Which Author Was Forced To Bring One Of His Beloved Characters Back To Life After Years Of Public Pressure?

Wood cut of the death scene from Sherlock Holmes
Sidney Paget/The Strand Magazine 1893.

Answer: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In 1893, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the prolific author best known for creating detective Sherlock Holmes, did the unthinkable: he penned a story that ended with the death of his crafty and beloved detective. “The Final Problem,” published in the December issue of The Strand Magazine, featured a standoff between Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty that led to the two of them tumbling to their deaths in a deep ravine.

Doyle’s motivation for killing off his most beloved creation was simple. He wanted to stop writing about Sherlock Holmes and focus his energy on other historical novels he’d been planning. Doyle underestimated just how much the public loved Sherlock Holmes, however, and after nearly a decade of public pressure to resurrect the detective, he did just that. In 1901, he began publishing serialized tales in The Strand Magazine again. These serialized tales became the foundation for the enormously popular novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, published in 1902.

The success of The Hound of the Baskervilles eventually led to a revisionist story (The Adventure of the Empty House) that brought the dear Sherlock Holmes back to life (Dr. Watson, it was revealed, had not seen the events in The Final Problem clearly and Holmes had survived).

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