Sunday, January 17, 2021

The height of Sherlockian scholarship

 There are those who seem to grasp the high art of Sherlockiana better than most, those with a vision that rises above the same-old, same-old. And even though they might be celebrated for some seemingly unrelated aspect of their personality, like their comic wit, there are deeper veins of gold running through their work which can go un-noticed.

I only bring this up because today is the release of the new monograph Was Sherlock Holmes an Elephant? by Paul Thomas Miller.

As a lucky beta reader of this work, I can give you an early review of this 56 page paperback and tell you this: It answers the question "Was Sherlock Holmes an Elephant?" -- a question never before asked in Sherlockian history -- as studiously and with as much detail as will ever be needed, perhaps more than was needed. It is both a ground-breaking and an authoritative work on the subject.

If you were wondering if Sherlock Holmes was a golfer, a Buddhist, an American, a dancer, or anything else, this is not the book for you. If you were wondering if he was an elephant, look no further. Here is the answer. And something more.

Am I going too far if I say this book encapsulates so much of what is the pure spirit of Sherlockian scholarship since its first inception with Knox, Morley, et al? Sometimes, it is in the simplest things, like Sherlock Holmes looking at a moss rose, where one sees all of Providence reflected in its full glory. And this simple work, this pondering upon a great detective and a great beast, might just be one such rose amidst our wild garden of Sherlockiana.

All this said, however, let's really not go on about it lest it go to Paul Thomas Miller's head. If we continue to tell him what a grand Sherlockian he is, he's apt to be stricken with the centipede's dilemma and lose all ability to do what he does. It is for we mere mortals to wonder at such accomplishments and dash our heads against the Canon for not have seen such revelations before.

So, was Sherlock Holmes an elephant? I'm not giving out spoilers. As with the best of Sherlockiana, it is the journey, and not the destination where we find the most rewards.

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