A-G Absence of Evidence: In the story "Silver Blaze", Sherlock Holmes points out the vital non-clue of a dog failing to react to a mysterious visitor The scene where Holmes points this out serves as the page quote for the trope. The absence of certain valuable deeds is a vital clue in "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.
Sherlock uses cocaine to stimulate his mind only when he has no sufficiently interesting cases to work on. The challenge of solving a mystery is intellectual stimulation enough that he doesn't need drugs while he's on the job. Professor Moriarty, who is gentlemanly enough to let Sherlock write a farewell note to Watson before their fight in "The Final Problem".
Charles Augustus Milverton is another example, as long as he thinks he has the upper hand. Holmes is perhaps the most well known example of this trope, and it could even be considered a staple of the character. He has a knowledge of crime that would put The Other Wiki to shame, and yet is unaware that the earth revolves around the sun, believes that the human memory can only hold a certain amount of information until it's full though it seems that he later rejects this belief , suffers from "periods of lethargy", and is a casual cocaine user.
In "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", the villain murdered his victim by letting a venomous snake into her bedroom while she slept. Lestrade is often described as having bulldog or weasel-like features, usually depending on whether he thinks he's beaten Holmes to the punch.
Holmes himself is often compared to a hunting hound when he's hard on the trail of a criminal. Deconstructed in "The Copper Beeches". On a trip into the countryside, Watson comments on the beauty of the country farmhouses, to which Holmes responds by pointing out that isolation enables criminals and abusers to get away with it much more easily than they could in the crowded city.
The title character of "Charles Augustus Milverton", who is so unsympathetic that Holmes and Watson allow his killer to get away; also seen in "Black Peter" with a victim who was abusive towards his family and an all around nasty piece of work.
The rest of the stories provide plenty more examples. In "The Abbey Grange" Holmes and Watson convene a kangaroo court essentially to find the murderer not guilty by reason of this trope.
Interestingly subverted in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery. In the intervening time, however, he'd been blackmailing his eventual murderer to such a degree and with such cruelty that this trope easily applies. The asshole in this story turned out not be a victim at all, but had merely faked his own death and framed an innocent guy for his murder in order to get revenge on the guys mother.
Holmes couples innate talent with absolute obsession to produce awesomeness by analysis. Watson, on much rarer occasions, employs Holmes' methods successfully. The Bad Guy Wins: In "A Case of Identity", this happens because of Holmes' sexism. Holmes even agrees with the culprit that—loathsome though Holmes personally finds him—nothing he's done is legally actionable, despite the fact that breach of promise was a serious thing and she would certainly have won a civil suit against him.
Moriarty to Sherlock in The Final Problem. Holmes is not only a brilliant detective, but also an innovative forensic scientist, good violinist, and a formidable martial artist who is strong enough to bend an iron poker with his bare hands — and unbend it again afterwards, the harder task.
In "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet", he actually mentions that he has exceptional strength in his fingers. Bad People Abuse Animals: In "Copper Beeches", the Rucastle's child has a fondness for trapping and torturing small birds and mammals, and his father is particularly proud of his son's skill in squashing cockroaches. Holmes takes this as evidence of Rucastle Sr's malicious nature, noting that streaks of cruelty are often passed from parent to child.
A character in "Wisteria Lodge" turns out to be the escaped dictator of a Central American republic named "San Pedro". James Wilder in "The Priory School". Holmes continually employs these on criminals and clients alike to get what he needs. He's even done it to Watson, counting on the good doctor's sincerity and guileless nature to lure a murderer into a trap in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective".
However, since Batman is partly based on Sherlock Holmes, this trope isn't really surprising. Don't compare Holmes to any other detective, even a fictional one.
Holmes also appears to really, really despise blackmailers; most of the Asshole Victim characters whose murderers he refused to expose unless he needed to save an innocent were blackmailers, the remainder mostly being abusive drunks. Each story has one: John Clay " A Case of Identity": Also a case of Not So Stoic. In "The Man With the Twisted Lip," Holmes has concluded that a young man has most certainly been killed, and arrives to deliver the bad news to his widow, in his most businesslike and sympathetic fashion.
Then he learns that she just received a letter from him. His whole reaction is justified and priceless. Sherlock Holmes sprang out of his chair as if he had been galvanized. Watson thinks one man guilty because he does not profess this at being arrested; Holmes points out that he must have realized that the evidence was against him, and his behavior before the murder had been unfilial. Charles Augustus Milverton's fortune was made by purchasing documents, always making sure they were genuine, that jeopardized well-to-do people's reputations and then he squeezed them for every penny he could.
If they aren't rich enough to make the payment, he made an example of them to other victims. Also the alleged reason for the King of Bohemia wanting the photograph of himself and Irene Adler: In both "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb" and "The Greek Interpreter", Holmes' client was bundled into a carriage that they could not see out of and driven to an unknown destination.
In "The Three Garridebs", Holmes tests John Garrideb by asking after a supposed old friend who used to be mayor in the town Garrideb claims as his home. Garrideb replies that the man is still honored back home, instead of calling Holmes out for making the man up, showing that he's lying about his background. The stump where the engineer's thumb used to be in the story of that name. Born in the Wrong Century: Watson says of Sir Robert Norberton, the antagonist in "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place", that "he is one of those men who have overshot their true generation", being a deplorable scoundrel by modern standards in a way that would have fit right in among the gentry of Regency England.
Used in several Sherlock Holmes stories, including "The Copper Beeches" in which a girl's stepfather pesters her about her inheritance until she gets brain-fever; "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty" in which a man is ill for nine weeks after a treaty is stolen from under his nose; and "The Crooked Man", where the dead man's wife is conveniently rendered insensible after witnessing her husband's sudden death.
Mycroft Holmes and Irene Adler come up more times in adaptations than they ever do in the actual stories: Professor Moriarty is a classic. Mycroft is not only an Aloof Big Brother to Sherlock, he's even better at the science of deduction. Subverted in that, while Mycroft is physically lazy, he's actually an extremely hard-working civil servant whose encyclopedic knowledge frequently decides British national policy.
Mycroft could easily have been a detective himself, but as he explains in "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" he loathes the idea of doing the legwork needed to actually gather the facts he'd need to make his deductions. Mycroft is better at observation and reasoning, but stinks as a detective. His manner of handling the Greek Interpreter case tips off the bad guys big time, who then come back and try to torture the client to death. The point of the story seemed to be that figuring out someone's profession by their left pinky is a cute trick, but it does not a detective make.
This might also tie in Sherlock's refusal to learn anything he deems unimportant to his work, like the Earth turning around the Sun or cultural history not related to crime. Meanwhile Mycroft needs to exactly know these little things for his line of work.
Sherlock himself may sometimes qualify as this, although his "periods of lethargy" as described by Watson often come closer to full-on manic depression than simple laziness. Holmes is a fairly messed up genius and in early stories was Book Dumb in an odd way - knowing minute details about criminal history and the topics of his monographs but barely knowing how to read a map and uninformed about a variety of other topics.
He actually has a logical even if said logic does hail from the moon explanation for this - he considers the mind to be like an attic, possessed of a limited amount of space and therefore useless if you throw just any old shit in there. So interesting-but-functionally-useless facts like "the Earth revolves around the sun" have no place in the mind of a consulting detective, but some of the more eclectic applications of chemistry with little practical day-to-day use may well occupy the forefront of his mind for weeks at a time if he thinks it'll solve a case.
Mary Watson's death is only hinted at, by Watson's oblique reference in "The Empty House" to "my own sad bereavement", and Holmes' advice that "Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson. Holmes retires to keep bees on the Sussex Downs. In "The Lion's Mane" he writes of "the soothing life of Nature for which [he] had so often yearned", a rather hypocritical statement given Holmes used to describe the countryside as the birthplace of the most horrible crimes.
Holmes is an expert singlestick player. He is said to have the whole sex at his mercy and to have made ample use of the fact. A cat scares the crap out of Watson as he and Holmes are sneaking through the house of "Charles Augustus Milverton". Holmes one of the most famous examples in English-language media. Mycroft as well probably. Chairman of the Brawl: He views romance and sex as a distraction, though it is implied he develops feelings for a couple of the women he encounters.
And then there's his relationship with Watson Ends up happening in roughly a quarter of the stories. Clothes Make the Legend: Even if the cape and hat were not really in the stories, it's hard to imagine Holmes without them.
The series predates the fair play convention. As such, some clues are not announced to the reader at all e. Lampshaded by Holmes in "The Crooked Man". Watson literally was this before the start of the series; he encounters Holmes after being invalided home from a tour as an army doctor in Afghanistan. He subsequently acts as both doctor and combat support for Holmes. Holmes isn't above breaking the law for a good cause, but still averts this trope - the rules of boxing are sacred.
Only on one occasion, when dealing with one really nasty scoundrel, does he take out a riding crop and threaten to give him a good thrashing 'round the ears. On the other hand, Watson, who only breaks society's rules in extreme scenarios which, living with Holmes, has made them not that rare will just grab a chair or a fire poker and threaten, with complete intent to use it on his opponent.
This is actually justified given Watson's army background. You don't fight fair in the army — you fight to win. Milverton would also qualify, as he carries a gun around to every negotiation to avoid any physical confrontation. Moriarty is the king of unfair. He doesn't do anything himself, instead dispatching an army of professional killers to pick off his victims in the most sudden, unexpected, and brutal ways.
Typically they don't even see it coming.