Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer of Sherlock: The Three Garridebs

We're coming to the latter end of June at this point in the summer cases, and what do we find Sherlock Holmes doing in 1902?

Spending several days in bed. I don't know about you, but when I think of spending a leisurely day in bed, I'm usually thinking of cooler months, when one can cocoon or nest in a bunch of blankets. But we grown used to air conditioning, and having a nice lie-down on a hot summer day when the air isn't moving probably felt pretty good, even to a fellow with as little body fat as Holmes.

Of course, it must not be that hot out as this case progresses, because Watson refers to it as "twilight of a lovely spring evening" when they go to visit Nathan Garrideb. And even in June, one does get the occasional spring-like evening.

All weather aside, the summertime nature of "Three Garridebs" shines through to me in that we see, almost metaphorically, Sherlock emerging from his man cave to do what people do in the summer: meet new and interesting people. Unlike the cases it gets compared to, like "Red-headed League" and "Stock-broker's Clerk," "Three Garridebs" is about one man's search for connection. Sure, it takes a the promise of cash to spur him to it, but Nathan Garrideb is out looking to find a rare kinsman. Sherlock Holmes is out to catch a rare criminal. And "friend Lestrade" even gets a visit.

And boy, do we get interesting folks in this story!  John Garrideb is like Mr. Canon Composite of 1902. He's a combo Moriarty/Mycroft in one alias (Morecroft). James Ryder and James WIndibank (James Winter). And a forger named Evans and any one of a dozen hardened killers ("Killer" Evans). Oddly, among a host of murderers that Holmes and Watson encountered, Killer is the only one referred to as a "killer." Too American for British murderers, I guess.

If Killer Evans isn't interesting enough, what about Nathan Garrideb, the one true Garrideb? He's one of those people in the Canon like Dr. Barnicot of "Six Napoleons" who seem a lot like he would be a Sherlockian in the modern day. He's haunting Christie's and Sotheby's for whatever little thing he can afford, indexing and labelling his pieces, and generally studying as he acquires. Of course, there's always someone who's going to shout, "NERD!" at such a fellow, and here we get "boob of a bug hunter."

There is so much cleverness, odd references to old Holmes cases, and a crime that's only the stepping stone to a greater crime in "Three Garridebs," that one would really wonder, were it not explicitly 1902, if Professor Moriarty was back in London. Were there to be a sequel to this tale, one could almost imagine all the morning newspapers mysteriously having the same front page: a large engraving of Moriarty's face looking straight at the reader with the headline: "Did you miss me?"

Ah, but that wasn't Doyle, was it? Yet as much fun as there is to be had in "Three Garridebs," that little touch might not have been out of place.

No comments:

Post a Comment