Eliot Stabler vs. Sherlock Holmes- DUH-DUH!

My favorite modern detective is the character Elliot Stabler from the show SVU. I’m glad the question was asked in the description of what this post required if Holmes is a relic of the past. Yes, absolutely. Most of today’s detectives are not scholarly in their stature, but more “rough and tumble” in the ways of their investigations. While they can be similarly compared because both Holmes and Stabler use astute observational skills to gain an upper hand, Stabler is more likely to snatch an informant up and rough him up for information. Unlike Stabler, Holmes and Watson more or less gather their information through traditional questioning. It can be argued that Holmes is a man of action, but I haven’t read anything where he is the physical aggressor like Stabler. I think  TV shows like Law and Order and SVU have changed our views on modern detectives and expect them to continue doing so.



The Red-Headed League

Sherlock’s methods didn’t surprise me in the least. When he stated he had to smoke and that “It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes”, I chuckled a little because I’ve always envisioned Holmes, pipe pressed tightly between his teeth, thinking and connecting the dots that others couldn’t. “Typical Holmes” I thought. His intelligence is quite impressive given the era, but I was able to figure out what was going on when they located the bank adjacent to the rear of Mr. Wilson’s shop and the previously mentioned Spaulding spending so much time in the basement. I owe this to more exposure of various plots via movies, TV and other books than I do my own intelligence. As far as Watson’s narrating style, I had mixed emotions. As with any book, if the language references so many local places or words that are uncommon to the reader that you have to stop, research what the narrator is talking about then the story loses momentum. That happened to me a few times, but overall it was what I expected from a story involving Sherlock Holmes.


My idea of Sherlock Holmes

I found this picture of Sherlock Holmes and it encompasses every mental image I have when I hear his name. The hat and pipe are undeniably Holmes and are instantly associated with him. The fact that he is holding a magnifying glass and looking at a small statue imparts he is looking for the smallest clues. Throughout my life, any story or movie about Sherlock Holmes always notices the smallest of clues. These clues, so easily missed by others, are always what places him on the correct path to finding what he is looking for. It’s this same attention to detail that always held my interest; seeing what others don’t. I refer to myself as an observationist, as I can usually find the details leading to an overall conclusion.






Vampires and Painters: Schalken’s Painter

I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but because there’s not a very direct explanation of what has taken place concerning Rose’s marriage can leave some unsatisfied. It’s up to us to determine what happened. By her reappearing, being ravenous with hunger and in a state of hysteria, we can deduce that she is starved and mentally broken by what’s taken place. The fact that her neck is concealed could represent that she has been bitten and her behavior is that of a woman in her final hours. This helps correlate the ideas of vampirism and arranged marriages because the vampire is a master over those under his charm and, just like a wife belonging to her husband during the Victorian era, controls their connections with the outside world and what she may reveal to others. I liked the ending of the story as it was ghostly and left the reader wanting more.


“The Body Snatcher”

Stevenson’s story The Body Snatcher was incredibly macabre, creepy, and suspenseful.  Throughout the story he builds upon suspense through the use of urgency such as Fettes instant sobriety at the mention of Wolfe Macfarlane’s name. Cryptic statements such as when he describes Fettes’ encounter with Macfarlane where he asks”Have you seen it?” only further the suspense and prepare for the narrators words that leave us shaken by it’s revelation.  One of the most shocking parts is when Fettes realizes murder is being committed to provide the cadavers as Jane Galbraith is delivered and he knew she was healthy having seen her the day before. The fact that Stevenson used inspiration from real events and even alluded to those involved in the Burke and Hare murders (Mr K— instead of Dr Know) made the story seem all to real and  undeniably human relateable. The use of rain and darkness is used to cast doubt on what it is real and what is possibly imagined. Overall, it’s been one of the best readings thus far.



Hastings from the Beach: No day at the beach at all.

In the photograph “Hastings from the Beach”, the women appeared to be wearing dresses. While I have no frame of reference of what it’s like to swim wearing a garment that covers one from the neck to the ankle, I can only assume it would be a burden to do so especially since I’ve only either worn a pair of shorts or nothing at all. In no way could it have been relaxing even though Jane Austen seemed to find it wonderful to sea bathe.I can’t really determine the time of year by the picture, but I am assuming it would be the summer months, making a dress even more uncomfortable and impracticable . One can’t help but feel sorry for these ladies as they used the bath houses and wore way too much clothing for the beach. My heart really goes out to the men as they did not get to witness the same beautiful scenery that we enjoy today. 😉


P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb

From what I read about freak shows in the Victorian age, the most popular and profitable was a young man named Tom Thumb presented by P.T. Barnum. Thumb was only five, but Barnum said he was eleven. Standing at only 25 inches and weighing 15 pounds, Tom was able to make a decent living as one of Barnum’s attractions. Originally from America and legally named Charles Stratton, Barnum billed him as “General Tom Thumb” and dressed him in military style uniforms. He performed for Queen Victoria herself and she became one of his fans. I’m sure Tom wasn’t happy being an spectacle, but earned around the modern day equivalent of 4300 dollars a week! Eventually, Thumb would return to New York and marry a fellow dwarf, so all ended well for him which seemed to be a rare end for a Victorian tale.Deformities and such are actually pretty rare these due to modern medicine, but if one person could’ve been in a Victorian freak show from today’s modern age; Andre the Giant would have fit in quite well. Andre made his fame as a professional wrestler and actor,eventually passing away in 1993.