Anilbalan’s new Ghost Cities blog post: The Secret History of Sherlock Holmes


Hugh Paxton’s Blog is a Sherlock Holmes fan, and a Conan Doyle fan and if he went off the rails in his later years with all this belief in fairies and the afterlife and mediums it was motivated by a desire to rationalize the mental illness of his father. His books stay firm in my library and on thundery nights when sleep is uneasy I stick on a Holmes tape in my cassette player and am soothed to sleep by the sound of Watson building his model ship, Mrs Watson complaining about the fug of pipe smoke, and Holmes inert suddenly springing to life and shouting “Yes! Why I did not see this from the first! The answer lies in Berkshire! With the liveried swine that did not eat! Ask yourself! Why did the pigs not eat?”

Watson: “I thought we were looking at the Snort Mallingham vanishing and the mysterious business of the odious stench at Whistledon Manor?”

“Arm yourself my dear Watson! There is devilry afoot! Are you prepared to visit Berkshire? There is a train leaving from Paddington – I have the connections here. We shall arrive if I am not incorrect in time to greet Squire Grizzeldon at the appointed time! The pigs, Watson!”

“Holmes, I wish you would clarify things!”

“Why didn’t the swine eat the mush? They were full! Full of five Grizzeldons! The man weeps in public but feeds his entire family to hogs…” etc.

Doyle never wrote a story about the Grizzledon pigs. I just made that whole lot of rubbish up. But his stories are like that and I enjoy them a lot. Anilbalan provides any Holmes enthusiast with more food for thought in the following post…

From: Ghost Cities []
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2015 8:07 AM
Subject: [New post] The Secret History of Sherlock Holmes

ghostcities posted: "While Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional master detective, Sherlock Holmes, is known for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise and his use of forensic science to solve difficult cases, rather less is known about his early life"

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New post on Ghost Cities


The Secret History of Sherlock Holmes

by ghostcities

While Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional master detective, Sherlock Holmes, is known for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise and his use of forensic science to solve difficult cases, rather less is known about his early life and family. This is in part due to the nature of Doyle’s stories, which purposely focus on the investigation rather than the detective and eschew details about Holmes himself, often using the framing device of his colleague Doctor Watson’s narration. Although this is highly effective as a narrative device, it raises as many questions as it answers when it comes to Sherlock the man, as opposed to Holmes the master investigator. Where was he born and educated, did he have any family apart from his brother Mycroft, what happened to him after he finally retired from detective work? etc. Whilst Doyle’s stories allude only distantly to these issues, the many fans of Sherlock Holmes have, somewhat appropriately, through careful detective work of their own, managed to come up with a number of theories, explanations and answers in what is usually described as ‘The Great Game’: a concerted attempt to resolve anomalies and clarify details about Holmes and Watson from the Conan Doyle canon. You may be surprised to hear that, as a result of this exercise, evidence has been found in Doyle’s own work that, among other things, Holmes and Mycroft have another elder brother and even a younger sister!

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ghostcities | October 18, 2015 at 2:00 am | Tags: Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Categories: Book, Mystery, Writer | URL:

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4 Responses to “Anilbalan’s new Ghost Cities blog post: The Secret History of Sherlock Holmes”

  1. Stella Says:

    Personally I think Holmes’ enigmatic nature is a key part of his appeal as a character. It gives the reader room to make their own deductions, and keeps the stories focused on Holmes’ cases. That helps to ensure the stories don’t wander off topic or lose momentum.

    • Hugh Paxton Says:

      Stella, you are absolutely right! Enigmatic is the point. I was thinking about all your comments and I was slightly disconcerted to discover that every word written and every thought expressed makes total sense. Just a wild idea but would you like to contribute a column to this Blog? Stella’s Space? Choose your own title. I never edit. What I get is what people write, You won’t get paid but you will get a Thai silk scarf for Christmas! And If I’m feeling rich some other small surprises. Cheers!


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