Okay, so not quite Beloved.
The other day I was visiting my parents, who happened to have a copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; much more inspiring for Christmas reading. One “yoink” later…
Holmes is fascinating in general. He’s one of those characters that has infused the collective psyche to a huge extent, even though most people probably haven’t read any of the original stories. It’s interesting to compare the character as he appears in the books with how he is viewed by the collective unconscious (or, say, Guy Ritchie), as well as discover who Irene Adler actually is.
(And, of course, anyone who knows anything at all about the original stories knows that deerstalkers and “Elementary, my dear Watson” make no appearance whatsoever.)
The stories are slightly different to expectations as well – unlike, say, Agatha Christie’s stories, they are not “mysteries” in the usual sense of the genre. The reader is not given sufficient information to be able to come to the same conclusions as the detective, instead it seems to be designed so that the reader, like Watson himself (who is often the narrator) is left in awe of Holmes’ superior intellect. Mind you, this may have been what the mystery genre was like back then, and it wasn’t until Christie that the audience had a chance to work it out themselves. If memory serves, the genre started with Edgar Allen Poe so I might have to look up The Murders in the Rue Morgue sometime.
Oh, and incidentally, Merry Christmas to all, and I hope it’s a loving, joyful, and peaceful time for you.