( The Speckled Band )( Engineer's Thumb )( Noble Bachelor )
Exotic Locales/People Count:
3 - Gypsies in Speckled Band, "Indian" (because not all those animals come from India) animals in Band, Americans in Bachelor
Abusive/Oppressive Villain Count:
2 - Roylott is the Doyle hat trick all in one: reclusive, abusive, and psychologically twisting. And then there's the wife-abusing psychotic villain in Thumb.
Venial Victim Count:
.5 - Hatherley knew he was being paid too much for a suspicious story, but I can't entirely blame a man who's had no work to jump at the chance to bring a little something in. (Just as I cannot blame Violet Hunter in Copper Beeches for being forced to take a job she knew stank like a flat skunk in July.)
Misogyny Watch: The more I read, the less I find any real evidence of Holmes' so-called hatred of women. Not when:
- He gets more or less blown out of bed in Speckled Band. Instead of resenting it, he assumes that it's a very important business and promptly soothes his female client, points out that she has been physically abused, and eventually offers to take her to her aunt to avoid more abuse. Not to mention solving the attempted murder of her and the actual murder of her sister, and without asking for pay when she pointed out that she didn't have money.
- He is so kind and understanding to the missing bride in Bachelor that she sings his praises. And when she's out of earshot, Holmes defends her side and practically begs forgiveness for her; he's certainly gone out of his way to try to set up a peacemaking dinner. A real misogynist, a true hater of womankind, would not have done it. Such a person *couldn't* have done it, because such a person would never see her point of view, much less said "I fail to see that anyone is to blame" and "you must make allowance."
(Yes, I am using this chunk of the Saturday Sherlock to pretty much marshal my arguments for the inevitable meta_holmes
"He's not a misogynist" post.)
- He piffles a lot when Roylott is trying to intimidate him, and he makes light of the chain of circumstances that led him to Watson's bedside, but the only real silliness in Band is "Well, a cheetah is just a big cat and yet a saucer of milk does not go very far in satisfying its wants, I daresay."
I'm adding this one in because it's surprising how often he doesn't actually solve anything that a competent policeman (or in some cases, an enterprising and determined kitten) couldn't figure out.
Sherlock actually solves something count:
2 - In Band he deduces the bizarre means of murder before he arrives; in Bachelor he finds the missing bride.
Watson waffles between being clever & outright stupid. In Band, he can't recognize a snake that he should have been warned against while in India. In Bachelor Holmes wants his help giving background... although this is the oddly diffident Watson who "feared" to bring up the surprise disappearance to Holmes, just as he couldn't bring himself to mention "stop taking that damned cocaine!" for several months.
Here I've been cheering the Richie and BBC Watsons for putting a little butch back into the character, and the original one is as submissive as a well-trained dog!
But a dog Holmes wants; he tells Watson "do not dream of going" when he's got the consultation in Bachelor.
Next up: The Beryl Coronet, The Copper Beeches, Silver Blaze
Also, Saturday Sherlock is probably going to be posted on Thursday because I'll be with my parents on Saturday. (Or should I do a double feature the Saturday after? It's hard to tell who's following this or actually doing the read-along vs commenting on what they already know when I post.)
Also (and this is as much a note to me as for anyone else) - week after next we're reading Cardboard Box, which apparently was written right around now but wasn't published until His Last Bow, so Americans are going to have to scramble to find it. It's online, I'm sure.