|Holmes, Watson, two Americans, and a not-so-noble bachelor
“It is always a joy to meet an American, Mr. Moulton, for I am one of those who believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being someday citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.”
As we celebrate Independence Day in the American colonies, Holmes’s prediction in "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"has not yet come true. But interest in Holmes has always been strong in America, and rightly so.
The first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, and the last, The Valley of Fear, each have big flashbacks that take place in America. Perhaps that feature of A Study in Scarlet helped to attract the American publisher who commissioned The Sign of Four for Lippincott’s magazine.
Six of the short stories also have American roots – “The Five Orange Pips,” “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor,” “The Yellow Face,” “The Adventure of the Dancing Men,” “The Adventure of the Red Circle,” and “The Problem of Thor Bridge.”
Nobly sacrificing two years of his retirement, Holmes worked as a spy in America before the Great War. In the story that tells that tale, “His Last Bow,” he is described as looking like Uncle Sam. No wonder the question has long been asked, “Was Sherlock Holmes an American?”
Whether you are an American or not, happy 4th of July!