When Fiction Becomes Fact

A pub at Thessaloniki

Writing is sometimes a self-effacing and even a self-erasing art. The most successful fictional character is one that is better known than its author. In extreme cases, the character becomes so real to its fans that the author is totally forgotten. This is what happened to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

At the 1940 dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars, Denis Conan Doyle was dismayed that members of the club were talking about Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and other characters in the series as if they knew them personally. Even more intriguing, his father’s name was not even mentioned once. An amazing amount of effort has also been put into “recreating” 221B Baker Street. There are museums all over Europe that attempt to “recreate” Sherlock Holmes’ lodging which he was supposed to have shared with another fictional character, Dr Watson.

Treating it like history, some fans of Sherlock Holmes (or should we say Sir Arthur) dug into every detail in Sir Arthur’s works to “recreate” the room as if it actually existed.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street.

221B Baker Street.  Come at once if convenient.

The amount of attention paid to the author’s actual residence pales in comparison. Sherlock Holmes had stepped out of the pages into the real world. Its creator has retreated into the background. Is this the outcome of superb characterisation?


“No other writer, not even Shakespeare can boast of creating a character so vivid that people believe in the character rather than the author.” – Edgar W. Smith

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Broken Dreams & Missed Opportunities

I wonder what might have inspired this writer of this song. The fact that it touches so many people shows that we all have our broken dreams and missed opportunities caused by a variety of factors from procrastination to pragmatism or pandering to social norms. Going back to a place that brings back fond memories, we know we can’t relive the past. Some things have changed – permanently. It’s so soothing to think of the wonderful things that could have happened, but would it still be as soothing if we had actively pursued and made things happen? Perhaps it’s better not to know. Just wave, smile and say, it has been a while.

Dewdrop Books – Fiction and non-fiction with a focus on the colourful and exotic Asian realm. Check out our titles.