Saturday, December 13, 2014

The awful, awful truth about Clyde the turtle.

Anyone who follows CBS's Elementary with any interest at all knows it's cast of characters and their Canonical tie-ins well. There's Mr. Elementary, the man who uses the same first and last names as Sherlock Holmes. There's Joan Watson, who shares a last name with John H. Watson, M.D. There's Captain Gregson, getting his last name from Inspector Gregson. And Detective Bell, an obvious tribute to Joe Bell, Conan Doyle's instructor and inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

Fifth in the list of Elementary's players is Clyde the turtle, who appears to have no connection to the original Sherlock Holmes stories whatsoever. This has always baffled me, as, given the producers of Elementary's loyal following of the source material for inspiration, one would think that even though he's a reptile with no empathy toward the show's human characters, he would also have some tie to the real Sherlock Holmes.

Well, in researching something completely different today, Clyde's connection finally appeared to me . . . and brace yourselves . . . it is not pleasant.

You can't go looking for the name "Clyde" in the lore of Sherlock Holmes, as he's not one of those "in name only" sort of characters. You can't go looking for turtles in the tales, either. Turtles just didn't move fast enough for the original adventures. In fact, if you're looking for Clyde in the Canon Holmes, you have to look at one of the slowest points of the Victorian age: the person of Mr. Mycroft Holmes.

Just head for "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter," where you'll find the words:

"Mycroft took snuff from a tortoise-shell box, and brushed away the wandering grains from his coat front with a large, red silk handkerchief."

Oh, Clyde, poor Clyde . . . it seems like the wrong Holmes brother got to you first in Victorian London.

That scene of Canonical Mycroft getting into Clyde's shell is even more shocking that when CBS Mycroft got into Watson's knickers. At least the latter wasn't just using his brother's friend for snuff storage.

Three seasons into CBS's Elementary, I am probably the last Sherlockian to make this horrific discovery, and I appreciate that you wiser and kinder Sherlockians out there have been keeping this awful, awful truth from me all this time.

I'll be sure to eat some salad in your memory tonight, Clyde of the Canon. Ye left us far too soon.


  1. Clyde, oh Clyde, where hath yee gone? This blog has inspired me to go out and turtle wax my car, as soon as I finish my bowl of turtle soup. I had better hurry so I don't miss the start of the Maryland Terrapins hoop game - if I'm lucky, Clyde 'the Glide' Frazier will be calling the game and dropping his colorful Clyde-isms.

  2. This is my favorite of yours so far. Thanks.

  3. Wait, are you saying Clyde = Mycroft, or just Mycroft's snuff box? 'Cause I'll go for the former; he certainly has more in common with Mycroft Holmes than Mr. Elementary's brother. IMHO, at least.


  4. Don't you think it's more likely the inspiration was the river Clyde in Doyle's homeland?

  5. I stumbled acrossed this looking for how Clyde was acquired by Sherlock. How fun that Elementary has a cult following! It's not just me! I absolutely LOVE the show. Hi Mom!