Yet another geek blog

1 August 2012

My Dear Watson by Margaret Park Bridges







In Short

A female Sherlock Holmes.


Things to Like

A simple idea that is immediately engaging. Firstly is lots of humour to be had in the difficulty of maintaining the disguise. Secondly there is some nice exploration of social attitudes to gender. Put simply, a person who is a woman is a woman first and and person second.

Holmes and Constance Moriarty are two intelligent and resourceful women who have overcome the challenge in two very different ways. Moriarty has become a simpering vamp who manipulates men to make their power her own. Holmes sidesteps the problem by stepping into a male role.

This seems like a ridiculous idea, but it is worth remembering that this was done in Victorian times (Margaret Ann Bulkley became Dr James Barry), and we will never know how often.

Things not to Like

There is not much Sherlock Holmes here!

Holmes’ misogyny and brush with the cross-dressing Irena Adler are touched on but not given the attention that they deserve. Holmes despairing annoyance at how easily Watson is manipulated by Miss Moriarty is engaging enough, but the conviction that she is a murderess is based on nothing more that an instant dislike and prejudice towards the surname. This is not the Holmes we know.

Worst of all is the inevitable return to female dress. There is nothing wrong with the idea that a woman can pass as a women in female clothes. Nor that she would then see a different side to people. But not that Holmes can just disappear by doing this. It is an essential part of the plot that when Holmes puts on a frock and a wig nobody recognises her. These are people who have known Holmes for years, are aware of Holmes’ skill with disguises and are actively looking for the missing detective. None of them looks twice at the tall striking woman with the severe nose who has suddenly appeared on the scene.

Things it is like

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posted by Yet Another Geek @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012

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