Sherlock Holmes

Die-hard Sherlockians may carp about certain actors' performances as not being quite what Doyle intended--sometimes they flesh out the character too much, as in the recent case of the portly Edward Woodward in Hands of a Murderer--but the fact remains that because there's so little real detail in the original stories, the Holmes of stage and screen is often an improvement. And this is so because of one difference: humour. Despite Christopher Isherwood's claims to the contrary, Holmes in print is a very flat, somewhat deadpan character, a sometime "blood brother to the Sphinx," as eminent Sherlockian Vincent Starrett calls him. True, he has the odd moment of eccentricity, but such occasions (as his dancing and singing for joy when finding Selden's body rather than Sir Henry's in Hound, or his waxing philosophic over a rose in "The Naval Treaty") have a patently false ring to them. Doyle himself admitted that Holmes's character "admits no light or shade. He is a calculating machineaE But what could Doyle expect from a fellow whose first spoken line ever is: "I have found a re-agent which is precipitat



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