Sherlock Holmes Evaluations

Sherlock Holmes was incredibly popular in the 19th century, and still is today. The combination of twisting plots, strange settings, eccentric characters and Holmes’ unconventional but highly successful methods to solve crime make the stories interesting, exciting and realistic.
Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh on 22 May 1859. After leaving school he went to study medicine in Edinburgh, where he met Dr Joseph Bell, who is believed to by Conan Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. When Holmes was first released, Victorian readers instantly fell for him. They despised the police and enjoyed Holmes’ modern and effective detective work.
The locations where stories set are all very effective and each one is different. ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ is set in deepest, darkest London. Most of it is centred around an Opium den, called the ‘Bar of Gold’. This den is situated down ‘a vile alley’ and ‘between a slop shop and a gin shop’. This gives an image of a dark, miserable and secluded alley; a place where you would not wish to visit voluntarily. The den is reached by flight of steps, ‘worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of drunken feet’, and is a ‘low room, thick and heavy with the brown opium snake’. This shows that the ‘Bar of Gold’ is a depressing place frequented by the drunk and thick with the smoke from the opium pipes. In general, the setting of ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ is urban, miserable and hidden away.
‘The Speckled Band’ has a very different setting to ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’. It is set mostly in the country village of Stoke-Moran in Surrey. Holmes and Watson stay the night in the wealthy Dr Grimesby Roylott’s mansion. The house seems to be falling to pieces and has not been well looked after: ‘The windows were broken, the roof was partly caved in’. This shows that the condition of the house has deteriorated because it has been neglected. However, reparations are being carried out to improve its condition: ‘some...