Friday, September 11, 2009

A Large Scandal In Bohemia, With Extra Cheese

Which three characters would I invite to dinner, and what would be served? While there's a long list of fictional characters with whom I'd dearly love to have dinner, the first trio would certainly be the gentlemen who got me hooked on mysteries in the first place...

Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, and Professor Moriarty.

I'd ask Holmes and Moriarty to debate the merits of good versus evil, perhaps asking them to adopt each other's point of view to make the argument more exciting. Does Moriarty really think of himself as a bad guy or merely a pragmatist. Can Watson bring some moral ambiguity into the mix by talking of his experiences during the war? Do they agree that Basil Rathbone is the quintessential Holmes, or do they have high hopes for Robert Downey, Jr?

Does Moriarty resent being called "the Napoleon of crime", given he's "extremely tall and thin" according to Holmes? Why didn't he hire a biographer or try to bribe Watson into changing sides, since he's clearly educated enough to know that the one who writes the memoir becomes the hero of history.

After dinner we'd play chess. For money. I'm no fool, so I'd challenge Watson to a game before either Holmes or Moriarty could take me for all I'm worth.

If you, too, are a rabid Holmes fan, I strongly recommend owning a copy of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes by Les Klinger. This massive two-volume set is not only beautiful, it goes beyond the standard annotations to bring some surprising historical, cultural and literary context into the narration. It's a remarkable achievement.

And what would we eat? Why, pizza, of course, since I'm not much of a cook and wouldn't want to spend any time in the kitchen, for fear of missing out on the conversation. Though I doubt my three guests would agree on much, except perhaps the beauty of Reichenbach Falls in the spring, who doesn't like pizza? That's something even Holmes and Moriarty would agree on...or would they?


Leslie S. Klinger said...

Thanks for the props, Tim! I hope you have the third volume (the novels) on your shelf too! Can I come to that dinner?

Leslie said...


We'll all stop by and have Holmmes deduce our lives and occupations from our shoe scuffs and the calluses on our fingers... I wonder if he's up on computers? I think he'll need to take a crash course before he's ready for crime fighting in the new millenium! When were typewriters invented even?

Shane Gericke said...

And if no weapons are immediately at hand, you could kill someone with the heft of that triple volume from Leslie! Sounds like a cool party, be sure to send me an invite, my good fellow ...