Thursday, October 3, 2013

Crow and Holmes

When the world refuses to provide the rationality I would prefer it's good to know I can always count on Sherlock Holmes. For the past week my reading time away from the internet has been spent enjoying Arthur Conan Doyle's magnum opus, 'Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Stories'. The four novels came first and now that I've reached page 1051 of this 1400 page book, I'm already feeling sad it will end all too soon.

My friend Crow once spent some time assisting Holmes and Watson in the Mysterious Case of the Four Feathers on Her Majesty's Pillow, a story that never did become part of the published series since even now its shocking revelations could disrupt our confidence in the powers that still rule. Crow has decided that might not be such a bad thing and is busy at this moment going over his notes about the case. Perhaps we'll all know the essentials of that tale soon enough.

One of the most enjoyable parts of reading these stories is in reading about the stories Watson left out of the series. This passage is typical:

'In this memorable year of 1895 a curious and incongruous succession of cases had engaged his attention, ranging from his famous investigation of the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca - an enquiry which was carried out by Holmes at the expess desire of His Holiness the Pope - down to his arrest of Wilson, the notorious canary trainer, which removed a plague-spot from the East End of London.'

What? A notorious canary trainer? Who wouldn't be interested in learning more about that story? Even though that one will never be told (unless Crow participated in that case too), the ones that remain are sufficient to prove the genius of Sherlock Holmes:

“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”

“Don't talk, Anderson. You lower the IQ of the entire street every time you open your mouth.”

“Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.”

'Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?'
'To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.'
'The dog did nothing in the night-time.'
'That was the curious incident,' remarked Sherlock Holmes.

“I'm not a psychopath, I'm a fully functioning sociopath. Do your research.”

Now it's time to sharpen Crow's quill pens and warm the brandy. I'm looking forward to another evening in his library sitting in the comfort of my favorite fireside chair reading while he writes.

ps: modified illustration from the Strand Magazine


  1. How timely! I have recently been watching a variety of Sherlock Holmes TV series - all with different actors, with the oddest being a 21stC version. In one of the episodes, in an earlier series I think but I'm not sure now, I heard those last lines you quoted.

    I wish I could join you and Crow for some brandy and listen to more stories of his adventures with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

    1. My favorite version of Holmes and Watson has always been the movie series done between 1939 and 1946 starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Their characterizations are very close to the originals as written by Conan Doyle.

      Crow and I wish you could join us too.

  2. Now, that's more than worth a Laughing Lhursday!!! :)

  3. You have red four? You have sixty-one more short stories to go. Pick up The Annotated Sherlock Holmes by William S. Baring-Gould it is the definitive reference.

    I wonder if crow was involved in the Crow Hill Mine mentioned in the valley of Fear?
    Enjoy your readings.
    the Ol'Buzzard
    member of the Order of the Empty House
    a scion society of the Baker Street Regulars

    1. I'm currently well past the 40 mark in reading the short stories and still enjoying the immensely. I read most of them first when I was in my teens, but they're great to revisit. The reference book sounds good too.

      Congratulations in your membership in such a a fine society. I will ask Crow about his involvement in that case.

  4. Thank you for sending me back to my three beautifully illustrated Sherlock Holmes: Adventures, Memoirs and Return. Such a great way to spend one's hours. We have a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Room,at the Toronto Reference Library, with an extensive collection of the writer's memorabilia. Closed now for renovations, I hope it will reopen soon enough for me to sit by the fireplace again and learn more on Sherlock Holmes. Meanwhile I'll borrow your own splendid corner, as seen at the top, and try to catch Mr. Crow's words on "the man who never lived, and will never die." (Orson Welles)

    1. Unfortunately, Halifax has no such repository of the Great Detective's life and times so Crow and I must do our best with what we have. At least the climate here is not dissimilar to Holme's London.

      I'm delighted to have reminded you of your fine copies of the Adventures. Crow and I would be graced by your presence at our fireside. We'll save you the best chair.

  5. I knew Holmes.
    We hung out together at UWisconsin. He was noted for not sharing his cocaine......and sayhing, "Live is a mystery.....lets throw a keg party and try to solve it." ps...for a good read, try Jim Harrison, "the English Major". nice stuff and a good read on a rainy day.

    1. Yep, it sounds like the same Holmes all right, but you have to remember that 7% solution was a very particular concoction. Beer is cheaper.

      I just checked out that book on Amazon and it looks cool. It's on my wish list.

    2. but ... I try for a good 8.3 % beer..... no needles required.

    3. and no straws either.. as in beer hats.

  6. hoping i can leave this but am getting into the habit of copying it before hitting publish. i don't know quite how you're making these drawings but they're very cool. a nice departure from the blather i'm listening to in my enforced laying here with a pulled tendon in my knew...blah blah.... saturday must be the absolute worst day to watch news and i'm about to watch ironman or something......... hoping your weather is still good there but... it's probably cold as can be already. sigh, i bet you aren't in disagreement with me. :) that would be about the blather!!! xoxox

    1. Copying before publishing has seemed like the safest thing to me for quite a while now. Yours has come through just fine.

      As for these latest few 'artistic' drawings the fact is I've just been messing around to see what will happen if I do this or that using the scanner in combination with the pencils, inks and paints. So far, so good.

      I'm sorry to hear you're laid up with a bad knee and hope the movie was a decent diversion from the news.

      We've been having cool nights here after sunny and mild days so far. The rest is coming but I don't mind waiting a while longer.