Joe Rainone, popular fiction collector extraordinaire, made an important discovery among his most rare items. A serialized story in an 1884 American publication features a very Sherlock-like character, and this was published three years before the first Sherlock Holmes novel was first printed.
British and American story papers and dime libraries were distributed on both sides of the Atlantic. Could it be possible that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, read Old Marvel, the Scientific Detective? Decide for yourself when you discern the similarities of the two fictional detectives. Joe Rainone has provided a thorough introduction to offer examples for the reader to consider.
This is not a scandal and there is no suggestion of plagiarism, but there are some striking similarities between the earlier character of Old Marvel and Sherlock Holmes. It seems naive to think that the all the sources of inspiration that led to Sherlock Holmes were decades old when the first story was published. The rediscovery of this story may add to our understanding of the origins for the Sherlock Holmes character.
Also in this book is the first reprinting of the rarest serialization of the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, published in The Illustrated Home Guest during 1892. This was transcribed from the only known complete copy of this serialization.