The Best of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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How does Sherlock Homes contribute to the preservation of law and order in society?

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Sherlock Holmes calls himself a "consulting detective," but actually he is what we nowadays call a "private detective," not unlike Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade or Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. A private detective works for money. Only wealthy people can afford him. The others have to go to the regular police, who may or may not be willing to assist them. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle realized that he couldn't keep writing Sherlock Holmes stories in which an aristocrat hires Holmes on a private and usually delicate matter. Doyle wanted to give his hero motivations that would bring him into contact with the entire spectrum of English people. This meant that Holmes would have to take on cases pro bono. Holmes works for some of his clients for nothing because of various reasons. One is to assist the police. This is helpful to Holmes indirectly because the police are grateful for his help and for giving them the credit for solving the crime, and they are therefore happy to assist him...

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