I have never really been known to “nerd out” on anything—except Sherlock Holmes.
I will never forget the librarian at my local library—sometime in the mid-90s—handing me a cassette tape in a bag of the old BBC Radio shows with Carleton Hobbes and Norman Shelley.
I had never read a single Sherlock Holmes story at that point, but I fell in love almost immediately. From there, I consumed every television production with Jeremy Brett as the super sleuth.
I will admit that I am intimately familiar with the entire canon at this point in my life. In my opinion, you can find some of the greatest lines in literature in those stories. They are the literary comfort food I return to again and again.
Here are my 10 favorite quotes:
1. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
2. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
3. “A man always finds it hard to realize that he may have finally lost a woman’s love, however badly he may have treated her.”
4. “You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.”
5. “It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”
6. “Never theorize before you have data. You end up twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.”
7. “I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician, all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.”
8. “Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
9. “Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”
10. “It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.”