Conan Doyle Confused
all smogged up
Must have been the cocaine; or did Conan Doyle himself stick to his 'baccy?
No matter; that's no excuse for the stupidities he commits.
Not very surprising for a guy who believed in spooks, spiritualism and even fairies.
Martin Gardner went so far, he theorized in Science: Good, Bad and Bogus
that the Sherlock Holmes stories were written by entirely someone else.
But Martin Gardner's wondering makes me wonder. Sherlock Holmes may have posed as a great logician, but Doyle's plots are so forced and convoluted that logic hardly makes an appearance. I have just a few examples below. Never was a great Sherlock Holmes fan myself in the first place, or one of Conan Doyle's either. In my third year at high school we had an obligatory read of RLS' Treasure Island, followed by The Sing of Four.
Talk about class distinction.
In A Study in Scarlet Doyle makes abundantly clear why his medical practice failed: He has somebody write mysterious texts on the wall in blood; hence the 'scarlet'. Trouble is, these are discovered only the day following the murder, and they must have turned brown long since. The same for ared ribbonof blood running out from underneath a door. However, his strong aversion against Mormon practices helps to carry the story through, for me.
In The Adventure of the Second Stain a "great crimson spill" is discovered under a white carpet - blood, miraculously still red three days after the murderee got that way.
Say, how about those twelve pearls?
In The Sign of Four mention is made somewhere of 12 pearls that have disappeared, and Doyle in his haphazardly sloppy plot-building completely forgets to tell us what happened to them.
Trees do grow, you know.
Funnily enough, Holmes makes the same mistake as Poe: After a certain time has gone by, a living tree must have grown, and all bets are off as to what you can learn from their form. In this case, it has been a full two centuries. The top of the tree's shadow indicates where a treasure has been buried. Must be way off. Worst, no mention at all is made of the season, which makes a great difference.
Two weird paragraphs
In The Resident Patient there's this paragraph:It had been a close rainy day in October. Our blinds were half-drawn. For myself, my term of service in India had trained me to stand heat better than cold, and our thermometer at ninety was no hardship.To me, this makes no sense at all. But later, in The Adventure of the Cardboard Box Conan Doyle writes:It was a blazing hot day in August. Baker Street was like an oven, and the glare of the sunlight upon the yellow brickwork of the house across the road was painful to the eye. It was hard to believe that these were the same walls which loomed so gloomily through the fogs of winter. For myself, my term of service in India had trained me to stand heat better than cold, and our thermometer at ninety was no hardship.Which does make sense. Weird. The best solution to this puzzle I can figure is, the second story has been written first, but not been published. Then, the sentence was lifted out and put in another story, but not corrected. And finally, the second (first-written) story was published after all.