Sherlock Holmes: Man of mystery, or not?
Sherlock Holmes is among the most famous Londoners of all time. Many tourists still see the bustling city through his adventures, and seek out his address, 221B Baker Street.
It seems a logical deduction that the fictional detective's creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, must have known the city well.
In fact, historian David Cannadine said Conan Doyle didn't spend that much time in London and learned much from a street atlas.
That is just one of the surprises provided by a Museum of London exhibition. It explores Holmes, a character who has been endlessly adapted. He's a cerebral sleuth, a forensic scientist and an archetypal Englishman.
Through film clips, costumes, 19th-century forensic equipment and more, the museum follows Holmes. It starts with an idea in Conan Doyle's notebook at one point he was called Sherrinford Holmes to the smartphone-toting modern detective played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC TV series "Sherlock."
The exhibition also looks at the relationship between the detective and London. The city, during Victorian times a little over a century ago, is a place of horse-drawn hansom cabs, dark corners, gaslight and fog.
Fog gets a whole room of its own in the museum exhibition. It's lined with atmospheric images by American photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn and other artworks, including a painting of London's River Thames by French Impressionist Claude Monet.
Cannadine, who has contributed to a book that accompanies the exhibition, said Conan Doyle's stories give a sense of the city that is vivid but in some ways misleading.
"He doesn't write about the traffic jams, he doesn't write about the smell of horse-droppings, he doesn't write about the filth of the pavements," Cannadine said. "It's a much cozier image, in a way."
For fans, the most exciting exhibit may be a yellowing notebook showing the moment Holmes was created. It bears notes for a detective story in Conan Doyle's handwriting. The author has crossed out his original title, "A Tangled Skein" and written "A Study in Scarlet." It's the name under which Holmes' first adventure was published in 1887.
Conan Doyle, who died in 1930, probably didn't imagine that his creation would long outlive him. He tried to kill off Holmes in 1893, sending him tumbling over the Reichenbach Falls while grappling with archenemy Moriarty.
Readers were outraged. So the author resurrected the sleuth a decade later.
The exhibition's lead curator, Alex Werner, said Holmes endures because he was strikingly modern.
"This was a character who was using scientific methods to unmask the incredible complexity of the modern world," Werner said. "He's the only one who can do it. We would all like to be Sherlock Holmes."
"Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die" is at the Museum of London from Friday until April 12.
Critical thinking challenge: What does this mean: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die. How can that be?