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Wodehouse on Conan Doyle
June 10, 2014 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Wodehouse on Conan Doyle. I have noted before, while reading Right Ho, Jeeves, how much it draws from and parodies the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In fact, the whole book can be read as if Bertie Wooster is Sherlock Holmes, or at least that he imagines himself to be.

Don't overlook the links to sources at the bottom of the article.
posted by Wolfdog (25 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

This is just an attempt at a viral campaign to cast Hugh Laurie in a comedy version of Sherlock, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:13 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]

Hugh Laurie is already playing Sherlock.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:16 PM on June 10 [14 favorites]

This is especially funny because I just started watching Sherlock yesterday (I'm already halfway through it all), and, yes, the Freeman-Cumberbatch dynamic is very Jeeves-Wooster.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:18 PM on June 10

Oh my gosh, I had that exact edition of The Sign Of the Four as a kid! And darned if don't remember almost every line of the introduction. Been a fan of both A.C. and P.G. ever since.
posted by Erasmouse at 5:21 PM on June 10

Hugh Laurie is already playing Sherlock.

When I was teaching my Sherlock Holmes course this past semester, I pointed out to a couple of students who wanted to write about Sherlock or the Guy Ritchie films that they should watch House, because the House/Wilson relationship has influenced more recent versions of Holmes and Watson. "And besides," I observed, "House and Wilson are adaptations of Holmes and Watson."


ME: House = Holmes; House's address; John Watson = James Wilson; various other House/Holmes parallels...

posted by thomas j wise at 5:35 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

Yes, but he also played Bertie Wooster, which would make him perfect for a COMEDY version...

But then, I'd also like to see Brian Cranston do some comedy again (or at least some more fancy skating).
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:47 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Oh my gosh, I had that exact edition of The Sign Of the Four as a kid!

It looks like a Choose Your Own Adventure cover and if I stumbled upon that as a kid, I would have been devastated that I could not choose what Holmes would do next!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:56 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

I want a fictional universe where Holmes and Watson, Jeeves and Wooster - and Lord Peter D'eath Bredon Wimsey and Harriet Vane - collide.

But have we such a GENIUS writer among us, sharing this earth, breathing this air?

My doubt of it, alas, is high.
posted by droplet at 5:58 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Not a GENIUS writer by any stretch of the imagination, or particularly persistent one, but... Writing that would start me in at the event horizon of a crossover blackhole where my words would swirl in closer and closer until everything implodes and I decide that ambition is sitting languidly in front of a warm fire with a cherrywood pipe and bees buzzing around the back garden humming old television tunes in coordinated bee choruses.
posted by aroweofshale at 6:21 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Droplet--there was a piece of fan fiction I read some years ago called Green Ice that did cross over the Wimsey and Wooster universes, with a premise I thought was pretty neat.

It's written from Wooster's point of view, and he ends up mixed up in the Attenbury emeralds case, one of Lord Peter's. It turns out that Wimsey knew Wooster from Oxford and then WWI, but doesn't know that the effects of the war on Bertie have left him 1) ignorant/amnesiac of his wartime service, and 2) featherheaded in that Wooster way. It's a really interesting piece of work. Caveat, though: the author originally posted it and said 'this is the first half, I'll let you know when the second half is complete'--and I've never seen the second half anywhere. Still, I think it's pretty good, even though the ending isn't very solid as an ending.

No Holmes and Watson, though. Unless there's a cameo by two elderly gents that I overlooked...
posted by theatro at 6:22 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]

It looks like a Choose Your Own Adventure cover and if I stumbled upon that as a kid, I would have been devastated that I could not choose what Holmes would do next!

If you want to say something enigmatic, turn to page 47.

If you want to use cocaine, turn to page 23.

If you want to implicate the person who hired you, turn to page 42.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:29 PM on June 10 [10 favorites]

In regards to Wodehouse's theory of Holmes' finances: It puts me in mind of "Foyle's War", which my wife (who is very fond of both mysteries and the history of the British home front during WWII) adores. A minor spoiler here, but the beginning of the series has Inspector Foyle take on a young woman named Sam as his personal driver because, she is led to believe, he doesn't know how to drive. Near the end of the war, Foyle is forced to drive the car and Sam is astounded. Turns out he knows how to drive perfectly fine, he just wanted her to work with him.

It could be that Holmes was indeed flush with cash, and the reason he needed to go in half on a rental was not because he needed it at all but because he wanted Watson to work with him. Which is sweet, and seems to be in line to the more modern interpretations of the friendship.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:31 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

...and that's just my way of saying that I'm terrible at crossovers, not my way of saying that crossovers are absurd -- just that the logistics involved in getting a crossover done can get pretty overwhelming.

I'm starting to wish I hadn't posted that, it's just such a bad reaction.
posted by aroweofshale at 6:34 PM on June 10

The crossover that's always bizarrely attracted me is Jeeves and Wooster and Skeeve and Aahz.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:36 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

And one minor note: In my browser, the tab for this page reads "Wodehouse on Conan", which gave me the brief but wonderful image of P.G. hitting the talk show circuit and telling awesome stories.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:42 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Either that or it leads us to imagine Jeeves the Incongruous Barbarian.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:06 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

"Right Ho, Jeeves. What jolly well is best in life?"
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:09 PM on June 10 [12 favorites]

"Thorough destruction of one's enemies, sir? Although one might also find a certain charm in driving them before one, or perhaps in hearing the lamentations of their women. Will you be having tea, sir?"
posted by rifflesby at 7:18 PM on June 10 [22 favorites]

Theatro, the version of Green Ice you linked to is complete! The original, incomplete version is archived here for comparison purposes.

Also, Dorothy L. Sayers herself penned a Holmes/Wimsey crossover under the title The Young Lord Peter Consults Sherlock Holmes.
posted by mayhap at 7:45 PM on June 10 [11 favorites]

Objection, objection, Sherlock Holmes kept his finances intact by charging outsized fees when the client could actually afford it. "Between ourselves, the recent cases in which I have been of assistance to the Royal Family of Scandinavia, and to the French Republic, have left me in such a position that I could [retire and] continue to live in the quiet fashion which is most congenial to me." - The Final Problem. There is mention of a fixed per-case fee in The Problem of Thor Bridge, but in context Holmes is clearly trying to shut down the entitled rich asshole who's waving money in his face.

This has been your moment of deep Holmesian nerdity. Carry on.
posted by ormondsacker at 8:38 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

I cannot BELIEVE someone beat me to posting the link to Green Ice.

Damn you, theatro! ::shakes fists::
posted by suelac at 9:48 PM on June 10

"And besides," I observed, "House and Wilson are adaptations of Holmes and Watson."

To be fair while that was the original concept, House's team ended up filling Watson's role and Wilson became a new character in his own right.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:49 PM on June 10

And Lestrade was two different characters. First Cuddy, then Forman.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:42 PM on June 11

And Moriarty was Kuru.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:21 PM on June 11

And Moriarty was Kuru. Lupus
posted by Sys Rq at 7:18 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]

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