Opinion by Roy Schwartz, Updated 2:06 PM ET, Fri May 20, 2022
(CNN) May 22 is “Sherlock Holmes Day,” honoring the birthday of his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes, who turns 135 this year, is one of the most famous literary characters in the world and probably the most famous detective.
He’s come to be referenced as a historical figure rather than a fictional one (often at the expense of his actual author), with countless legends surrounding him. Perhaps the most popular is that he invented modern forensic science.
This particular aspect of Holmes lore has been addressed in articles, books, documentaries, and college courses and is even cited by forensic experts. But is it really true?
If he did, it would mean that, aside from entertaining generations of readers and viewers and inspiring dozens of other popular characters like Batman and House, M.D., he also deserves credit for helping solve thousands, if not millions, of crimes in the real world.