The UK Diaries Part 4: Baker Street

(I’m back with the UK Diaries, this time featuring Sherlock Holmes!)

For Sherlock Holmes fans, a visit to 221b Baker St. definitely goes on the itinerary. The world’s most famous address is home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and the Victorian apartment is protected by the government as a site of historical interest.

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Sherlock Holmes and Flippers, a.k.a. Who killed Czar?


Last Friday night, I saw the Sherlock Holmes movie at the mall with my sibs.

(Note to Czar, who is probably reading this: yes, despite all my protests I ended up watching the movie.)

I wasn’t all that keen on watching the movie from the very first time I saw the trailer, which seemed too Hollywood-ized to me, and a few minutes into Sherlock Holmes, I found that I wasn’t wrong on that note.

With the rabble-rousing tandem of Sherlock Holmes (when he’s not raving manically) and Watson, a load of bromance and flashy action sequences, and a plot worthy of a Dan Brown novel, the film is certainly entertaining, but it comes off more like Sherlock Holmes fan fic rather than an adaptation of the beloved classic.

But this entry isn’t really about the movie… It’s about what happened at the Flips Flipping Pages Christmas Party!

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a short novel about Christopher Boone, a 15-year old autistic boy, who one day finds his neighbor’s dog murdered, with a garden fork sticking out of it.

Because he loves puzzles (he is exceptionally gifted in Math), Christopher decides to solve the mystery of the murder (and write a book about it)… Except that he discovers more than he ever bargained for.

The book is a refreshing read because it’s told from the point of view of an autistic kid, and you get an insight into how Christopher’s mind works, how he deals with people, his emotions, and all his quirks. I actually thought it was a murder mystery, but it was more of a coming-of-age novel, revealing how an autistic boy deals with the different events in his life, and how he makes sense of the chaos using his own logic.

All in all, a very insightful read.

My copy: Vintage contemporaries mass market paperback, yet to be upgraded

My rating: 4/5 stars

The Patient’s Eyes by David Pirie

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite detectives (alongside Encyclopedia Brown, The Three Investigators’ Jupiter Jones and Nancy Drew). I was a big Sherlock Holmes fan when I was a kid, and I loved The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is why I got this book, because I thought it would be really interesting.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The first in the Murder Rooms trilogy, The Patient’s Eyes details how the young Arthur Conan Doyle was bored in med school and was all but ready to drop out when he met Dr. Joseph Bell (supposedly the real-life basis for Sherlock Holmes), a surgeon/teacher (moonlighting as the Edinburgh police’s secret weapon!) who took him on as his assistant (mostly to disprove his cynicism, making Doyle the actual Watson).

After a tragic loss (something which I feel would be explained in the succeeding books), Doyle moves away from Edinburgh to start over, shakily establishing the foundations of his medical practice. And then he meets a new patient, Heather Grace, who is suffering from an eye complaint, psychological trauma, and has a mystery stalker.

Fascinated by his new patient, he decides to call on Dr. Bell to help him solve the mystery terrorizing Heather Grace, before it’s too late… Who is trying to scare Heather Grace to death? The uncle with a massive collection of exotica (also her trustee)? The perpetually cheerful (or so it seems) almost-fiance? Or the unscrupulous doctor attracted to Heather Grace, who is smarting from Doyle’s “piracy” of his patient?

The novel skims over elements from the Sherlock Holmes stories, such as the Speckled Band, The Solitary Cyclist, and Wisteria Lodge. It’s a murder mystery that twists and turns with a lot of surprises, and really, at the end of the novel I was totally scared out of my wits that I shoved the book under the blanket because the cover was freaking me out.

Now, if only I can find copies of the two other books in the series…

My copy: trade paperback, from the Powerbooks bargain bin

My rating: 4/5 stars