Sherlock Holmes and the Society of Seven


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Nevertheless the value of the Holmes legend today, and in previous decades, is profound, having brought tangible moral benefits to society as well providing extraordinary entertainment value that has continued through six or seven generations. He added: "Our particular interest is his love of chemistry, and the way that he wielded such knowledge for the public good, employing it dispassionately and analytically.

He also embodied other personal traits that society seeks in today's law officers - personal rectitude and courage. Last month the Royal Society of Chemistry honoured the achievements of Sir Alec Jeffreys, whose work in the s led to the employment of DNA fingerprinting in criminal detection.

This is the Moment, Society of Seven, SOS

A 48mm by 28 mm oval white base-metal medallion was suspended from a red and white ribbon. John H. A 38mm bronze round medal is suspended from a blue ribbon. The top bar has no design or wording. Skip to content Free download. In another passage, he adds that. In particular he feared dying in some undignified way, on the jakes or with his face in the porridge …. The prospect of setting himself on fire with his own pipe conformed to his worst ideas of the indignity that death would one day visit upon him Attempting to solve one last problem, he feels he has failed, and suffers what are for him the terrible consequences of finding he is no longer able to cope as he would once have wished.

Or, as Chabon puts it,. Meaning drained from the world like light fleeing the operation of an eclipse. The vast body of experience and lore, of corollaries and observed results, of which he felt himself the master, was at a stroke rendered useless. The world around him was a page of alien text It is more a matter of revealing his essentially human fallibility.

Quoting Chabon again,. And yet he had always been haunted — had he not? One might, perhaps, conclude from the existence of such men that meaning dwelled solely in the mind of the analyst. That it was the insoluble problems — the false leads and the cold cases — that reflected the true nature of things. That all the apparent significance and pattern had no more intrinsic sense than the chatter of an African grey parrot But I think this whole passage is also a gentle rebuke to Holmes and to the whole detective genre about the way that clues are always shown as leading to a final solution.

Yet life — and detection — is not always like that. Doyle knew this too, but chose not to act on it. Chabon knows otherwise, but still lets Holmes down gently and all those readers who enjoy sharing this sort of omnipotent fantasy. But as we shall see, there are other authors more critical of Holmes for different reasons. To inject 21 st century attitudes into 19 th century characters would sound strained or even false, but not to do so might suggest that modern authors have still much to learn about present-day sensitivities.

We shall see more of how this particular difficulty is dealt with now when examining that group of writers I have called the Social Improvers. These include references to female trafficking and the trade in young female virgins, homosexual brothels and sexual orgies. On a lighter note, Mycroft refers at one stage to a bomb left in a public lavatory I cannot be the only reader who has sometimes wondered how Holmes and Watson managed this side of things when hiding for hours or travelling in non-corridor trains.

There would be no problem, of course, once on their own on Dartmoor. Without going any further into such matters, Lovegrove shows a willingness to take on issues which, however minor, were once thought unsuitable for mention in fiction. Lovegrove and other modernisers are happy to place Holmes and Watson more securely in their particular time and place. She is berating the now elderly Holmes for insisting on going ahead to the next encounter while clearly needing medical treatment himself:.

I exercised my right to protect the partnership by putting a halt to your stupidity, yes, stupidity. No food or drink and filth on an open wound puts the partnership — puts me! There was no softening the blow.

held at Abbey House Baker Street London NW1

The bare facts were awful enough, but the implications inherent in my having to tell him were, for him, truly terrible. Twice now in little more than two days I had rescued him from a major error. The first might have been excused, though it nearly cost Watson his life; this one had been in his hands, under his nose, at the very time he had been searching for just such a clue. It changed the investigation, and he had missed it But here it is still affectionately done, with Holmes surviving to finally fall in love with Mary Russell at the start of a relationship that is to see them through more joint adventures.

Having a female take a leading detective role alongside Holmes is of course another provocative and in terms of the originals revolutionary move open to re-writers, and an example of gender as well as character migration. Anthony Horowitz in The House of Silk is less forgiving in the course of making some shrewd points. To start with, these do not amount to much more than showing Holmes occasionally getting things wrong.

Cutting him down to size in this way has its comic moments, when for example the great detective is questioning a young man who has just entered the famous consulting rooms. After looking him up and down, Holmes opines,. However much we love him, legions of readers — and of course Watson himself on occasions — must have wished for the time when even if only once Holmes is shown to be humanly fallible. You employed the boy. You set him on the trail of a known criminal.

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I grant you, he may have had his own ideas and they may have been the ruin of him. But this is the result. He had sunk into the corner of the hansom and for much of the way he sat in silence, refusing to meet my eyes. His skin seemed to have stretched itself over his cheekbones and he appeared more gaunt than ever, as if he had been struck down by some virulent disease. I did not try to speak to him. I knew he needed no consolation from me.

Instead, I watched and waited as he brought that enormous intellect of his to bear on the terrible turn that this adventure had taken. You know that. And yet I stand accused of dilettantism, and must plead guilty.

Wiggins, Ross and the rest of them were nothing to me, just as they are nothing to the society that has abandoned them in the streets…Would I have allowed a young boy to stand alone outside a hotel in the darkness had it been your son or mine? It is not a moment he enjoys. And perhaps this particular instance is not something many readers want to think about either. But on the whole this is more fantasy than reality. Lestrade is right here, however much Holmes and most other readers of whatever age would wish he were not.

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ADVENTURE V. THE FIVE ORANGE PIPS

In the same vein, Watson early on apologises to readers for how he and Holmes used to belittle Lestrade in previous narratives. He now concedes that the Inspector was basically a good and capable man, ready to stand up for Holmes when — as he does in this story — he finds himself in serious trouble with the law. Always addressing him respectfully as Mr Holmes but always curtly replied to simply as Lestrade, we are reminded perhaps a little uncomfortably about how the good Inspector was regularly the victim of a type of condescension common at the time among those conscious of their own social superiority.

But as Watson now puts it,. Although she flits in and out of my pages, I actually knew very little about her, not even how she came to occupy the property at Baker Street I believe she inherited it from her husband, although what became of him I cannot say After Holmes left, she lived alone.

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I wish I had conversed with her more and taken her for granted a little less But perhaps the character who has most benefited from re-writing is good old Watson himself. Having suffered so much patronising scorn from Holmes in the originals, it is only fair that he is allowed to make some sort of come-back since. The Stuff of Nightmares, for example, it is Holmes himself who now leaps to the defence of his old friend. He may embellish and romanticize his accounts of my exploits somewhat, in order to make them more pleasing as literary entertainment, but he has an eye for detail and a nose for the truth, and I will not have you impugning his character or his acumen.


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He was not usually so unstinting with his compliments, least of all where my intellectual prowess or my writing skills were concerned. There were times in his company, and more so in the company of him and his brother together, that I was made to feel as though I were a member of an inferior species, a reasonably gifted ape perhaps. It was nice to be reminded that my companion thought more highly of me than that In the novels by Michael Dibdin and Nicholas Meyer already referred to, Watson emerges as a major character whose moral vision and depth of understanding puts Holmes to shame.

This is just another example of how re-writing can lead to re-thinking too. Watson is there to see the humiliation of his friend but he also remembers all those others that he and Holmes had come across who later fell foul of the law. Or as Watson himself puts it,. Never once did I consider the fear and anguish they must have endured as they passed through those swing doors and walked these gloomy corridors.

Did any of them ever weep tears of repentance or offer prayers for their salvation? Did some of them fight on to the end? I did not care.

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The medallion has a gold colored bevelled edge. The top bar has the date , with a deerstalker cap to the left and a pipe to the right.


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  8. The Sherlock Holmes Society of London celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in and that occasion saw the issuance of their fifth medal. The design of the medal was reused for this particular issue. A 48mm by 28 mm oval white base-metal medallion was suspended from a red and white ribbon. The top bar has the phrase, B, with a deerstalker cap to the left and a pipe to the right.

    The fact that there is no real Baker Street has not stopped literary historians from speculating about which Baker Street building Doyle used as his proxy for the home of Holmes and Watson. By closely reading the texts, scholars have proposed multiple Baker Street addresses as a possible inspiration for the literary , yet there is no definitive answer.

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    Sherlock Holmes and the Society of Seven Sherlock Holmes and the Society of Seven
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