Wednesday, July 30, 2014
LION - Brad's summer reading list # 16 - Holmes does community service and the other 'The Woman'.
We have to wonder if Holmes was toying with some of our conceptions of him as he wrote this story down.
We are often lead to believe that Holmes was loathe to leave his beloved London. And although many of his cases take him away from his home, he always seems to be in a hurry to return.
He has used fishing and other pursuits as a guise when it has helped in his 'cover story', but we don't really ever hear that the natural world holds much draw for him.
If we look at his personality we can however see where, to his scientific mind, the study of the natural world could hold much interest. But before this story it appeared that nature only held interest to him where it might apply to his chosen profession.
We learn that Holmes is now living in Sussex along the channel coast. High above the sea, near chalk cliffs.
He has a housekeeper with him which could or could not be Mrs. Hudson. We never really know Mrs. Hudson's age, and she to may have longed for many years to escape London.
We learn that although Holmes keeps in touch with Watson, it is indeed rare and limited. We have to believe at this time that if Watson was indeed still unattached he would have followed Holmes to Sussex. Hopefully it means Watson is happily married or at least wanting to be near grand kids or somethin'.
The case itself is very unimportant, except to the dead man. With such knowledgeable people at 'The Gables", it seems rather remarkable that no one else figured out the origin of the criminal. (It took Holmes a week to come to his conclusions.)
Well, I guess the science master figured it out, but unfortunately he was the one that got killed.
At one point Holmes actually seems to over think the problem. Looking for a crime where none exists.
It is also interesting to note that there are two references to where Holmes 'stores' his knowledge, and once again both making reference to architectural images.
We have often, especially of late, heard of Holmes' 'brain attic' and also referenced his lumber-room. (Both references can be found in FIVE.)
In LION, when finally coming up with the answer to the mystery, Holmes makes first a comment about his brain being like a "crowded box-room" And later, just a paragraph or so away we hear he keeps his books and reference material in a "great garret room in his little house". Basically saying the very same thing as in FIVE but with two different phrases.
We also find a Holmes who can possibly out write Watson on the appearance and comportment of the fairer sex. Holmes himself says he is taken by the presences of Maud. Who would have though after all these years.
It is also interesting to note that when researching J. G. Wood and the book Holmes refers to we come up with lots of Sherlockian familiarities; Norwood, Croydon, St Barts, Boys own Magazine.
Watson, Holmes or the literary agent, either or all, could have known J. G. Wood, or at least been familiar with his work.
Perhaps the two greatest speculation that have come out of this story are; Where is the location of Holmes' retirement cottage? And why did Holmes wish to study bees?
Who could not like the man Holmes as become at this point in his life. Social, well respected and still very, very interesting.
As with all the cases, most of the fun is written between the lines. Where first this case may seem uninteresting, there is much to be gotten out of it.