Sherlockian Shorts #7 – The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Part 1

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.

Silver Blaze

  • “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention.” (said  Inspector Gregory.”                                                                                                                “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” (said Holmes).”  “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”                                                                        “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes. One of the most famous lines in the canon, which for some unknown reason I used to believe came from the Reigate Squires. The absence of something unusual, or the continuation of normality amidst strange events, can itself be a clue.
  • Features the secondmost famous animal murderer in crime fiction.

The Yellow Face

  • The ending is one of the most moving in the canon and probably quite unexpected for the time.
  • “Norbury” is to Holmes what “Chocolate box” is to Poirot.

The Stockbroker’s Clerk

  • Another example where if something seems too good to be true, in this case a stranger offering to increase your salary from £200 per annum to £500, then it almost certainly is.
  • Also, using a bet as a pretext to get someone to act in a particular way is quite an effective stratagem. Although if you have actually made a bet, your mark may not always be so obliging: an anecdote that I remember from GCSE history was that a man sitting next to the famously taciturn President Calvin Coolidge told him that he’d bet a friend he could make him say more than two words during the evening to which Coolidge said “You lose” and turned to his other neighbour.

Previous posts in this series:

#1 – A Study in Scarlet

#2 – The Sign of the Four

#3 -A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League, and A Case of Identity

#4 – The Boscombe Valley Mystery. The Five Orange Pips, and The Man with the Twisted Lip

#5 – The Blue Carbuncle, The Speckled Band, and The Engineer’s Thumb

#6 – The Noble Bachelor, The Beryl Coronet, and The Copper Beeches

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