As I finished reading A Study in Scarlet, a vague and distant recollection hit me about having read a bit of Doyle’s fine detective when I was in school.
Intrigued as I was, I went through the titles of his works and found the one I was looking for!
The Speckled Band
I found an apt description about the story on this post A summary and analysis of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Speckled Band
When I first read the story, I remember that for most part I kept thinking the gypsies we’re somehow in the act. Only towards the end is the truth revealed.
As Sherlock and Watson waited in the middle of the night, observing intently and looking for any deviation from the ordinary,
I found a parallel in the British TV Series Sherlock when they wait for the abominable bride at Carmichael house.
How shall I ever forget that dreadful vigil? I could not hear a sound, not even the drawing of a breath, and yet I knew that my companion sat open-eyed, within a few feet of me, in the same state of nervous tension in which I was myself. The shutters cut off the least ray of light, and we waited in absolute darkness.
When you see Martin Freeman acting the part of a nervous Watson, one could very well believe this excerpt from The Speckled Band be an explanation of how he was to express himself and his fright as the two waited!
“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like an empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.”
I am currently reading A Study in Scarlet. I have watched the British show Sherlock as well as the American spin-off Elementary set in contemporary Manhattan. I have also watched the two movies with Robert Downey Jr and I adore the person that Doyle has created: a classic. The characters transcend time and the ages and still speak as if making sense, years later.
I am reading the novels once again and will be quoting what I find share worthy for some time now. Like this part of a paragraph.
The shortcomings of an inefficient memory plague me from time to time and I could relate to this. Easier said than done now, isn’t it? You’ve wished so many times that you don’t want to remember that day when you embarrassed yourself in front of others. Or that you don’t want that flashback keep coming back to you when you thought your heart could never love anyone again.
And now in retrospect you realise how you’ve grown! We create memories as we go on living our unremarkable lives so that we have something to remember it by: like photographs, only that the faded blue shirt might some years feel more like grey. Only that the people change around us in these photographs- in substance and character.
We need anecdotes to tell others our stories of overcoming grief and failure, even the embarrassing moments that had us want to die only that we didn’t.
Perhaps that is why Sherlock gets away with implying that the common person fills up his mind with meaningless mumbo-jumbo. He exists in fiction- a man in the throes of deductive reasoning and we don’t find ourselves stumbling across roommates of such a peculiar bend.