"The press, Watson, is a most useful valuable institution if only you know how to use it."Sherlock Holmes did know how to use the press, and in several different ways.
-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons"
The comment above comes in the midst of the story that features that memorable journalist, Mr. Horace Harker of the Central Press Syndicate. He's one of my favorite one-off characters in the Canon. How odd it is that Holmes doesn't seem to have an ongoing relationship with a journalist in the way that, for example, Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe have with Lon Cohen of The Gazette.
But for some reason this quote always reminds me of "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client," in which Holmes takes advantage of the headline MURDEROUS ATTACK ON SHERLOCK HOLMES by exaggerating his injuries.
Much more often, however, Holmes is seen interacting with the press by reading the agony columns and clipping stories for the "good old index." This comes up in case after case as the index serves him well by providing information on a subject or person, or by recalling a parrallel case. No wonder he could identify so many different newspapers by their type faces!
Almost as often, seemingly, are the occasions in which Holmes places an ad that helps him snare the villain, as in A Study in Scarlet, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," and others too numerous to mention.
A most valuable institution indeed was the press of Holmes's day. Today Holmes would be more likely to Google than to clip. Do you think he would also use online classifieds -- or would he eschew the mainstream (online) media in favor of some variety of social media?
(APOLOGY TO READERS: I should have planned ahead better. Quintessential Quote #20, "No ghosts need apply," would have been perfect for today. Happy Halloween anyway!")