September 25, 2006

Commentary on "The Boscombe Valley Mystery"

Kristine Park
Section 003
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
‚ÄúThe Boscombe Valley Mystery‚Ä?
Page 70

Spoken by Holmes to Watson:

‚Äú‚ÄėBut it is profoundly true. Singularity is almost invariably a clue. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is, the more difficult it is to bring it home. In this case, however, they have established a very serious case against the son of the murdered man.‚Äô‚Ä?

When something is ‚Äúfeatureless‚Ä? or ‚Äúcommonplace,‚Ä? it is often associated with being very obvious. But to Holmes, it is because the issue is so plain and obvious that makes it even more difficult to solve. ‚ÄúSingularity‚Ä? is something unusual or peculiar. Singularity is what makes an object stand out, making it the first place to start and using that to derive the answers; however, a ‚Äúfeatureless and commonplace‚Ä? item almost has a mask of obviousness. It is so obvious to the naked eye, yet hidden. Obvious bits and pieces often block the mind from being able to form other ideas. The mind is so easily taken by what it can see upfront. This concept of something being so obvious it is hidden to all relates back to Poe‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Purloined Letter.‚Ä?

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