Reading suggestion:”A Scandal in Bohemia”

 You are just about to finish your course. Summer is around the corner, Why don’t you read something?

My suggestion is “A Scandal in Bohemia”, which illustrates perfectly how a detective’s story can be exciting and amazing without any violence.

 

Why “A Scandal in Bohemia”?

“A Scandal in Bohemia”was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget. This short story cycle  was preceded by two of novels— A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four —. Conan Doyle wrote four novels in total and several cycles of short stories.

The great detective has been accused of being misogynistic. In this story we can observe Holmes’s admiration by intelligent women. Conan Doyle shows his  character defeated by a woman’s wit, but he wasn’t in love, of course!

Here it is the beginning of the story: 

Irene Norton born Adler by Allen St. John

“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer–excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory”

 

 

The Plot

Holmes is visited by a masked gentleman introducing himself as Count Von Kramm, an agent for a wealthy client, but Holmes quickly deduces that he is in fact Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein, the hereditary King of Bohemia. The King admits this, tearing off his mask. (Actually, the Habsburg Emperors were also Kings of Bohemia and there was no separate dynasty; Doyle chose to place an imaginary king at an existing country, rather than create a whole imaginary country).

 

 

Holmes, Watson and the king of Bohemia.

 

The King is engaged to Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen, a young Scandinavian princess, but the King thinks she would have a very low opinion of him if any evidence of his former liaison with an opera singer named Irene Adler, originally from New Jersey, were ever revealed to them. Unfortunately, that is what the lady herself is threatening to do, apparently not, though, for monetary gain, for the King’s agents have already tried to buy the evidence. They have also broken into Miss Adler’s house to find it. The evidence of King’s affair is a photograph described to Holmes as a “cabinet”, and therefore too bulky for a lady to carry upon her person, showing both the King, then the Crown Prince, and Irene Adler. The King wants Holmes to recover the photograph for him. He gives Holmes £1,000 to cover any expenses. Holmes asks Dr. Watson to join him at 221B Baker Street at 3 o’clock the following afternoon. And …..

You can find the complete story if you click http://en.wikisource.org and  write ” A Scandal in Bohemia”.

 

 

 

 

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