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.
Barefoot on Baker Street is now published. Here are some of the ways you can order it.
* Tomorrow: The Red Headed League goes under the spotlight.