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The Case of Emily V. Nov 13, 2007
The Case of Emily V is the combination of Emily's diary entries while in therapy with Sigmund Freud, Freud's case notes as he delivers them to a weekly meeting of his colleagues, and then followed by the case of the missing British diplomat being tracked down by Sherlock Holmes. It happens that the diplomat is the godfather and guardian of Emily and Emily killed him. The murder is no surprise, she writes about it in her diary and also the reason why. The problem is will she be caught and prosecuted or will Holmes and Watson understand and leave it "unsolved".
The interleaving of the diary and case notes with the narrative works very well. The time period is splendid as women were just beginning to realize they'd gotten a raw deal and wanted more rights and freedoms. Emily and her friend Sara are women of their times. They know where they stand in society and they also know what they want and that they have to balance their desires with what will be accepted. And they know what mask to put on to manage to have what they want and to seem to be what society at their level demands.
As for the psychoanalysis with Freud, well it gave me a lot of laughs since we know from Emily's diary what really happened and we know from the case notes what he's disbelieved and ignored as hysteria on the part of Emily. Or, maybe it was just funny to me because I majored in psychology and I never did think Freud understood women -- he only understood his society's view of women through his own prejudices, but then he was a man of his times too.
As for Holmes and Watson, they're spot on if you've read all the Arthur Conan Doyle books. All in all this is a wonderful pastiche and might have been story, that brings Freud, Holmes, and Watson together. I thought it was a wonderful way to pull off the story.
superb historiographic analysis of Freud and Holmes Feb 21, 2007
Few situations if ever have come to light like this one uncovered by the author that enables the reader to draw conclusions on the thought processes of two famous individuals from almost a century ago. Keith Oatley has found three manuscripts from the late nineteenth century on the same subject, but with differing perspectives that shed a light on Sherlock Holmes as the investigation has been written up by Dr. John Watson and a psychoanalysis case study conducted by Dr. Sigmund Freud in his own words. The third entry enables the audience to determine even further the truth is a journal written by their mutual subject Vienna classics teacher Emily V.
In 1904 Vienna Emily V cannot sleep due to evil dreams and who cannot eat due to delicious smells making her nauseous. She knows why as she killed Charles S. She has seen Professor Freud, the physician at the urgings of Sara and knows someone from England investigates. She ponders just telling everyone the truth that she suffers from guilt because she is guilty.
THE CASE OF EMILY V rotates perspective between the title star, Watson's case description, and Freud's presentations and notes. The story line grips the reader from the start as a historiographic analysis of Freud and Holmes (in the sleuth's case through a Watson filter) makes their "meeting" genuine. The two celebrities stay in character throughout even when they learn they share the same case though one from a mental health viewpoint and the other from a homicide stance. Freud is arrogant as he pompously knows it all while Holmes is smug and moodily knows it all. Though the encounter has been written in THE SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION, this is a more exhilarating novel as the audience becomes more enthralled with the minds of the characters.