For a man so intimately connected with fiction, Sherlock Holmes is obsessed with fact. As he tells Watson, after reading A Study in Scarlet,
“Honestly, I cannot congratulate you upon it. Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid.” (SIGN)
Of course, we learn in “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier” that Holmes came to accept that “the matter must be presented in such a way as may interest the reader,” but it’s probably not a huge leap of logic to suggest that he is much more comfortable with the non-fiction aspect of Sherlockian studies than with the world of pastiche.
There are so many ways to explore the truth behind Watson’s stories; I’ve reviewed some of them here, such as James O’Brien’s The Scientific Sherlock Holmes. One can read accounts of the Battle of Maiwand, a biography of Gladstone, or Salisbury, or Rosebery, or whoever that “high-nosed, eagle-eyed” official on the (“paper-littered”) settee of 221B might have been. Or , one can read about the phenomenon of Sherlock Holmes himself, in a book like this one–today’s prize:
To win a copy of Zach Dundas’s well-received look at Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Sherlockian world in general, simply enter your answer to this question in today’s drawing:
Despite his insistence on facts, Sherlock Holmes was actually well-acquainted with literature, including the works of William Shakespeare. Give two Shakespearean references one can find in the Canon. Be sure to provide the names of the stories in which they appear!
As always, submit your answers via blog comment, Twitter DM or Facebook PM. The winner’s name will be announced following tomorrow’s drawing!
Congratulations to Chihui Yuan and Jacquelyn Applegate, both winners of the Sherlock: The Abominable Bride video! There were a lot of entries for this, which kind of surprised me, as there wasn’t a long wait between BBC and other showings like there usually is!
Answers to the brides question included:
Hattie Doran (NOBL)
Helen Stoner (SPEC)
Mary Sutherland (IDEN)
Violet Smith (SOLI)
Eva Blackwell (CHAS)
Irene Norton (SCAN)
Alice Rucastle (COPP)
Violet de Melville (ILLU)
and, of course, Mary Morstan (SIGN)
Answers for the Canon references included: Watson’s quoting lines from STUD; the 5 orange pips (FIVE); references to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle; Watson’s clumsy and careless servant girl (SCAN).
Well done, all!!!