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Monday, May 22, 2017

It's 'elementary' my dear Watson


“A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.” –Arthur Conan Doyle

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Coyle – in 1859 in Scotland – the creator of one of the iconic figures in literary history, Sherlock Holmes.     Noted for his to-the-point comments while solving mysteries, Holmes once pointed out that, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”  

Originally a physician (I always thought that he resembled what I imagined Dr. Watson to look like), Doyle wrote his first Holmes book, A Study in Scarlet, in 1887.  It was the first of just four novels about Holmes and Dr. Watson, but he “filled out” the Holmes library of tales with over 50 short stories featuring the famous detective.  The Sherlock Holmes stories are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.   The tales spawned many dozens (if not more) of uses of Holmes by other writers and dozens of movies and television programs.  He also brought Deerstalker hats and Meerschaum pipes into vogue. 
Doyle, who died in 1930, also is known for writing          the fictional adventures of Professor Challenger and for propagating the mystery of the Mary Celeste.   He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.  

Among the many sayings Doyle created to become part of our lexicon is, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”  Words to both solve mysteries and live by.


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