Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tour de Hound - Chapter Five - Unraveling Sweater and following on foot.

I once went on a six day wilderness whitewater raft trip that if we could have found a reasonable way to have done it, would have turned mutinous. The owner of the raft company and head guide was an alcoholic old sod who was destroying the reputation of a famous raft company started by his father.
Besides always getting up late in the mornings and getting us late into camp each evening (sometimes after dark) had, by the second night out, consumed all the beer that was meant for the customers. Conversation that evening around the bitter fire centered on the best way to abandon the head guide leaving him raft and food enough to get to the end of the river. I am sure if beer had still been left, it may have come to fruition.
Needless to say we were all experienced wilderness travellers and did not abandon the group, but short of making the owner/head guide walk a plank, we insisted on some new guide lines and insisted on the rest of the staff stepping it up a bit.

Well, that trip reminds me much of the way this tour is going with snarky tour guide now inviting snarky groupies along for the ride. The whole point of this exercise was to join a seldom humorous and occasionally insightful 'tour' into the Hound and hope to add some good discussion and thoughts along the way. And to have fun.  But it seems the tour guide must 'drink all the tourists beer' at each rest stop and wax non-poetically about pet peeves, that it takes a couple of days to get back on track.
So before my passport is once again revoked (which may have already happened) I have decided to go on foot behind the omnibus. Once I get to the moors the walking my become a little slower, but I look forward to it none the less. And who knows, maybe the rest of the tourists will throw him over board and we can proceed.

Again this would be a wonderful story to once again read for the first time, knowing that there is something out there called 'Playing the Game'. Following along or walking beside Holmes as he pursues the Hound. We unfairly for this tour already know the outcome and have to try to forget as much as we can to stay on board with first time eyes. Or we can look at it as a tour we enjoyed the first time and are wanting to do again.

Yea I like that, and we may catch new things.

At this point we should have started to make a list of all the clues that Holmes has started to gather.
Death of Sir Charles.
Mysterious hound.
Legend of the hound.
Sightings by others of the hound.
Gigantic foot prints.
Cigarette ash.
Missing boot.
Warning letter.
Being followed.
Staff at Baskerville Hall.
Man with a black beard.
No other heir.
and probably a few I have missed.

And as we venture into this chapter we start our tour enjoying works by Belgian Masters at a Bond St. picture gallery. (It is interesting to note that Granada did not use these lines tell the end of Brett's Hound while Holmes is seen driving a four wheeler away from Baker St. I can imagine him tipping the driver a few shillings to sit in the back while he drove. Right?)
After our art show we return to the Northumberland to join Mortimer and Baskerville for lunch.
At this point Holmes eliminates a couple possible suspects in a reading of the register. (mentioned also by snarky tour guide).
We also have the opportunity to start gathering more clues.
We almost immediately find out another boot has been taken and poor Sir Henry is left with only one pair of shoes.
We also learn of the household staff at Baskerville Hall, Barrymore and his wife. (Interesting note; John Barrymore played Sherlock Holmes in 1922)
We learn who profited from the will.
We learn Sir Henry has no will yet, so the distribution of his estate if he were to die is not decided yet, so what ever is about to happen to Sir Henry will probably happen soon.
We also learn, near the end of this chapter tour, that one of the missing boots has been found or returned.
Also near the end our sweater starts to unravel as we find out Barrymore of the black beard is not the man who is following Sir Henry, and we also loss any leads the 23 hotel newspapers may have provided.
John Clayton leaves a little richer but is unable to further the investigation other than to let Holmes know his adversary shows a certain amount of intelligence.

Snarky tour guide would have the tourists believe Watson finds this whole chapter humorous and is spending most of his time bent over with the giggles.
While Watson's laugh, when Holmes begs him to be careful while at Baskerville Hall, is just a brave mans attempt to laugh off Holmes' concern.

And about the boot.
We are pretty sure Holmes believes the waiter returned it when lunch was being set.  We also know lunch was set in a separate room from the rest of the suite, and that after lunch they repaired to a private sitting-room to discuss business.
There was plenty of time before lunch was served or as lunch was being cleared away, while Holmes was in a different room, that the boot could have been deposited under the cabinet.
Only as the dialog is written do we believe that the German waiter was the one responsible for all the comings and goings of lunch.
We therefore must think Holmes believes he is involved, but only in such away that any further questioning or threat would lead no where. But surely if he did have any knowledge of the comings and goings of lone boots, the chance of losing his position would gain Holmes some information. So therefore, did someone else have access to the room, or did others help bring up the lunch and clear it away, which the German would know of. Someone was paid to perform the shenanigans and why were they considered unimportant.
We all realize that hotel staff can be tipped to perform special services, but surely this would be along the lines of criminal. For some reason Holmes thinks these leads are unimportant.

I think there are some key scenes in this chapter that were neglected in the Granada episode, and that is a shame.

It as been fun exploring the Hound in this way, one chapter every couple of days as opposed to doing a paper or two on Hound over a couple of months.

Won't know for a couple of days if I have to walk the rest of the tour or not, but I will keep going.
See you at Baskerville Hall next.

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