Katie Grubbs, Alexis Neal, and Laurie Norris discuss two important short stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon that feature notable female characters.
-Why are we discussing these stories? And why in this order?
-When did we first encounter these stories? What are our favorite adaptations?
-Publication histories for “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “A Scandal in Bohemia”
“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
-Plot summary of “Speckled Band”
-Mystery fiction emerged from gothic literature, and this story is a throwback to that genre for sure. What aspects of the gothic do we see in SB?
-How is Helen Stoner like and different from the typical gothic heroine?
-This is also a story about a woman who has grown up in an extremely abusive home. What does the story have to say about the trauma of living in that environment and how it can affect one?
-What do you like/dislike about this story? Are there any things you would change about it?
“A Scandal in Bohemia”
-Plot summary of “Scandal in Bohemia”
-What is remarkable about Irene Adler? How does she stand out from other women in the various Holmes stories?
-In the second line of the story, Watson says that the Holmes/Adler interaction/relationship was definitely not romantic. So why do people always seem to want to make it romantic and/or sexual in adaptations? Why do they feel the need?
-Irene tracks Holmes by dressing in male clothing, and her letter says she does this often. What does the contrast between that fact and the many descriptions of her stunning beauty do to the story?
-This is Doyle’s very first Holmes short story, and he gets beaten by a woman. What do we make of that? How might it affect the way we read the rest of the Holmes canon?
Laurie: Elementary is the best adaptation. Fight me.
Other Holmes stories with notable female characters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventure_of_the_Copper_Beeches