Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

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So, since some folks asked me to elaborate: the last section of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes that I am snuggling reading is "The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes," which, not to put too fine a point on it, kind of sucks. Let's discuss a few of the stories, shall we? Warning: spoilers. In no particular order:

The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

I think this is the one where Holmes is a wisecracking asshole; I've blocked much of it from my memory. All I remember is a wax dummy that Conan Doyle self-plagiarized from "The Empty House." Also, there's hardly any Watson and it's in third person. I don't care if it was adapted from a play; it must have been a really, really sucky play.

The Adventure of the Three Gables

God, this is hideous. Holmes is a wisecracking asshole AND he's just brimming with racist remarks about "Black Steve." I very nearly just put the book down and called it a day, if the rest of the volume was going to be like this.

Fortunately, it wasn't.

The Adventure of the Creeping Man

You know, I actually really liked this one. I know it verges on "risible science-fiction," and I know it's kind of silly that Presbury kind of turns into a monkey after drinking Bohemian langur juice, but the early part when Presbury's young secretary is telling Holmes the setup, and I'm reading this at two in the morning, and he's talking about Presbury half-crawling through the dark hall in the middle of the night? AUGH. Fantastic.

The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, Which Has No Actual Vampires, or Even Pretend Vampires

I was kind of disappointed in this one, although "disappointed" is a relative term after "The Three Gables" and the third-person Holmes stories. It hangs together pretty well, although it's got another Passionate Latina with a "Tropical Nature," but as a plus, it's got a uniquely disturbing family dynamic. I think my problem was that I wanted The Hound of the Baskervilles--the moors! the mists! the neighbors with secrets!--only with a vampire (who of course would turn out to not really be a vampire). Fortunately, The Hound just came in the mail today, so I'll just read that again.

The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, Which Was Totally Ripped Off, Like, Two Other Stories

I'd say "Just go read 'The Red-Headed League' again," except that this is, quite memorably, the zenith of Holmes/Watson slashiness:
In an instant [Killer Evans] had whisked out a revolver from his breast and had fired two shots. I felt a sudden hot sear as if a red-hot iron had been pressed to my thigh. There was a crash as Holmes's pistol came down on the man's head. I had a vision of [Evans] sprawling upon the floor with blood running down his face while Holmes rummaged him for weapons. Then my friend's wiry arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair.

"You’re not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!"
It was worth a wound--it was worth many wounds--to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

"It's nothing, Holmes. It's a mere scratch."
I'm pretty sure that if Jeremy Brett had been well enough to film this episode, there would be a fanvid on YouTube set to the strains of "I Will Always Love You" right now.
He had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife.
Damn, Holmes, at least take the man to dinner first.

The Problem of Thor Bridge (What, Not an Adventure?)

Pretty good, except that we have another Fiery Tropical Latina. You know, it's not even that Conan Doyle uses a particular stereotype; it's that he uses the same one, like, five different times, with the exact same wording every time. Come on, you haven't used the Fiery Passionate Italian since "The Adventure of the Red Circle." Make it work!

The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger, In Which There Is No Detecting

MRS. MERRILOW: I have a lodger with no face! She gives me the wig!

THE VEILED LODGER: Let me tell you the story of how a lion tore my face off.

HOLMES: No suicide for you!


The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

Well, at least here we have a Fiery Passionate Cockney.

The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

Holmes has retired to Sussex to keep bees (no, rly), except that a local schoolteacher ("coach," "tutor," whatever) turns up dead on the beach with red lashes on his back, obviously having been scourged to death by a jellyfish. O noes, who could have killed him a jellyfish? Could someone have killed him with a hot wire mesh what? or a cat o'nine tails wielded by a jellyfish? O hay! Holmes totes remembers a book in his attic that could hold the answer! BEHOLD, GENTLEMENS, THE LION'S MANE JELLYFISH!!! JELLYFISH!!!! OH MY GOD YOU MORONS IT'S A JELLYFISH! Rocks fall, jellyfish dies. Also, we learn that the cure for jellyfish stings is 1) salad oil and 2) vast quantities of brandy, adminstered internally.

The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place

Whoa, Jude Law was in the TV version? Seriously?

I have a couple more to read, and then I'm done with the original Conan Doyle short stories--fortunately, the annotated novels came today, as mentioned above, so I get to curl up with A Study in Scarlet tonight. Yay!

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Tags: best of, book discussion, book recaps, books, sherlock holmes
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