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HerlockSholmes

Holmes the murderer.

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Good points but I have to say that it’s almost impossible to argue against a hypothetical scenario. I would add though that throughout his career Holmes always showed a sense of honour and justice. Although he appeared as the cold reasoner there are many examples of his genuine sympathy with victims of crime. Yes you could say that it was all an act but it would have been a difficult one to carry off with a close confidante like Watson and a brilliant and perceptive brother like Mycroft. He was also well known amongst the criminal classes (Shinwell Johnson is but one example) and so would have been taking an enormous risk in having a Moriarty-like organisation. Sending a criminal to jail or even the gallows might tempt an associate or family member of the criminal to talk. The police would be unlikely to believe them of course but if this caused others to talk the police might find it difficult to dismiss multiple rumours of Holmes nefarious activities. Moriarty’s name was known only to his closest confederates. He was faceless. Holmes would have had to deal with trying to remain hidden whilst being famous. Someone called upon by the police, politicians, the gentry and even royalty.

 

Also Holmes would run the risk of overlap. What if he’d been called in to investigate a crime that he himself had been responsible for? Would he have failed on purpose? Or would he have sent an ‘employee’ to prison or even the gallows?

 

In a reply to an earlier post you described Motriarty’s Living quarters as extravagant but these weren’t Holmes quarters. He lived at 221b. A comfortable but fairly modest suit of rooms. There is no evidence of Holmes being wealthy unless you are suggesting Holmes as a sort of Robin Hood figure

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I agree with the fruitlessness of speculation and that's why my piece doesn't at all cover whether Holmes would care Watson's feelings etc.  Psychology lies outside my realm of analysis.  Regarding his honor⁄sympathy for others, they are unrelated to the larger thesis.  He could have done both for all we know.  (I even have a brief section titled "Schizophrenia optional".)

 

Also Holmes would run the risk of overlap. What if he’d been called in to investigate a crime that he himself had been responsible for? Would he have failed on purpose? Or would he have sent an ‘employee’ to prison or even the gallows?

 

Several times Watson reports that Holmes would go "away" on a "case".  Watson never cross references with the police whether Holmes was working for them.  The first half of The Hound of the Baskervilles is literally Holmes claiming he can't help because he's got another case to work on.  In The Man with the Twisted Lip, Holmes is at an opium den, allegedly on a case.  As a private consulting detective, Holmes actually had the perfect alibi on the odd chance that he was apprehended.

 

Regarding Mycroft Holmes, there's a good reason I never once mention him—he's irrelevant to my thesis.  Mycroft didn't say anything to anyone when his brother faked his death—though he knew and allegedly provided Sherlock money.  Why would we expect that he'd expose his brothers criminal life?

 

Moriarty’s name was known only to his closest confederates. He was faceless. Holmes would have had to deal with trying to remain hidden whilst being famous.

 

Moriarty's being nameless/faceless only strengthens my thesis.  Holmes was a master of disguise so the few times "Moriarty" needed to present himself, Holmes would've just put on a disguise.  As I cite in my blog post, from A Scandal in Bohemia


It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume. His expression, his manner, his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. The stage lost a fine actor… when he became a specialist in crime.

 

In a reply to an earlier post you described Motriarty’s Living quarters as extravagant but these weren’t Holmes quarters. He lived at 221b. There is no evidence of Holmes being wealthy unless you are suggesting Holmes as a sort of Robin Hood figure

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According to Conan Doyle, you're both right!

 

Of course his Holmes was the greatest crime-solver who never lived.  But he did tend to skirt the law, and even committed the occasional crime in the process.

 

Take the case of Charles Augustus Milverton:  Holmes and Watson are searching CAM's private study (was it B&E? I don't recall, but if so, there's crime #1).  When CAM unexpectedly enters, Holmes and Watson quickly hide behind the proverbial arras, and thus see one of CAM's victims enter and threaten him with a gun.  Watson's first instinct, a lawful one, is to intervene, but Holmes restrains him, saying that justice will better be served by letting her continue.  I don't know Victorian British law, but that could be crime #2.  The unknown woman fatally shoots CAM and departs.  At this point, I'm reasonably certain they're committing a crime by not reporting a murder that they actually witnessed.  At that point, they destroy the contents of CAM's safe, surely another crime, and hastily depart, just ahead of the police (fleeing the scene, yet another crime).

 

Admittedly, these crimes of (mostly) omission hardly constitute a criminal empire, but they are crimes nonetheless.  So yes, Holmes was indeed a criminal.

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But there’s no evidence that Holmes would steal for profit, embezzle, extort, blackmail, rob a bank or murder in cold blood.

 

If Holmes bent or even broke the law on occasion it was because he felt that the ends justified the means. And the ends were always, without fail, honourable.

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Oh, no question whatsoever about that (at least as far as our eyes and ears, Dr. Watson, is able to tell us).  But technically speaking, the canon Holmes *is* a criminal.  Dunno if the police suspect him of any such activity, though.

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Let's say I'm a respected private detective (in modern day parlance).  If I'm caught doing a crime, of course I'm going to claim it was in the service of some investigation.  A serious judge would disregard this and concentrate more on the act itself.

 

Enron's employees were caught shredding important documents.  If the employee under question said the shredding was because s/he wanted recycle the paper would any judge take his/her word for it?  Even if said employee had a reputation for being environmentally conscious?

 

I cannot take seriously any accounts of Holmes's personality.  The law's fairness stems from its disregard of things like personality.

 

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Then we should take context into consideration. This was the Victorian era. The police weren’t under such scrutiny as they are today. Results would have been uppermost in their minds. Police today don’t just observe rules and guidelines rigidly because they are more morally evolved. They do it because they will in all likelihood get found out. The Victorian police would have been more relaxed about rule bending/breaking. The police officers that Holmes worked with Lestrade, Gregson, Athelney-Jones, all knew him well and knew that he got results where they couldn’t. So Holmes and Watson would have been aware that they had ‘leeway.’

 

Incidentally, you might even suggest that Watson could have been a secret super criminal as he often joined Holmes on his less-than-legal escapades and you see this as evidence.

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Then we should take context into consideration. This was the Victorian era. The police weren’t under such scrutiny as they are today. Results would have been uppermost in their minds. Police today don’t just observe rules and guidelines rigidly because they are more morally evolved. They do it because they will in all likelihood get found out. The Victorian police would have been more relaxed about rule bending/breaking. The police officers that Holmes worked with Lestrade, Gregson, Athelney-Jones, all knew him well and knew that he got results where they couldn’t. So Holmes and Watson would have been aware that they had ‘leeway.’

So you agree that Holmes could've committed many a crime and the police would've turned a blind eye.

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Chances are they'd never know about it, but if they did, yeah, back then they'd be likely to "interpret" the evidence in Holmes's favor (unless he'd recently ticked somebody off, that is).

 

Which, it just strikes me, is probably why Jim Moriarty, his henchmen, and his dupes (which latter category would include Donovan and Anderson) were able to discredit Sherlock -- there's much more stringent accountability nowadays.  The Victorian Holmes would never have been subjected to such scrutiny.

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