When the word ‘detective’ is uttered, who cannot say that the first image to come to mind was the man in the ear hat and the Belstaff coat, magnifying glass in hand, a pipe resting upon his lips? Undoubtedly, Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous literary characters of all time. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation is known to this day as the brilliant detective who can solve any mystery using merely the prowess of his mind, yet the enduring image of this ‘high-functioning sociopath’ remains an enigma even to his avid readers. Through his books, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced to his readers the power one can have with his mind. But his take on solving problems is not by the use of mere guesswork and logic, as most people would think. Sherlock’s method is a far more complex form of reasoning, one he calls ‘the science of deduction’. His reasoning, sometimes also known as abductive reasoning, relays that: “When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” However, the basic foundation for his genius is from inferences. The difference that Sherlock has from most people is that he notices everything. He knows where to look and what to look for.
He knows the importance of a bread crumb lying on the floor, a crack in a thumbnail, and a tremor in a left hand. His keen eye for detail enables him to see things other people don’t, leading him to use his imagination in search for answers, which he uses to test the probability of a hypotheses. It is not hard to see why Sherlock Holmes is endearing to many. He embodies the intellect that ordinary people do not possess and that the world is lacking. His brilliance makes him almost unreachable, and it is with the unattainable that everyone gets attracted to. And as Irene Adler has artfully said in A Scandal in Belgravia, “Brainy’s the new sexy.” It is undeniable that Sherlock is a proper genius.
Combined with eccentricity and just the right amount of pompousness, he endears to people by being a total mystery, one that even he himself finds hard to solve. It is not at all an easy thing to analyze a genius such as Sherlock Holmes, what with the altitude of his intellect and the complexity of his character. Although we generally know much about Sherlock Holmes, he is still shrouded from view, making it seem as though we know nothing about him after all. Mycroft Holmes has voiced perfectly what an entire race has been asking for years: “My brother has the brain of a scientist or a philosopher, yet he elects to be a detective. What might we deduce about his heart?” But since he is a fictional character (sadly), Sherlock’s mind can never be fully unlocked and fathomed—a shame when the world is in dire need of men like him.