Monday, November 24, 2014

Wilma Norman-Neruda never made me laugh.

As much as I sometimes give folks grief for their love of William Gillette, an actor they had never seen perform . . . soon to change, I know . . . I do have a certain fondness for a musician that I've never heard play.

I wrote a chapter about her in my long-ago book Sherlock and the Ladies, and an internet bit on her, among other things. Her name is Wilma Norman-Neruda, she played the violin, and I like her a lot for one simple reason: She was the one woman who could make Sherlock Holmes carol away like a lark. You'll find her in A Study in Scarlet, Holmes's very first public appearance, so a love of Norman-Neruda has been a part of Holmes's character from day one.

Norman-Neruda was an amazing woman, raising two sons while keeping up with the touring schedule of a professional violinist -- and arranging her own concert dates. When she set up shop in London, she became a beloved fixture of the music scene there, so how could Holmes not admire her?

But here's the thing about Wilma Norman-Neruda . . . she never made me laugh.

Which is completely different from the featured artists on this past week's episode of Elementary, listened to . . . perhaps not for pleasure . . . by the consulting detective of that drama. The groups of artists in question go by the names "Carcass" and "Goatwhore." (Sounds a bit like a wacky buddy cop team, doesn't it? "I'm Carcass, HE'S Goatwhore!") They're both death metal bands and the episode also had a character named "Chuck Schuldiner," after the father the the death metal genre, whose band was aptly named "Death."

Well, one can't fault the death metal folks their theatrics, especially since another of Holmes's favorite violinists, Paganini, had a whole "Satan's violinist" thing going for him. (Yeah, the devil was into music way before rock n' roll.) But names that evoke roadkill and barnyard prostitution just make the thirteen-year-old in me giggle a little bit.

Unlike Wilma Norman-Neruda. Thumbs up to her for that.  


  1. Thanks for this; I'll go check out the links.

    But, um, you might want to check the spelling on the title of the post.


  2. Thanks, Korina! Either it was late at night or I was subconsciously comparing my fondness for Wilma and (W)lima beans.