Sunday, 15 September 2013
"'Not at all. Elementary, my dear Watson!'"
- Poul Anderson and Gordon R Dickson, Earthman's Burden (New York, 1979), p. 121.
People say rightly that Holmes never said that. So why is it so widely (mis)quoted?
Holmes does say "Elementary" and does say "My dear Watson" and once says both in quick succession over three or four pages in the course of a single conversation. Thus, it is legitimate to infer that he would have said both together sometime offstage and it is also legitimate to put that phrase into his mouth in new Holmes stories and films.
"Elementary...my dear Watson!" would be a grammatically more accurate, if slightly clumsy, quotation.