Who Is the Real Sherlock Holmes?

Sleuthing leads to doctor with a flair for theatrics.

A decade before Sherlock Holmes’ first crime was solved, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the fictional detective, was a medical student. This is where he met the man who later became the inspiration for the famous sleuth, according to crimereads.com book expert.

From 1876 to 1881, Conan Doyle, who’d been abandoned by a drunken father and was supported by wealthy uncles, studied medicine Edinburg University. While there he met Joseph Bell, who at the time was 39 and a surgeon for the Royal Infirmary.

Joseph Bell is said to be the “real-life” Sherlock Holmes. Doyle soon became his outpatient clerk.

This relationship between a brilliant, logical thinker and his supportive sidekick would later mirror that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Bell was known for his theatrics in the classroom. On one occasion he swallowed a vial of liquid in front of his student so they could determine whether or not it was poison (it was not poison).

Bell isn’t the only inspiration for the Sherlock Holmes character, notes crimereads. Doyle was also inspired by his own life with an alcoholic father, a handful of pioneering Victorian professionals and Doyle’s own imagination.

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