Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's still a weakness

When I was a kid, about 10 years old, I was absolutely set on crime stories. I even sneaked into the sections for older kids and grown-ups in the public library in order to find more things to read. And one of the basics for me was everything about Sherlock Holmes I could find.

Years have passed and even though I still like to read crime stories and thrillers, I thought I was over this classic. I'm wrong, obviously, as I have a 'digital book' with all "Sherlock Holmes" short stories and novels on my hard disk - and a couple of the movies as well. Currently it's "Das Halsband des Todes", a German-British production from the late sixties with Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes. And the first volume of a collection of very old movies (the ones with Basil Rathbone), which I bought today. There are twelve movies altogether, so I guess there's going to be three volumes.

I always tried to get them on video while they were shown on TV, but unfortunately they're usually shown at the ZDF and that's not a very reliable broadcasting station. I usually ended up with having about 15 to 20 minutes of something different and about 15 to 20 minutes missing at the end of the movies - and that's annoying. This way I've not only gotten the whole movie in high quality, I also get both the German and the English version. That's great.

I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by Sherlock Holmes, as I'm more some kind of 'empathic' Miss Maple when it comes to solving crimes. I like to get into the mind of a criminal and solve the crime from this point of view, the "I can see from your movements that you've been a sailor"-style of Sherlock Holmes is not my cup of tea. I'm not that logical myself and I doubt anybody else really is - except for Mr. Spock and Data from "Star Trek", of course. (It surely isn't a coincidence that Data likes to play Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck of the Enterprise ... as an android with a perfectly logical computer brain he's absolutely suited for this role.)

But somehow the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has created the character and written the stories (which are much, much, much better than his historical novels - they're dreadful) makes them timeless. They may be set in the Victorian age, but that doesn't mean that in the times of cell phones and the internet they're no longer interesting.

I think I'll always have a weak point for Sherlock Holmes; the stories, the movies, the character as a such. It's one of the essential things I've ever read (like the novels to the first "Star Wars"-movies - episode 4-6 - or "Dracula"). I don't write my crime stories the way Doyle would write them, as I like the psychological side of crime, but that doesn't mean Sherlock Holmes didn't teach me anything about solving a crime. The ideal detective for me is someone with a sharp intellect and a strong empathy. That's the kind of character I try to write whenever I pin down a story myself.

I don't always succeed, but then, who does? Even Sherlock Holmes couldn't solve all problems...

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