Monday 7 July 2014

Sherlock Holmes and speedball?

Which is it to-day," I asked, "morphine or cocaine?"
He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened.
"It is cocaine," he said, "a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?"

Remember my post a bit more than a year ago, about King George V dying of speedball overdose? Well, it struck me that there may have been another famous user of the infamous cocaine and heroin (or morphine) cocktail: Sherlock Holmes himself. He was of course a drug user when he did not have a case, which shocked me discovering it. We discover this in The Sign of Four that he is a user of both cocaine and morphine, as you can see from the quote above. It is not much of a stretch to think he may have used both at the same time. I was shocked as a child, but it is now one of the aspects of the characters I find most fascinating. He was not only the ancestor of the super sleuths of whodunits, but also of the anti-hero private eye with his cliché drinking addiction. There is something far more elegant, almost glamorized, in Holmes' drug consumption. Something far more fictitious too. Still, what a fascinating trait.


Mantan Calaveras said...

Would the cocaine accelerate his boredom between cases?

Watson should have given him some cannabis. You know, indoctrinate ol' Sherlock into Rastafarianism. He seems like the kind who could use some head resting, heh heh.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Have you ever read the book "The Seven Percent Solution" by Nicholas Meyer? It's pretty good. Much better than the movie they made of it. It posits a reason why Holmes is a drug addict.

Guillaume said...

@Mantan-Cocaine stimulated him between cases, I guess as he used it in moderation, Holmes never developed an addiction and did not suffer its side effects.
@Debra-No I haven't. I want to read more Conan Doyle before I read his continuators. I don't consider Holmes a drug addict. A drug user certainly, but not addicted.