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Which Sherlock Holmes are you?

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As far as I can recall (and I may be mistaken) the suggestion of a second wife came from the fact that Sherlockian scholars (possibly someone like Baring-Gould) calculated from the text that Watson’s wife Mary died in something like 1894 or perhaps 2 or 3 years earlier. Yet Watson is married in the story ‘The Blanched Soldier,’ which was set in 1903. Hence, two wives.

Sherlockian scholars, as I’m sure everyone knows, have studied the canon minutely. They have worked out the order in which the cases occurred (still debated though) and pored over many mysteries. These mysteries often come from errors by Doyle but scholars (who consider the canon to have been written by Watson and not Doyle) seek to find ‘explanations.’ Often these mysteries are quite obscure unlike the well known Doyle errors (the moving Jezail bullet, the use of ‘James,’ and Watson’s dog to name but three.)

 

The belief that Mary died is based on two things, right?  The passing comment about Watson's "bereavement" in Empty House, and that he apparently moved back into 221B?

 

Even discounting my earlier comments about the uncertainty of Watson's dates, I can think of several possible alternative  explanations (none of which is nearly as tenuous as the American wife that Hikari mentioned).  For one thing, Victorians avoided using the term "divorce" -- a divorced woman (such as my own great-grandmother) was politely referred to as a "widow."    So it seems possible that the word "bereavement" might possibly have referred to a divorce, conceivably followed at some later time by a reconciliation and remarriage.  That one sounds somewhat improbably, even to me, so how about this:  It wasn't Mary that died, it was the Watsons' young child, probably a son (who had not been mentioned in prior stories because of irrelevance to the case).

 

As for Watson moving back to Baker Street, is it ever explicitly stated (post-return) that he was actually living there?  I'm quite willing to believe that there were times (even in the interval between Sign of the Four and Final Problem) when he spent so much time there that Mary (as in Abominable Bride) hardly ever saw him.  He may even have spent some nights in his former bedroom while still maintaining his own residence with Mary.  Upon Holmes's return, he could have simply resumed that habit -- perhaps even more so than before.

 

As I mentioned, I haven't even read the entire canon, let alone spending much time studying it, so it's entirely possible that my theories are neatly refuted somewhere, in Watson's own words.

 

 

There are a few major mysteries of Watson's admittedly vague,  often self-contradictory autobiography that sets Game-playing fans of minutae spinning like tops.

 

1.  Just *where* exactly is the location of that pesky Jezail bullet wound?  How many bullets/wounds are there?  Why does our hero tell us when introducing himself at some length in ASiS that he quite nearly bled to death from a bullet wound to his subclavian artery in his shoulder . . and by the time we get to the second documented case for our detective duo in Baker Street, this bullet has migrated to his leg, with the shoulder wound nary mentioned again?  And does 'leg' mean 'the leg' or is it anywhere from the thigh to the heel?  Because sometimes this leg wound appears to be a heel wound, more like.  Getting shot in the heel is inconvenient and painful, I'll wager but it lacks the gravity of almost exsanguinating from an arterial wound.  Watson's laxity with this detail seems very quizzical in the extreme for a medical man (via the Literary Agent, also a medical man).  Was Conan Doyle a lazy doctor, a lazy writer or both?  Did he suffer from short-term memory loss, so as to not be able to recall salient details from one story to another from his own pen within months of each other . . .(in another story Mary Morstan calls her husband 'James' . . the Anglo form of 'Hamish'.)  Or fourth option:  did he have a dastardly sense of humor that sought to test/irritate his readers with these intentional 'discrepencies' placed like Easter Eggs for the entertainment of the armchair sleuths reading? 

 

2.  The number of wives of John Watson, as previously mentioned

 

3.  The Question of What Happened to Mary?  A number of theories have been proposed for her untimely demise.  Some say that the Watsons were childless and Mary succumbed to consumption (the same disease that carried away Mrs. Conan Doyle #1, Touie), or some other form of infection like diphtheria.  Others make Watson's bereavement a double one, proposing that Mary and their baby both died in childbirth.  One modern author proposes that Mary committed suicide after the loss of their baby, though I personally don't hold with this one.  Young wives died with distressing regularity in this era from all sorts of causes.  I do not think it very likely at all that the Watsons would have divorced and later reconciled, though that would certainly be a happier outcome for them both.

 

If we can accept (and I do) that Conan Doyle embued his writer/soldier narrator hero with aspects of his own personality and backstory, then he gave Watson two wives, such as he himself had, the first one dying prematurely. 

 

In the Holmes-narrated "Adventure of the Blanched Soldier", a late case, Sherlock mentions that 'Watson had deserted me for a wife'.  This doesn't really sound like a reconnection to a former spouse whom Holmes knows well, certainly well enough to refer to her by her first name.  A number of ladies have been proposed as Mrs. Watson #2, from Violet Hunter ('The Copper Beeches') to Mrs. Hudson.  Ha!  Well, we do know how much John appreciated the creature comforts and good Scots table provided by Mrs. Hudson all those years.  There is no reason to assume that Mrs. Hudson had to be a very elderly lady in relation to her two bachelor tenants.  She might very well have been a widow just a few years older than they.  But I don't buy it.  Nor do I buy Miss Hunter, who the Doctor is at pains to point out is decidedly not his type (not a fan of freckles, apparently, JW)--but Watson is rather keen during the course of that case to possibly play matchmaker for his flatmate to the intrepid Miss Hunter who is a young woman of rare intelligence and pluck.  Too bad Sherlock didn't marry her and then we might have been spared the Laurie R. King vision of his later years matrimony!

 

 

Less of a hotbed of speculation than these facets of Watson's life is the ongoing debate: "Where exactly did Sherlock matriculate at University?"  Sherlockian scholars (I use this word with a sense of irony) seem split between Oxford and Cambridge.  Some hedge their bets and say he did two years at each.  I favor Oxford myself . . because I believe that Mycroft went to the rival out in East Anglia and little Brother would have wanted to distinguish himself.

 

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1.  Just *where* exactly is the location of that pesky Jezail bullet wound?  How many bullets/wounds are there?  [....]  Was Conan Doyle a lazy doctor, a lazy writer or both?  Did he suffer from short-term memory loss, so as to not be able to recall salient details from one story to another from his own pen within months of each other [....]  Or fourth option:  did he have a dastardly sense of humor that sought to test/irritate his readers with these intentional 'discrepencies' placed like Easter Eggs for the entertainment of the armchair sleuths reading?

I suspect that he didn't really see the point of keeping details consistent from story to story.  He apparently thought of his Holmes stories as mere pot boilers, to keep food on the table till he could sell his next "serious" work, so why bother with anything beyond telling a good story?

 

3. If we can accept (and I do) that Conan Doyle embued his writer/soldier narrator hero with aspects of his own personality and backstory, then he gave Watson two wives, such as he himself had, the first one dying prematurely. 

 

In the Holmes-narrated "Adventure of the Blanched Soldier", a late case, Sherlock mentions that 'Watson had deserted me for a wife'.  This doesn't really sound like a reconnection to a former spouse whom Holmes knows well, certainly well enough to refer to her by her first name.

So you figure that the "bereavement" mentioned in Empty House is Mary's death?  I don't believe I've read that later story (still hoping that the final collection will eventually be printed by BBC Books), but it does sound like a new marriage at that point.  What about in between, though?  Are there no wifely references that undeniably occur between those two events?

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Watson says at the end of The Copper Beeches that Violet Hunter ended up head of a school in Walsall ( I was in Walsall yesterday) where he believed she was doing very well. So I think that we can discount her.

 

I wonder what Doyle would have though of people pouring over every detail of Holmes life. Mostly picking up on his errors

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So Walsall is near you?  Forgive my lack of geographical knowledge!

 

Violet Hunter turns up in a number of pastiches--she is a very popular client of SH's.  In Michael Kurland's compilation "My Sherlock Holmes", Miss Hunter narrates the second occasion she is compelled to consult Holmes.  It's several years on from their first encounter and she is a respected and extremely competent headmistress at that academy for young ladies in Walsall.

 

I think if Sir Arthur were alive to see this overheated, obsessive Game that we play, he'd be flabbergasted.  Gobsmacked.  Because after creating Sherlock Holmes, he got bored with him quite quickly.  At best, Holmes was a reliable cash cow.  At worst--he was the commercial, blood-sucking albatross 'round his creative neck that was strangling his more 'important' work of being a Romantic novelist (note the capital 'R'.)  You and I have invested a lot of time and money in pursuing our hobby, but there are hundreds, if not thousands of folk the world over who have dedicated their entire careers and beings to 'poring over every detail of Holmes's life."  I hope they feel that their investment of their life's blood has been worthwhile.  As much enjoyment as I get out of Holmes stories, I have to wonder about that.  Because in some circles, every (fictional) utterance and move of Sherlock's is scrutinized, studied, debated and written about as deeply, passionately and with much of a sense of import as if he were Jesus Christ.

 

To be honest, I think only the Holy Bible has sold more copies than Sherlock Holmes, and only because it's been around significantly longer.  I can't think of another character in all of literature that has captured the worldwide imagination so widely and so long than has Sherlock Holmes.  Not even Santa Claus has had so many adventures attributed to him.  People don't spend their lives becoming 'Saint Nick' Experts, do they?

 

What a shame, really, that Sir Arthur didn't value his creation as much as other people have . . . he would have given us more Holmes stories, and he would have cherished better his signature creation and realized that Holmes, not any of his other writings, was to be his legacy.

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Walsall is very near as is Birmingham. I recently passed a building that was mentioned in The Stockbrokers Clerk (in Corporation Street.

Doyle worked for a time in Aston (which is a suburb of Birmingham) so it’s likely that he would have seen the building.

 

The name Michael Kurland is familiar to me though I haven’t got ‘My Sherlock Holmes.’ I do have a series of books that he wrote with Moriarty as the central character. The first is called ‘The Infernal Device.’ I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet though. I saw them in a shop (or store to you

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Good morning, Herlock,

 

Still morning where you are, too.

 

I am very familiar with the Professor Moriarty novels by Michael Kurland, having read four out of the five.  I enjoyed them.  It's a bit of an intellectual dissonance exercise because Kurland presents Moriarty as a hero, more or less.  The Professor cheerfully admits to being a criminal, but his activities are all for the supremely higher purpose (as he sees it) of funding his very expensive astronomical research.  He is building his own observatory on the moors and that takes dosh.   This 'Napoleon of Crime' has his own network of 'Irregulars' and his own Boswell, an American journalist named Benjamin Barnett.   He favors dressing gowns and chemical experiments in his home laboratory on Russell Square.  His underlings are devoted to him.  Kurland paints a decidedly benign portrait of Sherlock's nemesis; essentially he exhibits all the salient features of Holmes on the flip side.  It's very hard to dislike this Moriarty, who is capable of kindness and gentilesse to his social inferiors.  He kind of views himself as a modern-day Robin Hood, relieving buffoonish aristocrats of their ill-gotten gains in the service of the higher good of Science.

 

Sherlock Holmes appears sporadically in these stories, oftentimes as a bit of comedy relief.  Moriarty views Holmes's obsession with him with bemusement.  Holmes's ploys to keep the Professor under surveillance via various guises do not go unnoticed or commented upon.  The two geniuses join forces several times at the behest of Whitehall and Brother Mycroft, and when SH can put aside his animosity temporarily, the two make a good team.  This Moriarty will likely not appeal to hardcore purists, but Kurland succeeds in making him a fully-rounded human being instead of a mustache-twirling cardboard villain.

 

Kurland has several anthologies as editor.  I can also recommend "Sherlock Holmes: the Missing Years" and "Sherlock Holmes: the American Years".  Both of these include some of my favorite pastiches I have read so far.

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Good morning, Herlock,

 

Still morning where you are, too.

 

I am very familiar with the Professor Moriarty novels by Michael Kurland, having read four out of the five. I enjoyed them. It's a bit of an intellectual dissonance exercise because Kurland presents Moriarty as a hero, more or less. The Professor cheerfully admits to being a criminal, but his activities are all for the supremely higher purpose (as he sees it) of funding his very expensive astronomical research. He is building his own observatory on the moors and that takes dosh. This 'Napoleon of Crime' has his own network of 'Irregulars' and his own Boswell, an American journalist named Benjamin Barnett. He favors dressing gowns and chemical experiments in his home laboratory on Russell Square. His underlings are devoted to him. Kurland paints a decidedly benign portrait of Sherlock's nemesis; essentially he exhibits all the salient features of Holmes on the flip side. It's very hard to dislike this Moriarty, who is capable of kindness and gentilesse to his social inferiors. He kind of views himself as a modern-day Robin Hood, relieving buffoonish aristocrats of their ill-gotten gains in the service of the higher good of Science.

 

Sherlock Holmes appears sporadically in these stories, oftentimes as a bit of comedy relief. Moriarty views Holmes's obsession with him with bemusement. Holmes's ploys to keep the Professor under surveillance via various guises do not go unnoticed or commented upon. The two geniuses join forces several times at the behest of Whitehall and Brother Mycroft, and when SH can put aside his animosity temporarily, the two make a good team. This Moriarty will likely not appeal to hardcore purists, but Kurland succeeds in making him a fully-rounded human being instead of a mustache-twirling cardboard villain.

 

Kurland has several anthologies as editor. I can also recommend "Sherlock Holmes: the Missing Years" and "Sherlock Holmes: the American Years". Both of these include some of my favorite pastiches I have read so far.

Hello Hikari,

 

Thanks for the info on Kurland. So there are 5 Moriarty books? I only have 4 so far that I need to get around to reading. Your description of them has made me keener to do this than perhaps I was before. I’ll also have to look out for his Holmes pastiches. More money to spend!

I’ve just had some bad news. A friend of mine has just had a minor house fire and around a month ago I’d lent him my 2 volumes of Baring Gould’s Annotated Sherlock Holmes which have gone up in smoke! I’ve just ordered replacements. I’d don’t have the Klinger Annotated Holmes yet. They look really nice but are so expensive even on eBay. Of course I’ll get them eventually. Once a collector...... (always a mug says a friend of mine!)

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Herlock,

 

Oh, dear!  I'm glad your friend seems to be all right, but to lose the complete Baring-Gould hurts!  Fortunate that those are replaceable, but I know how it feels to lose precious books.  I'm a librarian; books are almost like children to me.

 

I have yet to buy Mr. Baring-Gould's magnum opus.  I considered it, but none of the online copies I looked at seemed like they were going to be in a condition I wanted for the prices.  I have a used, vintage copy of "Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street" that is fairly clean and readable but the pages are yellowed and quite brittle.  And why shouldn't they be, seeing as this book is older than I am.

 

I chose instead to invest in Leslie Klinger's New Annotated Sherlock Holmes . . .just the stories.  That was a massive enough box set to be getting on with.  The novels are separate, in a another massive box set.  Shelf space is at a premium at mine.  I may get the novels set one day but I can probably do without it.  Sherlock Holmes shines brighter for me in the short stories; between you and me, I think he and Conan Doyle are on better form there.

 

As to Kurland's Moriarty oeuvre, well, I say '5'--in the Infernal Device omnibus I have, there are two longer novels and one novella so brief it almost qualifies as a short story called 'The Paradol Paradox.'  Apart from that, there are four longer works.  The only one I don't have is "The Empress of India".  Colonial kitsch, as I term it, is a lesser feature of interest to me in the Conan Doyle stories, and I was thinking I might not be so keen on that one.  I liked the others a lot, especially the first and the last, entitled "Who Thinks Evil". 

 

I think you will enjoy them.  It's definitely Professor Moriarty on the lighter side of crime, but he's very winning.  Another more humanistic portrayal of the Professor I found engaging, though David Marcum didn't have any use for it was Michael Hardwick's "Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes".  As the title suggests, this is Holmes, now an old man in his cottage in Sussex reminiscing on his career.  The bulk of the narrative concerns the period we call 'the Hiatus', and what Holmes was *actually* up to then vs. what he told Watson he'd been up to in 'The Empty House'.  And what he was doing was going deep undercover in Germany to gather intelligence about Germany's plans for world war, at the behest of Brother Mycroft, naturally.  His cohort in this enterprise was none other than Moriarty.  The two rival geniuses and former antagonists achieve a rapproachment, putting aside personal history in the service of their Queen.  They never entirely achieve trust and amity, but they do come to a place of mutual respect and better understanding.

 

I suppose it's this more human, vulnerable and empathetic side to the Professor which Mr. Marcum disdains--he is a purist to his core and doesn't like any of the Accepted Truths as given to us by Watson in his narratives tampered with.  But Sherlock never told Watson everything he had under his hat--do we doubt it?  Watson may have been Holmes's best friend, but Holmes exploited Watson's credibility whenever it suited a higher purpose.  Not to be purposely cruel, or even necessarily to protect his friend from harsher truths, but because it had to be done.  As here.  Watson could never know the truth while he was alive about Holmes's activities from 1891 - 94.  Even so, Sherlock expresses amazement that the good Doctor and his Strand readers swallowed such a perfunctory whale tale as Holmes spun upon his return to London.  Lassa, et al was Sherlock spinning so many plates in the air as he often did for Watson's benefit.  He realized, too late, that he and Mycroft had not concocted a more plausible cover for his absence, and Sherlock had to make that stuff up on the fly.  Ever the loyal lieutenant, Watson swallowed it all, hook, line and sinker and duly passed it on to his readers.

 

Both the Michaels also flesh out the character of Sebastian Moran.  As they would have it, the Colonel is actually the far more dangerous of the two men, lacking his boss's civilizing code of gentlemanly ethics.  I see that Kurland never tackles Reichenbach, content to keep Moriarty and Holmes in a more collegial relationship.  Hardwick doesn't do Reichenbach in a traditional sense, but he plays more fair with the 'known facts' in that his Moriarty does die in Europe, in 1894, and Sherlock Holmes is side-by-side with him when he does.  For that we can blame Moran.

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The Empress Of India is one of the books that I have. I’m quite looking forward to reading this series now but I just need to reduce my ‘to read’ pile of books. I noticed the title ‘The Paradol Paradox,’ which would reference ‘The Paradol Chamber’ of course.

I agree with you, and I’m certain that most would, that Holmes shines brighter in the short stories. I think it’s largely due to that fact that in 3 of the 4 Novels there’s a large Holmes-free gap which many find distracting.

There’s a set of the 3 Klinger annotated’s on eBay at the moment for £99 + around £9 p+p!! I really want them! Maybe I’ll win the lottery?

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The Empress Of India is one of the books that I have. I’m quite looking forward to reading this series now but I just need to reduce my ‘to read’ pile of books. I noticed the title ‘The Paradol Paradox,’ which would reference ‘The Paradol Chamber’ of course.

I agree with you, and I’m certain that most would, that Holmes shines brighter in the short stories. I think it’s largely due to that fact that in 3 of the 4 Novels there’s a large Holmes-free gap which many find distracting.

There’s a set of the 3 Klinger annotated’s on eBay at the moment for £99 + around £9 p+p!! I really want them! Maybe I’ll win the lottery?

 

9 pounds shipping, eh?  Well, those are heavy MFers.  I haven't actually weighed mine on a scale but they feel heavier than a number of bowling balls I have ever used.  If you ever have an intruder, intent on stealing your Ripper memorabilia, Mr. Klinger's opus would inflict a nice little blunt force head trauma and take them out.

 

What is the exchange rate these days?  When I was a child reading the Paddington Bear stories, I think it was $2.50 US to one pound sterling.  But $2.50 could buy a whole lot more back then.  $2.50 could get you ten (10) Hershey bars.  Now you will get 2 at the most.

 

Having purchased Leslie's work, I find that I have taken it out of its box exactly once, to ooh and ahh . . and then I was afraid of messing it up so I haven't touched it since.  I'm glad I bought it as a bragging item, I guess, to show my seriousness at this little Game of ours--and yet for actual mileage, I have gotten way more use out of my Penguin paperback editions of the Complete Holmes stories and Novels, vols. I and II, scored years ago out of a box of donations to my library.  They were inscribed and far to bulky to circulate, so I nabbed them for myself.  They were Christmas gifts to some ungrateful young man named S----- back in the '80s and had obviously never been cracked, as they were in pristine condition.  But--30 year old glue being what it is, the spines cracked as soon as I did open them and now, they are in half a dozen sad pieces.  I've kept them all together, though.  It was via this rather unsatisfactory method that I first read 'A Study in Scarlet' and most of the other stories. 

 

I guess it depends on how fetishistic you consider yourself vis. getting another Sherlockian's annotations to texts which are available everywhere, even free on the Internet.  It is a very handsome product.  And it made Leslie Klinger's name as the Baring-Gould of his generation--he is our preeminent American Sherlockian on the basis of these, so there's that.  Hard to believe that a Sherlockian of this stature is still laboring at the bar, isn't it?  (Mr. Klinger is a lawyer.  David Marcum is a civil engineer.  Sherlockian scholarship doesn't pay toffee, evidently.)  99 pounds would buy  a LOT of other wonderful pastiches . . .but if you've gotta have it, you've gotta have it. 

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£99 is around $130. You could definately do some damage with these books. I think that the heaviest book I have had to be Vincent Bugliosi’s ‘Reclaiming History’ om The JFK assassination which runs to around 1600 pages (it did take him 20 years to research and write though.)

Christmas and birthdays are always the time to start dropping hints about books you’d like

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I just noticed that I’ve been promoted

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Regarding the annotated volumes --  they're apparently of great interest to the seasoned Holmes fanatic, but based on my own experience, a Homes newbie may be far better off buying instead a good-quality paperback set of just the stories and novels, one volume at a time if you like, and at a used-book store if money is a major issue.
 
I started off trying to read the Baring-Gould that I inherited from my father, and bogging down horribly.  Then I tried reading a little paperback "Adventures" that I'd also gotten from him, and actually enjoyed reading the stories.  I think there were two problems with the B-G:  The volumes are HEAVY!  If you like to read with the book lying on a table or on your lap, I don't suppose that'd be a problem, but I like to hold a book in my hands, which is uncomfortable and logistically difficult with the B-G.  Also, with the plain stories, I could read right through, whereas with the B-G, I kept being distracted by the notes.  Besides, it seemed to me that he'd annotated a whole bunch of stuff that wasn't of urgent interest to me, whereas the questions that I actually did wonder about went unnoted.
 
In short, my advice to a newbie is to read the stories first, in whatever format suits you (I believe the stories are even available as free downloads for Kindle and the like).  Then if you find yourself becoming a fanatic, check prices on the annotated versions -- and again, I recommend going to a used-book store unless money is no object.

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Absolutely Carol.

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Vis. my earlier comments about Watson's Wives, here is the dubious 'scholarship' I was thinking of.  This paper was the keynote at the Dayton (OH) ACD symposium in 2002, and has been having a life on the Internet, aggrieving fans of Doctor Watson ever since.

 

"Counting Watson's Wives"

by Brad Keefauver

 

http://www.sherlockpeoria.net/Who_is_Sherlock/WatsonsWives.html

 

 

 

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Vis. my earlier comments about Watson's Wives, here is the dubious 'scholarship' I was thinking of.  This paper was the keynote at the Dayton (OH) ACD symposium in 2002, and has been having a life on the Internet, aggrieving fans of Doctor Watson ever since.

 

"Counting Watson's Wives"

by Brad Keefauver

 

http://www.sherlockpeoria.net/Who_is_Sherlock/WatsonsWives.html

I get a "not found" error from that link, but by googling the title and author's name that you provided, I came up with this link, which did allow me to read Mr. Keefauver's paper.

 

I actually enjoyed it, because I have the feeling that Mr. K. wrote it a bit tongue in cheek.  Everything he proposes presumably *could* have happened, and it's interesting to consider the what-if's.  By the way, that American first wife is from "The Angles of Darkness," a play by Conan Doyle himself, so she can't be easily dismissed.

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By the way, do you happen to know the title of his chronological list of Holmes stories that Keefauver mentions having posted online some years back?

 

Added:  Never mind -- here it is.  And apparently each story title is a link to his rationale for placing it thusly in his version of the chronology.  Neat!

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I might wish I was more Sherlockian, but I recognize the inevitability of my nature and accept that I am a Watson.

I love words and stories.  My impulse is to romanticize antiseptic 'facts' whenever possible.  Makes for a better story that way.  I am not immune to Logic, but I am and always have been, a Romantic at heart.

Secretly I yearn to be a Bohemian and have grand Adventures, and even wouldn't mind learning how to shoot a revolver, but I desist because my hand-eye coordination stinks.

I love to eat, and can wax rhapsodic about meals I have eaten.

Creature comforts are important to me.

Money problems, chiefly the lack of it, are constant.  I don't gamble; I buy books and craft beers instead.

Of all the sciences, Biology was the one I liked the best.  I like to think I am strong at the sight of blood and can be efficient around wounds, but then, I have never had to see a man's intestines hanging out of his body or anything really gross.

I consider myself to be an absolutely loyal friend, so long as one does not violate my trust too many times . . or the law.

Ways in which I am like SH: Love for music and being a slob.  

If I had to pick a Sherlock to represent myself . . ?  Probably Basil Rathbone.  Jeremy Brett and Robert Stephens's Sherlocks are too energetic. :)

 

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3 hours ago, Hikari said:

I love words and stories.  My impulse is to romanticize antiseptic 'facts' whenever possible.  Makes for a better story that way.  I am not immune to Logic, but I am and always have been, a Romantic at heart.

Secretly I yearn to be a Bohemian and have grand Adventures, and even wouldn't mind learning how to shoot a revolver, but I desist because my hand-eye coordination stinks.

I love to eat, and can wax rhapsodic about meals I have eaten.

Creature comforts are important to me.

Good heavens, woman -- you're not John Watson, you're Bilbo Baggins!   :D

 

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1 hour ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Good heavens, woman -- you're not John Watson, you're Bilbo Baggins!   :D

 

But Bilbo Baggins IS John Watson, and not just because Martin Freeman plays both . . think about it. 

Bilbo is the Watson to Thorin's Sherlock, the authoritarian leader-figure with the inner darkness.  Both Bilbo and Watson will fight to the death for their friend/leader/brother-at-arms.

Both are jerked rudely away from a comfortable middle-class life and respectability into life threatening adventures, which exhilarate them to their own great surprise.

I will welcome being called Bilbo Baggins . . .if I can be Bilbo AFTER his Adventure.  The pre-quest Bilbo was a stick in the mud.  The Bilbo who came back was forever changed, like a hobbit who had faced down death in Afghanistan and then met consulting detective who was more than a bit Wizard-like.

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When I saw your premise ("Bilbo Baggins IS John Watson"), I was all set to argue, but your arguments are so compelling I have concede the wisdom of your insight. Well played. 🙇‍♀️ <--- is supposed to be a woman bowing.....

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27 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

When I saw your premise ("Bilbo Baggins IS John Watson"), I was all set to argue, but your arguments are so compelling I have concede the wisdom of your insight. Well played. 🙇‍♀️ <--- is supposed to be a woman bowing.....

I see your worship and I accept it.  :)

At first, it just seemed coincidental that Martin Freeman was playing two, what seemed to be completely disparate characters . . but upon reflection, I realized that the two, one man, one Hobbit, have so much in common.  Perhaps having Martin portray both of them got me thinking along those lines which I hadn't before.  Watson seems the more naturally courageous type, opting for soldiering and the rough, adventurous life-threatening dangerous life by choice.  Bilbo got dragged unwillingly into his . . though in the final analysis, he *was* willing, after all.  One can make the case that it required greater courage to be a Hobbit, not necessarily in fighting trim, with no training in martial arts, and smaller than everyone else to become a brave warrior.  Watson started out as a brave warrior and suffered a crisis of confidence after his injury and losing his soldier's identity.  In both cases, each discovers his purpose when paired with his 'leader'.

Both enjoy a good pipe and a good tot as well.  Both love a good waistcoat.  Both get adept at sleeping rough but neither really likes it much.  Both have arch-nemeses . . Smaug, Moriarty . . both bad, bad dudes.  :) 

The willingness to lay down his life for his friend is their salient characteristic in common.

 

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2 hours ago, Hikari said:

Both have arch-nemeses . . Smaug, Moriarty . . both bad, bad dudes.

Now I'm trying to fit this into your analysis:  Bilbo's arch-nemesis is played by Watson's leader.  I guess it goes along with the idea that Holmes and Moriarty are opposite sides of the same coin.

2 hours ago, Hikari said:

At first, it just seemed coincidental that Martin Freeman was playing two, what seemed to be completely disparate characters

Peter Jackson chose Freeman to play Bilbo after seeing him as John Watson -- so perhaps he already had a somewhat Watson-ish portrayal in mind.  On the other hand, Freeman's Bilbo strikes me as having just walked out of the book -- so maybe it's just that they really are very similar at heart.  Each of them is my favorite character in his respective production, no doubt about that!

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11 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Now I'm trying to fit this into your analysis:  Bilbo's arch-nemesis is played by Watson's leader.  I guess it goes along with the idea that Holmes and Moriarty are opposite sides of the same coin.

Peter Jackson chose Freeman to play Bilbo after seeing him as John Watson -- so perhaps he already had a somewhat Watson-ish portrayal in mind.  On the other hand, Freeman's Bilbo strikes me as having just walked out of the book -- so maybe it's just that they really are very similar at heart.  Each of them is my favorite character in his respective production, no doubt about that!

I read reviewers online that said that they had a hard time seeing 'Bilbo Baggins' as John Watson, having seen The Hobbit before BBC Sherlock.  I can't comment on how I might have reacted, seeing as JW was first and then Bilbo for me.

Martin Freeman is perfect for both roles.  We couldn't say that about just anybody.  Can you see Jude Law as a Hobbit?  Obviously not.  Just as Ian Holm was a perfect Older Bilbo, Martin embodied Bilbo in his prime absolutely brilliantly.  Having enjoyed the animated Bilbo from the children's animation in the 1970s, I always pictured a live-action Hobbit as somewhat hairier, perhaps, but along with all the Hobbits from Jackson's LOTR trilogy, MF was perfect Hobbity casting.  He was fortunate to have the concurrent job already well established, as well as a significant body of work behind him as an actor.  I think the younger guys who played Hobbits at the relative start of their careers have struggled a bit in their post-Hobbit roles.  Dominic Monaghan was fortunate to get LOST and Hetty Winthrop Investigates . . but we don't hear terribly much from Billy Boyd or Elijah Wood or Sean Astin, relatively speaking.  They will always be 'the Hobbits' from LOTR, whereas Martin will be at least equally known for Sherlock and the Office, among other.

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