Bookmark, Holmes edition

“It was a masterpiece of villainy, and he carried it out like a master…But he had not that supreme gift of the artist, the knowledge of when to stop. He wished to improve that which was already perfect…and so he ruined all.”
– Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

That quote, recited to me by a friend in conversation, and applied to another matter entirely, is what got me finally digging into Holmes on the page, as opposed to Holmes on the screen or the radio. I grew up listening to recordings of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce playing Holmes and Watson for a radio program sponsored by Petri Wine (“The proudest name in American wine”). And there’s a fellow here in town, Folk Arts Rare Recordings, I think, with reel-to-reel recordings of all sorts of things – he also has all kinds of vinyl. For $10, he made me a tape of Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud as the immortal duo. But I am grateful to my friend for getting me to open the book, an edition of which sat on my brother’s bedside bookshelf throughout our room-sharing childhood.

Additional petty delight: Holmes is tipped off that the alibi in The Adventure of The Abbey Grange is bogus when he notices that only one of the three wine glasses at the scene of the crime contains sediment:

“What then, do you suppose?”

“That only two glasses were used, and that the dregs of both were poured into a third glass, so as to give the false impression that three people had been here. In that way all the beeswing woudl be in the last glass, would it not? Yes, I am convinced that this is so. But if I have hit upon the true explanation of this one small phenomenon, then in an instant the case rises from the commonplace to the exceedingly remarkable, for it can only mean that Lady Brackenstall and her maid have deliberately lied to us…”


  1. Wasn’t it better when Crime Scene Investigation didn’t involve washed out, helter-skelter flashbacks of some young woman getting brutally stabbed, followed by a techno-driven helicopter flyover–then a cut to poutty lipped supermodel scientists picking popcorn out of the teeth of a dead man…I’ll take Miss Marple or Sherlock any day over that.

  2. Anonymous says

    oooh… and Lord Peter Whimsey! All that ‘Well Bunter, better get out the jolly old finger print kit, what?’!

    Emily x

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