The Sherlockism is a pithy turn of phrase as favored by Mr Sherlock Holmes:
* “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
* ”I saw no one.” ”That is what you may expect to see when I follow you.”
* ”I believe that you are the devil himself!” he cried. Holmes smiled at the compliment.
* “The dog did nothing in the nighttime.” “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.
* “I never guess—it is a shocking habit, destructive to the logical faculty.”
And of course, the sentence on which a thousand episodes of CSI are based:
* “When you’ve eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be true.”
Now, you have an opportunity to exercise your own tart pithiness. Last year, I asked for submissions of Russellisms, and found it so hard to choose, I ended up with two that I incorporated into The God of the Hive, thanking their authors and reserving a copy of the hardback for them when it comes out in April.
This year, I’m asking for a Sherlockism that I can slip into the as-yet-without-title novel for 2011. It hardly matters what the book is about for the purpose of the contest, it’s the pith that counts. The prize? A bunch of them: an Advanced Reading Copy of The God of the Hive, and your name in the thanks page of the next Russell and Holmes, plus a copy of that hardback when it comes out—but the best prize? Knowing that your wit has been acknowledged down to the ages!
Sharpen your pencils and/or your quills, and let me see your brilliance by emailing as many submissions as you’d like to firstname.lastname@example.org. The contest will be closed at the end of Sunday March 14th, and the winner announced on Mutterings probably Monday the 15th, with all of the submissions listed here on this page.
”When I said ‘rest’, Russell, I didn’t assume that you would also sit down”
“My dear young wife, I was scandalizing Mrs. Hudson with my bohemian ways before you were born. Her expectations of me are low.”
“I was revoltingly highhanded. ” His eyes twinkled. “Of course, Watson would have said that I was only being myself.”
“A dreary subject indeed. I am not surprised that you were unable to sleep if it was I who occupied your thoughts so thoroughly.”
“A horse,” Holmes said, “has better sense than to run itself headlong into a tree, regardless of the driver. Which is more than you can say for a motorcar.”
My wit has – on that rare occasion – failed me, but then I can always count on Russell to hold up the side.
As neither of us is conversant in the language, we are all at a disadvantage.
Why is it my wife is fluent in every arcane manner of writing, but can’t decipher a simple telegram?
I believe the term the authorities is a misnomer in this case, my dear Russell.
You and I are of a breed, Russell. We will never merely be worker bees; we just don’t have it in us.
The fact that a collection of clues does not add up does not negate the reality that they remain clues.
Putting together a successful case is much like writing a symphony; one must always keep to mind each individual instruments contribution while seeming to focus on the end product of sound produced by the entire orchestra.
I beg to differ; I am not quoting myself if I repeat a piece of Doyle’s drivel.
If it is drivel then why repeat it?
“Thank you, Russell; I’ve been as obtuse as the large angles of a trapezium!”
“I fear my faculties have dimmed to being merely brilliant”, muttered Holmes.
“Come Russell! Time waits for no man and I fear Time has a head start!”
“Stealth, subterfuge and skulduggery are not limited only to scoundrels, Lestrade. I have partaken of them myself, when necessary!”
“It was simple, by which I mean it was akin to nearly drowning in the strong current before being hurtled over an unseen waterfall into the unknown below.”
“He smirked. Not at the information itself, but what exactly he could do with it.”
“I never thought that a look of such deviousness could suit your features so well, Russell.”
“He had seen her in many guises, but nothing looked more natural for his wife than to wield a gun in one hand and a book in the other.”
“Good things come to those who will settle for no less.”
“I do not have to understand women to remain one step ahead of one.”
“Difficult? I am not difficult. I am simply particular about every aspect of detection.”
“Really, Russell, if you persist in this manner I will have to begin introducing you the little woman.”
“Russell, on a given day, to muse is more than to suppose; it is to ponder as deeply the unlikely, as the impossible.”
“Heavens, Russell? There is more on earth I would first gauge.” She didn’t see his brief smile as he went inside. She sat in the garden with her mug of tea and decided not to follow him yet upstairs.
“Where you see a square, Watson, I see four lines joining in pleasant symmetry. Never underestimate reality.”
Watson, you remember Archimedes “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth”? Well, give me a documented fact and I will infer its causes and consequences!
I thought of another Sherlockism, the same idea in three different versions:
Feelings and romanticism muddle the reasoning and compromise the search for truth OR Use of logic and feelings are like oil and water: they don´t mix. (or: they don´t mix well.)
To perceive an event clearly, you must remove the blinders of preconception.
An imagination is only a curse if it is not trained as a tool of the intellect.
My dear Russell, the great virtue of having a soul mate is that one need not explain oneself.
Russell, come here. I need you.
“She is YOUR granddaughter.”
Some days, Estelle was like a chemical experiment composed entirely of variables, and one never knew which would prove combustible.
“to say it was not the perfect cup of tea would be something of an understatement; it was lacking two elements essential to a proper cup: hot water and tea leaves.”
“After all, my dear, one can only seek to decipher the truth of the present day. Tomorrow’s truths shall always be the greatest of mysteries.”
“I find that logic, by nature, is the steadiest of beasts.”
“Spare me your platitudes, sir, and kindly get on with it.”
“It may be elementary to a Harley Street surgeon but it seems complicated to me.”
“Sharing rooms with you Watson is not so bad.”
“Where there is truth, there is often a deceptive covering of lies.”
“By God, it’s Sherlock Holmes!” he cried. By God, it was.
A nugget of truth often sleeps, deep in a tangled web of lies.
Sin is a convenient excuse; but it denies substance.
“Eyewitnesses are about a reliable as an ostridge with it’s head in the ground”
A person, of great intellect, does not cross the stream without knowing how deep the water is. Only a fool would step into it, first, without looking. I always think before I act.
The man, who sees all, is blind because his vision is narrow where as the man, who is blind, sees all because he hears what the other does not see.
The man, who hears all, is deaf because he does not listen where as the man, who is deaf, hears all because he sees what the other does not hear.
I believe this old hound is nearing the end of his hunt. There are too many foxes to catch and I cannot keep up with them all.
A bird may sing but this does not mean the bird is happy and a dog may bark but this does not mean the dog is vicious. You must always hear with your eyes and look with your ears.
Sometimes, we look at the same painting everyday and overlook the frame in which it sits. Without the frame, the picture could not hang. The frame is the most important feature. I’m afraid I have become accustom to having you around and have taken you for granted. I do apologize.
“The answer to that, my dear Russell, is simplicity itself.”
“Russell, I have often been quoted as saying a problem is elementary, but this one deserves study at a University level.”
“Do you want to tell me all about it, or shall I tell you?”
“Scotland Yard: serenely sidestepping sensible solutions since 1829.”
“Art in the blood may take strange forms, but this, this is singularly peculiar.”
“You have outdone Madame Defarge herself.”
“I like my wit like my wine: dry and intoxicating.”
“Always bring a gun to a knife-fight.”
“Holmes, if you pester me for any more of your precious ‘data’ I shall go mad.”
“Do pack the right coat,” Holmes said without looking up. “They are terribly particular about that kind of thing.”
“Now, it’s only a guess-” Holmes raised a hand. “If we’re to be tossing about obscenities, I shall leave this minute.”
“I did not ‘doggedly’ pursue the quarry- you will notice though I have skills in disguise, none involve slobbering.”
“Such violence in the world these days… Russell, do be helpful and hand me my best pistol so that I may remove his kneecaps forcibly.”
“Guesswork?” Holmes sniffed. “My good man, I do hard work and nothing less.”
Russell, cease breathing, please.
The inventor of this was madman or sadist. (perhaps after a drive?)
Russell, my education is not yet complete.
Russell, that truly was worthy of you. I cannot say more.