56 stories in 56 days – A Scandal in Bohemia

I just don’t think Irene Adler did anywhere near enough to be the woman, writes Charlotte Anne Walters.

I’ve always had a problem with this story for that very reason.  All she did was have a liaison with the king of Bohemia (well ok, I suppose that’s not exactly an everyday sort of occurrence), keep a photo of the two of them and threaten to expose him when he dumps her for someone of more suitable birth.

Then, when Holmes gains entry into her house disguised as an injured clergyman, she realises that his sudden cries of “Fire!” are false just as she is about to retrieve the photo revealing it’s hiding place.  When Holmes returns the following day to get the photo, she has taken it and fled.  Well, surely that’s just common sense, not really outwitting him?

And besides, Watson makes it perfectly clear that, ‘It was not that (Holmes) felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler’.

The story is interesting in that Watson then goes on to explain that ‘All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind.’  This does indeed suggest that Holmes has never felt love, though certainly doesn’t rule out sexual experience in my opinion.   It does also add weight to the argument that Holmes may have had autistic tendencies, or possibly Asperger’s syndrome, as I believe a lack of emotion can be a symptom.   This is further reinforced by the line – ‘While Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul’.  Surely for a woman to capture his heart, she too must be emotionally complex and on the outskirts of society?

For a writer, the opening paragraph of A Scandal gives much inspiration and I certainly have examined such issues in Barefoot.  There is also mention in the second paragraph of Holmes’ use of cocaine, the drowsiness this gives him and the fierce energy of his own nature.  This supports the explanation I present in Barefoot that Holmes’ drug use is not to stimulate his mind but rather to quieten it, to subdue the compulsions to observe and the constant rush of mental process which is as much a blessing as a curse to him.

So much from just two paragraphs.  To be honest, for me, it all goes a bit downhill from there.

A Scandal in Bohemia scores – 5 out of 10.

Tell me I’m wrong by posting your comments below.

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* Tomorrow: The Red Headed League goes under the spotlight.

About barefootonbakerstreet

Author and senior recruitment manager from Shropshire
This entry was posted in 56 Sherlock Holmes stories in 56 days, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 56 stories in 56 days – A Scandal in Bohemia

  1. It is one of my personal favourites. The manner in which Holmes contrived to locate the incriminating photograph is quite clever in my opinion. As to Holmes mental state, he is, like many officers of the law today, so ensconced in his work, that he knows he must not allow emotion to cloud his judgement. Although I said he found emotions abhorrent, we know that men tend to subdue their emotions more than women. They still have them, they do not show them so readily as the social mores suggest it to be “not manly”. The main problem I have with SCAN is that Irene Adler has grown out of all proportion relative to others in the Canon and is frequently used to suggest that Holmes was either a mysogynist or had hidden desires (or both!).

    Best wishes, and keep up the good worK!

    • I too am so ensconced in my work at the moment that emotions are difficult – just ask my poor husband who hears about nothing except my novel and Sherlock Holmes. You are right, of course, that men don’t show their emotions in the same way as women. I do think though, as I continue to work my way through the stories, that Holmes’ emotional side will become more apparent. For example, I remember that he shows some surprising emotion in A Case of Identity which i’m sure I will be commenting on. Thanks for the support.

  2. Lefevre says:

    I do not believe for a moment that Holmes had the hots for her, rather, he felt an admiration for her abilities and her prowess, equating them to his own, somewhat (IMHO).
    Holmes obviously needs and is thankful for the challenge that she represents.
    Let’s face it, she is far more attractive than the ‘Hereditary Boor of Bohemia’.
    ‘The Woman’ predates the challenges that Moriarty is to give ‘The Detective’.

    The game is afoot, n’est pas?
    Lefevre

  3. Pingback: BBC’s Sherlock’s A Scandal in Belgravia – simply wow | Barefoot on Baker Street

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