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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Holmes Vs. Poirot

Sherlock Holmes
A burning question has intrigued me over and over again, "why did Ms Christie created Hercules Poirot at all when we already had Sherlock Holmes?". Well, Poirot fans, stop gnashing your teeth and let's go by deductive reasoning which, I know, you are not quite used to.

The character of Hercules Poirot, according to the autobiography of Ms Agatha Christie, was based mostly around Sherlock Holmes. There goes originality for a toss.

Sherlock Holmes solved his mysteries using his deductive reasoning skills, we often heard his saying that when all options were exhausted, what remained, however illogical, is the truth. Poirot on the other hand had even resorted to the mambo-jumbo of hypnotism (Ref : The Under Dog) to find out the main culprit. I wonder what Ms Christie thinking when she wrote that!

As a human being Sherlock Holmes was a much better man than Poirot. Holmes was of a noble nature, quite proficient in various fields of Botany, Geology, Music, Boxing, Jujitsu and the British Law. He also had profound knowledge in the subjects of Chemistry, Anatomy and Sensational Literature. Poirot on the other hand was a pompous egoist who thought he was the most brilliant human being that ever lived, and this was quite evident from his own conversation with his sidekick Capt. Arthur Hastings.

Poirot was not only lazy, he also refused to take long walks, go on tiresome errands, which often created a doubt in my mind about the authenticity of the fact that in his early career he was a police officer! The only field in which Poirot had profound knowledge in, I think, were mustaches. That man suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for God's sake! More often than not we found him removing that single flake of dust from his suit or applying gels and creams on his mustache to the point of to the point of insanity.

Even the chemistry between Poirot and his sidekick Capt. Aurther Hastings was not a good one and we often found Hastings praying for Poirot's failure. Whereas we find Holmes and Watson go together so well that even after Watson got married, he loved the company of Holmes and often came back to the quarters of 221B, Baker St.

Poirot was almost always found in the right place at the right time which more than often had helped him to track down the culprit (Ref : Wasps' Nest). Either than man was God gifted, or Ms Christie was too lame to think of a plot and build a story around it. The stories of Ms Christie are so predictable, that sometime a reader can point out the culprit even before Poirot does. They lacked in variety too.

Next comes the villains. The nemesis of Sherlock Holmes was a person named Prof James Moriarty. He was equally a mastermind as Holmes and was revered by Holmes for his formidable character. Moriarty was referred to by Sherlock Holmes as "the Napoleon of crime". Poirot, on the other hand, never encountered any such opponent. Ms Christie was too afraid to introduce an equally capable nemesis for Poirot lest she might end up hurting his ego!

After reading all these I think you would agree that Sherlock Holmes was the legend, and that Poirot's character would never reach that culmination point of success. After all it's elementary, eet ees, eh Mon Ami?

P.S. Sherlock Holmes was inducted as an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2002, the only fictional character so honored.


33 Comment:

Julia Scissor said...

True, Poirot can be predictable at times. But then Eng is better off for both of them.

And slow down! You are batting out posts faster than I can read them. :)

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

@Julia Scissor : LOL! Well, I have promised myself 2 posts a day. That was my New Year's resolution :)

TO TOUCH THE HORIZON said...

well my knowledge regarding both holmes and poirot is near to negligible...as a child i have indulged in some of madam christie's works...and rather found it boring at times.

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

@To Touch The Horizon : Ms Christie is boring Philo, no doubt about it. Try Sir Doyle, you would be amazed and mesmerized!

kurian joseph said...

Its a disgrace to Sherlock Holmes to be compared to Agatha Cristie's Poirot. Poirot is a pathetic replica of Holmes.

Anonymous said...

ALL HAIL SHERLOCK

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this blog is defenatly not biased,
Poirot is better.

Anonymous said...

I find Holmes...sexier.

Anonymous said...

I like Poirot better.

Earlofthercs said...

I like Holmes better than Poirot, although I do enjoy both. I like Miss Marple better than Poirot as far as Agatha Christie goes because she is a more unique character compared to Poirot. Poirot is probably a slightly more fleshed out character, but of Christies work I prefer Miss Marple anyway, because she'd more unique. At least Agatha never denied the fact that Poirot was heavily based on Holmes to begin with anyway. One point to Christie is that she was incredibly prolific. (not that Doyle was a slouch!).

Pascal said...

forget about sherlock holmes and poirot. detective conasn is the real deal:
http://subbedanime.com/watch/detective-conan-episode-345-english-sub

Anonymous said...

I think you should maybe eat a little more bran.

Anonymous said...

Sherlock is the best.Poirot is the second. In murder on the links book(Poirot) agatha had used a character called girad and she had tried to compare that character with sherlock holmes.. that was a pathetic effort from agatha to made his character as the best detective in the world.. But she too wrote some great stories.. therefore i can choose poirot as the second best without any hesitation.

Anonymous said...

His name is Hercule Poirot. Not Hercules Poirot. Your credibility just vanished like a fart in the wind.

Anonymous said...

I too like Holmes better than Poirot. BUT, I don't think the way yo present your ideas is okay. You could have made some clinic, unbiased analysis and get the same conclusion, but instead you wrote something clearly biased and that makes me wonder about your conclusion. Also, offending Poirot's fans it's not the best way to go.

Shin 55 said...

I'm amazed that someone who does not seem to know much about these two characters would try such a work.
what about Holmes not even knowing how our solar system goes? (I know it is useless for the science of deduction he promote)
And when he explain his lack of knowledge he clearly shows of on how he manage to forget things to make room in his brain for what he considers being usefull information (which is clearly impossible for common layman, huh?)
I am not trying to prove Poirot's supremacy (that is not my point, nor my opinion).
I just want to bring the truth.
Both of 'em are spectacularly smart, which leads both of 'em being arrogant and thinking they are superior. but they also both need the company of someone they accept as their friend (and more: they are their stimulators).
and finaly they both are gentlemen, of different period and different country. That should be where you distinguish them, I think.
As SH said, to rush into conclusions (here Holmes' superiority)is a mistake: it makes you miss the truth

Anonymous said...

I also like both Holmes and Poirot, and found some of your statements to be lacking in understanding in both characters. Both characters were lacking in social graces and both treated their sidekicks (Watson and Hastings) with condescension at times. Both sidekicks were military men and not very smart ones at that. At least not as smart as wither author assumed their readers to be. Both men were there to have things explained to them and to provide physical assistance and protection. Both could be counted on to do exactly what they said they were going to do.

Sherlock Holmes had Mrs. Hudson to look after him and Poirot had his secretary Miss Lemon.

Both used their "little grey cells" to solve crimes and both took evidence into account. Holmes was more physical, but that does not make him better or worse than Poirot. Both were well aware that they were much smarter than most people and had little modesty.

I always though Poirot was too close to being Sherlock Holmes and since Christie had immersed herself in Doyle's mysteries, it is no wonder that she came up with her own version.

It would have been terrific to see the two men go head to head to solve a murder. The ego clashes would have been immense.

rianty said...

i think both are good.Poirot is not like what u said.Hasting is always glad to accompany poirot and they r best friend (read the big four)and u said that poirot is always think that he is the most briliant human,but holmes is too (read a study of scarlet)

Anonymous said...

If you're going to call out Christie for being unoriginal, you're going to have to call out Doyle for copying Poe's Dupin.

Anonymous said...

To the person who said that Doyle himself was copying, thank you. I was waiting for the author to eventually figure that one out. I personally prefer Poirot, but love them both. Both are based off other characters, but so is almost EVERY SINGLE OTHER CHARACTER in a tv show/book/film. Just because some aspects are borrowed, it doesn't mean that they are bad. (Also, if one of the main reasons that the author of this dislikes Poirot, is because he had borrowed aspects, he must also dislike Holmes.)

Murali_Krishnan. N said...

I would say that SH was far far better than HP. A good number of reasons I would give have been already posted on Jan 20th 2009 by someone above. I would like to add some more here.

The above author says that HP detests long walks and adventures and this makes one wonder how HP would have been a detective officer earlier in his career. To continue - I want to know this from ALL HP fans - Have you ever noticed that HP's methods of "reconstructing the crime" works ONLY if the perpetrator of the act / cause of the "mystery" is within the confinement where the investigation is going on ? Whatever work needs to done outside the confinement - like tracing people, doing background check, gathering info, etc.,- there is always ready with the desired result on a platter for HP. In fact in "Taken at the Flood", HP is asked if he could trace a missing person". The author's words follow verbatim - "'It might be possible.' said Poirot cautiously. 'But, the police - they have all the machinery.'" What a shame that a "world class detective" who dares to rebuke a character who has not heard of his name that someone is very poorly informed" doesn't know how to trace people !! On the other hand, SH seeks the help of outside agents very rarely - only in situations where he has to simultaneously observe the goings on in more than one place. Thus, here is "my" reason to demand if he really was a detective earlier - would a detective employ a method to nab a culprit whoever he is and / or wherever he is OR would he choose a method that works only within a confinement ??? How come HP never even once looks for "outsiders" ??? One very common "logical reasoning tool" which HP uses to conclude that someone is lying is "we have only his / her word for it." But, tell me dear HP fans, is that acceptable ?? Is having only someone's word for something "necessarily" an indication that he / she is lying ?? As though the confinement is cut off the rest of the world with none of the household members having any other connections in the world except those inside ..... !!!Is this not a crude way to direct the suspicion back to those inside the house, hotel, guest house where the murder is being investigated - I mean - a very bold bid to "avoid TRACING" ??!!
Another point - is "murder" the only crime on earth ?? SH has investigated treason, impersonation, blackmail, jewel robbery, bank robbery, kidnap, blackmail, forgery and even printing of fake currency notes apart from murders. He has also investigated and got to the root of some "crimesless mysteries". So....., have you any answers to these "accusations" ?? I would add more here, but later . . .

Anonymous said...

ugh.. I don't think that Poirot so that bad.. Or maybe Sherlock Holmes was the first that you read and Poirot was the first which I read so both of it leave deep impression to its own reader..

Nah,Poirot isn't that bad and SH doesn't get me involved as the reader.

Anonymous said...

it seems like those trashin Agatha Christie's Poirot, have never even bothered to read a short story about him!
they are both brilliant but somehow I can relate to poirot with all his faults and quirks as a human...
and to that person who said poirot always gets any kind of information he wants served on a silver plate, please inform yourself before bothering to write such a long pointless post....

Anonymous said...

funny how people accuse Poirot of being lazy because of him disliking long walks but forget how holmes used cocaine and opiates and thus was an addict. guess which one is worse?!

Anonymous said...

Both are good, but Agatha Christie actually allows you to figure out who's the culprit if you really think about it, while you only read stories about Sherlock to admire his greatness.

btw, to the person with a lengthy comment - that's because he's lazy. Why would he want to trace a missing person? Besides, as he was a part of the police before, he believes that they'd do fine with that. Not to mention that there are books where he finds missing people.
Well, Mrs. Christie obviously only found it fun to write about murders, then. That has nothing to do with the character. btw, thefts, blackmailing etc. were often involved in murder mysteries.

NSRussell said...

The point you made of Poirot being arrogant is entirely legitimate however so was Holmes to a spectacular degree. The two detectives had two different styles however I can not find a fault with Hercule, except perhaps the agonising trait of self doubt. Both are fantastic, the plots are superb however, I find the work of Ms. Christie far more readable and far more (even though now fairly dated) of OUR time.

The Rush Blog said...

Why do people have such a bug up their asses about Hercule Poirot? I've been reading his novels since the age of 13 and I have never been put off by him. In fact, I have never been put off by Sherlock Holmes. Both are very interesting literary sleuths in their own right. That is why they have lasted this long.

Murali Nagarajan said...

Somebody was saying that Agatha Christie allows you to identify the culprit while Sherlock Holmes allows you to admire his greatness. I want to know from that person these points: If, as a detective, he wouldn't exert himself tracing people, why should we (laymen) bother identifying murderers ?! Agatha Christie is supposed to be a novel writer. Her purpose is (or rather, ought to have been) to show how the detective she created solves mysteries and not mystify the readers herself through her characters !! To tease the observation and reasoning skills of people, you always have games like "You be detective", "spot 10 differences between the pictures", "murder hunt", "treasure hunt", etc.
Still don't agree with me, eh ?? Well - let's look at it like this: (HP fans, Answer honestly) IN HOW MANY AGATHA CHRISTIE STORIES YOU ARE ABLE TO STOP READING THE STORY SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE & SAY with conviction THAT (THIS) IS WHAT THE DETECTIVE HAS FOUND OUT SO FAR. (THESE) CHARACTERS ARE ABOVE SUSPICION, (THIS) CHARACTER IS BEING SUSPECTED B’COZ OF (THIS) REASON / CLUE ? That is, CAN YOU ever SAY when POIROT / MARPLE OR WHOEVER FOUND which ASPECT OF THE CASE ?? You simply keep reading page after page after page without knowing where things are heading and suddenly, the whole “truth” is revealed all at once. It is as though, the author herself felt tired of rambling for so many pages – she could have rambled more if she had wanted to – and so “condescends” to give the solution to the reader ! ( Even then, only how / why the murder was done and NOT HOW IT WAS FOUND OUT. I mean it is all that clear who was suspected when and why, what was noticed, whether the suspicion was confirmed / allayed, etc. are not told whereas Sherlock Holmes explains the whole investigation process right from the moment he was handed an assignment till the final solution) - and so much so keeping the mystery element intact !! After all, isn't this true "orderliness" and "methodicalness" ??? HP is "orderly" and "methodical" in pressing clothes, wearing ties, folding newspapers, arranging flowers in vases, etc. But, as a DETECTIVE ??? {dash} (FILL UP THE BLANK YOURSELF !!)
What is wrong in my expecting that Poirot should trace people. In reality, is a detective's job restricted to a small confined place ? If at some point of time, SH appealed to the whole world as realistic, it is because of the vivid description of people / places / situations and very importantly the full thought process that went behind seeking the solution. I would dare to say that HP's avoiding a direct answer to anyone's asking him how he knew / found something to be the author's clever / bold way giving the reader a slip to cover up for the lack of any concrete support / evidence for that aspect of the plot in the whole narration manuscript.

time management essay said...

Great post! Thanks a lot.

Krim salabim said...

"As a human being Sherlock Holmes was a much better man than Poirot."
I don`t think I could disagree more with this.
I really like the deductive scills of Doyles Sherlock Holmes, but still I find all the Poirot books soo much more entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Sherlock Holmes is not even a detective. He is a boxer. You should compare him with Muhammed Ali, not Hercule Poirot. The result of thast comparison is obvious of course.

Anonymous said...

dude, sometimes sherlock holmes stories just over the top, seems unreal. I like it but i like poirot novels more because its more real and earthy. Christie sold about 2 billions books far more than Doyle had done. Just Shakespeare sold more books than her.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_fiction_authors


Yeah, Poirot seems a worse person (far more) than Holmes...lazy, big ego, arrogant, big liar, and so far i know knew nothing about skills (martial arts, fighting, botany, chemical, etc,etc just like Holmes did), but most of us isnt perfect and Poirot reminds me like most of us, and poirot is a Belgian man in the middle of English people, so he is a stranger ina a country just like me.

So i choose poirot over Holmes

Urvashi said...

One of the most idiotic posts and so too are most of the comments!! Pure crap here..
I liked the comment pointing out that Rajtilak doesn't even know poirot's name.. :-P
I regret opening this page..

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