It’s raining Sherlockisms!

The Sherlockism is a pithy turn of phrase as favored by Mr Sherlock Holmes:

* “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

* “I saw no one.”
   “That is what you may expect to see when I follow you.”

* “I believe that you are the devil himself!” he cried.  Holmes smiled at the compliment.

* “The dog did nothing in the nighttime.”  “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

*  “I never guess—it is a shocking habit, destructive to the logical faculty.”

And of course, the sentence on which a thousand episodes of CSI are based:

* “When you’ve eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be true.”

Now, you have an opportunity to exercise your own tart pithiness.  Last year, I asked for submissions of Russellisms, and found it so hard to choose, I ended up with two that I incorporated into The God of the Hive, thanking their authors and reserving a copy of the hardback for them when it comes out in April.

This year, I’m asking for a Sherlockism that I can slip into the as-yet-without-title novel for 2011.  It hardly matters what the book is about for the purpose of the contest, it’s the pith that counts.  The prize?  A bunch of them: an Advanced Reading Copy of The God of the Hive, and your name in the thanks page of the next Russell and Holmes, plus a copy of that hardback when it comes out—but the best prize?  Knowing that your wit has been acknowledged down to the ages!

Sharpen your pencils and/or your quills, and let me see your brilliance by emailing as many submissions as you would like to The contest will be closed at the end of Sunday the 14th, and the winner announced here probably Monday (with all of the submissions listed over on the Sherlockisms page), unless I’ve been kidnapped by pirates at Left Coast Crime.


  1. Merrily on March 8, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Oh, this is a good one. Narrowing eyes, making effort to Think Wittily…

  2. rebecca on March 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    The one about eliminating the impossible has actually been quoted in Star Trek (by Spock) more than once – in fact, at one point he claims it was first said by an ancestor of his. The question is, is Spock claiming to be a descendant of Arthur Conan Doyle, or of Holmes himself? LOL.

  3. TheMadLibrarian on March 8, 2010 at 10:36 am

    A good question, although one fictional character being a descendant of another tickles my funny bone better 🙂

  4. LauraC on March 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    ‘“The dog did nothing in the nighttime.” “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.’

    We just watched the BBC/Jeremy Brett version of ‘Silver Blaze’ last night. Classic!

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