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The Science of Sherlock

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Member Reviews

This is an awesome book- if you are a Sherlock fan, this adds more specific and scientific detail to the work he did. It does into detail about the how and where, and the intricacies of how the stories were written and solved. 
There is a lot of cultural context about who inspired the different aspects of Sherlock.
If you are a true Sherlock fan, this is a fantastic support to all his stories.
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This book is the ideal book for any Sherlock or literary enthusiast. The author goes into great depth exploring Sherlock Holmes and the cultural impacts on Author Conan Doyle's iconic character. While a little dry at times, this book was incredibly fascinating and put into context a character that is arguably one of the most known literary icons in the world. Anyone who loves literary detectives, history, and analysis should read this book.
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A  Look at the Ultimate Detective

Sherlock Holmes is one of the world’s best-known fictional characters. Holmes became more famous than his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, the first in modern literature to become so. Created in the 1880s, Holmes continues to fascinate today.

“The Science of Sherlock: The Forensic Facts Behind the Fiction,” by Mark Brake takes a deep dive into the Sherlock Holmes phenomena and the realities behind Holmes’s detection methods.

The opening chapter starts at the end – the death of Sherlock Holmes at Reichenbach Falls.  Brake introduces the Holmes phenomena, explaining how Holmes kicked off the modern world of literary fandom. Brake explains how and why the fandom phenomena occurred. He shows why it disconcerted Holmes’s creator to the point where Doyle literally killed off his most popular character.

In the next six chapters, Brake examines different aspects of the Holmes phenomena, with an emphasis of different parts of Holmes’s world, including his deduction methods. He opens with a look at London of the late 1880s. It looks at the social science aspects of the city in which Holmes lived, and how Holmes viewed London.

He next spends a chapter looking at four real individuals in Doyle’s life from which Doyle created Holmes, and what each contributed to Sherlock Holmes. This is followed by a chapter on Holmes’s deductive methods. Brake looks at the strengths and weaknesses of these.

Brake next explores forensic science, showing a symbiotic relation between Holmes’s method and those used today. Holmes proves to be early science fiction. His use of techniques such as fingerprint analysis and analysis of things tobacco ash preceded their use by actual forensic labs.

Brake also spends a chapter exploring Holmes’s use of and fascination with chemistry. At the time Holmes appeared chemistry was emerging as a science, much like computers in the late 20th Century. Interest in chemistry was the mark of a modern man. This is followed by a chapter on Holmes knowledge of the other science. Brake shows what interested Holmes, what did not and why.

He closes the book with chronologies detailing the real life of Doyle and the fictional life of Holmes. Both should delight Holmes fans.

“The Science of Sherlock” is fascinating on several levels. It puts Holmes’s life and adventures in context. It is an intriguing exploration of the times and the circumstances that thrust Holmes into prominence. It is an enjoyable and entertaining book.

“The Science of Sherlock: The Forensic Facts Behind the Fiction,” by Mark Brake, Skyhorse, 2023, 240 pages, $14.99 (Trade Paperback), $10.99 (Ebook)
This review was written by Mark Lardas, who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is
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The Science of Sherlock took the tales of Sherlock and explained in more science terms how the cases were solved.  I thought I would find this book very interesting but unfortunately it was a bit to dry for me to really enjoy it.  That is totally a personal opinion and others may enjoy this book way more than I did so give it a shot. 

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book will be of interest for people who want to gain more knowledge regarding the history and science behind Sherlock. For me it was quite tiring. Nonetheless, the author has made a great effort and thorough search and provides many interesting information.
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This book provides a historical, political, artistic, and especially scientific context for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's life and his Holmes stories. Doyle was ahead of his time and develop forensic techniques that are still used today before they were used by real detectives.
The style is conversational and approachable, except for a few paragraphs that general readers without any science background may find hard to understand.
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As a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes, I greatly enjoyed this book and finding out more about the consulting detective. It's a comprehensive explanation of all things Sherlock and how he operates, and it's a deep dive into the various scientific aspects of his investigative techniques, especially, which could get a little overwhelming for the average person (I had to step away a few times for this reason). However, there's a ton of information that just about anyone would find interesting, and it's all organized in a way that carries you through the various original stories and the adaptations.  (I especially liked seeing the four different base influences for Sherlock and how Doyle wove them all together to create this awe-inspiring character who's still fascinating audiences to this day.)

Would definitely recommend to any Sherlock fan as well as anyone who wants to learn more about the real science involved in the stories.

4 stars

*I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley and am leaving this review voluntarily. All thoughts and comments contained within are my own.*
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I didn't get to read this book. The hubby saw it and ran off with my kindle. Apparently it was very interesting and he kept quoting parts that he thought I might find interesting. The grandchildren were not impressed as we usually read together. They were amazed that grumpy grandad not only could read (he only usually is seen with a newspaper) but that he would read a full book in two days. He now considers himself an expert on Sherlock Holmes and forensics.. I will have to read the book too or be driven mad by all of the things he has learned from this book.
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I was given a copy of this book for review.

Mr. Brake has extensively expounded upon how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle imbued his literary creation with profound depth. Through meticulous analysis, Mr. Brake has elucidated the impact of contemporary cultural and scientific paradigms on the development of the Sherlock Holmes series.

Prior to perusing Mr. Brake's work, I had not realized the profound antipathy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle harbored towards his own creation. Additionally, I was intrigued to learn of the prevalence of fan fiction during the time period, which sought to imagine alternative endings for Sherlock Holmes.

In sum, the book is a highly valuable and engrossing read that is sure to delight fans of the Sherlock Holmes canon.
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I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan and found this book to be a bit up and down. I had moments where I found it interesting and other moments when I found the connections tenuous and a stretch.
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Scientific Companion..
Forensic facts and figures as the science behind the deductions of the great Sherlock Holmes is intricately explored in this treat for Sherlockians and forensic science buffs alike. The great detective’s deductions are as appealing now as ever were and there is no doubt that this book will work as a scientific companion for aficionados of the both the stories and the science,
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As a huge fan of the world’s most famous consulting detective, and an avid reader of non-fiction books about science, this volume was a treat. The author sets Sir Arthur’s life and his Holmes stories in their historical, political, artistic, and especially scientific context. Conan Doyle was ahead of his time and came up with forensic techniques that are still used today, before they were officially adopted or even invented by real detectives. There are many dialogues and passages from the books and the TV show Sherlock, which illustrate what Mark Brake is trying to say better than any exposition. The style is conversational and approachable and, except for a few paragraphs that were more technical, I understood everything. There is math, physics, chemistry, ballistics, astronomy and all the technical aspects that helped Sherlock solve his crimes and revolutionized crime fiction. This is a great book for anyone interested in forensic science, or in Mr. Holmes. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#Skyhorse Publishing!
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4.25/5 stars! I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was 8 years old. I loved diving into his stories and learning how he deduced the results. When I stumbled upon this book as an adult, I was excited to learn about the science behind said deductions. I found this to be a very enjoyable read and I learned so much. It was a captivating read for any Sherlock Holmes nerd. My only criticism would be that general readers without any science background may find some of the material hard to understand.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily
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