Like most detective stories ‘Silver blaze’ written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and ‘Lucky Penny’ written by Linda Barnes are very alike. They both include a mystery that needs to be solved. In ‘Silver blaze’ the crime/mystery is the murder of John Straker and the theft of the prize wining horse, Silver blaze. The character to solve this mystery is detective Sherlock Holmes. His methods appear extraordinary to outsiders but to Sherlock Holmes himself they are very simple.
In ‘Lucky Penny’ the crime/mystery is the murder of Jennifer Thayler and the disappearance/theft of a roman coin. Charlotta solves the mystery. Her methods are to sort the fact from fiction straight away: “first I ruled out all the women…” “Then I considered my regulars…” She also does a lot of digging for clues. Charlotta was an ex police officer, but now she drives her own taxi: “Charlotta’s cab” In the story she is most definitely the detective.
Both of the stories have incompetent police, Sherlock Holmes describes Inspector Gregory as: “Were he but gifted with imagination….” And Charlotta says: “I’m gonna take the money the city pays you to be unimaginative…” Both detectives feel that if the police had more imagination they may be better at their jobs. DR. Watson, Holmes’ sidekick as so to speak, is deliberately slow: “I have not observed the quarter- mile posts” “But the telegraph posts upon this line are sixty yards apart, and the calculation is a simple one” to show up the detectives brilliance. In ‘Lucky Penny’ we see evidence of this happening: “I wanted to see if Mooney picked up on it, but he didn’t”
Cute questioning is a thing we see often in detective stories, gaining information without people realizing. Sherlock Holmes uses it well, he asks Mrs. Straker: “You wore a costume of dove coloured silk with ostrich feather trimming” to see if she was the female wearing that dress. This occurs in ‘Lucky Penny’ too, Charlotta telephones Gloria to find out if her cab (59 Chevy) was specifically asked for: “Was I popular at one thirty five this morning?”
In ‘Silver blaze’ and ‘Lucky Penny’ the two detectives both find tiny clues, Holmes finds a wax vesta (match): “It was a wax vesta…” which every body else failed to spot and Charlotta finds a box of lucky charms belonging to Marcia Heidegger: “A Tupperware container full of superstious junk, good luck charms mostly…” These clues prove very important in solving the mystery. As we get into the stories the detectives form a theory then test it, Sherlock Holmes’ first theory is: “The net is drawn pretty close round Fitzroy Simpson” but these theories are wrong and the detectives know it. Charlottas theory is: “It was a training session”
At the end of ‘Lucky Penny’ and ‘Silver blaze’ there is a dramatic revelation to reveal the culprit and nature of the crime. In ‘Silver blaze’ Sherlock Holmes reveals this information to the colonel: “Yes, the horse” “And it may lessen his guilt if I say that it was done in self defence…” In ‘Lucky Penny’ the dramatic revelation is set in the police station. Charlotta says: “She used to keep it in her purse, see”