Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to check out repeatedly when you were a Child.
So there are lots of books I used to read over and over again as a child.
But there is another book(s) that I used to read over and over, Sherlock Holmes short stories.
As I have mentioned before, I grew up reading the Great Illustrated Classics series and that introduced me to the character Sherlock Holmes. After I read one children’s’ collection, I read every short story there was about him written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I even read stories based on him, like the Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries, (which was like Choose Your Own Adventure), and I was a giant fan of Basil of Baker Street.
So yeah, I was obsessed.
I thought Sherlock Holmes was so cool and wanted to be like him.
The only thing I didn’t read were the Sherlock Holmes novels, I guess because my library didn’t have those available in children’s form. I actually didn’t read those until I was an adult.
I remember one day we were traveling somewhere and were listening to Sherlock Holmes on tape; and I was the only one in the car who had read the ones being read before hearing them on cassette. It was weird as a child to think I knew something my parents didn’t.
So there are a lot of stories to choose from and of course I don’t have the time to talk bout them all. In fact out of all the stories I remember the most, they are from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, so I choose that collection over any other.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
So I will only pick three stories: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man With the Twisted Lip, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.
A Scandal in Bohemia
So many have probably read this story, seen the Sherlock version (which I hated), or heard of it.
A Bohemian Prince comes to Sherlock, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement had sent letters and a photograph with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.
Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!
This strange turn of events doesn’t prepare Sherlock for how things will turn out for him.
Sherlock continues on his plan, dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photo. He sees it as she goes to protect it; and thinks the case is finished, preparing to return the next morning before she leaves.
On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. People are always addressing him.
The next day the three men set out to retrieve the painting, and find Irene gone.
She left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “minister”, dressed up as a boy to research him, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes. Instead of allowing him to do his plan, she bests him by leaving that night instead of the next day.
She leaves the picture behind, as married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman. The only one that ever beat him.
The Man With the Twisted Lip
A wife is worried about her missing husband and calls upon Sherlock Holmes to help her. One day her husband was at work and she was walking down the street running an errand when she just happened to look up at a building and sees her husband!
He’s in a room above an opium den! And he is so scared!
She rushes up there as quick as she can but no husband, only a disgusting, deformed, dirty man.
She calls the police and as they investigate they discover his clothes in the river, blood in the room, but no body. They believe him to have killed her husband but they can’t figure out what happened to the body. For now he sits in a jail cell, with nothing being able to get him to talk or bath.
Sherlock is puzzled and looks into the history of the man, but there is little to be found. All he can find out is that he moved there and makes good money to care for his family.
Sherlock believes the husband has been killed, but then a letter turns up in his handwriting with his signet ring. Sherlock is stuck…
Until he goes to the bathroom and solves the case by looking at a bar of soap.
He goes to the jail where they are holding the man and force him to clean up, revealing that he is the husband.
It turned out that he used to be a reporter and went undercover to write a story about beggars. He was a great actor and did so well at doing nothing, he ended up making more money that way than being the reporter.
He continued this lifestyle, hoping to never be found out and was surprised to find his wife; reacting quickly and not thinking of his actions. Sherlock makes him stop the begging as it is against the law, and another case solved.
Ever since I read that story every time I see people beg, this story comes back to me. He made more money begging than working? It just shocked me and makes me wonder if people today are like that guy in the story.
The Adventures of the Copper Beeches
Violet Hunter goes to Sherlock Holmes for advice about whether or not she should take a position as a governess They are willing to pay her £120, but she has to get her hair cut short. It seems odd as her previous position only paid £48.
Nothing else seems amiss so Violet takes the job, Sherlock telling her to telegram him if they need anything.
After a fortnight (14 days), Sherlock gets a telegram. Things have gotten weirder since she started working at the house. They have her sit in the window wearing an electric blue dress and have her back to the window. After doing this for a while she hides a mirror in her handkerchief and sees a man staring up at her through the window.
The child she is supposed to care for is a psychopath
There is a mastiff that is always hungry and let out at night, keeping Violet from being able to leave in the evening.
She also comes upon a drawer with her her hair in it!
But it turns out to not be her hair but someone elses.
And then there is the mysterious wing that they can’t go in.
One day she sneaks in and she a shadow…
It freaks her out so she hurriedly leaves and gets away as soon as she can to post the telegram.
Sherlock arrives with Watson in tow and the two investigate. It appears that the family has been hiding someone away. As Sherlock studies everything, he comes to the conclusion that the family’s daughter is the one they are hiding. They chose Violet because she could pass for the daughter and used her to get rid of the daughter’s fiancé.
They look in the room, but the daughter is missing. The father, Mr. Rucastle, gets angry at them and sets the dog out after him. The dog has been starved more than usual and kills Mr. Rucastle.
Afterwards, they find the daughter, Alice, and her fiancé. It turns out that when Alice came of age she came into money from her mother’s will. The father was trying to get the money, but when the daughter wouldn’t give it she became sick with brain fever.
As thought earlier, he hired Violet to pretend to be Alice and get rid of him. After this experience all go their separate ways, with Violet later becoming a principal of a girls’ school.
I liked this one because it was really creepy. The child is horrid, and the rest so mysterious.
So those are just three out of the many wonderful Sherlock Holmes stories. If you haven’t read them, you should get started immediately. They are sure to wow you at every turn. And if you have read them already, they are always worth another read; no matter how many times you do it!
To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451
For the previous post, go to Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind
For more Sherlock Holmes, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try
For more Oscar Wilde quotes, go to When You Least Expect It
Today’s Christmas Carol is Away in a Manger.
It was first published in 1883, and has stayed a popular carol since. Many attributed it to Martin Luther as being the writer, but that was discredited a long time ago. We don’t know who read it, but I’m sure Arthur Coan Doyle heard it so I thought it would be the perfect pairing with this book.
I love this song, as like the book reviewed, it was a big part of my childhood. It was probably the first Christmas Carol I ever learned and is one I sing every year.
The artist I choose was Bing Crosby, I just can’t get enough of him.
For more Bing Crosby, go to The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)
For more Christmas Carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas