One thing that never occurred to me when I read “A Scandal in Bohemia” — the 1891 first Sherlock Holmes short story, coming after the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four — in which Holmes is tasked with tracking down a photograph incriminating to the King of Bohemia is that there was never actually a king of Bohemia.
Nor, it turns out, did I actually know where Bohemia was.
But in an afterword to his comic adaptation of the story — which he combines with that of “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”, not entirely successfully — Petr Kopl discusses this lack of King, because Bohemia is in the Czech Republic and it is important whether or not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knew that or not. You know, to Czech people. Of which he is one.
I get it, but I tend to think… well, Doyle probably just figured everywhere in Eastern Europe was ruled by a King or Prince or Archduke or some such. It did seem like that, at any point up till World War I, at any rate. Did it really matter whether it was Bohemia, or Transylvania, for the sake of the story? Not really.
But it does matter to Kopl’s version of Sherlockian events, because in it he has brought in some other stalwarts of Victorian literature — hello, Dr. Jekyll! — and doubtless Dracula is waiting in the wings somewhere.
Will I read more of his slightly off-kilter take on the great detective? Probably, should they come in my way. A comic book adaptation is a very fun way to re-read some of the classics of literature, after all, and if I can march through the Holmes canon in such cracking style, and with the occasional League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-style added bonus, why would I not?
Seriously, I’m asking. Why would I not? (I really need a reason to read less books, so if anyone can answer this in any definitive and convincing kind of way, please get in touch.)
TBR DAY 286: A Scandal in Bohemia — A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel by Petr Kopl
GENRE: Adaptation, Comics, Mystery
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.
PURCHASED FROM: All Star Comics, Melbourne.