On "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" [BLUE]
from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
::: PUBLICATION HISTORY :::
The Strand Magazine (UK) January 1892
The Strand (US) February 1892
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Coll.) October 1892
::: NOTES & GRADING :::
'Twas two-days after Christmas...
& I imagine the perennial action freak Watson was long pent up and pacing over Christmas. Stuck home with one of his any-which number of wives, watching the London snow turn as grey-brown as the sky. Just itching to get over to 221b. Once there, he finds Holmes being quite Holmes. “You are engaged,” said I; “perhaps I interrupt you.” Hoping to hear the reply he hears and we are off. Except we aren't really. We are examining a "disreputable" hat. Here, I feel Holmes plays at silly. He ribs Watson in this way, on occassion.
"For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. “It is a question of cubic capacity,” said he; “a man with so large a brain must have something in it." There are other deductions made and just when one might take this simply as the mental masturbation it is presented as--finally--we are off. It all ties so nicely together, this plot. There it is threaded well by excellent visiting characters as well as familiar ones in top form. "You are certainly joking, Holmes." As I said, I feel he is, I mean 'tis the season and whatnot, & in all seasons, we all know that the earth travels around the sun.
"Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply, when the door flew open, and Peterson, the commissionaire, rushed into the apartment with flushed cheeks and the face of a man who is dazed with astonishment. “The goose, Mr. Holmes! The goose, sir!” he gasped." Can we linger just a scan minute upon how Peterson finds a nigh priceless gem in the crow of a bird and simply succumbs the situation's finders keepers rule to Holmes's "Ah, yes, I shall keep the stone. Thank you. And, I say, Peterson, just buy a goose on your way back and leave it here with me, for we must have one to give to this gentleman in place of the one which your family is now devouring."
Plus, the replacement goose is on Peterson? What a fella, this commissionaire. Nevertheless, we are as stated, off. Off onto a literal wild goose chase, to boot. The characters! A scapegoat with a checkered past, a degenerate gambler, a timid sniveler playing poorly at swindler, and the down-on-his-luck owner of that 'disreputable' hat. A full .5 points for Mrs. Hudson appearing. She always adds a lovely aspect, apparently and particularly around the holidays. So cozy a presence.
Let's get back on course here, or at least forward our progress. I've already mentioned the thickening plot. The problem evolves and unfurls in purposeful earnest, even when somewhat meandering in order to create mood. It's a neat little tour of a world outside Baker Street but not afar at all. Watson, showing you the sites he sees regularly, on your first time in town. Plus and maybe even foremost: it's a Doylian Christmas tale... and what could possibly beat that? NOTHING. What a dang setting! Ah, but the solution.
Holmes lets a baddie get off scot-free in order to not create from him a worse-yet baddie. Plus, he's been sufficiently scared straight. His "I suppose that I am commuting a felony, but it is just possible that I am saving a soul. This fellow will not go wrong again; he is too terribly frightened. Send him to gaol now, and you make him a gaol-bird for life," rings deliciously progressive and daresay Bohemian. Also, the only conceivable way a yuletide tale could end--is in forgiveness. It's not the only time Holmes does this. But it is the only time which ends...
"Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward. If you will have the goodness to touch the bell, Doctor, we will begin another investigation, in which, also a bird will be the chief feature." One can hear the caroling and violin waft around the sleigh bell scene, a full table--goose in its center. As outside the window, are even more Season's Greetings. Perhaps it's the time of year I re-read and wrote in, but I don't recall liking this adventure nearly as much before now. Tho, I've always been a sucker for xmas.
Hold on. What happened to the Blue Carbuncle? Hands where I can see them & nobody move! I'd imagine Holmes returned it to the Countess for quite the handsome reward. Remember he said: “That is the reward, and I have reason to know that there are sentimental considerations in the background which would induce the Countess to part with half her fortune if she could but recover the gem." I bet he drove a hard bargain, softly-so. He got a better deal than Peterson coulda mustered.
In my headcanon, old Peterson got his from that amount. I bet he knew he'd be taken care of quite well, which explains the lack of balking in handing it over in the first. So ::: very ::: merry. Let's remember (though I can't recall where it's stated) that with the rent Holmes paid, he could have well purchased the entire house over the time of doing-so. A doorman would rightly expect excellent compensation within that context.
FINAL GRADE: 8.5/10
I'd like to take a moment to remind you kind Gentlepersons that I write these thoughts under the assumption of you having read these adventures. They are readily available everywhere, including for free at Project Gutenberg as well as Wikisource, where you can listen to it read, as well.
Also, please bear in mind that this post is part of a series in which I'm working through every case in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. For other entries in this series, use the Search Kaplowitz Media. function to the right of your screen and plug in either particular adventures contained within that collection, or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Finally, please do check out I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere and Interesting Though Elementary, a pair of Sherlockian spots elsewhere on the internet that I highly recommend and at times use in my own research. I've also taken a liking to having David Clarke read to me on LibriVox.
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::: very :::