Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sherlock Holmes

First, let me just add for those who’d want to know, that this book included the following short stories:

- A Scandal in Bohemia
- The Red-headed League
- A Case of Identity
- The Boscombe Valley Mystery
- Five Orange Pips
- The Man with the Twisted Lip
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band
- The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
- The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
- The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
- The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

I’ve never been one for thrillers or horrors, and I doubt I will be anytime soon. Jurassic Park seems to be the one exception in this, but then again, I’ve always had a weakness for history (also, dinosaurs!). Sherlock Holmes, although usually making use of grim atmospheres and the occasional murder, does not share in that frightening suspense. However, the stories suck you in because you nééd to know what happened, who did it, and how. These matters are of course not shared until the very end.
It’s fun though, because after reading the first few short stories you start to guess the who, why and how yourself, and sometimes I’ve been smack on it or pretty close. For The Adventure of the Speckled Band, for example, I was pretty sure the bell rope hid a tube so the murderer could gas his stepdaughters to death, but instead the bell rope was apparently a passageway for a very toxic snake. (Just saying, if it had been gas the murderer might not have gotten locked away.)

Sherlock is, of course, a genius. His reasoning is impeccable, and he is always very sure of what he is doing or what is happening. This sometimes makes the stories less credulous, but I’m not complaining. It’s usually the same formula: a distressed person enters Sherlock’s house in Baker Street, his friend Watson observes his or her looks, but Sherlock deduces. Sometimes he seems to know the details of the crime before his client has uttered a word.
Yet for all this calculated reasoning Holmes also seems to be very much human, or at least through Watson’s eyes (a subtlety on which I congratulate the author). He smokes a variety of substances, loses sleep over his cases and experiments with music and chemistry. Although seeming to be quite the introvert, he’s obviously attached to Watson, as he explains in The Man with the Twisted Lip:
“You have the grand gift of silence, Watson,” said he. “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion. ‘Pon my word, it is a great thing for me to have someone to talk to, for my own thoughts are not over-pleasant.”
- Which makes Sherlock seem misunderstood and lonely, and nerd-chicks dig that.

Watson does not have such a cool and collected charisma as Holmes, and although he can figure out bits and pieces for himself he is always astounded at his friend’s deductions. Watson has a wife, his doctor’s practice, and seems quite normal and domestic to me compared to Holmes. Yet he remains very loyal to his friend, and his peculiar wishes and habits do not seem to irk him. In this I think Watson is seriously underestimated, and I wonder if Sherlock would not stray too far into his drug habits without his friend.

All in all, this was a very good book, and I think I’ll keep an eye out for other Sherlock Holmes short stories.

Until next time,


because pipes!

PS: Today it's my birthday, yay!
PPS: I already bought a second book with new short stories about Sherlock Holmes...

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