RAY CELESTIN: Holmes & All that Jazz

Written by Ray Celestin

Ray Celestin lives in London. He studied Asian art and languages at university and is a script writer for film and TV, as well as publishing several short stories. THE AXEMAN'S JAZZ is his first novel.

My debut novel, The Axeman’s Jazz was published this May (2014). It’s a noir-inspired detective novel about a series of real life killings that took place in New Orleans in 1919. Two of the book’s three protagonists work as private detectives, and the story was influenced (as are many first detective novels, no doubt) by the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. The influence is quite clear as Ida, the heroine of the story, is a Sherlock Holmes fan herself, who becomes interested in being a private investigator through reading the Holmes stories and even quotes from Conan Doyle’s books on occasion.

Holmes is seen as the archetypal detective, probably because he was the first detective to really grab the imagination of the public and thus in some ways he became the archetype. Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allan Poe all wrote notable stories featuring detectives that predate Conan Doyle, but it is Conan Doyle’s creation that is still current and remembered.

However, many of the tropes that existed in the original stories do not really feature much in later adaptations, and as each adaptation leaves its mark on the character an opposite process has also occurred - much of what we now consider to be Holmesian is not in the original stories.

This is process of changing the source material doesn’t begin in any of the adaptations, but in the artwork that accompanied the narratives when they were first published in magazine form. The illustrator Sidney Paget was originally hired to provide sketches for the Holmes stories after The Strand Magazine accidently sent him the job offer (the intended recipient was Paget’s younger brother, Walter, also an illustrator).

Conan Doyle thought Paget’s illustrations made Holmes too good-looking and that the detective should look alittle more manic (as he is described in the stories). Paget was however, responsible for giving Holmes his deerstalker hat, an accessory that isn’t really mentioned by Conan Doyle.

After Paget, the first hugely successful adaptations of the Holmes stories were on the stage, with the American actor William Gillette playing Holmes. The actor, (whose casting Conan Doyle very much approved of) was the first to give the character the large, curved pipe he later became associated with. In the books, no mention is really made of Holmes smoking a large-bowled pipe, and he just as often smoked cigarettes. Gillette also came up with a piece of dialogue that has a familiar ring to it, “Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow”, which was subsequently turned into “Elementary, my dear Watson” by PG Wodehouse in his 1915 book, PSmith, Journalist. This is the first recorded usage of the phrase, which never appears in the original books.

So within Conan Doyle’s own life time, Holmes had been given his characteristic looks, hat, pipe and catch phrase all by other people. This process of syncretism continues to the present day and is perhaps understandable given the number of adaptations that have occurred - according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Holmes is the most adapted character in history, with over 70 different actors playing him in various TV, film and stage adaptations. (My own personal favourite is Jeremy Brett). Holmes has been depicted as a delusional millionaire, a client of Freud, a drunken actor, an animated Japanese hound-dog, a Disney mouse, and as fighting against the Nazis, Jack the Ripper and Dracula. Perhaps this plethora of faces and forms is something the great detective might approve of, considering one of the tropes in the original books is that Sherlock Holmes, as well as being a master detective, was also a master of outrageous disguises.

 

Read our review of THE AXEMAN’S JAZZ

why husbands cheat open I cheated on my girlfriend
I cheated on my wife want my wife to cheat website
read buy viagra no rx canada which is better chalis or viagra
dating a married man wife cheat redirect
spyware for phone best phone spy spy gps
letter to husband who cheated femchoice.org why men cheat on beautiful women
walgreens photo deals socap13.com coupon code for walgreens photo
rite aid photo coupons blog.phormtastic.com walgreens transfer prescription coupon
ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablets http://ciprofloxacin500mgantibiotics.com ciprofloxacin hcl uses
propranolol 40mg diprolene tube diflucan 200mg
prescription drugs coupons discount coupons for viagra coupon for free viagra
how much does it cost for an abortion read medical abortion pill
diabetes mellitus treatment click 10mg cialis dosage
cialis savings and coupons cialis coupon 2015 free cialis coupon 2016
voltaren dolo kenocs voltaren dolo kenocs voltaren ára
tadalafil 20mg tablets mazsoft.com tadalafil 20 mg
discount coupon for cialis coupons for cialis 2016 cialis coupon card
motilium cena motilium cena motilium
cialis coupons from lilly funtimeleisure.co.uk free coupon for cialis
best site for coupons sites for coupons coupon sites
amoxicillin antibiyotik fiyat amoxicillin 500 mg amoxicillin antibiyotik fiyat
addiyar newspaper addyi suomi addiyan chuk chuk
getting an abortion pill where to get an abortion pill misoprostol abortion
herbal abortion pill unbosqueparaelplanetatierra.com abortion pill information
abortion pill pros and cons abortion pill is murder abortion pill stories
coupons prescriptions cialis free sample coupons cialis coupons 2015
lilly cialis coupons discount coupon for cialis cialis coupon codes
abortion pill information cost for an abortion abortion pill is murder
abortion pill alternatives reasons for abortion pill against abortion pill facts
addyi review addyi fda addyi wikipedia
lilly cialis coupon artsricksha.com cialis discount coupon
information about abortion pill the abortion pill cost average cost of abortion
what is abortion pill free abortion pill about abortion pill
amoxicillin 1000 mg amoxicillin 1000 mg amoxicillin antibiyotik fiyat
lamisil cream lamisil para que sirve lamisil pastillas
abortion pill services aero-restauration-service.fr home abortion pill
feldene precio news.hostnetindia.com feldene flas
abortion in first trimester fao-events.com terminating pregnancy at 5 weeks
discount drug coupon cialis sample coupon internet drug coupons
low dose naltrexone for pain does naltrexone work naltrexone challenge
depade naltrexone saveapanda.com revia and alcohol
naltrexone mechanism vivatrol ldn for ulcerative colitis

Ray Celstin



Home
Book Reviews
Features
Interviews
News
Columns
Authors
Competitions
Blog
Shop
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor

THIS WEBSITE IS © SHOTS COLLECTIVE. NOT TO BE REPRODUCED ELECTRONICALLY EITHER WHOLLY OR IN PART WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION OF THE EDITOR.