A 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.
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
- The famous deerstalker hat appears for the first time!
- Lestrade is described as “a lean, ferret-like man, furtive and sly-looking” which Agatha Christie later borrowed for Inspector Japp “a little, sharp, dark, ferret-faced man”.
- Shouting “Cooee” marks someone out as being Australian – something also used by Christie in “Peril at End House”.
- Watson ends by saying “there is every prospect that the son and daughter may come to live happily together in ignorance of the black cloud which rests upon the past”. Hopefully they don’t read the Strand Magazine then!
The Five Orange Pips
- Holmes, by his own admission “has been beaten four times – three times by men, and once by a woman” but Watson’s comments at the start of the story would imply more occasions than these.
- This opening sets the scene for another failure. Whilst Holmes cleverly deduces that the interval between the threatening letter being received and the threat being carried out points to a particular boat, he allows his client to return home and be killed. It is unclear to me why anyone, especially Doyle himself, should include this in their Top 12 Sherlock Holmes stories.
The Man with the Twisted Lip
- Watson’s wife refers to him as “James” when his name is “John”!
- Despite Holmes often deploring Watson’s narratives he likes them really as he says “a trusty comrade is always of use; and a chronicler still more so”.
- If St Clair hadn’t cried out in surprise upon seeing his wife she would never have noticed him. The moral of the story is to keep your cool.
Previous posts in this series: