March 06, 2010

Tohono O'odham taught Sherlock Holmes

An anthology of stories about Sherlock Holmes suggests that the Tohono O'odham taught the Englishman how to sleuth. First, the story in question (with the tribe's name spelled correctly):

Books:  Sherlock Holmes, The American Years

Mystery writers Rhys Bowen and Michael Mallory contribute to anthology of stories of Sherlock Holmes in America **** 4 stars

By Gabrielle Pantera
Sherlock Holmes: the American Years is an enjoyable collection of stories. Fans of Sherlock Homes will enjoy following the young Holmes leaning the craft of deduction.

In Rhys Bowen's Cutting For Signs, Holmes saves a member of the Tohono O'odham Indian tribe who saved him from death.
And the thinking behind the story:“I thought this tied in well with Sherlock’s ability to pick up the smallest clue,” says Sherlock Holmes Cutting For Signs author Rhys Bowen. “I read about the Shadow Wolves, the members of the Tohono O'odham tribe on the border who are used by US customs because they are so famous for their tracking skills and how they can read a blade of grass accurately. The most amazing research was finding out that the Shadow Wolves were sent to Afghanistan to hunt for Osama Bin Laden.”Comment:  So Holems's tracking skills are based on Indian tracking skills? Interesting idea.

I'm glad Bowen picked a particular tribe with a reputation for tracking. If he had written about generic Indians with super-tracking skills, I might've complained.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

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