Sherlock Holmes

The More You Holmes

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From: ep. 4.3

Characters: The Three Garridebs

Reference: Actually, the only reference was to the title of the same name. In the ep, the three men named Garrideb are dangled outside the prison window by evil Holmes sister Eurus, as one of the deadly puzzles she poses to Sherlock in the Saw-like long string of deadly puzzles. The orginal canon tale is a bit more involved and complex, as it follows an American ostensibly trying to find a third man named Garrideb in order to claim an inheritance from an odd will. What follows is rather a chase tale of derring-do, resulting in a counterfeit scheme stymied, Dr. Watson wounded, and what’s probably the most tender and loving description of Holmes’ reaction to same that’s possible.

“You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!”

It was worth a wound—it was worth many wounds—to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

 

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 5.18

Character Name/s: Black Peter, John Neligan

Reference: “The Adventure of Black Peter” (canon original) shares a few components with this ep: 1) there’s a pirate called Black Peter;  2) some of the evidence in the central murder case involves blade strikes strong enough to go through the body, implying a very strong arm. In the story, the body is pinned to the wall with a harpoon. In the ep, it’s deep sword stabs. (Also: remember the scene in Sherlock ep. 2.2, with Holmes coming home, blood-covered, harpoon in hand? That’s nearly directly from the original);  3) a subplot involving a log book and someone named John Neligan, intertwined w the murder scene but not a cause nor an effect.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 5.17

Character name: Lady Frances (Carfax)

Reference: “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax” is one of the most underrated, underplayed mysteries of the whole canon, and on of my personal favorites. It involves a kidnapped lady and has one of the most chilling “gotcha” moments at the end, of any of the canon stories.

Though there are twists and turns in this ep, the Lady Frances is not a woman, but a Carfax Desperado guitar, described as the “Stradivarius of guitars.” Which of course is another reference to Sherlock Holmes’ musical instrument of choice.

The More You Holmes

From: ep. 2.3

Character name: Gregson

Reference: in this ep, you can only hear the name Gregson overlapped by other dialogue in Lestrade’s protest of his use of Sherlock to his superior, when he says “I’m not the only senior officer who’s done this; Gregson–” before he gets cut off. We never see Gregson or hear mention of him (her?) again. In fact, I have long taken Lestrade’s first name (Greg) as an Easter egg of sorts, referring to Gregson and Lestrade in one character.

In the canon, Gregson and Lestrade are two of the best of the Scotland Yarders that work with Holmes on his cases, or bring them to him. In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes describes the two as competetive “as a pair of professional beauties,” and neither of which would admit to needing or admiring Holmes for what he does for them.

Later in the canon, there are others that Holmes comes to respect, and a lovely moment in “The Six Napoleons” wherein Lestrade tells Holmes just what he thinks of him.

The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 5.8

Event: Mr. Holder delivers a Beryl Coronet to Joan, to be delivered to Sherlock as a payment or memento of sorts from an earlier case.

Reference: From the adventure of the same name, we have a Mr. Holder and a mysterious Beryl Coronet. The circumstances of the canon piece are rather different than its appearance in this episode, but I and I’m sure all Sherlockians knew exactly what would be in the box when we saw Holder’s name. When Joan Watson commented on it being a crown, I have no doubt that all of us shouted at our TV screens: “It’s the Beryl Coronet!!”

The More You Holmes

From: ep. 3.1, 2, and 3

Line: (variations on:) MYCROFT: The East wind is coming.

Reference: In the BBC series, this phrase refers to a scary story Mycroft would tell Sherlock as a child (at least that’s the indication). In canon story “His Last Bow,” a Sherlock Holmes in his sixties says to elderly Watson, just after they unmask a German spy, “There’s an East wind coming,” referring to the onset of World War One. Watson responds that he thinks on the contrary, it’s very warm. This optimism makes Holmes muse upon the impending terrible times thusly:

Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.

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The More You Holmes

From: ep. 4.1

Title: The Six Thatchers

Reference: This title is obviously a play on the canon short story title, “The Six Napoleons,” and one must wonder what sort of dig Mofftiss is making about Thatcher, being a Napoleon substitute in the title of the ep. One also wonders if there will be smashed plaster busts, the mafia,  and the Black Pearl of the Borgias involved.

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NiB Review re-post: Sherlock Holmes & the Island of Dr. Moreau

More refurbished repostings of reviews that first appeared on soon-to-be-defunct site Nerds in Babeland.

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I’m a Sherlockian nerd of the first water–I’ve read the Doyle stories countless times, adore the Brett and the Cumberbatch versions of him, and love researching all about the culture surrounding the phenomenon. One thing Sherlockian I’ve never been able to abide, however, is Holmes stories written in that time and world, not written by Doyle (the BBC series is an exception, but it’s not Victorian, you see). I do this canon-snob thing with Star Wars too. Okay, maybe I enjoyed The Seven Per Cent Solution marginally. But I digress.

Guy Adams’ new Sherlock Holmes novel, The Army of Dr. Moreau, may be nearly an exception to this rule of mine. Nearly. 

I do enjoy literature that plays with remix, however, like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hellboy, and Kim Newman’s vampire novels. Adams’ new book does a great job with this fun admixture of Holmes and Moreau (of course narrated by Watson as all good Holmes stories are), but by also adding in such illustrious Victorian fantastic fiction cast members as Professor Lindenbrook, Professor Challenger, Abner Perry, Edward Prendick, and Professor Cavor. This makes for some delightful literary Easter egg hunting, but doesn’t just throw these characters all in there just to hear the fangirls squee, like Star Wars Episode 1. No, these characters are all vital, and all make perfect sense in their roles as the mystery of the hybrid animals unravels. Oh come now, the title has Moreau in it, it’s not like that’s a spoiler.


Most of this book is just the right combination of mystery and action that Doyle would be proud of, and mostly in Watson’s (very authentic) voice. It’s a lot of fun to hear his meta complaints about how difficult it is working with editors, and that rabid fans are the worst editors of all. It’s also fun to hear more of Watson’s emotional reaction to Holmes being, well, Holmes–he gets rightfully angry and frustrated with him more than once, and more than societally correct Doyle would have written him. But it’s not so un-Doyle-ish that we nerds can’t read it and suspend our disbelief. It’s a thrilling mystery, and in fact quite an intricate plot. Until.

Until Part 6, the last section of this book, which is where the quality of it as a Holmes book falls way short. This section suddenly is told in even shorter bursts than the already short chapters, from every character’s POV. It’s apparent why we are not in Watson’s POV exclusively at that point in the story, but to jump from character to character is just too jarring, and doesn’t have anything in the way of consistency with the rest of the book. If we had stayed in Holmes’ POV during our non-Watson time, that would have been more in keeping with the tone and style of the rest of the book, but the POV jumps are too much. Also, the way in which the story concludes just seems too unrealistic, especially compared with the intricacy of the rest of the story. I don’t want to spoil the end for you, so I’ll just say that a certain character does something which I don’t buy, and it basically concludes the book. It’s too simple, over the top, and frankly feels rushed. It’s such a fun, great book until then! 

Bottom Line: Sherlock Holmes, the Army of Dr. Moreau is a fun addition to any Holmes fan’s library. I just wanted more from the ending.

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The More You Holmes

From: Elementary 1.19

Event: A man, feeling as though threatened, wields an Xacto knife against his would-be assailants.

Reference: This is admittedly a stretch, but bear with me here: 

In “Silver Blaze,” John Straker’s body is found with a peculiar knife stained with blood. It’s not a pocketknife or anything that would fold up in a pocket, but a “very delicate blade, meant for very delicate work.” It’s what Watson calls a “cataract knife” with a long handle and a small triangular blade. The investigators think it odd that Straker may have used it to defend himself, but he had kept it on his bedside table for awhile. Apparently it was the closest weapon to hand. Or was it?

I mean, is it too long a stretch? I don’t think so–I think the Elementary writers are savvy enough Sherlockians to have done this on purpose.