Monday, March 27, 2017

Rozovsky Meets Holmes: The Adventure of the Occasionally Attentive Listener, Part I

The most venerable of detective protagonists is relatively new to me. Now, thanks to the superb delivery of Stephen Frye and the desultory attention that audiobooks allow, I am drifting in and out of the complete Sherlock Holmes canon and quite enjoying what I come up with.

First, a few out-of-context gems:
"I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumbnails, or the great issues that may hang from a boot lace."
-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Case of Identity"
"Forgive this weakness, Mr. Holmes. I have been a little overwrought. Thank you. If I might have a glass of milk and a biscuit, I have no doubt that I should be better."
-- "The Adventure of the Priory School"

"... ranging from his famous investigation of the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca—an inquiry which was carried out by him at the express desire of His Holiness the Pope—down to his arrest of Wilson, the notorious canary-trainer, which removed a plague-spot from the East-End of London."
-- "The Adventure of Black Peter"

"I read death on his face as plain as I can read that text over the fire."
-- "The Adventure of the Crooked Man" (This one works better if one recalls the sense in which text seems most often to be used these days. It would not shock me if some people think text means only text message.)

"Ah, I have no data. I cannot tell."

"'Data, data, data!' he cried impatiently. 'I can't make bricks without clay!'"
-- "The Adventure of the Copper Beaches"
I've realized during my listening that Doyle dangled participles and modifiers all the time, and that this doesn't matter much. So, if you can write as popular and enduring a character as Sherlock Holmes, and if you can read as well as Stephen Frye, you can go ahead and dangle all you like.

(More on Holmes to come)
© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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