Monday, September 30, 2013

Tour de Hound - Chapter 14 - putting the Hound down. . .as well as Lestrade I guess. . . .

This has never been one of my favorite chapters, and I don't really know why.

I don't know if it's because I don't agree with how Holmes handled it or what.

Or how Sir Henry is, as it would appear most English gentleman are, left shaking and incapacitated by the adventure (remember this is a man who is a world traveler and someone who spent a lot of time outside in wild country).

I don't know if it was the inconclusiveness of the outcome (maybe I was hoping for a sequel).

Whatever it is, this chapter has always been a little bit of a let down for me.

Sir Henry is quickly forgotten.

Beryl doesn't come out to well as she laughs and claps her hands and as "Her eyes and teeth gleamed with fierce merriment."

And really, why was Lestrade there?

In the discussion over the last couple of days, it was brought up by James, when listing Canonical references in 'Elementary', that Lestrade in that episode used a hip flask when at his hide out, thus adding to the list of references.

It is interesting to note that in HOUN Lestrade is called upon twice to use his hip flask in this second to the last chapter.
First with Sir Henry on the moor. Then again with Beryl when rescued from Merripit House.

Several comments were made about 'Elementary' making Lestrade out to be a drunken, lazy tag along, only out for the credit.

And I don't think, canonically,  that is necessarily an inapt description of the earlier Lestrade.

But Watson states in HOUN that Lestrade was perhaps capable of change and growth, ". . . and I saw at once from the reverential way in which Lestrade gazed at my companion that he had learned a good deal since the days when they had first worked together." 
Or was that reverential look just saying, "Here's comes another promotion."

So, perhaps 'Elementary' had it right, at least partially.

But my main point on this line of though is this; Does Lestrade even have a gun with him?

After our three hound hunters have left the pub, and paid off the wagonette driver, and are once deposited on the moor, Holmes turns to Lestrade and asks, "Are you armed,"
To which the little detective smiles and says, "As long as I have my trousers I have a hip-pocket, and as long as I have a hip-pocket, I have something in it."

I think most of us would assume Holmes is asking Lestrade if he is carrying a gun, even if a hip-pocket would an uncomfortable spot to carry even the smallest gun.

But know where in the adventure that follows does Lestrade pull out his gun, show a gun or in anyway make reference to a gun.

When first confronted by the apparition of the hound, Lestrade "gave a yell of terror and threw himself  face downward upon the ground."

Watson springs up, even though terrified, grasping for his pistol, (Did any one count how many times Watson checks his gun in the Granada episode.?) but Lestrade does not draw his pistol at all, never.

The only thing that ever comes out of his pocket is his hip flask.

The biggest contribution Lestrade makes to the evening is being left "in possession of the house (Merripit)". Guarding it in case Stapleton came back or making sure Beryl doesn't run away?

Although when asked about being armed, we are told it is Lestrade that smiles, but maybe Holmes was smiling also, knowing full well what was in Lestrade's pocket, "Yea, I know what you are armed with, Lestrade. Liquid courage, right?", as Holmes winks and pokes Lestrade in the ribs.

He was armed all right, but maybe just against the cold.

Holmes probably needed someone there in an official capacity, and having worked with Lestrade on many occasions and knowing the strengths and limitations of that relationship, found Lestrade the ideal man for the job.

So, was the portrayal in 'Elementary' that far off?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Because it's Friday and you deserve it. . .

Ratings of Elementary on in connection with the DVD

Out out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

Out of 860 reviews, you could say, basically only 26 people hate it.

Doing my bit.

Doing my bit to keep the original Canon alive to all the people who follow the new incarnations of Holmes and Watson.
Found out this week that my coarse suggestion of a Sherlock Holmes class at our community college was accepted.
'Playing the Game, a Study in Sherlock Holmes'

Now I just need to make sure I get enough people to sign up.

There Baaaack! Elementary Season 2 - episode 1 - 'Step Nine' - a review

There back and I'm glad. I missed them. Was it fun? Yes. Was it perfect? No.

Jonny Lee Millers 'Holmes' goes back to London, by a request from Insp. Hopkins, for the first time since rehab, to help one time colleague Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade (played by Sean Pertwee).
Lucy Liu's 'Watson' accompanies him.

Lestrade is obsessed with, what's to him, an unsolved murder. He believes he knows who did it, but his career is in jeopardy because of pressure from the suspects father and he is no longer in position to get support from Scotland Yard.

Holmes feels partially responsible for Lestrade's predicament and tries to make amends.

I thought the story was a good one, and the observations and deductions worked well. There were lots of great Sherlockian references and some good characters.

I liked Rhys Ifans as Mycroft better than I thought I would. He pulled off being suave very well, but was under used. And I found his addition to the story unnecessary to the plot, especially in a Canonical sense. I know this episode was about making amends, but I think he could have been used in a better way and I hope he returns in another episode more the way we expect. And the relationship was just a little to strained.
I did find the sexual references unnecessary and uncalled for. I also didn't like the immature relationship between the Holmes brothers, but they at least tried to clear that up towards the end, . . . a little.

Sean Pertwee played Lestrade well, and if you really think about it, not to far from the canonical Lestrade.
I think the way the relationship was between Holmes and Lestrade in this episode brought up some good points for further discussion about the relationship Canonically. I know I don't tend to think about that relationship canonically other than how Watson states it.

I don't really understand the need for the show to go to London. They didn't seem to really take much advantage of that great city. It was however fun to sit and watch and go, 'Hey! Remember going by there?"

I kept pen and paper next to me as I watched and wrote down the Canonical references I caught. And I look forward to reading some other blogs and seeing if I missed any.

Here are the ones I caught.

1. Well, they use Lestrade.
2. Hopkins
3. Langdale Pike, what better way for a modern gossipmonger to get gossip than by CVC cameras. (Well, maybe hack computers).
4. "Best of a bad bunch" referring to Scotland Yard and Lestrade.
5.Stating the limitations of Lestrade and Scotland yard
6. Making sure Lestrade got the credit in most cases
7. Lestrade often excepting anything as evidence to close a case.
8. Mycroft lacking exercise and ambition
9. Well, 221b of course
10.a reference to seven times being incommoded
11. 5 hidden 'cache's' around the city
12. His bed being undisturbed from staying out on a case all night.
13. Although knowing who did the crime, but not having the evidence to bring them in yet (happened in Hound by the way.)
14. reference to Norwood Builder
15. and of course, Art in the Blood
16. use of single stick, although by Watson this time
17. references to all the things Holmes usually had in 221b, especially chemical experiments.
18. was the plastic gun a reference to unusual weapons like Moran's air gun.
19. Mycroft

Nineteen. I don't think that's too bad.

I hope I missed a few and others will point them out for me.
I liked the episode but did not think it one of the best.

So, because it's back, and I liked it I am giving it

 out of a possible five.

PS. Since first writing this review I have gone and read the review 'point counter point' on Sherlock Peoria.
And since I am no longer allowed to post comments there, I am adding them here.
Bill Mason's points are excellent and are fairly within 'Playing the Game'. You can tell he is taking the show for all it is worth and having fun with it. He doesn't believe the show is perfect, or necessarily the way he would like to see it. He is taking into account how others may feel about it, and not insulting anyone else.
He is presenting his points in a respectful way, encouraging a debate.

On the other hand, Snarky Tour guide Brad K., is his usual offending self, who must try to debase others to make his point.
I find it kind of interesting that for the last couple of weeks he has taken just about everything written in the Canon and dragged it into the gutter giving the Hound an R or X rating. He finds the BSB's podcast about their Sherlockian sexual fantasies informative, interesting, fresh and new, while finding it offensive for 'Elementary's' Sherlock to have oral sex with Mycroft's girlfriend. And since he brought, once again, 'Sherlock' into an 'Elementary' discussion, he doesn't find 'Sherlock's' rude ways or his showing up to see the Queen in a sheet immature or offensive? 
And, to give Brad some credit, he does often have interesting and good points to make, and he is very Canonically knowledgeable, but it is like getting ones hand cut off to get into the cookie jar.
Every time I want to give Brad the benefit of the doubt about him possibly just playing the devils advocate or doing something tongue-in-cheek or to get a rise out of people, he usually goes to far.
But, it is his blog after all, and if I don't like it, I can stop reading it.

You want to read a review worth commenting on, read Bill Mason's ,whether you agree with him or not.
He will at least treat you respectfully.
On the other hand.
Don't waste your time on two faced Snarky Tour guide.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tour de Hound - Chapter #13 - must have been wealthy and Holmes does some name dropping - and I'd love to know where they ate.

Clearing a few things up for Watson and setting the stage for the final curtain call.
Between the portraits and Mrs, Laura Lyon's, Holmes finally gets the last clues he needs to set the stage for catching Stapleton. (And why does everyone have so much sympathy for Mrs. Lyon's that they want to help her so much?)

It is kind of amazing how each time you read or re-read the Canon how you come up with other things you want to find out more about.

It never fails.

But a few other things first.

I loved the part where we imagine Holmes having to make do with clothes from Sir Henry and Watson to dine in proper attire that first evening, for him, at Bakerville Hall.
We picture Holmes as tall and lean, very angular. And most images drawn in the period would suggest he is near six-feet tall.
Most of us probably picture Watson a little shorter and more solidly built.
And Watson describes Sir Henry as, "The latter was a small, alert, dark-eyed man about thirty years of age, very sturdily built, with thick black eyebrows and a strong, pugnacious face."
But one must make do when the need arises. So what if the jacket is a little short at the sleeves or too much of your socks are showing.
After all, it is only the staff present and the hall is usually kind of dark anyway.

(Just add Holmes to this picture.)

And another point; How serious are we suppose to take the admonishment of Sir Henry and Watson by Holmes about how they handled the Seldon incident. Other than the sister, we probably all agree that no one is going to miss poor Seldon, but is Holmes serious about his condemnation of the two?

And we must also be aware of how quick a study Sir Henry is, for when Holmes started going on about the mishandling of the Seldon incident, Sir Henry borrowed from Barrymore's playbook and changed the subject real quick, "But how about the case?" asked the baronet.

And it is in the dining room that I am going to stay today.

Although related to a famous french artist, Watson "won't allow that (Holmes) knows anything of art." Although there are times when we see Holmes going out of his way to  appreciate works of art.

In the list of abilities Watson assigns to Holmes in STUD art is not mentioned.

  1. Knowledge of Literature – nil.
  2. Knowledge of Philosophy – nil.
  3. Knowledge of Astronomy – nil.
  4. Knowledge of Politics – Feeble.
  5. Knowledge of Botany – Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.
  6. Knowledge of Geology – Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks, has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them.
  7. Knowledge of Chemistry – Profound.
  8. Knowledge of Anatomy – Accurate, but unsystematic.
  9. Knowledge of Sensational Literature – Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.
  10. Plays the violin well.
  11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer and swordsman.
  12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
We can assume, perhaps that it just hadn't come up for consideration at this point, or Watson just didn't think it important to the narrative.

But in HOUN we see that Holmes has what appears to be a pretty good knowledge of art, or at least portraiture.
While dining in Baskerville Hall, Holmes questions Sir Henry about the Baskerville portraits hung around the room, commenting on two painters in the process, "That's a Kneller, I'll swear, that lady in the blue silk over yonder, and the stout gentleman with the wig ought to be a Reynolds."

What is interesting to note is that both of these mentioned artists, as I am sure authentic Sherlockain scholars have noted,  are real portrait artists, very famous in Britain.

Godfrey Kneller, eventually Sir Godfrey, was a German born artist that lived from 1646 - 1723.

(Which means he probably did not paint the picture of Hugo.)

He moved to England in 1676 and soon became the court painter for monarchs from Charles II to George I.
He also painted ten reigning European monarchs.

He is also known for doing a series of painting called 'Kit-Cat' paintings. A series of paintings a certain size for members of the London Kit-Cat Club, a club of political and literary members wishng to further the cause of the Whig party at that time. The name of the club comes from the mutton pies made by and named after the owner of the tavern where they first met.
And on another Sherlockian note; The Kit-Cat later club moved to The Fountain Tavern on the Strand which would eventually become the site of Simpson's-on-the-Strand. (A Sherlockain must stop if you are in London.) 

The other painter mentioned, and seemingly not as nice, was Joshua Reynolds, also eventually Sir.
He was born in 1723 and died in 1792, which means he could not have painted the portrait of Hugo either.

His connection to Devon and the Hound is that he was born in Plympton, Devon, only about fifteen miles from Princeton.

He became one of the founders of the Royal Academy and first president, and used the threat of resigning from that position as a means to be appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to the King.
A position he would come to hate and regret. 
 From Wiki, "Your Lordship congratulation on my succeeding Mr. Ramsay I take very kindly, but it is a most miserable office, it is reduced from two hundred to thirty-eight pounds per annum, the Kings Rat catcher I believe is a better place, and I am to be paid only a fourth part of what I have from other people, so that the Portraits of their Majesties are not likely to be better done now, than they used to be, I should be ruined if I was to paint them myself".

I think there are a couple of important things we can take from this knowledge. 
One is that Holmes was indeed very knowledgeable about art. And used that knowledge in his work, at least as far as portraits goes. (It is also interesting to note, that in 'Elementary' towards the end of the first season, they used this knowledge in the plot line.)

(The National Portrait Gallery in London is well worth a visit and the restaurant upstairs has a great view and a great High Tea.)

Secondly, it also, I think, attests to the connections and wealth the Baskervilles had attained.
Surely only people of certain status could afford painters with such busy schedules and probable high fees.

Thirdly, it seems that both artists were very 'clubable'  fellows which would put them right up Watson and Mycroft's alley.

And the fourth thing, which would make a great road trip, is where did Holmes, Watson and Lestrade eat before their big adventure? A tiny pub I hope, and is it still there?

Now it's time to go see what Snarky Tours has to say, although I won't be able to comment for I have been banned.

(source, wikipedia among others)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes #22 - Peter O'Toole

Although I am not a big fan of 'Lawrence of Arabia', I do love some of his later work.

So here goes. . .

Peter O'Toole - (1932)

played a part in the Walt Disney's 1960 version of 'Kidnapped' - 

which featured the posthumous Oscar winning actor Peter Finch (1916-1977)

who had a part in the sequel to one of my favorite films,'Mrs. Miniver', 'The Miniver Story' - 1950

which featured legend Reginald Owen (1887-1972)

who not only played Watson in 1932's 'Sherlock Holmes' 

but also played Sherlock Holmes the following year in 1933's 'A Study in Scarlet'

So there you have it, there you are.

P.S. and as James pointed out, and a quicker way to a connection, O'Toole voiced Holmes in cartoons in the 1980's.

So, this time, there you have it, there you are.
Thanks James.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book review - Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman by David Ruffle

A fun quick read for any young Sherlockian.

A good introduction to Holmes and Watson, and one they can keep for themselves.

Daughter and I read it last night and she had a fun
time working out the mystery.

Short and easy, after a few reads she will be able to read it herself.

Illustrations are perfect for the book.

Chapter #12 - Prayers answered and Sidney Paget didn't help us much, and Snarky tours keeps going in the gutter.

Well, Jude Law didn't come out of the stone hut and pummel RDJ. (Funny, that is one of the few adaptions where we actually cheer when Watson pummels Holmes).

Instead, we hear a big sigh of relief from Watson as he finds out it is Holmes. His prayers have been answered, he is no longer in it alone.
Although he is a little angry at the deception, it is soon abated and Watson once again, happily, returns to Holmes' side.
Ever the man of action, he is now ready to set his sights on Stapleton. And who knows where Snarky Tours is setting their sights.
(Art Work by)
Just a few weeks ago I read a reviewer of the HOUN complaining about the way Brett was dressed in this scene in the Granada version of this story. And although it is inaccurate by Doyle's description, it does at least capture one of the lines from the description correctly, " . . with that catlike love of personal cleanliness which was one of his characteristics. . ."

If there was ever a scene in the Canon where we wished Holmes dressed like that (inaccurate?) iconic image of Holmes we have come to love, Iverness cape and deerstalker, surely this is where it should be, in the HOUN.
Cold and windy, foggy and damp, what better please for a caped great coat and deerstalker than Grimpen Mire.
But alas. . . . it is not to be found in the HOUND I'm afraid.

Brett is pictured wearing a long black coat, with a long lighter black or grey scarf and a black banded fedora type hat. The hat looks like felt but could be something else.

Watson's (Doyle's) description of Holmes' attire is slightly different. He was wearing a "tweed suit and cloth cap he looked like any other tourist upon the moor,. . ."

If we look at the Paget image of Holmes coming up upon the stone hut, before he greets Watson, the shadow would suggest something other than the deerstalker or cloth cap. Showing instead a hat with some sort of brim around it. (Of course, if you wear a deerstalker as Michael Caine did on occasion in 'Without a Clue', it could appear to have a brim when shadowed from the back) While cap is usually associated with a particular style of , well. . . hat, hat is a broad term for many different types of head coverings.

The image as drawn by Paget would seem to be of the sort Brett is wearing on the moor, a brimmed hat with a flat top.

But that hardly corresponds with Watson's description of a cloth cap. Caps are describe as; 'Caps have crowns that fit very close to the head and have no brim or only a visor.'
                                                                                                                     (Cloth cap above.)
A cloth cap, which is not usually very warm, would hardly seem appropriate for October on the moors.

                                                             (Tweed cap to the right, if we take cloth in the broadest sense.)

If we want our image of deerstalker and cap we would have to go with something along these lines. . .
which fits Watson's description of a cap and if we take the word cloth, again, in a very broad sense, cloth could mean tweed.

Again, though, none of these match Sidney Paget's image of Holmes' headgear.
Is there an error in Sidney Paget's image? Or are we not taking something into consideration?

Remember this scene in the story takes place very late in the evening, just before the sun sets.
A sun very low on the horizon casts a very long shadow.
A persons shadow seems very tall early in the morning or late in the evening near sunset. So also could a hats shadow.

If we take Watson's use of the word cap as loose as we could the word cloth we come up with a couple of options that could match Watson's description as well as Paget's drawing.

Two options are;
Although fedoras are usually considered hats, (which Watson would not mistake for a cap) we can come up with tweed fedoras. . .                    
which we can picture Holmes wearing on his next visit. to Reichenbach, maybe with a little feather.

Our, if we prefer something a little more associated with the U.K., here modeled by Sir Sean Connery, we have the tweed cap. . .
usually found with a crease in the top, we can image Holmes placing a can of tongue

 inside at night to keep it from blowing away which would give it that flat look we see in Paget's image.
Although Brett's hat also slightly resembles a Trilby, the brim appears to wide, as does the shadow in Paget's work. 
If we are going with hats, and not caps, the Homburg also resembles the shadow a little bit.

Paget's image of the man on the tor hardly throws any light on the matter.

Although Brett's hat could fit the image done by Paget, it may not fit Watson's description given in the tale, it all depends on what you call a cap and what you call a hat.

When it comes right down to it, how he looks is going to be determined by how we imagine him.

What do you think.

One of may favorite scenes from Brett's HOUND is when he offers Watson some of his cooking in the hut. 

Now, about the coat and suit Brett is wearing and how it corresponds with Watson's description. . . .

. . . OK, maybe tomorrow.

Did anyone count how many times Watson checks his gun in the Granada version?

Monday, September 23, 2013

I guess, just because I don't get it. . .

My favorite quote, so far, from the newest BSB's podcast. . .

Lyndsay:" We- Babes, all the Babes call Game of Shadows “a gay of gay”, and I don’t think we’re sorry. (laughter) But it turned into proving a negative, in a really weird way for a really brief while. And I don’t want to bring up random strange shit, but: you can’t prove the negative, that you’re not just a blank-fan. You’re not just a Downey Jr fan, you’re not just a Cumberbatch fan, you’re not just an Asylum Sherlock Holmes fan. Which is the greatest adaptation of all time. So, I wasn’t under the sort of onus of proving your canonical knowledge. "


And if the Sherlockian has to ride his bike to work. . .

Here. . .

I could soooooo. pull this off.

Fashion tips. . .

Here. . .

Birthday with (at) Sherlock('s)

My daughter was in charge of picking where I was going to be surprised for my birthday, and the wise young child picked Sunday brunch at 'Sherlock's', our local steak and seafood Sherlockian themed good restaurant.

 Wife and daughter.
 Daughter and I.
 It is not over done with Sherlockian stuff (darn) but is a real comfortable atmosphere for good food and drink.
A local barn across the street cartooned with Sherlock. and protesting animals.

Tour de Hound - Chapter 11 - Watson's getting angry!

If Watson doesn't starting getting some answers soon, there's not only going to be a mad dog on the moor, but an Englishman also. (Who didn't see that coming, you know,. . . mad dogs and Englishmen. . . get it?)

Things just aren't coming together the way he had hoped. Sure, he keeps coming up with answers, but most of the time they seem to lead to more questions. Nothing is conclusive.

Sir Henry, since his fright in the night, seems non-committal to pursuing just about anything other than Berly.

The Barrymore's are only being helpful when they want to be.

Mortimer only shows up to play cards.

Stapletons not around.

And what the Heck? Holmes is no where to be found! (Does Watson ever receive any replies to his letters? I can't recall any mention of a reply, correct me if I am wrong, please.)

He has reached the point where he is questioning his "intelligence or (his) courage" saying he is feeling "deficient if (he) could not throw some further light upon the dark places."
He must be feeling a little abandoned.
Where Sherlock Holmes has Watson as his sounding board, Watson, seemingly has no one.

So in this chapter, off he goes to get some answers.

He is less than complimentary in his early descriptions of Mrs. Lyons, basically saying she is a beauty but with some indiscernible flaws  Maybe only Mrs. Barrymore gets a less flattering introduction from Watson.
It doesn't take him very long to play the 'bad cop' in his interrogation of Mrs. Lyons, taking perhaps a lesson from Holmes' play book.

Watson is next hailed by Mr. Frankland, a man he sometimes finds amusing, but more often irritating, and as he says, "(his) feelings towards him were very far from being friendly. . . " But being the ever budding detective he seems to be coming, he sets his jaw and seizes to opportunity.

And luckily his patience pays off and he finds himself with another clue to the task he was about to undertake.

Next, for the second time in this tale, Watson sets out, at or near dark, to pursue a quest upon the loathsome moor. Resolute and steadfast in his determination to once again, find the man on the tor.
"The sun was already sinking" as he set off. He could have waited till the next morning. After all, it wasn't a good idea to go out on the moor at night.

But his determination pays off. He finds the lonely dwelling and some signs of it's occupation. (Waxed paper has been around for a very long time.)
We also don't know how long he waited, it doesn't seem very long, but finally the huts most recent occupant returns.

And then we hear, "It is a lovely evening, my dear Watson. .. "

At this point, if it had been the Jude Law version of Watson, and even maybe the Martin Freeman one, Watson would have come flying out of the hut ready to pommel Holmes. (I like thinking Jude Law would do that.)
But what does our Watson do?
Did he feel relief?
Was he angry?

We will have to wait for the next chapter to find out.

Watson went seeking answers, but instead, if I may say, a prayer was answered as well.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tour de Hound Chapter #10 -To heck with the ignorant peasants. . . honor be damned. Barrymore in control?

This chapter would probably have been better served to be included with the last. . .

Where in the last chapter I found myself praising Watson for doing the right thing, I find his, and Sir Henry's judgement a little lacking in this one, at least in one case. Seldon and the Barrymore's.

While we can blame the previous evenings harrowing experience for perhaps some of their lack of judgement we can hardly excuse it completely.

When one moment Seldon is the scourge of the county, a lurking death behind every bush, he now becomes a poor mistreated individual who deserves more consideration than the locals, who, for all intended purposes, are sort of under Sir Henry's watch.

What is it about Barrymore that Sir Henry so trusts his judgement and his word.

With money in hand to buy their retirement pub, the Barrymore's are just trying to protect their way out of horror hall.

We only have Barrymore's word that Seldon is now harmless.

It is interesting to note that in most adaptions, if not all, Seldon is portrayed as a non-syllabic, lobotomised neanderthal, with wild hair and wild eyes (except for the one where he has a big scar around is forehead), a creature of fear and rage, willing to do what ever it takes, when frightened, to protect himself. (Even in the Brett series, Seldon is dismissed by Watson based on Barrymore's word.)

While later on, while in conversation with Watson, he describes Seldon as someone capable of having in depth conversations when he is not in one of his 'deep' moods.
Seldon was able to discern that the man on the tor was not a policeman, but a 'kind of gentleman'. And that he knew where the gentleman was staying and even knew how he got his food.
Hardly the simpleton we have come to expect.

While Seldon was a threat to Baskerville's closer circle, the prospect of the criminal loss upon the country- side was appalling.
But if the criminal were to leave the country and no longer pose a threat to those surrounding the hall, then the Barrymore's indiscretion to aid Seldon can be over looked. After all, we don't want to upset good help, even if they are planning on leaving. The thought of Seldon doing harm somewhere other than where the Devon tax-payers live is not even considered.

Each step through out this tale, Barrymore has played his cards as if he were the injured party.
When first confronted about his receiving the telegram, he is able to turn it around to where Sir Henry felt the need to pacify him with gifts.

Barrymore becomes the long suffering husband, bound by marriage to protect his wife, taking the blame for his sneaky ways, until his wife tells the truth, at which time he is almost applauded for his behavior.

It is not until he has gotten  a guarantee from Sir Henry that he will not pursue the Seldon matter further, that he gives the tidbit of news about the letter in the fire and the initials L.L. And we only have his word that the letter was burned, if there was a letter, and that the only line readable was a plea to burn it after reading.

And once again, it isn't till he needs to steer Watson away from discussing Seldon again, that Barrymore brings up his knowledge of the other man upon the moor. He knows his brother-in-law still hasn't left, and he knows knowledge of that would probably upset Sir Henry and their relationship if he were to find out. He needed to find a distraction so Watson and Sir Henry would not reconsider and inform the police.
It is also during this conversation that Barrymore for the first time shows any fear for Sir Henry as it pertains the legend of the hound. No other time does Barrymore bring up the hound as a reason they are leaving, or that they fear for Sir Henry because of it.
While previously he has expressed the lose of Sir Charles as being painful, he never once put it in context of the legend.
Seldon is not longer thought about during this conversation. Barrymore has completely diverted the conversation away.

If Barrymore is aware that 'arrangements are being made' to get Seldon to South America, who is relaying the arrangements to Seldon if not Barrymore, so surely he could answer, when asked by Watson, more than 'I don't know sir.'

And who is paying for these arrangements if not the Barrymore's? Probably with money from Sir Charles.

Is he only a stoic butler, not use to sharing his opinions or feelings with his 'betters', loyal but quiet.
And is it only the openness of Sir Henry that has made him comfortable enough to express himself.
Is the pressure getting to him also.

Or, over years of service, has become manipulative and cunning.

While the rest of the area fears going out at night because of the hound, Barrymore seemingly is not, for the cache for the food is 'no more than a mile or two away'.

Are the Barrymore's hiding something other than Seldon. Or is the behavior one of master and servant, with the servant always needing to hold something back, to use another day.

Are Sir Henry and Watson right in allowing Seldon to leave the country. (Maybe he would have become the leader of some South American third world country.)

On another note, if we are playing the game; Why, as a childless man, did Sir Charles never contact Sir Henry, his brothers son?

Hound - taking it to the letter


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Darn, I missed the start of the new series of Foyle's War


In my humble opinion. . .

A really bad version of the Hound. . .

Chapter Nine - Watson one step closer to solving it all . . .Loyalty first. . .

As far as stalwart companions go, Watson sure is proving his mettle in this chapter. And his loyalty to Holmes. (That never was in question was it?)

He first explores the window used by Barrymore decides that it is the only window with line-of-site access to the moor. And reasons that Barrymore was searching for something or someone on the moor.

He then agrees to a plan with Sir Henry to sort out the comings and goings of Barrymore. But before that plan can come to fruition he must first confront Sir Henry about going on the moor alone, and then he must decide how to handle it when Sir Henry insists he be allowed to go it alone.

But in the end, he was more afraid of letting Holmes down by letting something untoward happen to Sir Henry, than he is concerned about damaging his new friendship with the baronet.
Loyalty wins out over propriety.

And although, perhaps erroneously,  Watson comes to what he thinks is a firm conclusion about Stapleton's behavior when  he comforted Sir Henry and his sister, we have to give him credit for staging himself as a witness and reporting it to Holmes.

He then participates in the confrontation with Barrymore and the quest to capture Seldon.

Remember, they had no high powered flashlights to help in their quest, and Sir Henry only had his hunting-crop, and he doesn't describe it as loaded either.

“… the loaded hunting crop …”

I was not surprised when Holmes suggested that I should take my revolver with me. He had himself picked up the loaded hunting-crop, which was his favourite weapon.
- Dr. John Watson, The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

And although a near miss with a rock that would cause most of us to fire our gun in anger and fear, Watson chooses the honorable path and refuses  to shoot Seldon in the back. (in the Brett version, did any one count how many times Watson checked his gun?)

Honorable behavior has always resonated in Watson's (Doyle's, if you are not playing the game) writings.

 It is an expected behavior.

And when Watson sees the man upon the tor,
his first reaction is one of pursuit, but discretion takes the place of valor.

And although Watson lacks the resources that Holmes would normally have at his disposal he is none-the-less whittling away at the case, and given time may solve it completely.

This chapter describes the Watson we have come to know and expect. The one that will chose right every time, the one that will remain loyal.

From Watson's perspective the mysteries of the Barrymore' s and Stapleton's have been solved. The murderers location has been found.

P.S - And Sir Henry has informed Beryl that he is indeed not Canadian. (Which would be OK if he was.)

The mystery of the hound remains. He now has the mystery of the man on the tor.

But we can rest assured; if Watson is with Holmes, we know he has his back.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breaking News! - Lucy Liu (Watson) Captures the Hound of the Baskervilles!!

Just kidding. . . :)

For all us 'Elementary' fans - both of us- this is kinda fun.. .

spot the difference

Tour de Hound - Chapter 8 - the missing page

Tensions must be running high on the moor.
Watson has everybody to worry about.
Sir Henry is worried about everyone but Watson, but mostly Beryl.
Beryl is worried about her brother.
Her brother is worried about his sisters interest in Sir Henry.
The Barrymore's are worried that what ever they are hiding may keep them from opening there pub someday.
Seldon is worried about finding food.
Dr. Mortimer is worried he may be sued for digging up skulls.
The Postmaster is worried his boss may find out about him not following directions.
Jack is worried he may have to get a real job.
The locals are worried about Seldon.
The warden is also worried about his job.

The only one that seems happy is Mr. Frankland.

That's a lot of tension.

So. why the break in narrative style at this point? Are the details we will find in this chapter that much harder to remember than the previous chapters?
Nothing unusual takes place. No great clues come along.
Watson's suspicions are elevated of all the suspects on our list, but no one new comes along to add to the list.
Sure Mr. Frankland is added to our list of characters, but he is pretty well dismissed as a suspect by the way Watson handles his involvement in the narrative.

The Barrymore's continue in their seemly deceptive ways, implying something sinister is going on, with the little light show by the window the only new incident in their list of digressions.

Stapleton continues in his "cool and unemotional' manner, but nothing new is attributed to him, other than his coldness to Sir Henry when Sir Henry shows interest in his sister.

So why the change in narrative style?

Why not continue the story the way he started?
Did something happen to his journal where this part of his notes had gone missing or been damaged?
If the letters contained something that his dairy may not have, there inclusion would be important. Or if the why something was worded or transcribed had to be replicated completely, it would make sense. But I don't get the impression that was the case.
So why change styles?

And is the missing page from his pile of letters of any import?

I haven't a clue at this point.

The moor itself still lacks any appeal to Watson. It continues to 'sink into one's sole' with a grim charm he says. You have to wonder if the supernatural implications resonate with Watson.
Even his descriptions of the stone pillars is in keeping with the legend.'In the middle of it rose two great stones, worn and sharpened at the upper end until they looked like the huge corroding fangs of some monstrous beast.". Or hounds?

Is this the calm before the storm, did we miss some detail that later may prove relevant?