Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong (Though Quite A Snappy Dresser)

I don’t automatically agree with the person speaking.

That is to say, if I’m having a conversation with someone I don’t immediately take their side in arguments or discussions.

Like the time I was meeting one of Anna’s friends for the first time. When her friend started talking about her recent ex-boyfriend and how he had used her the table filled with sympathetic noises and comfort.

All sides of the table except mine.

Based on her story, it seemed to me that the boyfriend was in the right, so I questioned her analysis of the situation.

It might not surprise you to discover that girl and I did not go on to become best friends.

But what’s unfortunate etiquette in real life is apparently literary revolution, as discussed by Pierre Bayard in his book Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Bayard is a proponent of detective criticism, which he describes as:

“The main premise of detective criticism is this: many of the murders narrated in literature were not committed by the people accused by the text. In literature as in life, the true criminals often elude the investigators and allow secondary characters to be accused and condemned. In its passion for justice, detective criticism commits itself to rediscovering the truth. If it is unable to arrest the guilty parties, it can at least clear the names of the innocent.”

Bayard’s book is arguing that like when a stranger tells you a story, a book’s protagonist is also biased and whatever they claim to be opinion or fact is always open to disagreement.

He does this by going through The Hound of the Baskervilles, making his own deductions and observations, until he finally arrives at who he believes to be the real killer.

And if you want to know who it is? You’re just going to have to read the book.

My vote is for Watson,