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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baker Street Essays - My thoughts on Sherlock Holmes

I realized today I haven't referenced any of my writings about the world's first official consulting detective. I refer, of course, to Sherlock Holmes. I have written extensively about my favorite fictional character: much of it for my defunct website, Sherlock Holmes on Screen

My sporadically ongoing Holmes efforts (excluding those in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine) are for my own free, online newsletter, Baker Street Essays (BSE). Click on the link at the bottom of my Solar Pons website. Below is a sample from issue one of BSE. I'm overdue for a fourth issue, but I do enjoy writing about Holmes when the mood strikes.

BLACK PETER: Whither the Missing Securities?
John Neligan’s father had set off with a tin box full of securities that he had taken from his bank. Black Peter Carey sold some of the missing securities in London. After everything has been cleared up, Holmes tells Hopkins to return the tin box to John Neligan, noting that the securities that Peter Carey had sold were lost forever. Can this be taken to imply that the remaining securities were in the tin? If they weren’t, wouldn’t Holmes have commented on them as well? And perhaps contributed something more profound than explaining that the securities already sold are gone?

But if the missing securities were in the tin, how would they become the possession of John Neligan? It would be a strange case of law that granted ownership of stolen securities to the son of their embezzler. Shouldn’t the recovered securities be returned to the banking firm they were taken from?

But perhaps the missing securities weren’t in the tin. Of course, Patrick Cairns would be thoroughly grilled about this since he stole the box and admitted he opened it. In addition, wouldn’t Hopkins wonder about their location? Why wouldn’t Holmes or Watson broach the issue? A thorough search of Black Peter’s cabin would be in order, likewise wherever Patrick Cairns was staying. Did everyone simply assume that they were lost forever?

A third option that we will not explore further here is that Neligan senior sold some of the securities before encountering Peter Carey. Carey sold the remainder; thus, there were no securities left in the tin box. Speculation on this aspect would significantly extend the length of this entry.

So, either the remaining securities were in the tin and John Neligan was going to attempt to restore his father’s name, or: they weren’t in the tin and no one was overtly interested in them. Did Sherlock Holmes have an ulterior motive regarding the missing securities…?

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