Holmes you’re amazing!

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Crime Fiction Books, Crime Writers
Tags: , , , ,

Holmes & Moriarty At Riechenbach falls by Sidney Paget

Crimeziner’s who have been working their way through the Arthur Conan Doyle ouvre, may have already come across the short story collection entitled The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. In Crimezine’s Humble Mr. Copperfield opinion, this is where Sir Arthur lost interest in his side line of writing plots for the worlds greatest detective. All the clues are here, including some truly ludicrous plot lines. But never fear, this volume was the turning point that led both Conan Doyle and Holmes on to  greater things.

This collections main event, is entitled the Final Problem, where Holmes’s great nemesis Moriarty is introduced. Or rather not introduced, as the shadowy master criminal never actually appears in the story, we are merely told about him. So when Holmes and Watson go for an unlikely holiday in Switzerland, it is a double surprise when we discover that Moriarty  and his minions have followed them for a fatal finale, in which Holmes plunges to his death over the Reichenbach falls. After writing this Story Conan Doyle told his mother in a letter, I must save my mind for better things, even if I must bury my pocket book with [Holmes] Whether Conan Doyle intended to concentrate on his medical career, or become a more serious writer  of  historical novels, is open to conjecture. What is certain, is that the public outcry that ensued over Holmes’s Death.  resulted in the return of the super sleuth in the masterful Hound of the Baskervilles, which remains one of the greatest Holmes stories.

The original stories contained in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, appeared in Strand magazine in 1893. Which is interesting, because a parallel can be drawn between this book and the Charles Dickens story Oliver Twist, which appeared in the magazine Bentley’s Miscellany between 1837 and 1839. Is Conan Doyle’s idea of a sinister Victorian master criminal taken from Dickens’ sticky fingered Fagin? Discuss.

Of course it never was possible for the great Holmes to remain dead. As Mark Twain famously said,  The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. It is no surprise therefore, that Mulholland books have commissioned bestselling author Anthony Horowitz to come up with a new Holmes novel: The House of Silk.  It will be interesting to see how Horrowitz interprets the characters, as writing in Conan Doyle’s original style where hard drugs and unlikely plotlines abound, would be arsenic in the publishing industries chalice.   Crimezine expects the nouveau Holmes to be smoother and more action packed. Less sitting about the fireside listening to expositiory dialogue, and perhaps an injection (ahem) of the many cinematic and cultural reference points that have advanced the Holmesean mileu in the past hundred years or so.


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