Over a thirty-year period from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle drew upon his scientific training as a physician to create one of the most influential figures, albeit fictional, in the development of modern forensic science. Seemingly ahead of his time, Holmes was developing criminalistic theories and forensic science tests before they actually existed. But perhaps the most important impact of the Holmes stories, was their incredible popularity which prepared the public to willingly accept forensic science into criminal justice systems when new forensic techniques were developed. This presentation will use excerpts from several Holmes stories to compare his approaches to that of our twenty-first century forensic scientists. We will also discuss the important people and contexts that influenced Doyle’s creation of Holmes and where Holmes fits into the timeline of modern forensic science.
King, Daniel, "Literature Influences Science: The Role of Sherlock Holmes in the Development of Forensic Science" (2020). Taylor Talks: A Virtual Learning Experience with Taylor Faculty. 14.