Is Sherlock Holmes More Like an Author or a Reader?
Sherlock Holmes is an author because he often changes his cases while he is attempting to solve them and states his inductions as if they were facts. He is a reader because he changes his opinions when he discovers new information which contradicts them, and his cases are not always successful. “A Scandal in Bohemia” provides a great example of Holmes’s meddling affecting the outcome of a case. Because he follows Irene Adler into the chapel, she can get married, dispelling the King’s fear that she will use the photograph against him. After Irene realizes that the gumshoe has tricked her into showing him the location of the incriminating photograph, she and her husband flee the city and take the photograph with them. Holmes also seems like an author when his inductions achieve godlike powers; his assessment of Watson’s watch in “The Sign of Four” could very well be incorrect, but instead, it is completely true. Nevertheless, Holmes is a human being, not a demigod. He is sometimes flexible and limited. In “The Speckled Band,” his hypothesis that gypsies killed Miss Stoner’s sister is incorrect; when he realizes the window cannot be opened, he changes his mind and focuses instead on the ventilator. He also fails to achieve the stated goals of some of his cases. In “The Sign of Four,” he neither locates Captain Morstan, who is long dead, nor retrieves the treasure, which is dumped into the ocean. In “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the incriminating photograph eludes his grasp. Luckily, Holmes does not allow these misfortunes to cripple his confidence; Irene’s shrewd actions instead win Holmes’s eternal admiration. This combination of genius and humanity makes Doyle’s stories intriguing. Holmes’s excellent reasoning is constant, but his cases and their outcomes are always different.