The Doyle-Bell Connection That Gave Birth To Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Bell can surely be labeled as a major inspiration for the character of the much-loved fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
As a lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh, Joseph Bell emphasized the importance of close observation in making a diagnosis.
Bell would often pick a stranger, observe him/her, and deduce about his/her personal as well as professional life. Thus, he was revered as a pioneer in forensic science.
Sir Doyle served as Dr. Joseph Bell’s clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He acknowledged the fact that his character of Sherlock Holmes was loosely based on Dr. Bell. Further similarities can be observed between the lives of Holmes and Dr. Bell in an essay by Irving Wallace.
According to Irving Wallace (in an essay originally in his book The Fabulous Originals, but later republished and updated in his collection The Sunday Gentleman) Dr. Joseph Bell was involved in several police investigations, mostly in Scotland, such as the Ardlamont Mystery of 1893, usually with forensic expert Professor Henry Littlejohn.
A BBC Television series titled ‘Murder Rooms-The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes’ is a fictionalized account of Sir Doyle’s time as Dr. Bell’s clerk. The series may have exaggerated Dr. Bell’s criminal investigations, as well as the degree to which Holmes was based on Bell and positioned Mr. Doyle in the role of Dr. Watson in Dr. Bell’s Holmes.
The original one-off production – which led to the later series – was released on DVD and VHS in the US in 2003, titled Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle – The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes.
So, now you know the secret behind the genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The secret was a living human being- who inspired and ignited the mind of one of the most brilliant authors – Sir Doyle!