Gleanings from the Past #81

Crimes in Sherlock Holmes

arthur conan doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

There is one fact in connection with Holmes which will probably interest those who have followed his career from the beginning, and to which, so far as I am aware, attention has never been drawn. In dealing with criminal subjects one’s natural endeavour is to keep the crime in the background. In nearly half the number of the Sherlock Holmes stories, however, in a strictly legal sense no crime was actually committed at all. One heard a good deal about crime and the criminal, but the reader was completely bluffed. Of course, I could not bluff him always, so sometimes I had to give him a crime, and occasionally I had to make it a downright bad one.

— Arthur Conan Doyle, Tit-Bits, December 15, 1900


A little training in philosophy can also help us build robust critical defenses and immunize us against the wiles of pretentious wafflers and snake-oil salesmen.

— Barry Loewer, 30-Second Philosophies, 2009

Time and Photography

All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.

— Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977

Appetite for Knowledge

An appetite for knowledge is apt to rush one off one’s feet, like any other appetite if not curbed. I often stand in the in the centre of the Library here and think despairingly how impossible it is ever to become possessed of all the wealth of facts and ideas contained in the books surrounding me on every hand.

— W. N. P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man, 1919

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

One thought on “Gleanings from the Past #81

  1. I am presently consuming the Definitive Collection of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. I shall endeavor to maintain a vigilant eye from here on out as to the pervasiveness of crimes in his stories.


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