Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A world without Sherlock Holmes -- 1881 - 1883.

When the creators of BBC Sherlock first decided to yank Sherlock and John forward in time to 2010, the general assumption by creators and viewers alike was that their whole world moved with them. Yet the history of their world remains much as ours. Clarke Russell didn't suddenly become a best-selling novelist signing books in Barnes and Noble. Brigham Young wasn't managing an upstart religion in Western America. And what of the lesser lights of our historical Canon? What if they were left behind in a world suddenly without a Victorian Sherlock Holmes.

Well, two fellows named Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson, sad to say, would still have died pretty much as they did in A Study in Scarlet. Their killer, Jefferson Hope, would have died from an aneurysm shortly after, too, though his killing was done in any case, with those two gone. The papers would have had one less story to print as other more sensational crime overtook the deaths of two foreigners no one cared about. The street urchins near Baker Street would have had to find other ways to get the occasional shilling . . . which would probably be the first pulse of a rising crime rate in London to come.

All in all, England of 1881 pretty much remains untouched by the absence of a neophyte detective named Sherlock Holmes. Reginald Musgrave might still be wandering around wondering what happened to his butler and just what that ancient family secret is. Life for the broken Trevor family certainly wouldn't have changed. But what of the others? Those who came later?

What of Helen Stoner, a.k.a. the First To Die Without Sherlock Holmes?

1883 marks the first casualty in a Victorian England without Mr. Sherlock Holmes. We can't blame BBC Sherlock for this one, as John H. Watson's blog lets us know that Helen was safely brought into the modern day with Sherlock and John in that universe. But in any other world without Holmes?

Kaput. Done. Gone. And that is even saying nothing of the victims of Grimesby Roylott who inevitably came after Helen, once he survived the night that took her life. Sure, he had the estate and finances that the death of the twins secured for him, but a man who is sees murder as an available means to an end does not usually stop after solving one problem with it.

Grimesby Roylott is the first ongoing issue in a world without Sherlock Holmes. But he's hardly going to be the last.

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