Sunday, November 18, 2007


It was a Sherlock Holmes Weekend on ITV3 and although I was too busy to watch I did catch the Elementary, My Dear Viewer piece in which actor, and Holmes aficionado, Richard E Grant studied the appeal of the Great Detective.
There was some interesting input from three giants of the genre Val McDermid, P.D. James and Jeffrey Deaver looking even more cadaverous than usual. Apparently Lincoln Rhyme was created as a paraplegic because Deaver wished to create a detective who would defeat the criminals solely by the use of his superior intellect, as a tribute to Holmes.
None of the participants would have enjoyed the hatchet job by Richard A. Posner in the New Republic back in 2004 [thanks for the link to Detectives Beyond Borders], when he reviewed The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, edited by Leslie S. Klinger and made statements such as:
"Holmes is for the immature..... this absurd obsession.....the reading of detective stories is simply a kind of vice that, for silliness and minor harmfulness, ranks somewhere between smoking and crossword puzzles."

The article is long but well worth a read if only to realise how misguided a judge and graduate of Harvard law School can be.

to be continued.......


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

To clear the judge on at least one of the indictments, I believe the statement about detective stories as an absurd vice was not Posner's, but rather a quotation from Edmund Wilson's essay (whose title, I believe, was something like "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Akroyd?")

Posner did have some interesting things to say about Holmes and scientific thinking, though.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

1:49 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Yes it was a very stimulating article, but it was a bit snobbish in parts. For instance his comments about "mews", "Harris tweed" and "solicitor" and a person not knowing what they mean is not going to get very far.
We surely should be encouraging the young to read, and from my experience as a steward at a Victorian house, Knightshayes Court, young people have never seen such simple devices as an ink well or scales for weighing letters.
I think the Annotated Sherlock would be a fine addition to any school library.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I haven't read the full article since it first appeared, but I seem to recall that Posner did appreciate the Holmes books' value as young people's reading. But yes, he probably did so in a dismissive manner.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

12:13 PM  

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