During the holiday season, many people pause to re-read a seasonal classic. Whether it's the traditional Nativity tale, or maybe "A Christmas Carol" or "The Gift of the Magi," favorite stories help us focus on the meaning of this special time of year.
For Sherlockians, no Christmas would be complete without another turn through "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle." It involves a hat, a goose, a purloined gem, and an unexpected outcome. It's one of my top five stories, because---as one of my scion members put it last week---it is a quintessential Holmes story. Everything works, from the playful deductions about the hat's owner to the 'chase' of clues through Yuletide London, with an innocent man's freedom on the line. Its conclusion tells us much about the character of Sherlock Holmes; simply put, it is perhaps his finest moment of humanity.
Last week, I had a holiday dilemma. Without going into details, let's just say that I had a student who was 'naughty.' I caught the young person red-handed, and could easily have brought down the wrath of the academy. But this student pulled a James Ryder, complete with weeping and wringing of hands. I couldn't bring myself to extract the big penalty and instead let the young person off with a lower grade and a stern warning.
Then, because it was the day of our scion meeting, I re-read BLUE...and I decided that Holmes was right. This "is the season of forgiveness." And I honestly believed that the student would learn a better lesson by being set free with a stern scolding, rather than being handed over to the unmerciful authorities.
Of course, some of my pals are amused that I tend to look at Sherlock Holmes as a guide to life. But honestly, I think I could do a lot worse!
Here's hoping all my Sherlockian friends have a very Merry (and crime-free!) Christmas.