Literature: The Seven Percent Solution

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, published in 1974, is a novel-length Sherlock Holmes fic by Nicholas Meyer. It's a rewrite of "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House," revealing that the stories were really a cover-up for Holmes' descent into drug addiction and recovery.

At the opening of the story, Holmes approaches Watson about his heretofore unmentioned Arch-Enemy, Professor Moriarty. However, since even in canon Moriarty was just an excuse for Conan Doyle to try to Torch the Franchise and Run, Watson can't help but notice how unusual this sudden announcement is, especially given Holmes' apparent raving. This leads him to conclude that Moriarty (who, he discovers, is really nothing more than a mathematics professor) is being persecuted by Holmes as part of a delusional episode. He undertakes to deliver Holmes to a psychiatrist who can help the detective, who then draws the two of them into an adventure to help prevent World War I.

The 1976 film version, with a screenplay by Meyer, was produced and directed by Herbert Ross, and featured Alan Arkin (as Freud), Vanessa Redgrave (as Lola Devereaux), Robert Duvall (as Watson), Nicol Williamson (as Holmes) and Laurence Olivier (as Moriarty).

This work provides examples of:

  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Justified. Since this takes place in the 1800s, Freud is still working on his theories and Jung hasn't come into style yet.
  • Always Someone Better: Mycroft, of course.
  • Arch-Enemy: Subverted.
  • Avoiding The Great War: The ultimate aim of the Big Bad is to start a world war. When they put an end to the plan, Holmes notes that they have only delayed the war, not prevented it entirely (and he's proven to be correct when World War I occurs).
  • Been There, Shaped History: The second half of the book is devoted to the efforts of the main characters in preventing the early outbreak of World War I (instigated by major weapons companies).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The motivation in kidnapping the Rhode Island heiress.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Until the mystery starts up, the whole thing is a Very Special Episode.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Averted. It takes months for Sherlock to slowly return to normal.
  • Freudian Excuse: It turns out that Sherlock's reason for distrusting women and throwing himself into his job and cocaine is that his mother had an affair, possibly with Moriarty.
  • Out-of-Character Alert
  • Out-Gambitted: Watson and Mary realize that getting Holmes to Europe will require that they trick him. Unfortunately, Holmes only pretends to go along with the scheme, thinking that Watson has betrayed him to Moriarty until he actually meets Dr. Freud.
  • Sanity Slippage: Holmes for the first third of the book.
  • Sherlock Scan: Used by Holmes when he first meets Freud.
  • The Shrink: Freud is Type 3.
  • Smart Ball: After wasting hours trying to figure out how to fool Holmes, Watson and his wife realize that they have to call in an expert: Mycroft.
  • Staging an Intervention: Mycroft Holmes, Doctor Watson and Professor Moriarty arrange to lure Sherlock Holmes to Vienna, Austria in order to receive hypnosis treatment for Sherlock's cocaine addiction from psychologist Sigmund Freud.
  • Tough Love: Used by Watson and Freud during Holmes' therapy.
  • Very Special Episode
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