Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

What’s Been Reading Me Out of [H]ouse and Holmes?

On the one hand, I feel a bit sheepish, glaikit and slow. On the other, I feel like a smuggins supersleuth. I get why House is called House, and I thought it up with my own brain.

It all began last week…

I was having a conversation about detective novels. We were discussing different detectives and their modes of detection, and where the reader stands in relation to the narrative and who the reader identifies with. My friend was describing the methods of detection in “The Hounds of he Baskervilles” – explaining to me how Watson narrates: we get his side of the story. Holmes prefers to stay in his quarters thinking, but will use Watson’s ramblings to come to his startlingly accurate conclusions.

All through the conversation I kept on saying, “That’s just like House and Wilson!” , “That’s just like House and Wilson!” And because I (literally) only watch House I began to worry a little that I have limited my frame of reference for ALL THINGS to House – and that’s a scary thought. (Disturbingly I have pretty much pigeonholed everyone I know as a Cuddy, House, Cameron, Chase, Foreman, Wilson, Kutner, Taub, 13… – plenty of character traits to go round!) (I’ve only seen the first six seasons. We have no cool channels and I have to wait for the boxed sets…).

Then I had my epiphany: Holmes. House. House and Holmes. Watson and Wilson. House and Wilson. Holmes and Watson.

Duh.

How obvious should that have been?

Then I discover that House lives at Holmes’ address! How could I miss this? I mean, I know he’s the Sherlock Holmes of medicine, but I didn’t realise that that was on purpose…

Then I realised how I could miss it. I have never read any Arthur Conan Doyle. I have never watched a Sherlock Holmes movie. All I know about the Holmes’ character is through spoofs and spin-offs and dodgy made up 1970’s children’s TV. (Not that it’s not all fiction…)

I am not well read enough! (Horrors!) All these intertextual references I could have been picking up on have been passing me by!

So, first stop today was the bookshop to get book number 1 in the series. “A Study In Scarlet”. And, as expected, House is in it:

“Nothing could exceed his energy when the working fit was upon him; but now and again a reaction would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the sitting room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night. On these occasions I have notices such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic…”

Phew. So I shall begin filling in this alarming gap in my knowledge. Who knows what else I have been missing!

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3 thoughts on “What’s Been Reading Me Out of [H]ouse and Holmes?

  1. Rickster on said:

    I have a book of all the Sherlock Holmes stories if you want to borrow it. Indefinitely, if you want.

  2. I hadn’t thought of it either and now reading your wonderful post, I was also hit with the
    Duh.
    I read the hounds of the baskervilles eons ago but my knowledge is also formed by t.v. Movies and early movies.

  3. Rickster on said:

    By the way, Study in scarlet may be the original Holmes story, but it is not typical, or indeed among the best.

    In my opinion, the third story collection ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ contains the best collection of stories. As far as the novels go, The Hound is over-rated but the Sign of Four is good.

    The recent Robert Downey Jr / Jude Law film is great fun, but isn’t the best place to start viewing the Holmes stories. Try the Jeremy Brett TV series, there’s an episode on ITV3 every Sunday evening… The early episodes are more faithful to the books, while the later series tended to take more liberties.

    I think I’ll stop now before I start sounding too much of a Holmes-geek.

    Oh. And the Clive Merrison radio plays are very good too.

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