An Open Letter to Sherlock Holmes

Illustration of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget for the Strand Magazine.

Dear Mr. Holmes,

Despite being thoroughly aware that you’re a fictional character, I must admit I’ve always felt that you and I were kindred spirits. I became a fan of your work shortly after I learned how to read. I don’t know when or where I happened upon that green, leather-bound book with gilded pages containing Dr. Watson’s notes from 19 of your cases, but I cannot underestimate its impact on my life.

Somewhere between the first line of A Scandal in Bohemia and the heart-wrenching final scene in The Final Problem, I decided that I wanted to be you. Being the sidekick or one of the Irregulars wasn’t enough. When my peers wanted to be firefighters or astronauts, I craved the exciting, enigmatic life of a private investigator.

Determined to be my elementary school’s first private consulting detective, I founded my own short-lived agency in the third grade. We only tackled one mystery and to the best of my knowledge, the Case of the Compact Disc Thief remains unsolved.

In my eyes, you were superhuman — the good doctor and I were always in awe of your powers of deduction. You were everything I wanted to be: erudite, unflappable, self-assured with no desire for fame or reward, and perfectly at home in a deerstalker cap. I, too, wanted to fight the criminal underbelly of Victorian London. I wanted to be the person Lestrade came to when the case seemed unsolvable. Above all, I wanted the pipe.

But the thing I found most inspirational about you was your fallibility. More than once, you fell prey to your inner darkness. You lost yourself to addiction, obsession, and depression. Once, I even feared you were dead. Both of us were misfits. You were like me — a human being with human faults. You were my hero because you could be beaten.

A long time ago, you told me that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. I’ve never given up on my quest to discover the truth and I have your advice to thank for it. I may have retired from professional detective work, but I still relish a good mystery and I enjoy my occasional visits to 221B Baker Street.

Thank you for everything, Mr. Holmes. In my youth, few people were as real to me as you. I will forever consider you among the best and wisest men whom I have ever known.

Very sincerely yours,
Jonny Eberle

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