20161201

SHERLOCKHOLMITOS*



SHERLOCKHOLMITOS

The Times, 31 July 1934

BAKER STREET STUDIES. Edited By H. W. BELL. (Constable. 7s. 6d. net.)

Conan Doyle might have felt a thrill of pride if he had lived to read “Baker Street Studies.” For it is a rare tribute to a creation which he was himself inclined to under-rate that so many notable authors should now join in homage to Sherlock Holmes—even though the homage takes the form of a joke. In this collection we have Miss Dorothy Sayers (a spiritual child, surely, of the Baker Street sage) investigating “Holmes’ College Career,” and Miss Helen Simpson summing up the “Medical Career and Capacities of Dr. J. H. Watson.” Then, after the fashion of modern biography, which loves to search out minor figures, we find Mr. Starrett, recently author of “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes,” narrating “The Singular Adventures of Martha Hudson”—who, it will be remembered, was the detective’s iron-nerved landlady in Baker Street. And since in our day even the greatest of the dead must not expect to escape criticism, Mr. Vernon Rendall discusses “The Limitations of Sherlock Holmes,” while Fr. Ronald Knox (whose return to the field of Sherlock Holmes criticism is very welcome) dives into “The Mystery of Mycroft,” and fears that Sherlock had a very sinister brother leading a double life. He was, in fact, we are told, an agent of that “Mr. Moriarty” whose case Mr. A. G. MacDonell analyses. Thence arises the paradox that if Mr. MacDonell is right Moriarty cannot have been a concealed crook, whereas if Fr. Knox is right the defence of Professor Moriarty fails. Fine quarrels here for the devotees of Sherlockholmitos—only Holmes himself could solve such delicate problems!

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