Thursday, May 24, 2007

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time and some first-rate sleuthing

I've great confidence that my knowledge of the English country crimes is getting increasingly better. To begin with, I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for ages, devouring each and every short story, novella, episode etc written by him. So I always turned up my nose at Agatha Christie, she always seemed too "popular" and I'd read some good advice when younger to "stay away from bestsellers". Lately, I decided to shun the snobbery I had adopted(although I've yet to read The Da Vinci Code, that's the sort of bestseller that my code strictly prohibits me from reading) and took to reading the adventures of Hercule Poirot in the English countryside again( and pleasantly find myself quite addicted to it. Sherlock Holmes rules still though).

However, there is a point to this story, and I will shortly connect the dots, dare I say in the fashion of my super sleuths, the incomparable Sherlock Holmes and his literary successor (with not a bad personality I must say), Hercule Poirot.

There is another interesting book that I read recently called the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, (a Booker winner, if you want reputation). So the brainwave happened( when I was reading in a semi-daze after travelling by an auto in the Delhi heat) when in the adventure of Murder in the Mews, Inspector Japp mentions how Sherlock Holmes drew attention to certain things and the curious aspect would be that something would be amiss by virtue of its absence. Confusing?

Let me explain. In the short story called "Silver Blaze", Sherlock Holmes refers to the "curious incident of the dog in the night-time" as a way of drawing attention. And in reality, there is no curious incident. In fact,what is amiss is that the dog did nothing. And hence the curious incident that it did not bark in the night time. This is referred to by Inspector Japp humorously as Poirot's irritating habit of drawing attention cryptically to certain things like "the missing attache" when it was not missing or "the smoke in the sitting room", when there has been no smoke.

And now to connect the dots, the book Curious about a young autistic boy who is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, only there is actually an incident of the dog in the night time. So my deduction(ahem..) is that the author of the book Curious Incident..had to be a fan of both Sherlock Holmes(which is a commonplace deduction since the book is filled with references and interesting trivia about the latter) and Agatha Christie, since it was in the particular adventure of Murder in the Mews, the anecdote of "curious incident of the dog in the night-time" from the Sherlock Holmes adventure is mentioned by Inspector Japp.

Sometimes I think writers have a very fertile imagination, as they start from an idea and build a whole castle around it.
Or else, all that I have said is merely pointless because, I'm just being pompous here.


Ramsu said...

Hey, minor crib: Curious Incident didn't win the Booker - it got long-listed, that's all.

bangalore said...

right..i saw that..thanks for pointing it out..
btw i'm truly honoured you visit here..