“You have been reading the papers diligently of late, have you not?”
“It looks like it,” said I ruefully, pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. “I have had nothing else to do.”
“It is fortunate, for you will perhaps be able to post me up. I read nothing except the criminal news and the agony column. The latter is always instructive.”
Ah, Holmes and Watson … Every week, I look forward to reading a new adventure as part of this current buddy read, and every week I look forward to meeting up with our two guys at No. 221B.
This week, I was particularly interested because this is another story that I mostly remember from the Granada TV adaptations. In this one, Holmes was haunted by a recurring nightmare … it was all very “dramatic”.
Having read this week’s instalment, I was a little disappointed that the actual story is very, very simple – no dungeons, no nightmare, no woman in black, and most of all … no horrible, villainous baddie.
In fact, the story is really quite straight-forward – a bride disappears at the wedding reception and the husband engages Holmes to find her, which he does. In fact, in the original story the bride is probably the most inconsiderate character of the piece.
Still, there is some fun to be had with this story, too.
For one, we have banter – both between Holmes and Watson and between Holmes and his client. Holmes is yet again not impressed with his client’s status. This always makes for a fun setting. (Remember his exchanges with the King of Bohemia?)
The other is that I think ACD himself may have been poking a lot of fun at the aristocracy:
For example: In this story, ACD creates the Duke of Balmoral as a character – a highly powerful and, yet, severely impoverished chap (who also features in another story in the canon).
Of course, in real life, there is no Duke of Balmoral. This is not altogether surprising as ACD would have made up any characters – especially members of the aristocracy.