“and yet it amounted to nothing” [NORW]
Before Sherlock Holmes came along, detective stories, while satisfying, weren't all that revealing. Oh sure, the crimes would be revealed, but the methods were more opaque.
In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes showed his disdain for literary detectives:
“Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour’s silence is really very showy and superficial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine.”
And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in a famous 1927 newsreel, indicated his own dissatisfaction with the mysterious methods of such sleuths:
“I used occasionally to read detective stories, it often annoyed me how in the old-fashioned detective story the detective always seemed to get at his results either by some sort of lucky chance or fluke, or else it was quite unexplained how he got there. He got there but he never gave an explanation how. Now that didn't seem to me quite playing the game. It seemed to me that he's bound to give his reasons why he came to his conclusions.”
“But when I began thinking about this, I began to think of turning scientific methods, as it were, onto the work of detection...I had as it were, a new idea of the detective and one which it interested me to work out. I thought of a hundred little dodges, as you may say, a hundred little touches by which he could build up his conclusions and then I began to write stories on those lines.”
Watch the entire clip:
Some of the best ideas come by starting with a blank sheet of paper, as we see at Baker Street Elementary...
Baker Street Elementary follows the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they and their friends work through the issues of elementary school in Victorian London. An archive of all previous episodes can be viewed at www.bakerstreetelementary.org.