Sherlock Holmes, a Study in Sources


357 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-0391-9




Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


Conan Doyle’s (or, as they would have it, Sherlock Holmes’s) admirers and devotees are legion, and their studies of their legendary hero and his exploits are remarkable for tenacity and tireless dedication. This study in sources illustrates the serious nature of the scholarship devoted to the study of The Great Man of Baker Street.

Doyle felt that Dickens, for example, whose work he otherwise admired extravagantly, weakened his power to convince by the continual use of odd and outlandish names; in his own writings, Doyle was at pains to employ names that were both memorable and true to life. For this purpose, he kept lists of chance-met names that took his fancy; selected others from the medical registers, cricket listings, and newspapers of the day; and used place names. Author Redmond here attempts to locate and identify as far as possible the source of each of the hundreds of proper names with which Doyle peppered his pages. Specialists will enjoy and be enlightened by this lengthy and detailed work; others, like Holmes’s good queen, will not be amused.


Redmond, Donald A., “Sherlock Holmes, a Study in Sources,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,