Sherlock Holmes testJoe Segen2016-12-09T02:50:41+00:00
Sherlock Holmes test
DefinitionA test for occult blood that removes iron from heme yielding fluorescing porphorins, which is described in A Study in Scarlet
Note: The sobriquet derives from Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, who used a test of uncertain nature to confirm a reddish stain as being blood. Despite the claims of criminologists and forensics experts of the early 20th century, many of the tests once regarded as valid and definitive were in fact Conan Doylian fiction. Holmes’ creator thus followed a long line of writers who took considerable liberty with science. Laura Snyder’s exposé–Endeavour 2004; 28:104-108–debunked the great detective’s methods–e.g., that the “few white crystals” and a “drop of transparent fluid” in the “Sherlock Holmes test” would probably have had a sensitivity similar to the guaiacum test that Holmes derided as being clumsy and uncertain.