Reading Sherlock Holmes – A Case of Identity

Re-reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories. A Case of Identity is one of the lesser tales, but I’m sure we can find something of interest in it.

ident1 Facts of the case: Holmes and Watson are contacted by Mary Sutherland, who recently fell in love with a man at the gasfitters’ ball (sounds like a party), only for her wealthy stepfather to disapprove. When her new love disappears, Mary calls on Holmes to investigate.

Great detective: There’s a real “comic book continuity” thing going on this story, as it mentions previous stories A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, and A Scandal in Bohemia. Apparently, the King of Bohemia did pay Holmes after all, with a rare gem. Holmes doesn’t sell it, but keeps it in his tobacco pouch. ident3 Good doctor: Watson takes a break from the case halfway through, to spend the night watching over one of his patients who is suffering great pain.

Who’s at the door: Holmes employs a “boy with buttons” to greet visitors for him at his front door. ident2 Yes this is canon: Holmes can not only identify a person’s handwriting, but he’s so good he can identify which typewriter wrote a specific typewritten note. Are we sure he’s not magic?

Action hero: Holmes arms himself with his riding crop to confront the villain, who just runs off before Holmes can use it. ident4 Indubitably: Almost the entire story takes place takes place inside 221B Baker St., which doesn’t make it as interesting as others. What’s interesting is the conclusion, in which Holmes and Watson more or less let the villain get away with his scheme. People talk about Holmes’ sense of justice, but we don’t see it in this one.

Next week: Hat man.


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About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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