INTRODUCTION by Bill Dorn
No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversations as a dog does. Christopher Morley
Sherlockians and Holmesians the world over have analyzed, deconstructed, and otherwise mutilated the dogs in the 60 Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. All told there are 20 dogs of various breeds and dispositions that appeared in those 60 stories. The best known of these dogs is, of course, the Hound of the Baskervilles who by all accounts was one nasty character. But was he really? Until now no one has heard the hound’s side of the story. What he has to say may surprise you and should make you a bit skeptical when reading Dr. Watson’s accounts of the adventures of Mr. Holmes.
And what of the dog who that nothing in the night-time? You will recall that the dog not barking was the single most important clue that led Sherlock Holmes to the identity of the villain. But the dog himself tells us a different story. Oh, Holmes had the correct villain all right, but his rationale was faulty. As a matter of fact, the dog did bark. He just didn’t bark when Holmes thought he should have done so. No, the dog was much too smart to do that. He barked—and barked loudly—at the precise moment necessary to save the prized race horse, Silver Blaze, from a crippling and career ending injury.
In this little monograph there are 20 stories that reveal hitherto unknown facts like those in the previous paragraphs. Each story was written—or more precisely dictated—by one of the dogs. Thus, you will be reading first hand accounts in the dogs’ own voices. At long last you will learn what really happened in all those adventures and not what Dr. Watson happened to remember about them.
Some of these stories merely elaborate on the accounts written by Watson. Others of the stories out-and-out contradict what Dr. Watson had to say and in some cases point out egregious errors committed by Sherlock Holmes. And then there are stories that provide information omitted from Watson’s accounts. For example, what became of the bull pup that Watson said he owned?
Now you, the reader, might well ask: "Just how did you get all this information ‘in the dogs’ own voices’? Not only do dogs not talk, these dogs have long since gone to their graves."
It is true dogs don’t talk or at least they don’t talk to the likes of you and me. But do you really think that Dr. Doolittle was the only person who learned how to talk to the animals? Or to put it another way, when dogs go to their just reward, who do you think is there to greet them? Who else but St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of saint of animals. Indeed, you will find St. Francis mentioned in one of the stories in this book (see "The Hound’s Tail", pages 7 and 8). But we, and the dogs, have yet another intercessor who works on our behalf. It is the lesser known but equally highly regarded St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs.
St. Roch was a French nobleman who lived during the early part of the 14th century. He began to work among people afflicted with plague and quickly contracted the disease himself. Deciding that he would not recover from the disease, Roch went off by himself into a forest where he expected his life to end quickly. To his surprise, he was befriended by a dog that fed him with food that he had stolen from his master’s table. One day the dog licked an open sore on Roch’s leg and actually healed the sore. Thanks to the dog’s care and the food that the dog supplied Roch miraculously recovered from his illness. As a result of these experiences, St. Roch is invariably pictured in the company of a dog and with his right leg exposed showing a lesion.
Roch returned to France where he was charged with spying and confined to jail for five years where he died. His feast day is celebrated on August 16.
Oh, yes, there is one more thing that should be said here. As a bonus for those readers who actually do read introductions to books, the word "schmiergeld" is a German word for "bribe money."
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgments & Introduction
Curly’s Tale or Three Mistakes of Sherlock Holmes
The Hound’s Tail or The Truth About Dr. Mortimer
The Murder of Milverton or Schmiergeld’s Mistake
What the Silver Blazes or Two Dogs, One Horse
The Dog at Kings Pyland
The Dog at Mapleton
Murder at Shoscombe Old Place or Who Killed Lady Beatrice?
A Tale of Two Carlos or Man Bites Dog and Vice Versa
Great ‘Gloria Scott’ or When is a Bite Not a Bite?
That Was No Lion’s Mane or It Was That Lying Murdoch
Roy’s Tale or Don’t Believe Everything You’re Told
The Second Reigate Puzzle or What the Dog Saw
The Blue Carbuncle Caper or The Ratters of Covent Garden
A Study in Two Dogs or Death Comes to Two Canines
The Fightin’ Bull Pup
The Starving Terrier
Toby’s Tale or Along the Creosote Trail
The Coachman’s Dog or Be Careful Who You Mess With
Pompey’s Story or Hot on the Aniseed Trail
Murder at the Abbey Grange or Gullible’s Travails
The Revenge of the Retired Colourman or What’s a Kennel Worth?
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