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Moriarty was innocent

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Hikari, having now read the early posts in this thread a bit more carefully, I think I see one reason why the discussion turned into an argument.

Michael Dibdin's [...] devastating little book is a model of elegant deduction. His book made me sick at heart . . so much so you'd think he'd destroyed the reputation of an actual person, someone I knew and loved. [....]

 

At best I can see this as only a mental exercise, just to see if it can be done.

And that seems to be precisely what Vijay was intending to do, play with ideas and see what he could come up with. As he said,

Being consistent with the facts does not a proof make. With all historical analyses one can merely conjecture, never prove and what's true of history is doubly true of fiction. As I say in the piece, "I cannot prove that Holmes was the criminal mastermind, I shall merely present facts that point in that direction".

So to him it's basically an intellectual exercise, whereas to you it's an attack on a personal friend.

 

*****

 

Herlock, I don't know if the two of you ever resolved this question, but I do recall seeing it repeated a few times:

When questioning Holmes ‘plan’ to get Watson away from the Falls you say:

 

“Because remember, for all his alleged brilliance, Moriarty didn’t even know what Sherlock Holmes looked like. When they first met (according to Holmes), all Moriarty said was, “You have less frontal development that I should have expected”. When he knew nothing about his enemy, Holmes, how could he be expected to invent a story so perfect that it would make Watson leave?”

 

I still don’t understand your viewpoint? They met face to face. Just because Holmes didn’t have Moriarty giving a detailed description of Holmes (which would have been weird) we can’t deduce that he didn’t know what Holmes looked like. Of course he did.

To me, Moriarty sounds surprised at discovering how little "frontal development" Holmes has. If that is indeed the tone that ACD had in mind, then it presumably means that Moriarty had never before laid eyes on Holmes, because otherwise he would have already known this. (Alternatively, I suppose it's possible that he meant simply "Someone with your obvious intellect typically has more frontal development than you do," and this was merely the first opportunity he'd had to say it to Holmes. If we knew his tone of voice, that might help, but alas we do not.)

 

On that last point Hikari my issue was with the reasoning. In Ivijay’s piece when he talks about Holmes and Moriarty not knowing what each looked like, so how would he come up with a plan to make Watson leave, he was talking about at The Reichenbach Falls (see the previous paragraph in Ivijay’s piece. Therefore, before Reichenbach, they had met face to face at 221b and would certainly have known what each looked like and, because of Watson’s writings, Moriarty would have known enough about their lives to come up with a simple plan.

 

My, shall we call it irritation, at Ivijay we’re purely at the tone of the responses. Initially posts appeared amicable but when points were debated further by me replies became abrupt, for eg ‘irrelevant, pure speculation.’ Etc. And when Ivijay said that he refused to ‘speculate’ when any thesis such as his had to be full of speculation I felt that debate was not welcome.

 

 

Whether debate is welcome or even tolerated seems to depend on which side of the proverbial line one falls upon, based on the reception which our attempts at debate in the defense of our side has received.  I feel that my hand has been slapped for the defense of my corner, while purveyors of certain 'intellectual exercises' get a bye, despite use of certain quite heated language as well.  Perhaps it's due to someone being the new kid on the block, but I feel a definite double standard is in play here.

 

With due respect to the interpretation of Mr. Ivijay's theory as a mental/intellectual exercise merely, as set against your and my 'defense of a friend', it seems as though our opponent is earning points for cool rationality and we for hotheadedness borne of emotional engagement.  With respect again, an analysis of the language and tone of some of the replies you have received, I do not believe Mr. Ivijay is as dispassionate as he is being credited with.  It sounds to me like he is as interested in mounting a passionate defense of his own reasoning as we have been.

 

And that's how it should be.  There is no point in having an opinion if one is not willing to speak up for it.  I wish Mr. Ivijay all the best in his intellectual endeavors, whether he wants to publish this paper or whatever his plans are.  I'm sure both sides of the Sherlockian fence will have plenty to say both for and against when/if he does.  I am going to recuse myself from further commentary on this particular topic because I think I have said all I care to, and a good deal more than some have cared to read.  This is an end-sum game and the total stands at 'Draw'. 

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To me, Moriarty sounds surprised at discovering how little "frontal development" Holmes has.  If that is indeed the tone that ACD had in mind, then it presumably means that Moriarty had never before laid eyes on Holmes, because otherwise he would have already known this.  (Alternatively, I suppose it's possible that he meant simply "Someone with your obvious intellect typically has more frontal development than you do," and this was merely the first opportunity he'd had to say it to Holmes.  If we knew his tone of voice, that might help, but alas we do not.)

 

Thank you Carol for the moderation and your inputs.  And also the correction wrt the definition of ad hominem.  (For the record, I'm 100% with Artemis wrt Holmes being described a sociopath.  imo it doesn't follow from the books.)

 

It turns out I'm not even the first to address my thesis in these lines :-)  As Hikari points out Michael Dibdin got there before I was born.  Based on my very slim exposure from other Holmes fans, I got a few anonymous commentators (not on this forum) saying they had the very same idea.  While I believe the thesis is original (as in arrived at independently), I won't claim I was the first to it.  Not by 39 years at least :-)  Perhaps others had the idea even earlier.

 

My own inspiration came, as I say in the piece, from comparing Holmes with Fight Club.  I wanted to see how far I could take it.  Regarding: is it true that Holmes was a master criminal I really do not (for lack of a better word) speculate.  Bill Watterson, the author of the comic Calvin and Hobbes, when asked about the "reality" of Hobbes refused to even entertain the question.  He said, “The resolution of the question of whether Hobbes is real or not doesn’t concern me or interest me”.

 

The way I see it, Dibdin's (and my) thesis can be regarded as interesting and possible while at the same time not needing for it to be consistent.

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To me, Moriarty sounds surprised at discovering how little "frontal development" Holmes has.  If that is indeed the tone that ACD had in mind, then it presumably means that Moriarty had never before laid eyes on Holmes, because otherwise he would have already known this.  (Alternatively, I suppose it's possible that he meant simply "Someone with your obvious intellect typically has more frontal development than you do," and this was merely the first opportunity he'd had to say it to Holmes.  If we knew his tone of voice, that might help, but alas we do not.)

 

Thank you Carol for the moderation and your inputs.  And also the correction wrt the definition of ad hominem.  (For the record, I'm 100% with Artemis wrt Holmes being described a sociopath.  imo it doesn't follow from the books.)

 

It turns out I'm not even the first to address my thesis in these lines :-)  As Hikari points out Michael Dibdin got there before I was born.  Based on my very slim exposure from other Holmes fans, I got a few anonymous commentators (not on this forum) saying they had the very same idea.  While I believe the thesis is original (as in arrived at independently), I won't claim I was the first to it.  Not by 39 years at least :-)  Perhaps others had the idea even earlier.

 

My own inspiration came, as I say in the piece, from comparing Holmes with Fight Club.  I wanted to see how far I could take it.  Regarding: is it true that Holmes was a master criminal I really do not (for lack of a better word) speculate.  Bill Watterson, the author of the comic Calvin and Hobbes, when asked about the "reality" of Hobbes refused to even entertain the question.  He said, “The resolution of the question of whether Hobbes is real or not doesn’t concern me or interest me”.

 

The way I see it, Dibdin's (and my) thesis can be regarded as interesting and possible while at the same time not needing for it to be consistent.

 

 

Two well-regarded Sherlockian authors (whom I think of collectively as 'the Michaels'), Mssrs. Kurland and Hardwick, both have created characterizations of Professor Moriarty that paint him as, if not 'Innocent' entirely, at least Misunderstood or Pursuing Ends Which Justify the Means.  These interpretations of Moriarty put him much closer to Holmes in terms of outlook, personality and MO.  Kurland's Moriarty in particular really does not seem to be the head of an international criminal organization at all, but rather just a personable entrepreneurial scientist with some rather creative methodologies.  Hardwick's Moriarty is not quite so benign, but neither is he a monster, but fully faceted human being, who does have a conscience and who ends up joining forces with Holmes to defeat a greater evil.

 

A number of authors have anticipated your thesis, it seems, but that's the way it goes . . nothing new under the sun.  I particularly think in the case of Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Dibdin may have had the last truly innovative theory and that's been 40 years ago now.

 

What do you anticipate *doing* with this research?  Are you going to publish in a journal, use it as your entre into a scion society or what?  I'd be interested to learn what you see as the point of this work.

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On that last point Hikari my issue was with the reasoning. In Ivijay’s piece when he talks about Holmes and Moriarty not knowing what each looked like, so how would he come up with a plan to make Watson leave, he was talking about at The Reichenbach Falls (see the previous paragraph in Ivijay’s piece. Therefore, before Reichenbach, they had met face to face at 221b and would certainly have known what each looked like and, because of Watson’s writings, Moriarty would have known enough about their lives to come up with a simple plan.

 

My, shall we call it irritation, at Ivijay we’re purely at the tone of the responses. Initially posts appeared amicable but when points were debated further by me replies became abrupt, for eg ‘irrelevant, pure speculation.’ Etc. And when Ivijay said that he refused to ‘speculate’ when any thesis such as his had to be full of speculation I felt that debate was not welcome.

 

Whether debate is welcome or even tolerated seems to depend on which side of the proverbial line one falls upon, based on the reception which our attempts at debate in the defense of our side has received.  I feel that my hand has been slapped for the defense of my corner, while purveyors of certain 'intellectual exercises' get a bye, despite use of certain quite heated language as well.  Perhaps it's due to someone being the new kid on the block, but I feel a definite double standard is in play here.

 

With due respect to the interpretation of Mr. Ivijay's theory as a mental/intellectual exercise merely, as set against your and my 'defense of a friend', it seems as though our opponent is earning points for cool rationality and we for hotheadedness borne of emotional engagement.  With respect again, an analysis of the language and tone of some of the replies you have received, I do not believe Mr. Ivijay is as dispassionate as he is being credited with.  It sounds to me like he is as interested in mounting a passionate defense of his own reasoning as we have been.

 

And that's how it should be.  There is no point in having an opinion if one is not willing to speak up for it.  I wish Mr. Ivijay all the best in his intellectual endeavors, whether he wants to publish this paper or whatever his plans are.  I'm sure both sides of the Sherlockian fence will have plenty to say both for and against when/if he does.  I am going to recuse myself from further commentary on this particular topic because I think I have said all I care to, and a good deal more than some have cared to read.  This is an end-sum game and the total stands at 'Draw'.

 

Moderator Comment:

This sounds to me like a private conversation.  For politeness' sake, any future conversations of this type should be carried out in Personal Messages, where they can be read only by the people you are actually addressing.  If you aren't familiar with this forum's Personal Messenger, it's accessed by clicking on the envelope icon which is (at least with the theme that I use) at the top of any forum page.  After that, it's pretty self-explanatory, but if you hit any snags, please feel free to ask.

 

Nobody is getting a "bye" here.  Everybody got a slap on the wrist, which hopefully has gotten their attention.

 

Please note that according to the rules that you acknowledged having read when you joined the forum:

 

"All staff on the forum are volunteers and as such any rudeness or failure to comply with any member of staff will result in a permanent ban. If you feel you have a grievance with a staff decision you are encouraged to contact a site Admin by private message. DO NOT discuss it in open forum."

 

Therefore, if you have any further complaints about staff decisions, please send a PM to Undead Medic.  (Or confine your comments to PMs with other members.)  Thank you.

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Carol, I go with any ruling that you make. I would just like to make the point though that my last post wasn’t intended to appear as any kind of private conversation. It was a specific response to a part of Ivijay’s thesis which I dispute. It was open to responses from anyone, including Ivijay. That said, I have no problem with withdrawing from the thread if you feel that’s for the best.

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I'm not Carol, but I don't think she suggested that, Herlock. What she said was, if you have a beef with her as a mod, send her a PM and let her know, instead of in a thread (cause it tends to clutter up discussions). If you still feel, after the matter has been discussed privately, that you cannot agree with her ruling, you are free to send a PM to UndeadMedic (our BigBoss :smile:) and let him know what you object to and why. Clearer now? If not, you can (stop me if you've heard that one :lol:) send of course send me a PM, too. Which of course goes for everyone on the forum, with any given question (well, pertaining to the forum - I'm as clueless about why, say, we still don't have flying cars or Mars colonies as anyone else who grew up with old-fashioned sci-fi). No one wanted to stop discussion of the topic (or, lets be honest, derailments, since we're pretty good here at those as a rule :D).

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Thanks for that Caya but I’ve honestly never made any criticism of Carol or of any decision that she’s made. I was just pointing out that the last post that I made before her ‘moderators comment’ was a specific one about a part of Ivijay’s thesis that I was disputing and not one that was more suited to a pm.

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I've been debating whether to get into this or not, because I don't want to roil things up again, and I'm not as practiced or skilled at this as Carol and Caya. But -- :smile: -- I honestly don't think Carol's "Moderator Comment" was in response to Herlock's remark, but to posts like this one:
 

Whether debate is welcome or even tolerated seems to depend on which side of the proverbial line one falls upon, based on the reception which our attempts at debate in the defense of our side has received.  I feel that my hand has been slapped for the defense of my corner, while purveyors of certain 'intellectual exercises' get a bye, despite use of certain quite heated language as well.  Perhaps it's due to someone being the new kid on the block, but I feel a definite double standard is in play here.

With due respect to the interpretation of Mr. Ivijay's theory as a mental/intellectual exercise merely, as set against your and my 'defense of a friend', it seems as though our opponent is earning points for cool rationality and we for hotheadedness borne of emotional engagement.  With respect again, an analysis of the language and tone of some of the replies you have received, I do not believe Mr. Ivijay is as dispassionate as he is being credited with.  It sounds to me like he is as interested in mounting a passionate defense of his own reasoning as we have been.


I too read that as 1) comments directed at a single person, not at the entire forum, and 2) not-so-veiled criticism of the moderators.

I think we're all grown up around here enough to withstand a little criticism, but Carol's correct in that we want to maintain a pleasant tone in this forum, and we have rules in place to help maintain civility. And I think that's the only point she was trying to make; just be civil, and we'll be fine. I truly hope no one feels they are being singled out for admonishment. Among other things, that's simply not Carol's style.
 
At any rate, I'm going to change the subject slightly, and confess that I am one of those who considers the BBC Sherlock version of Mr. Holmes to be a murderer. (And believe me, we've had more than one dust up already on this subject! :smile:) But I also recognize that it's an alternate version of Holmes, and those can be interesting to explore. I've also made an attempt to understand why the Mofftisses chose that interpretation; it offends me, so that's hard for me. But I see that many other fans (of both Sherlock and ACD Holmes) have no problem with it and even appreciate it, so I must assume that my view on the subject is not the only valid one. If I didn't, I'd be in a fight all the time! :blink: Not that I don't sometimes enjoy a good argument, but it's not very pleasant for everyone else. And as stated above, keeping this a friendly place to be takes priority over me winning an argument. (Alas! :smile:)

 

So ... hope this helps. Laterz!

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I am one of those who considers the BBC Sherlock version of Mr. Holmes to be a murderer.

 

I haven't watched this episode but even going merely by the canon, Holmes is, if not a murderer, certainly a killer.  The difference between them being intent.  If x wants y killed and achieves said ends‡, one can say x is a murderer; but if x is, say, driving a car, falls asleep, crashes, and passenger y dies, x is a killer but not a murderer.  (I'm not a lawyer so usual disclaimers apply.)

 

If we merely take the events of Reichenbach at face value—Moriarty sent Holmes a note, they met, Holmes escaped because he knew “baritsu”, he's, at minimum, a killer.

 

‡ the whole murder vs kill takes interesting turns in the philosophical of ethics.

 

A really short sample:

 

Alice wants to murder Bob.  She takes poisoned coffee to Bob's house.  Bob actually hates coffee so, unbeknownst to Alice, dumps the coffee into his yard.  The chicken in his yard eats these grounds.  Lays an egg.  Bob eats said egg for breakfast.  Dies.  The chicken dies later.

 

Question: did Alice murder Bob?  Is Alice even responsible for his death?

 

Modified hypothetical:

 

Alice wants to murder Bob.  She takes poisoned coffee to Bob's house.  Alice, inexplicably changes her mind so rather than giving Bob his coffee dumps it coffee into his yard.  The chicken in his yard eats these grounds.  Lays an egg.  Bob eats said egg for breakfast.  Dies.  The chicken dies later.

 

Question: did Alice murder Bob?  Is Alice even responsible for his death?

 

I made up this example but the literature goes along these lines.

 

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If we say that Holmes, as per the Canon, was at minimum a killer then we surely have to ‘throw in’ the plea of self defence. Holmes realised that this confrontation might have ended in his death (as per the note to Watson). He must equally have been prepared that it could have been Moriarty that would perish. It’s interesting to recall (well to me anyway

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‡ the whole murder vs kill takes interesting turns in the philosophical of ethics.

I think it gets even murkier in that there’s a difference (in my opinion) between someone killing a person and being a killer. Or to use another example, someone telling a lie vs. being a liar. One implies more intent and/or frequency than the other.

 

Edit:

If someone has killed then, by definition they are a ‘killer.’ But there is surely a difference between someone that has killed and someone that is ‘inclined’ to kill. Many soldiers would have to be named as ‘killers’ but that wouldn’t sit right with most apart from the most literal of pacifists.

^ Yes, that.

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... I am one of those who considers the BBC Sherlock version of Mr. Holmes to be a murderer. [....] I've also made an attempt to understand why the Mofftisses chose that interpretation [....]

 

I assume that Arcadia is talking about Sherlock killing Charles Augustus Magnussen (name changed from Milverton to suit the actor's nationality).  The Moftisses explained (in either the commentary of Last Vow or a DVD interview for that episode) that they always thought Watson's explanation about some strange woman coming in and shooting Milverton was just a little too convenient.  Their take on it (when they first read the story as young boys) was that Holmes had actually killed Milverton himself, and then Watson made up the story about the unidentified woman in order to protect Holmes from murder charges.

 

So in their view, the canon Holmes *is* a murderer, specifically in the case of Milverton, and they were merely writing an analogous modern-day story.  Ehhh, maybe!  :P

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Okay, I'll concede that BBC Sherlock is not a murderer, in the sense that he does it on a regular basis. Rather, he has committed murder. For, presumably, a good reason. (If such a thing exists.)

 

But I'm just as skeptical as Carol that that is what Doyle had in mind!

 

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You will not be surprised to read that I think that the killing of Milverton, by a woman who’s husband had died because of him, is entirely plausible. Milverton left a string of ruined men and women so it’s hardly surprising that at least one would have sought revenge in some desperate way. I’m surprised to hear that Moftiss felt Holmes to be a murderer. After reading the Canon more times than I care to remember I get the overwhelming sense of Holmes regard for justice. I really can’t see him losing control and killing in anger. Me biased....never!

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Been a while since I watched HLV (not one of my favorites!), and now I'm trying to remember why Sherlock went to Magnussen's office.  Does he say?

 

They had used several pieces of canon to reach that point -- he had sweet-talked CAM's employee, saw a woman with a gun threatening CAM.  Hmm, in canon, I believe Holmes had gone there in order to ransack CAM's files (and ended up doing exactly that) -- so perhaps that's what Sherlock had in mind?  But how did he hope to get away with it, when he was counting on Janine to let him in?  Did he expect to sweet-talk her into betraying her boss?

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That’s right Carol. Holmes was looking for incriminating letters in Milverton’s safe. That story did raise the question of Holmes ‘coldness.’ Watson is not pleased to learn that Holmes has become engaged to a servant purely to achieve his goal. Holmes defends himself by saying that he has a ‘hated rival’ who he was sure would ‘jump his claim.’

 

I can’t recall why Sherlock went to see Magnussen as I’ve only seen the episode once and it was a while ago. I must admit that I was completely shocked at the ending. I suppose that it has to be taken as an admission of failure on Sherlock’s part? I was expecting a last minute revelation as in A Scandal In Belgravia where Sherlock saves the day at the last minute when all seemed lost. Perhaps he suspected that Mycroft would come to his rescue in some way?

 

I need to find time to re-watch Sherlock. My knowledge is sorely lacking.

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Been a while since I watched HLV (not one of my favorites!), and now I'm trying to remember why Sherlock went to Magnussen's office.  Does he say?

 

They had used several pieces of canon to reach that point -- he had sweet-talked CAM's employee, saw a woman with a gun threatening CAM.  Hmm, in canon, I believe Holmes had gone there in order to ransack CAM's files (and ended up doing exactly that) -- so perhaps that's what Sherlock had in mind?  But how did he hope to get away with it, when he was counting on Janine to let him in?  Did he expect to sweet-talk her into betraying her boss?

 

1. In the original story, SH (in disguise as a working man) somehow manages to sweet-talk CAM's housemaid into an engagement as a pretext of getting into the study.  Even giving SH credit for great powers of persuasion and personal charm when it serves his ends, it seems a gentleman in the Victorian era could get engaged to a lady who was nearly a complete stranger in a matter of days, with very little passing between them in the way of personal interaction and Christian names not even being employed.  The whole 'Janine' ruse was one of Mofftiss's better, more organic Canon nods--an improvement over the original, in fact, though must have been uncomfortable in the extreme for SH to simulate a romantic relationship for what must have been many weeks, if not months.

 

The scene 'In Hallway Video Monitor With Ring' is one of Benedict's more adorable moments of the entire series.  Those puppy-dog eyes are a lethal weapon, instantly pulverizing female resistance of any kind.

 

2.  Sherlock was there to ransack Magnussen's computer files on behalf of Lady Smallwood, his client.  Even the Great Detective erred in not realizing that CAM's files were not, in fact, in the physical/digital world in any form, but that CAM had a Mind Palace to rival Sherlock's own.  Perhaps even the superior of it, since we know how garbled SH's memories actually got.  Stumbling into Assassin Mary was also a complete accident.  But this has just occurred to me--S. and J. went into the office together; they see Janine cold-cocked on the floor.  So Watson stops in the outer office to tend to her while Sherlock proceeds into CAM's study and finds CAM being held at gunpoint by someone wearing Clair la Lune.  Mary's got those wraithlike assassin skills (which being dressed in head-to-toe black helps to emphasize) . . but we are asked to believe that she shot Sherlock and called 999 on her way out and John did not see or hear a thing, just steps away?

 

3.  Yes, I think Sherlock did expect to sweet-talk her into betraying her boss.  After all, she'd be so dazzled looking at her new engagement ring that he could probably break into CAM's computer while Janine was blubbing with happiness.  The alternative--that he'd strip Janine of her illusions right then and there as to his true purpose in being there and would just overpower her to do what he came for while she cried at his betrayal is also a possibility.  After all, he had just admitted to Watson a moment before that he just got engaged for the sole purpose of breaking into this office.  He wouldn't have cared about sparing Janine's feelings.  On the whole, it was a bit of a mercy that Mary conked her on the head so she didn't have to face this dilemma right away.  She got her own back while Sherl was laid up in the hospital and I don't think a single person watching begrudged her that cottage in Sussex or her revenge.  Sherl was very, very cruel to her.  She could have hurt him a lot more than she did while he was in a vulnerable position (cf. Roman Polanski's 'Bitter Moon') but she treated him better than he deserved.  I hope poor, sassy Janine found herself a nice man in Sussex, one who's happy to have a devoted gorgeous Scottish girlfriend.  Sherlock Holmes did not deserve her anyway.

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The following post contains a spoiler about Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story. I won't reveal *all*, but I will say that that was Mr. Dibdin's thesis as well--

If the theory’s been around awhile, I wonder if Moftiss had it in mind at all when writing the TRF episode, seeing as it was part of Moriarty’s scheme to make it appear as though Sherlock had committed the crimes he solved.

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