The Scientific Sherlock Holmes

The Scientific Sherlock Holmes

Cracking the Case With Science and Forensics

Book - 2013
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One of the most popular and widely known characters in all of fiction, Sherlock Holmes has an enduring appeal based largely on his uncanny ability to make the most remarkable deductions from the most mundane facts. The very first words that Sherlock Holmes ever says to Dr. Watson are, "How are you? You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive." Watson responds, "How on earth did you know that?" And so a crime-solving legend is born.

In The Scientific Sherlock Holmes, James O'Brien provides an in-depth look at Holmes's use of science in his investigations. Indeed, one reason for Holmes's appeal is his frequent use of the scientific method and the vast scientific knowledge which he drew upon to solve mysteries. For instance, in heart of the book, the author reveals that Holmes was a pioneer of forensic science, making use of fingerprinting well before Scotland Yard itself had adopted the method. One of the more appealing aspects of the book is how the author includes real-world background on topics such as handwriting analysis, describing how it was used to capture the New York Zodiac killer and to clinch the case against the Lindbergh baby kidnapper.

Sherlock Holmes was knowledgeable about several sciences, most notably chemistry. Therefore the book takes a close look at Holmes the chemist and discusses, for example, chemical poisons such as carbon monoxide, chloroform, and Prussic acid (the historical name for hydrogen cyanide). The author also debunks Isaac Asimov's famous assertion that Holmes was a blundering chemist. In addition, the book discusses mathematics, physics, biology, astronomy, meteorology, and geology, always in the context of Holmes's exploits.

Sherlock Holmes continues to fascinate millions of readers and movie goers alike. The Scientific Sherlock Holmes is a must-read for the legion of fans of this most beloved of all fictional detectives.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, c2013.
ISBN: 9780199794966
0199794960
Characteristics: xx, 175 p. :,ill.

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rb3221
Apr 18, 2017

This is a detailed, scholarly explanation and examination of the scientific Sherlock. The author takes the reader through 17 sections (e.g. fingerprints, footprints, cryptography, chemical poisons, chemistry) and examines how Sherlock used each of these to solve his cases. In many instances O'Brien also compares Holmes's techniques to real world cases. He also has an informative chapter on each of the main characters: Watson, Professor James Moriarty, Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson, and the Scotland yard detectives.
A good book especially if you are a Holmes enthusiast and an even better book if you have read the stories recently or are reading them now.

a
Aleon
Oct 30, 2013

if you are a true Sherlock fan than i promise you. You would/should hate the CBS show elementary. It could never do Sherlock justice. but watch the BBC show Sherlock same concept but it came out early (CBS stole BBC's idea) overall much better.

johnf108 Mar 24, 2013

If you liked this book, you might like 'The Numbers Behind Numb3rs' about the cases in the CBS series and additional mathematics in crime solving.

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