On Wednesday I had the great pleasure of taking part in a special Sherlock Holmes Theme Night at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel in London. I was only there by Skype, alas, but I was honored that the event was named after my first Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody novel, No Police Like Holmes.
I answered questions for about half an hour. One of them I'd never been asked before and never thought much about: What do you like most about Sherlock Holmes and what do you dislike most about Sherlock Holmes? Although I was blindsided by the double-barreled question, I stand by my answers.
After making a joke about his humility, I said that Holmes's logic is his most endearing quality. Perhaps even more than in his day, we live in an era in which "Crime is common. Logic is rare." For that reason, it's a pleasure to spend time with a man driven by logic rather than emotion.This isn't to say that Holmes doesn't have emotions. Over the course of the Canon, he very clearly shows anger, spite, affection, frustration, and near-despair.
The latter emotion is on display at the end of "The Adventure of the Card Box," when he cries out: “What is the meaning of it, Watson? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”
So we see here that even in outburst of great emotion, Holmes appeals (fruitlessly) to reason.
What I most dislike about Holmes is his often-shabby treatment of Dr. Watson. Time after time he sends Watson out on some difficult task and then harshly criticizes him for not being a Sherlock Holmes. After the famous summons, "Come at once if convenient - if inconvenient come all the same," the good doctor rushes to Baker Street - where Holmes ignores him for half an hour!
And yet . . . who of us would not put up with all of that to be the best friend and biographer of Sherlock Holmes?
|Dan talks to London via Skype