portrayed in the story 'The Cooper Beeches' as letters, telegrams and notes are used to develop the plot.

Sherlock Holmes provided solace to the public as he captured the hearts with his talent of solving what were deemed to be the most unsolvable of cases. Sherlock Holmes not only became a hugely popular character in his stories, but he became an inspiration to many Victorians who were forever fearful for their lives. Doyle actually killed off Sherlock Holmes to end his antics not once but twice, however both times he did this, he received so many death threats that he was forced to continue writing more adventures for Sherlock Holmes.

So now you see why Sherlock Holmes was such a success in his day and not just because of the creativity of the stories he was in, but he also acted as a hope to the people of the era. However the question still remains, why are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories still popular as ever nowadays? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes' stories are still read world-wide because of many factors. Each story is original. Doyle manages to persuade the readers mind into being captivated by all the clues and red herrings and lays down a mystery that makes the reader want to solve it before Sherlock Holmes does.

This all adds up to a very exciting and unforgettable series of books. Doyle had many recurring elements in each of his stories that created suspense. Each story contained a crime, clues, red herrings, the forming adjusting of the theory, and finally the announcement of the sequence of events that not only led the crime commencing, but Sherlock Holmes figuring it out. In 'The Red Headed League' Sherlock Holmes discovers Jonathan Clay's plan and catches him red-handed. Also in 'The Copper Beeches' no crime had been committed, only unusual events. ". . .

And yet there was something unnatural about the whole transaction which made me wish to know a little more before I committed myself. " Sherlock Holmes can piece together unnatural goings-on and manages to uncover a crime amongst all the red herrings and clues. Red herrings are bits of information that at first seem like a clue whereas they are really misleading and what they actually do is lead you to the incorrect conclusion. A red herring is found in 'The Speckled Band'. The gypsies on the estate give the impression that they have murdered Julia Stoner but in reality they didn't.

"He had no friends at all save the wandering gypsies, and he would give these vagabonds leave to encamp upon the few acres . . . " Referring to gypsies as vagabonds is now considered to be ignorant and rude, however in the Victorian times, different classes were spoken to in different manners and no one disputed the fairness of it. There was a more formal social structure. Also in the Victorian era, women were considered inferior to men. This is shown in many different stories. In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' Mr. Saint Clair doesn't tell his wife he is begging.