A Study in Gabriel Betteredge

In The Moonstone, Betteredge tries to assert his importance in the discovery of the gem. On the arrival of the esteemed detective who promised to uncover the mystery, Betteredge immediately establishes his authority over the house to him in an attempt to include himself in the investigation (Collins 107). In other ways, Betteredge serves as one of the main narrators of the story and takes pride in his breadth of knowledge on the subject. For this reason, he believes he is qualified for the Sergeant to “speak to [him] about the business on which [his] lady was to employ him”, though is disappointed when the sergeant reveals “not a word” about it (Collins 107). Though Betteredge acts as Sergeant Cuff’s main informant of crucial information about the operations and personal lives of the tenants, such as his recommendation of questioning Mrs. Yolland about the whereabouts of Rosanna Spearman, Betteredge still maintains some frustration not participating as a leading proponent of the Moonstone discovery. In other attempts to insert himself, he references the predictive qualities and the advice of his trusted Robinson Crusoe. Reading Betteredge’s assertion of his value in the discovery of the Moonstone, I related him to Sherlock Holmes when reading A Study in Scarlet

Holmes shares Betteredge shares similar arrogance in relation to the cases he investigates, though he is backed with the experience of a skilled and successful detective. In this version, a continuation of Betteredge’s character, Holmes has his own particular way of collecting clues, such as jumping on the back of a cabman’s carriage to chase after his suspect. As well, his peers and those he questions throughout his investigation are often in awe of his ability to discover such explicitly accurate information, such as when he tells Dr. Watson he knew that he came from Afghanistan from a “train of thought that did not occupy a second” (Conan Doyle 22). To this Dr. Watson is astonished and further admires the detective prowess that Holmes maintains that he did not believe possible to “exist outside of stories” (Conan Doyle 22). Holmes’ character is how Betteredge attempts to be perceived by Sergeant Cuff.

2 thoughts on “A Study in Gabriel Betteredge”

  1. I really liked this comparison and I also noticed these similarities between Betteredge and Holmes, and their need for credit or validation. Holmes at times seems like he is more concerned with being the one who receives credit and discovers the truth first, rather than uncovering the truth for the sake of the victim. In addition to this, Holme’s competition and obsession with detectives Gregson and Lestrade on the case is interesting. Holmes even laughs to himself when one of the detectives guesses the wrong perpetrator of Drebber’s murder. This suggested to me that like Betteredge, Holmes is egotistical and wants acknowledgment and credit for his work.

  2. At first I was very surprised at this comparison. In comparison to Holmes, Betteredge seems very incompetent and insecure. He battles with his desire for detective work and is constantly frustrated with Frank and Cuff for not revealing things to him, so I would think he was more like one of the policeman or Watson. However, I think i’m holding Holmes on too much of a pedestal, and this comparison does a lot to understand his character and it’s faults better. I wonder what about these two had led them to have similar problems?

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