Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" (Doyle, 1892)

“The case has been an interesting one, because it serves to show very clearly how simple the explanation may be of an affair which at first sight seems to be almost inexplicable. Nothing could be more natural than the sequence of events as narrated by this lady, and nothing stranger than the result when viewed, for instance, by Mr. Lestrade of Scotland Yard.”
--Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"

Leigh: Our story this time is one that I don't think would be easy to adapt to a modern version. Nowadays we are so connected with everyone, it would be difficult to lose touch with your husband unless they wanted to disappear. We live in a time where Apache raids aren't a big concern and prospecting isn't a career choice anymore and where everyone lets everyone else know when they eat or drink or even poo. Oversharing doesn't exist anymore. But even with the extreme cultural differences, I enjoy this story and in fact, I probably enjoy it more. It amuses me that there was a time when if you lost contact with your husband, you just presumed him dead and moved on. And this wasn't a common thing. Holmes said he had dealt with a similar situation before. 

I also enjoy this story because even though there are huge cultural differences (a morning wedding that is done in time for lunch? Weird.) there is still a lesson that everyone can take from this: Communication is important in relationships. It is important to find out things about your partner like their likes and dislikes, their future goals, their hopes and dreams, past marriages that might not be dissolved, etc. I think a lot of confusion and mystery could be cleared up if she had just mentioned in the first place that she was still technically married to a man who is only presumed dead. I think her first husband could've also been a bit less "mysterious" by actually letting her know he was still alive before her wedding instead of showing up uninvited and unannounced. Everything could've been cleared up by a simple "oh, hey, I'm still alive, darling wife." Sure, you have to end one relationship but on the plus side, your first husband is still alive!

I guess my question here is: Is it a mystery or really just a lack of communication?

Austin: Overexposure still exists, it's just the personal filter that has seemed to disappear. People tweet and Instantgram their entire lives including tweeting about Instantgram.

I think this can be still adapted because I think I saw a slight variation of it on TV recently. On Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, the B was excited to sleep with the elusive party host only to be disappointed the mystery man was actually her husband she married five years ago and forgot about.

What happens at a wedding party doesn't stay at a wedding party...

I should probably mention it's a sitcom not a soap opera.

It's a good show.

Anywho, here we have a missing husband not pursued and it's believable because the mystery was kept by a drunk sociopath. There are other reasons to keep things hidden. Since this is 1880s England, the answer is usually embarrassment.

I think this story is accidentally a mystery. Seeing everything out of context (The disappearance, the note, the prestige) it looks like a conspiracy. Holmes is almost a bit disappointed it's not more ridiculously convoluted. They could have communicated better but I understand why there were secrets.

What I am more entertained by is the fact that Watson regularly reads about royal weddings. If only he had access to TMZ.

We got a lot more Lestrade this story than we usually do. We've talked a lot about our other regular characters; what do you think of the sighing detective?

Leigh: This was a time though when celebrity weddings were reported on because there was nothing else to report on. You can only read so many articles about how England still owns everything before it gets boring. Unfortunately, instead of stopping these superfluous reports on celebrity weddings when more important things started happening, society kept up the bad habit. And Watson didn't have Springer to watch while he was staying in, wounded.

I think that Lestrade gets picked on too much. Our Sherlock Holmes stories are usually Holmes going in the correct direction to find the clues while Lestrade is doing what a normal person would do in that situation. Find a wedding dress near a river? Search the river for the dead body. The next step to the average person isn't to go looking for her in hotels based on a receipt. Lestrade seems to act in place of the audience. The reader would see the clues and think in a more "logical" way and go, "We obviously need to search the river!" Instead of Holmes doing that and taking up time because it's wrong, Lestrade tends to meet up with Holmes and tell him that he's done just that and found nothing. Holmes then tells him that he's dumb and why exactly he's dumb this time. So in a round-about way, Sherlock Holmes is calling the reader dumb. That's not very nice of him.

We get another encounter with Americans again in this story and yet again they are seen as a more "wild" and "untamed" sort people that are less dignified and don't understand that women shouldn't be allowed to run around without constant supervision. Why are the Americans popping up in every other story?

Austin: Obviously it's because Americans are awesome. I love seeing how the Brits look at our country. It seems that we imagine they see us as fat and tacky (like in Wee Britain in Arrested Development) or bitter over that engaging in two wars to claim our independence because we don't want to drink no tea.

Yet that's not what's being conveyed with Doyle and other modern Englanders. I was watching An Idiot Abroad this morning with my Memaw and in this episode poor Karl Pilkington is driving along Route 66. He says that he couldn't live here because Americans are too happy. They're too busy living the dream, he says.

While Doyle doesn't focus on that optimism, he still sees the world as unclaimed opportunities. It's a place of adventure where anyone can be king. People aren't burdened by legacy or class. From examples like A Study in Scarlett, it seems that Doyle also thinks that level of freedom can lead to unregulated destruction. I think that Doyle thinks that we're an unruly bunch and he wasn't around long enough for us to invent Fear Factor.

Probably best not to ask what he's drinking...

 Leigh:  For a brief update on the rest of the goings on here at Elementary Schooled, we've decided to axe the Christmas themed Sherlock Holmes movie since it is no longer Christmas. I'm sick of being subjected to Christmas stuff so I'm sure you are too. Next up is another free movie for us all to watch together! We're going to see what Sherlock Holmes does in Texas in the Case of the Texas Cowgirl! Go take a peek at it so you know what we're babbling about next time we post!

And speaking of posts, our posts are going to be a bit irregular and sporadic. I am currently busy with school, work, trying to have a life and everything that comes with that (yay student loans!) and Austin is in Texas being the awesome person that he is and taking care of his sick grandparents. Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever heard? 

Bear with us on our lack of a schedule. Hopefully things will fit together and some semblance of order will come of it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment