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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Coulourful Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The gentleman on the left has red hair; trust me.  

Have you ever noticed how colourful the Sherlock Holmes saga is? The Canon is filled with titles that feature colours, from A Study in Scarlet all the way to “The Adventure of the Black Spaniel” 40 years later.

(If you’re not familiar with the latter, it’s the manuscript title of the story that became “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place.” It was the last Canonical Holmes story published, apparently the last written, and praised lavishly on this blog last week.)

In The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, we find “The Red-headed League,” “The Five Orange Pips,” “The Blue Carbuncle,” and “The Copper Beeches.” The colour pace slows down a bit in The Memoirs, with only “Silver Blaze” and “The Yellow Face.” The Return gives us “Black Peter” and “The Golden Pince-nez,” and His Last Bow has “The Red Circle.”

As Canon winds down with The Case-Book, I’m going out on a limb to count “The Blanched Soldier” and “The Retired Colourman” as well as the aforementioned “The Black Spaniel.”

Even without the last three, that gives us a solid 10 stories with colours in the titles out of a total of 60 tales. Surely that is unusual!

In my own 20 mystery books (including three scheduled for publication), I don’t have a single title with a colour in it. But that will be remedied in the book I am plotting now to appear in 2023, which is what had me thinking about the colourful Mr. Holmes.

As to which colour that title will include – wait and see.