I used to love mystery novels as a child. I tore through Hardy Boys books, through Agatha Christie novels, and basically whatever I could get my hands on.
I spent much of this year reading
Here are a few lessons, good and bad.
1. Be observant. Holmes gets most of his information from just paying attention to little details — the scuff on a sleeve, the mud on a boot, the ash from a cigar, the shape of a toe on a footprint. We'd all do well to be that observant, though maybe without bragging about it.
2. Do what you love. Holmes rarely takes money, other than expenses, for handling a private case, and typically lets police take credit for crimes solved. He does the work for the love of a challenge.
3. Be better to your friends. Holmes abuses the hell out of Watson. He once let the doctor think he was dead for several years. Other times, he tricked him into playing a part in solving the crime, putting the work above his friend. I can only guess Watson sticks by Holmes because Doyle needs him, and this is fiction, after all.
4. Be better to your readers. One thing I remember loving about mysteries as a child is the whodunit aspect — I got to play along and see if I could solve it. But Holmes often has some crucial piece of information the reader only finds out at the reveal. We never really get to play along; we just get to wait and see how it ends.