chapter  3
10 Pages

Elementary my dear Holmes: Hans Gross, the father of Criminology, and Arthur Conan Doyle

ByTHOMAS MUÈ HLBACHER

According to Lois Madison (Gross 2000: 8), who devoted many years to research on the background of Otto Gross's ideas and the correlation of his work to modern theories of the mind, the universal myth of Sherlock Holmes is that he was a modern hero of criminal investigation ± someone who had, by study and genius, become the ®rst and only criminal investigator in the late nineteenth century to approach the crime scene scienti®cally, specialising in the deductive method and applying psychology to the interrogation of witnesses and the apperception of the criminal mind. Dispelling the Sherlock Holmes myth, Hans Gross's handbook of criminal investigation, which was written at about the same time as Arthur Conan Doyle began to publish his Holmes stories, taught principles of detective work that were, as he acknowledged, the fruits of years of his and others' own experiences. In point of fact, the introduction of the investigative techniques for which Holmes is celebrated was long since a fait accompli by the time Doyle created his dashing detective for the satisfaction of a public hungry for stories about modern criminal investigation.