Sherlock

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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The More You Holmes

From: ep. 2.2

Line: SHERLOCK: You’re brown as a nut; clearly you’re just back from your holidays.

Reference: In A Study in Scarlet, the very first ever Sherlock Holmes story, Stamford says this to Watson: “Whatever have you been doing with yourself, Watson? You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.” In ep. 2.2, Sherlock says the above to Lestrade, thereby nailing his real reason for being in Dartmoor.

Holmes v. Holmes v. Holmes

The lovely and talented folks at Sherlock’s Home wanted my Holmes v. Holmes article to focus on Cumberbatch vs. Miller, but I did have a section on Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in my original draft. So. Here it is. And, for the record: I like them all.

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Honorable Mention: Robert Downey Jr.

I…think I’ve seen both movies. I’m pretty sure I have, because as a stage combat artist and stunt coordinator, I remember looking at the way they did the fight scenes in particular. The movies themselves, however, are so forgettable, I have actually Netflixed them both twice and still don’t remember much about plot. (Please don’t explain the plots to me in the comments; you know what I mean…)

What I will say that Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock brings to the mix is an explosive energy– a Trickster-like danger (think Willy Wonka, or Han Solo in ep. 4) that makes a character wonder if they’re at all safe following this madman around, but also wouldn’t miss the journey for the world. The fact that this Sherlock lives in Victorian London (albeit a rather advanced, steampunky version) makes his turpentine-guzzling, bare-knuckle boxing antics that much wilder. Jude Law’s Watson is as though he stepped out of Doyle: a good solid Victorian gentleman, who is still up for any insane shenanigans Holmes may put him through next. And though he’s there by his side, he will still attempt a modicum of sanity, or at least of legality, as he tries to lead a “normal” life while in the company of this eccentric.

Downey Jr. has a solid English accent, even if his wildness is a bit too modern American superhero for his role, but the action-hero-ness of this portrayal is something that most contemporary Sherlock adapters forget to add: they all are focused on Sherlock’s remarkable powers of the mind, and forget that a mere year before the second novel, Holmes beat a professional prize-fighter in three rounds of bare-knuckle boxing at Alison’s rooms, that he has a sword in his cane, and is an expert single-stick player (actually Miller’s Sherlock had a couple moments mentioning the single stick in particular, but still not an emphasis). Sherlock Holmes is in fact a badass, and Downey Jr.’s Holmes is a reminder of that.

Now ask me what I think of each series’ Irene Adler, or Moriarty. And don’t get me started on the Grenada series (or heck, why not? Do).

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5 Throwaway Scenes in Sherlock That May Yet Mean Something

My latest for Sherlock’s Home.

Sherlocks Home

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Written by Prof. Jenn

There is so little Sherlock to go around that us Sherlockians have taken to analysing each and every scene with a magnifying glass to ponder over any hidden meanings they might possess. As such, we’ve come to the conclusion that several seemingly throwaway scenes throughout the ten episodes we have had so far are actually more important than they appear. Here are a few of them:

5. DI Dimmock

Dimmock

A one-off character from fandom’s least favourite episode , Dimmock begins nearly verbatim as Forbes from Doyle story ‘The Naval Treaty,’ with a low opinion of Holmes’ techniques and the fact that he takes credit away from the police. Once admonished and corrected, however, he is contrite and asks to help. Dimmock is the same way in ‘The Blind Banker’, and is even given a huge compliment at the end of the episode, where Sherlock tells him he…

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The More You Holmes

From: Elementary ep. 4.13

Title (& tatt): “A Study in Charlotte” (victim’s tattoo is initials: RACHE, which has a double meaning)

Reference: Obviously the title of this ep is a play on the title of the first Doyle canon story, A Study in Scarlet. As a further treat, the victim (Charlotte) is German, and her tattoo of RACHE is immediately noticeable by Sherlock as German for “revenge” (Gregson even suggests it’s an incomplete “Rachel” first, just like in Doyle). In this ep, the tattoo is a touch up addition, which ends up being a major clue into whodunit. In A Study in Scarlet, RACHE is scrawled on the wall in blood by the murderer, as a blind.

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The More You Holmes

From: Elementary 4.6

Line: SHERLOCK: Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner.

Reference: This line is verbatim from Doyle’s The Sign of Four. In it, Holmes is admonishing Watson for adding too much life and romance into his stories. In the ep, Sherlock is admonishing his father for seemingly expressing emotional outrage after their joint questioning of someone involved in a case.

(As a side note, lovely lurkers, what do you think of this new character, Moreland Holmes? I have several thoughts but I’d like to hear what you think. Post in the comments.)

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The More You Holmes

From: ep. 3.3

Event: Sherlock becomes engaged in order to gain access to Charles Augustus Magnusson’s office. When he and John succeed in breaking in, he finds Magnusson being held at gunpoint by a woman whom he has wronged.

Reference: Holmes does this very thing in “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” (Magnusson is the updated version of Milverton, the Master Blackmailer). He and Watson break in and hide as they witness a blackmailing victim not only put Milverton at gunpoint, but shoot him dead. Things go slightly differently in ep. 3.3, but the basic build up to the event is the same. And as in 3.3, in the original story Watson is outraged and exasperated with Holmes for using the poor young woman in this way. In the original, Holmes declares he knows his fiancée has another suitor who will step in, and no more is said about it. In 3.3, a lovely Easter egg occurs with Janine raking in the cash from tabloids and retiring to a cottage on the Sussex Downs. With bees, no less (this of course is famously how original Holmes retires himself).

  

Reposting of the Big, Huge, Guy Adams MiniInterview and Review

More from the archives of the blog that was, lovely lurkers. This is a MiniInterview of the illustrious Guy Adams of Sherlockian fame, as well as reviews of several of his books.

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All Things Guy Adams Sherlock Holmes, all the time

by Jenn Zuko 

First of all, can I just express my extreme nerdy jealousy that Mr. Guy Adams gets to write all these? I mean, how do you get that gig?

Well, I got a chance to ask the man himself. Before we get to that, though, take a gander at my reviews of his many Sherlockian books.

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Sherlock Holmes: the Breath of God

What happens when Holmes is faced with the supernatural? Not the faux supernatural, like the Hound of the Baskervilles, but the actually unexplainable?

Or is it?

The Breath of God is a novel that fits right in with the Doyle canon and the best of the non-Doyle canon (I’m thinking Nicholas Meyer in particular). What it does well is maintain that Watson centered narrative which is so essential to a powerful Holmesian story, in my professional opinion. The thing is, Holmes is such an extraordinary creature, that to be inside his head diminishes the astonishingness of him. Having the story told from outside him gives us the opportunity to marvel at his prowess and be mystified by his flaws. Knowing his flaws personally would be too wearing for a story, though it could make for a fascinating character sketch.

The great thing about the plot of Breath of God is that you really don’t know what to think of the magical things that go on, just like Watson. Even up till the end there are certain threads that don’t end up tied up neatly. That’s not to say Holmes doesn’t figure it all out in the end, but… Man, I’m about to spoil things. Okay, I’ll stop. I’ll just say this: it’s mysterious, exciting, slightly meta (love the moment when Holmes says he needs to pull a Hound of Baskerville move), and the end is quite dramatic. Plus there’s philosophical dilemmas and some mashups of historical and fictional characters from that time period, which you all know I love when done well.

Bottom line: Sherlock Holmes: the Breath of God is a rollicking good time, and a book I’m happy to shelve next to the canon.

sherlockblogheader.jpg.size-525_maxheight-346Sherlock Holmes: the Army of Dr. Moreau

I actually reviewed this one in depth before, it’s what made me want to do a big ol’ review on all of them once I realized Adams wrote the Sherlock Case Book too. Here it is on Nerds in Babeland.

As you can see, I kinda liked the Breath of God better.

Sherlock: the Case Book

As a giant fan of the BBC series Sherlock, I had to add this companion book into my collection. It covers anything and everything about the first two seasons of Sherlock. It includes story synopses from the point of view of John Watson’s scrapbook, complete with his notes, photos and police reports, even phone call logs. But the highlight of the synopses is the post it note conversation between Sherlock and John, plastered all over the scrapbook pages. Oh, and Mycroft makes a brief post-it note appearance. At its best, the conversation is charmingly contentious, as you would imagine between those two. It does, though, get a bit old. Sherlock may be impatient with an intellect lesser than his (as anyone’s is), but he isn’t incessantly whiny and bitchy. The bitchiness factor tends to take away from his massive intellect as a character.

The documentary type bits are great (although I did find a couple inaccuracies), like a nicely done DVD extra. And of course one of my favorite parts is the By the Book sections. I’m wondering why there isn’t a By the Book section for each episode, but I guess I’ll just let my More You Holmes blog posts supplement them. (Wow, did I just shamelessly plug myself? :sigh: Sorry Mr. Adams, I couldn’t resist. And thank you for the compliment and bookmark. Squee!)

Bottom line: if you’re Sher-locked, you absolutely need this book.

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And now… (drum roll…) here it is: the MinInterview with Guy Adams himself.

5 questions: Guy Adams

interviewed by: Jenn Zuko

1) What choices do you make in your novels re: references/adherence to Doyle and your own original departures, and why? Have you created a backstory for Holmes that helps you in writing him through novel length stories?

A lot of it is instinctive to be honest. Everyone views stories and characters differently as they can’t help but bring their subjective viewpoint into things. I have therefore written what I think is a completely accurate version of Holmes and Watson. Other people will disagree as MY Holmes and Watson won’t be the same as THEIR Holmes and Watson.

I suppose I bring a little more humour into their relationship but that seems natural to me between two men who have been so close for that long. They’re a marriage.

I’ve also chosen to let Watson grieve over a dead wife. Doyle was — rightly — too busy building stories to dwell on  the emotions of his characters but I wanted Watson to have that. We’ve all loved and the idea of losing someone precious would cling to you, it plays a fair part in the action of The Breath of God.

The backstory is all Doyle though, I’ve read the stories many times over the years and that’s always the history I bring with me.

I have included favourite characters from other Holmes stories, such as Mycroft, Shinwell Johnson and Langdale Pike. Purely because those characters seemed helpful to the stories I wanted to tell.

As both novels blend Holmes with other fictional characters there is a natural inclination to bring the flavour of those works in too.

2) We share an acting background, so I have to ask–how does your acting training inform your writing, and vice versa?

It informs me hugely when it comes to character and dialogue. I played Holmes a couple of time too so that has hung over the whole process as I already feel close to the character.

Hopefully, having been an actor I can feel my way through stories. I can think in terms of the characters, bring them to life a little more.

3) What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes story? What’s your favorite media adaptation?

I’m terrible at picking favourites because mood always gets in the way. Probably The Adventure of the Red-Headed League.

Media adaptation is even more difficult somehow because there’s such a wide variation, all of which bring something interesting.

I adore Jeremy Brett in the role (especially with Edward Harwicke, a gentle, wise Watson).

The relationship between Downey Jr. and Jude Law is lovely too though, whatever you may think of the action movie bells and whistles the two of them spark beautifully off one another.

But how can we ignore SHERLOCK? We simply can’t… it’s glorious and a flawless version of Holmes and Watson.

Sigh… who knows which of them I like the most?

I’m not a great fan of Rathbone. No… let me be clearer, I love the films but he and Bruce are not MY Holmes and Watson, they are some other pair entirely who I enjoy spending time with but don’t recognise as the same people.

4) Tell us the story of how you got the Sherlock Casebook gig. How closely did you consult with Moffat and Gatiss, or did they set you free? Did you interview the actors, creators, etc. yourself for those non-fic bits?

I’ve worked with BBC Books on a number of projects and, knowing that I was a fan of Holmes, I think I was just the safe choice for them. It wasn’t something I had to pitch or fight for. They just dropped me a line explaining that they’d got the rights and would I like to do the book.

Hartswood were heavily involved. Steven, Mark and Sue Vertue all chipped in on the material as I was writing it, correcting things and ensuring I didn’t contradict anything they might want to do in the future.

I attended the commentary recordings for the DVD and Blu-ray and did some interviews then. That was excruciating actually as my dictaphone packed up. Benedict was loveliness itself, working his way through a cup of soup while I got more and more stressed trying to get the thing to record. “We really are going to have to get on,” he said softly as I began to consider just crawling under one of the microphone stands and dying of embarrassment.

I had an absolutely wonderful chat with Andrew Scott on the phone. We gassed on for over an hour with me deciding I’d like to be his best friend. No doubt he has already been in touch with his lawyers to discuss restraining orders. A lovely, clever, brilliant actor.

Everyone was a joy, it was great fun to do.

5) Any more Holmesian projects on the horizon?

I hope to write more Holmes novels but that’s up in the air at the moment depending on Titan’s future plans. I have a lot of other novels I’m working on at the moment but I’d always go back, I could happily write Holmes stories forever!

5a) How do you get to write using these already-created characters? Is there some kind of copyright process you have to go through? (I’m asking for a friend…:) )

This is a tricky one!  Strictly speaking, Holmes is out of copyright so you can do what you like with him (as is the case with all the other characters I used). That hasn’t stopped a few attempts on the part of the Doyle Estate to insist otherwise.

Copyright law is different all over the world so your friend would have to check the specific terms for where they wish to publish. It all comes down to either how long ago the original author died or how long since first publication of the original work.

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The More You Holmes

I don’t do these enough anymore since I started writing for Sherlock’s Home, eh lovely lurkers? I’ll have to remedy that from now on.   ~Jenn

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From: ep. 1.3

Line: SHERLOCK: I’m lost without by blogger.

Reference: in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Holmes says to Watson something nearly verbatim: “I am lost without my Boswell.”  Since most contemporary audiences wouldn’t understand the Boswell reference, no doubt Mofftiss contemporized the phrase to make Sherlock’s sentiment accessible. What does Holmes mean when he calls Watson his “Boswell?” James Boswell was the biographer of writer Samuel Johnson. Boswell is widely touted as being the first biographer–i.e. the first writer to write a biography. Holmes is constantly calling Watson his biographer, and so the moniker Boswell fits, as well as being quite a high compliment, coming from Holmes.

  

The More You Holmes

From: 2.1

Line: MORIARTY: (text message)  Dear me, Mr. Holmes. Dear me…

dearme

 

 

 

 

 

Reference: In The Valley of Fear, Holmes receives a telegram from a sinister anonymous sender (Holmes knows it’s Moriarty) with this very message on it, just after he discovers the former Pinkerton agent tried to fake his death and hide from his pursuers. Watson laughs at the message, thinking it a joke, but Holmes knows better–and sure enough, he learns of the man’s death at sea shortly thereafter.IMG_0004

In the episode, it’s a modern equivalent of a telegram (a text message) sent from Moriarty to Mycroft, not Sherlock, Holmes, to inform him his plans are known and therefore foiled. No murders result from it, though there is lots of intrigue.

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