The Game's Afoot!
I don't know when my fascination with Sherlock Holmes started. In my childhood certainly...but I can't pinpoint the exact moment. I love the character. I adore the stories...and I long just a little for the world they exist in.
I loved it each time the Great Detective turned to Watson and said something along the lines of "We've not a moment to lose, old friend. The game's afoot!" Right after that, they'd pile into a horse drawn carriage and kick some evil-doer's ass.
When I heard 'The game's afoot,' my pulse quickened.
So when I noticed there was an actual Sherlock Holmes museum at (where else) 221b Baker Street here in London, I began plotting how to get there.
It is a richly detailed building, put together by people who love the stories even more than I did. Statues, curios, props built from precise descriptions in the stories...fascinating corners and photo opportunities everywhere.
You feel like you are walking in to consult with Holmes, maybe wearing a mask to conceal your identity -- or a secret-but-urgent mission for some reclusive royal family.
But here was a mystery: in the gift shop I bought nothing.
"Aren't you going to get anything?" asked Sheree. She knows my fascination with all things Holmsian.
I shook my head.
"NOTHING?" she asked.
I proffered a handful of business cards with "Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective" on them.
Her eyes narrowed. Trust me: you simply cannot snow this woman. I know. I've tried. "You didn't see anything you liked?"
"Lots of stuff," I said. "But nothing in particular."
This was, of course, a lie. There was a fist-sized bronze statue of Holmes on the moors, contemplating a clue that will help him solve the mystery of the Hound of the Baskervilles (which happens to be one of my all-time favorite novels).
I loved it at first sight. It's got a dated look to it...which is right up there with the covers of Hardy Boy novels where 'Frank and his younger brother Joe' peered around old clocks or into hidden caves for inciting a powerful sense of adventure and mystery.
But this statue was 20 pounds...which is like...well...probably like...40 bucks Canadian. What moron's gonna pay that much for a statue?
Me, I guess. It just took me a little longer to make the buying decision.
But a funny thing happened when I went through the hundred or so photos I took in the museum. I couldn't find any one of them that really said "HOLMES" to me.
Then I saw this strange bust...processed it, added grain and a splash of gold...and this is as close as I can come to showing you what it felt for me when Holmes cried out "The game's afoot" but it didn't do it completely either.
(I always thought that line would be a shoo-in for a podiatrist theme mystery.)