Thursday, 10 May 2012
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SHERLOCK HOLMES!
It is always easy to tell when a production is simply clocking in for a pay check or toiling away on a labour of love.
One is usually pretty bad.
With the series “Sherlock,” now courting a third season, love is in the air.
The fantastic production, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, follows in the sleuthing footsteps of so many others (such as Jeremy Brett's long-running Granada endeavour), but sets itself apart by setting itself in modern times. The move, orchestrated through careful scripting, deft and dry humour, and truly inspired chemistry, sets the world's most famous detective in the age of cell phones, Twitter, video cameras and evolving cultural values. And it works so well.
For Sherlockians, however, the move from his typical horse and carriage setting isn't a first for the character. Basil Rathbone, arguably one of the most notable actors to ever don the old deerstalker, carried Holmes from his literary settings to the 1940's and into a world at war. Altogether Rathbone and Nigel Bruce banged out a total of fourteen high-flying Holmes films.
In Sherlock, many find the allure in “seeing” the master sleuth's deductive talent written on-screen, with flashes of text written out in the form of quick mental notes. The novel style is reminiscent to the explanatory scenes laid out in the new Sherlock Holmes features starring Robert Downey, Jr. Like Downey's take on the man of Baker Street, the series benefits from these little nuggets, just as it benefits from the use of first names rather than last. For Sherlockians, hearing Watson called John and Holmes called Sherlock is almost blasphemous, but quite original at the same time.
In the season two premiere “A Scandal in Belgravia,” for instance, that breath of love is evident, not just in Holmes' love for Irene Adler, played by the alluring Lara Pulver, but in the craftiness to which Arthur Conan Doyle's canon is embedded into the modern world. Watson, for instance, blogs his adventures with the detective. Holmes video chats on a case, and so on. Adler is also morphed to a modern-day dominatrix, a career which somehow feels natural considering her sneaky character.
The popularity of Sherlock Holmes appears to be at its peak. Novels and films, and even news reports on the actors themselves (not the least of which is the fanciful report that Pulver forced Cumberbatch to stare at her naked breasts while filming “Scandal”) prove the characters endurance throughout the years. Holmes can even be found in the realm of erotica writing, such as the recent book “My Love of All That is Bizarre: The Erotic Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.” It doesn't take a super sleuth to feel that kind of love.
Thanks so much to PM White, for his lovely review of the BBC1 series “Sherlock”. Being an avid reader of Conan Doyle, I guessed that he would love Steve Moffat’s interpretation of Conan Doyle’s super sleuth! And I guessed right!
And PM White is quite correct, Sherlock Holmes’ popularity appears to be at its peak! And I don’t think it is stretching the point, to see it in terms of a zeitgeist. There is almost an obsessive feel for Holmes, Watson and their entourage.
PM White has already mentioned Sizzler’s great contribution to the contemporary fascination with Holmes and Watson, “My Love of All That is Bizarre: The Erotic Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes” I don’t know what it is, but Victorian writers continue to inspire us, they have the knack of making us ask “what happens next?” and “just supposing!” Sizzler asked us an intriguing question; “did Sherlock Holmes have an erotic life?” And as writers, we responded with tales of our own.
The anthology opens with Angela Caperton’s story; “The Adventure of the Gentlemen Travellers.” Angela draws on the devices common to Victorian literature. A letter; and within the letter a story. During a visit to her cousin, it is clear that Elizabeth has misbehaved. Exactly what she has done, we never know; we are titillated and that makes us read on. And then Elizabeth tells her story. There is death, a mystery and corruption. Elizabeth’s narrator is a voyeur and what she describes concerning Sherlock Holmes and a certain gentleman is astonishing, and very arousing.
In “The Case of the Unnatural Instinct,” PM White has Holmes doing some very unique research. The story is opened by Watson, telling of a visit he made to Holmes at his house in Sussex. Holmes has retired to the country in this tale and now keeps bees. Holmes ask Watson if he recalls the case of Lana Chress, which he and Watson worked on in February of 1886. Miss Chress, was a prostitute, and has had a series of highly erotic encounters with a mysterious visitor. The visitor leaves no name, she does not see his face, but the quality of the sex that she has with him, is so profound that she wants to know the identity of the man. Holmes declines the case.
Michael Kurland’s contribution to the anthology, is “The Picture of Oscar Wilde.” Benjamin Barnett is a newspaper proprietor and he narrates the story. He tells of a visit he received from a very flustered, agitated Oscar Wilde. Oscar requires Benjamin to arrange a visit with Professor Moriarty. A damning photograph has been taken of Oscar and a young man. Oscar is being blackmailed. Sherlock Holmes has declined the case, citing Oscar’s depravity as the reason; Oscar turns to Moriarty for help.
“The Adventure of the Empty Box.” by Essemoh Teepee opens with Holmes injecting himself with cocaine. Holmes is bored and the drug makes the world a more interesting place. The story is about a secret, a mathematical formula and the Victorian obsession with invention. There has been a robbery and the box and its contents have been stolen.
There is intrigue, a mystery that will shake Holmes from his ennui. In this story we have Holmes’ enemies, Moriarty and Irene Adler. Holmes outwits them both.
My own story, “Sherlock Holmes and the Curse of the Moonstone, is laced with the mysterious theft of a precious stone. Heavily influenced not only by Conan Doyle’s sleuth, but by Wilkie Collins,’ “The Moonstone”, Holmes and Watson are drawn into an erotic encounter that fulfils every fantasy that Watson has ever dreamed up. There is also the Victorian fascination with the treatment of “female hysteria”, of which Doctor Watson is of course, an authority.
And where would an anthology be, without a story by the great M.Christian? His contribution, is “The Curious Incident.” A tale told through the intelligent, elegant dialogue of Irene Adler and Moriarty. The two circle each other, as each tries to outwit the other in a dual with words. There is deep intellect here, as Moriarty draws the information he requires, from Irene Adler. Finally, she tells him of an unexpected world of debauchery and turpitude.
There are twelve stories in this anthology. The writers have risen to the challenge; their joy of playing with the ideas, presented through the originality of Conan Doyle’s stories, is evident. Writers are at their best, when there is both pleasure and a challenge in the task and their response to Sizzler’s call for tales of the great detective, offers the reader a book that will delight. Curl up in the big, soft armchair in front of a roaring fire. Read by candlelight, tales of abduction and explicit multi faceted sex. There are voyeurs in these pages; exhibitionists too. Step into the foggy world of the Victorian London streets and treat yourself to a night of blissful erotica, crafted around the most enigmatic character to step onto the stage of world literature.
“My Love of all that is Bizarre; the Erotic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," is available at Amazon UK and at Sizzler.