Comments: 9
Would that work for Creepy Crawlies? I'm looking for a book to fit that square.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
I would check with Moonlight. I mean, germs are the ultimate creepy crawlies in my mind, but...
Murder by Death 2 years ago
oooh, that connection to Sherlock teems tenuous at best, but I'll be interested to hear whether or not they can justify it. Sounds like an interesting read, either way.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Oh, I think we can assume they threw that link in there to increase sales. ;) I'll keep you posted if there is anything that looks like a reasonable connection with Holmes ... even tho we know that the Holmes stories had been fleshed out pretty well already by the time ACD went to visit Koch.
Stashower isn't the only biographer of ACD who mentions this, incidentally -- Hesketh Pearson, who knew ACD personally and wrote his first biography, a decade and a half after ACD's death (and who was also the last person to have had access to his private papers before they became inaccessible due to a family feud) also makes more than a passing reference to the Koch / TB episode. So apparently, to ACD and those who knew him this was not a negligible thing. Though, neither Stashower nor Pearson make any reference to Sherlock Holmes's character IIRC (and to me personally, the whole thing sounds more in line with ACD's social and political activisim, such as in the Edali case and other miscarriages of justice, his attempts to stand for parliament, his defense of the British troops in the Boer war, or his letter-to-the-editor shouting match with G.B. Shaw over the heroism of the Titanic's captain and crew: Once something caught his eye, he went after it, and once he had gotten hold of it, he was like a dog with a stick -- he just wouldn't let go; at least not easily).
BrokenTune 2 years ago
I'm sure Stashower is not the only one but I haven't got my mitts on the Pearson bio, yet. I'm also not disputing that the Koch incident was a major event in ACD's life as it does fall right into the same line as the Edali case, and the other times he stood up in defence of something.
My issue is with the premise of the book that the spat with Koch had a major impact on the writing of the Sherlock Holmes stories. From the author's introduction to the book and the first chapter, it seems that Goetz wants to persuade readers that it was the Koch incident that made ACD into the writer he was and that is was Koch's (not Bell's) scientific method that inspired Holmes. The author does not cite references for this, I checked. (The only times that references to source material about ACD appears - I checked - is later on, and even then the references seem limited to the Lycett biography, Stashower and Lellenberg's edited letters, and a handful of ACD stories and writings about the Boer War and travel.)
So, I am having a hard time giving credibility to the author's underlying hypothesis of the book.
Exactly my thinking -- sorry if that didn't come across!
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Ah, sorry. I blame the cold meds.

What is pretty good in this book so far is the way that Goetz presents the medical statistics of the Franco-Prussian War and how the adoption of Lister's methods (well, some of his methods...but not hand-washing) by the Prussian army made a huge difference to the fatality rate.
Now, that section is linked to references.
It makes me think that the author:
a) may have wanted to write a different book but was told it wasn't catchy enough, and
b) the author is more at home with writing up science stats than he is with biographical research. (His description of Koch's bio also seems ... superficial.)
Hmmm. Interesting ... and could well be. And I'm pretty sure ACD would have hated that (1) on its own grounds and (2) because he thought Holmes was eclipsing his "real" work as a writer anyway, so for Holmes or, for that matter, ACD himself to be used as a vehicle to publish something that somebody might, for whatever reason, not have deemed worth publishing in the first place, I guess would have been pretty galling to him.

That said, I hope your cold subsides quickly. (A cold and reading a book about TB ... of all things!)

And in turn I blame my chronic lack of sleep due to trying to get bingo and RL briefing deadlines squared.