An estimate of Holmes's age in "His Last Bow" places his year of birth at 1854; the story, set in August 1914, describes him as sixty years of age.His parents are not mentioned in the stories, although Holmes mentions that his "ancestors" were "country squires".

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Sir Henry Littlejohn, Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, is also cited as an inspiration for Holmes.

Littlejohn, who was also Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health in Edinburgh, provided Doyle with a link between medical investigation and the detection of crime.

) is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Known as a "consulting detective" in the stories, Holmes is known for his proficiency with observation, forensic science, and logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic, which he employs when investigating cases for a wide variety of clients, including Scotland Yard.

Conan Doyle repeatedly said that Holmes was inspired by the real-life figure of Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, whom Doyle met in 1877 and had worked for as a clerk.

Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing broad conclusions from minute observations.Another might be Maximilien Heller, by French author Henry Cauvain.It is not known if Conan Doyle read Maximilien Heller, but in this 1871 novel (sixteen years before the first adventure of Sherlock Holmes), Henry Cauvain imagined a depressed, anti-social, polymath, cat-loving, and opium-smoking Paris-based detective.Nevertheless, Holmes's friendship with Watson is his most significant relationship.When Watson is injured by a bullet, although the wound turns out to be "quite superficial", Watson is moved by Holmes's reaction: It was worth a wound; it was worth many wounds; to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask.Widely considered a British cultural icon, the character and stories have had a profound and lasting effect on mystery writing and popular culture as a whole, with the original tales as well as thousands written by authors other than Conan Doyle being adapted into stage and radio plays, television, films, video games, and other media for over one hundred years.