Re-reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The Crooked Man offers up another traditional whodunit, one with several classic Holmes-isms.
Facts of the case: Holmes shows up at Watson’s house late one night asking to stay in Watson’s guest room. Holmes has been working a case and wants Watson’s help. A military man has been killed and his wife is the prime suspect, but Holmes of course suspects more is going on. A strange club-like weapon and unidentified animal tracks are among the clues.
Great detective: If this story is famous for anything, it’s because it’s where Holmes says both “Elementary” and “my dear Watson,” but not together.
Good doctor: It’s around midnight when Holmes knocks on Watson’s door. He says he was sleepy, but now rejuvenated by being around Holmes.
Who’s at the door: We meet Simpson, one of the homeless kids who help Holmes with his cases. Watson’s wife is mentioned, having gone to bed early.
Action hero: Holmes is described as having a “suppressed excitement” while working the case. When seen in the light of Watson’s fireplace, Watson says Holmes looks more like a machine than a man. (Is Holmes a Sith lord?)
Yes this is canon: Holmes shows some classism by referring to a plumber as a “token of evil.” At the end of the story, Holmes shows some humility, saying that he is not master deducer that Watson has made him out to be in his stories.
Indubitably: This one is another all-they-do-is-sit-around-and-talk mystery, which means it isn’t one of my favorites. On the plus side, though, it does feature quite a lot of sharply-written dialogue for Holmes and Watson. That is why this one ends up on a lot of “best of” Sherlock Holmes lists.
Next week: Resident not-so-evil.
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