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I've been rereading "The Adventures of the Three Students" (read it online) to go along with the sherlock60 community's discussion.

It's a rather unusual one - not a murder mystery or even a proper crime, the mystery is about a scandal involving someone copying the question of a scholarship exam for a prestigious university so he could work on it ahead of time in a move that could create a blemish on the university's reputation. The stakes are higher than it seems to us moderns actually, and the mystery itself is really subtle - the clues are there and even fairly obvious, but how they fit together, what they tell Sherlock, I was guessing on that point through the very end.

I also liked that while it was definitely Victorian, it didn't really trade in stereotypes like you'd expect - there's an Indian character who seems quite shifty but Holmes shoves that aside and gives a reason to explain his actions quite nicely. Also, we got an interesting less charitable view of a grumpy Holmes not driven to help out people in need, much more realistic to my mind than we saw in (for instance) "The Solitary Cyclist." Holmes is in the university's neighborhood because he's doing academic interest that seems almost trivial compared to the immediacy of the current case presented to him - and he's simply not at all interested in that until the case becomes interesting to him. That's the Sherlock we know and love (or love to get irritated with), of course, both in the originals and pretty much every adaptation made to date including my present obsessions. But there's no romance, no apologies for it, and it's quite a shift from the kinder gentler Holmes of the last several stories I've reread along with this group. That's not a fault, really, but an observation.

I will say this: even though I'd read it once maybe fifteen years ago and should have theoretically remembered how it ended (and did have a few moments of recognition), it was a wonderful mystery I didn't quite manage to solve until the very end and kept me guessing and engaged. That's a rare treat on its own.

*****************

I also read watched the first Captain America for the first time tonight. Here are some comments I made over at FaceBook, if you're interested in my thoughts. Spoilers, obviously.

I watched the first Captain America movie tonight and found it really very well done given I'm not typically a huge fan of the comic book genre. Very exciting, very intelligent, and kind of a nice commentary on the normal tropes of World War II movies. I need to watch it again to let it properly sink in, I think, but really, it had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

I really, really didn't like what they did with his love-interest, starting with the fact that she *was* a love interest and in a combat zone no less. I also wish there'd been more commentary on the fact that America's basic response to Hitler was apparently a eugenics project of sorts. I mean, it's not *precisely* hypocritical I guess, but definitely enough that the similarity didn't sit comfortably and I thought it would have been interesting to build on. Still, those are fairly specific criticisms with specific aspects.

As a whole, I was actually sitting up and paying attention, even clapping out loud (and I'm watching this sitting at my desk by myself - I felt a bit ridiculous). Seeing Stark Sr. was a lovely touch as well, and Elrond as a kinda-sorta Nazi just tickled my funny bone with the absurdity of it, but he was actually very convincingly evil. Nice mix of humor, adventure, explosions, suspense. As I said, I didn't like what the romance did to what could have been an interesting character, but that was mixed in there as well. Basically it felt very human. And it had some lovely deep moments like why the Cap was motivated to fight - it's not pure nationalism, he doesn't want to have to kill anyone, it's for quite a different reason.

I think I've liked this movie the most of all the Avengers franchise flicks I've seen so far, with the exception of The Avengers itself. Definitely worth the purchase price and the time.


And I had a counseling day which meant a trip down to Washington Square in Manhattan, so I did some fun things today. Again, just pasting in the account I wrote on the subway and pasted to FB:

Today was lovely and self-indulgent by any objective measure, in a good way. Slept in, did a phone interview, and researched a bit on the British medical education system for the new fanfic. Then into Manhattan for counseling. I'm still short of breath but didn't leave my inhaler at home like I thought, which helps.

Weather is really nice, so afterwards I bought an ice cream and ate it in Washington Square, and then played some chess. Two out of five and a third that was close - not bad for someone only just getting back into the game after years off. Then I had dinner at that same diner, which is more promising than I thought. When I told them I was allergic to lettuce they offered me any vegetables I liked from their salads, so I'm enjoying paninis with spinach, cucumbers, and thick slices of tomatoes, all obviously locally grown, really wonderful quality and sandwiches that are very easily big enough for two meals so I get to enjoy it again tomorrow. Plus it's a clean quiet spot where they let me just sit, and they even agreed to swap out the soup (the one thing that's just not good) for soda. My kind of place.

I'm still a bit stressed and drained, but much less so than I was before my afternoon out. And that's saying something, as good therapy is every bit as draining as occlumency lessons.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lindahoyland
Apr. 9th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC)
I've decided to watch the comm and re-read the stories as they are mentioned. Original Sherlock is my favourite. Thanks for telling me about this.

Edited at 2014-04-09 05:11 am (UTC)
marta_bee
Apr. 9th, 2014 05:13 am (UTC)
You're welcome. I've only participated in one discussion and not written any fic yet (100 words is my limit; 60 seems beyond me), but I've enjoyed watching it for a while myself, too. vaysh is a much more regular contributor, and generally the people I've seen around there seem like a good sort. Hope you like watching and reading along.
dreamflower02
Apr. 9th, 2014 09:03 am (UTC)
I'd forgotten that particular story! Thanks for the refresher. I think one of the things that attracted me to the original Doyle stories was the Victorian milieu and the authentic attitudes. They are rather like little time capsules as well as fun mysteries.

I agree with your assessment of Captain America. The DH and I re-watched it the other evening. I was never a Marvel fan growing up, but I was still familiar with all their most well-known characters, and I have found the recent movie adaptations a lot more accessible. The character of Steve Rogers is very refreshing, and captures his essential decency. I like him far more than the Tony Stark character, who is basically a brat.
marta_bee
Apr. 9th, 2014 04:40 pm (UTC)
I think one of the things that attracted me to the original Doyle stories was the Victorian milieu and the authentic attitudes. They are rather like little time capsules as well as fun mysteries.

It's kind of the same thing that drew me to the Tolkien stories originally, why the Shire is always such a breath of fresh air at the beginning of LOTR for me. It's not that hobbits are my favorite characters (sorry!) but that the world is cleaner and brighter and purer, or seems to be. Things like goodness and decency actually matter. And while Doyle's world isn't perfect, there's that same sense of a fresh breath in a world with a bit too much realism about it, I guess.

My exposure to the Marvel-verse is pretty much at the same level as yours. I never read a comic book but even I know who Captain America is, and it was actually kind of hilarious see them take all that showy America-is-#1 spirit and turn it on its head without completely throwing it out the window. I must say, I liked Tommy Lee Phillip's character as well - quite lovely as the longsuffering drill sergeant. :-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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