Monday, November 17, 2014

Anthony Horowitz Sherlock Holmes Short Story "The Three Monarchs" - Book Review

 Sherlock Holmes pastiche short story poster image screensaver wallpaper pic review recap blog

Having enjoyed Anthony Horowitz's previous Sherlock Holmes pastiche “The House of Silk, I had high expectations for his next effort. The book under review is not a full length novel, but a short story that makes a quick and a very enjoyable read.

Readers familiar with the Sherlock Holmes Canon will be familiar with the line spoken by Sherlock Holmes to Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade in The Adventure of the Six Napoleans: “You will remember, Watson, how the dreadful business of the Abernetty family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day..

This short story by Horowitz deals with this aforementioned incident.

Dr Watson has moved out of 221 B Baker Street with his recently married wife, Mary Morstan. Memories of his adventures with the Bohemian detective still haunt him. On Mary's advice, he pays a visit to the old rooms and most importantly, his former roommate and friend, Mr Sherlock Holmes.

He finds Holmes listening to a case from another Scotland Yard detective Athelney Jones. As readers might be aware, Athelney Jones has appeared in the novel The Sign of the Four.

Jones needs the Consulting Detective's help to solve the mystery behind the break in at the Abernetty's house. The intruder is shot dead by the elderly Abernetty.

The thief has stolen three china figures from the Abernettys and others. I will leave it to the readers to discover the solution for themselves.

Sherlock Holmes Sidney Paget illustration Arthur Conan Doyle story

The author is good at imitating Arthur Conan Doyle's tone and style of writing. Like most of the original stories, this one begins with Dr John Watson's voice.

Canonical References
1. Sherlock Holmes refers to the Trepoff murder - In A Scandal in Bohemia, Dr Watson states: “From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland.”

2. Holmes mentions the strange behavior of Dr Moore Agar - In The Adventure of the Devil's Foot, Dr Watson writes about Dr Agar: “In March of that year Dr. Moore Agar, of Harley Street, whose dramatic introduction to Holmes I may some day recount, gave positive injunctions that the famous private agent lay aside all his cases and surrender himself to complete rest if he wished to avert an absolute breakdown.”

3. The Abernettys have inherited their house from one Mrs Matilda Briggs - In The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, Sherlock Holmes explains: “Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson,...It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.”

Despite the brief length of the story, Sherlock Holmes' powers of observation and deduction are on full display. Credit to Horowitz for making this an enjoyable experience.

Recommended read for fans of Sherlock Holmes. 

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Image Source: Anthony Horowitz, HarperCollins Publishers

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Elementary Season 3 Episode 3 "Just a Regular Irregular" – Recap and Review

Elementary Sherlock Holmes Jonny Lee Miller in Season 3 Episode 3 Just a Regular Irregular

The episode opens with a quick refresher of the second episode of the second season, “Solve for X”. We had met Harlan Emple (Rich Sommer), the mathematician who was solving a mathematics puzzle being completely naked in the brownstone.

Harlan is back. He is playing a mathematics game “Belphegor's Prime” and encounters the corpse of a man over the course of the game. He calls 911 and is taken into custody as the main suspect.

At the brownstone, Kitty Winter (Ophelia Lovibond) is practicing single stick fighting. Yes, the people behind Elementary clearly love showing this over and over again.

Phil Simms guest stars as himself in Elementary Season 3 Episode 3 Just a Regular Irregular

There is a knife thrower in the apartment and Sherlock is taking his help in solving the mystery behind a circus accident in the 50s. This talented individual is none other than NFL Legend Phillip Simms playing himself.

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) offers a chance to Kitty to spy on one Keswick. Kitty claims to work only for Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and refuses to help Joan, despite being offered a share of Joan's commission.

Sherlock comes to Harlan's rescue and takes up the responsibility lf clearing his name. Harlan informs Sherlock that there were a total of nine competitors, including himself, in the game.

Harlan Emple Rich Sommer with Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 3 Just a Regular Irregular

One of the other players is Beka (Audrey Lynn Weston). She corrects Harlan that there were totally sixteen players. Next on the list is Paul Ladesma (Jacob Pitts). Paul explains about an anonymous mathematician who has been exposing government secrets.

Sherlock deduces that Harlan is the person Paul is after. I can go on with the rest of the plot, but this is the bottom line: This is hands down the weakest episode of the third season.

The mystery component was OK. The initial setup was interesting, but the rest of the episode did not live up the expectations.

The worst part was the handling of the conclusion. Readers familiar with Elementary know that the murderer/culprit is usually the character who is introduced and disappears shortly. By this rule, I had guessed the killer to be either Beka or Paul. 

Sherlock anonymously calls Paul and gives him Harlan's address. In the next scene (after the commercial break), we see Sherlock meeting Harlan at his place.

While Sherlock explains to Harlan, an unseen person is seen approaching. I was hoping that this person would turn out to be Beka. But it is none other than Paul, whom we just saw being contacted by Sherlock in the previous scene.

I was just dumbfounded by this revelation. What was the use of building up so much suspense when the resolution is so certifiably anti-climactic.

Joan Watson and Kitty Winter Sherlock Holmes new apprentice in CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 3 Just a Regular Irregular

The subplot has Joan patching things up with Kitty Winter. Readers might remember that Joan accosted Kitty and engaged her in a single stick fight in the first episode.

Though Kitty initially refuses to work on Joan's case, she agrees to do so on Sherlock's instruction. With Kitty's help, Joan is able to solve the case.

In addition, Joan suggests to Sherlock that he have Kitty admitted to some kind of counseling session. Kitty is revealed to be a rape victim. 

Kitty acknowledges Joan's help and starts attending counseling.

Acting wise, it is the same story. Lucy Liu as Joan Watson gives the best performance. Ophelia is adequate as Kitty Winter. She seems to be going through the motions.

Joan Watson Lucy Liu in CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 3 Just a Regular Irregular

Guest star Rich Sommer is good as the mathematician obsessed with solving puzzles. But his habit of going barechested is quite jarring. Speaking of which, he is not the only character to display male nudity. Joan's boyfriend Andrew Mittal (Raza Jaffrey) also goes shirtless after an unnecessary scene showing him and Joan in bed. 

It seems nudity is the norm when it comes to the recent Sherlock Holmes adaptations. In the first Guy Ritchie movie, both Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) both bare their skin. In the sequel, it is the turn of Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry).

Again in the BBC show Sherlock, Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Irene Adler (Lara Pulver) similary showed some skin.

The only difference being, unlike this show, the other two adaptations are much better in terms of production values, acting leads, music and pretty much every conceivable aspect. 

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Image Source: CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

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