Literary Review: Sherlock Holmes, a Master Detective's Mind at Work

In: English and Literature

Submitted By SHAUNG
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LITERARY REVIEW DRAFT Shaun P. Grech,
WRTG 101, 30 November 2013

Thesis: Sherlock Holmes, a Master Detective’s Mind at Work

Unquestionably, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was on to something when he created Sherlock Holmes. In Stanton O. Berg’s article, “Sherlock Holmes: Father of Scientific Crime and Detection,” the author believes that “the famous sleuth had a decided stimulating influence on the development of modern scientific crime detection” (446). Holmes was indeed a dramatic representation of the investigative curiosity of the time period. Berg cites criminologists of the era who were either inspired by Doyle’s fictional character, leading them to their own discoveries in forensic science, or who were driven to start implementing Holmesian methods within professional police forces (448). A review of Sherlock stories reveals that almost every one of the forensic techniques utilized by police forces today is touched upon in one form or another. In E.J. Wagner’s book The Science of Sherlock Holmes, such methods included the examination of dirt, cigar ashes, blood stains, fingerprints and a dabbling in ballistics among others.

Part of the lure of Sherlock Holmes is that readers are captivated by the iconic nineteenth century detective’s innate abilities in solving his cases so seamlessly. In essence, he is the perfect intellectual model for analytical ability and razor edge wit. How then, is Holmes able to utilize the powers of his mind so well? One path to understand this is to investigate the cognitive strengths that he brings to a crime scene. These comprise of his observation and deduction skills, memory, specialized knowledge, emotional control and incubation periods (Kellogg 42-44).

A natural starting point would be Sherlock’s observation and perceptive qualities. Hogan and Schwartz lay the groundwork in their article “The…...

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