Sunday, March 16, 2014

Has The Real Sherlock Holmes Been Deduced?

Jasper Copping at the British newspaper the Telegraph offers a piece on a new book that claims a real life detective helped inspire Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional detective. 

He enthralled Victorian England with his unrivalled skill at cracking cases, based on astute logical reasoning and grasp of forensic science, not to mention a mastery of disguises and encyclopedic knowledge of the criminal underclass.
But this detective was not Sherlock Holmes but a real life investigator, Jerome Caminada, who, new research suggests, helped inspire Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s celebrated hero.
A biography of Caminada out this month reveals a series of striking similarities between him and the fictional character, in terms of their unorthodox methods and character. It also establishes strong echoes between the real detective’s cases and plot lines used by Doyle.
The author, Angela Buckley, has even established that Caminada’s casework involved tackling an alluring and talented criminal, similar to Irene Adler, and that the detective even had a Moriarty-like nemesis who plagued him over the course of several cases until a final, dramatic confrontation.
Mrs Buckley said: “Caminada became a national figure at just the time that Sherlock Holmes was being created. There are so many parallels that it is clear Doyle was using parts of this real character for his.” 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


  1. Thank you for the posting. I had previously thought that a physician who taught Doyle was the inspiration. Perhaps my memory is confusing things.

  2. Yes, Doyle said Holmes was based on Dr. Joseph Bell.

    But that is not to say that Doyle was not also influenced by a well-known detective at the time.

    Ben Macintyre wrote an interesting book called "The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief." The American criminal who operated in London may or may not have influenced Doyle in writing his character of master criminal Professor Moriarty.