This past week, I watched the new BBC TV series Sherlock, episode The Blind Banker. Also, I read the two original A. C. Doyle Sherlock mysteries that inspired this episode: The Dancing Men and The Valley of Fear. You can download both free from The Gutenberg Project.
I have been a fan of Sherlock in TV and movies since I was way young. This new series is no exception. At first, I was a little leery because BBC was placing Sherlock in a modern London setting with iphones, subway systems, and deep-fried pickles. But it works. I love the snappy remarks back and forth between Watson and Holmes. I also love the sexual ambiguity that everyone places on Sherlock’s character, adding that extra layer of mystery and another coating of tension to his relationship with Watson.
I won’t give anything away here, but in short The Blind Banker concerns a cipher and a Chinese secret society. There are, of course, murders. This episode takes the idea of a cipher with strange characters from The Dancing Men and the idea of a deadly foreign secret society from The Valley of Fear. Other than that, they are not alike at all.
And I was perfectly OK with that. I never read the complete works of Sherlock Holmes, never fell in love with the original stories as many fans had. Yet I absolutely fawn over A. C. Doyle for creating a character that future authors and artists can recreate and fill in the numerous blanks. I think this new series has done a spectacular job of taking the essence of Holmes and Watson, yanking them into the 21st century, and giving us new mysteries in the original style to mull over.