The Pearl of Death
Or the Lesson of Life

Last Saturday evening was my date night with Ginger. She loves having me prepare dinner for us. We sit in front of the TV and watch a Sherlock Holmes film featuring Basil Rathbone as the Consulting Detective.

The Consulting Detective

We have had our date nights for nearly a year. During that time, Ginger has become an aficionado of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Most of the time, she wants to mull the movie over in her mind before commenting upon the movie. However, recently, she has wanted to discuss the film right after we watched one of the adventures. That’s what we did this time.

Ginger began our discussion of the film, The Pearl of Death, with her comment regarding the Borgia Pearl, which was stolen from a curator at the Royal Regent Museum while he was crossing the English Channel to Dover. “I have gotten used to the way Doyle sets up the crime. He tells the story, but you need to be thinking all the time. When the ship’s steward told the curator that was a message for him in the wireless room, I was intently watching while the curator went to the wireless room. Sherlock Holmes was in a disguise and was asked to help some young lady through customs by carrying her camera past customs for her. I knew that she had hidden the Borgia Pearl in the camera after stealing it from the curator’s room.”

I praised Ginger’s insight; I had completely missed Sherlock Holmes’ disguise. However, I did notice that he was wearing sunglasses on the deck of the boat while it was foggy and at nighttime.

Nonetheless, the disguised Sherlock Holmes took the Borgia Pearl from the camera and returned it to the museum from where it was stolen. After arriving at the museum, the pearl was again stolen. The robber hid the Borgia Pearl in one of a half dozen busts of Napoleon until the Giles Conover and the Hoxton Creeper would be able to re-steal the pearl. However, the thefts were facing the Consulting Detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Ginger continued to talk about the mind of Sherlock Holmes, “You know, he kept thinking even when he seemed like he was cornered. I like the perseverance of Sherlock Holmes.”

I agreed with Ginger telling her that, after 75 years, I realize that, if you keep moving toward a goal, you will go further in reaching it if you continue to work to its resolution and not quit.

“That seems to be a truism. I watch you late at night writing about your family in Myanmar and your desire to raise $500,000. You don’t stop even when obstacles get in your way. It is like what Randy Pausch said about walls, ‘The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.’ You really do want the money for the laptops and improved Internet reception for those two schools in Taunggyi, Myanmar.”

I simply nodded agreement about the advantage of walls and the laptops for my three grandchildren who attend those two schools.

Ginger was on a roll, and I let her continue her critique of the film.

“You are caught between two groups: those who see value is sharing and those who want wealth and then they want more wealth. You paraphrased something that St. Francis said. Your statement was, ‘It is in giving that we get.’ When we share with each other, we gain.”

Again, I agreed with Ginger, but she wasn’t finished.

“I think that Sherlock Holmes’ closing comment was equally true. ‘No more than a symbol of the greed and cruelty and lust for power that have set men at each other's throats down through the centuries...and the struggle will go on, Watson, for a pearl...kingdom... perhaps even world dominion...till the greed and cruelty have burned out of every last one of us...and when that time comes...perhaps even the pearl...will be washed clean again.’”

This is a video of The Pearl of Death.

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