The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes
Liese Sherwood-Fabre, PhD
Published by: Little Elm Press
Genre: Non-Fiction Essays
Release date: January 24, 2017
Blurb/Back cover copy: Step back to 1895 England.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are full of references to everyday Victorian activities and events that send the twenty-first century reader running to the reference shelf. Few, for example, are intimately acquainted with the responsibilities of a country squire, the importance of gentlemen’s clubs, or the intricacies of the Victorian monetary system. These short essays explore various aspects of life mentioned in the original stories, providing modern-day insight into the nineteenth century world. Untangle the complexities of inheritance, the significance of “Dr.” in front of “Watson,” the importance of segregating the queen bee, and the dispute over the delivery of letters addressed to 221B Baker Street. Such examinations bring deeper meaning and color to the adventures of the world’s most famous consulting detective.
Excerpt: In the short story “The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter,” Sherlock Holmes tells Dr. Watson that his ancestors were “country squires.” Other than that bit of information, along with the note that his grandmother was the sister of the French portraitist Vernet, Doyle provided little with respect to his most famous character’s origins. Knowing his father might have been a country squire as well, however, provides insights into Holmes’ social level and certain expectations common to those of his rank. A country squire would have owned enough land to rent to tenants and have lived in a manor house. While the squire’s position was below a nobleman or large landowner, he still ranked high in the local social structure. In addition to running his estate and ensuring the welfare of those under his tenancy, the country squire also held the position of Justice of the Peace. In this capacity, the squire had both civil and legal duties.
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