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Was Sherlock Holmes Ever Stumped?

The famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is known for his close observation, deduction and reasoning skills. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories and novels featuring the character describes interesting, unique and sometimes bizarre cases that Sherlock Holmes solves thanks to his methods. But was Sherlock Holmes ever stumped?

There are actually several mentions of Holmes' shortcomings and failures in Doyle's works. In The Five Orange Pips, Holmes says that he has been "beaten four times -- three times by men, and once by a woman." However, Doctor John Watson usually writes the cases in which Holmes has been very successful, so the reader does tend to see Sherlock Holmes as a detective who does not fail. He may not fail much in the original stories, but interestingly, Sherlock Holmes failed in his first on-screen appearance, in the film "Sherlock Holmes Baffled" in 1900.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began writing the Sherlock Holmes stories in 1886 and the last one was published in 1927. The first film was made in the late 1800s, so it is not surprising that there was interest in making a film on one of the most popular literary characters in the West at the time. What's surprising is that they showed the detective stumped. "Sherlock Holmes Baffled" is about the detective's encounter with a burglar. The burglar manages to flee with the goods and Holmes is left baffled at the scene.

More about Sherlock Holmes:

  • The author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor. It is believed that he first started writing his stories while waiting for patients at his medical practice.

  • Doyle killed the Sherlock Holmes character in The Final Problem published in 1893. But he brought the detective back in The Adventure of the Empty House in 1903 due to public pressure.

  • Sherlock Holmes didn't wear a deerstalker hat in the original stories. Sidney Paget started the trend by illustrating the detective in the hat in the Strand magazine.

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