The Public, the Press, and Celebrities in The Return of Sherlock Holmes

  • Thomas Vranken (University of Melbourne)


Arthur Conan Doyle and his consulting detective had been famous for more than ten years when Doyle came to write The Return of Sherlock Holmes. In the following essay, I argue that this experience of fame shaped the composition of the third series of Holmes stories, in which the detective is resurrected a decade after going over the Reichenbach Falls. The essay approaches celebrity as a competitive interaction in which the public, the press, and the celebrity vie for control. It is argued that the stories in The Return of Sherlock Holmes work to empower the various celebrities that they portray – including not just Holmes but also well-known aristocrats, statesmen, scholars, and female ‘beauties’ – and to disempower their rival co-participants in the celebrity dynamic: the public and the press.

Keywords: Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, Celebrity, Authorship, Authority

How to Cite:

Vranken, T., (2015) “The Public, the Press, and Celebrities in The Return of Sherlock Holmes”, Authorship 4(2). doi:

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Published on
01 Dec 2015
Peer Reviewed