In this special, super, fun, exciting, fantastic... hold on, let me get my thesaurus.
...THRILLING Halloween blog post, I was torn between playing more Silent Hill: Homecoming or going back to my Sherlock Holmes roots. What ultimately decided me is that I absolutely despise Silent Hill: Homecoming, and Sherlock Holmes is great.
Tonight we're going to tackle The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, in true horror fashion. There's a twist—any time anything happens that makes me roll my eyes, I'm going to raid my daughter's candy bag.
Sherlock Holmes, just like every other person, is suffering the ill effects of a depressed economy: he hasn't had a proper case in months. I mean yes, it certainly gives him plenty of time to be dour and attractive, but cocaine and tobacco don't exactly buy themselves. On the brink of joining the Occupy Wall Street movement—Occupy Canary Wharf, I suppose—he accepts a case involving vampirism. Can you imagine? I'm breaking out the tent just thinking about it.
He receives a letter from a solicitor's office, explaining that they had received a request from what is presumably a client of theirs, concerning vampires. Being a solicitor's office, they naturally forwarded the letter on to Holmes, and then sat in their office and stared at the wall for a while.
Holmes' reaction, being Holmes, is to scoff at the concept of supernatural beliefs and then immediately ask Watson to research vampires for him.
As they're discussing the necessity of taking a case that hinges on such an idiotic concept—and arguing about how they're going to buy dinner, I assume—Holmes realizes that he has a second letter, written by the gentlemen who, for some reason, asked a fucking lawyer for help with vampires.
Warning: the rest of this story has just so, so much racism in it.
The gentleman in question is writing on behalf of his 'friend'. I'm not sure why so many people in Holmes stories come to him needing help for a 'friend' when any small amount of research would make it obvious that they are talking about themselves. You know, the sort of research that a detective would do, over the course of attempting to solve a case. The case that they brought to him.
The story could essentially end with the letter, as Holmes basically solves the case and then uses it as an excuse to wander around Sussex for a while. This man has married a Peruvian woman, and in a letter that he is writing to a stranger (while he is pretending that he is writing about a 'friend') he admits that he is possibly not so much in love with his wife as he once was, given that she is foreign and all. I am not making this up.
“The lady was very beautiful, but the fact of her foreign birth and alien religion always caused a separation of interests and feelings between husband and wife, so that after a time his love may have cooled towards her, and he may have come to regard their union as a mistake.”
Fantastic! Really, you would think that this is the sort of thing that two people would hammer out before marrying and having a child, but who am I to say? After all, she is a pretty lady.
In this charming household of ill-disguised disharmony and contempt, there is a small baby and an older son, from a previous marriage. The older son was crippled due to an illness as a child, and subsequently can walk, but not well. And his father was recently remarried to a younger, attractive woman and now has a perfect, beautiful baby in the house? Okay, then.
The wife, in her scary foreign ways, has twice been discovered sucking at the baby's neck—where there is a large, unexplained wound—when no one else is around. The house is in a state over this, as can be imagined, especially given that she refuses to explain why she would do something so very creepy. Her husband decides that the only reasonable explanation is that she is a vampire. She is, after all, foreign, and probably has a suspicious accent.
Also she looks like this.
Based on these glittering qualifications, Holmes decides to take the case. Now, the majority of the story is Watson writing about how scary and spooky and ethereal the wife looks, in all her vampire glory, so let's just go ahead and establish that there are no vampires in Sussex. I mean, there might be vampires in Sussex now, I can't really say. Nor am I interested. Please don't send me your pamphlets. But there aren't any vampires in this particular house in Sussex—just a scared lady, her racist husband, several maids that either talk too much or not nearly enough, an extremely confused baby, and a surly teenager. Have you guessed yet? In addition, they learn that the teenager is completely devoted to his father, but absolutely despises and is despised by his step-mother. Really? Are you getting it?
Holmes and Watson make their way to Cheeseman's... wait, what? Is that really what this village is called?
There's even a Mount Cheeseman in New Zealand. Brilliant!
Anyway, they make their way to this absolutely not hilariously named village in order to have a poke around and stare at the local signs a bit. Holmes talks to the maids and talks to the villagers and talks to the teenager and talks to the fucking cows and it's the older son, all right?
The older son has been shooting—shooting, mind you, with a dart gun—poisoned darts at his newly born rival in an attempt to secretly off him.
The mother, as mothers are wont to do, instead of telling anyone or anything like that, would then turn around and suck the poison out of her baby and occasionally beat the ever-living shit out of her step-son. This is the perfectly reasonable and logical explanation to this case, as a counter-point to the cah-razy idea that some lady is a vampire. Poisoned darts.
As a happy end to this tale, the wife comes clean and admits that she is a selfless, though clearly not english speaking victim, the husband is... well, the same as ever, and young surly teenager is, on Holmes' suggestion, shipped off to sea for a year. To cure him.