I’m sure most of our readers, along with my fellow Cozy Mystery Magazine authors, know by now that I’m a huge Miss Marple/Agatha Christie fan. For a cozy mystery author like me, Miss Marple’s powers of observation are an inspiration for my own books. But even as much as I love the elderly sleuth, I have to admit that she didn’t use science like one of the first literary sleuths--Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock had a brilliant scientific mind, and his crime scene technique was years ahead of real crime science.
Take fingerprints, for example. Scotland Yard didn’t start using fingerprints until 1901. Sir Author Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes using fingerprint evidence in the Sign of Four, published in 1890. Holmes was also the first to analyze typewritten documents. In A Case of Identity, published in 1891, Holmes recognized that letters were typewritten, with no signature. He obtained a typewritten note from his suspect and analyzed the idiosyncrasies of the man’s typewriter. Case solved. The FBI only started a document section of the bureau in 1932.
You can find the show through Netflix. You can also buy the DVD at Amazon.
Here are some interesting websites, if you’d like to read more about the science behind Sherlock Holmes:
In closing, I will say that despite Sherlock Holmes’ abilities, I’d prefer to spend a day with Miss Marple. I’ve always found Sherlock Holmes an unlikeable guy, even though I admire his intelligence. I enjoy the stories, but they don’t contain the characterization of the Miss Marples novels—and I love character development. Sherlock Holmes books are more about him and his smarts. Miss Marple is more about the people. This is just my opinion. I'd love to hear what our readers have to say.