DETECTING THE GREAT DETECTIVE
The Moriarty Principle: An Irregular Look at Sherlock Holmes by Rolf J. Canton, 6 x 9, illust.
Galde Press, Inc. Lakeville, Minnesota; 272 Pages: ISBN:1-880090-46-5, 1997: Price $19.95
This is a companion book to the video "The Pipe Dream Continues", which we have reviewed in this journal in our Multimedia section. It has been written by the Sherlockian Rolf J. Canton. A quick reading through the book tells the depth of knowledge Canton has on Sherlockian works. Take for example his Chapter entitled "Was Sherlock Holmes really a Capricorn?" Through a very ingenious line of reasoning he concludes that the birth day of Sherlock Holmes is not January 6, 1854 as is commonly believed but is 9 November, 1854! Want to know his line of reasoning? Well, here goes.
But first - and especially to the uninitiated - how in the first place do we know that his birthday is January 6. Nowhere in the Canon, does Arthur Conan Doyle mentions the date. This date is actually conferred upon him by another Sherlockian Christopher Morley, the founder of Baker Street Irregulars. Morley was incidentally a Shakespearean scholar too. His reasoning was that there was a repeated reference to Twelfth Night in Doyle's works. He took it to be a meaningful sign that Holmes was a Twelfth Night baby!
But Canton goes on to examine his Sun sign, and checks whether Sherlock Holmes really matches the traits of a Capricornian or not. Capricorn is an "earth" sign signified by the goat. Its period begins just before Christmastime and lasts about thirty days. Specifically it runs from December 22 through January 19. Capricornians seek strong attachment to home, they are single-minded, they are pessimistic, they are calculating people and so on. So does Sherlock Holmes match all these - or at least most of these - criteria. Canton comes to the conclusion that he does not. And thus he can not be a Capricornian.
Canton then goes on to check all other Sun signs and their related traits, and comes to the conclusion that Holmes was actually a Scorpio! How does he come to that conclusion? Well, I will leave the readers to find it out for themselves. They will however have to read this book to do that.
But I will tell you how he derives the date 9 November. He does start out with Twelfth Night, which is 6 January. Canton believes that just like Leonardo da Vinci wrote reverse images, Doyle might also have experimented with that. Invert 6 and you get 9. This is the date. How do you get the month November? Simple.
Take the month January (from 6 January). It is represented by 1. Double it (you may want to find out why, by reading the book), and you get 11! Simple? Well, not so much if you have to do all the derivation yourself.
This is just a glimpse of what you will get to read in this beautiful book. It has a number of such essays, including Sherlock Holmes' last struggle with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. A great addition to Sherlockiana and a must for every Sherlockian.
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