So I’ve been brushing up on my mysteries as research for my WIP. Yeah, I know, tough work. I wanted to go with more of a “method” approach, but I thought committing a felony to determine how the cops would handle the case might be the long way to publishing a novel (though these days, who knows?). Instead, I’ve been reading James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.
It’s my first foray into these classics. I mean, I haven’t even watched an entire Bond movie (unless you count Austin Powers). And I had no idea that Sherlock Holmes was a collection of short stories and not a collection of novels (or that they were told from Watson’s point-of-view— curious). So I went into these books cold, and after about 15 minutes of careful deliberation, I’ve come away with who I think is truly the mystery-solving mastermind.
So here it is, my analysis of Casino Royale and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:
Bond -vs- Holmes: Two Sleuths Enter, One Sleuth Leaves
1. Holmes is a coke head. No joke! Page two it says Holmes is “buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition…” Maybe Robert Downey Jr. was a good casting choice.
Bond likes his drink, though it’s not a classic martini. It’s an original concoction he created: three parts Gordon’s, one part vodka, a half part Kina Lillet (no idea what that is), shaken until ice cold and topped with a lemon twist.
Point: Bond. Crack is whack.
2. Bond can handle his torture. He gets tied to a chair and is beaten in a very graphic manner. Let’s just say, “yuck.” Though I was surprised this super spy had be rescued not once, but twice in this book.
Holmes isn’t just some wimpy brainiac. He threatens to whip one bad guy with a hunting crop (or cane) and actually does slug another criminal with it. He will mess you up with that walker.
Point: Holmes. Smart and sassy.
3. Holmes is a collection of short stories because it takes the character no more than one page to solve the mysteries. Man can put some pieces together.
Bond is a few steps behind. Yeah, he doesn’t get dead, but that’s mostly out of luck. He’s too busy drinking and wooing women to consider that the bad guys might try a counter attack.
Point: Holmes. I’d say his IQ score is a few points higher.
4. Bond is incredibly misogynistic. And I don’t mean because he’ll shag you, baby (though he never says that). I mean, he actually calls his female partner “a blithering woman who thought she could do a man’s work.” Sexism = not sexy.
So far, Holmes hasn’t spent much time looking at the ladies. Now, I’m not going to say that he and Watson have a little something on the side, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you know what I mean.
Point: Holmes. At least he respects the brawds.
5. Bond has shades of inspiration that I could trace in modern day creations such as: Alias, Taken, 24, the great Austin Powers, and pretty much anything spy-related (he perfected the genre).
Holmes’ near psychic powers of intuition make Psych (on USA) and the Mentalist virtual rip offs. He also could be credited as being one of the first criminal profilers given his psychological analysis of perpetrators. So add Criminal Minds and The Profiler to the list.
Point: Tie. They both warrant every literary allusion they’ve generated.
So there you have it, my entirely scientific comparison of two classic mysteries. Holmes could officially whip Bond’s butt. Mostly because Bond isn’t quite smart enough to see it coming. Though if it ever came to blows, Holmes is dead man. You don’t bring a cane to a gun fight.