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Investigative forensics minor sponsors talk on Sherlock Holmes

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – A talk about Sherlock Holmes by an award-winning scholar will be the first event sponsored by Monmouth College’s new investigative forensics minor.

Plymouth State (N.H.) University professor Ann McClellan will speak about the fictional father of investigative forensics, Sherlock Holmes, at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Barnes Electronic Classroom of Hewes Library. Titled “Race & Sherlock Holmes – 100 Years,” her talk is free and open to the public.

“I knew she’d be a good speaker to bring to campus,” said Monmouth history professor Christine Myers, who has collaborated with McClellan on projects involving pop culture and women in higher education. “The students are going to love her.”

McClellan’s visit to Monmouth is also sponsored by the College’s departments of English and history.

Myers, who helped create the investigative forensics minor, said Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle is largely responsible for launching modern forensics through his Sherlock Holmes novels.

“Modern forensics really started with Sherlock Holmes,” she said. “It got kick-started through a fictional character.”

Myers said many scholars speculate that the mystery-solving detective was based on Joseph Bell, who was one of Doyle’s science professors at the University of Edinburgh.

At Plymouth State, McClellan was awarded the equivalent of Monmouth’s Hatch Award in both scholarship and service in 2016. A 20th-century British literature professor, McClellan has authored a forthcoming a book, Sherlock’s World: Fanfiction and the Reimagining of BBC’s Sherlock.

While on campus, McClellan will meet with students in the English course “Nineteenth-Century Mysteries” and the history course “Violence in Victorian Britain.”

Monmouth’s investigative minor is a five-credit minor that deepens students’ understanding of how evidence is studied and applied in a variety of academic disciplines.

In May, students in the minor can take a 10-day trip to London and Edinburgh through the course “Chemistry, Codes and Crimes.”