♦ A Study in Scarlet. My first Sherlock Holmes, the first book, which “beat my preconceptions to a pulp.” Just so giddy to be part of ~Holmesiana.
♦ Sherlock Holmes Selected Stories. Which was probably a bad decision, re the correct order of the Sherlock books to read. But I liked the range — a Sherlock Holmes crash course. I loved, especially, how Holmes and Watson grew more vivid to me, their roles — as independent characters, and as the author’s creations — more solid.
The latest in this not-quite-as-complicated relationship: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Every time I pick up ACD’s Sherlock stories, I keep wondering myself if the previous joys were all flukes, if I was going to grow tired of him, if he would become too obscure-ish for me, if this would be the time I’d say Meh, not for me. It’s doubly damning, see. My reading until recently had a giant blind spot regarding the Classics, and mysteries and detective-novels [contemporary or pioneers they may be] were almost never in my reading list [we don’t count sub-plots, right?].
But Sherlock Holmes and Watson get me every time. Their peculiar selves, their relationship, the cases they damnably solve all-too-teeth-gnashingly. Even what one’d assume as a rigid structure — a briefing by a client, Holmes solving it all, Holmes and Watson confirming that Holmes was right, durh — surprisingly bends to accommodate the characters who flit and fleet into their lives.
Yes, every time, it feels like coming home. No one is as surprised as I am. This familiarity might breed a drought of Sensible Things to Say, but each encounter with Holmes/Watson allows me a new perspective, else a new facet to scrutinize. I’ve covered the preconceptions, I’ve touched on the ideal-ness of the Holmes-Watson bromance and contrast.
In these stories, I read a Sherlock Holmes that was — egads — more human. More normal, yes, but nicer. Eccentric, sure, more than a little cold — which is probably why every decent gesture resonates.
[Which is, I realize now, rather strange — Adventures is, after all, the first collection out of Doyle’s Strand-published stories. If I hadn’t made that detour to the Selected Stories, would this fresh humanity have struck me the same way? Struck me at all?]
Oh, he’s a strange little duck, arrogant, nasty, so goddamned limitedly perfect. But these new adventures — getting foiled by Irene Adler, Holmes damning the cruelty of a stepfather’s prank, omg Holmes with a pistol trying to save a damsel in distress — dude. I am in love with Doyle’s stories, his creations.
I read, and I have so much fun. So, so much. I feel baffled, but ecstatic anyway. [Holy cheesecake, why do I feel like weeping?]