Reading Sherlock Holmes…

A study of the intrinsic structure of the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ by Arthur Conan Doyle

Donny Setiawan
3 min readSep 17


Sherlock Holmes (right) and Dr. Watson (left) in conversation.


What do you think when you hear the name ‘Sherlock Holmes’?

Mystery. Crime. English. Detective. And everything is identical, like his signature outfit: hat, cigar, and magnifying glass.

What makes people interested in reading Conan Doyle’s novels?

Just by seeing or hearing the name ‘Sherlock Holmes’, a lasting impression is created. This legendary name is still often talked about to this day and is even being made into a TV series in England (his country of origin).

This detective story is actually quite interesting, especially discussing aspects of its presentation from a literary perspective, because it is very characteristic of literary works of that era. (Around 2 centuries ago or in the 19th century towards the 20th century.)

Why is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work so interesting to review today?

For some reason, literary works that were born in the early 20th century have more of their own identity.

For example, the works of Agatha Christie, Harper Lee, George Orwell, J.R.R Tolkien, and Conan Doyle.

The structure of the Sherlock Holmes story is actually quite simple in its presentation.

Story Structure in Sherlock Holmes

Writing with a detective theme is clearly synonymous with mystery.

In a detective story, this means that the presentation process involves a journey or the process of uncovering a mystery through real and convincing evidence.

However, for me, it is easy for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to convince the reader by exploring a mystery through new facts which the reader then believes are real. So it seems that evidence has been born that answers a mystery that was previously closed.

Conan Doyle created all events along with the characters and evidence (which have been made into facts) through events.

And, interestingly, I assume that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a writer who lived in the thick of European patriarchal society in the 19th and 20th centuries.

So in presenting the process of uncovering the facts (according to the author) in the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, there are several ways.

  1. Relying on evidence related to concrete facts (empirical — real/tangible)
  2. and, some originate from facts through natural events.

What is a natural event like? For example, events that occur without needing to link previous evidence, such as the relationship between two people in general — are related to romance, there are also social relations.

Romantic events usually have something to do with divorce, true love, domestic problems, and so on.

Meanwhile, social relations events, in general, are individual relationships with other individuals in private, such as revenge, compassion, and so on.


Literary works born from the 19th to the early 20th centuries are very interesting to review today. Moreover, in that era many classic novels were born.

Not only because of his writing style and name fame. However, because at that time many writers lived during the world war. Maybe that’s what makes the difference between today’s literary works.***