Sedentary and precise in his routines--"Mycroft [Holmes] has his rails and he runs on them"--this supposed minor bureaucrat actually functions as "the central exchange, the clearing-house" for all government intelligence. "In that great brain of his everything is pigeon-holed, and can be handed out in an instant." In essence, Mycroft is a human computer like Spock. With his sharp analytic intelligence, impressive bulk, and insistence on a regular schedule, he also closely resembles Rex Stout's gruff consulting detective Nero Wolfe. Years later, I would learn that some Sherlockian scholars believe that Wolfe's mother was Irene Adler and his father either Sherlock or Mycroft.How did I not know this? That nugget of info about Wolfe's rumored parentage is more than enough to convince me to let Dirda's go slip about Spock. (He's a half-human computer, sir, as Bones would gladly tell you.)
And let's be clear: it's Mycroft, surely. For all that Irene Adler sets Holmes a-dither, could he really . . . ? No way.