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In it origins, the detective method is closely connected with early Romantic ideas about the nature of the imagination. Poe set the precedent of the detective as an impure rationalist; and it has frequently been pointed out how the methods of Dupin, and his disciple, Holmes rely not on deduction, but induction. This is a method which required the mind to make certain leaps of the imagination. The classic example of the detective psychology can be seen in the famous mind-reading episode, which Conan Doyle took from Poe, and adapted in the adventure of the The Cardboard Box.

There are few people of my generation, before and after, who would not recognise the monkey below as being that from the famous children’s book series, Curious George. However, how many of you know anything about the authors and who they were?

Sometimes reality is indeed stranger than fiction. So much so, that when you write about it, people could query whether what you have written is plausible. However, authors use real life experiences all the time as a springboard for their books, including disappointments and the dramatic. Let’s look at an example.

In Cornwall, where I presently live, there are fairies. But let us be clear about the Cornish fairies. They were far from the diaphanous creatures with gossamer wings, beloved by the late Victorians and immortalised by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (whose book, The Coming of The Fairies so surprised his readers). These were not the Little People who flitted here and there among the flowers of the meadows. They were elementals: spirits of the land and fierce protectors of its terrain. Since the land was sacred to the indigenous population of pre-industrial Cornwall, the Small People were its nature spirits.

Sherlock Holmes's own wide knowledge of classic murder cases and of the circumstances of their victims' demise certainly assisted him in the detection of crime and the speed with which he reached his conclusions.

Published in 1865, the story of Alice in Wonderland has undoubtedly stood the test of time. With Lewis Carroll’s original story spawning numerous live action movies, animations, comic books and even games, Alice has transcended the printed word to become a part of mainstream culture. So why do generations of children and adults alike continue to venture down the rabbit hole?

Today I’m feeling just a bit nostalgic. Earlier this week, on the news announced the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was closing the tents for the last time. I remembered my visits to the circus as a child, and found myself smiling. Even as an adult, I saw evidence of this great circus. There were times when I would have to take a different route into Palm Beach because the Elephant Walk was taking place. You could see the excited children lining the sidewalks waiting for a glimpse of the mighty giants. Yes, there is an excitement which only comes with events like the circus, and if you’ve ever been to one you will understand.

My Fictional World

January 29, 2017

It started with a winter’s day walk through a park with my 12-year-old daughter. A yappy dog bolted towards us and proceeded to run around her legs until its exasperated owner came to fetch it, amidst profuse apologies.

The most famous detective of all time, Sherlock Holmes, made his first public appearance in the December issue of Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887. The story, A Study in Scarlet, was not an immediate success when it was reprinted by Ward Lock & Co. in the following year. That was unsurprising, however, for in August of that year the first of Jack the Ripper's many victims was added to the already high crime statistics of London. The appetite of the Victorian reading public enjoyed a full enough saturation of bloody murder and mayhem from the popular press of the day.