Pecuniary, My Dear Watson
There’s hardly a book-lover in the world who isn’t familiar in one way or another with Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective has claims to being “the most famous literary character of all time”. Sherlock Holmes was a publishing hit from the beginning, although Conan Doyle had him killed, locked in a struggle with the Napoleon of crime, Professor Moriarty, as they fell down a Swiss ravine in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893).
There’s evidence that Conan Doyle did not think highly of his creation. He wrote to his mother, “I think of slaying Holmes … and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things.” Pressure from the public and from publishers led Doyle to resurrect the World’s Greatest Detective, and he returned to the detective sporadically throughout his life, usually for financial reasons.
Now, 8 decades after the death of his creator, Sherlock is preparing for another return from the grave. Conan Doyle’s estate has approved the release - due in September - of another Sherlock mystery. It will be penned by Anthony Horowitz, creator of the Alex Rider series. One can only wonder what Holmes would have made of it all. Perhaps he would have quipped, “We must look for consistency. Where there is a want of it we must suspect deception.”