I suppose we all have people we don’t want to see or with whom we’d simply rather not have any kind of social intercourse. But few, if any, have the kind of impact on us that Charles Augustus Milverton had on Sherlock Holmes.

Illus from Wikipedia

“Do you feel a creeping, shrinking sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in the Zoo, and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that’s how Milverton impresses me.”

I have read that sentence probably a dozen times over the past few days and it still strikes me with its vivid sense of revulsion. Those of us who would write something like “Sherlock did not like Milverton” can only dream of creating images like that.


The sentence sounds even better read out loud by a gifted performer, which is my real reason in bringing this to your attention. The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes is playing again in my Audible app and I could not be more delighted. A gifted reader reading Doyle’s great stories: what more could one ask to enliven long (or short) drives?