Monday, March 14, 2016

Those OTHER Sherlock Holmes quotes.

We all know that Sherlock Holmes didn't really say, "Elementary, my dear Watson . . ."

. . . except that he did.

Maybe not in the original Doyle stories, but since then? Sherlock Holmes really said "Elementary, my dear Watson!" all over the frickin' place. I've heard him say it. You have, too. Sherlock Holmes says a whole lot of things outside of the original sixty tales. And somewhere along the line, "Elementary, my dear Watson!" became the most popular Sherlock Holmes quote.

And it wasn't written by Conan Doyle.

There are a lot of good quotes from Sherlock Holmes out there that weren't written by Conan Doyle. I stumbled across one as a Twitter meme the other day and had to backtrack it a bit to find it was in BBC Sherlock's "A Scandal in Belgravia."

"Sentiment is a chemical defect found in the losing side."

The scene that surrounds it is a lovely bit of writing by Steven Moffat, one of legions of writers to take on Holmes in the last century or so. And a lot of them have come up with some lovely original words for Holmes to utter, as in character as if Conan Doyle himself had penned them. We've seen many a quote book of Sherlock Holmes quotes written by Doyle, but those are easy to gather up. Gathering up all those other quotes from tens of thousands of other sources? That might take a little work, and be a job few have the determination to pull off. But the quotes are out there.

"I have a weakness for dawdling, the better to observe." (Gillette, 1916)

"Whatever Watson has found out, you'll know inevitably. I have unbounded confidence in his lack of discretion." (Blum/Drake, 1939)

"Well, Iscariot, you have delivered me into the hands of my enemies." (Meyer, 1974)

"You cannot help being a female, and I should be something of a fool were I to discount your talents merely because of their housing." (King, 1994)

"Indeed, as closing acts go, I'll allow the scenery is more than adequate." (Moore, 2000)

"My given name is Robert Sherlock Holmes. But who would ever remember a detective called Robert Holmes?" (Bales, 2010)

"Madame, this is a glorious hedgehog goulash." (Mulroney, 2011)

So many of them have unique qualities to the stories that surround them, to the talents of the writers behind them. But so many lovely quotes out there. Perhaps no one has gathered them up yet . . . such a thing takes time . . . and perhaps they have . . . and are ready to spring it on us at any moment.

In the meantime, it seems like occasionally wandering into the garden of Sherlocks to pick a few flowers could be kind of fun. Let me know if you gather up any good ones.


  1. My favorite of course is 'Hedgehog Goulash' RDJ.

  2. 'Elementary, my dear Watson' WAS used by A. Conan Doyle - Adrian - in one of his 'Exploits of S.H.' but even he did not originate it.

    1. They should change the song from "We Never Mention Aunt Clara" to "We Never Mention Spawn Conan."

  3. There's the famous "Quick, Watson, the needle." It apparently appeared in 'The Red Mill' (an opera) in 1906 according to this book: