Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 38 (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan
The Sherlock Holmes Mysteries


I have no idea how I acquired this unread title, which I have owned for many years. I have a vague recollection of having acquired it following a thought process that began and ended with the thought, "Sherlock Holmes, hmm, I should read that." Thought does not always lead to action.

My friend and publisher Geoffrey Gatza is a Sherlock Holmes aficionado. Just the other night, as we were leaving his apartment, after having shared a delicious gourmet meal he had prepared, which included a carrot/coconut/sausage soup, whipped potatoes, creamed spinach, shitake mushrooms, trout and rosemary-herbed steak, followed by a delicious desert of pear nestlerod, I noticed, on a stray bookcase in the foyer, numerous shelves filled with books concerning Sherlock Holmes. It turns out he has watched just about every television and film adaptation of the Holmes stories and even owns an iconic Holmes pipe which he regularly smokes.

Geoffrey has encouraged me to read and to watch all of the Sherlock Holmes material and I still think to myself, "Sherlock Holmes, hmm, I should read that." And perhaps someday I will.

from A Scandal in Bohemia

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer--excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained teasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

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