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About the Author

Sherlock Holmes was by all accounts born on 6th January 1854, and for more than a century his name has been known in every country of the world; and not only his name, but his appearance too. The hawk-like features and piercing eyes; the dressing-gown and pipe; the deerstalker cap and magnifying glass - these details are so familiar that if he were to appear amongst us today we should know him at once.

He is still however an enigmatic figure, as wrapped in mystery as the crimes he tried to solve, and as in most legends, it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction.

According to the published stories which first appeared in the Strand Magazine in 1891 and which have since been translated into every language, he practised as a consulting detective between 1881-1904, while living at 221b Baker Street with his friend and colleague Doctor John H. Watson.

He therefore lived and worked in that nostalgic gas-lit London of the late 19th century to which in our imagination we would all like to return.

Sherlock Holmes was "the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen", but he was not without feelings, because he appreciated the opera and classical music. He was however reserved towards women, because he felt their influence a distraction to his work, so he would not allow himself (as Watson did) to become swayed by their romantic allure.

Nevertheless, Holmes took an interest in a Miss Irene Adler, whom he always referred to as 'the woman'. She was born in New Jersey in 1858 and outwitted him in the case of A Scandal in Bohemia.

Dr Watson considered Holmes to be "the worst tenant in London', who 'keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe-end of a Persian slipper, and his letters transfixed by a jack-knife to the centre of the wooden mantelpiece". Strange visitors, chemical experiments and late-night violin playing also tried the patience of their landlady Mrs Hudson.

He was however the great detective's loyal companion and Holmes was aware of his value - he said to him on one occasion: "it may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light".

What are the attributes which combine to make a person a world-famous legend? His achievements must surely be unforgettable and remarkable. He must be a brilliant and credible character whom people can believe in. He must be ageless in so far as dates of birth and death become irrelevant. He must enjoy everlasting fame.

[Taken from]

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