Sherlock Holmes Day Date in the current year: May 22, 2024

Sherlock Holmes Day Detective fiction fans around the globe celebrate Sherlock Holmes Day on May 22 every year. Its date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created this iconic character.

Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Thanks to support from wealthy uncles, he received secondary education in England and Austria, and went on to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. Doyle wrote and published his first short stories while studying; his first published piece, “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley”, appeared anonymously in an 1879 edition of Chamber’s Edinburgh Journal.

Doyle wrote his first work about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, A Study in Scarlet, at age 27 while working as a doctor in general practice; it took him less than three weeks to write. Doyle loosely based Holmes on his former university teacher, Scottish surgeon Joseph Bell. The novel was originally published in the November 1887 issue of Beeton’s Christmas Annual to good reviews. The next year, Ward, Lock & Co. published the novel as a book.

In 1889, American businessman Joseph Marshall Stoddard, editor of Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, commissioned Doyle to write a sequel to A Study in Scarlet for an English version of Lippincott’s. The Sign of Four was published in the magazine in February 1890 and as a book in October 1890. After that, Doyle left his publisher and started writing Sherlock Holmes short stories for The Strand Magazine.

The first two novels featuring Sherlock Holmes were well received, but it was the short stories that made the character widely known in Britain and the United States. Sherlock Holmes became so popular that Doyle ended up killing him in the 1893 short story “The Final Problem” so that he could focus on his historical novels. However, the negative response to the character’s death from readers and public pressure eventually led to Doyle resurrecting the character a decade later.

During his lifetime, Doyle wrote a total of four novels and 56 short stories about the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend and biographer Dr. John H. Watson, who usually accompanies Holmes during his investigations. Even though Doyle was a prolific writer whose works include science fiction and fantasy stories, humorous stories, historical novels, romances, plays, poetry, and non-fiction, he is primarily remembered for his works featuring Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes was not the first detective to appear in fiction, but he is arguably the best known; Guinness World Records lists him as the most portrayed human literary character in the history of film and television. The Sherlock Holmes stories had a profound and lasting influence not just on the genre of detective fiction, but also on popular culture as a whole and even the modern practice of fandom.

On May 22, Sherlock Holmes fans from all over the world celebrate the iconic character and his creator. You can join the celebration of Sherlock Homes Day by rereading your favorite Sherlock Holmes novels or short stories, watching one of the numerous Sherlock Holmes adaptations, throwing a Sherlock Holmes-themed party, and posting about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #SherlockHolmesDay.

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