“OCCASIONALLY TO EMBELLISH”
Some Writings on Sherlock Holmes
by Nicholas Utechin
Gasogene Books, 2012 ($18.95)
Format: Trade Paper
Review by Larry Jung
Do you care whether Sherlock Holmes attended Oxford or Cambridge?
Do you wonder how many wives Dr. John Watson had?
Have you tried to figure out the precise shape of Hurlstone from the clues given in “The Musgrave Ritual?”
If the answer is yes, then Nicholas Utechin’s little book of Sherlockian essays are for you. Utechin is a long-time and well-respected Sherlockian. For 30 years, he edited THE SHERLOCK HOLMES JOURNAL, the official publication of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. He is a member of the Baker Street Irregulars. He has collected twenty-three of his previously published essays in this little volume. The titles give an indication of the surprising variety topics to be mined in the original Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Hurlstone and The Ritual The precise shape of Hurlstone
The Tree That Wasn’t The problem of where Colonel Moran had to stand to shoot the Honorable Ronald Adair
The Colonel of the Matter The early career of Colonel Sabastian Moran
Copper Beech Behaviour Holmes illogical thought processes from start to finish
Moran and Adair: A Park Lane Mystery The real motive for tricking Colonel Moran to try to shoot Holmes
Some Remarkable Wines What wines Holmes enjoyed
The Watson Style Analyzing the opening sentences in the Holmes’s stories
Petrarch, Pockets, Prostitutes and Padua Why the intriguing choice of Petrarch for railway reading
There is an obvious sense of the author’s love for his subject and his extensive scholarship of things Holmes. It is all tongue-in-cheek fun. I heartily recommend this collection to both the budding Sherlockian and the veteran devotee of the Holmes’s adventures.
“You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.”
Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson