Thursday, August 7, 2014

Another Study in Style: More Famous Authors Handle Sherlock

By popular demand, A Study in Style is back, and I found some more famous authors who were willing to try their hands at novelizing BBC's Sherlock.

(Translation: I spent way too much time pulling my hair out, hunched at my computer keyboard trying to figure out how this nonsense should appear in print.  It was fun.)

A quick note-- in the last installment of this feature I tried to keep the characters' dialogue completely faithful to the lines spoken in the show.  This time I have tossed caution to the wind, and, in most cases, retained the general essence of the dialogue while modifying the language to fit each author's particular method.  Hopefully you will not find much madness therein.


P.G. Wodehouse

It isn't so much the violin playing I mind, when it's all said and done.  A chap can endure a bit of violin playing now and again, so long as it doesn't screech and howl and sigh and nag at him every confounded moment of the day.  The old eardrums can only handle so much, you know.  And I have to admit, dashed hard as it is to do, that Sherlock wasn't the worst violinist I'd ever heard.  That distinction belongs solely to Brunnhilde Ovenbottom, my third cousin twice removed on my mother's side, and by gum she'd earned it through all the torturous string-scrape sessions she'd performed at family gatherings in bygone days. Mind you, this was when I was Young and Youthful and Better Able to Bear It.  A fellow's ears age along with the rest of him, so I am told, and I doubt I'd be able to endure Brunnhilde's ghastly instrument-wheezing these days.  Lucky for the rest of us, the last I'd heard of her she eloped with a tone-deaf cable repairman.  They'll be happy together.

But I'm wandering from the subject.  What I mean to say is that the noise issuing from Sherlock's musical contraption was, when you get right down to it, the least offensive of his habits as a flatmate.  When one is going halfsies on living quarters, he'd said, one wants to know the worst of the other, and I agreed with him.  Jolly sensible, he is, from time to time.  But the violin playing wasn't the worst of it.  No, it was the severed heads in the icebox (fancy opening up the old i.b., all set for a nice cold ham sandwich or something of that delectable sort, mouth simply watering as one contemplated, and then being greeted face-to-face by the ugly mug of some poor chap whose body is looking for its topmost part-- I don't know why it is, but such things always seem to put me off my feed for some reason).  It was the callers coming at all odd hours of the day or not, sometimes to sob out a story of Woe and Loss and Mysterious Death, and sometimes just to say "what ho" and tell Sherlock what they thought of him, which wasn't much.  It was the unexpected jumping into cabs and sallying forth with a hoot and a holler to who-knows-where, often with the old Life placed precariously and without permission on the Line, with never a by-your-leave or are-you-comfortable-John or shall-we-stop-and-have-our-tea-before-you-go-berserk.

Enough to drive any chap mad, I tell you, unless he's there already.

~general internal complaining by John in the first series

Baroness Orczy

A brilliant, surging, lightning-quick, cunning, crafty mind, a mind above all others that surround it, conscious of its own genius, yet not above the doubts and fears that plague the mind of every man in his turn, the mind of a great man and perhaps even a good one.

And on that bleak, rain-swept day in London-- that seat of thronging, swarming human beings where crime and justice intertwined so minutely as to make the difference between the two almost incomprehensible-- the owner of that mind stood in a mortuary, a riding crop clasped in one powerful hand, about to exact vengeance upon the lifeless body of one poor soul who had given his own earthly cage for the benefit and good of that great master, Science.

White-coated like an angel of mercy, hovering near yet not too near, a young woman stood watching him, love and pity and perplexity all at war within her heart, as she summoned the courage to speak to the man she silently, devoutly, hopelessly adored.

"If you please," she said, with a tremble of her lovely rouged lips, "I could not help but wonder if perhaps you would like to have coffee."

~A Study in Pink

E.E. Cummings

I was being asked so if I didn't understand
best man to be,
it is because
be best friend I never expected to anybody's.
certainly of not the best friend and
and kindest
wisest and human being
I have ever knowing had of the good fortune.
John, I man am a ridiculous.
Redeemed the warmth and constancy only by
your friendship.
But as I apparently your best friend am
Congratulate you I can not
on of companion your choice.
I can, actually, no.
Mary, you deserve this man, when I say,
 of which I am capable it is the highest compliment.

~The Sign of Three

Charles Dickens

Mr. Philip Anderson was the kind of man whom everybody noticed as they rushed to and from the office (everyone rushing, rushing, rushing, and to where? and what?), and who made himself noticed when no one was kind enough to do it for him, but nobody paid much attention to him on the whole.  He was a mild, quickly-moving, pale-browed sort of person, with a face nearly forgettable (he had grown a beard to make himself more apparent in a crowd, though it did little for his appearance), but his character was one of interest, intensity and interjection.  His opinions, though many, were not often heard, and so he had learned to insert himself into conversation whenever the flow opened up sufficiently for him to do so.  In the past, doors had both metaphorically and literally been closed in his face, but why should that deter him?  The world should listen, the world should hear, the world should comprehend, the world should know and understand and acknowledge and take to heart the words of even the lowliest forensic specialist.  For why should his thoughts and theories be of less import than those of the head Detective Inspector?  Nay, my lords and gentlemen, my inspectors and investigators, my graces and majesties, it will not do to ignore, to turn away from the truth you know to be sound-- the voice of a man is a voice no matter who the man may be, and Anderson's voice is as plausible a thing as Sherlock Holmes', be it never half so deep and commanding.

"The thing is clear as crystal," Anderson said earnestly to Lestrade one afternoon in the street, "as crystal, I say.  That's the only way he could have done it.  It's plain as the nose on your face."

The nose on Anderson's face was undeniably plainer than that on Lestrade's, but Lestrade was a prudent man and made no remark in that regard.  Instead he shook his head, drank his coffee, and said no, that Sherlock Holmes was dead, and the matter ought to lay to rest once and for all.

~The Empty Hearse

Martha Finley

Mr. Mycroft Holmes had spent a quarter of an hour in his younger brother's drawing-room, attempting to convince him to take on a case of national importance.  He was as yet unsuccessful, for with every persuasive argument he made, the younger Mr. Holmes merely shook his dark curls in defiance and would not listen to reason.  Indeed, he replied to the cajoling of his brother with rank falsehoods, which fell so heavy on the ear of his friend Mr. Watson as to make him tremble from head to toe.  Furthermore, he made insinuating remarks as to the nature of the elder Mr. Holmes' diet-- it saddens me, gentle reader, to relate that the elder Mr. Holmes ate hot bread every morning for breakfast and further ruined his health with cream candy and coffee, for he had neglected the training of his parents in his boyhood and had refused stewed fruit ever since his days at university.

"The name of the gentleman in question is Andrew West," said the elder Mr. Holmes, "and he was found... dead... by Battersea Station this morning with a deep wound to the temple, administered so violently as to--"

Here he was interrupted by Mr. Watson, who, upon hearing the gruesome words, burst into an agony of sobs and tears in pity for the poor deceased man, even though he was merely a train-man and not a plantation owner.

"Here, here," said the elder Mr. Holmes impatiently, with that callous nature so natural to him, "none of that. This tragic death is directly related to the missing battle plans of which I have told you.  These plans must be found, Sherlock, and you must do the finding."

The younger Mr. Holmes gave his brother a look of grave displeasure.  "Shan't," said he, and turned down his lower lip in an expression of petulance.

The elder Mr. Holmes uttered two or three oaths, stopping only when he saw what distress he was causing to the gentle Mr. Watson, and turned back to his brother.  "Do not make me order you, Sherlock," said he, coldly, "or I shall send you to your room on bread and water, for disobedience is above all things most displeasing to me."

Mr. Watson resolved, that very afternoon, to plead with his wayward friend.

~The Great Game


I have to confess I rather like doing these-- any further suggestions for something I could adapt to suit various authors? Sherlock seems to be exhausted for now-- or at least my creative capacities are beginning to go kaput in that direction.  Ideas would be welcome! :D


Molly said...

You're pretty good at doing these! Wow! The trembling of her rouged lips and Mycroft's uttering of oaths... :D

Kathryn said...

This was, if possible, even better than the first. I can't decide which is the best, although I was laughing hardest at P.G. Wodehouse (you captured his style perfectly!). Well done, indeed.

Ashley said...

Martha Finley!!! Bahahaha!!
And, that's basically e. e. cummings..... (I personally don't understand the man!!)
These are great! Maybe you could do Disney movies or period dramas?

Elizabeth Rose said...

These are all quite brilliant, but MARTHA FINLEY. "...he had neglected the training of his parents in his boyhood and had refused stewed fruit ever since his days at university." I laughed, I cried (from laughing so hard), it moved me, Bob. Baroness Orczy comes as a close second. XD

Candice said...

This was great! The P.G. Wodehouse one made me laugh, and the Baroness Orczy one was 100% perfect!

Evie Brandon said...

Great Post as always Miss Dashwood! :)

Miss Dashwood said...

I thought you might enjoy the oath-uttering, haha. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the BBC..." :P

Thanks! P.G. Wodehouse was really fun. Love his style. :D

DIsney movies! What a great idea! *scribbles it down*

Elizabeth Rose,
The Martha Finley one was spinning in my head for a long time before it finally came out in writing. Heehee. She's just so fun to make fun of. :P

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed!

Evie Brandon,
Awwww, thank you. :D

Evie Brandon said...

It's ok! :D, have you thought you could do musicals? just a suggestion

Carissa Horton said...

LOVED your Wodehouse, just loved it! I'm terribly keen on him as a writer and I think you have him pegged spot on.

LittleMissDorrit said...

Oh, I love the idea of Disney movies! Frozen would be hilarious...even though I know everyone is probably getting tired of it. ;P That might be what makes it funny, though.

Btw, you do such an awesome job at these; they're hilarious. I started snickering really hard when I read your study on Victor Hugo!! lol well done!!

Bethany Morrow said...

These were awesome!
Could you do John Green?
Or perhaps, Francine Rivers.

The Elf said...

I would love to read Pride and Prejudice by different authors ;) This series is hilarious.

Sara Lewis said...

Loved this post, Miss Dashwood! You really nailed P. G. Wodehouse.

I second The Elf's proposal: Pride and Prejudice by different authors would be hillarious!

Miss Dashwood said...

Evie Brandon,
Musicals might be fun! Another good idea!

Carissa Horton,
Thank you. :D

Frozen would be SO fun. I was actually thinking of that one... I'm one of two or three people on the planet who's not sick of it yet, heehee.

Bethany Morrow,
Thanks for the ideas!

The Elf and Sara Lewis,
Oh my goodness, tackling my beloved P&P might be a HUGE undertaking... but it's a great idea! I'll keep it in mind.

Abbey said...

Hahaha, the P.G. Wosehouse one, though! That's hilarious!

Hamlette said...

I am in stitches! I thought your PG Wodehouse was brilliant, and your Dickens great fun, but when I got to Martha Finley I began to hoot aloud! And I've never read anything by Martha Finley AFAIK, but that bit about Mycroft forsaking stewed fruit -- I'm chuckling again just remembering.

I'm not sick of Frozen either, which is remarkable considering I have 2 tiny daughters.

What about Les Mis? The musical version, not the book? Or Phantom of the Opera?

Miss Elliot said...

So funny, as always. The Orczy one hilarious!! Oh, and the Wodehouse was brilliant!!! Hahahaha!!
By the way, do you think you could do a review of Sherlock? I've heard stuff about it from different places, and I'm curious... :-) Just a suggestion.

Hayden said...


These were great! The Wodehouse one was superb. You really are brilliant at these :D

(oh, and have you done anything in the style of Lousia May Alcott yet? an Anne Radcliffe one would be pretty funny too. She usually has a lot of swooning ;))

The Elf said...

Commenting again - this time to suggest a couple more author styles you might try. I second Hayden's suggestion of Louisa May Alcott. How about Elizabeth Gaskell, Georgette Heyer or the Bronte sisters?


Arwen Undomiel said...

Again, SO PERFECT. Especially Baroness Orczy and Martha Finley. The stewed fruit! *nods approvingly* Yes. Oh, yes:D You're terribly witty, m'dear Miss DashwoodXD

Miss Elliot said...

I forgot to say, I think Frozen is a superb idea!!! Then you could have Anna saying What ho! and things of that sort. :-)

Wilbur said...

Oh my, dear me. This made me laugh so hard, old chap.

Thank you for finally lambasting Martha Finley… "shook his dark curls" and "hot bread every morning".
I am avenged. The agonies I suffered at the hands of that series…

"'Shan't,' said he, and turned down his lower lip in an expression of petulance."

*collapses in giggles*

And Orczy… "hovering near yet not too near…"


How about… Rewriting Little Dorrit?

Mykaela said...

The Martha Finley. THE MARTHA FINLEY. Agony of tears and sobs???!!!! It's PERFECT!!!!!! :D Oh my goodness, it is so perfect...

Mykaela said...

Oh, by the way, I am NOT sick of Frozen either! :) I think it would be awesome if you did that! But you have to do Martha Finley again. :P You should do E.A. Poe, and L.M. Montgomerey! :)

Miss Elliot said...

I don't think my other comment went through. Drat. Anyway, I was asking about Sherlock. Are there a great deal of *coughcough* skippable parts? As far as language, inappropriate story lines, etc. go? I just wanted to make sure, because we *all* know how *delightfully* clean modern TV shows are. (Especially a TV show based on murders and whatnot. Ahem.) Anyways, I really love the Sherlock Holmes books, and from what I've seen/heard of the TV show - well. Let's just say Benedict Cumberbatch. And Martin Freeman. And BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. And Sherlock being hilarious (Black, two sugars please, I'll be upstairs. "Look at all of you, you're so vacant. Is it nice not being me, it must be so peaceful.") Yep.