I have made mention before, in The Sign of Four if memory serves me correctly, of Mr Sherlock Holmes’ views of my literary endeavours. His accusations, baldly put, being that I dispense too often with scientific explanations and instead overly romanticise those investigations of ours that I take it upon myself to set before the public. In light of recent events, and the number of cases I have now shared with my readers, I feel I must make clear that I do not, nor ever will, attempt to defend myself from this accusation. On the contrary, I now freely acknowledge that it is a fair enough assessment of the facts to warrant providing the true explanation of my actions.
At the time of the first of Holmes’ comments on the subject I offered the excuse that any romance present in the story was generated by the facts themselves. This was not - as I proved to myself soon afterwards by attempting to pen an account of one of the simpler cases by stating the facts and nothing more - remotely true. Whilst still interesting, the facts alone did not hold one single spark of romanticism, nor one spark of life. No, that element springs solely from the man who collects these seemingly disparate facts together and then, appearing to us like the very best of magicians, effortless weaves them into a coherent whole right before our eyes.
For Holmes - despite being possibly the greatest proponent of logical, rigorous, scientific thinking that the world will ever be lucky enough to see - has the soul of a dramatist and loses no opportunity to indulge this propensity. It has been said, more than once, and by more august personages than myself, that the stage lost its finest actor when Mr Sherlock Holmes chose to pursue criminals instead of curtain calls.
However it is not just his penchant for drama that you see reflected in my amateur attempts to record his genius, it is heart as well. My friend may have trained himself to apply his methods with such ruthless efficiency that, to the uninitiated, can make him appear cold, heartless and cruel. Yet one only has to look at his gentlemanly conduct in respect of his female clients and the level of honour and morality he applies in all the cases he accepts should show how mistaken such an assumption may be. More than all this, though, and the one thing, I believe, that all the above is generated from, is his genuine affection for those he holds dear. If you had ever experienced, or witnessed, the fervour with which he will defend and protect one whom he is fond and there would be no question that this is a man who embodies the best of all characteristics of human nature.
So it has been for my readers that my lowly scribblings have been tinged with an air of the romantic. My methods of exposition were expressly chosen so that they, too, could share in the blessings that I have benefited from all the years I have been his intimate acquaintance, and know the true nature of Sherlock Holmes.