Riddles of Sherlock Holmes
By: Justin Zablocki (author, Zablocki Bros. LLC) on October 4th, 2013 12:00 AM.
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective originally from a literary series written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between 1887 and 1927. Since the novels and short stories came out the series has spawned several plays, TV series, and movies. Most recently and famously, Sherlock Holmes was played by Robert Downey Jr in the 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. He is probably the most famous and well known detective of our time (fictional obviously). Everything he does and the reason he is so great at solving crimes is based on his ability to solve riddles. Every person and situation he is put into becomes one large riddle in which everything is a clue. The advantage he has over most people is that he is very well read and knows more about the world than most people. He starts solving these riddles almost immediately in the 2009 movie when he figures out a lot about Watson's fiancé just by looking at her:
HOLMES: Watson told me you're a governess.
MARY: Yes, I am.
HOLMES: Your student's a boy of 8.
MARY: Charlie's 7, actually.
HOLMES: Then he's tall for his age. He flicked ink at you today.
MARY: (horrified) Is there ink on my face?
WATSON: No, your face is perfect.
HOLMES: There are two tiny drops on your ear. Almost invisible. (trying to soften the blow) India blue's nearly impossible to wash off, anyway.
WATSON: Please sit down.
MARY: How do you know I didn't punish him?
HOLMES: Well, because... perhaps I should sit down.
MARY: I'd like to know. Really.
HOLMES: Your necklace and bracelet are matched South African diamonds from Asprey's, flawless. Not... not the jewels of a governess. The lady you work for lent them to you. She wouldn't've done so if you'd punished her son, not even if he deserved it - human nature being what it is.
Mary is beet red with embarrassment.
From two simple physical features Holmes is able to deduce a lot about Mary's career. This is the fundamental essence of riddles. He does this several times throughout the movie and most of the media he is portrayed in. He uses this ability to solve riddles to always have the upper hand on his opponent proving he is superior in intelligence. Another example of him showing his superior wit through riddles is when he identifies a dead man as a drunk and a gambler:
Lestrade holds up a BATTERED POCKET WATCH, by the chain.
LESTRADE: This was in his pocket. Holmes reaches into his own pocket, pulls out a JEWELLER'S LOUP, screws it into his eye, grabs the watch, flips it open and examines the lid obsessively for a moment.
HOLMES: Hm. A drunk and a gambler.
Lestrade has no idea how Holmes deduced that.
Holmes shows him the watch.
HOLMES: (CONT'D) Scratches around the keyhole. Every drunk is the same. And pawnbrokers scratch the ticket number and their initials inside the lid. This one has five, so the owner made and lost money on a regular basis.
For more information about Sherlock Holmes visit the Wikipedia page.
For some funny and challenging riddles visit the Funny Riddles Section.