About two weeks ago Emma and I visited the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Perot Museum. I am a big Sherlock fan. The books are, of course, the best source of all things Sherlock, and they are some of my favorite things to read, but I have also enjoyed many of the screen adaptations.
The Jude Law/Robert Downey Jr. films are entertaining but severely lacking, especially the second one that took a hard right turn into Hollywood blockbuster, and was much farther removed from Arthur Conan Doyle than the first movie. I haven’t seen the American TV show “Elementary” yet, however I am a huge fan of the BBC show “Sherlock.” I also enjoyed the TV show “House” for many seasons, but I stopped watching somewhere around season 6. If you didn’t know “House” is based on Sherlock Holmes. House is Holmes, Wilson is Watson and House’s job is to solve medical mysteries.
Emma and I love museums and I am a sucker for all things Sherlock, so it didn’t take much convincing once Emma suggested a visit to this exhibit. It was fascinating. It had a lot of information about Doyle and his writing process, but the main portion of the exhibit was an interactive crime solving game. You walked through the exhibit and learned about various topics: ballistics, botany, cryptography, etc. You were supposed to use what you learned in these areas to help you solve the case as you explored the staged crime scene.
It was an immensely detailed experience. We got to look at “experiments” conducted on plants, ballistic trajectories and possible causes of drag marks in the sand, in which we actually dragged a fake pair of legs through the sand. That part was a little morbid, but not nearly as much as the blood-splatter tests we had to conduct. I’ll just let your imagination run with that image.
The whole point was to determine if the conclusions drawn by the police were correct, or if there was something else going on. As all Sherlock fans will know, the game’s afoot! Nothing was as it seemed, well almost nothing. I have to admit that I was impressed that the fake “Sherlock” within the exhibit agreed with at least one of the police’s conclusions. I’m sure it was tempting for the creators of this exhibit to simply have “Sherlock” disprove the police on all fronts, but those who have read the books will know that while Sherlock usually has his own conclusions for most pieces of evidence, Doyle was talented enough to know that you can’t make a character completely contrary or they lose all credibility in the eyes of the reader.
The ending of the exhibit was frustrating yet wonderful. Don’t worry I won’t spoil anything for those of you who are still planning to see this exhibit, but the ending was absurd. The narrative that “Sherlock” created to explain the truth felt so random and crazy that it made the last hour of our lives seem wasted. There was no way you could have drawn the same conclusions as “Sherlock” did, for they were truly ludicrous. But the ending was also wonderful for the same reason because this is exactly how the Sherlock stories from Doyle all end.
That’s what makes Sherlock so lovable. We are so impressed by the genius of this character and the elegant manner in which Doyle wrote him.
Yet Sherlock stories aren’t always the easiest to read. Doyle was a brilliant writer, but some of the stories are pretty far fetched, and as such they can be hard to follow. I find similar frustrations with scripture at times. Sometimes the Bible is pretty hard to follow and understand. The problems that I have understanding Sherlock stories, since they are set in a culture and location about which I know very little, are only compounded with scripture. Yet our scripture is beautiful and holds within it more mysteries than even Sherlock could answer. Our God is mysterious and magnificent. I hope you find inspiration and excitement in that, and in the reading of our Bible. I know it can be hard to do at times, but trust me it is worth it.
Have a wonderful week my friends,