A friend of mine shared this tweet last week:
So true! But I would put Home Alone in the 2nd group. The scary neighbor reconciled with his son. Kevin realized that he really did like his family. It may be a little unconventional, but it does fit there.
Die Hard is what I call “Christmas adjacent,” and the movie While You Were Sleeping, too. They happen around Christmas time, and there are Christmas parties or gifts, but the plot isn’t really about Christmas. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of those, too. I like this category. Stories from the first two can get monotonous – you have the grumpy person, you have the person full of Christmas cheer, there’s Santa, there’s a problem that will prevent Santa from delivering Christmas gifts… But in Christmas adjacent stories, you get the Christmas setting and sentiment without having to watch/read the same plot played out with the same characters bearing different names. (Though I admit: there are plenty of those that I love, too!) What are your favorite Christmas adjacent stories?
Dr Watson, who narrates Holmes’ chronicles, is fascinated by the way Holmes deduces information from miniscule clues. Thus, Holmes always explains his process to Watson. And Watson never fails to be amazed! The best part of mystery stories is figuring out the puzzle. I always try to figure it out before the answer is given, but of course with Sherlock, I can’t see the clues, so I have to guess based on the plot.
In “Blue Carbuncle,” Watson arrived at Holmes’ place a couple of days after Christmas, to find Holmes examining a hat. Their task was to find the owner of the lost hat. Knowing the process that Holmes uses to discover clues, Watson examined the hat and told Holmes that he saw nothing – no clues. Holmes said, “On the contrary, Watson, you can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see.” I love this quote because how often it happens that I see but fail to draw the right conclusions out of laziness or bias or just plain ignorance. Holmes has a talent for deductive reasoning, but it is also a skill, and one that I want to hone!
The plot thickened when Peterson, the police officer, burst in, having discovered a jewel hidden in the goose which had been lost with the hat. That famous jewel had been stolen from a hotel room a few days previously. Now finding the owner of a lost hat has turned into finding a jewel thief!
The mystery was solved quickly. Did you see where it was going? Did you have any idea of who the real thief was? Or how Henry Baker, the owner of the hat, happened to get the goose with the jewel?
The ending surprised me – not the solution or the unmasking of the real thief, but what Holmes did. There’s a part of me that believes James Ryder needed to be punished for stealing the blue carbuncle. But on the other hand, the mercy that Holmes showed him warms my heart. Instead of detaining the culprit and calling Peterson to arrest him, Holmes let Ryder go, saying, “I suppose that I am commuting a felony, but it is just possible that I am saving a soul. This fellow will not go wrong again; he is too terribly frightened. Send him to gaol now, and you make him a gaol-bird for life. Besides, it is the season of forgiveness. Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward.”
I feel like this was a wise and kind way to treat Ryder, though I’m curious what Holmes said when he next met with Peterson! What did you think about the conclusion? Come on in to the comments!
Here’s the schedule for the rest of December:
December 15: Reginald’s Christmas Revel
December 22: Top 5 Books of 2020
December 29: Top 5 Books of 2020