Since Chris already wrote about our trip to Minnesota, it doesn't leave me much to write about lately. So this post isn't about anything in particular, just a random observation I made during Chris and my "Sherlock Holmes" night last Thursday.
Every Thursday night "Sherlock Holmes" (the Jeremy Brett version) airs on PBS. For those of you that don't know, I am a total Holmes nerd. I read the massive anthology Barnes and Nobel publishes in the last weeks of my pregnancy. I read them again to Luca the first few months after he was born to rock him to sleep. And our bedtime book is currently the "Children's Classics" edition of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes". So every Thursday Chris and I sit down to watch "Sherlock Holmes".
Another series I am fond of is Agatha Christie's Poirot. I've read most of these as well, and up until recently, PBS broadcast them on Sunday nights. However, much to Chris and my disappointment they stopped running them through most of the summer. But last Thursday, we were delighted to find that they resumed showing Poirot, and put it on right after Holmes! My two favorite detective shows all in one night!
As we sat down to watch both shows, what struck me was the huge differences between the two. Not so much in the characters; though their appearances are nearly diametric opposites, their methods and eccentricities are quite similar. What fascinated me was the contrast between the two worlds in which the characters lived:
The intro to "Sherlock Holmes" is a horse and buggy clipping through the noisy, cobblestone streets of London. Poirot's compatriot Hastings's hobby is acquiring the latest and fastest cars. In Holmes era, human flight was still a thing of fantasy. Some of Poirot's cases deal with the theft of plans for a secret fighter plane. Homes is frequently summoned to his cased by hand delivered message or telegraph. A phone call is all Poirot requires. 221B Baker Street is lit by gas lamps, while Poirot's stylish flat has electric lighting. And perhaps most shockingly is the change of attire, especially for women: the Victorian everything-covered-up-to-your-eyeballs look in Holmes, while the women of Poirot often sport revealing flapper-girl attire.
To really appreciate this huge contrast, consider the publication dates of the two series: The first Holmes novel "A Study in Scarlet" was published in 1887, with stories taking place in the 1880's and 90's. Hercule Poirot first appeared in Christie's fiction in 1920. That's a difference of only 40 years. Chris didn't find it particularly shocking, stating it was like the difference between when my mother grew up and now. That's true, but the contrast in technologies wasn't as stark. My mom grew up watching television like I did. Though there were no cell phones, telephones existed and were in common use. She got her driver's license at sixteen, just as teenagers do now. And although she didn't have a computer in her home, or use one until she was an adult, she at least knew that such things existed and what they were. The world of my mother seems to me old fashioned, but not archaic. And that is almost certainly how the fashionable, modern Hercule Poirot would have viewed the horse-and-buggy world of Sherlock Homes.
Such are my random thoughts for the day.