Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hiatus and Sherlock Holmes

Okay, so a lot has happened in the last 7 months, mainly not on this blog. Although I did have 3 months off of work a while back seemingly providing plenty of time to watch movies, read books, and blog about them I obviously failed to do so. The major reason is that it is much easier to play SimCity while holding a baby than it is to type. However, I did fit some reading around diapers, naps, and feedings: Dickens (I think Dombey and Son) and Conan Doyle. Of course, the Conan Doyle would be the Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. He did write other stories (e.g. The Lost World) but is best known for his eccentric, genius detective.

Surprisingly enough this was my first time reading any of the Sherlock Holmes stories and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Conan Doyle’s style is not always the strongest, perhaps because after a while he was only writing Holmes stories because of the popularity and demand from the public. As with any tale of mystery the strongest stories are the most intriguing and least guessable. Being removed by nearly a century or more and in an age where popular TV shows have run the gamut of Perry Mason, Matlock, Colombo, NCIS, and the various CSIs I was quite surprised at how many mysteries I was unable to guess before Holmes and Watson figured it all out. I can only imagine the impact that the Holmes stories had on the audiences of the late Victorian era.

Sometimes it seems that Holmes just happens to be privy to obscure knowledge that is coincidentally needed in that particular mystery or that is assertions are almost absurdly accurate without actually being based on known facts. Usually it does turn out that Holmes was aware of details that were conveniently withheld from the reader (though not nearly to the extent of the mystery series of 90s television). Often the details are presented but are obscure or disconnected enough to not lead to an easily identified solution. Quite the feat for any time period.