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The Case of Sherlock HolmesSecrets and Lies in Conan Doyle's Detective Fiction$
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Andrew Glazzard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474431293

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431293.001.0001

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A Nobler Man Never Walked the Earth

A Nobler Man Never Walked the Earth

(p.138) Chapter 13 A Nobler Man Never Walked the Earth
The Case of Sherlock Holmes

Andrew Glazzard

Edinburgh University Press

One of the most problematic characters in any Holmes story is Steve Dixie, the black gangster who bursts into Holmes’s room at the beginning of ‘The Three Gables’. He is a man of contradictions, simultaneously ridiculed and full of menace. His size and apparent physical aggression – ‘his sullen dark eyes’ have ‘a smouldering gleam of malice in them’ (Case-Book, 133) – are in counterpoint to his comic appearance: Watson remarks on his ‘very loud grey check suit with a flowing salmon-coloured tie’ (133). Instructed by his superior to warn Holmes that his life is at threat ‘if he go down Harrow way’ (134), he enters like ‘a mad bull’ and twice threatens Holmes with physical violence: ‘It won’t be so damn fi ne if I have to trim you up a bit’ (133); ‘you’ll get put through it for sure if you give me any lip’ (134).

Keywords:   Dixie, Black, Race, Racism, Ethnicity, Holmes

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