Laurie R. King Virtual Book Club discussion

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Archived VBC Selections > March 2012 - "The Three Garridebs"

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message 1: by Vicki (last edited Mar 02, 2012 09:14AM) (new)

Vicki (vickivanv) | 282 comments Mod
Welcome to the discussion of our March selection, the classic Sherlock Holmes story "The Three Garridebs" by Arthur Conan Doyle. Read it for free at http://www.artintheblood.com/text/3ga... and jump on into the discussion!

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments Ok, let's get this discussion going! First of all, I think this is one of my favourite canon stories. A bizarre plot and a sentimental moment that goes down in literary history!

I love the opening to this story, it is so unlike the opening of any other canon story that it immediately grabs your attention, 'It may have been a comedy, or it may have been a tragedy. It cost one man his reason, it cost me a blood-letting, and it cost yet another man the penalties of the law. Yet there was certainly an element of comedy. Well, you shall judge for yourselves.' So unlike the Watson voice that we're so used to hearing, any story that doesn't start' It was a rainy night in Baker Street...' and you've got to be on to a winner.

There are also some gems of lines like, 'Mr. Holmes? he asked, glancing from one to the other. 'Ah, yes! Your pictures are not unlike you, sir, if I may say so. I believe you have had a letter from my namesake, Mr. Nathan Garrideb, have you not?' Oooo, what pictures and where from?? Interesting....

Also Holmes saying the line 'Just ring him up, Watson' is worth reading in itself! The plot is different to a conventional canon story and I suppose my main discussion point would be do we like this? Holmes here is more of a modern man than he is a Victorian, in my eyes in this story, he is moving away from the fog of 1895 and into the murky depths of the 20th Century. Which Holmes do we prefer and why?

There are lots of English/American comparisons in this story too, 'Bad English, good American?' How is each race portrayed? Is Holmes a good Englishman or would he make a better American? ;-)

Also the scene where Watson is shot is memorable for many things, not least Holmes' reaction. Is this the Holmes we know or a stranger? Is this the reaction we expected or should Holmes have remained detached?

The ending is also rather abrupt and we are robbed of the quiet Holmesian reflections we are used to, does this add something to the story or do we feel robbed of a convention? All in all, 'The Three Garridebs' is an interesting and perplexing Holmes story, it is unusual in it's set up and contains one of the most revelatory moments in Sherlock Holmes' life...so....what do we think???


message 3: by Camilla (new)

Camilla | 68 comments I'm far more familiar with Kanon Holmes than with Canon Holmes. To me, this is *our* Holmes. His reaction to Holmes getting shot is the reaction I would have expected - first keep cool and sort out the villain, then, and only then, allow himself to display emotion.

I'd not heard of this story before now. I wonder what story John Garrideb would have come with had Nathan Garrideb's name been Brown or Smith...

Overall, I enjoyed it. Great fun, and the Holmes I know and love.


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments I'm far more Canon than Kanon. King's Holmes is perhaps drawn from the Later Canon Holmes. For me this story represents a move away from the Holmes of say, 'A Scandal in Bohemia'...


message 5: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments There are only two stories in the canon from Holmes' POV, but you're right I think a little more length would have help as it does seem a little rushed at the end, but I think that is part of what makes this story, and the canon so interesting, that Holmes is very much seen through Watson's eyes.


message 6: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
I am slowly working my way through the Canon stories, so I skipped ahead a bit to read this one. Honestly, as someone who is reading Canon for the first time, I just don't get where Holmes got the reputation for being a cold emotionless thinking machine. He's expressive, funny, and thoughtful in every story and we see concern for others by his actions and dedication to justice. So to me this is the same Holmes who is in all the stories, which when taken as a whole, paints a broader view of one man.

I liked Watson's nonchalance when Holmes tells him that the case is more dangerous than he first thought and then Holmes doesn't even bother trying to talk him out of it because he says, "I should know my Watson by now".

This was a complex mystery told in a very short story and that is pretty impressive. I love the quirky plot that ACD thought up for this one: an eccentric pack rat who never leaves his house.


message 7: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1078 comments I thought this story (published 1924) was a little lazy on ACD's part, because the plot device is fundamentally the same as in "The Red-Headed League"(published 1891): An unscrupulous criminal takes advantage of an honest man's gullibility so the crook can get the honest man out of his house, in order to propel a scheme involving third parties. In REDH it's to rob a bank; in 3GAR it's to find the printing press and counterfeit banknotes. The Holmes/Watson interplay was nice, but I didn't think it one of the better stories.


message 8: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments I had a similar reaction as Lenore but originally I read this story because of Amy's love of the scene where Holmes says "You've shot my Watson!" (Or something close to it, I don't have the story at hand!). I read it for that scene and was sad it was so brief but I was getting used to Holmes' meeting out emotion in little dibs and dabs if at all. Still I am willing to be that that demonstration of his true depth of affection was the entire reason for the story. ACD was giving us a bone...


message 9: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments I think I'm probably not as critical of ACD as I should be! I think because I started with canon I'm a lot more forgiving of ACD's weaker stories. I agree that Holmes does come across as a thoughtful individual, but I think there is always that distance between him and his cases that led to the cold, machine like reputation that he has, I think ACD portrays Holmes as almost a workaholic, and the people in his cases are very much a secondary concern...


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments Unless you're Watson of course and I think this story is the first where Holmes shows such outspoken concern for Watson, in previous stories, the affection between them is very much implied rather than overtly written...


message 11: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments Amy,
I am not saying I didn't read at Three Garridebs with relish. There's always enough good stuff in any ACD story to keep me listening but you do start to notice once you've gotten that far. I did notice that quite often Holmes seems to be more of a diagnostician when he looks at a case. Sometimes though, he does show emotion in a very touching way. I can not remember names of stories, I am such a newb...Remember the story of the young woman who had to cut her hair to take a job? He was very concerned for her. And I thought he was very emotionally involved in the case of the poor Greek man who was being starved to death...
Jennifer


message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments I agree he does show concern and indeed emotion, but only at the time the case is happening, after that, he pretty much couldn't care less what happens to his clients and I think maybe that's where the rep comes from??


message 13: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments Isn't there any precedent for him having concern after a case? Again, I can't remember exactly but didn't the young lady write to him after the incident or something? I don't want to imbue Holmes with characteristics that he doesn't exhibit, but sometimes it seems that Watson was interested, whenever possible, in giving Holmes' compassionate side some press.


message 14: by Steve (new)

Steve Jen wrote: "I had a similar reaction as Lenore but originally I read this story because of Amy's love of the scene where Holmes says "You've shot my Watson!" (Or something close to it, I don't have the story a..."

Hey, at least we know where LRK got Holmes' usage of phrasing like "My Russell..." in Kanon: It's in Canon.


message 15: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments Yes, and where was "My Russell?" I am a hopeless romantic (in the broad sense of the term...) and love to see sentiment expressed and fortunately my favorite authors dole it out in little dibs and dabs so the whole thing doesn't become maudlin...


message 16: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Just because it's not in a narrative, doesn't mean it doesn't exist, IMO. I mean we know that he sat in on a lot of court cases and stuff but Canon never details it, so he must have had some interaction with his clients afterwards. But there are plenty of examples in Canon of his concern showing through that goes beyond the thrill of the chase.

In the Second Stain he goes out of his way to protect the wife and save her marriage. Someone mentioned the Copper Beeches where he's anxious about the girl and confesses that it's not a situation that he'd like to see a sister of his in. There is one story (I forget which one) where he threatens to horsewhip a man for mistreating a woman. In Illustrious Client he makes an emotional plea to Violet, who he admits he thought of as his own daughter, in an attempt to dissuade her from marrying the Baron. At the end of the Veiled Lodger he takes an extra moment to talk the woman out of suicide. And of course his reaction at finding the woman tied to the post in Hound of Baskervilles.

I could go on and on, but I think my favorite is in the Sussex Vampire when he shakes the baby's little hand and talks to him. You can tell a lot about someone based on how they interact with children, especially babies.


message 17: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments I guess I start over listening to the stories! You've put me to a great shame Sabrina! You know your Holmes! I know of these things but couldn't pull them all together with names and so many good details. While Holmes will never be warm and fuzzy, he does have considerable humanity....


message 18: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Jen wrote: "I guess I start over listening to the stories! You've put me to a great shame Sabrina! You know your Holmes! I know of these things but couldn't pull them all together with names and so many good d..."

Oh, no Jen, that wasn't my intention. I decided to read Canon after reading Kanon to see what the original Holmes was like and I fully expected him to be the 'cold calculating machine' that I've heard so much about. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found out the stories weren't dry and boring as I expected, but more along the lines of Jeremy Brett's portrayal and Kanon.

Really, Holmes' reputation is just mind-boggling to me and that's probably why I noticed all those little details. I mean really... the man GIGGLES at one point in Canon. I don't know maybe Watson thought Holmes was all logic because he wasn't checking out every woman that entered their office like Watson was.

Can anyone think of an instance in Canon where they thought that Holmes was absolutely cold and ruthless to someone who wasn't a criminal or suspect? Maybe I am too biased.


message 19: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments "To the man who loves art for its own sake," remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, "It is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes celebres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province."


message 20: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments From the Copper Beeches (which is the woman who takes up a post he would not like to see his own sister take, he also says;
'Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales.'


message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments 'As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems.' From the end of 'The Copper Beeches'


message 22: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments Holmes is brilliant and he lacks social skills to some degree. At the very least, he demonstrates a distinct inability to attach to many people (almost any people). I wonder if he could have some sort of identifiable problem. I say this because others who've created Sherlock-like characters seem to have run with this idea. Think of Monk. He's brilliant but afflicted. He's my best example actually...
Jennifer


message 23: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments Possibly, I've heard that theory batted around before. I'm not sure if he wasn't just 'of his time' and the modern mind set can't quite understand his asexuality and social detachment, whereas it was quite normal back then. I don't know enough about conditions such as aspergers or autism to comment on those with any authority but that was the suggestion I'd read about Holmes, not sure I buy it however...


message 24: by John (new)

John (jtb1951) | 549 comments Mod
We interrupt this program for a special announcement: :-) I would like to invite everyone to try out the test ninjapost VBC site, found here: http://vbc.laurierking.com/. It is getting some good early reviews! And now back to your regularly scheduled program!

John.


message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments What does everyone else think of the Holmes as 'cold and calculating' or is Holmes full of emotion? Does this story prove it? What in the Canon - if anything - proves it?


message 26: by Steve (last edited Mar 13, 2012 09:23AM) (new)

Steve Amy wrote: "What does everyone else think of the Holmes as 'cold and calculating' or is Holmes full of emotion? Does this story prove it? What in the Canon - if anything - proves it?"

I've always viewed Holmes as having tightly controlled emotions rather than being passionless. This was probably not something that would have seemed like anything but a positive by most Englishmen and women in ACD's day. Certain unusual events, such as his Watson getting shot, can overpower even Holmes' iron control.


message 27: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1078 comments I'm with Steve here, and further, I think many of us still think that having tightly controlled emotions is a positive for any profession that requires factfinding and analysis. Controlled emotions are not the same as a lack of empathy.


message 28: by Steve (last edited Mar 13, 2012 10:57AM) (new)

Steve Lenore wrote: "I'm with Steve here, and further, I think many of us still think that having tightly controlled emotions is a positive for any profession that requires factfinding and analysis. Controlled emotion..."

Adam Dalgliesh, the PD James detective we were discussing, is very much the same way in the TV adaptations. He refuses to act emotionally even when he is being deliberately provoked. It can make him seem very cold, but then you find out through the series that he is a well respected poet as well as detective.


message 29: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments I think that the fight to control one's emotions and behave in a logical, rational fashion pretty much sum up the conflict in my favorite stories and films. Think of it. In the 3rd Sherlock of the first season, after all the mystery has been solved, it's Sherlock discovering that John is the latest of Moriarty's mouthpieces that provides the emotional "highpoint." After the resolution, Sherlock demonstrates the depth of his feeling for John by telling him "it was good. That thing you did." He can not find the words for it, there's such a fight in his own mind and heart on how to approach gratitude and friendship. And that's one of the things that makes that particular "Sherlock" so intriguing...


message 30: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments Is that sort of response a purely Sherlock thing though? Is that what made him so appealing to a Victorian audience? His aloofness and his detachment are what draws us to him in a weird way?? Is that part of his everlasting appeal, that we will never know Holmes' heart so we can imagine what he's feeling without knowing because perhaps if he was more open to the reader we would soon lose interest. Right or barking up the wrong tree?


message 31: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments In a world where far too many people are willing to tell us every little thought running in their heads, someone who keeps his cards close to the vest is automatically more interesting. I know that we are going to see (the uninitiated of us on the other side of the water...)more this second series but I think it's the hope that he's more like us than he lets on, that he does feel more than he shows and the waiting to see some of that, any of that, is part of the mystique. We want him to have feelings and emotion but we are drawn to his utter control...I don't know if that's a universal Sherlock thing or just this particular one. I tell you, when he and John finished their run around the streets and ended back at 221B, the smile he gave John when the cane was returned, that was another one of those little glimpses that keep you wondering, waiting...


message 32: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments Amy wrote: "From the Copper Beeches (which is the woman who takes up a post he would not like to see his own sister take, he also says;
'Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather t..."


"Interest" in this case is probably meant to be ROMANTIC interest!


message 33: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments Oh drat-I quoted the wrong post there-it was supposed to be the one where Watson said Holmes took no more interest in Miss Violet after the case finished...I don't think this site and I get along.


message 34: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments It's ok! I haven't quite figured out how to do quotes yet either! I agree though, I do think Watson meant manifested no further ROMANTIC interest in her which disspointed him, but I think Holmes manifests no further interest of ANY kind once he's done with a case...


message 35: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "It's ok! I haven't quite figured out how to do quotes yet either! I agree though, I do think Watson meant manifested no further ROMANTIC interest in her which disspointed him, but I think Holmes ma..."

Really though, that's not uncommon today. Doctors, policemen, firefighters, and really anyone who aids another in a professional way doesn't usually keep in touch with their clients once they move on with their lives. I think they still care about their clients, but it's considered a good thing when their clients don't need them anymore.

I think it's impossible to say if he did keep in touch with some clients or not, since the stories only offer narrow slices of his life. Isn't there a theory that he met Mrs. Hudson through a case involving her son? I forget which story it was.


message 36: by Caryn (new)

Caryn (cstardancer) | 19 comments I am late to the party, having just joined yesterday and read story today. You've pretty well covered my reactions to this one. I thought the plot was too obviously anticipated. I like Holmes to be ahead of me, but I did very much appreciate his reaction to Watson's wound, and Watson's description. Rather abrupt ending, as has been mentioned.


message 37: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments That's true Sabrina, I suppose I never thought of it like that. I think of Holmes as more of an intelligent eccentric, than a cold fish! And this story displays that he is human and cares deeply for people. Maybe we have some bad film adaptations to blame for this misconception? After all I never found Basil Rathbone's Holmes to be cold, merely suave and intelligent.


message 38: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1078 comments I certainly don't find Jeremy Brett's interpretation cold!


message 39: by Caryn (new)

Caryn (cstardancer) | 19 comments I agree that neither Jeremy Brett nor Basil Rathbone's interpretations seemed cold to me. In fact, they expressed subtle humor, especially with their eyes and in the wit of Sherlock's observations.


message 40: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Yes, Caryn, I love all the emotion in Jeremy Brett's eyes.

And Amy, I don't know what the cause of the cold perception is. I haven't watched Basil Rathbone's interpretations for years. Every time I go to re-watch them I get irritated with the way Watson is portrayed. But I do agree with Steves' earlier comment about Holmes having tightly controlled emotions. Of course no wants to turn to someone for help who overreacts and panics in a crisis situation!


message 41: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments I know this is stereotypical, but as much as women wish men understood and talked about their emotions, Holmes wouldn't be half as interesting if he were a sharer. He's an enigma, and when he does show emotion, however brief or controlled, it's exciting.


message 42: by Caryn (new)

Caryn (cstardancer) | 19 comments I also think this is a more historically and culturally accurate portrayal of how educated people comported themselves in the past. Even as recently as my youth, post-World War II people kept their emotions more closely guarded than they do in modern times, and I understand this would be truer in England than it was in the United States. My grandparents and great-grandparents were particularly judicious in social interactions, and this seemed to me to be the social norm. As a character who utilized detachment as a clarifying observational technique, Holmes would certainly seem somewhat aloof. I know that when I am attempting to untangle motives and correctly deduce event chronology, even in a current social discourse or particularly in a dispute, I attempt to step back from the emotional action to clarify my thinking and formulate my response. Holmes is a quintessential archetype of this viewpoint.


message 43: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments Formality, reserve, a feeling of presenting a person of substance, yes, that was part of life. Now it's "Call me Barb, please!" the first time you meet someone. It's as if a small amount of reserve is to be eschewed. I still call many of my son's scoutmasters "Mr." rather than assume familiarity. And I have a hard time calling older ladies by their first names even though it's always assumed that is normal. I do understand what you are getting at, and I believe perhaps there'd be fewer hurt feelings and more clarity of action if we did carry our cards a little closer to the vest at least at times!


message 44: by Caryn (new)

Caryn (cstardancer) | 19 comments I am so aware of this prior social convention because I rebelled against it so much as I was growing up. I thought the keeping of silence and reservation of emotional connection was one of the biggest problems of emotional well-being. I am so much happier with the relative openness we have achieved as a society ...
BUT for current times I think detachment is a virtue specifically in terms of deductive reasoning.

However, when I read historically-based fiction I truly appreciate authors who reflect these qualities respective to the time period. It is one of the attributes I have so admired in Laurie R. King's Russell novels. Of course ACD is a novelist from the period, so it would have been more effortless for him to describe those social conventions. I simply wonder if, when current readers describe Sherlock as "cold," they are less comfortable traveling to that historical social climate and so equate detached observation with being coldly aloof? I am going to have to re-read in order to refresh my memory as to ACD's comments about the quality of Sherlock's reserve. It has been too long, except for the reading of Garridebs. Anyone who is or has recently read them?


message 45: by Caryn (new)

Caryn (cstardancer) | 19 comments Jen wrote: "Formality, reserve, a feeling of presenting a person of substance, yes, that was part of life. Now it's "Call me Barb, please!" the first time you meet someone. It's as if a small amount of reserve..."

And, oh yes, I do also agree that "perhaps there would be fewer hurt feelings and more clarity of action if we did carry our cards a little closer to the vest, at least at times." Well said.


message 46: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments I agree, I think it's so easy now with social media to forget that a little formality doesn't hurt, and in many ways manners have been lost with younger generations. I have always called my next door neighbour 'Aunty' but I would never dream of calling her by her Christian name! I always call older men or women Mr or Mrs unless otherwise instructed! So yes, I agree with you all I do think Holmes is a passionate and caring man but ultimately a product of his time.


message 47: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments Amy!
You'd be proud! I served such a great tea the other day! It wasn't British proper, no scones, but it was good! I made crab cakes with a creamy spicey sauce, seasoned french fries, fresh cantelope (delicious!) and a bracing cup of tea!


message 48: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments Yay! I am proud! We're doing a tea party for the Queen's jubilee in June so I'll have to post some pics!


message 49: by Jen LD (new)

Jen LD (jenld) | 420 comments The Queen's jubilee is going to be a big deal! I can't wait to see it all. My mom thinks the Queen has the best hats! We all enjoyed the wedding immensely too. I think Harry will have to have a rock star wedding at the rate he's going. You know, the cutaway dress with lots of leg...And some amazing band doing the music...


message 50: by Amy (new)

Amy Perry (amy_perry) | 201 comments It feels like it's been going ages over here! All I care about is having a day off work! ;-) I do like Harry though, I think he'd make someone a lovely husband now he's matured a bit.


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