Monday, December 26, 2016

The Sherlock and the unreadable book.

There are those Sherlock Holmes related gifts you talk about, and there are those that remain unmentioned, yet have the certain . . . potential.

'Tis the season for the family and friends to sometimes kindly tip their non-deerstalker caps to their local Holmes fan with special gift or two. One could say knowing a fan makes the gift-giving easier . . . which it can, if there are so many specialty items out there that no one could already own them all, as stands our current Sherlockian state. Or one could put it down to a remembrance that "Hey, not as big a fan as you, but Sherlock Holmes is still cool."

In any case, gifts.

This year brought a couple nice surprises my way, and an interesting juxtaposition of gifts at that.

One, from a particularly clever nephew and his particularly clever family, was a wooden puzzle box called "The Sherlock." Containing fifty-two different problems to solve, the puzzle box's instructions explain it thus: "Fire up your keen sense of observation and unlock your superior Sherlockian mind to crack the mysterious case of the wooden puzzle like a true detective. Just pick a challenge card, examine every nook and cranny of the indicated rods, eliminate the impossible, and strategically fit them into the cube until they lock into place."

Though heavy on the spatial dynamics, "The Sherlock," indeed, does come as close to replicating a case for Sherlock Holmes in a wooden puzzle as I've seen. Presented with a number of facts in the form of wooden pieces with the knowledge that somehow they all fit together to make sense of the whole, powers of observation, deduction, and eliminating the impossible all do come into play. In fact, I would say there is more Sherlockian method used in solving "The Sherlock" than in the larger share of latter-day Sherlock Holmes stories out there. I've already decided I'm going to have to ration out the fifty-two challenges (pity it wasn't fifty-six or sixty!) to make the enjoyment last.

And while "The Sherlock" was a lovely gift for running your mind around, its counterpoint was the present I got for the Sherlockian who wants to use no brain power at all, and, in fact, wants to use their head in that lazy, lazy fashion of Sherlock Holmes when bored and not on a case: The Olde Book Pillow from ThinkGeek, an edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes filled with stuffing instead of words.

There are a few unreadable editions from the Canon out there: the plastic chew-toy version of The Hound of the Baskervilles for dogs comes quickly to mind, as does one segment of an end table designed to look like a stack of books. But this fluffy tome might be just the voodoo to fill your head with dreams of Holmes and Watson, t'were you inclined to nap on its nicely done covers.

I hope that didn't sound too much like ad copy, but reporting upon the new Sherlock bits post-holiday is probably a Sherlockian blogger standard . . . if there are enough of us to have a standard . . . and there probably are, out there on Tumblr, somewhere, but . . . oh, well, time to get some rest.

I think it's time for pillow Sherlock over puzzle Sherlock. Hope the holidays were kind and spared you from the ritual sacrifice of your village or town, and maybe even saw a nice Sherlockian item or two as well.

Rocket Raccoon declares war on the other
Christmas presents.

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