You are on page 1of 5

Nazareno 1 Meghan C. Nazareno Writing 37 Dr.

Lynda Haas 20 February 2014 The Incompetent Police Where there is a crime, there is the police. Mister Athelney Jones, one of the police detectives in the Sherlock Holmes series, makes his first appearances in chapter five of The Sign of the Four, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In The Sign of the Four, Detective Jones wrongly concludes the murderer of a man named Batholomew was Thaddeus, his brother. Like today, policemen in Victorian London existed to uphold the public law; but distrust from the people of London was firm. The police forces strategies to rule out a criminal were considerably deficient and careless, and unlike what Maslakowski says about Holmes in, A Case of Identity, the police are irrational, illogical, unscientific, dependent, and inattentive to details (Academia). The police portrayed in the mystery genre of Sherlock Holmes are by no means the enemy or antagonist. However, with their characteristics of Detective Jones conveyed in The Sign of the Four, Conan Doyle created a visible genre convention of the necessity of the foolish police. Detective Jones, like Watson, acts as a foil to Sherlock Holmes because their incompetence and ignorance helps to emphasize Holmes genius and deductive skills. As an inattentive policeman, Detective Jones regularly disregards the facts of the evidence provided. Though he and his team can use clues in order to create a logical assumption of what may have happened, he chooses to do otherwise. Its Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the theorist, Jones says, Its true you set us on the right track; but youll own now that it was more by luck than by good guidance (41). This suggests that Jones thinks Holmes intelligence has

Nazareno 2 nothing to do with him solving a case. His judgment on Holmes procedures for solving crimes may seem biased or personal, but his opinion reflects on the polices view on solving mysteries. Saying, it was more good luck than by good guidance, stresses the impression that details and clues are considerably insignificant in truly solving a crime. Holmes told Jones about the mysterious steps on the sill found at the crime scene, but Jones only reply was, If it was fastened, the steps could have nothing to do with the matter. Thats common sense! (41). With Detective Jones avoiding the apparent clues at the scene of Bartholomews death, Holmes has the opportunity to show his own intellect by later proving the importance of evidence. Detective Jones acted more upon his own biases than with the use of scientific deduction such as Holmes. Before he entered the crime scene, he already crafted a conclusion that pointed directly at Thaddeus to being the murderer of his own brother by just directing the clues and his ethnic appearance towards him. Thaddeus brought this up, and if this splinter be poisonous Thaddeus may as well have made murderous use The only question is, how did he depart? Of course, here is a hold in the roof (42). He did not take a step back further away from his own perspective for the wider picture. There were several other types of evidence that otherwise proved Thaddeus to be the murderer such as with the note left, The Sign of Four or the creosote found on the floor - as if it played no importance to the crime; but instead, Jones uses the poisonous thorn as the main clue that Thaddeus murdered his brother. With Conan Doyle allowing the police detective to claim faulty accusations, the audience goes off track from the real answer because this serves as a red herring. It is possible to overcome the automatic wiring of his brains to become more objective in his thinking. Although the role of Detective Jones and the other policemen in Conan Doyles novels is to shine light on Holmes induction and

Nazareno 3 observation abilities. Sherlock Holmes is the only character intelligent enough to unravel a mysterious crime without the use of biases. In 1896, John Adams, president of the Educational Institute of Scotland, published, Sherlock Holmes; The Meaning of Observation (Academia). In this article, he says, The lack of observation is coming to be regarded as the blot upon modern education. We are continually being told that we do not observe enough. Adams view on the observation is applicable to how Jones approaches his cases. The detective does now that the facts are important, the only error in determining those facts is that he cannot tell the difference between proofs and biased assumptions. Any detective can observe clues. However, the evidence provided in a crime scene, such as the one in The Sign of the Four, require knowledge an important asset that Holmes has to understand and deduce. For example, footprints suggests a persons height, types of dirt may show an important location, and prior information or history before the crime was committed all prove to be necessary to solving a case. The police detective in Sherlock Holmes do not possess any of these obtainable skills because of their certainty that an emphasis on education is not necessary to solving a crime. However, if the police detective did carry these essentials that he lacks, he would not need to turn to Holmes in times of difficulty because he too would have the knowledge and observation capacities. The police may be biased, ignorant, and believe in luck, but there are restrictions in their cases by both the law and the necessity to solve an uninteresting crime. They hold numerous flaws in their crime solving strategies, and they are not professionals when it comes to deducting, so their verdicts have a great chance of being wrong because of their inconsistent conclusions. They have the goal of serving justice, but generally lack the knowledge, rationality, and deduction skills required. Although the law enforcement in any crime solving story wants to

Nazareno 4 solve crime, they are frequently incapable of doing so. The convention of the inept police detective is an essential juxtaposed in order to emphasize the brilliance and talents of the protagonist hero-like detective, Sherlock Holmes; and it is prevalent in the several modern-day detective mystery genre.

Nazareno 5

Works Cited "The Development of a Police Force - Victorian Crime and Punishment from E2BN." The Development of a Police Force - Victorian Crime and Punishment from E2BN. E2BN, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. A Study in Scarlet. Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1892. Print. Maslakowski, Katya. "Join & Share Your Research with the World." A Case of Identity: Contested Representations of Sherlock Holmes and the Formation of the Ideal Liberal Subject. Academa, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. Rosenthal, Julien. "The Development of a Police Force - Victorian Crime and Punishment from E2BN." The Development of a Police Force - Victorian Crime and Punishment from E2BN. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2014.