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Was Sherlock Holmes Based on a Real Person?

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In 1887, Doyle published the novel “A Study in Scarlet.” It was the first work to star Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It was also the first record of a magnifying glass being used as a tool of investigation. “A Study in Scarlet” didn’t attract much attention (and neither did its sequel, “The Sign of Four.”) but in the July 1891 issue of “The Strand Magazine”, Doyle published the first short story starring Holmes. That’s when the detective began to take off in popularity. Even early on, readers wanted to know who was the basis for this new type of crime fighter. Doyle couldn’t have just conceived this eccentric, brilliant, logical character out of thin air, right? After more than a century since Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance on paper, evidence points to Holmes being based on primarily two individuals, as well as, perhaps, the author himself.

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