Fascination with Sherlock Holmes

I first came across Sherlock Holmes as a teenager. I listened to the BBC radio serialization of "The Hound of the Baskervilles," and was hooked. I read the Holmes short stories, and later the novelettes, and was as gripped by Conan Doyle's character as his early Strand Magazine readers were. I was fascinated by the combination of keen observation and deductive logic to uncover the wrongdoers, and later learned that the character was loosely based on Joseph Bell, the surgeon for whom Conan Doyle had worked as a clerk at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

When I taught logic at Hillsdale, I sometimes used Holmes stories to illustrate that logic can bring out the implications of what we already know. I once drove the three hours to Detroit to see a performance of "Sherlock Holmes," starring Leonard Nimoy. This was good casting because Nimoy's Mr Spock from Star Trek was characterized by cool, unemotional, logical thinking.

My colleague, Eamonn Butler, and I amused ourselves by writing a musical, "Holmes in Whitechapel," that featured Holmes and Jack the Ripper. We abandoned the project when a movie appeared based on the same premise. We co-wrote "The Sherlock Holmes IQ Book," which was published by Pan Macmillan, and held a splendid Holmes-themed launch party with the Baker Street Irregulars, a society for Holmes aficionados.

The Sherlock Holmes pub in Northumberland Street features a recreation in the restaurant upstairs of the study shared by Holmes and Watson. It sits behind a glass plate so the entire room can be seen. I sometimes dined there, always asking for a table next to it. And in the mid-80s I watched every episode of Granada TV's "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," starring Jeremy Brett, who many thought to be the best ever Sherlock.


When I pass the bronze statue of the great detective outside Baker Street tube station, I often cannot resist taking another photo of it. Sometime I must include it in a selfie.