Explain how Holmes' characteristics are revealed in the way he talks to people and solves cases. Use specific examples from the following -
The man with the twisted lip
The blue carbuncle
Five orange pips
The speckled band
Holmes most arresting characteristic is his ability to observe minute detail and synthesize this information quickly. This is a regular occurrence with in Conan Doyle’s stories. Holmes makes instantaneous decisions about the people he meets and is brutally frank about his opinions and deductive process. In ‘The Speckled Band’ he is touched by Miss Stoner’s case, but direct in his method of extracting information-
You have done wisely,” said my friend. “But have you told me all?”
“Miss Roylott, you have not. You are screening your stepfather.”
“Why, what do you mean?”
For answer Holmes pushed back the frill of black lace which fringed the hand that lay upon our visitor's knee. Five little livid spots, the marks of four fingers and a thumb, were printed upon the white wrist.
“You have been cruelly used,” said Holmes.
Holmes is partnered with his chronicler, Dr Watson. Watson is more representative of the reader as he marvels at Holmes’ deductions and analyses. Holmes is a domineering character, as Watson proclaims in ‘The Man With the Twisted Lip’
It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes's requests, for they were always so exceedingly definite, and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery.
Holmes’ Achilles heel – or source of genius, others may argue – was his addiction to narcotics. This flaw in his otherwise upstanding nature adds intrigue to his character:
"I suppose, Watson," said he, "that you imagine that I have added opium-smoking to cocaine injections, and all the other little weaknesses on which you have favoured me with your medical views."
In The Five Orange Pips, Holmes reminds Watson of his earlier assessment of Holmes’ knowledge-
"Yes," I answered, laughing. It was a singular document. Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as regards the mud-stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccentric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, violin-player, boxer, swordsman, lawyer, and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco. Those, I think, were the main points of my analysis."
Holmes’ skill lies in his ability to utilise a myriad of talents to solve one problem. As he says himself-
It is not so impossible, however, that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work, and this I have endeavoured in my case to do.