Through the Looking Glass Literary Tag - Day 3 "Mystery and the Detectives"

Friday, 4 July 2014

I did not really expect this party to extend this long over the past month (we're in July, folks, and it is freezing over here in Australia!), however it has been really something special to interact with everyone, and see all of your participation in your lovely posts - getting to know what you love most in your favourite books, movies within those genres. :) If I seem negligent in commenting on your tag-posts, or even responding to some of the comments left on Fullness of Joy blog itself, please forgive me - running this tag week is a little bit hectic, what with coming up with the questions and then answering them in a post as well, after a long school day and staying up late to write. It has not run quite the way I expected it, but I hope to catch up with you all and respond to the lovely comments and your amazing posts as soon as this party is done - which will hopefully end this weekend *hopefully*; and then we can pick the winners =).

On that note, it is still not too late to join in this tag-party! While we've already covered the "historical classics" and "fantasy" genre, there are still around three more days left to the event, and you can most definitely pick and choose your favourite tags to join in with, if you are too busy to join in every single one =). Here is how you can join in and have fun with this party: copy the tag questions and respond to the questions on your own blog, making it all uniquely your own! Then, to add to the life of things, via the linky pool in each tag post, have fun mingling, visiting each other's blogs and getting to know one another better! Also don't forget to enter the literary giveaway - for more details, check out the first post in the Through the Looking Glass Literary Tag Party.
Today's theme-tag is on the genre of mystery and detective fiction, with a big focus on Sherlock Holmes ('cause he is my favourite, sorry, everyone!). If you have a fancy for this genre in anyway, please join in! 
- Mystery and the Detectives Tag
"Elementary, my dear Watson"
(the questions, and my response)

1. How many Sherlock Holmes "books" have you read? (They are: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes).
 As a little back story - I first read a Sherlock Holmes story round about the time I was 13 or 14 I believe. . . my Dad had grown up as boy very fond of those stories, and once every now and then he'd come up with a quote from the books, or mention the "killing off" of the detective that the Conan Doyle (a doctor who wasn't a great success at his medical practice) wrote because he was jealous of his character's popularity (Imagine that!!) Anyway, I started reading an old copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which I found lying dusty in the garage - probably the first stories I read were of "The Five Orange Pips", "The Man with Twisted Lip" and "A Case of Identity" and "The Blue Carbuncle". I read them with interest, and was captivated by the mystery of Sherlock Holmes and all. . . but being at that age where I could think of nothing but "girly" stories like Little Women and Little House on the Prairie, I found Sherlock Holmes simply too boyish for my taste! :D

Well, as it turned out, I found precious little "girly" books that I actually enjoyed, once I started reading them . . . *shakes head at Anne Shirley*, and most of them were simply too mushy for me to like back then, "ew, stop all that kissin' fluttering mushiness". . . So what books did I turn to? You guessed right! Mr. Sherlock Holmes was waiting patiently for me, and when I came back I realized that the books were not lacking in emotion and interest and emotional drama, but really intriguing and full of adventure; they also were a wonderful glimpse into Victorian way of life, and the moral culture of the era; then just about that time Sarah discovered for us the Granada 1980s tv series adaptions of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett, which are so beautifully accurate to the original cannon, and have such a gripping, "period-drama/Victorian" feel to the different episodes. I got hooked! Anyway, long story short. . . I have read all the Sherlock Holmes books, and enjoyed them all to varying degrees very much - my memory of each of the books is a little blurred though, and I should like to revisit them sometime, especially "The Valley of Fear" and "His Last Bow".
2. Let us set the records straight, shall we? How many Sherlock Holmes movie/tv adaptions have you watched, and which are/is your favourite(s)? SHOOT!
Right! Half a minute. . .
Granada 1980s "Sherlock Holmes" tv series with Jeremy Brett
This show is the most accurate Sherlock Holmes film/tv adaption in all cinematic history, with the best actor for Sherlock Holmes - and my personal favourite! If you don't know about this show, you seriously ought to check it out. . . . like now :). Here is a link to some of my favourite episodes on youtube: Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes Episodes)

BBC Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman
This show which is a modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective and what would Sherlock Holmes have done in the twenty-first century has some things that I really don't like in the sense of mature themes, a little violence and language (most of that can be skipped without too much drama, also we skip the first episode in season 2, and mute a big chunk from the second episode in season 3). It is also rather "modern" and a dramatic/thriller take on the classic Sherlock Holmes story, so it is not exactly everyone's cup of tea. I took a long time to really enjoy them - the best thing about the show though is the casting of Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Freeman as Watson; they do a phenominal job in their potrayels, and I love how well the writers and producers of this show have worked on the character development and friendship of those two characters, and they are so well acted - it is wonderful to watch. Also, they are exceptionally close to the books in characters, definitely not in plot though; to be honest, the plots are half-the-time extremely crazy, and dramatic, but they are a lot of fun too. So, my sisters and I do enjoy this show, but watch it with care. (This adaption has probably my favourite Watson portrayal!)
Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathborne
Basil Rathborne did capture something of Sherlock Holmes' character (the lighter side), and also the shows are done in the War era, so watching the episodes (as distant from the original books in story-line as possible) is a lot of fun, and as bonus a good way to research for my WW2 novel ;).  (Dr. Watson is a total buffoon in this one though, sadly!)

3. Have you read any of Agatha Christie's novels or watched any of the adaptions of her works? (Hercule Poirot,  Miss Marple, etc . . . ) If so, which of her books/stories is your favourite?
As it stands, I have read but one Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express, which was a Hercule Poirot - that was a great mystery, which I read in one sitting and enjoyed thoroughly (though it has a rather grim, almost grotesque climax to be sure). But I have watched quite a few Hercule Poirot episodes from the tv adaption with David Suchet (ahem, that, I am sure is not the right spelling, but hohum) - I can't quite recall which episodes they were, but I remember one with the Christmas pudding, bits with Hercule Poirot and his love of chocolate ;), and his companion (I forgot his name) turning out rather a ridiculous, foolish sort of fellow (I like Watson a thousand times more!); one really interesting episode was the one with an old lady and her cute dog and the ball at the stairs. . . yes, I definitely have enjoyed some of those stories :) However, sometime ago I watched the episode "ABC murder" which creeped me out something awful (what is this thing with the poor weak-minded fellow who thought he was a murderer? *shudders*), and I have not had the courage to revisit the series with another episode for a while now. However, I do plan on reading more of Agatha Christie's novels in the near future; I enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express a great deal.

 Monsieur Hercule Poirot exercising his little grey cells!

 David Suchet is perfect in the role, from his immaculately clipped moustache to his starched white spats :)

I don't believe, I have read or watched any of Agatha Christie's other mystery works, such as Miss Marple's.
4. Who is your most beloved detective in the history of mystery/detective fiction? Who would be your least favourite? 
Well, the first question is pretty obvious - Mr. Sherlock Holmes! <3 My least favourite? Hmm. I can't think. Probably. . . Lestrade? (but I like him for different reasons, - like he's the most annoyingly fun character to watch as he rubs salt with Holmes.)
5. What are your general sentiments regarding mystery fiction? Are you an avid reader, do you read it occasionally for fun, or do you try to avoid it? As a Christian, how much do you enjoy and appreciate this genre?
As a general rule, I read or watch mystery/detective stories for when I am in the mood of the occasional fun/relaxing story (because one can get an icky feeling from watching or reading too many murders and unpleasant sort of "criminal" tales. . . ), but Sherlock Holmes would be an exception to that rule I think - because it makes you think, especially where moral guidelines for actions, mercy vs. law and justice, and the administration of justice come to the forefront of your mind. Also this genre has a way of really bringing forth this whole theme and issue of justice, man's corrupt heart, and the possibility of redemption, grace and living a life redeemed from such darkness. . . I don't mind Sherlock Holmes just about any time!
6. What are some other books/movies of this genre which you have read/watched and enjoyed?
I have watched an old 1950s motion-picture movie featuring Father Brown from one of the books loosely based, and I have read at least one or two of G. K. Chesterton's detective stories. I have watched some episodes of Foyle's War, which I found really fascinating and interesting (but I am told not all of the later episodes are that good); there are the Tintin stories, which while fall into the children's adventure genre, is a wonderfully fun mystery series to watch and have fun with along with your family! 
I also like Enid Blyton's "Famous Five" novels - they are so English, and vintage and cozy fun to read! (this tv adaption is good too =).
7. Tell us which Sherlock Holmes story creeped you out/disturbed you the most? 
Uhm, there were a few, though mostly they creeped me out when I watched them (like Devil's Foot or The Hound of the Baskervilles). . . . but the story that totally creeped me out the first time I read it was The Cardboard Box. *shivers* That was one ghastly, disturbing story!
8. Do you generally prefer the mystery stories that brim over with dozens of suspects, and endless possibilities, or do you rather like it to contain an "unknown" suspect--one you would not have suspected? 
While the first can keep me in more suspense, I think I prefer the later :). The original Sherlock Holmes books have a big focus on that.
9. Is it more important for you to know - who "done 'it", or rather why that person did it?
Both are important to me, but I would say why always captivates me the most.
10. What would you do if you had committed a crime and knew Sherlock Holmes was hot on your trail?
I think I would wish to come straight clean, confess my crime and lay myself at his mercy - my chances might be better in his than in the police's hands! . . . but whether I would actually go through with it, in a criminal-guilty sense, I do not know.
11. Favourite clients in a Sherlock Holmes story? Favourite criminals in any mystery book/film you know?
Hmm. I liked the young lady from The Boscombe Valley Mystery, Alice Turner; Julia from The Speckled Band, and Violet Hunter from The Copper Beeches. Also Mary Moreston from A Sign of Four :). For the fellows, I liked the client from The Norwood Builder, The Crooked Man, and the fellow from Devil's Foot. (all coming Sherlock Holmes stories)
Worst favourite criminals . . . ?? I really can't remember them all, so I will say Moriarty and Charles Augustus Milverton are the worst criminals, and therefore my favourite. . . .OOH!!! NOW I REMEMBER! The criminal I hated the most in Sherlock Holmes would be Mr. Culverton Smith from The Dying Detective. . . UGH!

12. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. No contest there.
13. What are your favourite Sherlock Holmes stories?
There are many I really enjoy greatly, but probably: The Priory School, The Speckled Band, The Second Stain, The Norwood Builder, The Final Problem, The Empty House, Boscombe Valley Mystery and The Dying Detective are my favourite. The Sign of Four is my favourite "longer" story.
14. If you are a writer, would you write a mystery/detective story yourself (or maybe you already have; tell us about it!)
While I have never written a mystery or detective novel, I know almost all my stories so far have included major mystery subplots and places where characters have to deal with false charges laid out against them, presumed deaths, family feuds that have lots of mystery about them, etc. . . LOTS OF FUN! But I have a mind to write a proper mystery one day, maybe. Who knows?
15. What are five "mystery/detective" books you should like to read in the near future?
Father Brown Complete Collection - G. K. Chesterton
Hercule Poirot novels - Agatha Christie
The Famous Five (I have only read 1 out of the 12 novels) - Enid Blyton
The Secret Seven - Enid Blyton
Mrs. Meades Mystery Series - Elisabeth Grace Foley
Lord Peter Wimsey stories - Dorothy L. Sayers
Never - J. Grace Pennington
Moonstone - Wilki Collins
Anon, Sir, Anon - Rachel Heffington

That was more than five.
16. What do you think of private detectives who take the law into their own hands, (i.e. like when Sherlock Holmes allows a criminal to go free when he feels justice has been served, or the criminal was in the right?)
I think it really depends on the circumstances. . . sometimes, when Sherlock Holmes did that I have frowned just a little, especially in ones like The Master Blackmailer, etc. . . but at the same time, I think in an era where it was all justice and law to the letter, there was often place for mercy which only protection from the police could offer; and I appreciate very much that while Sherlock Holmes believes strongly in hunting down the criminals, and bringing justice. . . he has also a merciful, compassionate heart (buried deep down somewhere!). I guess I need to give it more thought.
17. Who are two of your favourite "side-kick" companions in detective mystery?
Dr. Watson! Dreadfully underrated, and sometimes made out to be a buffoon in some older tv adaptions, John Hamish Watson is a clever and courageous doctor and soldier; he's as good a friend as any could have, very loyal to Sherlock Holmes, but also very human and liable to irritation and feelings of being "snubbed" and angered by his eccentric friend; he does care for him so deeply though, and is constantly with him on his cases, helping him to solve crimes, (smoothing things out when Holmes is being downright obnoxious and rude) and aims to humanize Sherlock Holmes and make him a better person, while still liking him for who he was and being totally awed by his genius.

I also really liked Sam from Foyle's War :) She is really fun and sweet and I love how helpful she is to Foyle while giving him room to think things through.
18. Out of all the consulting detectives in fiction, who would you go to with the greatest faith that he could solve your problem?
I guess it would be Sherlock Holmes, though I greatly respect Hercule Poirot's powers as well :)
19. Do you think the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "killed off" Sherlock Holmes and brought him back was convincing enough? What is your opinion on the more modern takes on his supposed death?
While I sometimes think Watson jumped a little too quickly to the conclusion that Holmes was dead, and how he died, I believe on the whole the plotting, and emotions of the characters was very believable and realistic; also Sir Arthur Conan Doyle really wrote it in so well, achieving the emotion and shock without coming across as melodramatic. When I first watched the Jeremy Brett episodes "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House" I was totally gripped and moved by the way the story unfolded! While Reichenbach Falls in the new Sherlock tv show was very exciting and emotional, there was a little bit of the feeling that they were hyping up the storyline a bit too much. . . (though it is one of my favourite episodes, nonetheless in the show). The "resolution" of how he did in in the latest season did not quite satisfy me either. Or rather, the way they brought that scene of how he did it did not really make much sense in that episode. Anyways, I am still partial to the original!
20. Who is the definitive Sherlock Holmes portrayal for you, in all of cinematic history? Basil Rathborne, Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downing Jr . . .?
Oh, there is no question about this. Jeremy Brett is the definitive, classic/Victorian Sherlock Holmes, no debate about that please!! He played his role so brilliantly, so effectually - you get so lost in his character that you almost believe as you watch the episodes that Sherlock Holmes really existed once upon a time; also, I love how Brett can even move you to tears upon occasion with the way he masterfully grasped Holmes' character in certain scenes (The Priory School and The Second Stain are two such occasions). He really suffered for his brilliant performance though, poor chap - you can really see how sickly he became in the last episodes, but he still bravely included his "sickness" into Holmes' character and story that before I knew about the actor's illness I imagined the producers were simply portraying the "older" Holmes :).                  
For a "modern", younger, 21st-century Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch is quite brilliant and fun in the famous detective's hat, I believe ;). Every season makes his Holmes more likable, I cannot deny :).    
21. Are you fond of Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction?
In a sense, I believe half the movie and tv adaptions of Sherlock Holmes are essentially fan-fiction, so I guess you can say I actually do enjoy it. It is fun sometimes to imagine what Sherlock Holmes' personal life might have been like, growing up as a genius kid, his relationship with his brother Mycroft and his parents. . . fun stuff! But then, sometimes, I think fan-fiction can go too far, and become really ridiculous.
22. Who are your favourite mystery/detective authors apart from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie?
Well, I have not read many mystery authors yet, so I will rather say I am looking forward to reading more of G. K. Chesterton's mysteries, as well as Dorothy L. Sayers', Rachel Heffington's and Elisabeth Grace Foley's :). Ooh, and I always enjoy Enid Blyton's mystery stories.
23. Do you think Sherlock Holmes could have become as successful as he did without Dr. Watson? A lot is mentioned about how Dr. Watson tried to "temper" Holmes in his manners and eccentric habits, but how much do you think Holmes influenced Watson's life and character?
No, I actually do not think Sherlock Holmes could have become really successful or so famous without Dr. Watson; I doubt he even could have survived as long as he did without him, if only to save him from the wrath of clients insulted by his psychopathic incivility ;).
As to what Sherlock Holmes does to affect Watson, I suppose you could say watching the new Sherlock show really brought out that element in Watson's character and made me appreciate him all the more (in fact, for a full season and a-half I doggedly liked John and disliked Sherlock). But I really believe that Watson is a very brave, courageous man, used to war, and danger on the battlefield - when he comes home, I think he suffers from the dullness of normal London-life, and is almost craving for the blood-pounding sense of adventure that Sherlock Holmes constantly lives in; also because he is such a good doctor, he his mystified and amazed by the sheer talent of Holmes - he honestly sees a great man before him and wishes to be a part of his work; chronicling the cases they worked on together is an important part of his role, and he takes it seriously! While Holmes so often puts Watson in danger, I think he generally affects him all for the better :)
24. Which do you enjoy best: Eccentric/Psychopathic detectives, or "methodical/normal" detectives? 
I don't know if this tells anything about my tastes (I hope not!), but I like eccentric/Psychopathic detectives best, in the way Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot are - just because they are plain entertaining and unique and a lot of fun to read about and watch on the screen =).
25. Share a myth you once believed about Sherlock Holmes that you "disproved" when you actually read the books?
After searching with no result in the books as I read them, and after watching a documentary about Sherlock Holmes to prove it, I found out that that the famous "Elementary, my dear Watson" does not actually exist as a line from any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels - probably its origin springs from an early movie adaption; also, another myth I was rather baffled to disprove was that Sherlock Holmes never existed, and was actually the figment of an author's imagination. (Hello, did you all know that ?? *grins cheekily*

"Great minds think alike"
Now it is your turn to join in the tag! :)

1. How many Sherlock Holmes "books" have you read? (They are: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes)?
2. Let us set the records straight, shall we? How many Sherlock Holmes movie/tv adaptions have you watched, and which are/is your favourite(s)? SHOOT!
3. Have you read any of Agatha Christie's novels or watched any of the adaptions of her works? (Hercule Poirot,  Miss Marple, etc . . . ) If so, which of her books/stories is your favourite?
4. Who is your most beloved detective in the history of mystery/detective fiction? Who would be your least favourite? 
5. What are your general sentiments regarding mystery fiction? Are you an avid reader, do you read it occasionally for fun, or do you try to avoid it? As a Christian, how much do you enjoy and appreciate this genre?
6. What are some other books/movies of this genre which you have read/watched and enjoyed?
7. Tell us which Sherlock Holmes story creeped you out/disturbed you the most? 
8. Do you generally prefer the mystery stories that brim over with dozens of suspects, and endless possibilities, or do you rather like it to contain an "unknown" suspect--one you would not have suspected? 
9. Is it more important for you to know - who "done 'it", or rather why that person did it?
10. What would you do if you had committed a crime and knew Sherlock Holmes was hot on your trail?
11. Favourite "clients" in a Sherlock Holmes story? Favourite "criminals" in any mystery book/film you know?
12. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie?
13. What are your favourite Sherlock Holmes stories?
14. If you are a writer, would you write a mystery/detective story yourself (or maybe you already have; tell us about it!)
15. What are five "mystery/detective" books you should like to read in the near future?
16. What do you think of private detectives who take the law into their own hands, (i.e. like when Sherlock Holmes allows a criminal to go free when he feels justice has been served, or the criminal was in the right?)
17. Who are two of your favourite "side-kick" companions in detective mystery?
18. Out of all the consulting detectives in fiction, who would you go to with the greatest faith that he could solve your problem?
19. Do you think the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "killed off" Sherlock Holmes and brought him back was convincing enough? What is your opinion on the more modern takes on his supposed death?
20. Who is the definitive Sherlock Holmes portrayal for you, in all of cinematic history? Basil Rathborne, Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downing Jr . . .?
21. Are you fond of Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction?
22. Who are your favourite mystery/detective authors apart from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie?
23. Do you think Sherlock Holmes could have become as successful as he did without Dr. Watson? A lot is mentioned about how Dr. Watson tried to "temper" Holmes in his manners and eccentric habits, but how much do you think Holmes influenced Watson's life and character?
24. Which do you enjoy best: Eccentric/Psychopathic detectives, or "methodical/normal" detectives? 
25. Share a myth you once believed about Sherlock Holmes that you "disproved" when you actually read the books?

Enter the giveaway!

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2 sweet note(s):

  1. Ohhh...! I so wanted to do every tag of your lovey party, Joy, but I'm going to have to dip out on this one as I have not read Sherlock Holmes (though I've been meaning to fr a long time!). I have read about 4 or 5 Agatha Christie's, but I'm afraid it's not enough to go on.

    I had to chuckle to myself when I saw the picture of the Famous Five picture - we have the DVD set of that, and the theme song has a tendency to stick in your head... "We are the Fam-ous Five: Julian, Dick and Ann, George and Timmy the do-o-o-og." XDD

    Have a wonderful day, dear Joy, as you continue to live for our great and gracious King! :) <3 <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Emily, oh I know - it is totally okay if you miss this tag . . . but yes, you really should read Sherlock Holmes! The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a great way to "get into" the stories, and Jeremy Brett's potrayels in the 1980s adaption is very close to the books and very gripping so you can watch that on YouTube!

    *grins* Enid Blyton shows generally have very catching opening songs! Besides this Famous Five one, I also really love a TV show called 'The Adventure Series' which is a modern adaption of one of Blyton's series - it is a lot of fun! Aw, I love Timmy :). Gracie is a big fan of FF :D

    Thank you, dear sweet Emily! I pray that likewise you have a blessed day and stay close to our beloved Lord! <3 thanks for your sweet comment too - hopefully you might find the next tag a little more in line with what you have read :))

    ReplyDelete

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body..." ~Proverbs 16:24

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