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This story has always felt like the odd man out for me. For a few reasons I guess - one, because of the strong American link, which just feels odd in a Holmes story - he's not supposed to deal with stuff here in America, he's in Victorian England, darnit!

Two, because he doesn't really succeed. About all we get from him is a tenuous idea of what probably happened, and even that's more knowledge on his part than actual deduction, and a possible karmic justice in the end.

Then again, "Holmes vs. the Ku Klux Klan" is just bizarre in its own right, just a step down from "Holmes vs. Hitler," and the fact that it's canon and not a pastiche is even more mind-warping.

Aside from all that, poor Holmes. No friends but Watson? Owie. I mean, yeah, expected, and I'm sure he doesn't mind it, but still, stated baldly like that...

Oh, and as another note, the start of this story is another one of the little slips that Holmes fans like to poke and prod at - in The Sign of Four, where Watson met his wife, she had no living mother. And yet now she's off on a visit to her mother? Okay then. This is one of the things that have caused people to theorize that Watson was married numerous times, for what it's worth.

Remainder of the schedule.


Dec. 14th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
I had to look up "pip", since I knew it as the spots on a dice but not as the seeds of a fruit. When reading the stories all in a row on the Chicago El while commuting, I could overlook that and just go quickly, but doing a story every few days leads to more contemplation.

So, the part of this story that I liked was that Watson rolled up a Sherlock Holmes character sheet!
Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as regards the mud-stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccentric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, violin-player, boxer, swordsman, lawyer, and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco.
That is totally enough for a Traveller profile -- although this might be more of a superheroes RPG, those are the ones where you take a disability in X to get a benefit at Y, right?

[Edit:] I actually appreciated how Doyle used this to take Holmes down a peg. After stories where we saw that he could identify where mud came from, and had a card catalog of "all interesting people", it was nice to see his limitations listed, and have his hobbies tied together. An omniscient, all-powerful hero is a boring one. So, I liked this. It just cracked me up to think of it as a character sheet.

Story-wise, why didn't he let Openshaw spend the night at his house? I'm sure I'm not supposed to ask that, but if he was truly that concerned about the guy's impending doom, it would have been apropos. But maybe that's where the Victorian English, not American part comes in.

Edited at 2009-12-14 03:53 am (UTC)