Review Article

Physicians as Detectives in Detective Fiction of the 20th Century

Authors: Fred Wurlitzer, MD, FACS


Dr. Anderson's article in the October 2002 issue of Southern Medical Journal1 contains notable omissions. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) wrote about Dr. Watson, who assisted Sherlock Holmes in his detective work. Dr. Watson certainly was not incidental to the plots, and quite arguably he was a “physician-detective.” Although Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock in 1893 in “The Final Problem,” the last story in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 2 he succumbed to appeals from readers and Collier's Weekly by writing The Return of Sherlock Holmes3 in 1903. Watson also appears in Laurie King's 20th-century series about a teenage girl who works with Sherlock. Adrian Doyle, Conan's son, and John Kickson Carr collaborated to write The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes. 4 Other knockoffs that mention Watson are Nicholas Meyer's The Seven Per-Cent Solution5 and Michael Hardwick's The Revenge of the Hound. 6

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1. Anderson D. Physicians as detectives in detective fiction of the 20th century. South Med J 2002; 95: 1134–1139.
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