Minor Sherlock Holmes characters
This article features minor characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and from non-canonical derived works.
Inspector Baynes of the Surrey force appears in the two-part series "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge", named (i) "The singular experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles", and (ii) "The Tiger of San Pedro". He is the only uniformed police officer in the books to have ever matched Sherlock Holmes in his investigative skills. In this story, the reader finds that even despite working in different lines, they both arrive at the right conclusion and solve the mystery at the same time. In fact, Baynes had misled even Holmes as he used a method similar to one that Holmes often used when he arrested the wrong man and provided inaccurate information to the press in order to lull the true criminal into a false sense of security. Holmes congratulated this Inspector, and believed that he would go far in his profession.
Billy is Holmes' page, appearing in the stories "The Valley of Fear", "The Problem of Thor Bridge" and "The Mazarin Stone". In the latter he plays a significant role in helping to arrest the lead villain. He is a more significant character in all three of Doyle's plays featuring Sherlock Holmes, "Sherlock Holmes; A Drama in Four Acts", "The Stonor Case" and "The Crown Diamond", and in the spoof "The Painful Predicament of Sherlock Holmes" written by William Gillette. In 1903 Charlie Chaplin began his career by playing Billy on stage in both the four act play and Gillette's spoof. Billy appears in films including "Sherlock Holmes (1922 film)", "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (film)".
Doyle described him as "a tall, stout official ... in a peaked cap and frogged jacket" Sidney Paget's illustrations for the Strand Magazine depicts him with a full beard. Beyond this little is revealed about him in the canon.
Bradstreet originally served in Scotland Yard's E Division which associates him with the Bow Street Runners, a forerunner of Scotland Yard. He claims to have been in the force since 1862 ("The Man with the Twisted Lip") but in June 1889 Dr. Watson writes he is in B Division to oversee "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle". According to Sherlockian author Jack Tracy, B Division was:
In "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb", he accompanied Holmes to Eyford, a village in Berkshire. According to Jack Tracy's The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana, he was "assigned most likely to the central headquarters staff."
Bradstreet is not a martinet; in "The Man with the Twisted Lip" he could have prosecuted the false beggar, but chose to overlook this action to spare Neville St. Clair the trauma of shaming his wife and children.
Bradstreet appears four times in Granada Television's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: "The Blue Carbuncle", "The Man with the Twisted Lip", "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans", (substituting for Inspector Lestrade, as Colin Jeavons was unavailable), and a cameo appearance in "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone". Initially he was played by Brian Miller as a blustering, pompous plodder, then later as much more competent by Denis Lill.
He is also featured in M. J. Trow's series The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade.
Inspector (Tobias) Gregson, a Scotland Yard inspector, was first introduced in A Study in Scarlet (1887), and he subsequently appears in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" (1893), "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" (1908) and "The Adventure of the Red Circle" (1911). Holmes declares him to be "the smartest of the Scotland Yarders," but given Holmes' opinion of the Scotland Yard detectives, this is not sweeping praise. In one of the stories Watson specifically mentions the callous and cool way in which Gregson moved. His rival in crimefighting at Scotland Yard is Inspector G. Lestrade.
Gregson first appears in A Study in Scarlet and is a polar opposite of another Yarder Doyle created, Inspector Lestrade. Lestrade and Gregson are such visual opposites, it indicates the barrier Doyle drew between them to emphasize their professional animosity. Gregson is tall, "tow-headed" (fair-haired) in contrast to shorter Lestrade's dark features and has "fat, square hands."
Of all the Yarders, Gregson comes the closest to meeting Sherlock Holmes on intellectual grounds while acknolwedging Holmes's abilities, even admitting to Holmes once that he always feels more confident when he has Holmes's aid in a case. Regrettably, he is bound to the law he serves within its confines, and the delay in getting his assistance turns to a near-complete tragedy in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" because it takes so long to get his legal help. He also has some regrettable human flaws. During Study in Scarlet he laughs at the stupidity of his colleague, Lestrade, before Holmes and Watson, even though he is also on the wrong trail. In "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" it takes too long to engage his assistance in preventing a kidnapping and murder.
Unlike Lestrade, Gregson overlooks the little grey areas of the law, and in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" overlooks Holmes' use of breaking of a window in order to enter a premises. Because of this, the life of Mycroft Holmes' fellow lodger is saved.
Gregson last appears in Doyle's "The Adventure of the Red Circle" under events that transpire in 1902 but are not published by Dr. Watson until 1911. In this last writing, Watson observes that:
Our official detectives may blunder in the matter of intelligence, but never in that of courage. Gregson climbed the stair to arrest this desperate murderer with the same absolutely quiet and businesslike bearing with which he would have ascended the official staircase of Scotland Yard. The Pinkerton man had tried to push past him, but Gregson had firmly elbowed him back. London dangers were the privilege of the London force.
This passage does much to show how Doyle changes in his view of the police. Unlike many writers of the day, Doyle did not accuse the police of corruption or laziness in his writings, but it took his later years to write something positive about their work.
Inspector Stanley Hopkins is a Scotland Yard detective and a student of Holmes's deductive methods, who attempts to apply them in his own investigations. Holmes, however, is very critical of Hopkins's ability to apply them well. Hopkins refers several cases to Holmes, all within the South-East areas of England and London, including:
- "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez", set in 1894 in Chatham, Kent, and
- "The Adventure of Black Peter", in Weald set in 1895, and
- "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange", in 1897 in Chislehurst.
Mrs. Hudson is the landlady of the house 221B Baker Street, in which Holmes lives.
Mrs. Hudson is a woman who wants the home to be clean and tidy and often fights with Holmes for this. Watson describes her as a very good cook; in "The Naval Treaty," Holmes says "Her cuisine is a little limited, but she has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman," which some readers have taken to mean that she is Scots and others that she cannot possibly be. Other than one mention of her "queenly tread", she is given no physical description or first name, although she has been identified with the "Martha" in "His Last Bow". In the Japanese language version of the Sherlock Hound TV series, she is called Marie Hudson.
In film and television adaptations of the stories, Mrs. Hudson is usually portrayed as an older woman; on rare occasions she is presented as a young woman.
Watson described the relationship between Holmes and Hudson in the opening of "The Adventure of the Dying Detective":
Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a long-suffering woman. Not only was her first-floor flat invaded at all hours by throngs of singular and often undesirable characters but her remarkable lodger showed an eccentricity and irregularity in his life which must have sorely tried her patience. His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London. On the other hand, his payments were princely. I have no doubt that the house might have been purchased at the price which Holmes paid for his rooms during the years that I was with him. The landlady stood in the deepest awe of him and never dared to interfere with him, however outrageous his proceedings might seem. She was fond of him, too, for he had a remarkable gentleness and courtesy in his dealings with women.
At one point in "A Scandal in Bohemia" Holmes names his landlady as "Mrs. Turner", rather than Mrs. Hudson, which has caused much speculation among Holmes fans.
Mrs. Hudson played an important role in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
The first episode of the 2010 BBC series Sherlock, "A Study in Pink", gives Mrs. Hudson a small background - Sherlock mentions that she offers him a special deal on the rent because he helped her out by ensuring the conviction and execution of her husband in Florida.
Shinwell Johnson is a former criminal who acts as informant and occasional muscle for Sherlock Holmes (Although Watson notes that he is only useful in cases which by their nature will not go to court as he would compromise his connection to Holmes and thus render himself useless as a source if he ever had to testify as part of a case). He appears in "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client" where he protects Kitty from Baron Grüner's henchmen and provides Holmes with insight into how he might go about infiltrating Grüner's house to acquire a certain book. He is referred to in the radio adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, specifically in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Ferrers Documents where he appears to carry on with intimidation business.
Inspector Athelney Jones is a Scotland Yard detective who appears in The Sign of the Four. He arrests the entire household of Bartholomew Sholto, including his brother and servants, on suspicion of his murder, but is forced to release all but one of them, much to his own embarrassment. Holmes refers to Jones as "an imbecile" but also acknowledges him as being "tenacious as a lobster."
An Inspector Peter Jones appears in the "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League"; it is unknown if he is related to Athelney
Col. Sebastian Moran
- Main article: Colonel Sebastian Moran
Colonel Sebastian Moran is the villain of the short story The Adventure of the Empty House, who tries to assassinate Holmes upon Holmes' return to London from his 'hiatus' after disappearing at the Reichenbach Falls. Holmes describes him as "the second most dangerous man in London" (the most dangerous being Professor Moriarty).
Mary Watson (née Morstan)
Mary Morstan becomes the wife of Dr. Watson. She is first introduced in The Sign of Four, where she and Watson tentatively become attracted to each other, but only when the case is resolved is he able to propose to her. She is described as blonde with pale skin. At the time she hires Holmes she had been making a living as a governess. Although at the end of the story the main treasure is lost, she has received six pearls from a chaplet of the Agra Treasure.
Mary Morstan's father, a senior captain of an Indian regiment and later stationed near the Andaman Islands, disappeared in 1878 in mysterious circumstances that would later be proved to be related to the mystery in The Sign of Four. Her mother died soon after her birth and she had no other relative in England, although she was educated there (in accordance with the received wisdom of the time about children in the colony of India.) Watson and Mary marry in 1889.
Although it was "love at first sight", Mary Morstan and Dr. Watson's marriage fluctuates somewhat. In "The Adventure of the Crooked Man" Watson goes off with Holmes to solve a locked room mystery the summer after his marriage. She is concerned enough about his health to send him to the country during "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", but when Mary Morstan dies (the circumstances of which are not related in the Sherlock Holmes canon), Watson moves back in with Holmes and makes no reference to the loss, though it is speculated by Baring-Gould that he married again afterwards, which raises questions as to how close they actually were, or whether Watson is being a stiff-lipped Victorian. It is probable that Mary Morstan died in the interim between "The Adventure of the Final Problem" and "The Adventure of the Empty House", given that in his farewell letter to Watson, Holmes asks his old friend to "give my regards to Mrs. Watson"; upon Holmes's return, Watson writes, "In some manner he had learned of my own sad bereavement"; and in "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder", one of the most immediate adventures after Holmes's return, Watson has returned to the old quarters in Baker Street.
- Film appearances
Mary Morstan has been portrayed several times on film.
- In the black and white film Sherlock Holmes Solves The Sign of the Four by Isobel Elsom
- In The Sign of Four (1932 film) by Isla Bevan, with Arthur Wontner as Holmes
- In The Sign of Four episode of the Sherlock Holmes series featuring Peter Cushing as Holmes and Nigel Stock as Watson, by Ann Bell
- In the German Das Zeichen der Vier by Gila Von Weitershausen
- In The Sign of Four featuring Ian Richardson as Holmes, by Cherie Lunghi
- In the Granada series, opposite Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, by Jenny Seagrove
- In the 1991 adaptation called The Crucifer of Blood starring Charlton Heston as Sherlock Holmes. In this adaptation, Morstan is renamed "Irene St. Claire".
- In the Russian film Priklyucheniya Sherloka Kholmsa i doktora Vatsona: Sokrovishcha Agry by Yekaterina Zinchenko
- In the 2001 film The Sign of Four with Matt Frewer as Sherlock Holmes and Kenneth Welsh as Dr. Watson, by Sophie Lorain. In this version, Mary Morstan becomes engaged to Thadeus Shalto rather than Dr. Watson
- In the Guy Ritchie film Sherlock Holmes, opposite Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, by Kelly Reilly. In the film, Mary is first introduced to Holmes as Watson's fiancee rather than as a client. Reilly will reprise her role in the upcoming 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
Langdale Pike is a celebrated gossipmonger whose columns are published in numerous magazines and newspapers (referred to as the "garbage papers" by Watson). He's introduced in The Adventure of the Three Gables in which he helps Holmes learn the name of the woman who led Douglas Maberley to his demise, although he does not actually appear in the story itself and is only referred to by Watson who describes Pike as "strange" and "languid" and states that all of Pike's waking hours are spent "in the bow window of a St. James's Street club". His character has however been expanded on or fleshed out elsewhere. In William S. Baring-Gould's biography of Sherlock Holmes it is claimed that Pike is a college acquaintance of Holmes who encourages a young Holmes to try his hand at acting. Here his real name is given as 'Lord Peter'. In Bert Coules' radio play, Pike's real name is said to be Clarence Gable. Here he is also an old school-friend of Holmes's and is nervous of strangers and reluctant to leave his club for this reason. In the Granada television adaptation starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes meanwhile, Pike (played by Peter Wyngarde) is also apparently an old university friend of Holmes's. Here he claims to be the benevolent counterpart of Charles Augustus Milverton (the eponymous blackmailer of The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton), who suppresses more information than he exposes. Though Watson is rather scathing about Pike, Holmes is more sympathetic towards him, suggesting that Pike is isolated, much like Holmes himself.
The film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Billy Wilder, features a character called Wiggins (played by Graham Armitage) who is a footman at the Diogenes Club. He delivers a note to Mycroft Holmes (played by Christopher Lee) and receives instructions concerning various items.
Some fictional characters associated with Sherlock Holmes are not part of the Conan Doyle canon and were created by other writers.
Enola Holmes is the younger sister and youngest sibling of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. She appears in the series The Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer and it could be inferred that she appears in the story The Copper Beeches as Violet Hunter, however there is not enough evidence to support the fact. Enola is a very independent and rebellious girl who likes to wear trousers while riding her bike. She becomes a Perditorian, or finder of lost things, when her mother runs away with the gypsies and her brothers try to send her to boarding school. Using her natural cunning which seems to be inherited by every Holmes known to man, she creates multiple disguises on her quest to be reuninted with her mother and evade her brothers.
Raffles Holmes, the son of Sherlock Holmes, is a fictional character in the 1906 collection of short stories Raffles Holmes and Company by John Kendrick Bangs. He is described as the son of Sherlock Holmes by Marjorie Raffles, the daughter of gentleman thief A.J. Raffles.
Wold Newton family theorist Win Scott Eckert devised an explanation in his Original Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology to reconcile the existence of Raffles Holmes with canonical information about Sherlock Holmes and A.J. Raffles, which fellow Wold Newton speculator Brad Mengel incorporated into his essay "Watching the Detectives." According to the theory, Holmes married Marjorie in 1883, and she died giving birth to Raffles later that year. Since Raffles and Holmes are contemporaries, it has been suggested that Marjorie was actually Raffles' sister.
Eckert further proposed in his Crossover Chronology that (1) Raffles Holmes was the same character as the "lovely, lost son" of Sherlock Holmes referred to in Laurie R. King's Mary Russell novels, and (2) Raffles Holmes was the father of Creighton Holmes, who is featured in the collection of short stories The Adventures of Creighton Holmes by Ned Hubble.
Mengel's online essay was revised for publication in the Eckert-edited Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe (MonkeyBrain Books, 2005), a collection of Wold Newton essays by Farmer and several other "post-Farmerian" contributors, authorized by Farmer as an extension of his Wold Newton mythos.
He does not appear or is ever mentioned in any of the original stories of Sherlock Holmes and is not a creation of Sir A.Conan Doyle.
Sherrinford Holmes is a hypothetical elder brother of Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft Holmes. It is believed that his deduction skills exceed those of both his younger brothers. His name is taken from early notes as one of those considered by Arthur Conan Doyle for his detective hero before settling on "Sherlock Holmes".
He was first proposed by William S. Baring-Gould who wrote in his famous 'biography' "Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street" that Sherrinford was the eldest brother of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes once stated that his family were country squires, which means that the eldest brother would have to stay to manage the house. If Mycroft were the eldest then he couldn't play the role he does in four stories of the Sherlock Holmes canon, so Sherrinford frees them both. This position is strengthened by the fact that Mycroft's general position as a senior civil servant was a common choice among the younger sons of the gentry.
The character appears (also misspelled Sherringford), along with his brothers, in the Virgin New Adventures Doctor Who novel All-Consuming Fire by Andy Lane, where he is revealed to be the member of a cult worshipping an alien telepathic slug that is mutating him and his followers into an insect-like form; the novel culminates with Holmes being forced to shoot his brother to save Watson.
Mary Russell is a fictional character in a book series by Laurie R. King, focusing on the adventures of Russell and her lover and, later, husband, an aging Sherlock Holmes.
- ^ Tracy, Jack. "The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana" 1977 Doubleday & Co.
- ^ Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir: "The Naval Treaty," The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. 
- ^ Mrs. Hudson at the Internet Movie Database
- ^ Doyle, Arthur (2004). The Adventure of the Dying Detective. Kessinger Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 1419151320.
- ^ Mary Morstan at the Internet Movie Database
- ^ The Original Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology Part IV
- ^ The Original Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology Part VI
- ^ The Original Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology Part VII
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