Tuesday, November 15, 2016
About Sixty: The Las Vegas finale begins!
Little did I realize, when I started pitting Sherlock Holmes story against Sherlock Holmes story with About Sixty: Why Every Sherlock Holmes Story Is The Best as the arena, that said venue would eventually be moving to Las Vegas, a city known for its spectacular prize fights. Of course, given the lack of a laptop and the non-lack of copious diversions, the transfer of my commentary from a pen-on-paper handwritten Moleskin notebook to the web also had to wait until I returned home. So, with that brief explanation, let the Battle Royale resume!
When the overlong intermission began, we had just finished seeing what the stories of The Return of Sherlock Holmes could do, and The Valley of Fear, the last of the novel competitors in this tournament, had just thrown its bulk into the fight. And while The Valley of Fear may have impressed some of the audience with it's one-two-part punch, the next tale coming to the ring has a one-two-part move as well!
"The Adventure of the Wisteria Lodge" gets first introduction in the last leg of the About Sixty Battle Royale with Mark Hanson doing the honors. "Wisteria" comes in ready to fight with that previously mentioned one-two of story chapters, and an actual detective dual between Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Baynes. Holmes gives it up early in this one, though, which doesn't help "Wisteria's" cause.
Were the stories of the previous book, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, a bit more of the "same old, same old" than the stories of His Last Bow? David Lewis inspires that thought as he brings "The Adventure of the Red Circle" down to the ring like a champ. When the first words of his announcement are "Beware, beware, beware, DANGER!" in both Italian and English, you know he's about to let "Red Circle" go for the throat.
David basically compliments you for being a true fan if you get "Red Circle," and you go, "Sure! I get 'Red Circle!'" He is probably the first story promoter to make me go, "I need to re-read this story NOW!" But did I bring a copy of the Canon to Las Vegas? No! About Sixty competitors must stand and fall on their champion's efforts in this arena.
And "The Adventure of the Red Circle" is standing proud!
Now, I want to be honest for a second. When I saw "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" on the program nest, I immediately starting booing. The story simply bores me. Julie McKuras, however, starts her spiel by giving the story a sort of "Miss Congeniality" award with "top of the 'high diplomacy and intrigue category," but I start booing that category. Julies's attempts to get "Bruce-Partington" to have the eye of the tiger is a noble one, but as the case brings out the failings of not one, but two Holmes brothers in their respective fields, no silk purse is happening here. Love ya, Julie, and all your other efforts, but "Bruce-Partington" exits the arena with me booing as loud as when it came in.
Maybe I'm just in a "morning-after" Vegas mood and the Advil hasn't kicked in yet.
Did you know that "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" takes place on my birthday? Well, few do, and Nancy Stott Jones is not among them. But her intro to "Dying Detective" still has me cheering as it enters the ring. Media bias seems to be in full swing on this particular morning of the About Sixty Battle Royale, but even with that said, Nancy's dressing Holmes up as Hamlet for this fight is a genius move.
The key to About Sixty success, I'm finding, often isn't warming our hearts with what we already know, it's showing us a new move from an old champion. We know "Dying Detective," but did we know how close to Hamlet this story was? Not me, and this "Dying Detective" isn't laying down during this fight.
Myself, on the other hand, is showing more wear and tear in Las Vegas and needing some rest before the next competitor is announced. Will this city of gamblers change the odds on how this tournament comes out? Will Nevada give A Study in Scarlet the needed edge as it's the only story that Nevada appears in?