Secrets are in the news, government secrets. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are at the heart of news stories that raise compel-ling and unsettling questions about what information governments gather and how they go about it.
For Sherlockians, there is an added layer: The world of the Canon is full of secrets involving both governments and individuals. Holmes's attitude—when he is not solving a crime—is that secrets can remain secret. Yet there is something almost perverse about this. After all, Holmes is a detective; he detects. From the Latin root of the word, his job is quite literally to lift the roof off things.
Despite Holmes's occupation, the rich and powerful, both in and out of government, approach him with their secrets. Yet why go to a man who uncovers to make sure things are covered up? It is a problem that doesn't interest Holmes. He quite happily aids the ruling class, as well as other clients, in keeping secrets. He allows Watson to write about some cases while insisting he obscure identifying de-tails (providing much thereby for the researches of Sherlockian scholars). Only the barest hint, for example, is made as to the identity of "The Illustrious Client." In these situations Holmes, who so often asserts his independence, seems to be more deferent to the ruling class than one would expect from his bohemian nature. Alas, this must be yet another untold tale.
The Editor's Gas-Lamp, Autumn 2013, Vol. 63, No. 3.