Category Archives: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Yellow Face – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title : The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

From ‘Sherlock Holmes; The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I’ (Bantam Classic)

Contents:

1. Silver Blaze
2. The Yellow Face
3. The Stock-Broker’s Clerk
4. The “Gloria Scott”
5. The Musgrave Ritual
6. The Reigate Puzzle
7. The Crooked Man
8. The Resident Patient
9. The Greek Interpreter
10. The Naval Treaty
11. The Final Problem

The Yellow Face (p.546)

Sherlock Holmes was a man who seldom took exercise for exercise’s sake. Few men were capable of greater muscular effort, and he was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have ever seen; but he looked upon aimless bodily exertion as a waste of energy, and he seldom bestirred himself save when there was some professional object to be served. Then he was absolutely untiring and indefatigable. That he should have kept himself in training under such circumstances is remarkable, but his diet was usually of the sparest, and his habits were simple to the verge of austerity. Save for the occasional use of cocaine, he had no vices, and he only turned to the drug as a protest against the monotony of existence when cases were scanty and the papers uninteresting. (p.547)

Sekalinya keluar untuk berjalan-jalan, Sherlock Holmes ternyata dinanti-nanti oleh seorang klien yang begitu panik. Adalah Grant Munro dari Norbury yang gelisah karena khawatir akan hubungannya dengan sang istri. Dia yakin bahwa cintanya dan istrinya tidak berubah, tetapi ada ganjalan di antara mereka sejak munculnya tetangga baru yang mencurigakan. Mr. Munro pertama kali melihat sosok aneh sang tetangga tersebut dari jendela, seseorang yang tidak jelas wujudnya, hanya wajah kuning pucat dan kaku. Kemudian diikuti oleh kunjungan-kunjungan rahasia istrinya ke rumah itu.

“Well, I think that you are in the right. Any truth is better than indefinite doubt.” (p.562)

Usaha Mr. Munro untuk mencari kebenaran hanya berbuah pada ketakutan istrinya akan keberlangsungan hubungan mereka jika kebenaran terungkap. Apa yang sebenarnya disembunyikan oleh Mrs. Munro? Apakah dia berada di bawah ancaman? Ataukah ada rahasia besar dari masa lalunya yang belum siap untuk diungkapkan?

Inti dari permasalahan ini agak mirip dengan The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor dari The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, dengan sedikit perbedaan pada kasus dan penyelesaiannya. Petunjuk awal yang diberikan juga sedikit mirip, terutama mengenai sang istri yang sama-sama pernah tinggal di Amerika. Akan tetapi, kasus ini berakhir sangat manis, menunjukkan bahwa cinta yang sebenarnya tidak bisa digoyahkan oleh apa pun. Juga sedikit tamparan bagi Holmes yang tidak mempertimbangkan unsur itu dalam metodenya.

“Watson,” said he, “if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.” (p.565)

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Silver Blaze – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title : The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

From ‘Sherlock Holmes; The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I’ (Bantam Classic)

Contents:

1. Silver Blaze
2. The Yellow Face
3. The Stock-Broker’s Clerk
4. The “Gloria Scott”
5. The Musgrave Ritual
6. The Reigate Puzzle
7. The Crooked Man
8. The Resident Patient
9. The Greek Interpreter
10. The Naval Treaty
11. The Final Problem

Silver Blaze (p.521)

Sherlock Holmes dihadapkan pada kasus hilangnya seekor kuda pacu favorit di King’s Pyland, Dartmoor, milik Colonel Ross, serta pembunuhan pelatihnya, John  Stroker. Pada mulanya dia menyangka bisa menyelesaikan kasus ini dari London, tetapi ternyata dia dan Watson tetap harus menyusul ke Dartmoor untuk menyelidiki kasus ini.

“You have formed a theory, then?”
“At least I have got a grip of the essential facts of the case. I shall enumerate them to you, for nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person, and I can hardly expect your co-operation if I do not show you the position from which we start.”
(p.523)

Kuda itu—Silver Blaze—hilang tanpa jejak. Secara teori, mustahil tidak ada seorang pun yang memperhatikan jika Silver Blaze lewat, karena tanda khas di kepalanya sudah dikenali banyak orang. Seorang tersangka yang dicurigai kuat pun masih memiliki alibi yang sama kuatnya (atau lebih kuat) dengan bukti yang ditemukan.

“…. There you have it all in a nutshell, Watson, and if you can give me any light I shall be infinitely obliged to you.” (p.528)

Kasus ini sebelumnya sudah ditangani oleh Scotland Yard, di bawah Inspector Gregory, tetapi mengalami jalan buntu. Selain bukti dan saksi yang sedikit, serta petunjuk yang samar, kepolisian gagal karena tidak tahu bagaimana cara mencarinya. Dengan metodenya yang khas, serta imajinasinya, Holmes bisa menyusun kemungkinan-kemungkinan motif dan modusnya, untuk kemudian mencari ke jalan yang tepat.

“Inspector Gregory, to whom the case has been committed, is an extremely competent officer. Were he but gifted with imagination he might rise to great heights in his profession. …. (p.527)

“See the value of imagination,” said Holmes. “It is the one quality which Gregory lacks. We imagined what might have happened, acted upon the supposition, and find ourselves justified. Let us proceed.” (p.535-536)

Black-and-white drawing of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson confronting Silas Brown, who has Silver Blaze in his barnSetelah terungkap, kejahatan yang terjadi memang cukup cerdik dan matang, tak salah jika polisi mengalami kesulitan. Butuh sebuah cara yang cerdik pula untuk mengungkapkannya. Ada kalanya jika tak memiliki bukti cukup, Holmes hanya perlu melempar kail dan membiarkan pelakunya yang bergerak. Dan ada prosedur yang harus dilanggarnya untuk itu.

“The matter does not rest with Colonel Ross. I follow my own methods, and tell as much or as little as I choose. That is the advantage of being unofficial. ….” (p.538)

Holmes lebih mengutamakan masalah yang dipermasalahkah—dalam hal ini hilangnya sang kuda dan meninggalnya Straker—ketimbang harus mengikuti prosedural mendetail tentang siapa-siapa yang terlibat. Jadi pada akhirnya, petunjuk yang dituju oleh Holmes adalah keberadaan kuda tersebut. Mengenai di mana Silver Blaze selama ini pada akhirnya tidak diungkapnya, karena—selain tidak penting—juga merupakan bagian dari rencana penemuannya.

Sebagai pembuka sebuah kumpulan, kisah Silver Blaze ini masih memberikan detail-detail kecil yang menarik tentang Sherlock Holmes dan metodenya. Pada bagian ini, hubungannya dengan Watson tergambar lebih dekat dan sudah (hampir) saling mengerti. Kisah ini juga menarik karena metode kejahatan yang unik, posisi pelaku dan korban pembunuhan yang tak kalah unik, serta bagaimana kepercayaan diri Holmes selama penyelidikan tergambar nyaris sempurna sejak awal hingga akhir. Tampaknya ini adalah salah satu kasus Holmes yang cukup berhasil. Dan yang paling saya suka, sebuah kunci kasus ini yang digambarkan dengan sangat sederhana tapi bermakna mendalam ada di Scene on Three saya terdahulu (link).

We all sprang out with the exception of Holmes, who continued to lean back with his eyes fixed upon the sky in front of him, entirely absorbed in his own thoughts. It was only when I touched his arm that he roused himself with a violent start and stepped out of the carriage.
“Excuse me,” said he, turning to Colonel Ross, who had looked at him in some surprise. “I was day-dreaming.” There was a gleam in his eyes and a suppressed excitement in his manner which convinced me, used as I was to his ways, that his hand was upon a clue, though I could not imagine where he had found it.
(p.531)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)
Publisher : Project Gutenberg
Edition : Ebook #1661, 12th edition, November 2002

Contents:

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia
  2. The Red-Headed League
  3. A Case of Identity
  4. The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  5. The Five Orange Pips
  6. The Man with the Twisted Lip
  7. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
  8. The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  9. The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  10. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
  11. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
  12. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

(click the title for review per story [in Bahasa Indonesia])

This first short story collection of Sherlock Holmes contains twelve adventures of our detective and his biographer, John Watson. Purposely, I made review for each short story to catch as many details as possible. From that, I made some mental notes of Doyle’s style. One thing I love from this author is the ending of his stories. It feels like it’s just another beginning of an adventure. Or if it really ends, it gives some satisfaction even the adventure itself ends badly (for the characters involved). But, for me, it is just the power of words. How he made his conclusions (mostly through Holmes) sufficient and content.

Speaking of characters, we have known Holmes enough from A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. However, some minor details provided here are also interesting. The development that appeared in this collection is the interaction of Holmes and Watson. We can see how Holmes valued his friend so much. He involved Watson intensivey, he made Watson his assistant—his right hand, and he meant to hear Watson’s judgments and opinions, although mostly Watson didn’t reach Holmes’ methods and deductions. However, he also criticized Watson’s methods of writing his journals.

Adventures of sherlock holmes.jpg“To the man who loves art for its own sake,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, “it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province.”
(The Adventure of the Copper Beeches)

The cases that appeared are truly varied. Holmes clients came from variable background, from the noblemen to ordinary housewife. The cases could be some domestic conflict to some serious criminal, but nothing ordinary. However, sometimes they have some patterns, like mutual motive in A Case of Identity and The Adventure of the Speckled Band, that can be read from the mutual circumstances between those two cases. Some hints in The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet could give a conclusion of the innocent, although we couldn’t reach the final conclusion of the true criminal. I can say that those repetition, even the tiniest, sharpen our senses, at least to understand Holmes cases.

Even though Holmes characterized as unemotional person, we’ll see, however, that he captured human’s emotions and used them for his observation and deduction, without being attached to those emotions himself. That’s what I saw. When he ignored official procedures to form his own definition of justice is one thing. Holmes had us to justify his unofficial decision.

My most favourite stories are the ones with the real adventures. Most of the stories had no real threat in them. All the mayhem, the crime, the fraud were already happened, waiting for our detective to reveal the truth. But stories like A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches showed Holmes and Watson in action, facing real threat, and caught the culprit red-handed. My personal favourite is The Adventure of the Speckled Band for that reason, it was, in my opinion, one story with the most intense, near-death adventure. And fortunately, Doyle had made that story into a play too.

“He is so cunning that I never know when I am safe from him. What will he say when he returns?”
“He must guard himself, for he may find that there is someone more cunning than himself upon his track.”
(The Adventure of the Speckled Band)

And of course even Sherlock Holmes had some flaws. Sometimes he was late that an unnecessary death had to happen. On other occasion, he also formed some wrong deductions that made his action didn’t occur as it planned. Even though, I didn’t see it as a major failure, as long as he reached his main goal (which mostly happened), and if he did not, it didn’t make him seems insufficient (which sometimes happened).

Overall, this collection is enjoyable, good step to know more about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, exhibit our detective’s brilliance well, and give some nice adventures. There are not so many ‘wow’ aspects, but still have some thrilling moments. 4/5 stars from me.

Review #22 of Classics Club Project

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)
Publisher : Project Gutenberg
Edition : Ebook #1661, 12th edition, November 2002

Contents:

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia
  2. The Red-Headed League
  3. A Case of Identity
  4. The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  5. The Five Orange Pips
  6. The Man with the Twisted Lip
  7. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
  8. The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  9. The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  10. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
  11. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
  12. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

“ … what do the public, the great unobservant public, who could hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb, care about the finer shades of analysis and deduction! … I think that I have touched bottom at last, however. …”

Holmes mendapat sebuah kasus yang dirasakannya sepele pada mulanya, saat menerima surat dari Miss Violet Hunter yang hendak meminta nasihat darinya. Namun setelah melihat penampilan dan sikap wanita itu yang meyakinkan, serta mendengar kisahnya, pandangan Holmes berubah.

Miss Hunter ditawari sebuah pekerjaan sebagai pengasuh anak di Copper Beeches, rumah milik Jephro Rucastle, di daerah Hampshire. Mr. Rucastle menawarkan gaji yang jauh lebih besar daripada yang dimintanya, dengan tuntutan pekerjaan yang tidak wajar. Miss Hunter harus menuruti semua perintah Mrs. Rucastle, termasuk jika diminta memakai gaun tertentu, duduk di tempat tertentu, dan—yang hampir ditolak olehnya—memotong pendek rambutnya. Meski agak mencurigakan, Miss Hunter yang sudah terlalu lama menganggur sulit menolak gaji besar tersebut. Miss Hunter pun hendak meyakinkan diri dengan meminta persetujuan Holmes mengenai pekerjaan tersebut.

“I assure you that your little problem promises to be the most interesting which has come my way for some months. There is something distinctly novel about some of the features. If you should find yourself in doubt or in danger—”
“Danger! What danger do you foresee?”
Holmes shook his head gravely. “It would cease to be a danger if we could define it,” said he.

Beberapa waktu kemudian, Holmes mendapat panggilan darurat dari Miss Hunter. Dia dan Watson pun datang ke Winchester untuk menemui kliennya itu. Miss Hunter menceritakan tentang rumah dan majikannya yang misterius, juga situasi mencurigakan di rumah itu. Laki-laki yang mengawasi Copper Beeches dari jendela tempatnya sering duduk, anjing penjaga yang disiagakan setiap malam, sebuah ruangan misterius yang selalu terkunci, juga ancaman Mr. Rucastle pada Miss Hunter saat pengasuhnya terlihat penasaran. Apakah sebenarnya yang disembunyikan oleh keluarga Rucastle? Adakah hubungannya dengan Alice Rucastle, putri mereka yang saat ini berada di Amerika?

“Data! data! data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

Salah satu deduksi awal yang disimpulkan oleh Holmes berasal dari keterangan sang pengasuh mengenai sifat anak yang diasuhnya. Hal yang menuntun sang detektif untuk mengenali masalah yang mungkin ada.

“My dear Watson, you as a medical man are continually gaining light as to the tendencies of a child by the study of the parents. Don’t you see that the converse is equally valid. I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children.”

Cerpen terakhir dalam kumpulan The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes ini sekaligus menjadi kesimpulan mengenai pandangan Holmes atas publikasi kasusnya oleh Watson. Meski dalam satu dua kesempatan, Holmes juga pernah menyinggung sedikit di cerita-cerita sebelumnya. Keduanya masih kurang sepakat mengenai titik berat apa yang harus dituliskan dalam jurnal Watson.

“You have erred, perhaps,” he observed, taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood—“you have erred perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your statements instead of confining yourself to the task of placing upon record that severe reasoning from cause to effect which is really the only notable feature about the thing.”

“If I claim full justice for my art, it is because it is an impersonal thing—a thing beyond myself. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales.”

Dalam kisah ini juga ada aksi seru yang dilakukan oleh Holmes dan Watson, demi menyelamatkan beberapa nyawa. Bahaya yang telah diprediksi Holmes sebelumnya, berdasarkan observasi dan deduksinya. Dalam hal ini, sempat terlontar dari mulut sang detektif, betapa apa yang dilihatnya bisa berbeda dari kebanyakan cara orang melihatnya. Mungkin inilah yang disebut intuisi, hingga secara otomatis sebuah pemikiran muncul dari pikiran Holmes yang sangat terlatih.

“Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”

The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)
Publisher : Project Gutenberg
Edition : Ebook #1661, 12th edition, November 2002

Contents:

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia
  2. The Red-Headed League
  3. A Case of Identity
  4. The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  5. The Five Orange Pips
  6. The Man with the Twisted Lip
  7. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
  8. The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  9. The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  10. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
  11. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
  12. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Alexander Holder dari bank swasta terbesar di London datang kepada Sherlock Holmes dalam keadaan luar biasa panik. Sehari sebelumnya, salah seorang pria yang disegani di Inggris meminjam sejumlah uang dengan menggunakan Beryl Coronet sebagai jaminannya. Menyadari betapa berharganya mahkota itu, Holder tidak berani meninggalkannya di brankasnya. Holder memutuskan untuk membawanya pulang bersamanya.

Namun, keputusannya ternyata tidak sebaik perkiraannya. Malam itu, dia menangkap basah putranya sedang memegang mahkota itu dalam kondisi rusak. Polisi pun dikerahkan, tetapi kepingan mahkota yang hilang tidak ditemukan. Pun putra Holder—Arthur—menyangkal kejahatannya, tetapi menolak untuk mengatakan apa yang dilakukannya malam itu dengan mahkota rusak di tangannya.

Sebenarnya, keberadaan beryl coronet itu diketahui oleh hampir seisi rumah, juga orang yang diduga sempat berhubungan dengan orang di rumah Holder. Namun belum ditemukan bukti yang mendukung untuk menemukan pelaku sebenarnya dan membebaskan Arthur Holder dari tuduhan. Holmes yang sejak penuturan Holder merasa sangat yakin bahwa Holder muda tidak bersalah, memulai penyelidikan dengan cara khasnya. Dan tentu saja dengan pendampingan kawan baiknya, John Watson, yang juga menarasikan kisah ini—seperti biasa.

My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition, which I was eager enough to do, for my curiosity and sympathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened.

Dalam kisah ini, ada sebuah adegan yang menunjukkan bahwa di balik sikap apatis terhadap emosi, Holmes nyatanya bisa juga melakukan sesuatu untuk mengatasi emosi kliennya.

Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and, sitting beside him, patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy, soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ.
“You have come to me to tell your story, have you not?” said he. “You are fatigued with your haste. Pray wait until you have recovered yourself, and then I shall be most happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me.”

Juga kemampuan menyamarnya yang tidak diragukan lagi (meski sebenarnya ini bukan yang pertama).

He hurried to his chamber and was down again in a few minutes dressed as a common loafer. With his collar turned up, his shiny, seedy coat, his red cravat, and his worn boots, he was a perfect sample of the class.

Mungkin dalam kisah ini, penemuan-penemuan Holmes bisa dikatakan tradisional, khas cara-cara yang biasa dilakukannya, serta tidak banyak kendala yang berarti. Yang menjadikannya menarik adalah bagaimana sang detektif harus menganalisis hubungan-hubungan antarmanusia di lingkup keluarga Holder, sehingga motif dan kejadian dapat diketahuinya.

“It is equally certain, too, that whatever her sins are, they will soon receive a more than sufficient punishment.”