I also apologize ahead of time if I get too.. trivial or anything. I'm a lifelong (more or less) Holmes fan, so I may be working against pretty much the opposite of the problem I had with I, Robot. I will try not to get too sidetracked.
It's a bit weird to be jumping into this here in some ways, rather than Where It Began, with A Study In Scarlet. But a) the short story format seems to be better suited to our purposes anyhow, and b) the entire second half of that novel bores the living hell out of me anyhow, so.
Ah, good old Irene Adler. The woman. And good old Bohemia, which Wiki Pete reminds me is a part of the Czech Republic, because I really doubt most people would know offhand just exactly where it is these days without checking.
Anyhow, I remembered that we were introduced very early on to Holmes' coldness, and... less than positive outlook toward one-half of the human race, although I'd forgotten we were also introduced this early to his cocaine habit. And it's odd to see cocaine mentioned as causing lethargy, rather than the opposite.
And of course we have the little teasers of other cases that never appeared in detail in any Doyle work, which have served as the basis for fanwankery and pastiches for decades. Thank you, Doyle. Which kinda makes me wonder if there was ever any such thing Back In The Day, although I'd guess not... it just feels like a more modern thing. (Well, especially fanfic, without the internet to spread it.)
It's also a good thing that Holmes *doesn't* tend to hang around women much, if his idea of a greeting to someone is to state practically first thing just how much weight they've gained (and accurately, too).
And of course right off the bat, there is much deduction going on. Because it wouldn't be Holmes without it. I also note that despite the archtypal image of Holmes including his pipe, here instead he's smoking his cigarettes, which seem to my (possibly faulty) memory to be much more common for him, anyhow.
I always hate when they start whipping out the old English coinage... even aside from the whole problem of steep inflation between then and now, I can never keep the different amounts straight, in comparison with, er, normal money. I seem to recall that a guinea was something silly like 21 pounds or thereabouts, but that's about it.
A small touch of the human in Holmes - "I am lost without my Boswell." Aww.
Alright, I'm starting to get bogged down and do the same thing I did with the Zelazny, and recap everything, which isn't really needed when we're reading separate short stories each time, so I'll try to stop that. *ahem*
I do wonder (and have before) Just how much freaking SPACE it would take up to have catalogs of information of, well, everyone and everything that he found written down. A bit unfeasible, surely! Also, was there a "King of Scandinavia" around this point? I mean, I'm pretty sure just the separate countries had their own ruling families...? I'll admit though that history isn't my strongest suit.
"She has the face of the most beautiful of women, and the mind of the most resolute of men." Grr. Oh well, guess we can't expect much else from the Victorian era.
"She was a lovely woman, with a face that a man might die for"? Deciding to keep the sovereign she gave him as a souvenir on his watch-chain? My, how very romantic for a man as unromantic as Holmes.
One thing I'll note, that if you stop to think about it, the abrupt marriage before we barely even get into the story kinda deflates the urgency, you know? I mean, the original idea is that Irene Adler is jealous and will publish the photo and be damned in order to keep the King from marrying his Scandinavian princess, and instead, next thing we know she's getting married to someone else? Yeah, I think SOMEONE has an inflated idea of his own importance.
Always fun to see Holmes and Watson with such high regard for the law that they help on so many occasions. *cough* I'll also note that if Watson was the total bumbler that everyone seems to want to portray him as nowadays, Holmes would *never* entrust him with tasks of any such importance in his investigations. But don't get me started on that.
Leaving aside the whole "it's a woman's nature to be secretive" blah blah, the whole fire thing is a pretty nifty trick for revealing a hiding place. Although I do think that Holmes falls down on the job just leaving it there, since it's got to be pretty obvious that the "fire" was staged for some reason. I mean, smoke just doesn't come out of nowhere, with hand cries of "Fire!," and the remains of the smoke rocket should be visible, yes?
It's pretty interesting that although Holmes has a general reputation as someone who can't be outwitted, and can deduce anything, the very first of the Holmes short stories involves him getting trounced. Although he at least does some good work before that. But still!
Anyhow, I'm... well, at a bit of a loss as to what I should comment on to get conversation started. I'm familiar enough with most of the Holmes stories that I don't even remember how to approach them "fresh" anymore, especially when I'm sleepy on top of everything, so... well, bear with me guys. :p
On that note, have at it!
Reminder link for the full schedule.