February 14, 2005

British Crime Is More Literary and Complex Than American Crime

Does it sometimes seem like while Americans commit terrible crimes like murder for banal and blindly impulsive reasons, the British have eight page New Yorker article crimes, full of literary parallels and thick historical context?

In March, a leading authority on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character allegedly committed suicide in such a way as to make his death look like a murder perpetrated by his arch rival, an American policy strategy analyst who works in Donald Rumsfeld's office.

Accounts of this crime also mention the severe schism that has evolved in the fandom of Doyle's Holmes, with a key distinction being made between two apparently irreconcilable groups, the Sherlockians and the Doyleans. Doyleans have felt a need to branch off from the Sherlockians, who focused on the character to the exclusion of the author. Sherlockians, presumably, spend a fair amount of time nibbling sour grapes, and pointing out the inherant flaws of the Doylean affection for the author.

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