So I'm ending the month with one of the greatest literary detectives of all time. He is one of those characters everyone knows, even if you have never read one of his stories, or seen the myriad of screen incarnations. There are so many takes of the original story, it would be impossible to even catalog them all, at least not without taking up way too much of your time. I would argue that he is the most recognizable fictional character to ever grace our collective consciousness. Since you have already seen the title of this post, you guys know I'm talking about the great Sherlock Holmes.
Not only do I argue that he is the most recognizable character, I also think an argument could be made for him being the most influential character of all time. I would wager that without Sherlock Holmes, there would have never been a Hercule Poirot, nor the bazillion consulting detectives that came after him. And I think it could also be argued, that had Dame Agatha had still managed to dream up Monsieur Poirot, he wouldn't have been as popular as he was in his own right. Thousands of mystery writers owe their livelihoods to Sherlock Holmes, and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Hell, even Sesame Street couldn't help but have a Sherlock Holmes character of their own, Sherlock Hemlock.
How can you not idolize a man who can tell you where you were born, where you bought your shoes, what you had for dinner last night, whether you are carrying on a torrid affair, your financial situation, and the reason why you are visiting him, all within a few minutes of meeting the man? And it's not like he makes a secret of how he does it, he will gladly explain it to you, even if it's only to show off his brilliant brain. Add in the fact that he is a neurotic, manic depressive drug addict, and you have the ingredients for one of the most engaging characters of all time.
For a character that originally starred in 56 short stories and four novels, he has gotten around since then. I'm not even going to count all the "new" adventures of Sherlock Holmes that seem to pop up on book store shelves on a regular basis. He has appeared in over 200 movies, and quite a few radio and TV adaptations. He has been played by a string of actors, including; Basil Rathbone, Johnny Lee Miller, Peter Cushing, John Barrymore, Charlton Heston, Alan Napier, Christopher Lee, Larry Hagman, Michael Caine, Frank Langella, Robert Downey, Jr., and Benedict Cumberbatch. That's not even touching the men who have played him.
Simply put, Sherlock Holmes is the God of Mysteries, and we need to all bow down, and pay homage to him. The genre I'm addicted to, the authors I adore, and the characters I love, all owe their existence to this pipe smoking, violin playing, swordsman.