The Devil’s Foot

07/18/2011 at 1:15 AM (Books, Mystery, TV) (, , , , , )

While Holmes and Dr. Watson are on vacation in Cornwall , the intrusion of a local vicar, Mr. Roundhay, makes sure that their break is cut short. Mr. Mortimer Tregennis, a local gentleman estranged from the rest of his family due to a family dispute, found his brothers under a strange derangement and his sister, Brenda, dead after a friendly visit. The housekeeper had found them and on seeing their state had fainted. Tregennis says he saw his brother looking out through the window and adds he had seen “movement” outside. He then attributes the bizarre event as the work of the devil. The ghastly look of horror on Brenda’s face is a complete mystery. The summoned doctor came to the conclusion she had been dead for six hours and he too collapsed into a chair after arrival.

After attending the affected residence, Holmes kicks over a watering pot; the action is in fact a deliberate accident. The feet of all get soaked. Holmes notes the remains of a fire. Tregennis explains it was a cold, damp night. New questions arise when Dr. Leon Sterndale, a famous hunter and explorer, makes a visit after hearing of the tragedy. He is played by Denis Quilley, who has an amazing voice. The Tregennis family members are distant cousins of Dr.Sterndale.

Soon after, the vicar delivers the news of the death of Mortimer Tregennis; it was in the same manner as his siblings. Rushing to the room of the dead man, Holmes and Watson find the air smells foul and stuffy despite an open window. In addition, a lamp is burning. Holmes scrapes half of the ash from the lamp, leaving the rest for the local police. It is clear he knows how the victims met their deaths. He tests his hypothesis and is pulled into a stupor of madness. In my opinion, this was done rather cheesily. The quick thinking of Watson who resists inhaling the poison saves him from near peril. It turns out burning of the powder was the key to solve other complications.

It turns out there were two guilty parties in this tale: one was motivated by greed and the other by love. The poison is called Radix pedix diaboli – Devil’s Foot in Latin. This is how the adventure, found in the story collection His Last Bow, derives its name.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Sherlock Holmes (Film)

01/06/2010 at 2:21 AM (Movies) (, )

When I saw the Sherlock Holmes trailer, I was disappointed because it seemed as if Guy Ritchie had uprooted Sherlock from his detective genre and firmly implanted him in an action movie. This had a very disagreeable taste to me as a fan of Sir Arthur’s fictious genius but this was the only tasteful movie showing at Chadstone on Boxing Day at 11 pm.

Sherlock_holmes_ver5

While initially trying to get over the shock of the movie starting like something akin to The Bride of Frankenstein with touches of the paranormal, the sight of Sherlock throwing punches in the ring made it clear this Sherlock was not close to how Doyle made him appear. While I’m all for artistic license, did Ritchie have to infuse it with American sitcom humour ?

The music too was disconcerting and seemed far too lively or too dramatic for the sombre English setting in my opinion so I was surprised by Hans Zimmer. Not to mention the mix of Sherlock Holmes and cheeky bedroom shenanigans! The storyline was also very reminiscent of books by Dan Brown with its addition of addition of superstition and action to a mystery genre.

So thinking I was in for a dose of salt, I was pleasantly surprised when in the middle the plot picked up and an actual mystery to solve emerged. This coupled with relationship tangles until the pitiful conclusion was thrilling enough to make it more satisfying than was initially expected.

While it was an interesting take on an overly stereotyped figure, as someone who loves plot over visuals…it is possibly why I am incapable of providing a fully, glowing review.

Permalink 1 Comment