From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, characters, quotes have been and are still used a lot in crime and detective stories by other authors since 1920.

Characters may be labelled "Sherlock" or "Watson", sometimes pejoratively ("playing Sherlock Holmes"), but most of the time as a compliment after a deduction or a good idea ("You are indeed the Sherlock Holmes!"), or as a simple nickname ("What's up, Sherlock?"). Some also use "Hawkshaw" in reference of the Gus Mager's comics. Authors also refer to investigation methods ("the Sherlock Holmes manner", "like Sherlock Holmes"...), and some specific situations from the Sherlock Holmes stories like the "dog who didn't bark", "the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter", and the famous quote "Eliminate the impossible what remains, however improbable, is the truth". And of course "Elementary, my dear...".

Conan Doyle is mentioned in "Le Mystère de la chambre jaune" by Gaston Leroux in 1907. But this was Agatha Christie as soon as 1920 who was first mentioning Sherlock Holmes in most of her novels. And one century later it continues by the most wellknown authors... If you find more quotes in other novels/short stories, let us know at

Parodies and pastiches are not included in the list below, see dedicated section.

In crime stories

Year Author Title & Text
1907 Gaston Leroux (FR) Le Mystère de la chambre jaune

- Je me trouve plus abject, plus bas dans l'échelle des intelligences que ces agents de la Sûreté imaginés par les romanciers modernes, agents qui ont acquis leur méthode dans la lecture des romans d'Edgar Poe ou de Conan Doyle. Ah ! Agents littéraires. qui bâtissez des montagnes de stupidité avec un pas sur le sable, avec le dessin d'une main sur le mur ! « À toi, Frédéric Larsan, à toi, l'agent littéraire ! Tu as trop lu Conan Doyle, mon vieux ! Sherlock Holmes te fera faire des bêtises, des bêtises de raisonnement plus énormes que celles qu'on lit dans les livres. Elles te feront arrêter un innocent. Avec ta méthode à la Conan Doyle, tu as su convaincre le juge d'instruction, le chef de la Sûreté. tout le monde. Tu attends une dernière preuve. une dernière ! Dis donc une première, malheureux !
1920 Agatha Christie (UK) The Mysterious Affair at Styles

"Well, I've always had a secret hankering to be a detective!"
"The real thing—Scotland Yard? Or Sherlock Holmes?"
"Oh, Sherlock Holmes by all means. But really, seriously, I am awfully drawn to it. [..]" (chapter 1)
1922 Agatha Christie (UK) The Secret Adversary

"How do you make that out?"
"If she wasn't, how would they have known Jane Finn had got the papers?"
"Correct. Proceed, O Sherlock!"
1923 Dorothy Sayers (UK) Whose Body?

Exit the amateur of first editions; new motif introduced by solo bassoon; enter Sherlock Holmes, disguised as a walking gentleman. (chapter 1)
I wish his lordship never wanted valeting at night. Many's the time I've sat up till three and four, and up again to call him early to go off Sherlocking at the other end of the country. (chapter 4)
"Y'see," said Lord Peter, balancing a piece of duck on his fork and frowning, "it's only in Sherlock Holmes and stories like that, that people think things out logically. (chapter 7)
"I'm glad I've puzzled Parker. Gives me confidence in myself. Makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes. (chapter 9)
His mind had been warped in its young growth by "Raffles" and "Sherlock Holmes," or the sentiments for which they stand. (chapter 11)
1924 Agatha Christie (UK) The Man in the Brown Suit

I asked Anne Beddingfeld if she was sure of this. She replied that it was merely a deduction—quite in the Sherlock Holmes manner. However, I gather that she had cabled it home to Nasby as a proved fact. Women have these intuitions—I've no doubt that Anne Beddingfeld is perfectly right in her guess—but to call it a deduction is absurd. (chapter 17)
1925 Agatha Christie (UK) The Secret of Chimneys

"Good heavens!" cried Virginia. "Is this Sherlock Holmes?" (chapter 9)
"Why did you seem so surprised when I mentioned the name of Jimmy McGrath to you yesterday at Pont Street? Had you heard it before?"
"I had, Sherlock Holmes. [..] (chapter 15)
"Watson to your Sherlock, in fact?"
"Detective stories are mostly bunkum," said Battle unemotionally. "But they amuse people," he added, as an afterthought. "And they're useful sometimes." (chapter 20)
1927 Agatha Christie (UK) The Big Four

"Your brother," I cried, astonished. "I never knew you had a brother?"
"You surprise me, Hastings. Do you not know that all celebrated detectives have brothers who would be even more celebrated then they are were it not for constitutional indolence?" (chapter 15)
1928 H. Winslow / L. Quirk (USA) The Spectrum of Salem

"However, although devoid of the talents of Sherlock Holmes, I am a sort of detective."
1929 Agatha Christie (UK) The Affair of the Pink Pearl

"On it lay a somewhat futuristic dressing gown, a turkish slipper, and a violin.
"Obvious, my dear Watson," said Tuppence.
"Exactly," said Tommy. "The Sherlock Holmes touch."
"I wonder if she stole the thing herself," remarked Tuppence meditatively. "Come on, Tommy, let’s put away these books and take the car and go down there. By the way, who are you going to be, Sherlock Holmes still?"
1929 Agatha Christie (UK) Finessing the King

Tommy sighed, and brought the tips of his fingers together in the most approved Sherlock Holmes fashion.
1929 Agatha Christie (UK) The Case of the Missing Lady

"If you must be Sherlock Holmes," she observed, "I'll get you a nice little syringe and a bottle labelled Cocaine, but for God's sake leave that violin alone. If that nice explorer man hadn't been as simple as a child, he'd have seen through you. Are you going on with the Sherlock Holmes touch?"
"Yes, that looked well for the efficiency of Blunt's Brilliant Detectives. This is decidedly a Sherlock Holmes case. Even you cannot have failed to notice the similarity between it and the disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax."
"I believe, Watson," he said with dignity, "that there is a very good Concert at the Queen's Hall tomorrow. We shall be in plenty of time for it. And you will oblige me by not placing this case upon your records. It has absolutely no distinctive features."
1929 Agatha Christie (UK) The Ambassador's Boots

"It's a generally accepted hypothesis. Remember Sherlock Holmes and the depth the butter had sunk into the parsley—I mean the other way round. I've always had a devouring wish to know all about that case. Perhaps Watson will disinter it from his notebook one of these days. Then I shall die happy. But we must get busy."
1929 Agatha Christie (UK) The Sunningdale Mystery

"You see, Watson, but you do not observe. I wonder now whether one of these haughty damsels would condescend to notice us? ...
1929 Agatha Christie (UK) The Unbreakable Alibi

"Ha!" said Tommy. "What do we deduce from this letter, Watson? Nothing much, except the somewhat obvious fact that Mr.—er—Montgomery Jones is not one of the world's best spellers, thereby proving that he has been expensively educated."
1929 Katharine Brush (USA) Silk Hat

"All we need to find out is who to notify. It don't take a Sherlock Holmes to guess why he did it." The detective's fat hand slapped the bills. "If there's anybody cares," he added.
1930 Agatha Christie (UK) The Murder at the Vicarage

"What age is he?"
"Just sixteen. You don't take tragedies seriously at that age. It's all Sherlock Holmes and Arsene Lupin to you." (chapter 14)
"Looks like picric acid. Where did you find it?"
"That," I replied, "is Sherlock Holmes's secret." (chapter 25)
"I wonder," I said. "I think each one of us in his secret heart fancies himself as Sherlock Holmes." (chapter 26)
1930 P. G. Wodehouse (UK) Very good, Jeeves

"But there is one department of life in which I am Hawkshaw the detective in person." (chapter 2)
1930 E. M. Delafield (UK) Diary of a provincial Lady

P.S. Do I remember the dear old pond, and the day of the Spanish Arrowroot. Can recall, after some thought, dear old pond, at bottom of Cissie's father's garden, but am completely baffled by Spanish Arrowroot. (Query: Could this be one of the Sherlock Holmes stories? Sounds like it.)
1931 Agatha Christie (UK) The Sittaford Mystery

"I should say it was. I say, are you doing any sleuthing? If so, can I help? Be the Watson to your Sherlock, or anything of that kind?" (chapter 21)
1932 Jean Ray (BE) Jack de Minuit

- Si vous voulez à jamais fermer les romans de Conan Doyle, de Wallace et de Sax Rohmer, les bannir de vos loisirs et de vos bibliothèques, allez voir Scotland Yard. C'est une bâtisse sordide, laide et décrépite, comme tout ce qui approche de la Justice britannique. Vous vous attendez à voir sortir de ses porches qui sentent le clapier, le profil aigu de Sherlock Holmes, la silhouette vengeresse de Harry Dickson ; vous espérez que quelque part, dans votre dos, l'ombre inquiétante de Raffles soit aux aguets. Ah ouiche ! Le moindre bureau administratif de France, y compris le Quai des Orfèvres, déverse dans la rue, à l'heure des repas, des bonshommes moins ordinaires, moins ronds-de-cuireux, que ceux que le Yard envoie manger des sandwiches et chiquer du navy-cut sur l'Embankment.
1933 Agatha Christie (UK) Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

"It seems to me we've got three angles of attack."
"Go on, Sherlock."
1933 Boisyvon (FR) Le Troisième pendu

Pour cette dernière déduction, c'était du Sherlockholmisme.
1934 Ngaio Marsh (NZ) A Man Lay Dead

"Holmes, my dear fellow, this is supernatural," murmured Nigel.
"Holmes wasn't such a boob when all's said," answered Alleyn. "Personally, I think those yarns are jolly clever." (chapter 10)
1935 Agatha Christie (UK) The A.B.C. Murders

"Mon ami, what will you? You fix upon me a look of doglike devotion and demand of me a pronouncement à la Sherlock Holmes! (chapter 8)
1935 James Hilton (UK) Good Bye, Mr. Chips

"(A hansom clop-clopping in the roadway; green-pale gas lamps flickering on a wet pavement; newsboys shouting something about South Africa; Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street.) (chapter 5)
He accepted presidency of the Old Boys' Club and went to dinners in London. He wrote occasional articles, full of jokes and Latin quotations, for the Brookfield terminal magazine. He read his Times every morning—very thoroughly; and he also began to read detective stories—he had been keen on them ever since the first thrills of Sherlock. Yes, he was quite busy, and quite happy, too. (chapter 12)
1936 Agatha Christie (UK) Cards on the Table

"It reminds you of Sherlock Holmes, does it not? The curious incident of the dog in the night. The dog did not howl in the night. That is the curious thing! Ah, well, I am not above stealing the tricks of others." (chapter 10)
"He doesn't look a Sherlock," said Rhoda. "I expect he has been quite good in his day. He's gaga now, of course. He must be at least sixty. Oh, come on, Anne, let's go and see the old boy. he may tell us dreadful things about the others." (chapter 23)
1936 Ellery Queen (USA) Halfway house

"Mister Queen! That line had whiskers when Cleo suckled the asp. I was sitting only a few feet away in the lobby of the Stacy-Trent when your boy-friend called you up. Good work, Sherlock; you're living up to your reputation. Who's the pretty lad on the floor? (chapter 1)
"What's up, Sherlock? More deep stuff?"
"It was the curious phenomenon of the lipstick that wasn't used," smiled Ellery.
They were puzzled. Pollinger scrubbed his chin and said: "The lipstick that wasn’t used? By George, Queen, that sounds like something out of Doyle." (chapter 5)
1937 Agatha Christie (UK) Dumb Witness

"You have received this morning one letter of particular interest!"
"You are indeed the Sherlock Holmes! Yes, you are perfectly right." (chapter 5)
1939 S.-A. Steeman (BE) L'Assassin habite au 21

- God damn... Vous n'oubliez qu'une chose, Sherlock ! Mr Smith est démasqué !
1939 Raymond Chandler (USA) The Big Sleep

"Well, what have I done wrong ? Your man Norris seemed to think when Geiger was eliminated the case was over. I don't see it that way. Geiger's method of approach puzzled me and still does. I'm not Sherlock Holmes or Philo Vance. I don't expect to go over ground the police have covered and pick up a broken pen point and build a case from it. If you think there is anybody in the detective business making a living doing that sort of thing, you don't know much about cops. ... (chapter 30)
1940 Agatha Christie (UK) One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

"Oh, yes, quite interesting. Talking of jobs. I've always been interested to know how you private detectives go about things? I suppose there’s not much of the Sherlock Holmes touch really, mosdy divorce nowadays?" (Five, Six, Picking Up Sticks, chapter 8)
1940 Agatha Christie (UK) One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

"Oh, yes, quite interesting. Talking of jobs, I've always been interested to know how you private detectives go about things? I suppose there's not much of the Sherlock Holmes touch really, mostly divorce nowadays?" (chapter 8)
1940 Anthony Boucher (USA) Nine Times Nine

"Hell, darling, Sherlock Holmes isn't just mysteries, any more than Macbeth is just a play or Bist du bei mir is just a tune. The Holmes chronicles are something wonderful and superhuman and apart. I grew up on them, and I worship at the shrine."
"I'll agree they aren't mysteries," said Leona, with a noticeable absence of her husband's enthusiasm.
"Anybody that'll hold out clews on you like that—"
"This passage, now..." Matt suggested.
"Yes. I think it's in The Lion's Mane. The explorer says, 'I saw no one,' and Holmes replies, 'That is what you may expect to see when I follow you.' Well, that’s the ideal of all shadowing. We aren’t all Holmeses in the police force, but nobody should let a man notice he’s being followed. What made you realize it?" (chapter 13)
1941 Agatha Christie (UK) Evil Under The Sun

"So you're in on this? Oh well, I suppose you would be. Sherlock Holmes v. the local police, is that it?" (chapter 2)
"I suppose this is the Sherlock Holmes touch!" (chapter 7)
1941 Clayton Rawson (USA) Death Out of Thin Air

"Don tossed a book on to the pile stacked on the floor by his chair. He looked at the gloomy expression on Chan's face and asked, "No luck, Hawkshaw?" (chapter 4)
Don thought, "Oh oh. Flattery too." Aloud he asked, "What make of safe?"
"A Holmes & Watson. Their No. 1 Double Dial Bank Lock." (chapter 8)
1941 Stuart Palmer (USA) The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan

The case would have already been solved by Mr. Sherlock Holmes, Miss Withers felt. From the data on hand he could give a minute description of Derek Laval, including his past from the age of six, his taste in food and literature and the colour of his eyes. (chapter 4)
1941 Jorge Luis Borges (AR) Ficciones: El Acercamiento a Almotasim

Philip Guedalla escribe que la novela The approach to Al-Mu'tasim del abogado Mir Bahadur Alí, de Bombay, « es una combinación algo incómoda (a rather mcomfortable combination) de esos poemas alegóricos del Islam que raras veces dejan de interesar a su traductor y de aquellas novelas policiales que inevitablemente superan a John H. Watson y perfeccionan el horror de la vida humana en las pensiones más irreprochables de Brighton. »
1943 Clayton Rawson (USA) Death From Nowhere

"Elementary, my dear Sherlock," Woody answered. (chapter 9)
1943 Bill Pronzini (USA) Thin Air

"He kept on staring at me. Then he shook his head and said, "You know something? You're getting to be a regular Sherlock Holmes in your old age."
"Listen," he said, "who's this Lestrade you mentioned yesterday?"
"That's still bothering you, is it?"
"Who is he, damn it? Some character in one of your pulps?"
"Nope. He's a cop in the Sherlock Holmes stories — the one Holmes keeps outwitting."
Laughing to myself, I went back to the Black Mask poster. Eb was no Lestrade, of course—and I was no Sherlock Holmes. I was the next best thing though. At least to my way of thinking, and in spite of my dream."
1945 Alexis Gensoul (FR) L'énigme de Téfaha

- Mais voyons la suite. Que disent encore les Sherlock Holmes de Téfaha ?
1945 Nancy Mitford (UK) The Pursuit of Love

"One does not," he said in the nearly perfect English of somebody who has spoken it from a child, "have to be Sherlock Holmes to guess that." (chapter 16)
1946 Erik J. Certön (FR) L'énigme de Fal-River

"- Cet ensemble, il est célèbre ! C'est celui de Sherlock Holmes avec son ami le docteur Watson. J'ai cru tout d'abord que ce garçon Crandale serait votre Watson...
- Vous n'avez pas compris, Monsieur le perspicace ? Je vais vous le dire : Watson a voulu, pour un coup d'essai, sauver la vie de Sherlock Holmes."
1946 Suzanne Frémont (FR) Le Château des 7 mystères

Où Corentin Pacot fait de moi son Watson (title of chapter)
1946 Elisabeth S. Holding (USA) The Innocent Mrs. Duff

Mrs. Albany was dressed for travelling; she wore a grey suit with a shoulder cape and small black hat tilted forward in a point on her forehead; with her high-bridged nose and her heavy-headed eyes she looked, thought Duff, rather like Sherlock Holmes. Reggie took her into the bedroom, already made neat for her reception, and presently she joined her nephew in the sitting-room. (chapter 10)
1947 Agatha Christie (UK) The Horses of Diomedes

"Ha!" said Hercule Poirot. "Mon cher Watson, I deduce that there has been here a party!"
1947 Agatha Christie (UK) The Apples of Hesperides

Hercule Poirot sighed. "It is a romantic theory. Pearls stuffed into plaster casts—what is the story—the Bust of Napoleon, is it not? But in this case it is not jewels—it is a large solid-gold cup. Not so easy to hide that, one would think."
1947 P. G. Wodehouse (UK) Full Moon

"In fact," said Freddie, as a cab came to a halt with a grinding of brakes, "here, if I mistake not, Watson, is our client now." (chapter 6)
1948 Fredric Brown (USA) The Dead Ringer

"Who the hell do you think I am, kid? Sherlock Holmes or Philo Vance or something?" (chapter 11)
1949 Jacques Decrest (FR) Fumées sans feu

- Où étiez-vous, Sherlock ? C'est la troisième fois que nous vous appelons à la préfecture ?
1949 P. G. Wodehouse (UK) The Mating Season

What ensued was rather like the big scene in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The baying and the patter of feet grew louder, and suddenly out of the darkness Sam Goldwyn clocked in, coming along at a high rate of speed and showing plainly in his manner how keenly he appreciated the termination of the sedentary life he had been leading these last days. (chapter 24)
1950 Ellery Queen (USA) Double, Double

Otis Holderfield marched in followed by Chalanski, Dakin, O'Bannon of the Record, and a man who looked like an aged and prosperous Sherlock Holmes and was introduced as Dr. Famham Famham, internist and member of the Board of Directors of Wrightsville General Hospital. (chapter 'Monday, May 1')
1950 Frank Kane (USA) Slay Ride

"Well, if it isn't Sherlock Liddell himself," Herlehy grunted. (chapter 10)
Liddell nodded. "Just like Sherlock Holmes and the barking dog. The dog didn't bark at midnight. That's where the whole solution lay."
"What are you doing, calling someone in for a consultation? What's Sherlock Holmes got to do with the fact that no name appears on all the important dates? Or his barking dog, for that matter?"
"It has everything to do with it, my sweet. Because therein lies the solution. The dog didn't bark at midnight — and the finger man’s name didn't get on the list." (chapter 21)
Muggsy snapped her fingers. "Sherlock Holmes' barking dog who didn't bark?" (chapter 22)
1951 Cyril Hare (UK) An English Murder

"It is not anything that happened in that year that is important, you must understand, but something that did not happen. And that was very important indeed. Like Sherlock Holmes's dog in the night." (chapter 11)
1951 Pamela Branch (UK) The Wooden Overcoat

"... would you think I was an absolute monster if I put Dr Watson outside in the air-raid shelter? ...
1952 Frank Kane (USA) About Face / Death About Face

"From the set of his bulging shoulders, the bent nose and the hand in the jacket pocket, it didn't take a Sherlock Holmes to tag him as a professional bodyguard. (chapter 2)
The receiver laughed at him. "That's what you get for going to bed so early, Sherlock." (chapter 3)
"Sorry to disappoint you, Sherlock. No blood, no murder. Just a plain, every day, drunken driving accident. Tried to make a Buick climb a tree." (chapter 3)
"You don't have to take my word for it, Sherlock. It's in the files at the office." (chapter 3)
"I'm trying to prove to old Sherlock here that Randolph wore contact lenses. Pop." (chapter 3)
"Well, Sherlock, how about that fancy theory now?" (chapter 4)
"That's for luck, Sherlock. Don't let it give you any ideas." (chapter 11)
"That's our out, Sherlock. Suppose I didn't have it, just had his verbal confession that he's Harvey Randolph. [..] (chapter 16)
1952 M.-E. Chaber / K.-F. Crossen (USA) Hangman's Harvest / Don't Get Caught

"Maybe if I could concentrated on it, I could get all the answers without looking around. Just like Sherlock Holmes."
1952 Agatha Christie (UK) Mrs. McGinty's Dead

"Oh, no," said Mrs Oliver. "He's a detective. You know. The Sherlock Holmes kind—deerstalkers and violins and all that. And he’s come here to solve a murder." (chapter 10)
1953 P. G. Wodehouse (UK) Ring for Jeeves

"His customary stolidity had vanished. He was keen and alert, like Sherlock Holmes on the trail. (chapter 3)
He spoke bluffly, and only somebody like Sherlock Holmes or Monsieur Poirot could have divined that at the sound of her voice his soul had turned a double somersault, leaving him quivering with an almost Bill Rowcester-like intensity. (chapter 10)
1954 P. G. Wodehouse (UK) Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

I put this to Florence, and she agreed, like Sherlock Holmes, that the problem was one which undoubtedly presented certain points of interest. (chapter 14)
1955 Agatha Christie (UK) Hickory Dickory Dock

"A quotation from one of your classics," he said. "You are acquainted, no doubt, with the Adventures, to say nothing of the Exploits, of Sherlock Holmes." (chapter 1)
"Good. If you get no results from Baker Street, try Scotland Yard and say it was left in a taxi." (chapter 2)
1956 Ed McBain (USA) The Mugger

"Hawthorne watched him. Emphatically, he repeated, "So you're Mr. Sherlock Holmes, eh?"
"Listen to me, Sherlock," Hawthorne said, slamming his open palm onto the desk. "We got a phone call here this afternoon."
"I've been very kind to you, Sherlock. I could have gone straight to Captain Frick at the 87th."
"And they don't know because I was kind enough not to mention this to Captain Frick. I'm being good to you, Sherlock, remember that. I'm being goddamn good and kind to you, so don't give me any crap!"
"All right, listen to me, Sherlock. If I hear again that you're even thinking about Jeannie Paige, your ass is going to be in one big sling.
And don't for a minute think I'm kidding, Sherlock, because I never kid around where it concerns murder." (chapter 15)
1957 Isaac Asimov (USA) The Naked Sun

"Isn't it obvious, then, that, in having eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, is the truth." (chapter 17)
1959 Charles Nicolaï (USA) Death at Chestnut Hill

"But you can ask Sherlock Holmes for some clarification..."
1963 Ed McBain (USA) Ten Plus One

"Her name was Dean Agnes Moriarty, and when the detectives said they were from the police, she immediately quipped, 'Moriarty, meet Holmes and Watson.
"I'll remember that," Miss Moriarty said. "It'll no doubt help me in my sworn and unceasing battle against Holmes." (chapter 7)
1965 Ellery Queen (UK) The Fourth Side of The Triangle

"This armchair Hawkshaw role is debilitating. What price Mycroft Holmes?" (chapter 2)
1966 Lilian Jackson Braun (USA) The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

Arch said, "How does it feel to be playing Dr. Watson to a cat?" (chapter 16)
1966 Colin Wilson (UK) The Glass Cage

"I was reading a lot of adventure novels, Rider Haggard, Conan Doyle, etc."
1970 Colin Wilson (UK) The Killer

A few days after his burglary, Arthur opened The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes at the story called 'The Final Problem.' He had read a great deal of Conan Doyle, and found him exciting, but not as fascinating as Burroughs or Merritt — until he read Holmes's description of Moriarty.
1970 Marc Agapit (FR) Le Mur des aveugles

"- Vous oubliez Conan Doyle, dit un autre. Oui : Conan Doyle, le créateur de Sherlock Holmes. Il a même fait du spiritisme une sorte de religion, qu'il a exposée dans des livres. ...
- Mais je me souvins que Conan Doyle, et d'autres spirites, ont toujours déclaré que les morts disent souvent des banalités, et qu'on ne peut rien conclure de défavorable contre les sciences extra-sensorielles.
- Et ici j'ouvre une parenthèse, pour vous faire remarquer que Conan Doyle prétend que les âmes des morts répondent aux appels des vivants avec d'autant plus d'empressement que leur mort est récente."
1970 Christian Godard (FR) Martin Milan : Les Clochards de la jungle

Avec une habileté remarquable pour un enfant de ton âge, sans en avoir l'air, tu poses les questions qu'il faut, tu démêles le vrai du faux, tu déjoues les pièges qu'on te tend, laissant sur place tes ennemis déconcertés. Tu as saisi le topo ? Bon, vas-y, Sherlock Holmes ! Dis quelque chose !
1971 Jean Lombard aka Max-André Rayjean (FR) Dans les griffes du diable

- Vous savez à qui vous me faites penser, Phil ? A un détective.
- C'est un peu ça. Vote famille s'entoure d'un certain mystère en ce moment. Kate, vous avez le droit de savoir. Nous verrons bien comment nous serons accueillis dans les Highlands. Alors, c'est d'accord pour dimanche ?
Kitty saute de la voiture. Elle tend franchement la main à Howel:
- D'accord, Sherlock Holmes !
1971 P. G. Wodehouse (UK) Much Obliged, Jeeves

"You know him?" said the camera chap.
"I'm sorry to say I do," said Spode, speaking like Sherlock Holmes asked if he knew Professor Moriarty. (chapter 5)
1972 Agatha Christie (UK) Elephants Can Remember

"Dear, dear," said Spence. "Sounds rather like that parsley that sank into the butter on a hot day. You know. Sherlock Holmes and the dog who did nothing in the night-time." (chapter 5)
1972 Marc Agapit (FR) Le Temps de miracles

- Cette lettre peut contenir un détail, ou plusieurs détails susceptibles de mettre le « Sherlock Holmes » qui veille en chacun d'entre nous sur la voie d'une révélation concernant le problème posé.
1975 Paul Maury aka Paul Kinnet (BE) Le Tribunal des sept

- Eh bien, monsieur Furnel ? Vous jouez les Sherlock Holmes ?
- Quand j'étais gosse, et que je lisais les romans de Conan Doyle, dis-je, je m'émerveillais de la rigueur logique avec laquelle Sherlock Holmes arrivait à la vérité en partant d'indices apparemment futiles. Imprimé noir sur blanc, le cheminement de sa pensée m'enthousiasmait.
- Tout policier intelligent aurait fait les mêmes déductions que toi, même Sherlock Holmes.
1975 Ruth Rendell (UK) The Best Man to Die

"That's right, Watson. You're catching on. My old mate," Wexford remarked to no one in particular, "albeit a sawbones, is coming on." (chapter 9)
1977 Colin Dexter (UK) The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn

He took a piece of paper and wrote them down:
(a) Position of Quinn's coffee table indicated that he'd probably been sitting in the draught. (Steady, Sherlock!) (chapter 17)
1977 Peter Dickinson (UK) One Foot in the Grave

"Which of you is Dr. Watson, then?" she said. "Can you stand, Jimmy, or shall I get a wheelie?" (chapter 6)
1978 John L. Breen (USA) The Number 12 Jinx

The batter, a rookie and not the smartest guy in the league, looks at me like I'm Sherlock Holmes in a chest protector and says, "Ed, how can you tell that? How do you know who’s warming up?"
"That's right—he didn't tell me anything," I reply, sipping my drink and enjoying myself. My Sherlock Holmes qualities may be overrated, but that doesn't mean I don’t play them to the hilt when I'm in the mood."
1979 Colin Dexter (UK) Service of All the Dead

"You remember your Sherlock Holmes, Lewis?" But whether or not Lewis was familiar with the works of that great man was not immediately apparent, for clearly Morse himself had a good many passages of Holmesian dialogue by heart, and before Lewis could reply he proceeded to recite one:
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident."
1979 Glendon Swarthout (USA) Skeletons

"Now that we've got Crossworth and Sansom laid away, why not go back and Sherlock around a little more and this time lose a little more of my anatomy?" (chapter 3)
1981 Donald Westlake (USA) Kahawa

"We all have our methods, Watson," Chase said. He made a shooing gesture with the hand holding the revolver. "Go along, go along." (chapter 58)
"We must remember what the great English detective Sherlock Holmes, advises. 'Eliminate the impossible,' he always said, 'and whatever is left, however improbable, is the answer."
"Sherlock Holmes, huh?" (chapter 62)
1982 P.D. James (UK) The Skull Beneath the Skin

Cordelia, happily engrossed in old copies of The Illustrated London News and The Strand magazine, in which she could read the Sherlock Holmes stories as they had originally appeared, wished that she could have been left in peace. (chapter 8)
1984 Mark Schorr (USA) Ace of Diamonds

"I am a member in good standing of the Baker Street Irregulars. As Mr. Holmes would say, 'Elementary, my dear Diamond.'" (chapter 7)
"That's not a bad description. Sherlock Holmes would be proud." (chapter 10)
1985 Christian Jacq aka J. B. Livingstone (FR) Crime à Lindenbourne

Watson B. Petticott, personnage austère et respecté, relation obligée du Premier Ministre et des hommes politiques influents, avait un secret, un rêve inavoué et inavouable : il aurait désiré devenir inspecteur de police et se montrer aussi perspicace que Sherlock Holmes, loin des problèmes économiques et de finances publiques.
1987 H. R. F. Keating (UK) The Body in the Billiard Room

A Great Detective. What was a Great Detective? Some super-best character like Sherlock Holmes? Someone who — his mind scrabbled among dimly remembered stories read as a boy — had solved, sucking at a pipe, mysteries baffling all Scotland Yard. Someone who with a lofty 'Elementary, my dear Watson' had casually made clear utterly inexplicable events. (chapter 2)
"I make no doubt you at least know your Sherlock Holmes," he murmured. "Adventure of the Devil's Foot, if I'm not mistaken. Holmes sent off to Cornwall to avoid a complete breakdown from overwork."
And 37 more references to Sherlock Holmes in this novel.
1987 Reginald Hill (UK) Child's Play

"Owt that'd prove that bloody will's a load of cobblers! You don't have to be Sherlock bloody Holmes to ravel that out, do you, Mr bloody Inspector?" (chapter 3)
1990 Christian Jacq aka J. B. Livingstone (FR) Meurtre chez un éditeur

- Comment ? Intéressante question ! Digne de Sherlock Holmes !
En effet, Watson B. Petticott, que tous les ministres désiraient avoir à leur table, n'avait toujours eu qu'une ambition : devenir un nouveau Sherlock Holmes.
Quant aux journaux à scandales, ils évoquaient le fantôme de Jack l'Eventreur et celui du Docteur Moriarty, sans oublier une abominable machination politique visant à détruire la libre pensée.
Le Docteur Watson disait de Sherlock Holmes que l'une de ses principales qualités était de connaître à la perfection la plus petite des ruelles de Londres...
1990 Christian Poslaniec (FR) Les Fous de Scarron

- Alors, qu'est-ce que tu as trouvé, Sherlock ?
1991 Iain Pears (UK) The Raphael Affair

"Moving, are you?" she observed, noting that this was not the sort of conclusion that required the brains of a Sherlock Holmes to reach. (chapter 5)
1992 Val McDermid (UK) Dead Beat

"If it isn't our very own Sherlock Holmes. Come to check your burglar alarms, have you? Well, picked the wrong night." (chapter 9)
I found Bill leaning back in his chair, a look of deep satisfaction on his face as he puffed away on a Sherlock Holmes pipe filled with some noxious continental tobacco. (chapter 29)
1992 Stephen Laws (UK) Darkfall

"One for Sherlock Holmes I think."
"Come on then, Pearce. Be my Dr Watson."
"How can Victor Saville lose a hand here in Newcastle at — let's say 6.00 p.m. — and crash through a greenhouse fifteen minutes later in Jarrow which Dr Watson, as you know, is..."
"More than ten miles away." (chapter 31)
1993 Philip Kerr (UK) March Violets

You can tell a lot by a client's shoes. That's the only thing I've picked up from Sherlock Holmes. (chapter 2)
I knew his reputation, and it wasn't that of a latter-day Sherlock Holmes. (chapter 16)
1993 Donald Westlake (USA) Don't Ask

That fiend Diddums! He's my Moriarty, Hradec thought, but Hradec had never particularly wanted a foeman worthy of his steel. (chapter 48)
1993 Arturo Perez-Reverte (SP) El club Dumas / La sombra de Richelieu

Fifteen volumes of Sabatini, several by Ortega y Frias, Conan Doyle, Manuel Fernandez y Gonzalez, Mayne Reid, Patricio de la Escosura. (chapter 2)
He remembered something he'd read once, in Edgar Allan Poe or Conan Doyle: "This mystery seems insoluble for the very reasons that make it soluble: the excessive, outre nature of the circumstances." (chapter 13)
There are people who find excitement in Sherlock Holmes's risking his life, while others go for the pipe, the magnifying glass, and the 'Elementary, my dear Watson,' which, by the way, Conan Doyle never actually wrote. (chapter 15)
And 7 more references to Sherlock Holmes...
1993 Val McDermid (UK) Kick Back

"The Case of the Missing Conservatories. Sounds like the Sherlock Holmes story Conan Doyle didn't get round to writing because it was too boring. Let me tell you, I was with Conan Doyle on this one." (chapter 1)
"Well done, Sherlock. You're two years too generous, though," he said. (chapter 14)
1993 Jean-Marc Roberts (FR) Les Seins de Blanche-Neige

- ... Elle lisait l'avenir dans mes mains, mes Zevaco, mes Conan Doyle, L'Equipe de l'avant-veille par dessus mon épaule...
- Il détaille chaque volume de ma bibliothèque : Le Chien des Baskerville, L'Île au trésor, Michel Strogoff, Le Petit Nicolas...
1994 Melodie Johnson Howe (USA) Beauty Dies

"I'm sure there was a time when poor muddled Watson couldn't remember why he had sat down to write."
"But it's difficult to imagine since the good doctor only wrote about Holmes, never his own personal life." (chapter 8)
"Watson would roll over in his grave if he read what you've written." (chapter 14)
"Do you think you're Sherlock Holmes, too?" she asked me. (chapter 28)
1994 Val McDermid (UK) Crack Down

"So, Sherlock," she said. "What's the problem?" (chapter 7)
1994 Lawrence Block (USA) A Long Line of Dead Men

"No shit, Sherlock. He was elected president in 1840, so what do you want from him?" (chapter 11)
"No, that's what you are. Sherlock fucking Holmes. Rumpelstiltskin. That's the clue." (chapter 27)
1994 Iain Pears (UK) The Last Judgement

"Hold everything,"" said Fabriano with fake amusement as she walked in. ""Signora Sherlock's here. Tell me quickly. Who did it?"" (chapter 3)
How do you do that? Eliminate the impossible, so the great man had said. Or, to translate that into more acceptable terms, start with the easy bits. Which, in this case, suggested finding out as much as possible about this picture. (chapter 11)
1994 Rebecca Rothenberg (USA) The Dandelion Murders

"Yeah. As a matter of fact, he was, Sherlock. Why do you ask?" (chapter 5)
1995 Val McDermid (UK) Clean Break

There was a telephone number, FB7792JS (the login), and CONAN (the sysman's password). I'd bet it was Conan the Barbarian the sysman had in mind, not the creator of the world's first PI.
"Welcome to FB. Login?" I typed the digits Gizmo had given me. "Password?" the monitor asked. "Conan" I typed. "As in Doyle," I said firmly. (chapter 13)
But Watsons who scream at their Holmeses don't get the inside track on methodology. (chapter 18)
...many more references to come soon...

  • Acknowlegements: Claire Kerrouault, Max Badin, Michel Burgalat, Bénédicte S., Roberto Moreno, Clément Pawliczek.