A new series of posts, containing full spoilers, as I make my way once more through the complete canon, picking out points of interest and reflecting on my personal experience of the stories.
- Watson meets Holmes at the point that the latter has discovered an infallible test for blood stains. This is 22 years before the creation of the Kastle-Meyer test.
- When discussing their worst points Watson confesses to keeping a bull pup – I didn’t remember any other references in later stories to him having a dog though! This is because it exists purely as a plot device so that when Holmes wants to test the pills for poison which were found at Stangerson’s murder scene there is a suitable subject. The dog has been ill for some time and the landlady has been asking Watson to put it out of its misery.
- Due to periods where Holmes lies on the sofa for days on end with “such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes” Watson would have suspected him of “being addicted to the use of some narcotic had not the temperance and cleanliness of his whole life forbidden such a notion”. He will soon come to learn the truth, that addict or not, Holmes is certainly a drug user.
- Watson is astounded that Holmes is ignorant of the Copernican theory of the solar system. Holmes responds that having been informed of it, he will try to forget it as it has no relevance to his work. To an extent I agree with him – we need to be taught many things as we don’t know what direction our lives will take us – but being an accountant, knowing whether the earth orbits the sun or vice versa has no impact on my day to day life whatsoever. I’m happy to believe the former but if someone wants to argue the latter it doesn’t matter to me.
- Lestrade, Holmes’ regular contact at Scotland Yard is mentioned first and is involved in the investigation, but it is actually Tobias Gregson who calls him into this first published case.
- The murderer is the first invisible man perhaps – they know Drebber took a cab to where he was murdered but no one else has included the driver on the list of suspects.
- Chapters 8-12 can be skipped without losing anything of importance – I know because this time round I did. Jefferson Hope explains in chapter 13 that he is avenging the deaths of two people and that is sufficient motive.
- I love Hope’s method of giving his victims a chance by having the pairs of pills of which just one contains poison – although he is convinced that the righteousness of his cause will prevail.