Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Concluding our adventure with discussion of C.A.M. Week 8

Sorry I'm a little late, I fell asleep reading at like 9-9:30.

But, this was a good way to finish our project.

Now some questions

1.) How do you feel about C.A.M.? Do you agree with Holmes' somewhat aggressive perception of the man?

2.) Usually, Holmes doesn't really feel. How does this sudden burst of emotional anger hit you?

3.) Why do you think that Holmes doesn't want Watson to join him? I know he says that he doesn't think that Watson will be helpful, but shouldn't he know not to underestimate Watson?

4.) Also, is anyone else interested in what happened to Agatha (Holmes' fiance)?


Monday, 31 March 2014

Final Post (Connecting)

First off, thank you to my two wonderful friends for reading with me and to my fantastic teacher. This was been super fun!

Now, onto connecting!
Charles Augustus Milverton, our main antagonist, is actually based on a real-life blackmailer, Charles Augustus Howell, who inspired Doyle to write this story!

I looked up spies and wedding proposals and engagements, but it seems I couldn't find a thing. So how about some fake wedding proposals instead?

But mostly, I'll miss this blog. It's been so very fun. So here's to the wonderful eight weeks of Sherlock and John fraught mishaps and here's to friends.

Thank you.

For the last time,

The Final Chapter of The Three Kids and The Adventure of the Forced Book Project---The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton Passages Week 8

by Claire

This is the last week of our book project. I really enjoyed reading the stories with you guys :)

Here are the passages I thought were interesting from the Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton:

"'You would not call me a marrying man, Watson?'
'No, indeed!'
'You'll be interested to hear that I'm engaged.'
'My dear fellow! I congrat----'
'To Milverton's housemaid'
'Good heavens, Holmes!'
'I wanted information, Watson'"
The passage continues until we get to this part:
"'But the girl, Holmes?'
He shrugged his shoulders."

Oh Mr. Holmes, you poor thing. You really are married to your work, aren't you? But consider, friends, that BBC did the same, as depicted below:

Sherlock proposes to Janine, Magnussen's PA--

Another passage I liked was when Holmes justifies breaking into Appledore Towers.

"'My dear fellow, I have given it every consideration. I am never precipitate in my actions, nor would I adopt so energetic and indeed, so dangerous a course, if any other were possible. Let us look at the matter clearly and fairly. I suppose that you will admit that the action is morally justifiable, though technically criminal. To burgle his house is no more than to forcibly take his pocketbook--an action in which you were prepared to aid me.'.
I turned it over in my mind.
'Yes,' I said, 'it is morally justifiable so long as our object is to take no articles save those which are used for an illegal purpose.'"

I think its kinda funny--two men of justice and upright standing find an excuse to burgle a house. Cool. (BBC's version of Appledore Towers below:)

copyrights: http://cdn3.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/incoming/article29915492.ece/300ca/ALTERNATES/h342/sherlock+apple_2.jpg

Hope you guys enjoyed the books!

 (Note: I have succeeded in making a BBC Sherlock reference in every single one of my posts. Gold star for the day. :)   )


Monday, 24 March 2014

The Adventure of Passages--His Last Bow, Week 7

Although this story is very short, and we don't get all the usual Sherlock deductive skills and drama, it has plenty of interesting passages. We came in to have the German spy-barons give us the background in the first half, and in this half, we see the capture.

"Across the cover was printed in golden letters Practical Handbook of Bee Culture. Only for one instant did the master spy glare at this strangely irrelevant inscription. The next he was gripped at the back of his neck by a grasp of iron, and a chloroformed sponge was held in front of his writhing face."

I like this quote, because it's where our dynamic duo first shows itself, and I can just picture Bork's face, pleased with himself in his hour of victory, then seeing the book about bees, temporary confusion, and the he's grabbed by Watson and knocked out.

"'I feel twenty years younger, Holmes. I have seldom felt so happy as when I got your wire asking me to meet you at Harwich with the car. But you, Holmes - you have changes very little - save for that horrible goatee.'
'These are the sacrifices one makes for one's country, Watson,' said Holmes, pulling at his little tuft. 'Tomorrow it will be but a dreadful memory. With my hair cut and a few other superficial changes I shall no doubt reappear at Claridge's tomorrow as I was before this American stunt - I beg your pardon , Watson, my well of English seems to be permanently defiled - before this American job came my way.'"

This quote is one of my favorites because it shows how much Watson missed Holmes and working with him. Also, I thought the bit about the goatee is funny, and how Holmes feels his English is "defiled" from playing the part of an American for so long.

"Mr. Von Bork: you are a sportsman and you will bear me no ill-will when you realize the you, who have outwitted so many other people, have at last been outwitted yourself. After all, you have done your best for your country, and I have done my best for mine, and what could be more natural?"

This quote is nice, because, like in the other Holmes stories, Sherlock bests someone who is also good at deduction and influence, yet respects Holmes for doing it. However, I feel, this passage sums it up better that in the other stories.

"'There's an east wind coming Watson.'
'I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.'
'Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.'"

This passage is just before the end to the story, and just like in the other stories, Watson at first fails to see the meaning behind Holmes's words, taking the "east wind" literally instead of as the metaphor for the Germans coming to attack England.


Discussion, Week 7

This week we finished the final half(ish) part of "His Last Bow" which featured a surprising final turn, didn't it?
Sherlock: Undercover Agent! Although he has been undercover before...
 Here are some questions I hope will fuel discussion!
1) If you were Holmes, how would you have done your undercover work?
2) Why do you think Sherlock would work so hard on this project?
3) Do you really think this is, by any means, a "Last Bow" for the prolific detective?
4) Do you think Sherlock was thinking during his work?

I just thought the balloon would be a whimsical touch to this quick read with a fun ending.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Adventure of Connecting--Finishing His Last Bow, Week 7

by Claire

We're done with His Last Bow---how did you guys enjoy it? Here are my connections for what we read:

1. So, Sherlock was undercover, for a very long time--how very much like BBC's version of undercover Sherlock:

Credit to: Pinterest
 But of course, he's not undercover anymore, though in the show he seems much more disappointed with being found out.
Credit to: allthesherlockgifs.tumblr.com

2. Tokay (I forget, are we allowed to mention alcohol?)....turns out it is a sweet wine, spelled "tokay" in English and "tokaji" in Hungarian or Slovakian (link here)

3. Schoenbrunn Palace, from which the wine supposedly came.......

Free to use or share--yippee!
Finally, Sherlock has been living his life upon the "south downs" in England:

screen shot from Google Maps--click to make it bigger

Next week is the last week--we'll be reading all of the Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.


Monday, 17 March 2014

The Adventure of Connecting Week 6 - First Half of His Last Bow

As this part of the story only contains three real characters, two German spies and a rouge stealing British military secrets for them, I don't suspect any of us connects with them really.

However, in this story, we get a month and year; the story takes place in August of 1914, just after the start of WWI. The fact that an American is working to aide the Germans is unsurprising, because America did not enter WWI for another 3 years, so Altamont is simply adding to a European war that has no connections to America.

This story is easy to relate to real life, as something similar was no doubt at least attempted. These German spies, Von Bork and Von Herling, had been planning for four years to gather British military secrets for Germany.

Claire, as to your comment about Altamont's name meaning something in another language, I found nothing. However, Altamont is the middle name of Arthur Conan Doyle's father.


The Adventure of Passages, Week 6 (His Last Bow)

His Last Bow is a unique story in the Sherlock Holmes universe in that its central tenant is not a crime like murder or theft, but a crime of a different nature altogether- espionage. But I shan't spoil anything ahead.
Unfortunately, my book has "His Last Bow" as a series of short stories, too- for example, ones about tigers and murder instead of the one we were supposed to read. So I had to re-read everything.

It is highly fascinating to me that the beginning is not told from Doctor Watson's perspective in this story- it is told from the third person, and the first people we meet are not our dynamic duo.

""They are not very hard to deceive, these Englanders," he remarked. "A more docile, simple folk could not be imagined.""

As someone who lived in England, I can honestly attest that it is surprisingly easy to convince the English of anything (as a nation). It was actually fun to watch and join in.

Also- Holmes? Retired? Bees?
No no no no no no
Beekeeping Buddies does have a certain appeal...
(courtesy of ghostbees.tumblr.com)
(Ooops that's a bit ahead of where we agreed to stop)

Another fun quote:

"She [Martha] might almost personify Britannia," said he, "with her complete self absorption and general air of comfortable somnolence..."

These gentlemen honestly have such low esteem of England!


Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Adventure of Discussion: Week 6----- The First Half of His Last Bow


So this week we began reading His Last Bow (if you'll remember, we agreed to read up until the discussion of a man named Hollis). Here are some thoughts and questions to help spark discussion:

1. The first two characters we meet are two German spy-barons: Von Bork and Von Herling.....What are your impressions of each? How do they go about mingling with British society and gathering information?

2. About a 1/4 of the way through the book (16% on Kindle), Von Herling says, "Honour is a mediaeval conception". What do you think about this quote, specifically in today's society? Is honor still a valued concept or are the times of chivalry and gentility gone?

3. Altamont is an Irish-American who has a hatred for Britain....any creative thoughts or stories as to why he has such a strong dislike? (don't spoil anything)

I have a feeling that Altamont means something in some language, but for some reason, Google Translate is blocked on my computer and I can't turn it off. If one of you wants to look it up and see if it means something (this would be good for the connector's job) that would be awesome.

Von Bork keeps all of his super top secret documents in a double coded safe, whereas BBC's version of Mycroft Holmes (who essentially runs the British Government), keeps his super secret documents on a laptop, on which his mother places a bowl of potatoes:

I downloaded this off of my Pinterest, so we're all good re. copyrights

Hope you enjoyed the reading!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Connecting- Week 5

Connecting something as fantastic and wonderful as Sherlock Holmes' first case to the real world is a significant challenge. That's why I looked into real detectives and their biggest cases.
I also looked into the nature of the story's Mormon reference, and many of the situations mentioned really did happen. But, much to Doyle's dismay, he was met with criticism from Mormon readers or those who heard about the characters.
The story is also criticized for failing in one very important element of crime fiction and detective fiction- the readers couldn't solve the puzzle themselves.

I honestly couldn't figure out how to connect this one to the real world.

Not on the side of the angels

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Adventure of Discussion--Chapters 11-14 A Study in Scarlet, Week 5

By Jarod

This section of A Study in Scarlet are much more interesting than the first section of part 2, at least I thought so.
Anyways, here are some questions I thought of while reading:

1.) In chapter 5, Hope starts to believe that they have escaped the reach of the "terrible organization whose enmity they had incurred", but he seems to be a trained hunter, shouldn't he know better than to get his hopes up? And then, he goes and gets lost trying to find food when it says that he knew the path well, shouldn't he have known better than to wander into unknown territory so far from camp?

2.) Later in chapter 5, it says that Hope saved up enough money to keep himself alive before following Drebber and Strangerson to Europe; how then was he able to buy so many plane tickets to keep up with them as they traveled around Europe?

3.) I know I'm not passage person, but since Claire didn't include this quote and I feel that it's significant, I don't feel bad about using it; how do you feel about what Sherlock says in chapter 7 "What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done?"

4.) The last 2 chapters are spent explaining the crime, and how Holmes deduced it, i was just wondering if you had figured out any of it before they were revealed throughout the story, though i expect the answer will be yes since both of you have already read this story, and seen the BBC version.

(I realize its not the right episode, but I saw this gif and loved it cause the words are from Doctor Who, and in this section, Watson is once again marveling at Holmes's deductive skills)


Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Adventure of Passages--Finishing up "A Study in Scarlet" Week 5

by Claire

This week we finished "A Study in Scarlet", and thus concludes John and Sherlock's first case together as a dynamic duo.
Downloaded from: Here
Sherlock and John enjoying their first case.

Most of what we read was narrative/thriller type material, but here were the  passages I like best:

"'If there's a vacant place for a chief of the police, I reckon you are the man for it,' he said, gazing with undisguised admiration at my fellow-lodger. 'The way you kept on my trail was a caution.'"

Its not very long, but it just goes to show how even criminals can appreciate the wit and mental strength of Sherlock Holmes.

The next passage is more towards the end,

"'He gazed at me with bleared, drunken eyes for a moment, and then I saw a horror spring up in them, and convulse his whole features, which showed me that he knew me. He staggered back with a livid face, and I saw the perspiration break out upon his brow, while his teeth chattered in his head. At the sight, I leaned my back against the door and laughed loud and long. I had always known that vengeance would be sweet, but I had never hoped for the contentment of soul which now possessed me.'"

Originally, I felt bad for Jefferson Hope(listed as Jeff in BBC Sherlock), but in this passage, I lost it all. He laughed a creepy laugh right before he killed someone (well, technically, he made the guy chose between a poisoned pill and a harmless pill, and he chose the poisoned one, but still), and that's just scary. 
For your viewing pleasure, here is the criminal, Jeff Hope, as depicted by the BBC:
Downloaded from: Here

Hope you enjoyed the book!


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Adventure of Discussion (And Apologia) -Week Four

To begin with- I apologize to my teachers and friends; getting sick and not being able to work was never my intent and I am sincerely sorry if it has hindered your work or made your lives any less easy. I will work my hardest to keep up and do what must be done.
In recompense, I award you this:
A baby Sherlock tries on his coat.

Now, apologies all in order- onto the real heart of the matter.

One of my favorite stories, A Study In Scarlet begins John Watson and Sherlock Holmes' time together, and what a wondrous beginning it is. Riddled with adventure and daring-do, this tale is a classic.

It not only establishes who our set of protagonists will be, but how they view each other.

Here are some questions I hope will metaphorically tickle your fancy and begin some discussion.

1) What is Watson's first impression of Holmes? How is it formed, and how (and by whom) is it influenced?
2) What is Holmes' first impression of Watson? 
3) Why do you think Watson agrees to letting himself get closer to Holmes?
4) What would you do in Watson's place? 

Have fun, all!
(And once again, I really am sorry. I love reading these stories and falling behind causes me as much woe as I'm sure it's caused you all.)

The dynamic duo that have captured our hearts all these many years.

The Adventure of Passages- Chapter 6-10 A Study in Scarlet (Week 4)

By Jarod

Here are the passages I though were interesting in this section of "A Study in Scarlet"

(Chapter 7) "The dog continued to lie stretched upon the cushion, breathing in a laboured way, but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught.
Holmes had taken out his watch, and as minute followed minute without result, an expression of the utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his features, He gnawed his lip, drummed his fingers upon the table, and showed every other symptom of acute impatience. So great was his emotion that I felt sincerely sorry for him, while the two detectives smiled derisively, by no means displeased at this check which he had met. 
'It can't be a coincidence,' he cried, at last springing from his chair and pacing wildly up and down the room; 'it is impossible that it should be, a mere coincidence. The very pills which I suspected in the case of Drebber are actually found after the death of Strangerson. And yet they are inert. What can it mean? Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot have been false. It is impossible! And yet this wretched dog is none the worse.'"

I like this passage because it shows how Holmes deals with frustration, and the possibility of his reasoning being wrong, something he is very unused to. Also, Watson states in his narration "So great was his emotion that I felt sincerely sorry for him" which is interesting for us because he seems like such the emotional robot, only excited when he discovers something, and quietly depressed when he has nothing to do.

(later in chapter 7) "'Gentlemen,' [Holmes] cried, with flashing eyes, 'let me introduce you to Mr. Jefferson Hope, the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph Strangerson.'
The whole thing occurred in a moment - so quickly that I had no tie to realize it. I have a vivid recollection of that instant, of Holmes's triumphant expression and the ring of his voice, of the cabman's dazed, savage face, as he glared at the glittering handcuffs, which had appeared as if by magic upon his wrists. For  a second or two we might have been a group of statues. Then with an inarticulate roar of fury, the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmes's grasp, and hurled himself through the window. Woodwork and glass gave way before him; but before he got quite through, Gregson, Lestrade, and Holmes sprang upon him like so many staghounds. He was dragged back into the room, and then commenced a terrific conflict."

This passage also interests me because of the utter surprise that Holmes gives them all, then an almost time slowing effect as they all just stand and stare at Holmes and Mr. Hope. Then Mr. Hope realizes he's been caught and tries to run for it, but is once again caught by the three men.

Any question??

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Adventure of Connecting-- Chp. 6-10 A Study in Scarlet (Week 4)

by Claire

So! This week we finish Part I of A Study in Scarlet and start Part II. The end of the first Part was exciting, we catch the killer (Jefferson Hope) and make Gregson and Lestrade look like fools! 

Now, onwards to the connections! First, I would like to point out that Wiggins, the "dirty street urchin", IS in BBC Sherlock!, though he is a lot older, and not a street urchin, but a drug addict. 
Source: http://i.imgur.com/ccXxyfG.gif
Nevertheless, he is Sherlock's protege, similar to how in the books, he was Holmes' eyes and ears around the city. :)

Now, commence Part II! We begin in the desert of Sierra Blanco--which, unfortunately for us, does not exists. Google said so:
Click to make it bigger......I made this pic from a screencap, so as far as citing sources, um, I cite myself, with help from google. 
After Lucy and John Ferrier are rescued, we meet the Mormons. I need not remind you of our LDS/Brigham Young Homework assigned by Legg last semester (yay. insert enthusiasm here). From that, you should know all about our friend Brigham Young and the exile out of Illinois, etc.

We leave off with poor Lucy distraught because Jefferson is gone and Mr. Young said she had to marry one of the prominent Mormon boys. Click this link to know alllllll there is to know about Mormon dating and whatnot, in case you are ever in that position. :) They are pretty strict as far as dating, modesty, and marriage go. Very similar to how it is portrayed in A Study in Scarlet.

Enjoy the rain!

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Adventure of Connecting-- A Study in Scarlet, Chapters 1-5 Week 3

By Jarod
In A Study in Scarlet, Watson becomes a very relatable character almost immediately in the story. Someone left to his own devices on his pension, just trying to keep his life as least monotonous as possible. Doyle smartly makes Watson's situation less than desirable, and as he only as his pension to live on, not be able to work with his disability, he finds himself running out of money, and looking to get a roommate to save money on housing, as many people just older than ourselves are forced to do in order to scrape by. Also, with nothing else to entertain himself with, Watson decides to investigate Holmes, wanting to know more about his mysterious roommate. Watson acts as any man would in his situation, trying to slyly inquire into Holmes' field of study as he marvels at Holmes' extraordinary deductive skills.

Holmes also becomes a relatable Character in the story, as he attempts to humbly shrug off Watson's awe of his observations, as any person with extreme talent would, yet still smiles and feels good about himself when Watson is awestruck when he explains his seemingly random theories about the case.

Gregson and Lestrade also have a little competition with each other to out-solve the other, as many workers have with their coworkers, which encourages them to be pushed and find answers as soon as possible. This is shown by the passage "The little man's [Lestrade's] eyes sparkled as he spoke, and he was evidently in a state of suppressed exultation at having scored a point against his colleague." They also are both trying to impress Holmes, though they wouldn't admit it, as students try to impress their teacher when they say with such conviction what they believe the answer to be, though this makes Holmes simply see them as idiots.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Adventure of Discussing-- A Study in Scarlet, Chp. 1-5 Week 3

(by Claire)

Hi! I really enjoyed this week's reading--A Study in Scarlet is one of my favorites. These first five chapters moved really fast-first Watson and Holmes meet, then Watson finds out what Holmes does, and then woosh! he gets dragged along on one of the cases and the fun begins. :) As part of my job, I've prepared three questions--

1. What do you guys think of the meeting between Watson and Holmes? I think its kind of funny; Holmes gets so excited over the test for blood stains, while Watson is completely taken aback and Stamford stands there smiling as if he just caused some kind of great thing to happen and everyone will thank him in the end. Which is close to the truth. (link to video [blogger doesn't like vimeo] from BBC show [yes, I will try to incorporate references into every single post. I would like to show how true to the books it is.])   

2. What do you think about Watson's list, "Sherlock Holmes - his limits"? Any particular favorites? Do you think Sherlock is right about the "wood in the attic" concept--do we really need to save information about things that we will never use? (and, as a bonus, following up on that; do you think core subjects really necessary after you decide on a major/job? And obviously, explain why/why not.)

3. (Page 56/195 on Kindle, I have no idea where this is in a real book) Here we first see Sherlock liking to be flattered. The beginning of his drama queen episodes almost. He says, "You know a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick, and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all." and then later, "My companion flushed up with pleasure at my words, and the earnest way in which I uttered them. I had already observed that he was as sensitive to flattery on the score of his art as any girl could be of her beauty." Your thoughts on Sherlock's vanity?

Finally, in honor of John coming along on his first case with Sherlock, I present this beautiful .gif (and I downloaded this off my Pinterest, so its all good copyright-wise):


Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Adventure of Connecting, Week 2

Connecting is probably not going to be my great strength. The outside world and fiction are, actually, surprisingly, highly interlockable (fiction does stem from reality, no?). But I will try my best.

In chapter eleven, Doctor Watson mentions a box found in the river Thames. Did you know that a box was, actually, found in the Thames but in 2013? And not the kind of box you would expect- no, it was a post box. I just found that fascinating. Another strange object found in the Thames was a young bottlenose whale. Other strange objects include body parts, a time bomb (this link leads to a top ten list) , a zulu spearhead (another list of artefacts discovered in the Thames) and a prisoner's ball and chain.

In chapter twelve, we also discover the box is empty. Of course, Small has made off with the loot, but a real life example of an empty treasure chest can be found here, after an Indian archaelogy expedition turned up a treasure chest only to reveal it was emptied years previous, under "mysterious" circumstances.

And, of course, everyone can relate to Holmes' plight towards the end as his life-long friend and constant companion leaves him for a woman he has come to love in this short time, leaving Holmes feeling lonely and forgotten (and somewhat indignant). Remember, though, that despite John is leaving with Mary, adventures with the dynamic duo will continue on- they are soulmates, after all (how you take that is up to you). -KATIE

 (picture is a link to OP's DeviantArt)

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Adventure of Discussion -- Chapters 7-12 Sign of Four Week 2

Discussion Questions from "Sign of Four"
By Jarod

In the way that questions go, these chapters gave more answers than provided cause for more. However, a few were raised in my mind while I read, so here is some food for thought.

1.) At the end of chapter 7, Holmes is telling Watson his deduction and reasoning for the case, but when Watson asks of the associate, Holmes simply shrugs the question off, and changes the subject although he already knows. Why do you think he does this, when he later gives Watson the answer in chapter 8?

2.) In chapter 10, Holmes reveals that he had been searching boat repair sheds and yards earlier, in chapter 9. Why would he spend all day doing this himself, possibly giving Small a chance to escape, instead of using the "Baker Street irregulars" to help him search to get the job done more quickly?

3.) Then, in chapter 11, Smith claims that the Aurora is one of the fastest ships on the river, and with another man to help with the engines, they wouldn't  have been caught, and Small no doubt would have mentioned that they chose the Aurora for her speed, why did Smith not mention he may need help, so that another man could be hired and Small could have gotten away?

4.) Later, at the end of chapter 11, Watson delivers the iron chest to Mrs. Morstan, and confesses his love when it is found to be empty. Why is he so relieved when "the golden barrier was gone", when she expressed no interest in the treasure time and time again? I realize that he doesn't want to look like a "vulgar fortune-seeker" but if she clearly doesn't care for money all that much, why does he insist on making such a big deal of it?


The Adventure of More Passages Chp 7-12 The Sign of the Four Week 2

(by Claire)

Here are the passages I made notes on in our final reading of "The Sign of the Four":

(end of Chp. 7) "On the dog raced through sawdust and shavings, down an alley, round a passage, between two wood-piles, and finally, with a triumphant yelp, sprang upon a large barrel which still stood upon the hand-trolley on which it had been brought. With lolling tongue and blinking eyes, Toby stood upon the cask, looking from one to the other of us for some sign of appreciation. The staves of the barrel and the wheels of the trolley were smeared with a dark liquid, and the whole air was heavy with the smell of creasote.
    Sherlock Holmes and I looked blankly at each other, and then burst simultaneously into an uncontrollable fit of laughter."

I like this passage because it is an anti-climactic ending to a very tense chapter. If you remember earlier int he chapter, Toby had been tracing the creasote across London, trying to track the criminal who had accidentally stepped in it. This passage also shows how Holmes and Watson were good friends, and enjoyed their "unusual" business of solving crimes (see picture below for modern day adaptation of laughing at a crime scene)

Giving credit where credit is due:

The next passage I liked was towards the middle of Chapter 8, where Holmes reads the newspaper article. I like this one because it demonstrates how much the Scotland Yard/police force really needs Holmes.

"'About twelve o'clock last night,' said the Standard, 'Mr. Bartholomew Sholto, of Pondicherry Lodge, Upper Norwood, was found dead in his room under circumstances which point to foul play. As far as we can learn, no actual traces of violence were found upon Mr. Sholto's person, but a valuable collection of Indian gems which the deceased gentleman had inherited from his father has been carried off. The discovery was first made by Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who had called at the house with mr. Thaddeus Sholto, brother of the deceased. By a singular piece of good fortune, Mr. Athelney Jones, the well-known member of the detective police force, happened to be at the Norwood Police Station, and was on the ground within half and hour of the first alarm. His trained and experienced faculties were at once directed towards the detection of the criminals, with the gratifying result that the brother, Thaddeus Sholto, has already been arrested, together with the housekeeper, Mrs. Bernstone, and Indian butler named Lal Rao, and a porter, or gatekeeper, named McMurdo. It is quite certain that the thief or thieves were well acquainted with the house, for Mr. Jones's well-known technical knowledge and his powers of minute observation have enabled him to prove conclusively that the miscreants could not have entered by the door or by the window, but must have made their way across the roof of the building, and so through a trap-door into a room which communicated with that in which the body was found. This fact, which has been very clearly made out, proves conclusively that it was no mere haphazard burglary. the prompt and energetic action of the officers of the law sows the great advantage of the presence on such occasions of a single vigorous and masterful mind. We cannot but think that is supplies an argument to those who would wish to see our detectives more decentralized, and so brought into closer and more effective touch with the cases which it is their duty to investigate.'
   'Isn't it gorgeous!' said Holmes, grinning over his coffee-cup. 'What do you think of it?'"

I like this passage because it shows that Holmes' is at least capable of laughing at something. His pure amusement at the lack of knowledge and experience that the police force has is, in itself, amusing. The passage is also funny because Jones had just mocked Holmes and called him one who jumped to crazy conclusions, etc, when really, Jones is the one who does just that. Irony?! 

Any questions? 


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Adventure Of Discussion (Chapters 1-6) Week 1

This week, our group read the first six chapters of "The Sign of Four", a personal favorite Holmes story of mine as its plot is pertinent to the rest of the series and its size is only comparable to three other Holmes stories as it was published as one of four full Holmes "novels".
Here are some questions that might pique your interest.

1. Doctor Watson's feeling for Miss Morstan are clearly somewhat laced with romantic intentions. How do you think he will react around her in later chapters? Will he be more forward?

2. As an extension of question one, how do you think Mr. Holmes feels about his trusty companion falling for a woman?

3. Why do you think the Sherlock Holmes stories are always told from the perspective of Doctor Watson?

4. Why do you think that Sherlock is so distant from everyone else? This could be taken from your own perceptions of the character and canon, or related to any ideas of his unmentioned past.


Monday, 10 February 2014

The Adventure of Passages--Chapters 1-6 Sign of Four Week 1

Passages from "Sign of Four"
by Jarod

The first six chapters had many interesting passages, but the first I chose is mostly said by Holmes himself:

"'May I ask whether you have any professional inquiry on foot at present?'
'None. Hence the cocaine. I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.'"
      I chose this passage because I feel it to be interesting in that Holmes uses his lack of 'professional inquiry' to defend his use of cocaine. this passage also describes how Holmes views the world, as dreary, dismal and unprofitable, and a place where anyone with out of the ordinary powers, such as his own, have no use on earth.

The second passage I chose however, is narration:

"I stooped to the hole and recoiled in horror. Moonlight was streaming into the room, and it was bright with a vague and shifty radiance. Looking straight at me and suspended, as it were, in the air, for all beneath was in shadow, there hung a face - the very face of our companion Thaddeus. There was the same high, shining 
head, the same circular bristle of red hair, the same bloodless countenance. The features were set, however, in a horrible smile, a fixed and unnatural grin, which in that still and moonlit room was more jarring to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. So like was the face to that of our little  friend that I looked round at him to make sure that he was indeed with us. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned to us that his brother and he were twins."
      This quote I chose because of how well-written it is, Doyle fully describes the scene in ways which the audience can visualize the murder scene, as if they were peering through the keyhole themselves.

I wondered what the two of you thought of this murder scene passage.

Any Questions?


Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Adventure of Connecting--Chp 1-6 Sign of Four Week 1

Connecting "Sign of the Four" to the Real World
by Claire

This week we read the first 6 chapters of "Sign of the Four".

Hopefully, the story itself is in no way relatable for anyone-- it is filled with death, greed, and crime. However, the characters within the story are relatable in many ways.

The first instance of a relatable character is Holmes himself. Watson describes this relatability within the first few pages of the story, "I had observed a small vanity underlay my companion's quiet and didactic manner." Often times when someone is talented in some way, they politely deny that they are in any way special. Deep down, however, they enjoy the attention to some extent. In fact, all of us, if not most of us, have experienced this. We internally believe we are very good at something--golf, painting, singing, etc. When praised, we are humble, making excuses like, "Oh no, I'm not really that good." and "I have a long way to go before I'm where I would like to be", but we enjoy the spotlight nonetheless. Everyone enjoys being praised, even the mechanical Sherlock Holmes. In Holmes' case, he enjoys Watson's surprise when he correctly deduces something--in fact, Watson even writes that Holmes was "chuckling at my surprise". (In BBC Sherlock's episode, The Sign of Three, this theme of showing off is apparent, see photo below)
Implying that Sherlock keeps all his deductions to himself until the
 "final reveal", just for the sake of showing off and gaining the spotlight.

Another character that was (hopefully) less relatable, but more of a role model, was Mary Morstan. In the reading, Ms. Morstan endures the loss of her father and her inheritance, and is present when a dead man is found in his room, his body stiff, twisted, and contorted by a paralytic poison. Through all of this, Ms. Morstan is shaken, but does not show her fear and is described by Watson as he takes her home: "she had borne trouble with a calm face as long as there was some one weaker than herself to support, and I had found her bright and placid by the side of the frightened housekeeper." (Technically, this description comes in chapter 7, but its within the first few lines, so I'm going to use it). Ms. Morstan is an example of someone who can control themselves and contain their feelings until it is appropriate to express them (she later bursts into tears, again Chp 7), and thus is a good role model for anyone experiencing emotional trauma. 



Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Introductory Post

By :

Hello. Our group (The Baker Street Holmies) consists of Jarod H., Claire N., and Katie V. We are going to read  The Collected Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes- 1. Sign of Four 2. Study In Scarlet 3. His Last Bow  and 4. The Adventures Of Charles Augustus Milverton. We are reading these collected stories purely because we love the Sherlock Holmes stories and their place in literature. The stories are varied in nature and topic and therefore not suitable to be described in a plain overview. Therefore in time we will further elaborate on the individual stories themselves as we read them. We hope to further delve into Conan-Doyle-ian canon and obtain a greater knowledge and understanding of the ostentatious man himself, Sherlock Holmes. Thank you for reading. Enjoy the delightful .gif'ed rendition of the BBC adaption of Sherlock's (mis)adventures' Sherlock.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Three Kids And The Adventure Of Starting Blogs

This is the first post
Why am I using haiku
No quit it this sucks

Hi. We've started. We're reading "The Sign of Four", "A Study in Scarlet", "His Last Bow", and"The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" over the 8 week project time.