It is difficult to understand how the Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle remains so popular today with his adventures of the world’s most famous detective when any critical thinking that contradicts the status quo is dismissed out of hand as the ranting of a lunatic.
In other words, it would have been next to impossible for Sherlock Holmes to break many cases today given the propensity of the powers-to-be to scream ‘conspiracy theory’ every time an explanation of an event surfaces that is at variance to the official narrative.
Consider the story, ‘The Adventures of the Dancing Men,’ published in 1903. Here we have one of those rare cases when one of Holmes’ clients succeeds in getting himself killed before the famed detective can solve the mystery.
The victim, Hilton Cubitt, hires Holmes after receiving a number of strange letters featuring stick figures in various hieroglyphic-style poses. We also learn that Cubitt has just been married to an American woman, who insisted that her husband never inquire about her past, which, she said, featured some “disagreeable associations.”
One day, Holmes was informed that Cubitt had been found dead of a bullet to the heart, while his wife, lying nearby, was wounded with a gunshot wound to her head. The police arrived on the crime scene and made the rapid determination that Cubitt had been killed by his wife, who then turned the weapon on herself. A lover’s quarrel, case closed.
Not so fast, said Holmes, who had been able to crack the code of the letters, discovering that the author had been using an ingenious cipher to compose them. He was able convince the local authorities to cast a net in an effort to capture the real perpetrator. The detective then mailed a letter to the…