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Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes says "Elementary, my dear Watson" in the orignal novels

The quote is only in the films and TV series

Even a world class detective couldn't find a reference in the novels

In the original Sherlock Holmes novels, do you remember him saying 'Elementary, my dear Watson'? If so, you may be experiencing an MMDE, because as famous a quote as it is, he never did and it was only added in the films.

His first appearance was in 1887 in A Study In Scarlet as a character in a series of short stories in The Strand Magazine. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, realised the popularity of the character right from the start, and by 1927 he'd appeared in 4 novels and 56 short stories.

He holds the Guinness World Record for "The most portrayed movie character in history", so you can expect to find the quote many times in his films. But the original novels? There appears to be no clue...

Quote origin

The origin of the quote is said to be from the fans themselves at the time, who had only read the novels since no movie had been made at that time. He did say "elementary", which somehow morphed into the one we're familiar with. So when the movie came out, the phrase was used because it actually was popular by then, even though it never did appear in any of the written stories.