Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quotes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. [7]

A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs. [8]

You do not know her, but she has a soul of steel. She has the face of the most beautiful of women, and the mind of the most resolute of men. [12-3]

it was not merely that Holmes has changed his costume. His expression, his manner, his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. The stage lost a fine actor, even as science lost an acute reasoner, when he became a specialist in crime. [20]

Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting. [21]

As a rule, said Holmes, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify. [42-3]

[L]ife is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions stale and unprofitable. 55

The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler, for the bigger the crime, the more obvious, as a rule, is the motive. [57]

The more featureless and commonplace a crime is, the more difficult is it to bring it home. [76]

Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing; it may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different. [79]

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. [79]

You must act, man, or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for despair. [112]

The ideal reasoner would, when he has once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it, but also all the results which would follow from it. [115-6]

I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner. [141]

Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. [198]

Still, jealousy is a strange transformer of characters. [236]

We can't command our love, but we can our actions. [243]

It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. [273]

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