FUNKY BRITISH FRUIT CAKES
Apparently my fellow pipe-smokers at the club are quite sensible.
Some of them indeed sniffed at the tin, curiously twitching.
Not a one of them smoked more than one bowl.
Despite my enthusiastic propaganda.
The product in question was far too dubious for most of them.
To quote the burbling text on the tin: "The sweet fragrant Honeydew was all gone by the time Susan Cushing offered the container to Sherlock Holmes, but he was undoubtedly familiar with this fine Irish flake's gratifying flavor, its pleasing aroma and gentleness on the palate. A subtly sweet, fragrant flake tobacco in the Irish tradition."
This is a pressed medium all-Virginia melange, very English in its composition, but augmented in a fashion alleged to be Hibernian.
The Irish should sue.
It's from McClelland's 221b series, three tobaccos 'celebrating' the famous English detective. And actually, I can believe that Sherlock Holmes would have smoked something similar at times.
Like other famous British detectives, he was a markedly queer fish.
This is a rather odd product. Underneath the frooty-tooty, it's actually quite decent. But I shan't go into detail as this is not a review. I'll finish the tin, though I will not buy anymore anytime soon.
The smell will endure in the pipe I used. It is duly ghosted.
A pong of honeydew to last a while.
Many mystery novels set in the British Isles feature what are supposed to be loveably amusing eccentrics. And yes, the Sherlock Holmes stories are somewhat entertaining, but that is far more because of the attempted wit and humour in the writing than the allegedly charming idiosyncrasies of the main character.
Eventually the reader realizes that Sherlock Holmes is barely tolerable, an irritating old cock at best.
British detectives, almost without exception, are precious little turgidities.
They are abnormal, and people whom you wouldn't want to meet.
Miss Marple? Oh please. An exasperating marmot woman.
Shan't even mention Poirot - snob frog fop.
I know, allegedly he was a Belgian.
Real Belgians speak Flemish.
So, a snob frog fop.
My favourite fictional detective is Maigret (who was invented by a Belgian).
Both Simenon (the author) and his Parisian hero were pipe smokers.
That is the only thing they have in common with Holmes.
While British authors insist that childish and irritating uppercrustian quirks make for great sleuths, the continentals know better. A good mystery novel does not rely on exceptional characters, magical plot-twists, or amazing coincidences to present a tale, but describes people who are believable, and in at least some ways likeable, to outline a crime. Then over the course of the narrative possible motives and gradual developments in the dossier are revealed, as everything progresses from cooling corpse to case-closed.
It is not certain what tobacco Maigret preferred. His creator, Georges Simenon, is known to have smoked Royal Yacht. That particular tobacco is far queerer than anything Holmes may have shoved in his pipe, and hard to describe, too. Had mr. Simenon mentioned Maigret smoking said product, it could likely have made him seem perverse.
Jules Maigret smoked tabac ordinaire.
But it does not matter. People who read Simenon may be pipe-smokers, or not. If they do have a briar, they might smile when recalling that their favourite author and detective also indulge on occasion.
But they do not wish to imitate either man.
The habit is a pleasing coincidence.
Not a fruity affectation.
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Labels: Pipe Club