DOING A LITTLE DETECTIVE WORK

Laura – For our D activity, we first thought of de-cluttering something – and believe me, there is always something that could fall into that category. But when our Movie Zoom discussion group posted their August film selections, I volunteered to facilitate the movie Mr. Holmes, about an aging, retired Sherlock Holmes. Naturally, that meant venturing into the world of DETECTIVES. I’ve always enjoyed a good mystery – and there is no better detective (or consulting detective as Sherlock calls himself) than the famous Sherlock Holmes. After doing my own “detective” work on Sherlock’s popularity, here are just a few of the interesting things I learned:

*Sherlock Holmes is the most well-known and popular detective ever. He’s appeared on screen 254 times (as of 2012) and has been played by over 75 actors.

*Sherlock Holmes books are the most widely circulated and translated books in the world, with the exception of the Bible.

*In a 2008 survey of British teenagers, 58% believed that Holmes was a real person.

*From the 1880s up until the present, people have written to him at 221B Baker Street, thinking that he was a real person. Since that wasn’t really an existing address, the letters went to the closest building – Abbey National Bank. They hired a secretary to answer all the letters that flowed in daily. Then when the Sherlock Holmes Museum was built, that privilege fell to their staff.

*Sherlock was using forensic methods long before they were used by investigators abroad or in the United States. Holmes used fingerprint analysis 11 years before Scotland Yard did. He solved crimes using ballistic evidence 15 years before that became a regular police procedure. Plus, blood, handwriting and footprint analysis were other areas in which Sherlock laid the groundwork. Truly amazing!

Barbara – After hearing about the letters sent to 221b Baker Street as though Sherlock Holmes was a real person, I was inspired and excited to write a letter myself just to see what kind of response I (hopefully) will get. The interesting thing is that while writing the letter I channeled my inner English woman and could almost feel like I was writing to the “real” Mr. Holmes. Here is what I posted (see what I mean; who says “post”?):

Dear Mr. Holmes,

I am writing to you in the hope that you may shed light on a delicate matter.

I live in a suburb of Dallas, TX with my sister. Since childhood I have been keeping a yearly diary which has of late become a leather journal. My sister has early on been warned that my diary is not to be read and until quite recently I had no reason to believe she was breaking this trust.

However, lately I have been getting a slight suspicion that she may be doing exactly that. Little things have bothered me: a door to my room slightly ajar, a knowing look on her face over our morning tea when I recounted a story of a college romance. I did confront her, but she denied seeing my journal and of course I had no evidence to point out to her.

That leads me to this letter. The other day when I retrieved my journal, a tan leather bound notebook, I noticed a discoloration on the bottom right hand corner of the leather, which also had a minty smell. Then upon looking inside at my last entry, there was a water stain on the page whereon I was waxing sentimental about the death of our dear mother.

Mr. Holmes, do you think anything in these two things could be the substance of clues to finally confront her with as proof of her betrayal of my trust? I know you are a busy man, but I am hoping you can take a moment to help me out.

Warm regards,

Barbara Katz

(So…do you think she’s guilty? We will let you know what Sherlock thinks.)

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2 Responses to DOING A LITTLE DETECTIVE WORK

  1. Karen Ondocsin says:

    Great D! Loved the movie, Mr. Holmes, in 2015 when it was released and again last week when I watched it a second time. I’m so sorry I could not join you for the discussion.

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