I feel like a child of six waiting for Christmas so I can find my shiny new bicycle waiting by the tree!
I haven’t been this excited about anything for a very long time. In this case, the “thing” I am so emotional to grab hold of and cherish is a television show!
But not your ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill television show. This is something called HOW SHERLOCK CHANGED THE WORLD, running on PBS. Tonight is the second showing, and I hope it is not the last. If my children miss it, I am going to have to shell out beaucoup bucks so I can buy each of them a copy!
How can I be so excited about a bicycle – I mean, a TV show – that I have never seen?
Well, let’s back up a few years.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is my favorite author of all time. Above Jules Verne. Above H.G. Wells. Edging our Daniel Defoe.
I’ve read every single word Doyle has ever written on the world’s most famous detective – two or three times each! I am making a serious effort to read all the other fiction and non-fiction works created by this master – (Professor Challenger Stories, Plays, Pamphlets, Verse, Works on War and the Army, Spiritualism, Brigadier Gerard, and an operatta, to name a few.) Bibliography.
The powers of deduction Doyle gave Holmes is nothing short of phenomenal. “It is obvious from the reddish-brown mud on his shoes that our man is from East Anglia. From his gentlemanly dress, we can ascertain he certainly would never allow that mud to stay on his boots unless he was in a great hurry. He is highly respected in his community, and therefore the crime he is going to report to us is serious. That the tip of his cane is seriously worn down insinuates he actually uses his walking stick for support instead of mere show.” Well, you get the idea!
Here is what impresses me the most – for Doyle to give Holmes those skills, Doyle had to possess that vast storehouse of knowledge in the first place!! How many thousands of books must he have read! How many train schedules did he memorize! How well he trained his eyes to analyze immediately what type of tobacco was left behind!
I live in a town that has an actual Crime Scene Investigation lab. That is where bits and pieces of crime scenes are brought TO people like Abby Sciuto for analysis and educated guesses to help the officers on the scene corner the suspects. Abby does NOT carry a gun, nor does she go chasing over rooftops and take flying leaps to bring down the bad guys.
Those dramatic scenes in shows like CSI became too much for me, and NCIS is the only one of this genre I watch.
Which brings us back to Sherlock Holmes.
Yes, Holmes went into the field. No, he didn’t restrict himself to his lab. Yes, on rare occasion he went into the field armed. But as he did each of these things, he made mental notes of everything, forming a tremendous catalog of reference for future crime-solving. He threw away many mental notes as being merely clutter, but his faithful companion Dr. Watson kept track of everything, so nothing was missing for the reader. With all the facts before us, the solutions to each mystery were obvious! Not.
The ride with Holmes and Watson always proves exciting, if not educational.
I can’t wait to see if PBS gets it right. If they come even close, you will have to scrape me off the ceiling.
I am SO excited!
OFFICIAL SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE WEB SITE