Skip to main content
Subscribe to our Beano comic! Click Here
Beano Comic

15 Sherlock Holmes Facts That Are Elementary

You don't need any deductive skills to know that these Sherlock Holmes facts are fascinating! Check them out and see how many facts about the famous sleuth you already knew!

Beano Team
Last Updated:  September 22nd 2023

Is there a more famous detective in the world than Sherlock Holmes? For over 100 years, the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson have been delighting audiences. He's so beloved that you'll find statues, plaques, pubs and societies dedicated to him everywhere! But how many of these 15 elementary facts about Holmes did you already know? It's time to find out! Read all about Holmes and find out how he was created, which record he breaks and why people still write to him! And if you like this, check out more book facts here! What about these delightful Beatrix Potter facts? Or maybe you fancy these scrumptious Charlie and the Chocolate Factory facts? You might even like these unbelievable Hercules facts!

1. He Was Created by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes was created by Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle. Born in Edinburgh, Doyle was actually a doctor when he first started writing the books. He had already had several stories published but wasn't making enough as an author to give up medicine completely.

2. He Was Partly Based on a Real Person

Sherlock Holmes might seem too fantastical to be a real person, but in fact Doyle attributed his creation to his own lecturer at university, Scottish surgeon Joseph Bell. According to Doyle, Bell had many similar methods of deduction as Holmes; he would point out what he could learn from someone's appearance, like their muddy boots. Like Holmes, he was also keen on forensic science to help solve a case, years before it became routine in police investigations.

3. He Originally had a Different Name

Sherlock Holmes is SUCH an iconic name that surely it could never have been anything else! But, in early drafts, Doyle had considered calling him Sherrinford! Can you imagine Sherrinford Holmes being as famous?

4. A Study in Scarlet Was Written in Three Weeks

The very first Sherlock Holmes novel took only three weeks to write! What's more, Doyle was only 27! The book introduces us to Watson, and then to Holmes, and follows them as they try to solve a murder. It's now one of the most famous books of all time!

5. He Didn't Look Like We Think He Did

You're probably picturing Holmes in a deerstalker hat, right? It's now so famous as the Sherlock Holmes hat that you just need to put one on and people know who you're meant to be! Well, it might surprise you to learn that Doyle never actually mentions him wearing one! Not once! It's actually in the illustrations that he's seen wearing the hat, and they went on to influence his appearance for decades to come!

6. Conan Doyle Got Sick of Him and Killed Him Off

Sherlock Holmes became incredibly popular. Almost too popular! In fact, Conan Doyle started to get a bit sick of people always asking about Holmes. He wanted to write other stuff and was getting bored of him. So, he wrote 'The Final Problem' a story in which Sherlock Holmes falls to his death over a waterfall, fighting his nemesis Professor Moriarty.

7. ...But Then Had to Bring Him Back to Life

Sherlock Holmes | Silver Pictures, Wigram productions, Village Roadshow Pictures | Warner Bros | Susan Downey, Lionel Wigram, Joel Silver, Dan Lin | Guy Ritchie

Unfortunately, or fortunately, people were so devasted as the loss of Holmes that a few years later, Doyle brought him back! He realised that Sherlock Holmes was just too good to get rid of, and so wrote new stories explaining how he had survived his fall!

8. Some People Thought He Was a Real Person

Sherlock Holmes was so popular and well regarded that people used to write letters to him at his famous address, 221B Baker Street! Some of these letters were just fan mail, but some of them really wanted the detective to help them solve their own mysteries! The real residence of the address must have found this pretty annoying!

9. He is the Most Filmed Fictional Character

Holmes | Silver Pictures, Wigram productions, Village Roadshow Pictures | Warner Bros | Susan Downey, Lionel Wigram, Joel Silver, Dan Lin | Guy Ritchie

Well, he's actually the most filmed human character, because only Irish author Bram Stoker's famous vampire Dracula beats him! Apart from the count, Sherlock is officially the most filmed fictional character, with a current total of over 250 times! And that's not including radio, stage and comic books!

10. He Doesn't Actually Know That Much

Sherlock Holmes is often considered a genius, skilled as he is at deductive reasoning. But, according to the books, there's a lot he doesn't know! According to Watson, he has no knowledge of philosophy, literature or astronomy, and not much of politics, although he is good at botany, chemistry and law. In fact, if Watson is telling the truth, he didn't even know the Earth went round the sun until Watson told him! It's though that this is because he spends far more time on solving crimes than thinking about space!

11. He Has a Brother

Enola Holmes | Legendary Pictures | Netflix

You might think Sherlock Holmes is one of a kind, but he actually has a brother, Mycroft! Mycroft is said to be even cleverer than Sherlock (and even weirder) but lazier, and so he doesn't bother being a detective. He's been played by actors like Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee and Sam Claflin.

12. He Had a Huge Impact on Detective Fiction

The Sherlock Holmes books (4 novels and 58 short stories) have had an immense impact on detective fiction since they were written. In particular, Sherlock Holmes is often seen as the first 'gentleman detective' - a detective of independent means who investigates to amuse himself. Other detectives based on or inspired by Holmes include Hercule Poirot, House MD and even Batman!

13. Watson is Thought to Be Based on the Author

Lots of people think that John Watson, Sherlocks friend and companion, is based on the author himself, and there are several clues about this. Firstly, like Watson, Doyle was a doctor who served in the army. Watson also seems to be Scottish, like his creator - although this isn't confirmed. What do you think?

14. He Never Says His Catchphrase

Wishbone | Big Feasts Entertainment | PBS

That's right! In all the books, you'll never hear Holmes say 'Elementary, my dear Watson!'. He says 'Elementary!' and 'My dear Watson' but never together!

15. May 22nd is International Sherlock Holmes Day

If you want to celebrate the greatest fictional detective ever, then 22nd May is International Sherlock Holmes day! Don your deerstalker, find your magnifying glass and look up all the Sherlock Holmes events happening near you!