Friday, June 13, 2014

The Adventure of the Six Napoleons - Brad's summer reading number 4 - What would you have done?

SIXN is a fun story.
Both Holmes and Watson are in Baker St.
Lestrade is now on really good terms with the duo, seemly stopping by for pleasant evenings quite often.
Holmes is almost jocular.
Watson is, well, Watson.

The case is fun and interesting. Most of us believe Holmes had most of it solved before he even left Baker St., with just some of the details missing.
We find Holmes and Watson sharing meals, and at times sharing them with Lestrade.
It is how we picture the world revolving around 221b. (And Watson is looking very young in this SP illustration.)

And just like BLUE, the case ends up involving a gem.
(As do several other tales in the Canon).

But it dose share at least one other similarity with BLUE.
And that is the gem is actually in the possession of another before Holmes finds it.
In BLUE the stone is found by that other person, Peterson, then brought to Holmes.
In SIXN Holmes discovers the location and acquires the stone without ever telling the other person.

In a past re-rendering of an SP illustration, I have made fun of how much of the reward commissionaire Peterson receives for actually finding the carbuncle and always wondered if Peterson actually ever saw any of the reward. It is never mentioned and we are left to guess.

Much the same thing happens again in SIXN. Once Mr. Sanderford relinquishes his copy of the statue Holmes has complete command of the reward. Yes, Mr. Sanderford does receive ten pounds, a goodly profit on his purchase (and ten pounds could buy more back then than it does now!) for the statue, but he does not get to participate in the complete story. He gets no chance to make the right decision as to the proper return of stolen object.
Would it be like buy something at a garage sale for one dollar, knowing the full value is in the thousands, and not telling the owner? Or is it the fault of the owner for not knowing the real value?

Just like in BLUE, Holmes takes on the full responsibility and judgement of the reward (if there is one).

Now, it could be argued that Sanderford would never have known about the stone, so therefore was fairly treated. But once the story did reach the press (or the Strand), the truth would have come out.
Could Holmes not have explained the reason for the purchase at a higher amount to Mr. Sanderford?
And why did he feel the need to get in writing a note saying Sanderford gave up all claim (he didn't do it in BLUE), especially since Mr. Sanderford was so honest with Holmes about his purchase price? Had Holmes had a problem along these lines once before?

But in BLUE, Peterson does know of the gem and yet never once asks about a reward for finding it and turning it over to Holmes.

As we Play the Game we come to realize that we will never know answers to many of our question, and that many things take place after our involvement in the stories.
But it is still an interesting point to ponder.

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