What is it that we love in Sherlock Holmes?
[Sherlock Holmes] is the personification of something in us that we have lost, or never had. For it is not Sherlock Holmes who sits in Baker Street, comfortable, competent and self-assured; it is ourselves who are there, full of a tremendous capacity for wisdom, complacent in the presence of our humble Watson, conscious of a warm well-being and a timeless, imperishable content. The easy chair in the room is drawn up to the hearthstone of our very hearts—it is our tobacco in the Persian slipper, and our violin lying so carelessly across the knees—it is we who hear the pounding on the stairs and the knock upon the door. The swirling fog without and the acrid smoke within bite deep indeed, for we taste them even now. And the time and place and all the great events are near and dear to us not because our memories call them forth in pure nostalgia, but because they are a part of us today.
That is the Sherlock Holmes we love—the Holmes implicit and eternal in ourselves.
—Edgar W. Smith, “The Implicit Holmes”