Saturday, August 20, 2016

It's Elementary, My Dear Watson!

Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
"There's nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

~Sherlock Holmes
The Bascombe Valley Mystery

There's probably no better known fictional character in history than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes.  First appearing in print in 1887, Doyle wrote 56 short stories and four novels featuring the world's favorite consulting detective.  To this day, Sherlock Holmes is instantly recognizable around the world, and continues to come back in again and again in movies, television shows, etc.  We continue to be fascinated by Sherlock Holmes.

I grew up reading the original canon--I still have my well-worn leather volume that featured the original Strand Magazine art by Sidney Paget.  And my personal favorite actor to have played Sherlock Holmes was Jeremy Brett during the series that was shot during the 80s and 90s.  I don't think anybody every played Holmes more true to form than Jeremy Brett.

Of course one of Sherlock Holmes' most famous expressions was, "It's elementary, my dear Watson!"  We all know that one.  It's just not been a Sherlock Holmes story until Dr. Watson is chided for his lack of observation with that famous line.  You'd be shocked to know people have actually gone back through the original stories and novels to find out exactly how many times Sherlock Holmes said that famous phrase.  I think you'll be astonished at the number.

It's zero!

Sherlock Holmes never said that!  Not once!

He said "elementary" a few times when explain how he'd solved some particular problem.  He often said the solution was "simplicity itself" or "absurdly commonplace."  But more often than not, he'd simply point out the solution was there for anyone to see.  "You see, but you do not observe."  But not one time did he ever say, "It's elementary, my dear Watson!"

Author and Freemason Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Freemason.  He was a member of Phoenix Lodge No. 257, Southsea Hampshire, England.  His famous characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, were not Freemasons in the stories however . . . believe me, Freemason fans of the stories have looked really hard into that subject (including me).  However, the stories were not completely devoid of the Craft.  If you keep your eyes open, you may just run across a reference to Freemasonry a time or two in the original canon.

If you aren't familiar with the stories, you should read a few of them.  They're addictive, and they've most certainly withstood the test of time.  The game is afoot!

~Todd E. Creason

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