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Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle VS CSI: Miami

1. Introduction

Detective fiction gained popularity in the late 19th century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

created Sherlock Holmes as a response to police force´s incompetence. As for the 21st

century, police crime drama reaches its peak in popularity with the production of many TV

series about crime investigation. This essay will analyse the figure of the detective in Silver

Blaze (1892) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the TV series CSI: Miami (2002) in the forth

episode of the first season (Just one kiss). To accomplish this analysis both materials will be

examined closely. The first part of the essay introduces the plot of the short story and of the

episode. The second part of the paper focuses on the detective strategy and the figure of the

detective. The third part analyzes the social and historical background. The forth part deals

with the process of investigation.

To start with a brief summary of the short story and the episode will be provided.

Silver Blaze tells the story of a detective called Sherlock Holmes who travels to Dartmoor in

order to investigate a racehorse´s disappearance and a murder. In CSI: Miami´s episode

Just one kiss, the crime scene investigators (CSIs) try to find out who is responsible for a

man´s death and for a woman´s assault. We will focus on the analysis of Megan Donner, a

crime scene investigator, Horatio Fenwick, a detective, and of the detective Holmes.

2. Detective strategy and figure of the detective

The short story begins with Sherlock saying to Watson that he has to go: “I´m afraid,

Watson, that I shall have to go.” (Doyle 1) This implies that the detective uses the deductive

detection strategy in order to solve the case. The reason for this is that he leaves his

apartment in order to go to the crime scene to examine it. Sherlock Holmes is regarded as a

superior and mysterious character himself. Nobody knows how he became a detective.

Holmes is able to find Straker´s murder just by looking at his belongings. Regarding Watson,

although he comes to help Sherlock, he has a passive role with few interventions. To put it in

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when the horse struck Straker he got what he deserved. the CSIs help each other to solve the case. The latter is a bookmaker who got arrested because he went to the King´s Pyland stables the night before the murder happened. He worked for Colonel Ross. belong to the elite because they are influential and very rich. In contrast to Silver Blaze. Both Megan Donner and detective Fenwick go to the beach. In CSI: Miami. in Just one kiss the crime scene investigators have an active role and they tell each other how they think that the crimes occurred. At the end. The Hamiltons. which is a very prestigious race meeting. For example. in order to look for evidence of the crime. They try to get 2 . went there because he wanted to get firsthand information about the race. This means that both Megan and Horatio use the deductive detective strategy as well. The Wessex Cup is a depiction of the Royal Ascot. John Straker belongs to middle class. firstly as a jockey and later as a trainer. As the investigation continues new evidence is revealed. 3. The CSIs form theories about how the suspects committed the crimes making viewers believe that each of them could be the perpetrator of the crimes. Setting: social and historical context Horse racing during the Victorian era was very popular. the main suspect. who are investigated for two crimes. turning suspicion on a different person each time. Moreover. Watson gives his point of view on some details of the case in order to clarify some details of the case. Colonel Ross and Fitzroy Simpson represent the upper class. After gathering evidence from the crime scene. Characters in Silver Blaze are considered a representation of British society of the late 19th century. Fitzroy Simpson. Just one kiss is set in Miami in the 21st century. it was also associated with betting activities. The former is the owner of the King´s Pyland stables and of Silver Blaze. It was not only a sport competition. but also a highly social event. He wanted to make more money by making a nick upon the tendons of the horse´s ham so that it would lose the competition.another way. they examine it in the lab. where the dead man was found.

He flew the scene of an accident leaving behind a girl in his car. the criminals turn out to be two rich people. The Hamiltons are a representation of some wealthy personages of the 21st century. as the main suspect. some of the rich people are known for the wild parties that they organize. When the bookmaker is found not guilty and the criminal turns out to be someone who does not belong to the upper class. The investigation 3 .rid of the evidence that would incriminate them for Esteban´s murder and Jane´s assault. in the TV series. At the time. Detective Fenwick and the crime scene investigator. Committing a crime means breaking the social order. Holmes was able to find out who murdered John Straker and to recover the horse. a man of aristocratic origin. there is a mention of a crime that Drake committed in the past. However. catch the perpetrators of the crimes. In the TV series. social order is restored. However. as the aristocrat regains its reputation. Silver Blaze is set in the late 19th century: a time when the aristocracy was regarded as “superior” and honourable. 4. Even if he was guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. the idea of rich people being able to get away with crime is criticised. they try to get away with crime as other rich people do by covering it up and by hiring the best lawyers. Secondly. who committed the same crime and who got his sentence suspended. crimes were associated with the poor class. Drake Hamilton is an indirect allusion to Senator Teddy Kennedy. Doyle introduces Fitzroy Simpson. he managed to escape incarceration alleging that he lent his car to that girl. First of all. In CSI: Miami´s forth episode the crimes occur after Tyler´s party. to catch the criminal means to recover social and political control. Fitzroy Simpson is considered to be: “a man of excellent birth and education” (Doyle 4) so his arrest is something unexpected. Megan Donner. In the Victorian era. In the episode analysed in this essay. detective Fenwick and Megan Donner find evidence that prove that Drake Hamilton killed Esteban and that Tyler Hamilton abused Jane Renshaw. On the contrary.

Assaults the girl.” (Doyle 2) By stating the details of the case to Watson. By doing this. Eventually. I shall enumerate them to you. spatter from a nose piece from the glasses at the crime scene. Sherlock admits going to Dartmoor believing that Simpson is the “true culprit” (Doyle 12). the DNA of two males on a watch. Holmes keeps information to himself because he does not reveal who murdered John Straker until the end of the story. However.” (“Just one kiss”) The crime scene 4 . Even if Silver Blaze is presented early in the story. once he is there he realizes that evidence against Fitzroy Simpson is circumstantial and finds out that the horse murdered his trainer. During the investigation. such as Simpson´s cravat and the small knife. Sherlock Holmes examines the things that were found at the crime scene. The author does not play by the fair play convictions because the animal turns out to be John Straker´s murderer. isolated fragments of glass in the zipper teeth of a jacket that Tyler wore at the night of the party. Moreover. The detective gathered information about the case from the newspapers and he tells Watson the facts of it on their way to Dartmoor: “at least I have got a grip of the essential facts of the case. Tossed the guy. readers are regarded as less intelligent than the detective if they are not able to solve the mystery at the same time that Holmes does it. other details are revealed such as the strange walking attitude of sheep and the fact that the dog did not bark. the detective blames the newspaper reports for his first theory about the facts. no one expects the murderer to be an animal. Once the CSIs identify the dead man their first theory is the following: “so Paul catches his girl with Esteban. They are considered as incompetent at their jobs because they are not capable to solve the case. Moreover. In Just one kiss details are laid out as the episode progresses. Holmes participates in the police investigation because policemen are not able to find out what happened. The fact that the dog did not bark indicates that the person who stole the horserace was someone known by the dog. blood drops on the boardwalk next to a Hamiltons´ property. etc. the writer challenges the reader to solve the case. Different evidence is found such as prints. In the short story. he gives a final explanation about how the crimes happened. Furthermore.

. Watson has a passive role in solving the mystery. is the culprit because his prints were on the murder weapon and they imagine how the crimes occurred. Drake Hamilton ends up confessing his crime because he knows that evidence already speaks for itself. Holmes hides some information from the reader that he discloses at the end of the story. Since Drake Hamilton wears glasses. the bartender. You caught up and you cut his throat with what was left of that champagne bottle. Tyler Hamilton and Drake Hamilton. Esteban´s blood is found on the corner of Drake´s lens. Regarding the suspects. However when they realize that there was a nose piece at the crime scene and Tyler does not wear glasses. The second theory is the following: “once you saw that lowly bartender kissing the girl that blew you off. 5. Just one Kiss deals with a murder´s investigation and a woman´s assault. Megan and Horatio form different theories of how the murder and the assault took place. the aristocrat is the major suspect.investigators think that Paul. The CSIs reveal the evidence to the audience as they find it. Jane´s boyfriend. however. . in CSI: Miami. suspicion turns into Tyler Hamilton. The main suspects are: Paul Varnette. the crime scene investigators have an active participation in the case. While in Silver Blaze. But that wasn't enough . the culprit turns out to be an animal 5 . As new evidence is discovered. the old Hamilton arrogance turned into rage. Throughout the episode. he is asked to give the glasses in order to be examined. Conclusion In conclusion. they know that somebody else has been on the beach. And you have what you claim to be consensual sex. Silver Blaze depicts Holmes´s investigation on a murder and on a racehorse´s disappearance.” (“Just one kiss”) The CSIs believe that Tyler murdered Esteban. and raped Jane. And then you leave the young woman alone to die in the water. On the contrary.

10 May 2015. New York. References: Doyle. Print. “Just one kiss. 14 Oct.” The Complete Sherlock Holmes. et al. Garden City.” Prod. CBS Television Distribution. Doubleday & Company. Jerry Bruckheimer Television. In the forth episode of CSI: Miami the criminals belong to the upper class. Web.. CSI: Miami. ororotv. 1-13. “Silver Blaze. Arthur. 2004.and not a member of the upper class. 1930. Conan. 6 . Inc.