Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sherlockiana

I have been in a bit of a Sherlock draught, and after watching a snippet of the Richard Roxburgh Hound of the Baskervilles the other evening, I realized enough was enough. So, I toted out the Complete Annotated Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie S. Klinger. Over the past two Christmases I have acquired all three of the expensive volumes, and though they have been looking beautiful chez Desktop, I have not yet cracked them open. Was I ever in for a treat. They are a dream!! It would take me years to go through every little tidbit or goody tucked in this extensive academia. I was most enthralled by Klinger's insertion of some of the great essays of the Baker Street Journal, which he has interspersed appropos where needed. Especially, on his personal essay about the Great Hiatus and some of the abounding theories of the Master's whereabouts.
Different boats float for different people, this is my boat Cookies. Klinger, an eminent member of the Baker Street Irregulars takes a much more scholarly approach to the Canon than his predecessor, William S. Baring-Gould the long time authority on annotated Sherlockiana. I have hours more to spend perusing this gorgeous set and cannot wait to learn more about the World's Greatest Fictional character.

My Sherlockian frame of mind led me to a couple of biographies on the subject. The first being Baring-Gould's thorough account aptly entitled Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. Baring-Gould's theories are incredulous and not altogether credible, but a heck of a lot of fun anyhow. His most famous is that Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler produced an heir, that inimitable Nero Wolfe of Thirty Fifth Street. This is a little too much for me, but I enjoyed Baring-Gould's vast knowledge of everything Holmesian.


I was most impressed as well by June Thomson's Holmes and Watson: A Study in Friendship. This book gave some much needed time to our friend Wats., who is often sidelined Nigel-Bruce like as an erratic nitwit. I have been in love with Watson, our fair mediator, gambler, ladies' man for years and hate to seem him catagorized as such ( Ian Hart is the best Watson I have seen to date, by the way on film or on telly ). Thomson tends to generalize and often merely summarize some of the events spanning the forty six years of friendship but she makes some interesting notes about SH and Watson and her index is incredible ( she includes Dorothy L. Sayers, he-llo! ) Thomson addresses the ludicrous assumption of a homosexual relationship, and possible ( further plausible ) theories of her own concerning the Great Hiatus. Her insight into the Holmes-Mycroft relationship was also quite acute. I liked her idea that Holmes and Watson ( and Moriarty in fact ) may have met in Barts before the fateful Stamford introduction of A Study in Scarlet. Further, Thomson delves into Moriarty as a scientific genius supposing her may have calculated E=Mc2 before Einstein's birth. She spends equal time on Sherlock and Watson and draws on the gentler parts of their tumultuous relationship.


Mitch Cullin's A Slight Trick of the Mind peers into Holmes as an elderly gentleman around the time of the Second World War. Though less acerbic and sardonic than Michael Chabon's The Final Solution, it adds a tender psychological insight into the aged faltering of the World's Greatest mind.

John Lescroart's Son of Holmes dives into the world of the next Sherlock. I hate the portrayal of Watson, and Lescroart lacks Caleb Carr's astute Doylean voice circa. The Italian Secretary . Not my favourite pastiche.


I am always interested in people who take a different approach to the pastiche. For example, those who lurk in the minds of Moriarty and Lestrade, and even Mrs. Hudson. My favourites of the day include Carole Nelson Douglas and her Irene Adler series. Laurie R. King is the other authority in adding a feministic touch to the masculine world of the Baker street genius, but as Sherlock Holmes would never marry ( for mental equivocality or ANY other reason ), I write her off after the inspired The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Chapel Noir and Castle Rouge are the two Irene Adler books that dive into Jack the Ripper territory. I like the parallel between Nell Huxleigh ( the "Boswell" of the Adler series ) and the astute Irene and Holmes and Watson. Her slant on the Scandal itself ( the introduction to my favourite femme fatale ) is particularly colourful.

2 comments:

Courtney said...

You know, I immediately thought of you yesterday at work. A lady came into the store, and her last name was Holmes, and she claimed that Sherlock was her brother-in-law.

Scott said...

You might want to check out a couple of sites:
http://bakerstreetjournal.blogspot.com
http://bakerstreetjournal.com