Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baker Street Saturday - Lessons From Sherlock Holmes

There's a great article by Maria Konnikova entitled Lessons From Sherlock Holmes: Don't Tangle Two Lines of Thought. It's wonderful for mystery readers (and authors to understand how readers think) yet so simple and natural. It states we should not include too many facts in our chain of logical thinking because, while related, they don't all lead to the correct conclusion.

The trick, for a mystery reader of course, is to determine which facts are relevant and which ones are red herrings.

Maybe that's why we love Sherlock Holmes as much as we do, for over a hundred years. We try to pick out the useful facts, dismiss the unimportant ones and solve the case before Holmes. (This happened to me only once, I'm proud and annoyed to say.)

Perhaps this is the real reason original Holmes smoked so much; not addiction to tobacco but something to do while he sits for hours and just thinks.

I, for one, prefer tea. Or hot chocolate if the sweet tooth is acting up.

How about you? Do you over-think, over-include and evaluate too many things at once? Or do you put the book down every so often and really think things through?


Ellen Whyte said...

I tend to come to conclusions without knowing exactly how, and then I have to work backwards to see if it fits!

Jennifer Oberth said...

That works! I think our gut instinct is usually dead on. It's just the 'explain why' part we have trouble with.