A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock Holmes

A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock HolmesA Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock Holmes

We have reached the end my friends. This is the end of all the Sherlock stories, but don’t worry, I still have things to write about concerning good old Sherlock, so this will not be the last you hear of Sherlock from me.

This story is also called The Last Bow. This is Sherlock’s last hurrah into the world of solving mysteries. The story opens with two German men talking. They go on and on about all the special papers one of them has. He’s waiting for some naval codes in particular. It turns out this man is a spy. He’s in England selling off secrets to the Germans. It’s 1917. We all know what happened soon after.

One of the people who works for this German is named Altamont; he procures information and other such things. He’s a Irish-American. The visiting man, a secretary, asks about the German man’s servant. He says, “Oh that’s Martha. All my other servants and family went ahead of me.” Then the secretary left.

Another car soon shows up. This time it’s Altamont. He says he has a copy of the naval signals, which is better than the real thing because the original won’t have been misplaced. He tells the German man, Von Bork, that his way of keeping papers is stupid. Well, he doesn’t say stupid, he simply says that it’s not very secure. Von Bork says that it is secure because it takes a double combination. He the proceeds to tell Altamont the double combination, which is August and 1914.

Altamont then tells Von Bork some bad news. His men are going down. Someone is getting to them. Steiner is down and Altamont fears he will be next. Altamont almost accuses Von Bork of giving the men up himself, Von Bork is irritated about this of course. Altamont says he’s going to go to Holland before things get too bad. There is something about a book. Altamont asks for money, but Von Bork says he can’t have it until he sees the book. He opens the book and it’s the Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, then someone chloroforms him.

That someone happens to be the chauffeur, who is actually none other than John Watson. Sherlcok is Altamont. They sit around drinking Von Bork’s wine, while he’s out. Martha comes in, but it turns out she was in on the whole thing, so she isn’t really that disturbed. Sherlock finds that the papers are important, but not that important. The two men pick up a conversation.

Sherlock has been retired and keeping bees. He wrote the book on beekeeping that he used to distract Von Bork. John and Sherlock have not seen each other for quite some time. This particular case has taken Sherlock two years to crack.

Von Bork wakes up, and Sherlock reveals to him that he is not Altamont, he’s actually Sherlock Holmes. Von Bork has heard of Sherlock Holmes and he knows he is screwed. Sherlock has apparently been passing some false information along as well. It turns out England is better equipped than Germany has been led to believe. They secure Von Bork and take him on his way to the police. We leave Sherlock and John recalling old times with a prisoner wriggling around in the  car.

The End

A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock HolmesObservations

Germans. You know, I’m part German. I have German ancestry. They’re not all bad you know, but for a long time saying you were German was fairly synonymous with being a bad person. It’s discriminatory and stereotypical, of course. Germany had been misbehaving for a little while, here and there, before WWI broke out. They hadn’t really done anything all up in your face yet.

This story was published in 1917 and I’m assuming it takes place around the same time. 1917 was towards the tail-end of WWI. The date mentioned by Von Bork, August 2014, was very, very close to when WWI officially started. Officially WWI started on July 28, 1914. Von Bork was basically gloating over the fact that the war had started and he had been a part of it.

I’ve written about nationalism in literature before; it was a ways back. This is a nationalistic piece in my opinion. Arthur was saying that an Englishman was so awesome that he was brought out of retirement to foil German war efforts. Sherlock spent two years sending the wrong information to Germany via Von Bork. WWI officially ended in 1918, so there was still a little time left for the war to be fought. Arthur was saying that England was ten times smarter than Germany. He was saying it wasn’t a contest. He was saying that Germany wasn’t very smart. The guy kept his important papers in some strange contraption and not in a safe. Nationalism is about saying your country is awesome in whatever medium you prefer, but there is also that side that will say other countries just aren’t smart. If your country is so awesome, some other countries have to be not so awesome in order for your country to be recognized as awesome. Does it make any sense?

Arthur was trying to boost morale. Sherlock Holmes was getting involved in the war effort, fancy that. Sherlock Holmes left retirement and beekeeping, which he probably enjoyed, to serve his country. He spent two years behind the scenes pretending to be someone else all for the sake of Mother England. It almost brings a tear to your eye. I’m not British, but if I were, I would be proud of Sherlock Holmes at this point.

A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock HolmesThemes

You know what else this story is? Propaganda, that’s what it is. Almost anything can be propaganda, not just stories. Posters, movies, artwork, music, subliminal messages, advertisements, and the list goes on. Think of propaganda as a mass media type of way to get lots of people to recognize your viewpoint. It’s a way to make people share your point of view. Here’s a brightly colored object, believe that coconut is the Devil. That’s a stupid example, but it doesn’t matter what your viewpoint is. As long as you use media to try to push your opinion on someone else, that’s propaganda. Someone else may have a different position than I do.

This story was published in The Strand. Lot’s of people read it. I mean, lots and lots of people. There was already a following of Sherlock, so Sherlock could be a valuable tool in boosting morale of the British citizens, but also in getting people to think that England was winning and Germany was stupid.

I really don’t think this story was written pure as another venture into the world of Sherlock Holmes. This was a war effort. Arthur did his part, just as everyone else did their part.

Overall

Look forward to more essays on Sherlock Holmes


The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

The Adventure of the Devil's FootThe Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

One time my brother was at work and some of his co-workers decided to try some Salvia. One of the guys ended up thinking he was a fox and kept trying to eat his girlfriend, whom he thought was a rabbit or a chicken, I forget which. The guy was crawling around on the floor of the kitchen on his hands and knees, thinking he was a fox. Needless to say, this probably isn’t the most constructive work activity.

Sherlock is ordered on a vacation by a doctor, not Watson, but another doctor. He is told he’s putting entirely too much strain on himself by all this mystery solving and should take a holiday out to the countryside. He does, he ends up on the Cornish Peninsula. There he spends his days looking at remains from former inhabitants of the area. Sherlock and John meet the vicar of the small town. The vicar rents some rooms to a man named Mortimer Tregannis, no one good is ever named Mortimer.

One day the vicar and Mortimer contact Sherlock and John, something very, very strange has happened. The night previously Mortimer had been at his family home playing cards with his two brothers and sister. This morning the sister has been found dead, still sitting at the table with the cards, while the two brothers were singing and seemingly senseless. The maid fainted when she found them. Sherlock and John are called out of their vacation to take a look.

Sherlock examines the grounds outside of the home. He even knocks over a watering-pot to get a duplicate of Mortimer’s footprint. The tracks outside seem to corroborate his story. He had played cards with his family and left the night before. The two brothers were taken away to an insane asylum. Mortimer mentions that his brother might have seen something at the window the night before, but there are no tracks and the night had been rainy. It would have been difficult to see anyone outside of the window unless their face was really close.

Sherlock can’t really find anything at the scene of the crime. He leaves with John and they continue their vacation. Sherlock is tired of letting his mind wander about the case. He meets a man named Dr. Leon Sterndale, who lives in the area. Apparently he’s related to the Tregannis family in some manner. When he heard the news of Brenda’s death, the sister, he came back immediately. He was on his way to Africa. Sterndale is an explorer and lion hunter; he too likes to look around the area for signs of former humans. He is close enough to the family that the vicar sent him a telegram when the tragedy occurred.

The Tregannis family had some arguments over money some years back. They used to work a tin mine, but sold it fairly well and live comfortably off of the profits. It seems that Mortimer loves his family enough, but Sherlock really has nothing to go on. Sherlock also suspects Sterndale in the case, but isn’t sure why or about what.

There is news again. This time Mortimer is dead. Sherlock and John go to investigate the room. There is a lamp burning and some strange powder around it. Mortimer seems to have died in the same manner that his family did. There is a suggestion of suicide, but Sherlock thinks not. He collects the powder on the lamp and looks all around the room and outside the window. He finds something that interests him and points the local police in that direction.

In both crime scenes, there had been an open flame.  He proposes something to Watson.

Sherlock: Let’s get high. I found this powder. Let’s smoke it and see what happens.

John: Alright, let’s do it. I’m up for anything as long as you’re involved.

Sherlock puts the powder in a lamp in their rooms and they wait. Before long they’re both hallucinating. John has the wherewithal to get them out of the fumes of the lamp. There they sit on the grass and Sterndale happens to come by. He supposes that Brenda’s death really was a murder and that Mortimer did it, but he does not supposed that Mortimer’s death was a suicide. This is where Sterndale comes in.

Sterndale comes out with it. He says he loved Brenda and the vicar knew. He was responsible for procuring the root, Devil’s Foot, that caused death and madness in his cousins. He had no idea how Mortimer got a hold of it. He had shown it to him one day at his house, but didn’t know that it had been taken. Apparently, Mortimer was still sore over the dividing of wealth in the family and murdered them. Before he left for the evening after a game of cards, he threw the devil’s root into the fire. This caused Brenda to die and the brothers to go insane.

Sterndale had been told of Brenda’s death by the Vicar. He came right back home. He knew it had been Mortimer. He resolved to solve the problem. He took some of the devil’s root and held Mortimer hostage in his room. There he put the devil’s root in Mortimer’s lamp and held him at gunpoint until he died. Sterndale stood outside of Mortimer’s window with a pointed gun until Mortimer succumbed in order to get revenge on him for killing his beloved Brenda.

Sherlock says that if he was capable of love he would probably do the same thing and he lets Sterndale go on about his life. He doesn’t think the police will figure it out anyway.

The Adventure of the Devil's FootObservations

There are a lot of weird place names mentioned in this story.

  • Poldhu Bay-it’s a real place located in Cornwall on the Lizard Peninsula. Yes, you read that right, the Lizard Peninsula. Does David Icke live there?
  • Tredannick Wollas-Cornish is apparently a language. I don’t know how to speak it, but Wollas means “lower.” So we’re talking about a place called Lower Tredannick. I cannot find Tredannick anywhere on the map. First, I’m assuming that Tredannick is also a Cornish word. Second, I’m assuming that either Arthur made the place up, or there was at one point an actual place called Tredannick Wollas, but it was either unofficial or it ceased to exist. We are talking about an area of England that has supposedly be inhabited for a very long time. There may very well have been a Tredannick Wollas there or it could have been a place people just called Tredannick and it was merely a grouping of homes, rather than an official name to something.
  • Tredannick Wartha-From this website I was able to determine that “wartha” means upper. So Tredannick Wollas and Tredannick Wartha are probably the same little area, but large enough to be considered two separate places.
  • Redruth- It’s a real place in Cornwall. The name is also Cornish, but it’s been updated a little. It basically means a place to cross a river.
  • St. Ives-this place is probably the least weird-sounding place we’ve talking about today. It’s on the coast. It’s a town. It’s real; you can go there.

On Cornwall and Cornish and such, I never knew it was such a big deal. Apparently, a lot of people from Cornwall don’t consider themselves British, they consider themselves Cornish. In fact, the Cornish people, true Cornish people, have a distinct DNA varying from most British people. The area was inhabited all the way back to the lower paleolithic area, which basically means people have been there for a heck of a long time.

The Cornish language is supposedly descended from Celtic. From looking at the link I linked to earlier in the post, that’s a real possibility from what I know of Celtic. I admit, I don’t know a whole lot about Celtic. Sherlock Holmes assumes the language not to be Celtic, but to be Chaldean. Do you know where that’s at? Chaldea is in Mesopotamia. Maybe Arthur knew something I don’t, but as far as I know there weren’t too many Mesopotamians floating around the British Isles. It’s not that the Mesopotamians didn’t travel, they did, they traded, they built boats when they came to water; it’s that I don’t think they got so far, but maybe I’m wrong.

For Sherlock’s theory to be true, some Chaldean people would have had to have traveled as far as Southern England and started a life there. It’s not impossible, it’s just far-fetched and I don’t have any evidence to back up this theory. Here’s our historical kicker–Cornwall has been supposedly inhabited since the lower paleolithic era, 2.5 million years ago, the Chaldeans were around in 9th and 10th century BC. There have been people in Cornwall for a heck of a lot longer than Chaldea was considered a region.

In the end, I honestly don’t know enough about the ancient history of the British Isles to make a decision one way or the other.

Devil’s foot, or Devil’s claw, is a real plant from Africa as the story indicates, but it’s nothing like the story describes. It can actually be used medicinally and it’s probably not going to kill you. It’s also known as Harpagophytum. It’s used to treat arthritis, not kill people.

In this story the word “ejaculations” is used once.

I wonder why Arthur was so interested in all of this Cornish stuff?

The Adventure of the Devil's FootThemes

Don’t do drugs. I’m serious. Sherlock is no stranger to drugs of various kinds and he invites Watson to try something with him which he has never tried, knowing that this particular substance not only makes a person bats*** crazy, it could also kill a person.

I have never understood the draw with drugs. Ok, well I get it, I get that it’s an escape from reality. Why think about paying the bills and how much your life sucks when you could be riding a magical pony in a field of rainbows? I get escaping. I get the desire to escape. I understand all of that, but at what point do the risks outweigh the escape? We are talking some pretty hard-core stuff in this story.

It could produce a high, but it could also produce some very terrible detriments.

Something else about this story–this guy is a jerk. I told you no good ever came of a man being named Mortimer. He kills his family. Well, he kills his sister, but leaves his two brothers crazy. In what world is that ok? I get that our siblings can be downright awful at times, but you don’t have to kill them. History is just full of people killing their siblings. I want the crown, no I want the crown. You’re dead now, so sad, I’m the king.

This all goes back around to one question. That question is: Do you love all your children equally? If you loved all your children equally, wouldn’t they receive the same amount of inheritance? Why did one of them get more? Siblings always vie for position. It’s a natural thing. Siblings vie for their parents’ affections and they will continue on vying until they’re all dead. If they come from a home where they’re treated equally, then maybe the vying won’t be so bad, but how many of us came from a house where one sibling was not given preferential treatment over the other?  You guys may come from a perfect household, but I didn’t. I can guarantee you that my younger brothers were given preference over me. That sucks, but you’ve got to move on.

The great thing is–I’m not expecting any kind of inheritance and I doubt that my brothers will have one either. There is nothing to fight about, so we all get to live our lives. We don’t have any joint business ventures like the Tregannis family, so there is no need to worry about how to split up the money. We don’t have anything to vie for among my siblings, at least not anymore. Of course we vied for my mother’s affection when we were younger, but you know, we grew up, and now it’s just not as important.

This was all a case of siblings vying to be the best in the group, with money, and they all ended up in a terrible situation Maybe one day the brothers will recover and can leave the insane asylum.

Overall

Poor Brenda. Poor Sterndale.


 

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax

The Disappearance of Lady Frances CarfaxThe Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax

Show me the Carfax! No, really, I seriously need to see the Carfax. She’s gone missing and I need to see her. Lady Carfax is, of course, heir to the fortune of the Carfax family and their desire to make sure everyone knows the history of their cars before they make a purchase.

John and Sherlock are talking. Sherlock thinks it’s weird that John went to a Turkish bath, he could tell this all by John’s shoes. He then asks John if he would like to go on a vacation to Switzerland. John says that would be great, so Sherlock sends John off to Switzerland where he is to investigate the disappearance of Lady Carfax.

The Lady Carfax has not written to her governess in five weeks, which is quite unusual, both in the fact that she hasn’t written, but also in the fact that she seems to have no real friends. It is assumed that she is missing, or dead. John learns that her waiting-maid has left her employ to be married. He also learns that she hung out with a preacher and his wife for a while in Switzerland, but soon left. The waiting-maid was quite upset to be outside of her employ. When John is able to interview a few people he learns big bristly man has been seen skulking about around Lady Carfax.

John accosts this big bristly man when he sees him, but the man proceeds to beat him up, luckily a man stops the whole thing, but it’s also Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock has asked what the preacher’s ear looks like and John thought it was a joke.

The maid is asked about Lady Carfax. Her fiance is asked about Lady Carfax. Everyone is asked, but no one seems to know anything. Sherlock knows the big bristly man and it turns out he’s has a crush on Lady Carfax and has known her for some time. He only beat up John because he was upset. Sherlock and John go back to London. Lady Carfax had in her possession some unique jewelry. Sherlock has been watching the pawn shops. It becomes apparent that someone is pawning off her jewelry.

Sherlock says he thinks that the preacher is actually a bad man. He thinks he is a con artist who cons wealthy women out of their money and jewels using religion. The big bristly man follows the wife of the preacher home one day. He also followed her to an undertaker’s where they told her that it took longer because it was larger than usual.

Sherlock and John go to the house, but they don’t have a warrant. There is no evidence that Lady Carfax is there, that they can see. There is a dead woman, but supposedly she’s an old servant that they wanted to give a proper burial. John and Sherlock cannot look through the house more without a proper warrant. They do find out there is to be a funeral the next morning. They have to wait for a warrant in the meantime.

Sherlock rushes to the house the next morning before the funeral. He gets the lid pried off the coffin and inside is Lady Carfax. The coffin was made deep enough for two bodies. Lady Carfax was to be buried alive with the dead woman. The fake preacher is in fact a notorious con artist and criminal and the wife isn’t really his wife. He has a weird ear and this is why Sherlock asked about it.

In the end Lady Carfax was not murdered and can go on living despite a rather to tortuous few weeks.

The Disappearance of Lady Frances CarfaxObservations

From all the movies and stories, France is beginning to seem like a dangerous place. This story takes place France, Switzerland, and England. Luasanne is in Switzerland, but they speak French in that region of Switzerland. Montpellier, also mentioned in the story, is in France. Lady Carfax was apparently on quite the vacation.

In the illustration, it appears as if Sherlock Holmes is pretending to be a police officer. That’s not what Ouvrier means. Ouvrier is a French word, of course, which means a worker or a laborer. It could possibly mean operator. It’s not a police officer. Sherlock is not pretending to be any type of figure with any authority.

This story mentions Rue de Trajan. Rue means road, I know that much French, and de is “of.” Trajan is the guy you want to know about though. He’s important to European history, that’s why there is a rue de Trajan or Trajan’s column. Trajan was the man responsible for those maps showing the Roman empire stretching all over Europe and into parts of Asia and Africa. He’s the guy. He’s the guy responsible for a lot of those old roman roads. He was actually declared the best emperor ever. People like him for the most part, that’s why there are streets named after him. So the next time you see a road named Rue de Trajan or Trajan’s road, he probably ordered it to be built, or the person who named it just really liked Trajan.

The Disappearance of Lady Frances CarfaxThemes

I didn’t go too into detail during my summary. Arthur can get tedious at time and I can’t get all tedious with my summaries, otherwise no one will read these posts because they’re just too darn long.

This is a story about a con-man, that’s why I called him a con-artist. The story doesn’t use that word. I used that word. I don’t know if being the term “con-artist” was a thing back in the day’s of Arthur, but maybe being a swindler was. They mean the same thing. A con-person, let’s be PC, is a person who manipulates you out of money, usually. They may manipulate you into and out of other things as well. In the end, you’re usually going to be a little poorer, maybe a lot poorer.

One of my favorite con-people, is Sawyer from Lost. Who didn’t love them some Sawyer? Nobody. Everybody loved Sawyer. Sawyer used his charm and southern accent to swindle people out of money. Con-people have been around for a long, long time.

The guy in this story uses religion as a means to con women. Religion can be a pretty convincing means to con people. A large majority of the people of the Earth practice some form of religion or other. They have a desire to have a higher power in their life. If some guy says, “Follow me, I know God.” People tend to listen. I’m not saying it’s a great idea and I’m not condoning that type of behavior. People follow though. Somewhere along the line, God needs some more money. God needs a new house. God needs this or that. This con-person acts on the supposed will of God.

Sadly, it’s easy to get a religious person to believe something else, even if it is to their detriment. This guy saw a niche he could fill. He told Lady Carfax that he was a true man of God and she willingly went with him to minister to the servant of God. As a result, she was held captive and deprived of her valuable worldly possessions.

This just goes to show you that you need to be careful of people. Ok, maybe they really do know God, but God doesn’t need a brand new Mercedes, so if your preacher asks you for a down-payment all in a way to serve God, maybe you want to get another preacher. You know, it’s like getting a second opinion from the doctor.

Overall

You’re not always going to have Sherlock looking out for you. You need to recognize when someone is trying to con you. Yes, I know they sound really nice and convincing, but they just want your money, or in your pants.


The Adventure of the Dying Detective

The Adventure of the Dying Detective The Adventure of the Dying Detective

I can’t go to school today. I’m sick. *cough* Yeah, how many times have we all heard that before?

Mrs. Hudson shows up at Watson’s house, remember he’s not at Baker Street all the time; he did get married for a while. Mrs. Hudson says that Sherlock is very sick. He hasn’t eaten anything. He hasn’t drank anything. He won’t let her call a doctor. She finally told him she was going to call a doctor whether he liked it or not and he said, fine, but it had to be Watson.

Watson hurries to Baker Street where he finds Sherlock looking just terrible. He tells him to turn the gas up only a little. He tells Watson he has caught some eastern disease from the dock workers and it’s very serious. Watson looks around the room and sees a box.

Sherlock yells at him and tells him to put it down.

“Put it down! Down, this instant, Watson–this instant, I say! I hate to have my things touched, Watson. You now that I hate it. You fidget me beyond endurance. You, a doctor–you are enough to drive a patient into asylum. Sit down, man, and let me have my rest!”

If Sherlock Holmes isn’t Shelden Cooper’s great-great grandfather I don’t know who is.

Sherlock tells John that there is only one man who can cure him and he’s not a doctor. He gives him the name though, after babbling off some crap about money. John thinks he’s delirious. The man’s name is Culverton Smith. He’s not a doctor, but he has researched the disease of which Sherlock Holmes is suffering. He tells John not to ride back with Smith, but get back before he returns.

John goes to get Smith and Smith agrees to come. John does not ride back with him. John gets back to Sherlock’s room and Sherlock tells him he can’t be visible and tells him to hide behind the bed, but not before asking John to put the strange little box and some papers beside his bed.

Smith appears. He says Sherlock looks terrible and that the other guy died within four days. It’s been three days for Sherlock. Sherlock told Smith he had picked up his box and it had pricked his finger. Apparently, Smith has been giving people this disease on purpose. Sherlock tells Smith that if he cures him he’ll forget about the death of the other guy. The other dead guy happens to be Smith’s nephew. Smith picks up the little box and puts it in his pocket to remove all evidence. After Smith admits as much as to killing his nephew, Sherlock asks him to turn up the gas and also to give him a cigarette.

Suddenly, other people rush into the room. It’s the inspector and he’s here to arrest Smith. Sherlock isn’t really sick at all, but faked the entire thing. He didn’t eat or drink for three days. He put makeup on and made his eyes red. He acted sick and delirious.

The Adventure of the Dying Detective Observations

The disease Sherlock names as Tapanuli fever is a real thing, but it’s not called Tapanuli fever, maybe it was called that at one point. Epidemiologists have studied the symptoms presented in this story and compared it to modern-day knowledge of the disease. Tapanuli fever is most likely Melioidosis, which is a disease found primarily in Asiatic regions, most specifically Thailand, but it’s basically been found all over the lower part of Asia, the Pacific Islands including Australia, and parts of Africa. This disease isn’t a virus it’s a bacteria.

The disease, once contracted, can present all the symptoms Sherlock says he has, but it can also do some pretty nasty things to a person’s liver. Arthur wouldn’t have known about these things because they involve x-rays and cat scans in order to be detected.

Arthur had probably heard about this disease because he was something of a doctor. I’ve read that he wasn’t the greatest doctor, but he was still a doctor.

What Arthur got wrong was the viability of this disease being used for biological warfare, well he also got in right in some senses. This bacteria could very well be used for biological warfare. It’s uncommon enough that people wouldn’t readily be diagnosed with it. It’s easy to collect. It’s easy to carry around and possibly put in the way for people to get. It’s also deadly. With proper medical treatment, some very, very strong antibiotics, this disease has as an ok survival rate. Without proper medical treatment, you’re looking at about a 90% mortality rate. There are a couple of different versions of the disease, one is a whole body thing, while one isn’t quite so bad. The current medical treatment for the disease wasn’t created until 1989. So until 1989 you could get Melioidosis, be treated with some awfully strong drugs and still die. The pre-1989 treatment of the disease had an 80% mortality rate. We have a better mortality rate with Ebola right now.

Now, here’s the downside to this disease being used as biological warfare–it has a rather tricky incubation period. Typically, someone develops symptoms of this disease about nine days after coming in contact with the bacteria, mainly through soil contact. That’s only typically. The incubation period can be from 1-21 days, but, there have been cases of this disease becoming symptomatic years after a person has come into contact with the bacteria. For example, there are Vietnam vets who have gone home and all of a sudden developed Melioidosis years and years after being in Vietnam.

Add to this the fact that this disease isn’t contagious and it doesn’t seem like the greatest choice for your biological warfare needs. If your friend has Melioidosis, you’re not going to catch it, I mean maybe if you eat part of their face off you might, but you’re not going to catch Melioidosis by simply sitting near a person.

Arthur had probably studied history. People have used biological warfare for a long time. They sent each other diseased cows. They put sick people near their castles. They gave blankets with smallpox to people. Biological warfare is a thing and it’s been a thing for a long time, some methods are more successful than others. Arthur knew this, but maybe he could have picked a better disease. I mean, if I were going to go around killing people with a disease, I would pick a disease that had a high mortality rate and had a high infection rate and a short incubation period. You can’t be waiting around twenty years for someone to die of your disease. The thing you wanted to kill them for probably isn’t even relevant by that point.

The Adventure of the Dying Detective Themes

It’s difficult to pull one over on Sherlock Holmes. He knew what disease this guy was trying to infect him with and pretended to have that disease. Sometimes it’s best to let your enemy think they have won. They get smug. They think they have you in your place, but, bam– it turns out you have the upper-hand.

When someone thinks their life is going good, they’re less careful. It’s a rule of life. You’re less likely to lock your doors when you haven’t been robbed in a while. You’re less likely to use a condom when you haven’t caught any STDs. You’re less likely to wash your hands all the time when you think you’re healthy. We get careless when we think we’re doing well.

Smith thought he had won. Sherlock let him think that. He played the part wonderfully. He knew that if he thought he had won he would be more likely to make a slip, such as admitting to infecting the other guy. He did make a slip. He thought Sherlock was going to die and take his secret with him to grave, but he thought wrong. He let his guard down and Sherlock and the police snapped him up like a little fishy.

We play some dangerous games with one another, but one of the best ways to get at a person’s secrets is to make them think they’re in control. As long as they think they’re moving the pieces on the board, you’re going to find out things you never thought you would know.

Overall

Sherlock clearly takes faking sick to a whole new level.



 

The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington PlansThe Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

Alright, should we take a wee on the third rail or not? Don’t touch it! You’re touching it! Why are you touching it?

Who is Bruce Partington and why should we care about him? I have no idea. I have no idea who Bruce Partington is. He’s actually not a person, he’s a submarine, more on that later though.

So Mycroft tells Sherlock and John he’s coming for a visit. This is very strange because Mycroft hardly ever leaves his normal life. The whole thing involves a dead guy. The dead guy’s name is Cadogan West, his parents just wanted a cardigan, but the nurse thought that was his name and wrote it down on the birth certificate, but she didn’t spell it correctly. That’s not true, I made it up. I have no idea why this poor man was named Cadogan. Is it how someone from Boston says cardigan? Hmm…close, but no cigar.

Cadogan was found dead on the train tracks. It doesn’t seem that the train killed him. In his pocket were some very important plans for the Bruce-Partington submarine. There were ten pages in total, but the three most important pages are missing. There are only seven pages in Cadogan’s pocket and he was pretty great and no one could see him stealing super-secret submarine plans from the government to sell to another government, but, hey, you never know who is a traitor.

Mycroft shows up and tells Sherlock that even though this is a matter of national security he can’t be bothered to ask people about things and look for clues, so that’s up to Sherlock. Sherlock begins his questioning. Cadogan had a fiancée(two e’s remember). The fiancée says they were together on a date when Cadogan suddenly ran off. He was never seen alive again by the fiancée. The strange thing about Cadogan was that he didn’t have a ticket for the train. How did he get on the train track? Did someone push him out? Did someone kill him on the train, if so, where’s all the blood? It’s obvious that there was a great deal of blood.

Cadogan was employed for the government contracting company that made up the submarine plans. He would have had to have had three keys made to get at the plans. Only one person had all those keys and he was the head of the office and is named Sir James Walter. Sherlock makes it to the scene where the body was found but there’s no blood. There’s no blood in any of the cars. Sherlock determines that Cadogan’s body must have been on the roof of the train and fell off when the train turned a curve.

The lack of keys on Cadogan’s person and the lack of money in his pockets indicates that he didn’t actually make a deal. Sherlock suggests that someone who lived near the train tracks and had a window that opened onto them probably killed Cadogan and placed his body on the roof.

He begins looking into all the people he knows in England who buy state documents. There is one man in particular, Hugo Oberstein, who happens to live near some train tracks. Sherlock and John make their way to his house, where they do find his house awfully close to the train tracks and they also find a great amount of blood there. Sherlock and John decide to break into his house because he’s not home.

He hasn’t seemed to have left any evidence, but Sherlock finds something. In the agony column of the newspaper there seem to be messages back and forth. There is man named Pierrot in on the whole business as well. They place an ad saying that all the plans weren’t there and the person who had them better show up if they want the whole thing. The person who shows up is not a criminal, well he is, but it’s not who they suspect, it’s Colonel Walter, the younger brother of Sir James Walter, who has died unexpectedly, James, not the Colonel.

It turns out that the colonel had some investing debts and really needed some money so he stole his brother’s key and made copies. He then endeavored to sell the plans of the submarine. With his information Sherlock is able to give enough information to Mycroft for the apprehension of the seller and buyer.

Wait a minute, I’ve almost forgotten Cadogan  in this whole thing. Cadogan knew someone was trying to get at the papers, so he followed the Colonel when he saw him when he was out on his date. The night did not end well for Cadogan and the colonel and his conspirator decided to plant the remaining documents on Cadogan to make it appear as if he were the one who originally stole them.

The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington PlansObservations

This isn’t important to the story, it is merely mentioned as a hobby belonging to Sherlock. At one point in the story John says Sherlock is working on an article about the polyphonic motets of Lassus. I know you’re wondering what Lassus is, come on, you know you were. Lassus is not a where or a what, he’s a person, a composer in fact. I’ve studied music history, not really in-depth, but in the past I’ve dabbled, and I’ve never heard of Lassus. Lassus is from the Netherlands, but moved all around Europe, even working for the Medicci family at one point.

People began to respect him, like really, really respect him. People wanted to learn his style of composing, but they also thought he had a beautiful voice, and as such, he was kidnapped three times because people wanted to hear him sing. That’s what people say at least.

Now onto some more explanations of what Lassus did. A motet was basically a vocal composition with lots of parts and lots of variation. We would probably just call this a song, but people were more technical back in the day I guess. Imagine there being a soprano 1, soprano 2, alto 1, alto 2, tenor 1, tenor 2, bass 1, and bass 2 parts all in the same song. Non-music people may have no idea what I’m talking about, but if you were in chorus, you know what I’m talking about. Chorus nerds unite!

Polyphonic just means many voices. In my view defining something as a polyphonic motet is a bit repetitive, but I’m not a music historian and there is probably more to it than that.

Lassus was not around in the days of Sherlock Holmes. Lassus existed way back in the 1500s. The story also mentions that Sherlock had jumped deeply into music of the renaissance. What’s impressive is that Arthur actually knew who Lassus was and what he did. He just didn’t say, “Lassus wrote songs,” no, he said, “the polyphonic motets of Lassus.” Did Arthur ever play any instruments or sing in a choir? I don’t know, but he knew what he was talking about in this obscure reference to an obscure composer hundreds of years previous.

That just goes to show you that Arthur can really do his research when he wants to.

The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington PlansThemes

Working for the government can get you in some sticky situations. Government jobs are generally desirable. You get good insurance and good pay and it can be difficult to fire people sometimes. With that said, government jobs have their own risks. I mean how many of you know a soldier? Soldiers get base bay, basic housing allowance, other pay perks, sometimes free housing, and they get to move all over the world free of charge. It’s not so peachy though. I’ve done it. There are downfalls to working for the government.

You have to consider that not only do you have to be more careful about what you discuss about your work life with your family, you also have a greater suspicion placed upon you. Sure, the military may give you a security clearance, but because you have that security clearance, you’re going to be one of the first people implicated if something goes wrong.

Cadogan worked for the government. He was respected and nobody really thought ill of him. That doesn’t mean he was above suspicion. Of course Mycroft was suspicious, he’s a Holmes, but did anyone else stop to think that maybe Cadogan wasn’t really responsible for this treason? Nobody else in the investigation thought this. Everybody thought that Cadogan was trying to make a buck by committing treason. With the government you’re guilty until proven innocent. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it works.

Poor Cadogan worked for the wrong place, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and took the wrong actions for an event. In all honesty, it’s probably better to be a whistle-blower than to put yourself in any personal danger in relation to the government, but, of course, you also have to worry about retaliation, which the government says isn’t a thing, they have commercials about it on all the military broadcasting channels, but it’s a thing. There are people higher than you in the government who know how to put the blame on you if they do something bad and that’s exactly what happened to Cadogan.

Overall

If you work for the government and know the guy who knows the guy who committed treason, you’re probably guilty too. Mind your P’s and Q’s.