Elementary #AtoZAprilChallenge

 

Statue of Holmes, holding a pipe

“Elementary, my dear Watson” as the great detective Sherlock Holmes once told his hapless companion. But this is not the whole truth! This entry in Wikipedia seems to establish the historical fact:

The phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” is never uttered by Holmes in the sixty stories written by Conan Doyle. He often observes that his conclusions are “elementary”, however, and occasionally calls Watson “my dear Watson”. One of the nearest approximations of the phrase appears in “The Adventure of the Crooked Man”, when Holmes explains a deduction: “‘Excellent!’ I cried. ‘Elementary,’ said he.”[58][59]

The phrase “Elementary, my dear fellow, quite elementary” (not spoken by Holmes) appears in P. G. Wodehouse‘s novel, Psmith in the City (1909–1910),[59] and his 1915 novel Psmith, Journalist.[60] The exact phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” is used by protagonist Tom Beresford in Agatha Christie’s 1922 novel The Secret Adversary. It also appears at the end of the 1929 film The Return of Sherlock Holmes, the first Holmes sound film.[58]William Gillette (who played Holmes on the stage and on radio) had previously said, “Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow”. The phrase may have become familiar because of its use in Edith Meiser’s scripts for The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio series, which was broadcast from 1939 to 1947.[61] Holmes utters the exact phrase in the 1953 short story “The Adventure of the Red Widow” by Conan Doyle’s son, Adrian.[62]

Which shows that great men’s words are sometime extended to a life of their own!

Photo: Statue of Holmes in an Inverness cape and a deerstalker cap on Picardy Place in Edinburgh (Conan Doyle’s birthplace) – By Siddharth Krish. Original uploader was Siddharthkrish at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Blurpeace using CommonsHelper.
(Original text : self-made), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8863912

 

I had to do it, but I am sorry (sort of) #amwriting

Samurai by Baron Raimund von Stillfried, 1875I am sorry, but really, I had to do it. I know, you’re unlikely to pardon me soon. For a writer to kill one of his most cherished characters, is, well, close to a crime, even if not uncommon. Think of Conan Doyle, having poor Sherlock fall off the cliff, for example.

We lived together a long time, more than five years, I think: and of course, longer than this, if one recalls the antecedents, the sketches, the short flash fiction, and some early tries. I highjacked your Facebook page, for the sake of literature, you understand, but still, it was not a friendly move! Then I lusted after your wife, I admit, even considered something worse, but dropped the idea in favour of turning her into a seductive, beautiful lesbian – and such an attractive one at that, that none of my female characters could resist her charm. So, you had reasons to be a little annoyed at me, even before the final outrage.

What made me do it? I think the reasons are deep in the psyche of this apprentice writer. First, I grew a little tired of all the attention you were getting, even when your actions did not warranty it. A kind of mellow jealousy perhaps, as from a father, getting agitated at the number of gorgeous girls his son keeps bringing home? We will not delve in this analogy. Second, to be honest with you, I needed a change: you were centrepiece for far too long. Every attempt at diversity, in the literary sense, was thwarted by your resistance, your obstinacy at being in the centre of everything. Egotism, that is what it was: you became cumbersome, obstructive, calamitous.

There is a third reason, one which relates more to the writer than the character. I wanted to do something different, and in order to succeed, I needed a blank sheet, a new face, in one word, a different life to play with. So, I apologise for a harsh decision. Who knows, I may have to come back to you, sometime. I am already aware of a plot, by some of your female partners, to make you indispensable, again. Perish the thought.

Image: Samurai by Baron Raimund von Stillfried, 1875 (source: Wikipedia)