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Literature / The Sherlockian

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A 2010 mystery novel by Graham Moore involving an Amateur Sleuth and an Intrepid Reporter trying to track down the murderer who stole Arthur Conan Doyle's lost diary. The book jumps back and forth between the present day search for the diary and Conan Doyle's activities during the period when he wrote the diary.


  • Accidental Public Confession: Type 2: Doyle tricks Stoker into admitting he's been around the seedier parts of London by pretending to be lost until Stoker gives him directions.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Harold, though the book implies that other Sherlockians are on the case as well. Or at least, throwing around theories.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: "Elementary" is written in the room.
  • Creator Backlash: Invoked, but not with Moore; In-Universe, Doyle's contempt for Sherlock Holmes is part of the story.
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  • Fan Community Nicknames: The Sherlockians.
  • Fandom VIP: In-Universe. In the story, The Sherlockians are the elite among Holmes fan societies.
  • Fan Dumb: In-Universe. the people of London seem to forget that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character and accuse Doyle of murdering him.
  • Genre Savvy: Harold is a Holmes fanatic and Doyle is the one who wrote Holmes, so they both have an idea of how things work out. Somewhat.
  • Half-Truth: Sarah tells Harold that she's been emailing the Sherlockian society about being allowed to report on the meetings. Which is true; she just left out the part where the emails told her that she was under no circumstances going to be allowed to attend.
  • Harsher in Hindsight In universe - Doyle wants nothing more than for people to forget about Holmes and let him write other stuff. Over a century later, Holmes is one of the most popular series in the world and not a lot of people know of much of Doyle other works.
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  • Historical In-Joke: An inn-keeper, desperate to get more Holmes stories, suggests that Doyle just say that Holmes faked his death to get at Moriarty. This is how he would bring back Holmes in Real Life.
  • It's for a Book: What people assume that Doyle is doing when asking about the murders.
  • Large Ham: Some of the Sherlockians are rather, shall we say, dramatic about their theories.
    "Others jumped straight over the "investigation" phase and landed square at the end of the story they were creating, instantly accusing the man across the table of some vile treachery. And, moreover, actually employing phrases like "vile treachery" in doing so."
  • MacGuffin: The lost diary.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: The chapters alternate between Doyle in 1900 and Harold & Sarah in 2010.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The trail of clues Harold and Sarah are following, especially when a single book that was relevant to a Holmes story isn't in a collection of seveal hundred books. Fortuantely a Sherlockian is the right type of person to figure out the puzzles.
  • My Greatest Failure: How Stoker describles Dracula, word for word. He thinks that the Count is a character that nobody likes as will be completely forgotten by society. He was, of course, mistaken.
  • Mystery Magnet: Harold is concerned that the police might be suspicious of him being at two crime scenes in less that 24 hours.
  • Only Sane Man: Doyle certainly thinks so, especially after the response to the death of Holmes.
  • Police Are Useless: Not so much in the present day, but very much so in Doyle's day. Though, it is more a case of being extremely overworked rather than incompetent or lazy.
  • Politically Correct History: Averted; Doyle's anti-suffragist stance is not downplayed at all, and becomes a significant part of the story.
  • Ransacked Room: Complete with murder victim.
  • Sherlock Scan: Deconstructed by Harold who explains that even the most detailed scan can only lead to good guesses, not guaranteed information. He then explains how it is even less likely to work in the present day since travel and communication are so much cheaper and faster than in Doyle's time.
  • Suicide, Not Murder: What really happened in the present-day story.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: The murder happens at a Sherlock convention, though it is not a Closed Circle.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Moore took his fair share of liberties in writing the story. Though, unlike a lot of authors that employ this trope, he actually explains what parts are true and what parts he made up in the Author's Note.
  • The Watson: Sarah to Harold and Bram Stoker to Doyle. Both are quite competent, like the original Watson.


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