Sherlock Holmes Universe

Interesting & Useful

Interesting & Useful


Arthur Conan Doyle created Holmes as "the ultimate rationalist", but Doyle himself had a lively interest in the supernatural, often attending spiritualist seances. Doyle was also involved in the famous Cottingley Fairies case, where some young girls claimed to have photographed fairies.


Doyle wrote in many genres including science fiction, romance, and non-fiction. He also wrote plays and poetry. Desiring to focus on other works, Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes in 1893 in the story "The Final Problem". Public demand was such, however, that he was forced to bring Holmes back in 1901, explaining how Holmes had managed to survive his plunge at the Reichenbach Falls.


The characters of the Holmes universe are unquestionably Doyle's most famous. But Doyle created another memorable character in Professor Challenger, a brilliant but pugnacious scientist who features most prominently in The Lost World, a novel involving the discovery of living dinosaurs on a plateau in the Amazon Basin.


Many dedicated Holmes enthusiasts refer to themselves as Holmesians (hol-MEE-sians). However, some enthusiasts refer to themselves as Sherlockians -- sometimes leading to (good-natured) rivalry.

There are many Holmes-focused groups both formal and informal, the most famous being the Baker Street Irregulars, an invitation-only group of literati started in 1934 by Christopher Morley. Many of these "BSI" members have written stories in the Sherlock Holmes Universe.


Moriarty, New Mexico, namesake to Holmes' arch-rival, has for many years hosted a group of Holmes enthusiasts from around the country who inhabit the back room at the Frontier Saloon for an Unhappy Birthday Party.

Helpful Hints

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Library Terms

Pastiche  is a word that comes to us from Italian and French cooking, meaning "composed of paste" or "hodgepodge" and used in reference to piecrusts. In the literary world a pastiche is a work made up of elements, themes, or characters from other works, sometimes in homage and sometimes as satire - a "story pie" made with borrowed ingredients.

A recent term for pastiche, used especially in the media world, is "mashup."


Did you know?

In most search engines, the asterisk * is a wild card. That means "all possibilities after the root term" in the search.

For example, searching light* will bring up:

  • lighthouse
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This can be very helpful when you are not sure how a term is listed (singular or plural), or exactly how the word is spelled.

(Of course, it is possible to broaden the search too much. Searching li* will turn up many thousands of results.)

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