“I am lost without my Boswell.”
– Sherlock Holmes, “A Scandal in Bohemia”
Right you are, Holmes!
It is almost universally agreed that the two adventures written by Holmes himself, “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier” and “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane,” show why he needed a Boswell.
Also agreed is that “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone,” related by an unknown third person, ranks as one of the weakest stories in the canon – somewhere around 60th out of 60.
Of the four adventures in the canon not narrated by Watson, only “His Last Bow” is top-quality work, a well-written and moving story worthy of its subtitle, “An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes.”
Not only does Holmes have a Boswell, he has the perfect one – stout-hearted, loyal, brave, dependable and intelligent John H. Watson, M.D. No wonder so many of us share the affection that Kieran McMullan, author of Watson’s Afghan Adventure and a blog on Dr. Watson, has for the good doctor.
In a beautiful introduction, mystery writer Loren D. Estleman referred to him as “John H. Watson: medical man, late British Army surgeon, raconteur, journalist, connoisseur of women, Knight of the Battered Tin Dispatch Box, valiant and loyal friend.”
That is a great and accurate description, and the way I often think of him. We would all be lost without this Boswell.