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Sherlock Holmes will never die



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by Jean Rojas


He was the inspiration for 

Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, 

Sherlock Holmes.

And his name is Dr. Joseph Bell.




Considered by many to be the

Father of Forensic Science,

Dr. Bell was born in Scotland on

02 December,1837 and died in 1911. 

He was a lecturer at the medical school

of the University of Edinburgh in

the 19th century. 

Conan Doyle met him in 1877 and he became

Dr. Bell’s clerk in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Here, Doyle was able to observe the good doctor in action,

learning about his techniques and using it as the method by which Sherlock Holmes,

his character, solved criminal mysteries.


Dr.Bell emphasized keen observation

in arriving at his medical diagnosis. 

As an example, he would pick a stranger at random and by carefully observing him, come to know of his occupation and recent activities.


In addition to being a doctor,

this sacred man was also an amatuer poet,

a sportsman and a bird watcher.

The wise man that he was,

he carefully instructed those who would

teach medical students the following:


“In teaching the treatment

of disease and accident,” 


Dr. Bell stated, 

“all careful teachers have first to show the student how to recognize accurately the case. 

The recognition depends in great measure on the accurate and rapid appreciation of small points in which the diseased differs from the healthy state. 

In fact, the student must be taught to observe. 

To interest him in this kind of work we teachers find it useful to show the student how much a trained use of the observation can discover in ordinary matters such as the previous history, 

nationality and occupation of a patient.”
(from: The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)


Conan Doyle made an excellent choice 

In giving Sherlock Holmes blood and veins 

through Dr. Joseph Bell.

He could not have used a better inspiration.


Sherlock Holmes is not a fictitious character after all.





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