By Russ Ouellette
The time is the mid-1880s and the location is London, England, specifically a second-floor room at 221B Baker Street. The room is rather dark, and there is only one figure in residence at the moment. He’s a tall, slender man with a receding hairline wearing a well-worn dressing gown. He sits quietly in intense rumination, obviously concentrating on something which puzzles him. A thick wreath of blue-white smoke surrounds his head and blankets the rest of the room. Of course, the object of this observation is none other than the world’s only professional consulting detective, the redoubtable Sherlock Holmes.
Certainly Holmes is one of the most iconic characters in crime fiction, as is evidenced by his amazing popularity after more than 100 years since his creation. No literary creation has been featured in films, television programs, radio serials, spoofs and pastiches more than Holmes. His creator was a not-very-successful physician named Arthur Conan Doyle, who aspired to be a writer, and submitted his manuscript for "A Study in Scarlet", which wound up being published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual. The story evoked a groundswell of interest, so much so that Holmes wound up as a regular feature in the Strand magazine.