July 27th, 2021


It's Elementary My Dear Watson

   So up until recently I think my only familiarity with Sherlock Holmes other than the pervasive cultural references was having read one story in middle school and seeing (one of two?) recent major movies. But it turns out that (all of?) Sherlock Holmes is available on Audible for free with basic membership, 62 hours in all. Having now listened to this I can now say I've read all of Sherlock Holmes. Okay I just realized it doesn't contain the 12 stories included in "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes."
   I can confirm that while all parts of the phraseology "It's elementary my dear Watson" are things Holmes frequently says, he in fact never does say that exact phrase.

   It's hard to give an objective review because I was expecting and holding it to the very highest standards. But by and large it pretty much held up to this highest level of scrutiny with just a few things I could hold up as quibbles (in one of the last stories, for example, he leaves the unconcious Ms Carfax in the care of a guy who appears to be stalking her, whom she appeared to have fled from?!). The one overall criticism I'll hold up though is that they seem to thoroughly subscribe to the theory that people's internal moral state is readable on their outward appearance, though even this can be explained as a failing by Watson who already knows the outcome at the itme "he" is writing the stories and is allowing his bias to effect how he's describing peopl. But still it's a weakness of the works. The bad guy is always someone described as looking unsettling. The one twist on this, used often enough to become an in-universe cliche, is that a few times there's a big burly savage looking bearded man who at first seems to be the culprit but it later turns out that he's roformed from a rough life and was just himself trying to prevent harm from befalling the woman in the story. Oh and the Adventure of the Norwood Builder was painfully obvious and it defied belief that Holmes seemed to act like it was hard to figure out.

   Also, confirmed what I had already heard, that canonically Holmes retires to beekeeping.

   And somewhere in the forewards or (midwards?) included in the collection between the books by Conan Doyle it was mentioned he wrote some historical fiction novels that HE considered his best work though they've been largely forgotten compared to his more famous work. Indeed, they only have a few dozen ratings on audible each compared to the thousands each of dozens of versions of the Holmes stories have, but I love historical fiction so will now embark on his lesser known Sir Nigel!
   Okay I wrote all the above yesterday but no one reads anything on a Sunday so hadn't posted it yet. I'm now about eight hours into Sir Nigel and... it's really really cliche knight errant stuff. It's uh, so far extremely unimpressive. And the abovementioned equating physical appearance with moral character is downright able-ist with the first real villian being a crippled knight whose crippled status is abundantly made to be a sign of his evil.