The biggest name in the literary world of crime and justice is Sherlock Holmes. Through his careful observation and logical reasoning, he is able to solve the most complex mysteries. Indeed, Sherlock Holmes is better known even than his own creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).
Conan Doyle created Holmes in his 1887 novel, A Study in Scarlet. At the time, Conan Doyle was a physician in Portsmouth, England. With the success of his second Holmes story, The Sign of Four, he gave up his medical practice to become a full-time writer. In all, he wrote 4 novels and 56 short stories about this character, besides other works of fiction and history.
A typical Holmes adventure begins with the gentleman detective sitting in his living room in 221B Baker Street, London, as clients and Scotland Yard knock on the door to ask for help. More often than not, upon asking a few questions to the point, Holmes would have half-solved the mystery without even leaving his armchair. Later, he would arrive at the scene of crime accompanied by Dr. John Watson, the clumsy, good-natured physician who shares his apartment. Watson, much interested in detective work, would imitate Holmes as the latter walks about, looks for clues through a magnifying glass and asks seemingly offhand questions. The doctor would then beat his brains trying to solve the crime, but become even more confused by the clues. Suddenly, Holmes would sit back and coolly identify the criminal. “How did you do it?” asks the doctor, quite puzzled. “Elementary, dear Watson, elementary,” says Holmes as he goes onto explain how he solved the case. Once again justice is served, and peace and quiet return to the comfortable little apartment of the master detective and his faithful friend.
In “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” (1892), for example, Holmes is asked to find the owner of a hat, with no other information than what he can find on the hat itself. Watson studies the hat and returns it to his friend. “I can see nothing,” he says. “No, Watson, you see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see.” Having said so, Holmes identifies the owner’s age, his personality, his intelligence, his habits, his financial situation, and the fact that his wife no longer loves him. Such performances made Holmes an instant hero in the hearts of many readers.
Ironically, Conan Doyle soon grew tired of the popularity of Sherlock Holmes. He felt that readers only recognized him as a writer of detective stories and ignored his more serious writing. The constant demand for more Holmes stories also interrupted his other work.Therefore, in 1893, Conan Doyle let Holmes fall to his death. The public’s demand for the detective’s return was so great, however, that the author brought him back to life in 1903. After that, the character became immortal both in Sir Arthur’s later novels and indeed in the public’s imagination. To this day, readers around the world are still fascinated by Holmes’ adventures.
beat one’s brains
*Arthur Conan Doyle
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Part B 讀後練習—Post-reading Practice
Ⅰ True or False: Read the following statements carefully and
decide if they are true (T) or false (F).
Ｆ 1. Conan Doyle is the most famous detective in the world.
Ｄ 3. Why did Conan Doyle let Sherlock Homes fall to his death in 1893?
(A) He was tired of writing.
(B) He wanted to quit writing.
(C) The readers were tired of Sherlock Holmes.
(D) The readers ignored his more serious writing.
Ａ 4. Conan Doyle became a full-time writer since the success of .
(A) The Sign of Four
(B) The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
(C) A Study in Scarlet
(D) A Case of Identity
Ｃ 5. Which of the following descriptions is NOT true about Sherlock Holmes?
(A) He lives at 221B Baker Street with Dr. Watson.
(B) He is able to solve the most complex mysteries through reasoning.
(C) Without the company of Dr. Watson, he may not solve all the cases.
(D) The stories about him set models for detective fiction.
Part C 字彙練習—Vocabulary Practice
Match the words: Please fill in the blanks using the following words.
reasoning immortal detective intelligence
ironically fascinated faithful crimes
Conan Doyle is a famous detective storywriter. The most popular character he created is Sherlock Holmes. In the stories, Holmes solves crimes through his careful observation and logical reasoning . Even though he holds a hat, he can identify the owner’s age, personality,
intelligence , habits, and so on. Such performances make him a hero in the hearts of many readers. To this day, readers around the world are still fascinated by Holmes’ adventures.