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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, by Arthur Conan Doyle

Another tale of the Great Detective. It contains Dr. Watson's Crowning Moment of Awesome.

1) Is Holmes justified in breaking the law--either in his decision to commit burglary or his decision in keeping quiet about what he saw in Milverton's home?

2) There's another moral point the story passes over rather glibly: What do you think of Holmes' decision to woo a woman while in disguise, then just disappear from her life after getting engaged?


Bill said...

This was a very entertaining story You knew that the well laid plans going to fall apart somewhere, but didn't know how.

1) In general I thought he a decent captain... If he wasn't a sympathetic character you wouldn't care about if he was able to get past this 'problem' he discovered.

2) Is this the military life? I really don't know as I haven't been there... but I think there are strong parallels between the bureaucracy of this fictional military and more 'current' fictional bureaucracies like 'The Office'

In many ways this story seems to be a pre-cursor to Catch-22 (Catch was written just a few years later)

It seems to be a reoccurring theme in literature, that we have to be as concerned about well-meaning people in our organization as much as the defined/tangible enemy that we organized to face.

As an aside, Catch-22 is a required read at West Point. They really use it to try and avoid the bureaucratic mind set described.

Tim DeForest said...

I think you meant this comment for Allamogoosa, not the Holmes story. But I appreciate it anyways.

I also had the impression he was a good captain. His crew seemed happy and I had the impression that they were generally successful in their missions. (For instance, the reference to the dog alerting them to danger while exploring a planet.) It was simply the captain becoming obsessed with passing the inspection and avoiding bureaucratic hassles that doomed him.