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EvigMidnat

Whats Your Favorite Case?

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"Silver Blaze" is also pretty good. The mystery in that one is clever.

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I'm virtually certain that I've seen that plot borrowed, though haven't been able to recall where.

 

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"The Boscombe Valley Mystery" is also a contender for favorite case. It's got everything: a clever mystery the reader gets a chance to figure out him- / herself before it is resolved, a not too long backstory, an ethical decision for Holmes as to what to do with the information he has gained that blends into a bit of philosophical and personal reflection, great descriptions (at length) of Holmes at home versus Holmes in the field, humor, the prospect of a happy ending.

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... a not too long backstory, ....

 

That's my favorite part!

 

I had thought I was finished reading The Sign of the Four, and wondered why it was called a novel instead of a short story.  Then I noticed that there was indeed more -- the interminable backstory!

 

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That is the only advantage to reading the stories in PDF format on your computer as opposed to lying curled up in bed with a proper book: You can type "Sherlock Holmes" into the "search" box and skip right to the next relevant part of the story.

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It gets more and more impossible to declare a case a favorite, there are so many and they are so much fun. "The Reigate Puzzle" is really very funny, especially with the BBC series in mind. Holmes is at his best as an actor and cashes in mercilessly on the sympathy of other people. Just like when watching The Hounds of Baskerville, you want to shout "you sucker!" at Watson the whole time. And the riddle is cool, too.

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Having now finally read every single one of the original stories, here's a list of favorites, not based on the actual cases so much as the stories themselves. Not that I expect anybody to be interested, but since several people here have said they intend to start reading Doyle and his oeuvre is so large, take it as recommendations:

 

- The Red Headed League (very funny)

- The Boscombe Valley Mystery (like the case)

- The Speckled Band (the classic Holmes story)

- Silver Blaze (also like the case)

- The Reigate Puzzle (Holmes the master malingerer)

- The Empty House (for the sheer joy of having him back)

- The Norwood Builder (interesting competition between Holmes and Lestrade)

- Charles Augustus Milverton (powerful villain, lots of suspense and humor, unexpected twist towards the end)

- The Abby Grange (great deduction)

- The Hound of the Baskervilles (Holmes is the best antidote to fear I know)

- The Dying Detective (really funny)

- The Devil's Foot (drug scene)

- The Illustrious Client (not even Holmes is invincible)

 

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One of my favorites, which hasn't been mentioned, is The Problem of Thor Bridge.  Great work by Holmes (dramatized beautifully by Granada Productions and Jeremy Brett) and an admirable heroine in Grace Dunbar.

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Isn't that the one with the gun? Where Holmes says he's "absent minded" when it comes to arming himself properly for field work?

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The first story I read as a child was "The Speckled Band" Loved the snake. I guess "Hound" is my all time favorite. But closest to my heart is "The Three Garridebs" It's the only story where Holmes really shows his affection for Watson. "For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain."

By the way do you know the the Jay Findley Christ Code? He's a professor who made up a code for all the stories in the canon  and all Sherlockian writers use it. You ignore "The Adventure of the..." or "The case of the ..." And go to the first main word, and take the first four letters as the code. "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" is COPP "A Study in Scarlet i" is STUD. If the first word has an abbreviation in English already Like Charles (CHAS) or Engineer (ENGR) you use it. If the story has a number "The 3 Garridebs" you use the number and three letters. (3GAR)

I personally got very geekily excited when I found out there was a code.

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Ahhh....a type of short hand. I had seen the "STUD" one but not the rest of them. Thank you for enlightening us.

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Indeed. I'm sure that we do. Hint taken from a certain cab drive to Brixton Road.

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But closest to my heart is "The Three Garridebs" It's the only story where Holmes really shows his affection for Watson. "For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain."

 

I beg to disagree on that. He shows his affection plenty before that story was written and there are a lot of times that Watson says something about "never having seen so much of his heart before". So many, actually, that I giggle at them and go "yeah, doctor, I know, you said that the last time, remember?"

 

Of course we could discuss the "really". Granted, in "The Three Garridebs", we get the most blatant display of caring. I think that was the only purpose of the story: To hammer it into the readers heads that Holmes was not a heartless machine and that his friend meant a lot to him. Personally, I was kind of offended that the author felt such a drastic measure was necessary. I wanted to yell at Doyle: "Oh, come on. How dumb do you think I am? It was perfectly obvious before!"

 

But maybe it wasn't obvious for Dr Watson. If so, I'm glad the author granted him an epiphany like that. And if you like the story (and I'm sure a lot of other people do, too), then it's served it's purpose, hasn't it.

 

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By the way do you know the the Jay Findley Christ Code? .... You ... go to the first main word, and take the first four letters as the code. .... I personally got very geekily excited when I found out there was a code.

 

Most people on this forum seem to use either the "stripped" version (i.e., minus "The Adventure of" or whatever) or else the most distinctive word (e.g., "Garridebs").  Probably just as well here, since a lot of us aren't super familiar with canon.  But a really brief, standardized code does make sense for certain applications, such as headings on a chart.

 

Then there are the episode titles -- but that's another thread, isn't it?

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But this was Victorian men. They weren't able to show their emotions in public and were afraid to show them even to each other. The way Sherlock distanced himself from his emotions would have been something men would aspire to. But I think ACD was a warm emotional man. During most of the early stories his wife was dying from TB and many stories were written just to provide money for her care. He must of been trying to live a life like Sherlock  while having all the passion of Watson.

When SIGN was written ACD had the same publisher as Oscar Wilde. A picture of Dorian Gray was published at the same time. ACD was friends with Wilde and in SIGN The Tobias character is supposed to be Wilde. This is also the story where Watson suddenly falls in love and gets engaged. I think he originally wanted Holmes and Watson to be a Victorian platonic partners just hinting at being Gay. But it got to hot for him to handle so he had to marry Watson off. Remember Wilde was imprisoned for two years for being Gay. 3GAR was written in 1924 and Sherlock finally gets to call Watson "My Watson." Right out loud.

 

 

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  I don't think Watson's loving in love was sudden at least in Canon. He was reported to be very fond of the fairer sex.  In Victorian society, men would normally walk out together arm in arm and even live together in a very platonic fashion. Yes, there has always someone who like to do a little poke, poke wink-wink at this pair but like a whole lot of fanfic out there today, it might have been more or less wishful thinking.

 

 I don't think ACD would have much of a problem with their relationship even in light of his friendship with Wilde. Most of the art and literary world didn't.

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Funny how that's such a topic, isn't it. Sometimes I'd like to revive Doyle, shake him and say: "Come on, tell me. Explain. What were those two about?" I imagine his answer would be "none of your business, lady, and now I'm going back to sleep."

 

I think it's quite clear from the way they were written that they loved each other. I interpret it as brotherly love - they were both "supposed to have" a brother whom neither was close to, and they each found a substitute for that in the other. But I do see how the text can be read very differently. It's so hard for us, today, to understand what back then were subtle clues on matters you couldn't write about openly and what were only descriptions of every-day behavior in that culture. 

 

It hardly matters, although it really is fun and interesting to interpret and speculate. I'm content to just accept them as Holmes and Watson, who run around London solving puzzles, having adventures, sharing jokes, saving each other's lives and breaking into houses when needed for the greater good. I'm glad that Watson gives us glimpses beyond that, of fireside conversations, violin concertos, the tin box, Holmes "warbling like a lark" in a cab, lying curled up on his sofa or philosophizing in his chair. And when the doors close on 221b, it seems best not to try and look through the key hole, but draw away quietly and let them be.

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I like that "Don't look through the keyhole." The stories were meant for entertainment. ACD really couldn't help it  if his  characters took on a life of their own. But I think Sir Arthur would love to come back from the dead, but wouldn't want to talk about Holmes!

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Yes, I'm sure he'd much prefer to tell us about life "up yonder."

 

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I have to admit I am not sure of a favourite. I still like the original Study in Scarlet the best. The Sign of Four is also a favourite. I also like the Adventure of the Dying Detective, but rather than liking a particular case I love some of the particular lines in several of them. I liked the original Scandal in Bohemia, the original exchange between Holmes and the King is wonderfully decisive and pins Holmes' ability down quickly and perfectly. Through out most cases, I love the absolute faith Watson has in Holmes, enough to comply with his orders implicitly despite knowing nothing about why he is undertaking them.

 

 

just like you

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While I need to re-read them all again, my favorite is The Adventures of the Bruce Partington Plans. 

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