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A Professor Reflects on Sherlock Holmes


A Professor Reflects on Sherlock Holmes
Marino C. Alvarez, Ed.D, BSI

a book review by Phillip K. Jones

Type of material: Softcover book Publisher: MX Publications, London
Year: 2012
Author: Marino C. Alvarez

Review: This book is a collection of articles on Sherlockian matters by a true Sherlockian scholar. It includes a variety of subjects and formats and is liberally spiced with the unobtrusive dry humor that is typical of Professor Alvarez. The only
consistent theme in this book is that of scholarship. Professor Alvarez documents everything. Because of that attention to detail, readers may take him a bit seriously and think they are reading class presentations or detailed redactions of dusty volumes from the back of the Library stacks. Don’t make that mistake. These are intensely personal observations by a Sherlockian with a true love for the Canonical tales, the Great Detective, the Good Doctor and the man behind it all, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The “Essays” segment includes short studies in Sherlockiana. “Simplifying Complexity in Sherlock Holmes Stories” gives guidelines for new readers of the Canon, things to look for and keys to the “Sherlockian” viewpoint. “Sherlock Holmes and Educating” provides clues to Holmes’s world. It gives “facts” from the Canon about Holmes, his skills and interests and it asks readers to educate themselves using the Canonical tales as a guide to the world of Sherlock Holmes. “Dr. Watson vs. Sherlock Holmes’s Writing Style” looks at the several different modes in which the tales were written and applies standard literary analysis techniques to them, with modest results. “Sherlock Holmes Encounters Three Professors” examines the three professors who appear actively in the Canon. “Sherlock Holmes as College Professor” examines what the Canon tells us about Holmes and concludes that he had many of the characteristics needed by an effective educator.

In “A Call to Academia” Holmes is offered a Professorship at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, after his retirement from detective work. This article points out his qualifications and his general suitability for this position. “Sherlock Holmes as Detective and Scientist” examines how Holmes applies the Scientific Method in his investigations and the advances that have been made since his time. It is followed by several appendices that are cited in the various articles. “The Valley of Fear: Three Missing Words” examines, and explains the differences between the English and American Publications of VALL and does quite a good job of it too. “The Stock-Broker’s Clerk: Parallels and Parodies” examines and explains similar themes that occur in STOC and in other Canonical tales, specifically REDH, 3GAR and NORW. “Thumb-less in Eyford” examines some logic problems that appear in “The Engineer’s Thumb.” Professor Alvarez offers explanations and gives earlier views expressed in these matters by other Sherlockians.

“Sherlock Holmes Revealed in Art” examines the “artistic” side of Holmes. It concentrates on a painting by Eric Conklin done in the “trompe L’oeil” style. With no Art experience, I couldn’t understand what was said and the picture in the book is too dark to see details. “Sherlock Holmes, American Football and Schenectady” relates an incident during a lecture tour made by Holmes and Watson to various American locations. As American Baseball arose from the English game of Cricket, so American Football grew out of British Rugby. Watson’s confusion about football provides a counterpoint of light relief to Holmes’s earnest explanations.

The “in the Footsteps” segment tells of trips the Professor Alvarez took and passes along his thoughts on the places visited. These included The Reichenbach and the nearby Trummelbach Falls as well as Trinity College and its Library. His conclusions involving Doyle’s mind and the two falls are compelling. His reflections on Trinity and its Library reveal the true nature of a bibliophile

The final segment, “Magic Squares and a Quinquain,” includes a basic Magic Squares coding/decoding sheet and a puzzle to be solved as well as the elements of unique poem form.

Reviewed May, 2014 by Philip K. Jones
Mr Jones has one of the largest database sites on the internet. Please access it here: Philip K Jones Database


Pursuing Sherlock Holmes

Bill Mason, BSI


The influence of Sherlock Holmes can be found throughout the cultural landscape. From the Three Little Pigs to the ancient poetry of Horace, from John Wayne to Macbeth, from the sultry moves of Madonna to the theories of Sigmund Freud, the stories about the greatest of detectives link to just about any subject or situation.

In Pursuing Sherlock Holmes, Bill Mason
uncovers seething sex in The Hound of the Baskervilles, observes Professor Moriarty through the eyes of Generation X, reveals a hidden "formula of death," explains the mystic effect of colors on the mind of Sherlock Holmes, exposes Conan Doyle's "theft" of the plot of Dracula, resurrects ten compelling characters from their graves, and visits the mind of Sherlock Holmes to find his true thoughts about romantic love. This collection of innovative essays, stories and even poetry approaches Sherlock Holmes from a thoroughly unique perspective that combines humor with literature and classic tales with familiar aspects of modern culture."

Table of Contents

1   Young Adventures and Old Cases
2   Trailblazers in the World of Ideas: Sherlock Holmes and the Poets Laureate
3   My Arrangement with Mr. Holmes by Mrs. Neville St. Clair
4   Sightings at Twilight
5   A Chill on the Moor: Sex and Sadism in The Hound of the Baskervilles
6   Horror of the Hound
7   The Rule of Three: The Significance of Sherlockian Trios
8   Deeper Shades: The Dressing-Gowns of Sherlock Holmes and the Psychology of Color
9   Leading with the Chin Careful Considerations Concerning Canonical Chins
10   Dr. Sterndale, the African Explorer
11   A Tale from the Crypt: Unearthing Dracula in "The Illustrious Client"
12   A Musical Toast to Nathan Garrideb
13   Between the Lines: Thoughts on Sherlock Holmes and Two Remarkable Women
14   Dead? Not Hardly!

Contact Bill Mason BillEMason@aol.com 
Signed copies are available directly from him at $24.00 (hard cover) and $16.00 (soft cover), postpaid in the USA only, and sent media rate. You can send check or money order to: Bill Mason, 2367 Lights Chapel Road, Greenbrier, TN 37073

Scholar Posts Menu
A Visit to the Museum of London Sherlock Holmes Exhibit
/ Filed 6 April, 2015 /
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Cipher
/ Filed February, 2015 /
Footprints Along the Paths / Filed August, 2011 /
Scholar Posts: Holmes as Knight-Errant / Filed September, 2011 /
Pursuing Sherlock Holmes / Filed October, 2011 /

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