Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Holmes truths

The Beeb have foisted a new incarnation of Sherlock Holmes upon us: the imaginatively titled Sherlock (Sundays, 9pm-ish).

To commemorate this momentous occasion, I'd like to share a few of my favourite bits of Holmes-style wisdom. Not bits of outstanding deductive brilliance, sadly, but merely examples of him being snide and gittish to his long-suffering sidekick, Dr Watson.


I was about to make some remark to him when I raised my eyes to the lighted window and again experienced almost as great a surprise as before. I clutched Holmes's arm and pointed upwards.

"The shadow has moved!" I cried.

It was, indeed, no longer the profile, but the back, which was turned towards us.

Three years had certainly not smoothed the asperities of his temper or his impatience with a less active intelligence than his own.

"Of course it has moved," said he. "Am I such a farcical bungler, Watson, that I should erect an obvious dummy and expect that some of the sharpest men in Europe would be deceived by it?"

The Adventure of the Empty House


"The cipher message begins with a large 534, does it not? We may take it as a working hypothesis that 534 is the particular page to which the cipher refers. So our book has already become a LARGE book, which is surely something gained. What other indications have we as to the nature of this large book? The next sign is C2. What do you make of that, Watson?"

"Chapter the second, no doubt."

"Hardly that, Watson. You will, I am sure, agree with me that if the page be given, the number of the chapter is immaterial. Also that if page 534 finds us only in the second chapter, the length of the first one must have been really intolerable."

"Column!" I cried.

"Brilliant, Watson. You are scintillating this morning."

The Valley of Fear

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