The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen, Switzerland, claims to be the most authentic Baker Street reproduction in the world

Conan Doyle wrote the Holmes stories quickly, never imagining that they would receive much scrutiny. If he forgot a date or fact from a previous story, he forged ahead without looking it up. This bad habit has resulted in some startling discrepancies. Was Watson wounded in the leg or the arm? How could Watson's deceased wife be on a visit to her mother's? Is Watson's given name "James" or "John"? To correct these and other inconsistencies, Sherlockians comb the "canon," or "sacred writings," for clues, seek secondary sources (inventing some themselves when all else fails), and write "scholarly" articles, using Holmes's methods to solve contradictions in the works or following clues to add new "facts" to Holmes's and Watson's biographies.


When this map was drawn in 1892, no 221b Baker Street existed


One favorite Sherlockian controversy centers on the "original" location of 221b Baker Street, a non-existent address in Conan Doyle's time. When Baker Street was renumbered during the 1920s, 221b was created on the block formerly called Upper Baker Street. Many faithful representations of the sitting room at 221b Baker Street have been constructed throughout the world. All contain the violin, the tobacco-holding Persian slipper, and other Holmesian accouterments mentioned in the stories.

The Game is played seriously, but is played best when it avoids pomposity. Christopher Morley once wrote, "What other body of modern literature is esteemed as much for its errors as its felicities?" Conan Doyle, on the other hand, wondered why anyone "should spend such pains on such material." He alone, it seems, was immune to the fascination exerted by Sherlock Holmes and John Watson on generations of readers.

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