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Holmes the murderer.


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#1 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 02:01 PM

We all know that Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t a master of detail. He was, above all, a storyteller. In my opinion a brilliant one. Most authors would be pleased with creating one lasting character but Doyle has Gerard, Challenger and Holmes on his CV. In his effort to write memorable stories Doyle often made errors with facts, dates and characters which have been picked over and analysed for years by dedicated Sherlockians. One of these errors (in ‘The Final Problem’) has recently given me thought and made me wonder if the Moriarty organisation missed a chance to discredit Holmes? This might have been mentioned before but, if it has, I’m unaware of it.
As we all know Holmes battled with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls and, due to his Baritsu skills, Holmes toppled the Professor into the abyss. Holmes then made his getaway, being attacked on the way by someone hurling a rock at him. He saw a face that, although he doesn’t name him, we assume was Colonel Sebastian Moran. Holmes decides to pretend to be dead in order to make it easier for him to round up Moriarty’s gang. The problem is apparent. Someone (probably Moran) DID know that Holmes was still alive. So what possible advantage could Holmes gain from feigning death? Moran would surely have warned the rest of the gang. He might even have informed the good Doctor.
But did Moran miss a chance to discredit Holmes? After all he was the only other person at the falls at that time. Surely he could have approached the police and said that he was observing the ‘meeting’ between his friend Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes when he saw Moriarty turn his back him. Holmes rushed up and pushed Moriarty over the edge in cold blood.
It would have been Moran’s word only but Moriarty was gone after all; whether his body was found or not. At that time Moriarty was, for all intents and purposes, a respectable mathematician and not a master criminal. And what of Holmes? Whether he emerged sooner or later (and as it happens it was much later) he would have been facing a murder charge. And so, did Moran miss a rather obvious trick, that could have cast a shadow over the reputation of Sherlock Holmes?
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Regards, Herlock
"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

#2 Arcadia

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 02:29 PM

Maybe Moran had a shady past of his own that he didn't want to risk revealing? And was Holmes the only person who knew that Moriarty was actually a criminal? Or did "the authorities" know that as well? Maybe Moran couldn't afford to let his relationship with Moriarty be exposed?

 

Or maybe he just didn't think of it, because he wasn't as devious as you are.... :P


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It's this, or Cluedo.

#3 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 04:40 PM

Maybe Moran had a shady past of his own that he didn't want to risk revealing? And was Holmes the only person who knew that Moriarty was actually a criminal? Or did "the authorities" know that as well? Maybe Moran couldn't afford to let his relationship with Moriarty be exposed?

Or maybe he just didn't think of it, because he wasn't as devious as you are.... :P


Moran did have a shady past and its true that he may not have wanted his connection to Moriarty made public knowledge. I wondered though, after Moran’s arrest for attempting to kill Holmes in ‘The Empty House,’ if he realised the opportunity that he had to at least get some measure of revenge against Holmes. The game was up for him and the gallows beckoned but the police wouldn’t have been able to ignore him if he’d have claimed to have seen Holmes murder Moriarty in cold blood.
Regards, Herlock
"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

#4 Arcadia

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 02:07 AM

Yeah, but he wouldn't have been very believable at that point, would he? Having just tried to kill a man himself. Plus all Holmes had to do at that point was deny it; I suspect the police would have found him more convincing than Moran. So I think at best, all Moran could have done is cause Holmes some temporary inconvenience.

 

 

 

 

 


It's this, or Cluedo.

#5 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 11:31 AM

It’s certainly true that Holmes reputation would have counted heavily in his favour but the facts are there. Holmes certainly had it in for Moriarty. They met alone. Moriarty had vanished presumed dead. Plus, if Holmes has made his escape, what would have happened if they had have pursued him? Granted as a master of disguise he would have, in all likelihood, evaded them. But what if they had found him? Fleeing the scene of a crime?
Regards, Herlock
"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

#6 Arcadia

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 12:35 PM

Then he would snidely point out the flaws in their logic, dazzle them with his own, and saunter away. :D


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It's this, or Cluedo.

#7 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 03:42 PM

Then he would snidely point out the flaws in their logic, dazzle them with his own, and saunter away. :D


I can’t argue with that👍
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Regards, Herlock
"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

#8 Hikari

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 04:39 PM

We all know that Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t a master of detail. He was, above all, a storyteller. In my opinion a brilliant one. Most authors would be pleased with creating one lasting character but Doyle has Gerard, Challenger and Holmes on his CV. In his effort to write memorable stories Doyle often made errors with facts, dates and characters which have been picked over and analysed for years by dedicated Sherlockians. One of these errors (in ‘The Final Problem’) has recently given me thought and made me wonder if the Moriarty organisation missed a chance to discredit Holmes? This might have been mentioned before but, if it has, I’m unaware of it.
As we all know Holmes battled with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls and, due to his Baritsu skills, Holmes toppled the Professor into the abyss. Holmes then made his getaway, being attacked on the way by someone hurling a rock at him. He saw a face that, although he doesn’t name him, we assume was Colonel Sebastian Moran. Holmes decides to pretend to be dead in order to make it easier for him to round up Moriarty’s gang. The problem is apparent. Someone (probably Moran) DID know that Holmes was still alive. So what possible advantage could Holmes gain from feigning death? Moran would surely have warned the rest of the gang. He might even have informed the good Doctor.
But did Moran miss a chance to discredit Holmes? After all he was the only other person at the falls at that time. Surely he could have approached the police and said that he was observing the ‘meeting’ between his friend Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes when he saw Moriarty turn his back him. Holmes rushed up and pushed Moriarty over the edge in cold blood.
It would have been Moran’s word only but Moriarty was gone after all; whether his body was found or not. At that time Moriarty was, for all intents and purposes, a respectable mathematician and not a master criminal. And what of Holmes? Whether he emerged sooner or later (and as it happens it was much later) he would have been facing a murder charge. And so, did Moran miss a rather obvious trick, that could have cast a shadow over the reputation of Sherlock Holmes?

 

Good points to ponder, Herl.

 

I have to reread The Final Problem, but to the best of my recollection, wasn't Holmes prevailing at the Falls more a matter of self-defense?  If he pressed a tactical advantage to win that death battle, self-defense still holds.  After all, the Prof and his henchman ambushed Holmes and were doing their best to kill him.  I don't think a jury would have found murder, particularly if Holmes could have proven Moriarty's connection to his vast criminal network.  That goes to motive for the Prof wanting him dead.

 

Colonel Sebastian Moran was a professional assassin who went into the employ of the Professor after a disgraceful record in Her Majesty's army.  He had a reputation for cheating at cards and with other men's wives, and a violent temper.  He'd killed men before.  It is very unlikely that he would have wanted to appear in court as a witness because any decent barrister could have ripped his credibility to shreds.  How to explain his own presence at the Falls but that he was working under the direction of Moriarty?  He opted instead to carry out a personal vendetta against Holmes on behalf of the late Professor, which we see in the immediately next story, 'The Empty House'.  Moran killed another man with the air rifle before his attempt on Holmes's life, if we recall, and so his value as a witness would have been nil, pretty much.

 

If you have not read "Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes" by Michael Hardwick, you need to.  Mr Hardwick proposes to tell us, in Holmes's own words what *actually* transpired at the Reichenbach Falls, and what he was *really* doing during the period we call the Hiatus.  It is surprising, but a great deal more plausible than the tale he spun for Watson upon his return, about making a pilgrimage to Lhasa, and etc.  Let us just say that Holmes was On Her Majesty's Secret Service during the years 1891-94, with an astonishing accomplice in this endeavor.  David Marcum does not like this book, and in fact did not finish it, since its account flies in the face of the 'facts' known to Dr. Watson and subsequently passed down as the Gospel According to Holmes.  But Mr. Hardwick makes a very compelling case for why Holmes was never able to reveal to his old friend the exact nature of his activities during this period.  Official Secrets Act, and all.

 

As to your thesis, 'Sherlock Holmes: Murderer' . . have you read 'The Last Sherlock Holmes Story' by Michael Dibdin?  As a Ripperologist, that's pretty much required reading.  I will say no more--spoilers!

 

Conan Doyle's myriad errors of detail in his own stories have a number of possible explanations.  Taken at face value, they seem to point to an author who was incredibly sloppy and so disinterested in Holmes except as cash cow that he couldn't be bothered to proofread his own manuscripts.  He was getting paid, and handsomely, too, by the word, so which words actually made it into the Strand, he seems to have cared not.

 

OR . . .

 

1.  He was suffering from short-term memory loss and couldn't remember what he'd written from story to story.  Sometimes some years would go by between publications, so some discrepancies might be expected.  Though why Herbert Greenhough Smith or anyone on his staff didn't catch these 'errors' and question the author remains a mystery.

 

2.  Arthur Conan Doyle knew perfectly well what he had written previously about his narrator's war wounds or number of his marriages, or even his name, among others . . but put those 'goofs' in *on purpose*, to provide some Easter Eggs for the legions of his armchair detective reading public to find and crow over/debate . . and as we see--a century and a half later, we are still at it!  I prefer this explanation above others because it reflects the best on Sir Arthur if these discrepancies were included with intent.  Otherwise they do not reflect well on him at all, as a craftsman.  I would not stand for such errors standing in my own work, and find it hard to believe that an otherwise disciplined author would have done so either.  If he really didn't care, it just points to how dismissively he viewed the whole Holmes cottage industry--as meaningless ephemera to be discarded in the trash when the next month's issue came out, so why should he bother to 'fix' them?


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#9 Carol the Dabbler

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 07:54 PM

If you have not read "Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes" by Michael Hardwick, you need to.  Mr Hardwick proposes to tell us, in Holmes's own words what *actually* transpired at the Reichenbach Falls, and what he was *really* doing during the period we call the Hiatus.  It is surprising, but a great deal more plausible than the tale he spun for Watson upon his return....

 

[....]

 

Conan Doyle's myriad errors of detail in his own stories have a number of possible explanations.  Taken at face value, they seem to point to an author who was incredibly sloppy and so disinterested in Holmes except as cash cow that he couldn't be bothered to proofread his own manuscripts.  He was getting paid, and handsomely, too, by the word, so which words actually made it into the Strand, he seems to have cared not.

 

OR . . .

 

1.  He was suffering from short-term memory loss and couldn't remember what he'd written from story to story.  Sometimes some years would go by between publications, so some discrepancies might be expected.  Though why Herbert Greenhough Smith or anyone on his staff didn't catch these 'errors' and question the author remains a mystery.

 

2.  Arthur Conan Doyle knew perfectly well what he had written previously about his narrator's war wounds or number of his marriages, or even his name, among others . . but put those 'goofs' in *on purpose*, to provide some Easter Eggs for the legions of his armchair detective reading public to find and crow over/debate . . and as we see--a century and a half later, we are still at it!  I prefer this explanation above others because it reflects the best on Sir Arthur if these discrepancies were included with intent.  Otherwise they do not reflect well on him at all, as a craftsman.  I would not stand for such errors standing in my own work, and find it hard to believe that an otherwise disciplined author would have done so either.  If he really didn't care, it just points to how dismissively he viewed the whole Holmes cottage industry--as meaningless ephemera to be discarded in the trash when the next month's issue came out, so why should he bother to 'fix' them?

 

I've generally assumed your last sentence (which I've bolded) to have been the case.  We're talking about a man who seriously believed in fairies, remember, based on such "evidence" as an obvious paste job.  I seriously doubt that he had much of a sense of whimsy.

 

As for why HGS (editor at the Strand, I take it?) didn't catch the errors, how do we know he didn't?  Maybe the ones that have been caught by readers over the years are merely a few the editors missed.  I've recently suspected that Watson's brief allusion to Mary's death may have been the editor's idea.  After all, it'd been, what, ten years since ACD had written anything about Holmes.  Holmes was dead!  Then Doyle was somehow talked into resurrecting the detective (perhaps he needed the money?), but in the interim may have forgotten all about one little detail until the editor pointed out that, as a married man, Watson couldn't just move back into Baker Street.  So ACD threw in just enough words to excuse the move.

 

Thanks for your book suggestion!  Do you like that explanation better than The Seven Percent Solution?


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#10 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 08:10 PM

It was an act of self-defence according to Holmes but there was no witness to this. Moriarty could have claimed to have arrived late and saw from a distance Holmes push the Professor over the edge. I’m not saying that Holmes would ever have been found guilty of murder but the incident might have left people wondering? Holmes meets his enemy in a secluded spot, the enemy disappears over the edge, Holmes escapes. He has 2 choices. 1) stay in hiding and hope that no one believes Moran’s story. 2) come out of hiding to answer the charge and also to answer why he escaped if he was innocent.
I do have the Dibdin book by the way but I can’t recall if I have that particular Hardwick book. I know that I have something by him but I’m not near my collection at the moment.
As for Doyle’s errors I’ve always simply believed that they were the result of an author just trying to get a good story written (possibly too quickly) but..... I really can’t see how he got Watson’s surname wrong? It’s a difficult one to explain. There’s probably just a simple explaination (mind not on the job etc) but it’s hard to see how an author could get the Christian name of a main character wrong.
Regards, Herlock
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#11 Carol the Dabbler

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 09:15 PM

When did he get Watson's surname wrong? :huh:

-- Carol

 


#12 Hikari

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 09:59 PM

 

If you have not read "Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes" by Michael Hardwick, you need to.  Mr Hardwick proposes to tell us, in Holmes's own words what *actually* transpired at the Reichenbach Falls, and what he was *really* doing during the period we call the Hiatus.  It is surprising, but a great deal more plausible than the tale he spun for Watson upon his return....

 

[....]

 

Conan Doyle's myriad errors of detail in his own stories have a number of possible explanations.  Taken at face value, they seem to point to an author who was incredibly sloppy and so disinterested in Holmes except as cash cow that he couldn't be bothered to proofread his own manuscripts.  He was getting paid, and handsomely, too, by the word, so which words actually made it into the Strand, he seems to have cared not.

 

OR . . .

 

1.  He was suffering from short-term memory loss and couldn't remember what he'd written from story to story.  Sometimes some years would go by between publications, so some discrepancies might be expected.  Though why Herbert Greenhough Smith or anyone on his staff didn't catch these 'errors' and question the author remains a mystery.

 

2.  Arthur Conan Doyle knew perfectly well what he had written previously about his narrator's war wounds or number of his marriages, or even his name, among others . . but put those 'goofs' in *on purpose*, to provide some Easter Eggs for the legions of his armchair detective reading public to find and crow over/debate . . and as we see--a century and a half later, we are still at it!  I prefer this explanation above others because it reflects the best on Sir Arthur if these discrepancies were included with intent.  Otherwise they do not reflect well on him at all, as a craftsman.  I would not stand for such errors standing in my own work, and find it hard to believe that an otherwise disciplined author would have done so either.  If he really didn't care, it just points to how dismissively he viewed the whole Holmes cottage industry--as meaningless ephemera to be discarded in the trash when the next month's issue came out, so why should he bother to 'fix' them?

 

I've generally assumed your last sentence (which I've bolded) to have been the case.  We're talking about a man who seriously believed in fairies, remember, based on such "evidence" as an obvious paste job.  I seriously doubt that he had much of a sense of whimsy.

 

As for why HGS (editor at the Strand, I take it?) didn't catch the errors, how do we know he didn't?  Maybe the ones that have been caught by readers over the years are merely a few the editors missed.  I've recently suspected that Watson's brief allusion to Mary's death may have been the editor's idea.  After all, it'd been, what, ten years since ACD had written anything about Holmes.  Holmes was dead!  Then Doyle was somehow talked into resurrecting the detective (perhaps he needed the money?), but in the interim may have forgotten all about one little detail until the editor pointed out that, as a married man, Watson couldn't just move back into Baker Street.  So ACD threw in just enough words to excuse the move.

 

Thanks for your book suggestion!  Do you like that explanation better than The Seven Percent Solution?

 

 

Yes, Greenhough Smith was the editor-in-chief at the Strand during ACD's tenure.  It'd be hard to believe that those errors were *not* noticed by anyone prior to going to press . . if not by Mr. Smith himself, then a flunky copy editor.  Given the massive and obsessive interest in Holmes stories during Conan Doyle's lifetime, it strains belief that absolutely no one in charge of putting out that magazine caught none of them.  The location of Watson's war wound or his marital status were pretty big ones.  Not to mention Mary referring to her husband memorably in one story (forget which) as 'James'.  (I think this is what Herlock meant . .not John's surname but his given name.)

 

Conan Doyle never announced Watson's middle name which the 'H' stood for.  'Hamish' was selected as the likely one to more or less cover over this 'goof' (if goof it was).  James being the English version of 'Hamish'.  Hence James is turned into Mary's pet name for her husband while they are at home.  Charming, plausible even--if ACD had ever named his hero 'Hamish', which he didn't.  He was a Scot, though, so Hamish seems more likely a choice than 'Herbert' or other.

 

Doyle created so many great memorable names (Dr. Grimsby Roylott, anyone?)  but when it came to his *main* characters, he was more slapdash.  G. Lestrade appears in enough cases that Doyle might have given him the dignity of a first name.    With respect to our adorable BBC Lestrade, "Greg" . . I think the preferred moniker for Lestrade is 'George'.  But like "Hamish" that is entirely apocryphal.

 

Supposing that some of these mistakes were missed in the rush to get a new Strand issue on the stands . . . Conan Doyle had *ample* opportunity to correct them for the book editions, which were copious even in his own lifetime.  Quizzical that he did not, as a point of pride in craftsmanship.  Which leads me to believe (hope) that he put them in on purpose for his own reasons and wanted them to stand.  Otherwise, he was just a lazy moneygrubber.  :)


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#13 Hikari

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:21 PM

 

If you have not read "Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes" by Michael Hardwick, you need to.  Mr Hardwick proposes to tell us, in Holmes's own words what *actually* transpired at the Reichenbach Falls, and what he was *really* doing during the period we call the Hiatus.  It is surprising, but a great deal more plausible than the tale he spun for Watson upon his return....

 

[....]

 

Conan Doyle's myriad errors of detail in his own stories have a number of possible explanations.  Taken at face value, they seem to point to an author who was incredibly sloppy and so disinterested in Holmes except as cash cow that he couldn't be bothered to proofread his own manuscripts.  He was getting paid, and handsomely, too, by the word, so which words actually made it into the Strand, he seems to have cared not.

 

OR . . .

 

1.  He was suffering from short-term memory loss and couldn't remember what he'd written from story to story.  Sometimes some years would go by between publications, so some discrepancies might be expected.  Though why Herbert Greenhough Smith or anyone on his staff didn't catch these 'errors' and question the author remains a mystery.

 

2.  Arthur Conan Doyle knew perfectly well what he had written previously about his narrator's war wounds or number of his marriages, or even his name, among others . . but put those 'goofs' in *on purpose*, to provide some Easter Eggs for the legions of his armchair detective reading public to find and crow over/debate . . and as we see--a century and a half later, we are still at it!  I prefer this explanation above others because it reflects the best on Sir Arthur if these discrepancies were included with intent.  Otherwise they do not reflect well on him at all, as a craftsman.  I would not stand for such errors standing in my own work, and find it hard to believe that an otherwise disciplined author would have done so either.  If he really didn't care, it just points to how dismissively he viewed the whole Holmes cottage industry--as meaningless ephemera to be discarded in the trash when the next month's issue came out, so why should he bother to 'fix' them?

 

I've generally assumed your last sentence (which I've bolded) to have been the case.  We're talking about a man who seriously believed in fairies, remember, based on such "evidence" as an obvious paste job.  I seriously doubt that he had much of a sense of whimsy.

 

As for why HGS (editor at the Strand, I take it?) didn't catch the errors, how do we know he didn't?  Maybe the ones that have been caught by readers over the years are merely a few the editors missed.  I've recently suspected that Watson's brief allusion to Mary's death may have been the editor's idea.  After all, it'd been, what, ten years since ACD had written anything about Holmes.  Holmes was dead!  Then Doyle was somehow talked into resurrecting the detective (perhaps he needed the money?), but in the interim may have forgotten all about one little detail until the editor pointed out that, as a married man, Watson couldn't just move back into Baker Street.  So ACD threw in just enough words to excuse the move.

 

Thanks for your book suggestion!  Do you like that explanation better than The Seven Percent Solution?

 

 

Re. Seven Percent Solution vs. Hardwick

 

In all honesty, I have never read Nicholas Meyer's book.  I watched the movie with Nicol Williamson once, long ago.  I was in high school and it was on the late, late movie one night.  It entertained me, though I couldn't quite shake off the disconnect between Holmes's appearance as rendered by Mr. Paget and how he was portrayed by his actor here.  I liked Nicol's Holmes . .it was just not the conventional package.  Then, much later, discovered that 'Sherlock' is Olde English for 'Fair-Haired', so his casting was actually *more* correct than a raven-haired Holmes.

 

But of course Sherlock has raven hair . . he is the Victorian Superman!  Is Superman a blond?  No--which is why naturally blond Chris Reeve had to dye his hair and why natural ginge Benedict C. had to die his hair, too.

 

Apart from remembering that Dr. Freud is a major character in 7%, I would have to revisit the story before I could compare the two.  But I'd say, Yes, I prefer Hardwick's explanation for the Hiatus.  It involves Sherlock being a hero secret agent for his country and not an addled drug addict.  He'd given up the cocaine by this point and never goes back to it.  It also adds considerably to the character of Professor Moriarty and makes him,  dare I say, a more fully-faceted and even at times sympathetic figure.  Not as cuddly as Michael Kurland's Moriarty, but not the satanic monster we get in the Prof's extremely brief appearance in Canon.  Given Moriarty's looming reputation and presence in the Holmes universe, it beggers belief really that he appears *once* in Conan Doyle--the same story in which he exits--and figures off-stage in only one other tale, that of the Red Headed League.  Just goes to show that Arthur didn't really have a concept of milking his juicy villains for all they were worth.  Arthur squandered a lot of opportunities.  This is why I enjoy pastiches so much--many very talented writers, more talented than the Originator, if I may say so, have done and continue to do their best to rectify some of Conan Doyle's deficiencies toward his signature creation(s).
 


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#14 Hikari

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:38 PM

It was an act of self-defence according to Holmes but there was no witness to this. Moriarty could have claimed to have arrived late and saw from a distance Holmes push the Professor over the edge. I’m not saying that Holmes would ever have been found guilty of murder but the incident might have left people wondering? Holmes meets his enemy in a secluded spot, the enemy disappears over the edge, Holmes escapes. He has 2 choices. 1) stay in hiding and hope that no one believes Moran’s story. 2) come out of hiding to answer the charge and also to answer why he escaped if he was innocent.
I do have the Dibdin book by the way but I can’t recall if I have that particular Hardwick book. I know that I have something by him but I’m not near my collection at the moment.
As for Doyle’s errors I’ve always simply believed that they were the result of an author just trying to get a good story written (possibly too quickly) but..... I really can’t see how he got Watson’s surname wrong? It’s a difficult one to explain. There’s probably just a simple explaination (mind not on the job etc) but it’s hard to see how an author could get the Christian name of a main character wrong.

 

True . .  but had Moran testified against Holmes, it would have been one gentleman's word against another's, and Holmes had the much more pristine record for truthfulness, not to mention the backing of Scotland Yard, all of whose most senior ranking Inspectors would have vouched for his character.  Moran on the other hand had a long list of enemies who would have been delighted to testify against his character.


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#15 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 11:06 PM

When did he get Watson's surname wrong? :huh:


Yes you spotted the ‘deliberate’ mistake. I was just making sure that you were paying attention Carol.

Don’t know how I managed that. Christian name of course.

It was in The Man With The Twisted Lip that Mary addressed Watson as James. It was the crime novelist Dorethy L. Sayers who came up with the ‘Hamish’ Explaination.
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#16 Hikari

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 12:37 AM

 

When did he get Watson's surname wrong? :huh:


Yes you spotted the ‘deliberate’ mistake. I was just making sure that you were paying attention Carol.

Don’t know how I managed that. Christian name of course.

It was in The Man With The Twisted Lip that Mary addressed Watson as James. It was the crime novelist Dorethy L. Sayers who came up with the ‘Hamish’ Explaination.

 

 

Thanks for the intel!  I should have known!

 

Steeped as I am in Mr. Baring-Gould's amplifications of Holmes's life it's sometimes hard to disentangle those 'facts' from what Conan Doyle wrote.  Is Sherlock's given name identified as 'William', for example, in the Canon?  I have read all the stories, but in the last year I have also crammed in so much 'amplified' material into my mind-attic I can't always remember who wrote what.

 

Did Conan Doyle give Professor James Moriarty another brother, a military man also called James?  Scuttlebutt has it that both Mycroft *and* Sherlock's first names are 'William'.  Not sure who to attribute these to.
 


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#17 Carol the Dabbler

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 02:48 AM

Yes, Greenhough Smith was the editor-in-chief at the Strand during ACD's tenure.  It'd be hard to believe that those errors were *not* noticed by anyone prior to going to press . . if not by Mr. Smith himself, then a flunky copy editor.
 
[....]

Supposing that some of these mistakes were missed in the rush to get a new Strand issue on the stands . . . Conan Doyle had *ample* opportunity to correct them for the book editions, which were copious even in his own lifetime.  Quizzical that he did not, as a point of pride in craftsmanship.  Which leads me to believe (hope) that he put them in on purpose for his own reasons and wanted them to stand.  Otherwise, he was just a lazy moneygrubber.  :)

 
It's tempting to think that the editors would have paid close attention to Doyle's stories, considering their popularity, but then again, they probably thought of them as popular entertainment rather than deathless literature.  (NBC didn't have much respect for Star Trek either.)  Wonder if any of the fans wrote in with corrections?  Actually, the editors might have found that a minor error here and there actually boosted sales, because the stories also served as a "What's Wrong With This Picture?" puzzle.

 

It's my guess that Conan Doyle was merely earning a living.  Nothing wrong with that, much as one might hope otherwise.

 

Re. Seven Percent Solution vs. Hardwick
 
In all honesty, I have never read Nicholas Meyer's book.  I watched the movie with Nicol Williamson once, long ago.  I was in high school and it was on the late, late movie one night.  It entertained me....
 
[....]
 
Given Moriarty's looming reputation and presence in the Holmes universe, it beggers belief really that he appears *once* in Conan Doyle--the same story in which he exits--and figures off-stage in only one other tale, that of the Red Headed League.


I'll take your word that he is mentioned in Red Headed League (not one of my favorites), but I believe he is also mentioned early in Valley of Fear.
 

As for Seven Percent, I've neither read the book (though I have a copy somewhere that I plan to read as soon as I find it) nor seen the movie, so don't have comments of my own.  Thanks for yours!  I have heard that some people prefer the book to the movie.
 

Steeped as I am in Mr. Baring-Gould's amplifications of Holmes's life it's sometimes hard to disentangle those 'facts' from what Conan Doyle wrote.  Is Sherlock's given name identified as 'William', for example, in the Canon?  I have read all the stories, but in the last year I have also crammed in so much 'amplified' material into my mind-attic I can't always remember who wrote what.
 
Did Conan Doyle give Professor James Moriarty another brother, a military man also called James?  Scuttlebutt has it that both Mycroft *and* Sherlock's first names are 'William'.  Not sure who to attribute these to.


I believe that "William" is another of Baring-Gould's introductions, but Herlock may be able to say for sure.

 

Yup, I do recall that ACD gave Professor Moriarty at least one brother, Colonel James Moriarty (mentioned at the beginning of Empty House).  In another story, Holmes mentions that the Professor has a brother who is a station master, but does not mention whether he's also a colonel or is named James -- so there could be two brothers (counting the Professor) or three -- or more, of course, plus as many sisters as you like.


-- Carol

 


#18 Arcadia

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 04:12 AM

I both read the book and saw the movie, and remember quite liking both. But I saw a snippet of the movie on TV a few years back, and even then it seemed awfully dated, so who knows if it's worth seeing now. Also I was rather young when it came out, my tastes have matured changed since then.


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#19 HerlockSholmes

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 10:25 AM

Hi all.

In the Canon he is just Sherlock Holmes. To be honest I can’t recall where ‘William’ was first mentioned though Carol is likely to be correct with Baring-Gould (I’m not in the same town as my Books at the moment.) He had Holmes born in Yorkshire to Siger Holmes and Violet Sherrinford. I think the name was also mentioned in books by science fiction author Philip Jose Farmer.
Carol is definately correct about Moriarty’s younger brother James being mentioned in The Empty House. He was a Station Master in Yorkshire angered Watson by defending the memory of his late brother.
I like The Seven Percent Solution (book and movie.) I enjoyed Nicol Williamson’s Holmes the recovering drug addict. One of the main criticisms of the movie has always been Robert Duvall exaggerated English accent (a pity because he makes a pretty decent Watson.) Charles Grey is Mycroft (he went on to be Brett’s Mycroft and the best ever in my opinion.)
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#20 Hikari

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 01:31 PM

Good morning, all . .though it is now afternoon where you are, Herlock.

 

I enjoyed reading about the genesis of SH's name in "Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street".

 

According to Mr. Baring-Gould, Holmes's full moniker was an homage to English theologian William Sherlock, with the 'Scott' being chosen by his mother after her favorite novelist, Sir Walter Scott.  Seeing as the Holmes's second-born son (or third, if some sources are to be believed) obviously came into the world with a full head of black hair, he was not named 'Sherlock' for his hair color, and that other meaning was completely coincidental.  :)

 

"Mycroft" is named after the family hermitage in Yorkshire, which is fitting for the eldest son. 


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