Temporary Hiatus of Always1895.net
I apologize for not posting lately but I’ve had to put Always1895.net on temporary hiatus. I hope to be back posthaste! Be seeing you…
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 30 - April 5, 2013)
Doyleockian in “Villains - Don’t Look Back” - a post after my own heart - makes the brief yet totally relevant/necessary argument that canonical villains should not be overused in adaptations/pastiches such as BBC Sherlock: “Yes [Moriarty & Adler] were significant characters (as they were in the original stories) but if you keep bringing them back you dilute them. Irene Adler holds such a place in the canon precisely because she outwitted Sherlock Holmes in one adventure. However if Conan Doyle had kept bringing her back he either would have had to have her lose or keep beating Holmes.” In particular, Mr Alistair Duncan takes issue with that (rather vocal) segment of the BBC Sherlock fandom who insist that they want “more Moriarty” and/or “more Irene Adler” in the coming seasons. Mr Duncan, rightly in my opinion, bluntly states the futility and danger in constantly using and overusing particular canonical favorites (eg. the woman and the Napoleon of Crime).
[Moriarty feeling ‘used’ due to the overuse of his likeness in pastiches and adaptations.]
Car Talk (fans who obsessively listen to NPR will at least be passingly familiar with voices of car talk hosts Tom and Ray) posted a short little story - “I’d like to give you this Puzzler in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” - and then asked their readers/listeners: “How did the inspector know that the gardener did it?” It’s an intriguing little riddle and worth thinking about…can you figure it out? Click back here on/after Saturday April 13 for the answer. (Thanks to Ms Kate Karlson (BSI, ASH) for the tip!)
Kickstarter is hosting a fundraising project for Watson & Holmes, a comic/graphic novel by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi, “a re-envisioning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as African Americans living in New York City’s famous Harlem district.” Money raised will be used for “covering fees, postage, and printing of the exclusive Kickstarter copies. Leftover money will be used to fund future projects, which include 5 planned Watson & Holmes one shot stories by other industry professionals.” There are some great packages available (signed comics, prints, t-shirts and even the chance to have your likeness appear in a future issue!) at a variety of donation levels. Make sure to check out the three minute promo video that accompanies the post. For general information on the book itself, make sure to check out the Watson & Holmes Facebook page or to buy the first issue at Comics Plus. (Thanks to Ms Lyndsay Faye for the hot tip!)
[For $500, you receive a print, t-shirt, signed cover comic and you - or your likeness - can appear in a future issue.]
Dan Andriacco reflects on the importance of maintaining tangible links to the past: “…count me among those who will never lose my affection for traditional books in their printed form. One of the reasons is the physical connection they give you to history. Today’s case in point is my copy of Profile by Gaslight, published in 1944…Edited by Edgar W. Smith and subtitled An Irregular Reader About the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, it’s a stellar collection of essays from the early days of Sherlockian scholarship.” I couldn’t agree with Mr Andriacco more, about both the importance of maintaining tangible connections to the (Sherlockian) past via books as well as his choice of examples of one such tome.
[An absolutely essential piece of any Sherlockian library: Profile By Gaslight (1944) edited by the legendary Edgar Smith.]
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page explained the reasons for the dearth of posts as of late: “I have been working on my two talks that are fast approaching. On July 5, I am speaking to the Annual Gathering of the National Mensa Society in Fort Worth [Texas]. On August 10, I am speaking at the Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place conference in Minneapolis sponsored by the University of Minnesota [and the Norwegian Explorers].” I’ll personally be looking forward to seeing Mr Don Hobbs speak at the latter event this August and hopefully have the opportunity to meet him in person. As well as preparing his trifling monologues, Mr Hobbs has also been giving mini tours to extremely lucky Sherlockians of his mega famous Holmes translations library. One of those lucky Sherlockians was Mr Joe Faye, a fellow member of Texas scion Crew of the Barque Lone Star (mentioned in last Friday’s Links) who’s pictured in the photo below with Hobbs and a fraction of Hobbs’ library.
[Mr Hobss and Mr Faye and hundreds of translations of the Canon.]
Scintillation of Scions is quickly approaching (June 7 - 9, 2013) and registration - capped at 100 Sherlockians - is a must. If you’re still deciding on whether to go or not, just check out the line-up of speakers for SOS VI: Daniel Stashower, Lyndsay Faye, Regina Stinson, Donna Andrews, Sherlock NYC, Sherlock DC, Dana Cameron, Dan Andriacco and the guy that runs Always1895.net. Having attended SOS V last year, I stress in the strongest possible terms that you do whatever it takes to attend.
[Click for a history of Scintillation of Scions.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Daily Dot attempts to explain “how a middle-aged Scottish sitcom writer came to be the idol of Tumblr users across the globe” - the writer of course being Doctor Who and Sherlock czar Steven Moffat.
MX Publishing and Save Undershaw are hosting a ‘caption contest’: “This week’s caption competition - Another great piece of fan art from The Art of Deduction. Prize is a pre-publication copy of The Amateur Executioner (new Holmes novel from Andriacco and McMullen) delivered to your door….”
The Bartitsu Club of NYC invites one and all seeking to master the Victorian fighting style, which allowed Holmes to soundly trounce the Napoleon of Crime, to a seminar on Bartitsu with Mark P. Donnelly, Professore di Armes, on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, 2013 at Studios 353 in Manhattan. For more information about the seminars or to learn about Bartitsu, visit NYC Steampunk.
[How well would you do if confronted by a senior citizen professor on the edge of a waterfall?!]
What Ho! posted one of my favorite original Strand covers from January 1927 which featured the third to last Sherlock Holmes story ever published “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”, later part of The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.
[The Strand, January 1927.]
Pink Studies created this diptych titled ‘Contrast’ featuring the likenesses of Holmes and Watson (a la BBC Sherlock). Fan art is often hit or miss but this piece is definitely one of the cooler stabs at more ‘serious’ Sherlockian art.
[‘Contrast’ by Pink Studies.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 23 - March 29, 2013)
BBC News announced that “volunteers are being sought to bring a rare collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle memorabilia to a wider audience…More than 40,000 items once belonging to the Sherlock Holmes writer lie in the city’s archives, with only a small amount on display at Portsmouth City Museum.” A short video clip interviews a senior archivist as well volunteers at Portsmouth and argues for the importance of making more of the collection available to scholars and the public. I can’t imagine anything cooler than taking a month off of work and volunteering my services at Portsmouth - living and breathing ACD/Sherlock day and night sounds like the best vacation ever! For more information about the collection check out the ACD Collection at Portsmouth Facebook page. (Thanks to Howard Ostrom for the tip!)
[Senior archivist at Porstmouth Michael Gunton explains how only a fraction of the 40,000 pieces from the ACD/Sherlock collection has been properly cataloged. Note the timeline in the background with that magic year of 1895 prominently in view.]
Crew of the Barque Lone Star, a scion society of the BSI founded in 1973 and based out of the Greater Dallas and Fort Worth area, posted about the first meeting of the newly-constituted Crew of the Barque Lone Star. Legendary Sherlockian collector “Don Hobbs offered the toast to Queen Victoria and then gave a brief history of the Crew…Steve Mason led the discussion about our story of the month, MISS, and then updated all of us on Sherlockian happenings around the country, including 221B Con, A Gathering of Southern Sherlockians in Chattanooga, the Minnesota Conference in August, and Les Klinger’s lawsuit against the Conan Doyle estate. Joe Fay, (author of the blog) gave a brief photo essay on [his] recent trip to London and an even quicker overview of the rules of rugby. Stu Nelan offered the toast to Sherlock Holmes to end the proceedings, but not before he made sure to mention the recent publication of Steve Mason’s article titled, “What Would You Keep?” in the current issue of The Serpentine Muse.” Sounds like a promising reboot for a group that seems inspired to make it’s mark in the Sherlockian scion world. You can also follow them on Twitter @BarqueLoneStar and Facebook as well.
[Click for the website of the Crew of the Barque Lone Star.]
What Ho! commented on January 2013 marking the “150th Anniversary of the first of the London Underground lines – the Metropolitan opened in January 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon. The event was marked by the running – in passenger service – of steam-hauled trains through the tunnels over the original route, through Baker Street station.” Click to see a vintage photo of a steam-hauled train. For a nice intro to the history of London and trains, see the History of the London Underground.
[A London tube station circa 1900.]
Radio Times announced that “Martin Freeman’s partner Amanda Abbington joins the cast of Sherlock…in a role that significantly impacts upon the lives of John and Sherlock.” Last year the Baker Street Babes interviewed Ms Abbington for Episode 27 after receiving a FB comment from Abbington that asked: “How do you officially become a Baker Street Babe? Can I apply? xx” You can check up and see what the Season 3 Sherlock starlet is up to via @amandaabbington. ** Note: As an aside, if you value your sanity, avoid the ridiculous Amanda Abbington/Mary Morstan ‘war’ (for lack of a better term) that tore through Tumblr (and Twitter) regarding ‘concerns’ a segment of the BBC Sherlock fandom had about the ramifications of introducing Mary Morstan onto the show. If you were wise enough to heed my warning about valuing your sanity you are no longer reading this paragraph and are safe - if you are prepared to question the value of the Internet, here’s a simplified summary of what all the insane hullabaloo is about: fans of BBC Sherlock who are Johnlock (John + Sherlock) shippers (ie. term used to denote one’s interest in specific TV show character pairings eg. Buffy & Spike vs. Buffy & Angel shippers from BtVS) are deeply terrified that introducing Mary Morstan (aka Mary Watson née Morstan, wife of Dr John H(amish?) Watson by canonical reckoning) into the show will somehow ruin the Johnlock dream - regardless of the fact that apart from fanfic and one’s so-called ‘headcanon’ (*sigh* yes that is a word) there’s been precisely zero evidence pointing toward the realization/instantiation of Johnlock - either as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb or whatever - that is of a romantic/sexual relationship between Watson and Holmes on the show. And when I say “deeply terrified” I mean pages and pages, and post after post, or tweet followed by tweet, etc of ranting diatribes against writing Mary Morstan into the show. I rarely dignify the (what I consider) utterly pointless Sherlockian internet memes/arguments with a mention on Always1895 but I think a lot of Sherlockians of all stripes and dedications have been bemused/alarmed by the #MaryMorstan overflow, hence the need for a short explanans in this Friday’s Links post. /end Fear for Sanity.
[Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington and their dogs.]
Barefoot on Baker Street told a story about how when she was 16 she wrote a full-length Sherlock Holmes screen play and sent it to a producer at Granada, only to receive a very polite ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter from the producer: “Their series had ended for the final time and the producer explained that Holmes had been ‘done to death’. They had no plans for any further productions involving that character…Now, 19 years later, I’ve received a very similar letter mentioning BBC Sherlock. How ironic. I am in the process of submitting my novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, to production companies in the hope that someone will want to adapt it for television. I had a lovely email last week from the head of development at one of the companies I had contacted. She genuinely enjoyed my novel and wrote some wonderful comments but felt that it will be impossible to get it on TV as long as BBC Sherlock is running.”
[The BBC may have rejected Ms Walters Sherlockian pastiche, but I highly recommend picking up a copy to read one of the more inventive approaches to a Holmes pastiche.]
Doyleockian, partially in response to last week’s post featuring a photo of ACD in his sitting room at Windlesham, where it was temporarily misidentified as Undershaw, posted “Identifying Arthur Conan Doyle’s Homes” where Mr Duncan identifies the most iconic images of ACD’s domiciles with the name of the house and a short biography. I would love to see a project like this expanded into a full blown coffee table book.
Markings in “The Other Dr. Watson - Conan Doyle’s Harrogate Friend & Colleague” finds Mr Ray Wilcockson researching ACD’s “connection with Harrogate. This post details what I have discovered thus far - some of which has rather taken me by surprise. I’ll present my findings under three sub-headings: Doyle’s Harrogate, The Other Dr. Watson and One Degree of Separation.” Interestingly, Mr Wilcockson’s father was 8 months old when ACD visited and also had a direct connection to the ‘Dr Bertram Watson’ uncovered during the course of this research - fascinating stuff!
Baker Street Journal noted the anniversary of Christopher Morley’s death (March 28, 1957) by posting a letter Mr Morley wrote to The Sunday Times in 1950 titled The Baker Street Irregulars, of New York which contains one of my favorite commemorations of ACD: ”Myself, I do not wholly agree with the tradition that A.C.D. should never be formally mentioned. I loved him long before his heirs and assigns and agents were born, and I find in his writings the most delicious asymptotes to the Holmes-Watson codex. As I have often said, how ridiculous he was only Knighted - he should have been Sainted.”
Tookmyskull in “The Unsolved Case of the Garroted Sherlockian” remembers beloved Sherlockian and master collector Richard Lancelyn Green (July 10, 1953 - March 27, 2004) on the anniversary of RLG’s untimely and mysterious death, made famous in part by a New Yorker article written in rather dubious taste “Mysterious Circumstances”, later published in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession by David Grann - and then quasi-dramatized in The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I posted a remembrance of RLG on his birthday last year and received quite a bit of feedback from many Sherlockians who knew and missed RLG, many of whom feel that Moore’s novel and Grann’s New Yorker piece are tasteless at best and exploitative at worst. It’s a tough line to walk - respecting RLG’s memory and reporting on the undeniably ‘mysterious’ elements surrounding the case - but regardless I think RLG will ultimately be remembered for his incredible Sherlockian/ACD collection which he bequeathed to the Portsmouth Library. The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection ”brings together an unparalleled variety of books, documents and objects connected to Holmes and the life of his creator” - in fact it’s a dream of mine to one day visit the collection in Portsmouth. And as I mentioned above, the ACD Collection is looking for a few good Sherlockians to volunteer to finish cataloging and archiving the collection.
[To Keep the Memory Green edited by Steve Rothman and Nicholas Utechin - listen to the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere (Ep 8) podcast to hear Rothman and Utechin discussing RLG’s legacy.]
The Well-Read Sherlockian reviewed one of my favorite releases of 2012, Mr Dan Andriacco’s The 1895 Murder. Ms Leah Cummins Guinn, proprietress of the Well-Read Sherlockian, remarks that Andiacco’s third McCabe/Cody novel features “the same entertaining characters and (for Jeff) ridiculously uncomfortable situations, but we also have something new–an oddly bleak mystery…the most smoothly-plotted and written Cody/McCabe mystery yet. Mr. Andriacco plays fair with the reader, but his clues are deftly hidden, much as Sebastian McCabe hides the secrets to his magic tricks under an entertaining run of palaver. Jeff Cody’s stream-of-consciousness narration is amusing as always, and still more revealing than he might wish.” A well deserved 4 out of 5 rating - though personally I would have given it a 5 or at least a 4.5.
[For another take, check out my review from last Winter.]
Sherlockian Calendar, one of the most useful Sherlockian sites in all of creation, announced that they have a new URL: www.SherlockianCalendar.com - congratulations to Ron Fish and Sue and Ben Vizoskie on the upgrade. Visit and visit often - and tell a friend!
The Game Is On is developing a ‘fan-art’ Sherlock video game which, judging from the screenshots and posted artwork, has some serious potential. It will be interesting to see where this project leads and if it does come to fruition how canonically accurate will the in-game story be. Click the screenshot below for more information.
[Thanks to Baker Street Babes for the tip.]
Lyndsay Faye shared a panel from a Sherlock Holmes comic she wrote a few years ago which is currently being shopped around to publishers. The comic is Ms Faye’s version of ‘Why Reichenbach Happened That Way’ - from the scripts I’ve read, there’s some real (and real awesome!) cause for excitement and burning hope that this project gets picked up by a publisher.
[Click for the full page of this scene.]
Sherlock Peoria laments the news we all knew was coming: CBS’s Elementary has been renewed for a second season. And though I suspect that a tiny piece of Mr Brad Keefauver’s soul may have died upon hearing the announcement, his blogging response is classic: “As the announcement of another season of Mr. Elementary, once it had time to fully sink in, did not elicit any wailing or gnashing of teeth in the subterranean lair where Sherlock Peoria houses it’s secret blog machineries…no…no…no. Just the gentle stroking of a cat, and the slight turn of what might be a smile. And if you pulled back, receding into the distance outside the walls of said lair, you might have heard the beginnings of a muffled “Bwah-ha-hah …”
Tea at 221B posted one of my favorite Jeremy Brett & Edward Hardwicke stills of all time - which also has always been a bit of a mystery as to it’s origins. Obviously, it’s from a scene that never actually appeared in a Granada episode and it clearly depicts Holmes during his retirement to the Sussex Downs - “I had given myself up entirely to that soothing life of Nature for which I had so often yearned during the long years spent amid the gloom of London” (LION) - but why did Granada never use it? At long last, Tea at 221B has the answer: “This was initially filmed for inclusion in “The Second Stain” (Sherlock reminiscing). Producers thought an entire episode could be created from it and shelved the scene for later use. No episode was ever made, the scenes were never made public and the film was destroyed.”
[At least we can dream of what could have been…]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 16 - March 22, 2013)
Dan Andriacco considers a little known theory of master English humorist and ACD/Sherlock enthusiast P.G. Wodehouse suggesting that Sherlock Holmes was in fact the Master Criminal…! Quoting from Wodehouse’s 1975 Introduction to the Ballantine Mystery Classic paperback edition of The Sign of Four: “If you want to salt a few million away for a rainy day, you don’t spring into 9:30 trains to go and talk to governesses, you become a Master Criminal, sitting like a spider in the center of its web and egging your corps of assistants on to steal jewels and Naval Treaties….Holmes was Professor Moriarty.” Mr Andriacco points out that even though Wodehouse and ACD were friends - Plum was periodically a guest at Doyle’s country home where they enjoyed playing cricket - this did not stop Wodehouse partaking in the occasional satirizing of Holmes. In Wodehouse’s own words: “I have sometimes amused myself by throwing custard pies at that great man.” For more information on Wodehouse’s introduction to SIGN as well as the Ballatine Mystery Classic series, see this 2008 essay Wodehouse’s Introduction to The Sign of Four.
[The 1975 cover of Ballatine’s edition of The Sign of Four with an Introduction by P.G. Wodehouse: “When I was starting out as a writer Conan Doyle was my hero. Others might revere Hardy and Meredith. I was a Doyle man, and I still am. Usually we tend to discard the idols of our youth as we grow older, but I have not had this experience with A.C.D. I thought him swell then, and I think him swell now.”]
Den of Geek was just one of many sources (Sherlockology was another) who reported on the latest - and juiciest - morsel of BBC Sherlock Season 3 news sweeping the Sherlockian blogosphere, originally revealed in a twitter post by Mark Gatiss: the title of Season 3, Episode 1 is “The Empty Hearse” - a clever play on “The Empty House” in the now familiar BBC canonical pun style first used when referencing ‘off camera’ cases such as “The Speckled Band” and “The Greek Interpreter” vis-à-vis “The Speckled Blonde” and “The Geek Interpreter” respectively.
[”The Empty Hearse” - a cute/clever play on EMPT but we still have no concrete idea of how Holmes survived his apparent fall/dive off of the roof of St Barts after Moriarty, rather inexplicably, took a non-air gun to his own head and pulled the trigger.]
Yorkshire Evening Post draws our attention to how the world’s greatest detective is the inspiration for the latest Beautiful Octopus Club night, run by the Leeds Octopus Crew, with support from staff at West Yorkshire Playhouse….From learning to DJ and film-making to creating live music and club décor - the events provide work-based training and a safe, fun and creative environment for adults with learning disabilities and their families.” On the Playhouse’ Quarry stage from May 18 to June 8 they will be putting on Sherlock Holmes: The Best Kept Secret.
[Some of the cast of Sherlock Holmes: The Best Kept Secret.]
Wired in ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Never Ending Adventures’ comments on a number of Sherlock pastiches the author recently read including one of the smallest (physical size) Sherlock pastiche publications I’ve ever seen called Sherlock Holmes: The Essential Mysteries In One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius (see cover below); The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: The Methods and Mysteries Of The World’s Great Detective by Ransom Riggs; The Case Files Of Sherlock Holmes by Dr. John Watson, a very unique presentation of Holmes’ adventures featuring a variety of ‘original evidence’; and make sure to check out the rest of the Wired article for a complete list with reviews.
[Sherlock Holmes: The Essential Mysteries In One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius.]
Orange County Register in ‘Sherlock Holmes as Steampunk Hacker’ profiles a potential web series - the producers have launched an online fund-raising campaign with Indiegogo…where they are trying to raise $35,000 by April 26 - which is about a “19th Century England has a steam-powered Internet and Jack the Ripper is posting files of his crimes on the Victorian version of WikiLeaks. Oscar Lerwill, the best hacker of the Empire, plays a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the killer under the Orwellian gaze of a repressive monarchy bent on censoring the web.” While not featuring Sherlock Holmes directly (the action seems to center around Jack the Ripper and hacker Oscar Lerwill), I’d imagine many Sherlockians/Victorianists with steam punk proclivities might find this potential web series quite interesting.
[An image from the Jack the Ripper Steampunk Web Series.]
The Stormy Petrels posted a double review of Martin Powell and Jamie Chase’s graphic novel adaptation of Hound of the Baskervilles: both bloggers (S. Sigerson & HamishMD) give a rating of 4.5 out of 5 (Orange Pips - a great rating system if there ever was one). The only minor complaint regards the script used for some of Watson’s handwriting which is apparently a bit difficult to read, though that’s about it. On the other hand, “the artwork here has a ‘sophisticated’ and comparatively mature feel” and is “stunning”: “At just about 65 pages, Powell’s HOUND hits a good balance, adapting the text into a tight and exciting narrative, while also not leaving out the best of Doyle’s dialogue.” If you are like the reviewers and myself, I don’t own many graphic novels but based on this review and the example artwork, Powell/Chase’s HOUN adaptation might be worth an exception.
[One of my favorite ways to quickly judge any type of adaptation of HOUN (TV, film, comic, or otherwise) is to have a look at how said adaptation renders the famous ‘Man on the Tor’ scene; and judging by the above graphic, Powell & Chase’s HOUN looks quite impressive.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Sherlock Peoria continues his assault on CBS’s Elementary, this time in the form of a short, whimsical bedtime story: “This is the story of Sir Sherlock-He’s-Not. Sir Sherlock-He’s-Not was the silliest and talkiest hobo on Skid Row….” (etc.) The moral of the tale seems to be that Jonny Lee Miller is a horrible Holmes and Lucy Liu would probably do a better job in the lead role.
[Lucy Lui telling a shocked and saddened Jonny Lee Miller about Brad Keefauver’s latest Sherlock Peoria post.]
Flickering Myth takes a look at BBC Sherlock from the perspective of someone who, as the title of the article suggests, might be a little ‘Late to the Show’ and/or living under a rock for the last two years and has yet to hear about the now almost universally recognized brilliance of BBC’s modern take on the Great Detective. The author does make one odd comment about how Holmes of the Canon was addicted to opium, opposed to the tamer BBC Sherlock who is only addicted to nicotine - a line that inspired ”Sherlock Holmes Is Not A Drug Addict” on Sherlock Cares immediately below.
Sherlock Cares in “Sherlock Holmes Is Not A Drug Addict, Watson” argues at length for why it’s totally false to refer to Holmes as a drug addict. The author reviews each canonical reference to drug use by Holmes in the Canon and then takes a look at the role various Sherlock adaptations over the last 100 years contributed to the Holmes-as-addict myth, ending on: “Let’s start dealing with facts and truth. In the canon, Sherlock Holmes never demonstrated the behaviour or clinical traits of drug addiction. Possibly poor judgement, but not drug addiction.” One of my personal favorite Sherlockian studies on Holmes and drugs is Jack Tracy’s Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson: Sherlock Holmes and the Cocaine Habit, the cover of which can be seen below:
Hello Giggles explores the century old question:”what is it about Holmes that fans love so single-mindedly?” Using the recent interest in BBC Sherlock as a launching point, the author traces the rise of Holmes and ACD’s ultimately futile attempt at killing him and the subsequent public outcry (surprisingly apocryphal black arm bands are not mentioned) up to the present day’s fan base going “haywire over a momentous occasion in the Consulting Detective’s life” or the announcement that Season 3 has begun filming - which will finally answer the question of which has been obsessing BBC fandom for over a year now: how did Cumberbatch’s Sherlock survive his fall from the roof of St Bart’s?
The Cutter Alicia mentions how she had a blast writing an “analysis of the techniques used in the morgue scene in “A Scandal in Belgravia”” and decided to write another scene analysis, this time choosing the ”Battersea Power Station scene in the same episode.” A fascinating synthesis of Sherlockian fandom obsessiveness and applied film school theory and aesthetics.
[Scene begins at the 52:00 mark on the BBC/DVD edit.]
Baker Street Babes explore the Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate aka Free Sherlock! controversy in their 38th podcast to date. “Babes Lyndsay & Curly chat with Holmesian extraordinaire and vigilante Les Klinger about freeing Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and a host of other characters from copyright. Also mentioned: Shreffgate, Sherlock Holmes 3 (the movie), Sherlock Gnomes, and some pornography.” Whichever direction the actual court case goes, it’s fairly obvious that Team Klinger has won in the court of public opinion.
The Chattanooga published a short piece, written in the guise of Inspector Baynes (via Chattanooga attorney and Sherlockian Jody Baker), arguing that through the words of Dr Watson we can come to an accurate picture of the inner Watson himself. For example, citing a passage from “Black Peter” where Watson “emphasizes all that is good about Sherlock Holmes and ignores all the bad. In his selection of the qualities and characteristics of Holmes to emphasize, Watson tells us much about himself. We get a glimpse of the inner man of Watson.”
A Case of Witchcraft considers the portrayal of the young Aleister Crowley in the Holmes pastiche of the same name (read my review of A Case of Witchcraft here) and defends the notion that Crowley might have been loyal to a personality such as the Great Detective, at least in his younger days. Regardless, I highly recommend this highly original Sherlock pastiche from Mr Joe Revill.
[Holmes and Crowley team-up to solve a mystery involving witches and murder.]
Sherlock Holmes: Past and Present is a conference scheduled for June 21-22, 2013 at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London. The conference “offers a serious opportunity to bring together academics, enthusiasts, creative practitioners and popular writers in a shared discussion about the cultural legacy of Sherlock Holmes.” For more information about the program, click here. Full registration information for the Past and Present conference can be found here.For Sherlockians in the UK, this sounds like the place to be on June 21st and June 22nd.
[Sherlock Holmes: Past & Present flier.]
Doyleockian reviews The Wrong Passage (2013) “a comprehensive look at the Sherlock Holmes story “The Golden Pince-Nez”. It contains a facsimile of the original manuscript along with comprehensive annotation and supporting essays. It forms part of the excellent Baker Street Irregulars Manuscript Series…All in all, this is an excellent book.” Another positive review of Dr Bob Katz and Mr Andrew Solberg’s excellently edited original ACD manuscript which is sure to go down as one of the most important Sherlockian publications of the last few years.
Napoleon of Holmes reported on a recent (Friday, March 22, 2013) gathering sponsored by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London where “quite a large contingent of people (I believe around 50) went to the Transport Museum first, for a guided tour and talk” and later listened to a history of Covent Garden. I look forward to the day when I find myself in London and able to attend a SHSL event.
Timor Panico posted this fine sketch to celebrate a re-watching of Star Trek: the Next Generation: “here is a little fanart of Data and Geordi as Sherlock and Watson!” The two ST:TNG Sherlock-themed episodes are Elementary, Dear Data and Ship in a Bottle, worth watching even if you’re not a Star Trek fan.
[A delightful fan-art homage to Mr Data and Geordi LaForge’s holodeck adventures.]
Tea at 221B found this fantastic image of ACD reading at home, when home was
Undershaw. Update: according to Mr Alistair Duncan “This is not Undershaw it’s Windlesham.” Windlesham in Crowborough (East Sussex) is where ACD lived with his second wife Jean Leckie from 1906 to his death in 1930.
[It’s slightly disappointing not seeing a jack knife stuck into the fireplace mantel behind ACD or the lack of framed or unframed pictures of General Gordon and Henry Ward Beecher; or really any other typical objects from the sitting room of 221B, many of which can be seen here.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 9 - March 15, 2013)
The Telegraph’s Damian Thompson, Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, waxes quasi-bemused while describing the obsessive depths to which Sherlockian sapien plunges when possessed of that “glorious example of Anglo-Saxon eccentricity”. Actually, if he’s not careful Mr Thompson might just be mistaken for one of the hardcore himself with his casual citings of D. Martin Dakin’s A Sherlock Holmes Commentary - one of the finest volumes of Sherlockian studies ever published - as well as Mgr Ronald Knox and Dorothy L Sayers, as well as various Canonical mainstays such as the Oxford/Cambridge question, Holmes’ notoriously bad luck with colonels (eg. Colonels: Moran who needs no introduction, Walters of BRUC, Ross of SILV) and chronological conundrums along with acceptable Sherlockian evidence (cf. Zeisler). The truly impressive aspect of this piece isn’t Thompson’s knowledge or interest, but the fact that all of the above and more are discussed in just a few short yet succinct paragraphs as part of a random Telegraph column.
[Dakin’s A Sherlock Holmes Commentary - might we presume a volume which can be found on the library shelves of The Telegraph?]
Dan Andriacco - in a valiant attempt at deriving a modicum of levity from the court case - suggests a creative, alternative use for Exhibit A, “Sherlock Holmes Story Elements” from the Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate suit: “Klinger lists those characters and characteristics along with the names of stories in which they appear. The result winds up being a wonderful little cheat sheet for those of us (like me) with poor memories. Holmes’s erratic eating habits? Look in “The Norwood Builder.” Bohemian nature? “The Musgrave Ritual.” Fees? Klinger lists four stories. Aptitude for disguise? Five stories. This is a great resource. Check it out online!” And the Persian slipper in the sky keeps on turning….
[Click on the above clip from Exhibit A for all of Klinger’s “Sherlock Holmes Story Elements”.]
Doyleockian reviewed Tim Symonds’ recently released Holmes pastiche on MX Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bulgarian Codex. I agree with Mr Duncan that the “pace of the book is good and Symonds comes close…to the Watson style.” In my opinion, this an example of the best kind of Sherlockian pastiche: self-contained and not over burdened with Moriarty tropes and canonical stereotypes, The Bulgarian Codex employs just the right mix of historical detail - in this case a Bulgarian prince - while inserting Holmes and Watson into an imaginative adventure colored by turn-of-the-century European balance of power diplomacy that both entertains and educates.
[Holmes and Watson travel to Bulgaria in search of a missing national treasure where nothing is as it seems.]
The Boscombe Valley Mystery is the story where Watson reveals Holmes’ research into the famed ‘140 different varieties of tobacco ash’.
[A clip from BOSC highlighting Holmes’ explorations of tobacco ash in the pursuit of crime and criminals.]
AL.com reports on The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library’s plan to pay “homage to the great detective during Community Read 2013. Throughout the month of April, we’ll celebrate The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes through book club discussions, arts and crafts programs for all ages, and more. We’ll also screen Holmes movies and hear contemporary authors talk about his legacy.” It’s comforting to know that even in the midst of an all out, intercontinental Sherlockian Civil War, the Canon is still a cause for celebration and inspiration while simultaneously being (re-) discovered (one hopes) by the next generation of young readers.
Jon Lellenberg in his March 2013 Editor’s Gas-Bag gives us “Three Surprises from Christopher Morley”. The first two consist of interesting Sherlockian tidbits from Morley’s columns in the (original) Saturday Review of Literature ‘Trade Winds’ and ‘Bowling Green’, the first dealing with Holmes’ birthday and the second regarding the in all likelihood very first instance of “B.S.I.” used to denote a member of the (then nascent) Baker Street Irregulars: Harry Kriewitz, B.S.I. The third piece of Morleyana is about “Schlogl’s, the Teutonic Chicago restaurant on Wells Street that was the local Mermaid Tavern for its literary and journalistic circles, and for Vincent Starrett and The Hounds of the Baskerville (sic) what Christ Cella’s was to Morley’s Three Hours for Lunch Club and the early BSI.” For more information about Schlogl’s, check out “Gastronomica Literati: Schlogl’s” in The Chicago History Journal blog. Mr Lellenberg’s piece features a picture from 1933 but the photo below from the Chicago History Journal article was taken in 1924 and also features Vincent Starrett:
[Can you spot VS? Click the photo for a much larger version.]
NowGamer reports on the possibility of a Lego Sherlock Holmes game based on in-game evidence uncovered in Lego City: Undercover. Holmes “first appears with sidekick Watson in an early mission clipscene - but this appears to be a normal run-of-the-mill pop culture reference. But a billboard discovered by NowGamer which is hidden in plain sight in the game’s open world also has a Lego Sherlock figure on it, alongside several symbols and what looks like a Warner logo.” Here’s a thread from gaming forum NeoGAF further speculating on this intriguing possibility.
[“The Detective is a Collectable Minifigure set released in 2011 as one of the sixteen minifigures from 8805 Minifigures Series 5.” Note that this little Lego guy is just called “The Detective” and not Sherlock.]
McMurdo’s Camp reflects on St Patrick’s Day: “The 17th is practically upon us. If you harbor feelings about the Irish, check out “Hibernian Holmes” in the Trifling Monographs section to find about any Irish participation or influence on the great detective. There’s plenty. Special recognition to any reader of McMurdo’s Camp who can find one we have not noted.”
Barefoot on Baker Street ponders on “what sort of a woman would suit a man like Sherlock Holmes” - for example, would/should Holmes go for a Molly Hopper-type or an Irene Adler-type?
Small Pond is the personal blog of a “middle-aged mom, absent-minded professor, inveterate reader” and “BSI virgin” - this was her first BSI Weekend though she mentions having attended some meetings of Watson’s Tin Box (of Baltimore) - who published an epic seven part review of BSI Weekend 2013, chocked full of pictures (I see myself in at least three of them!), event reviews, personal musings and the like. I strongly suggest reading through these extremely insightful and fascinating observations for a self-described “Sherlockian outsider’s” take - though regularly attending local scion meetings and knowing enough about the Sherlockian world to even attend BSI Weekend. Conclusion: “So, am I glad I went? Yes! I had a great time, proved to myself in the process that I’m still fairly intrepid(-ish), and, as a bonus, collected a few anecdotes that may help me find my niche in my local scion a little more quickly than I might otherwise have done. All good things.” Let’s hope ‘Small Pond’ decides to attend in 2014.
[If you look closely, there’s me in the reflective shoes in the background and Mr Andy Solberg in the foreground at the Sunday ASH Luncheon, which was the final event of BSI Weekend 2013.]
Tea at 221B uncovered this little gem: “Sherlock Holmes Writing Set Created by the Stuart Hall Company in 1946. The set included “Sherlock Holmes” invisible and ‘special writing’ ink as well as paper and a ‘code book’. The ‘code book’ used a code based upon that in “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”. (Sold in the US in 1946 and the UK in 1947. Production stopped in 1948)”. As one re-poster remarked “I need this in my life!”
[Image of Sherlock Holmes Writing Set from the mid-1940s.]
Sherlock Peoria in “The Gentleman Sherlockian’s Elementary Watch” formally takes one for the team (at least the part of the team that considers Elementary to be below serious consideration): “…And that ends tonight’s Elementary watch, for those of you who would rather not watch Elementary. Remember the gentleman Sherlockian’s Elementary watch guarantee: Leave the watching to me, and you won’t miss a thing! Truly. Not a thing.” Please read Mr Brad Keefauver’s entire article for an explanation of why, even by Keefauver’s standards, “Deja Vu All Over Again” was one of the worst of the worst of the Elementary-verse.
[Joan and Sherlock doing whatever they do in Elementary.]
Radio Times announced the heart-stopping news (for some) that Sherlock series 4 will happen : “In arguably the biggest (Sherlock) news of the century, Benedict Cumberbatch has announced that he and co-star Martin Freeman have signed up to make a fourth season of the BBC1 detective drama. “We’ve agreed to two more [series] but I could get into trouble for saying that,” revealed Cumberbatch.” Equally exciting is the news that “Filming of Sherlock season three begins on Monday (18 March) with the series expected to air in late 2013.”
[Looks like these guys will be hanging around Baker Street for at least a few more years.]
Daily Dot inspired perhaps by Cumberbatch’s sort-of-official announcement that there will be a Season 4 of BBC Sherlock re-posted and reviewed a collection of totally adorable and humorous ‘Sherlock #NotDead’ animated GIFs by Tumblr fan artist Shocking Blankets. “Shockingblankets’ hilarious artwork offers up various possibilities, all involving John involved in routine domestic affairs at 221B, when suddenly Sherlock pops up like an over-sized jack-in-the-box. Whether it’s the cute simplistic drawing style, the fandom in-jokes (John’s been washing his famous red pants!), or the hilarious jawdrop that John does every time, this is an addictive art series even if you aren’t a fan of the show.”
[My personal favorite #NotDead GIF features the good Doctor doing his laundry, only to discover Holmes alive and well posing not as an old bookseller but as clean linen.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 2 - March 8, 2013)
New York Times published the exciting piece “Suit Says Sherlock Belongs to the Ages” which succinctly outlined all the major controversies to happen in the Sherlockian world (so far) in 2013, from the Philip Shreffler article in the revamped Saturday Review of Literature to Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate. For an insightful follow-up to the NYTimes piece from an indisputable Sherlockian insider, check out Sherlock Peoria’s Mr Brad Keefauver’s “Cry “Havoc!” and Loose the Hound of the Moor!, a most clever and appropriate title borrowed from the Bard. Sherlockian friends and acquaintances as well as organizations quoted and/or referenced in this historic (at least to Holmes fans/connoisseurs) New York Times article include: Leslie S Klinger, Lyndsay Faye, Richard Lancelyn Green, the Baker Street Irregulars, the Conan Doyle Estate, Betsy Rosenblatt, Jon Lellenberg (unfortunately “Mr. Lellenberg declined to comment”), Darlene Cypser, the Baker Street Babes, Philip Shreffler, Christopher Roden, Richard Monson-Haefel (Steampunk Holmes publisher) and Alistair Duncan (though not named, Mr Duncan’s “Sherlockian Civil War” comment was referenced).
This Week’s Klinger vs. Conan Doyle Estate Articles:
Melville House begins with the rather provocative title: “Sherlock Holmes Estate Charged With ‘Copyfraud’” and goes on to frame the case within the larger fight against copyfraud ”whereby copyright is falsely asserted over works that are in fact in the public domain, is unfortunately a common practice in literature, particularly in the world of estate maintenance.”
Christian Science Monitor in “Sherlock Holmes fan to estate: Sherlock belongs to all of us” lists some of the key players in the case along with a very basic summary of the issues at stake.
Bloomberg Businessweek in “The Man Who’s Trying to Free Sherlock Holmes” focuses on Klinger qua Sherlockian and attorney, ending on the rather incongruous and bemusing note: “”The folks who are going to benefit from this the most are the ones making big Sherlock Holmes productions,” says Klinger. “Nobody cares about a short story anthology that, if it does really well, will still sell only 4,000 to 5,000 copies.” Maybe not. But plenty of people care about Sherlock Holmes.” Didn’t this all start because of a short story anthology?
Gawker in “No Suit, Sherlock: Doyle Estate is Embroiled in Public Domain Legal Battle” begins with one of the worst Sherlockian-legal puns as of late and ends with a downright weird attempt at breaking down the ‘key players’ as interpreted from the recent New York Times piece.
Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Links:
Baker Street Babes are celebrating 500,000 (that’s a “5” with five zeros after it - and a mustache apparently!) listens - including 15,000 Tumblr followers, 10,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 Facebook followers - this week by hosting three simultaneous and generous giveaways (one for each social network). For a list of prizes, click on the following: Twitter Prize, Tumblr First Prize, Tumblr Second Prize, Facebook First Prize and Facebook Second Prize. Personally, winning either the Basil Rathbone doll or the Billy Wilder The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Spanish poster would make my day. I’m sure it was also a nice treat to be mentioned prominently in last week’s NYTimes article as well.
[Congratulations to the Babes on 500K listens! That’s the equivalent of every citizen of Seattle, WA listening to the BSB podcast. BSB500K!!]
The Art of Deduction - A Sherlock Holmes Collection “contains more than 50 brilliant examples of fan art and loads of stories, writings and poems. The book was created by blogger and huge BBC Sherlock fan Hannah Rogers and is now out in the USA (click here) and UK (currently the #1 Sherlock Holmes book in the UK click here). For fans outside the US and UK Book Depository (click here) offer free worldwide delivery. If they’re smart maybe they’ll also release a few limited edition print runs of some of the best work contained The Art of Deduction.
[Click for larger size to truly appreciate the subtlety of this example of “I Believe in Sherlock” fan-art.]
Neon Tommy published the second (of a projected three) obsessively delightful essay “Into The Hive Mind: Investigating Pastiches, Adaptations And Sherlock Holmes Beyond The Canon” where some of best Holmes TV and film adaptations are discussed along with an assortment of notable pastiches.
Amarillo notes that this month “West Texas A&M University professor David Hart will introduce Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Valley of Fear,” featuring one of the detective’s most notable encounters with arch-rival Moriarty. This event is sponsored by WT’s Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages. Series events are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month.” Click for more information but let’s hope someone has the presence of mind to either video or audio record this interesting sounding lecture.
iFanboy explores the role of Sherlock Holmes in their DC Histories series (“where we try to make sense of the continuity that perplexes, befuddles, and intimidates”). I absolutely love the art attached to this lengthy and informative piece. Find out about the history of Sherlock Holmes as found in various DC incarnations, including the Great Detective’s encounters with Batman, the Joker and other notable DC characters leading up to his most recent DC appearance in the Wildstorm miniseries titled Victorian Undead.
[Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #572 (1987) In-House Ad.]
Baker Street Blog reviewed Maria Konnikova’s Mastermind: “For both Sherlockians and the casual reader, Mastermind is relatively easy to comprehend, avoiding complicated language for an extremely simple approach. The final chapter - which outlines precisely how to attain Holmesian skills in deduction - is well worth the cost of the book. But it’s the chapters leading up to it, mixing familiar (and some unusual) references to the canon, that provide the bulk of Mastermind’s value, placing Holmes’ abilities in the realm of possibility. Mastermind may not necessarily lead you to consider a career in being a consulting detective….but provides one of the best pieces of both Sherlockian and psychological scholarship. This is a must-read for the serious Holmes scholar.”
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page, the exciting new blog of Don Hobbs Sherlockian collector extraordinaire, shares a few pieces of his Hungarian Sherlockian collection “Of all my Hungarian translations the one below has one of my favorite covers.” I couldn’t agree more - absolutely stunning, though the Hound looks a little more like a dragon than I’ve ever imagined.
[1918 Hungarian pulp edition of the Hound.]
Tumblrful World of Disney posted a still from Alice’s Mysterious Mystery (1926). For the time being, you can find the complete short here, where the below scene can be found at 2:21 (coincidentally!).
[Scene from Alice’s Mysterious Mystery (1926).]
Sherlock Peoria in “Just Sherfocking Around’ reminds us that Sherlock Holmes is ultimately about having fun: “One of the great problems with being in what might be the world’s oldest ongoing fandom is that when something gets old, people start taking it a little too seriously. What started out as just a way of amusing one’s friends, something like the B.S.I. Buy-laws or that “Aunt Clara” song, eventually becomes ritual. And once something becomes ritual, it will always be very serious business in the eyes of some. The jokes cease to be funny (or are laughed at mechanically), and are dragged onward through history with the persistence of a Roman church.” Points to Mr Keefauver for admitting to a bit of inconsistency over the years when it comes to his writings on Sherlock Holmes in toto, though proclaiming somewhat dubiously that “style is just as important (or moreso) than substance”. So go out and do some quality Sherfrocking, either alone, with a friend or even, one can imagine, in a group!
Journal of Victorian Culture Online posted a set of reactions to BBC’s new offering Ripper Street from a variety of academics and/or Victorianists. If you haven’t seen an episode yet, Ripper Street is “a BBC TV series set in Whitechapel in London’s East End in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.” The first episode was entertaining (the case involved the brave new world of Victorian ‘snuff moving pictures’), but I have yet to sit down and really give it a chance.
[The cast of BBC’s Ripper Street.]
Tea at 221B finds yet another fantastic Frederic Dorr Steele piece, this time in the form of an advertisement for “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange” from Collier’s.
[“…At all news-stands for an entire month, 10 cts.”]
Lyndsay’s Intro to the Canon Part IV “the fourth and sadly last of Lyndsay’s four [audio] classes on the Sherlock Holmes stories at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan. This time it’s full of lots of Adventures!”
Meiringens posted a still of Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering from Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1979-1980). The series is unofficially available through Youtube though I wish someone would find the original masters and clean them up and formally release them.
I Hear of Sherlock, the Tumblr blog of the IHOSE podcast of Burt Wolder and Scott Monty, posted one of the most colorful Sherlock movie posters of all time: “from the 1965 film A Study in Terror, in which Sherlock Holmes meets Jack the Ripper.” I was inspired to re-watch John Neville’s portrayal of Holmes - with Donald Houston picking up the Watson duties - and though A Study in Terror isn’t the most nuanced approach to the Great Detective, it can certainly be enjoyed for it’s straight shooting story telling style as well as sumptuous Eastmancolor visual glory - I highly suggest viewing a quality, widescreen (ie. proper aspect ratio) color print. (Beware: if you download your movies from torrent sites, you’ll find both pristine, true to color widescreen DVD-rips as well as a poor quality, washed-out color VHS-rips.)
[“For all of the Batman fans out there…”]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 23 - March 1, 2013)
Kieran McMullen on The Amateur Executioner, a new book by co-authors Kieran McMullen and Dan Andriacco: “It’s 1920 and Holmes is still an active player on the stage of life but this time he has competition. Enoch Hale, a Great War veteran and reporter for an American news syndicate lives and works in London. Hale is on the track of a killer and a mix of the nobility and the dregs of society are involved. Will Holmes help or hinder Hale as he tries to sort out fact from fiction? Will Hale be able to resist the tugs of a beautiful woman who may be involved in the mystery more than he wants to admit to himself? Will another Holmes stand in the way of both Sherlock and Enoch?” On a related note, Dan Andriacco recently posted a Q & A received from a young fan working on a school project about the Great Detective.
[Great cover art for the new Dan Andriacco & Kieran McMullen literary teamup!]
Bafflegab announced the release of a ‘new’ two volume audio recording of The Return of Sherlock Holmes read by none other than Peter Cushing. “The first 4-CD volume contains the first four tales from The Return of Sherlock Holmes: “The Empty House”, “The Norwood Builder”, “The Dancing Men” and “The Solitary Cyclist”. The second volume includes the tales “The Adventure of the Priory School”, “The Adventure of Black Peter”, “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” and “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”…Originally recorded in 1971, Peter Cushing’s reading of The Return of Sherlock Holmes has never been released commercially before. This edition has been digitally re-mastered from the original recording, and includes new sleeve notes by Holmes expert David Stuart Davies.” Though this is the first commercial release of Mr Cushing’s recordings, they were originally meant for “the Royal National Institute for the Blind. The recording has previously only been available to registered blind users of RNIB audio recordings.” I have recordings of the original RNIB tapes and highly recommend these CDs, which can be ordered from Amazon.
[The Return of Sherlock Holmes: Volume 2 read by Peter Cushing.]
The Agony Column (Bookotron) interviewed Leslie Klinger for their February 21, 2013 podcast: “we talked about how [Klinger’s] knowledge of the canon helped him to write up a document that demonstrates how copyright law can be abused by those with enough money to hide behind the cost of a lawsuit. We also talked about the more terrifying prospect of trademarking the character. Klinger and I walked through his case and his papers, which you can find at his website. You can also find links to help his cause via PayPal. Klinger is smart, concise and genuinely respectful of Conan Doyle’s accomplishment. He understands the intricacies of the law and is able to explain it. To hear the sound of Sherlock Holmes being set free, follow this link to the MP3 audio file.” In support of Klinger and Free Sherlock! here’s a graphic from Mattias Bostrom of The Swedish Pathological Society:
[Keep Calm and Free Sherlock.]
Cosmic Geekout in “Where it isn’t necessarily always 1895” (love the title!) designed a very clever animated GIF with one of three possible outcomes. Click the door below to see the full size animation with various incarnations of Holmes and Watson. Apparently the inspiration for this is based on an Etsy seller named Tumblebuggie - who donates all proceeds Direct Relief International and Doctors Without Borders - that creates Sherlock and Doctor-themed greeting cards.
[Click to find out what’s behind door 221B….Hint: The animated GIF is titled ”Where it isn’t necessarily always 1895”. Just like the ending of Clue (1985), this animated GIF has three possible ‘endings’: BBC, Granada or Warner Bros…with the promise that Basil and more to come.]
The Well-Read Sherlockian published the fourth part (out of 4) in her advice for aspiring pastiche authors series, “Observations: Style in Pastiche” - which follows Part 1: “Using [the] Canon in Your Fiction”; Part 2: “Characterization”; Part 3: “Research”. Part 4 represents everything that didn’t quite fit into parts 1 - 3 and contains suggestions on punctuation, usage, spelling, staying in character, how to publish your work, etc. Also included are two infinitely useful suggestions: an investment in both The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) as well as Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.
Sherlock Holmes Motivators is a blog that really needs to come back to life - the last post was 8 months ago!. If you’re unfamiliar, they take classic Strand (Colliers, etc.) Sherlock illustrations and append semi-related and amusing motivational phrases or observations. Here’s a favorite from “The Man With the Twisted Lip”:
[“Opium Dens: An awkward place to run into your roommate.”]
Sherlock Peoria in “Digging Out” takes a break from his anti-Elementary crusade to report on a plan to cull down his Sherlockian library/collection over the coming months: “Over the past few years, my Sherlockian library has become quite the uninhabitable place….This year is going to be a year of Sherlockian spring cleaning like no other. And since I hate eBay and don’t really like the thought of selling Sherlock, it looks like it’s time to play Johnny Watsonseed and spread the Sherlock around. Exactly what and where and to whom has yet to solidify, but I have some ideas. It will be interesting to see how much stuff I can actually get out the door.” I hope Johnny Watsonseed comes through my town…*cough cough*
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page remarks on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon where he, Don Hobbs, master collector of the Canon in translation, dropped in on Portland resident Jerry Margolin, master collector of Sherlockian artwork, for dinner. One would like to be a fly on that wall listening in on the conversation of two master Sherlockian collectors.
[Holmes having a little fun at Watson’s expense.]
Lyndsay Faye posted the aptly titled “Instant Sherlockian Reblog”. If you are unclear why Ms Faye would title an image of a Honey Bee as such, here’s an extended quote from “His Last Bow: The War Service of Sherlock Holmes”: ”Exactly, Watson. Here is the fruit of my leisured ease, the magnum opus of my latter years!” He picked up the volume from the table and read out the whole title, Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. “Alone I did it. Behold the fruit of pensive nights and laborious days when I watched the little working gangs as once I watched the criminal world of London.” (LAST).
[The humble subject of Holmes’ opus Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen.]
Argo (Wired Magazine, 2007) may have won best picture, but there’s a minor ACD connection and a story of what-could-have-been: “Several people solicited Studio Six with decent-sounding projects, so Sidell took meetings with them. One writer wanted to adapt a little-known Arthur Conan Doyle horror story about a reanimated mummy; Sidell even pursued releases from the Doyle estate - all the while knowing that, one day soon, Studio Six would disappear without a trace.” The ACD story referred to is “Lot 249” and is one of the original templates for the ‘ancient Egyptian mummy discovered and comes back to life’. Published originally in the October 1892 issue of Harpers Magazine, “Lot 249” was anthologized two years later in Round the Red Lamp. (Download the text at Project Gutenberg.) See the next item for the two times “Lot 249” was adapted.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, along with being the name of our favorite literary agent, was also the name of a single season (13 episodes) TV show produced by the BBC and released in 1967. The IMDB synopsis describes it as “Conan Doyle’s non-Sherlock Holmes stories embodying the author’s interest in boxing, the supernatural and medical matters.” John Hawkesworth - of Granada’s Sherlock Homes fame - is credited as working on all 13 episodes, which include some of ACD’s best short stories: Lot 249, The Croxley Master, The Chemistry of Love, The Lift, Crabbe’s Practice, The Willow House School, The Brown Hand, The Mystery of Cader Ifan, The New Catacomb, Redhanded, The Black Doctor, The Beetle Hunter and Playing With Fire. If you have ACD’s. A source at the BBC replied to my question about the series that only one of the original films exist in the archives and also drew my attention to an online episode analysis of “Lot 249” at The Illustrated Gazette. “Lot 249” was adapted once in 1967 (cf. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle below) and again in 1990 as an episode for Tales from the Darkside: The Movie - the latter adaptation included an all-star cast: Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and a guy named Robert Sedgwick who happens to be Kevin Bacon’s brother-in-law.
[Still from the 1967 adaptation of Lot 249: “Bellingham looks on as Monkey and Hardacre examine the Mummy.”]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Norwood Builder reintroduces his blog and makes some interesting distinctions between “Sherlock” and “Sherlock Holmes” and explains his love of “apocryphals and fanfictions”.
Sherlock’s Danger Night maintains a rather unique list: “Sherlock’s Books: Master List Through Season 2”, represents books visible at 221B as well as other books seen and mentioned throughout BBC Sherlock’s two seasons.
Neon Tommy posted the first of three projected (lengthy) columns charting the history and culture of Sherlockian culture - though the author insists on subsuming every bit of Sherlock Holmes culture under “fandom” it’s still a passionate and readable introduction to all things Sherlock Holmes in 2013.
What Ho! re-posted a Clive James review for the New York Review of Books (1975) of the Sherlock Holmes Collected Edition and some holmesian commentaries titled “The Sherlockologists” - “this is a field in which all credentials, and especially impeccable ones, are suspect. To give your life, or any significant part of it, to the study of Sherlock Holmes is to defy reason.”
BBC Sherlock Fan Forum are hosting a running thread on this amazing People magazine mock-up based on BBC’s “The Reichenbach Fall”.
[I love this fake People magazine BBC Sherlock ”The Reichenbach Fall” tie-in cover featuring Jim Moriarty/Richard Brook proclaiming his innocence along with the ‘Sherlock is a fraud’ plot line. As a side note, who would ever have thought “Mycroft Holmes Spotted at Cake Expo!” would be a sentence that actually exists?!]
The Telegraph reports on another legal battle brewing in the Sherlockian world: “The Sherlock Holmes Museum was founded by John Aidiniantz in 1990 with the assistance of his mother, Grace. But they have fallen out over who is entitled to almost £2 million (!) in admission fees collected over the past two years, and Mrs Aidiniantz and her daughter Jennifer Decoteau are now suing Mr Aidiniantz.” As my friend and Sherlockian John Baesch, BSI remarked: “The year 2013 might be marked down as the winter of Sherlockian discontent.” Let’s hope happier and less litigious times lay ahead.
The Cutter Alicia collected an informative and somewhat amusing and at times tedious list of “20 Things You May (or May Not) Know About BBC Sherlock”. My favorite factoid - and you have to love Gatiss and Moffat for this - “According to Sue Vertue, several well-known actors have made inquiries about guesting on the series. But Mark Gatiss has said that they much prefer giving lesser known actors the opportunity, citing Benedict and Andrew Scott as actors who were known in the industry but didn’t break out until Sherlock.”
AudioGo announced (via Pinterest) six new audio books including: The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Amy Thomas, The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Dr John Watson by Tony Reynolds, Sherlock Holmes and the Murder at Lodore Falls by Charlotte Smith, The Valley of Fear: An Unabridged Reading by Sir Derek Jacobi, etc.
Addicted to Sherlock posted new Russian Sherlock Holmes TV stills (not to be confused with the 1979 - 1986 Soviet show The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Vasily Livanov). According to Wikipedia, the air date for the newest Sherlock adaptation has been postponed until September-October 2013.
[A classic scene from the new Russian Sherlock series.]
Baker Street Babes have a new online storefront where one can acquire BSB buttons, tshirts, mugs, tote bags and more. Stock up on all your Sherlockiana essentials and support the massive costs of hosting an incredibly popular podcast.
Geeks of Doom reviewed a new comic adaptation of ACD’s Hound of the Baskervilles. It appears that Dark Horse is releasing Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Martin Powell & Jamie Chase in February 2013. Along with the hardcover graphic novel version there will be a Kindle release, which is selling for the reasonable price of $6.85.
[Based on the cover art, the graphics promise to be pretty sharp and bold.]
The Final Problem released a tentative schedule for upcoming Wednesday Watchalongs - their virtual group viewing of various Holmes TV and film adaptationse. All watchalongs are at 8:30 pm EST and “anyone is welcome to join the watchalongs. Just get a copy of the episode we’re watching, and come to The Giant Chat of Sumatra.” I do regret to report that they’ve already had (on February 2013) a Sherlockian watchalong of The Asylum’s Sherlock Holmes - yes, the one with the robot dinosaurs who attach London and Sherlock’s ‘other’ brother.
Tea at 221B does it again with this excellent Frederic Dorr Steele - my personal favorite Holmes illustrator - rendering from “The Adventure of the Creeping Man” which appeared in Hearst’s International Magazine.(March 1923, USA). The original manuscript for CREE currently resides in the Portsmouth Library as part of the Dame Jean Conan Doyle bequest. For more information about the CREE manuscript, check out Randall Stock’s infinitely useful Best of Sherlock Holmes site. Every time I see an FDS illustration that I’m not entirely familiar I consistently get the sense that Mr Steele ‘got’ Sherlock Holmes more than any other illustrator, Paget included.
[Frederic Dorr Steele illustration from “The Creeping Man”. One day when I’m rolling in dough I hope to own my very own FDS original, perhaps one similar to the FDS original (from “The Norwood Builder”) hanging up in the Player’s Club in NYC.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 16 - February 22, 2013)
Sherlock Holmes Through Time & Place (August 9-11, 2013) the conference put together by The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota and the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota, posted updated conference information including a list of confirmed speakers (including some of my favorite Sherlockians Mattias Boström, Chris Redmond, Don Hobbs & Les Klinger) as well as new information on the panel discussion: “May I introduce Mr Holmes: connecting new audiences to the Canon” moderated by Pj Doyle, (ASH, BSI) featuring Elaine & Joe Coppola of the Beacon Society, Kristina Manente of the Baker Street Babes and (yours truly!) Matt Laffey of the Always1895.net.
[Click for more info on Sherlock Holmes Through Time & Place (August 9-11, 2013).]
Baker Street Journal in “The World of Sherlockians” reflects on recent BSI developments in 2012 and ends with the statement: “We deplore and condemn the idea that proper appreciation of the stories of Sherlock Holmes should be limited to a small, elite fandom. Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world, and we applaud all who share the devotion of The Baker Street Irregulars to the memory of the Master Detective, regardless of age, sex or the medium in which they express their views.”
Sherlock Peoria - speaking of the BSI - in “Upon belonging to exclusive clubs” reflects on the non-democratic nature of the Baker Street Irregulars’ admittance ‘policies’. Make sure to read the comments that accompany the piece.
Slate dug up this amazing ACD questionnaire: “When some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s papers arrived at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, archivists found this mysterious questionnaire filed among his other works. Doyle signed the bottom of the sheet and indicated that he had taken the quiz on Oct. 29, 1899, at Undershaw, the family’s residence in Surrey, England. But we don’t know why or for whom he filled it out.”
[“Archives assistant Arcadia Falcone, who has worked with the Doyle papers, speculates that the quiz may have been part of a parlor game. The famous list of personal questions that Marcel Proust answered, and that Vanity Fair asks celebrities to respond to in each issue, was a fashionable diversion in the late 19th century.”]
The Holmes of the Baker Street scanned a few frames from A Sherlock Holmes Mystery: The Hound of the Baskervilles (illustrations by Stibane & Luce Daniels). As a very general rule I’ve found that Sherlock Holmes comic adaptations tend to have much better art compared to the text. Recently a very generous Sherlockian deposited his entire Sherlock comics collection into my care. Originally I had planned on simply giving all of it away to various comic-inclined Sherlockians, but as I peruse the boxes and boxes of Holmes comics from the last four decades my archival reflexes have started kicking in and I feel like they should be scanned and cataloged before breaking up the collection. For a listing of various Holmes comics, check out the Universal Sherlock Holmes (cartoons, comics, jokes). A possible future project - but for now, here’s a frame from the HOUN adaptation mentioned above:
[A Sherlock Holmes Mystery: The Hound of the Baskervilles (illustrations by Stibane & Luce Daniels).]
East Wind Coming due out in May 2013 is a new book published by MX and coauthored by British Sherlockian scholar John Hall and Japanese Sherlockian and member of the Baker Street Irregulars Hirayama Yuichi. ”One offers the other three questions, and the other answers them with all their Sherlockian knowledge. They are serious Sherlockian battles between an English knight and Japanese samurai! This volume also includes Hirayama’s Sherlockian papers published in The Musgraves, The Baker Street Journal, The Canadian Holmes and The Shoso-in Bulletin.”
[East Wind Coming approaches various Holmes-related questions from two perspectives provided by two Sherlockian scholars emerging from different traditions, loosely thought of as East and West.]
Strictly Sherlock’s Prof Tracy Revels in “Sherlock Sticks With Scholars!” reflects on the lasting power of Sherlock Holmes, especially when used as a teaching tool in the pedagogic environs of academia: “The canon makes one think about science, history, psychology, art, music, politics, government, technology, sociology, criminology, and gender relations. A thoughtful reader will confront issues of colonialism, sexism, and racism. Most importantly, the Sherlock Holmes stories are invitations to critical thinking, which is the beating heart of higher education.” Dr Thorneycroft Huxtable, M.A., Ph.D., etc. would be proud!
[Huxtable’s grand 221B entrance.]
And in Klinger vs. ACD Estate News….
Free Sherlock! posted a list of the more prominent mentions the Klinger vs ACD Estate case has garnered. The blog also set-up a way for supporters to donate to the cause: “Funds will go exclusively to offset legal fees and expenses of the litigation.”
The Economist in “Who Owns Sherlock Holmes?” posted one of the best pieces on some of the issues surrounding the Klinger vs ACD Estate case: “An expert in the duration of copyright terms in America, Peter Hirtle of Cornell University finds no basis for the Conan Doyle estate to claim general ownership over aspects of Holmes from stories that are in the public domain. “Let’s imagine that the fact that Holmes plays the violin was included for the first time in one of the copyrighted stories,” he says via e-mail, “then it can’t be included in any new story that draws on the public domain versions.” But if the “Company” stories rely entirely on public-domain elements, then the estate has no ground to stand on, he adds.”
Publishers Weekly ”reported on suit filed by author and scholar Leslie Klinger that asks a federal court to declare that Holmes, Watson, and others of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters lie firmly in the public domain.” Listen to the 15 minute audio discussion as a podcast here.
Lyndsay Faye posted an excellent follow-up/public reply to Mr Alistair Duncan’s “Sherlockian Civil War” piece from last week on Doyleockian - Ms Faye writes: “I deeply appreciate the spirit in which this post is intended. I fear, however, one or two items may have been slightly mischaracterized - if only to my own eyes - and thought that I should make mention of them since the post was written in such tremendously good faith…”
Quick Sherlock Links:
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page - a new Sherlockian blog by collector Don Hobbs - remembered Fred Levin, BSI, “a kindred soul….He was one of those rare Sherlockians that collected foreign translations of the Canon. Fred passed over Reichenbach Falls last February after suffer a debilitating stroke. His wife, Sunnie, asked me if I would help price Fred’s foreign language books and then ended up selling all of them to me for a price I could not refuse. Last week, I hopped into my Hansom Cab and headed to Skokie, Illinois to pick up those books.”
[Approximately 1/6th of Don Hobbs’ legendary collection of translations of the Canon.]
Doyleockian laments the sad state of affairs surrounding a former home of ACD (that isn’t Undershaw): “Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home at 12 Tennison Road - South Norwood is up for auction as (potentially) a conversion prospect (i.e. division into flats). The sale takes place on February 28th 2013.”
Barefoot on Baker Street offers her opinion on the ongoing Klinger vs ACD Estate: “I share Klinger’s views completely. He is a lawyer and fully respects that the Estate owns copyright to ten of the original stories in the US which appeared in The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. His issue is that those characters are already known through the other stories which are no longer protected by copyright. So anyone should be able to use them. Not only does this make perfect legal and common sense, but it is also good for the legacy of Holmes and ultimately Doyle himself.”
Digital Spy updated Sherlockian gaming fans regarding Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments which will comprise of eight grand cases, but unlike previous games in the series, there will be multiple ways a case can be resolved” - a reported 12 endings per case. I don’t get much of a chance to play video games, but I hope that at some point I get a chance to play a few rounds Crimes & Punishments.
[A scene from the new Sherlock Holmes game Crimes & Punishments.]
Comic Vine reviewed the comic Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon 2 (of 5) along with copious examples of the artwork. I haven’t had a chance to read any of the Liverpool Demon series, but it looks better than your average Homes comic adaptation.
[An example of the artwork for Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon 2 (of 5). For more general information about the series in general (plus a myriad of related Sherlock links), click here.]
Best of Sherlock, one of the most informative Sherlockian sites in existence, recently updated their checklist of Paget original drawings. In “Sidney Paget Original Drawings and Artwork: A Census and Checklist Update from His Sesquicentennial” Randall Stock, BSI, the interested Sherlockian can find an exhaustive list of all known original Paget illustrations, most of which were first published in The Strand accompanying the original appearances of various Holmes adventures.
Sherlock Cares posted a lengthy “BBC Sherlock Season 3 Guide and Guesses”, using Moffat’s “Rat, Wedding, Bow” hints.
Sherlock. Everywhere. posted the best February 21, 2013 aka 2/21/13 aka 221B Day post (if you still don’t see it, imagine that the “13” can sort look like a “B”) - as well inviting readers to “Tell a Sherlockian how much they mean to you today!”
[You can purchase your very own 221B sticker from the Baker Street Blog.]
Tea at 221B found some amazing illustrations by an artist named “Robert Fawcett…From 1952 to 1953 Adrian Conan Doyle, Arthur Conan’s youngest son, wrote a total of one dozen “Sherlock Holmes” stories with John Dickson Carr. Published in both Good Housekeeping and Colliers. All twelve stories were illustrated by Robert Fawcett. The stories were published in the book: The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes.”
[One of Robert Fawcett’s illustration from JD Carr and Adrian Doyle The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 9 - February 15, 2013)
Doyleockian, like the soothsayer Calchas of old, comments on emerging points of conflict developing in the Sherlockian world and the potential for all out civil war between various camps. First referencing the now infamous Philip Shreffler editorial (“Elite Devotee Redux”) published in January, Mr Duncan quickly moves on to some of the biggest Sherlockian legal news to appear in some time: “Now we have what appears to be a declaration of war by respected Sherlockian Leslie Klinger against the Conan Doyle Estate (see Free Sherlock). I make no comment on the rights and wrongs of this or the positions of the parties involved. That is clearly now a legal issue.” Duncan does comment on some of the potential (negative) implications for getting carried away by said skirmishes: “ How many bodies and long-term dislikes are going to exist when the dust finally settles? I am also growing increasingly concerned at the kind of “let’s get ‘em” attitude being displayed by those who agree with Klinger. There appears to be an almost Star Wars element to this. The plucky rebels going against the evil empire which I feel confident is far from the truth. I hope the game turns out to be worth the candle.” A sobering critique… UPDATE: Lyndsay Faye posted a reaction piece wherein she makes three clarifications/interpretations in regard to Mr Duncan’s post: “1) The notion that the lawsuit, a matter dealing with America’s abstruse copyright law, is declaring a “war” with previously amicable parties is simply factually untrue; 2) the David vs Goliath characterization “rings false to the insider” ; and 3) in case the “war,” as you describe it, seems frivolous or emotionally driven, may I add that under American copyright law, “fair use” cannot be determined until legal action has already been taken against you.” I highly recommend reading both Mr Duncan’s piece as well as Ms Faye’s reaction piece in order to get a robust and nuanced perspective on the issues involved.
[A portent of dark times ahead for Sherlockian culture?]
Baker Street Blog is where I originally found out about the pending Klinger v. ACD Estate legal wrangle. Most of the legal documents/statements can be found in this post, but the Baker Street Blog clearly accepts the David and Goliath narrative (“Don’t Imagine That You Can Bully Me” is the title of the post) and has thrown it’s support behind Camp Klinger. Going beyond just the legal documents, references are made to abuses and intimidation perpetuated by the ACD Estate and directed towards various Sherlockian authors, directors, publishers, producers, etc. - and it’s these abuses which sparked Klinger’s civil action in the first place.
Free Sherlock! mouthpiece for Camp Klinger is a new blog dedicated to the fight against keeping Holmes and friends behind the copyright wall. ”The characters of Holmes, Watson, and others are fully established in those fifty ‘public-domain’ stories. Under U.S. law, this should mean that anyone is free to create new stories about Holmes and Watson.” I’m looking forward to future posts and maybe even a t-shirt inscribed with “Free Sherlock!”
New York Times Arts Beat is perhaps one of the most high profile pieces to appear reporting on the Klinger v ACD Estate case, though subsequently hundreds of articles and posts have been published with no end in site. (A Google search for “Klinger Doyle Estate civil suit” currently brings up 58,500 hits.)
Boing Boing, if you’re looking for a non-Sherlockian site that is sure to not only keep up with this case but report on it expertly, posted their first of what I’m sure will be many articles detailing in the specifics of the case all within the larger context of ‘Copy Fight Culture’, BoingBoing’s cause célèbre.
Bloomberg ”Kirsch and Scott Gilbert of Chicago’s Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP are seeking to have the federal court in Chicago declare that most of Doyle’s books and stories involving his most famous creation — Sherlock Holmes — are no longer protected by copyright law….The complaint alleges that while Random House agreed to a licensing agreement with the agent of the Conan Doyle estate, Pegasus Books hasn’t spurring Klinger to file suit to clarify the copyright question.” Interestingly, “Benjamin Allison, an attorney with Sutin Thayer & Browne APC in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represents the Conan Doyle Estate. Allison didn’t respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.” This particular article from the Bloomberg wire is the most succinct and informative piece to date to cover: Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd, 1:13- cv-01226, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).
[Someone call a séance and get ACD’s opinion ASAP!]
This Week’s Non-Civil War Sherlockian Links:
Laurie R King announced a new ebook release which features “eight essays on Holmes, from “A Holmes Chronology” to “Watson’s War Wound” that date from 1996 to 2012” available on Amazon as Laurie R King’s Sherlock Holmes- and priced at only 2.99 for your Kindle!
[Cover for LRK’s Sherlock Holmes 64 page eBook available on Amazon for the Kindle.]
Listverse in”10 Common Misconceptions About Sherlock Holmes” enumerates “ten things most people think about Sherlock Holmes, that are completely wrong” such as “Holmes dresses in an eccentric manner and is often dirty or unkempt” or “Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes are middle-aged gentlemen”. A well conceived, fascinating read. (Also: “His popularity is so great that there is an entire society devoted to Sherlock Holmes fan fiction and sometimes to pretending he is real, called the Baker Street Irregulars.” Heh!)
Kickstarter is hosting a project titled Sir Boast-A-Lot: A Fanbook - “An artbook by 15 Sherlockian artists, lavishly illustrating the tale of Sir Boast-a-Lot” which, for fans of BBC Sherlock, is Moriarty’s little cab ride video presentation Sherlock is forced to watch in The Reichenbach Fall.
[Over the past few months a group of talented 15 artists have come together to create an illustrated paperback book of The Story of Sir Boast-a-lot from BBC’s Sherlock. Click the above image for a short trailer.]
Harvard Magazine ran a piece “Seeing & Observing” inspired by Maria Konnikova’s (Class of ‘05) Mastermind. From the author: “When I was little, my dad used to read us Sherlock Holmes stories before bed…What I couldn’t understand then was that Holmes…had been honing a method of mindful interaction with the world. The Baker Street steps? Just a way of showing off a skill that now came so naturally to him that it didn’t require the least bit of thought.”
Unreality Primetime announced that on the ITV period drama, Mr Selfridge “legendary author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pays the Selfridges a visit for the Sherlock Holmes book signing, which pleases Harry who greets him with huge grandeur. After enjoying a very pleasant lunch with Sir Arthur and an American companion of his, Rex Crennell, a spiritual medium and Rose, Harry is subjected to a conversation of the spiritual kind when the subject turns to his near-death experience, with Rex offering to hold a séance for the staff.” I’ve never seen (or heard of) the show Mr Selfridge (“Centers on the real-life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge’s, London’s department store.”) but now I very much want to give it a look, especially the seventh episode as described above.
[The cast of ITV’s period drama Mr Selfridge.]
MX Publishing announced the imminent release of The Art of Deduction: A Sherlock Holmes Collection edited by Hannah Rogers: “A collection of art, poetry and writing from fans of the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Doctor Watson. From the deadly Moriarty to domestic life of Holmes and Watson, the Art of Deduction showcases some of the greatest talent from arguably the oldest fan base in the world. Raising awareness for the Save Undershaw campaign and royalties to Help For Heroes.” Here’s an excellent example of what’s to be found inside:
[“The Art of Deduction - A Sherlock Holmes Collection, contains more than 50 brilliant examples of fan art (like this one) and loads of stories, writings and poems. The book was created by blogger and huge BBC Sherlock fan Hannah Rogers and is coming out in the USA (click here) and UK (currently the #1 Sherlock Holmes book in the UK click here) - and soon worldwide…”]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Baker Street Babes in Episode 37: The Detective, The Woman, & The Winking Tree interview fellow Babe Amy Thomas and her sequel to The Detective & The Woman, “this time with a Winking Tree! Learn about her writing process, the dangers of plot bunnies, plus a few announcements of a 221b Con and essay collection nature.
Markings in “”Some Deep Organizing Power” - Professor Moriarty and Doyle’s Imagination”” in considering “Conan Doyle’s creation of Moriarty in “The Final Problem” I have been thinking of the inherent importance of imagination in building a memory palace. The method of creating dramatic, even bizarre images in the mind’s eye reminded me of Holmes’s repeated reference to the importance of imagination.”
Dan Andriacco, within the context of deciding which Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout (a Sherlockian famous for his “Watson Was a Woman” essay read at an early BSI dinner) he should read next discusses the so-called “Great O-E Theory” or the theory of how the name “Nero Wolfe” is related to the name “Sherlock Holmes” in regards to letter and vowel arrangements; I straongly suggest reading Andriacco’s complete article for Fred Dannay’s (of Ellery Queen) explanation, as laid out in the book In the Queen’s Parlor.
[Rex Stout, creator of Nero Wolfe, c. 1931 - ten years before the first reading of “Watson Was a Woman”.]
The Swedish Pathological Society whimsically speculates on what it looks like when Sherlock Holmes decides to have a Valentine date - i.e. meeting Colonel Valentine Walter in “The Bruce-Partington Plans”:
[Col Walter in BRUC.]
More Man Than Philosopher, speaking of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, has been reviewing from time to time various episodes from the 2002 adaptation of Nero Wolfe - Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin and Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe. This week he reviews Season 2, Episode 5’s Murder is Corny, where we find Archie under suspicion of murder for killing a man delivering corn (hence the title).
[Cover for the DVD release of Nero Wolfe.]
[Part of the Holmesiaca Compendium - click for entire list.]
Tabstr suggested ”9 versions of Holmes and Watson you may not have been aware” such as They Might Be Giants (1971), Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993), Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999) and Veggie Tales: Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler (2006).
FireDogLake posted this segment from The Muppet Players - Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Disappearing Clues, from episode 103 of The Muppet Show.
[Screenshot from The Muppet Show: Sherlock Holmes & The Case Of The Disappearing Clues.]
Teat at 221B dug up this great photo of George C. Scott as Sherlock Holmes in They Might Be Giants (1971):
[Click for a much larger version of George C. Scott as the Don Quixote-inspired Great Detective.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 2 - February 8, 2013)
Adventures With Sherlock Holmes (January 5 to March 10, 2013), an exhibit at the Toronto Reference Library, will “take visitors on their own journey into the mysterious world of the Great Detective, uncovering fascinating details about this truly enduring literary character. Rare and unusual books, manuscripts, artwork and much more will be on view from the exceptional holdings” from the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. Take a virtual tour of the exhibit and see items such as illustrations from the Canon by Sidney Paget and Frederic Dorr Steele, magazines like Lippincott’s featuring “The Sign of the Four” and the Sherlockian holy grail itself, Beeton’s Christmas Annual from 1887 featuring Holmes and Watson’s very first appearance in “A Study in Scarlet”, an etching of the Reichenbach Falls, letters written by ACD, rare versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles, examples of Sherlockian parodies and pastiches from around the world, and more. If you can’t make the trip up to TO in person, check out the slideshows of all the items from the exhibit (which will make you want to take the trip up to TO from wherever you live).
[The product of the legendary 1889 dinner at the Langham Hotel in late Summer 1889 between a literary agent, J.M. Stoddart, representing the editors of Lippincott’s Magazine, and the esteemed authors, Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde.]
Ray Wilcokson posted the following incredible discovery on eBay: “A rare 1902 signed photo of Herbert Kelcey as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, which he played between 1902 and 1907. Kelcey, a star of the American stage since the late 1880s, was only the second star actor, after William Gillette, to play Doyle’s legendary detective on stage.” I found a single reference to “Herbert Kelcey” in Ronald Burt De Waal and George Vanderburgh’s (editors) Universal Sherlock Holmes (USH) Volume 3, Section X K — Actors, Performances, and Recordings: Plays: C19785. — A5214. Gillette, William. Sherlock Holmes. Boston Theatre, May 18-24, 1903. Click for a scan of Kelcey’s New York Times obituary from July 11, 1917. As of posting date, this 7 inches by 4 and a quarter inches (7” x 4.25”) photograph has a ‘buy now’ price of $399.
[Click the image above for a larger view of Herbert Kelcey as Sherlock Holmes from his appearance in Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes (1902).]
Radio Times posted some choice material from BBC Sherlock co-creator and Mycroft portrayer Mark Gatiss, the most disconcerting involves Gatiss’ desire to create new villains: “”Doyle got it right first time, he invented the supervillain,” said Gatiss, ”All great heroes have their Moriarty and after that you have to be very clever about trying to come up with someone who’s the equivalent otherwise they just look like a watered down version, so it’s about telling different kinds of stories.”” And if the ex-Professor of Mathematics was the extent of Canonical anti-socialness then Gatiss might have a point, but we know that the Canon’s cup runneth over with skulduggery, depravity and nefarious dealings. Instead of outsourcing their evil, Gatiss need only to glance over the Canon’s exclusive, extensive and highly competitive rogues gallery for inspiration. Ne’er-do-wells Gatiss/Moffatt might consider include: Charles Augustus Milverton (nickname: CAM Devil!), John Clay/Vincent Spaulding, Colonel Sebastian Moran, Isadora Klein, James Windibank/Hosmer Angel, Sir George Burnwell, Joseph Harrison, Jonas Oldacre, Jack Ferguson (assuming Master Jacky’s year at sea failed to rehabilitate him), Barney Stockdale and his gang - though I like to imagine that Steve Dixie renounced his life of crime, perhaps in a way similar to that described by Samuel Williams in Anomalous - and the list goes on and on.
3 Chic Geeks speculate on why Sherlock Holmes (BBC) would make a terrible boyfriend: “For one, Sherlock Holmes is a jackass. He has no patience for anyone he deems to be irreparably stupid - which, spoiler alert, is about 99% of the population of the universe. He will forget your anniversary, because it’s dull and it takes up too much space in his mind palace - space which he can use for storing more important things…About the only chance you have of having a fulfilling relationship with Sherlock Holmes is if your name is Doctor John Watson.” (Thanks to @BakerStBabes for tip.)
[Sherlock Holmes: Worst boyfriend ever?]
David Ruffle interviewed Amy Thomas Sherlockian novelist and Baker Street Babe about her latest offering from MX Publishing: The Detective and the Woman and the Winking Tree (2013), the sequel to The Detective and the Woman (2012). When asked about what the future has in store, Ms Thomas responded “Writing about Sherlock Holmes is addictive!” Here here!
[Cover of The Detective and the Woman and the Winking Tree (2013) on MX.]
Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit’s Tantalus Rob Musial published the annual Winter Meeting Report (January 19, 2013), in which an impressive 67 Sherlockians attended. AMS Commissionaire Chris Music gave the quiz on “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” and standard toasts were offered to The Woman (by Fritzi Roth), Watson’s Second Wife (by Rob Musial), Mrs. Hudson (by Chris Jeryan) and Mycroft Holmes (by AMS Tidewaiter Eddie Stein). Longtime member (1970s) Elaine Roberts was recognized as such and given a framed certificate, duly signed and authorized, and emblazoned with an actual old English tuppence. Phil Jones explained that nuggets found in SHOS had given birth to at least 12 pastiches, one poem, 2 short stories, one novella, a play, five radio scripts and at least two TV scripts. The main lecture of the night “The Enigma of Sherlock Holmes” was delivered by Dennis Ward who “examined how such a rational and calculating character as Holmes could have been invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man who spent the last years of his life believing in fairies and spirits and lecturing on same.” AMS Lascar Richard Jeryan concluded the meeting with a reading of Vincent Starrett’s 221B (a move after my own heart). Make sure to read the entire post for an example of what a well run scion event is all about. I have yet to attend an AMS event but I hope to one day in the future. Finally be on the lookout (one day) for a history of the AMS which is being put together by Chris Music.
[The AMS of Detroit kicks off their 67th year with 67 Sherlockians in attendance.]
Worth Point interviewed Canonical collector extraordinaire Don Hobbs, BSI (“Inspector Lestrade”) whose appetite for acquiring translations of the Canon knows no bounds having acquired some 11,000 foreign-language editions. When asked how ‘close’ he was to completing his collection, Mr Hobbs responded as only a bona fide collector can: “…the collection will never be complete.There are always new translations being published and new discoveries of previously unknown translations to acquire.I am still missing Fijian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Sindhi, Tarter and Telugu. I am also looking for an original Yiddish translation…” An inspiration to Sherlockian collectors everywhere!
[A slice of Mr Hobbs’ collection of 11,000 translations. Click the above image for a larger view.]
Joystiq, PC Gamer and a slue of other sites announced the imminent release of Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes the seventh release in their Sherlock Holmes game series from Frogwares Studio. Their last release The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (2012) received quite a bit of press and positive reviews and looked pretty sharp in all the screenshots I saw. (I’m personally not much of a video game player but I’m told it’s a great game.) Crimes & Punishments is apparently built in an entirely new and significantly more powerful ’game engine’, which means better graphics (eg. dynamic lighting and shadows) as well as an entirely new approach to how the game is played where by (ethical) decisions made by the player will affect the path the player takes through each of the eight main cases.
[Even though I don’t really play video games this one looks pretty fantastic.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
British Pathe is hosting a short video scene titled “A Rapid “Make-up” study of Mr Eille Norwood in The Return of Sherlock Holmes at the Princes Theatre London.” Apparently, make-up and disguise was Norwood’s forte: “Norwood had a reputation as a very professional actor with an incredible ability with make-up and disguise. There is a story that when [Maurice] Elvey asked Norwood to do an impromptu screen test, Norwood excused himself to the dressing room and appeared a few minutes later an entirely new person.”
Taunton Daily Gazette announces a Sherlock Holmes musical in the works at the Actor’s Studio based on The Sign of Four. Why a musical? According to the article, SIGN “unexpectedly lends itself to [being a musical], with its strange, psychological twists, which are lost in film and straight theater productions, and the dark emotional landscape of the story.” Let’s hope that there’s a duet planned for the Sholto bros.
Doyleockian in “Rathbone - The Time Travelling Sherlock Holmes” considers the forty year jump in time experienced by Rathbone and Bruce after their first two films The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Londonist posted a fascinating and detailed map of London’s execution sites. While not specifically canonical, ‘hanging’ is mentioned a few times in the Canon - though Col Sebastian Moran inexplicably avoided it (“If your man is more dangerous than the late Professor Moriarty, or than the living Colonel Sebastian Moran, then he is indeed worth meeting.” ILLU) - and I imagine that many of the murderers Holmes caught may have met their end at one of these locations.
McMurdo’s Camp gives a short online toast to “a man who traveled down to Chicago looking for better opportunities, and from there went on to achieve fame as someone who almost fooled Sherlock Holmes, but not quite. Sadly, he didn’t fool Moriarty either…” Click on the link to see who exactly they’re referring.
Better Holmes & Gardens posted a lengthy and loving review of Granada’s The Six Napoleons analyzing all those magical little moments that make this episode one of the best episodes of the best Sherlock Holmes adaptations ever.
Scuttlebutt From the Spermaceti Press (January 2013) is a list of anything and everything happening in the Sherlockian world, written and maintained by the venerable Peter Blau. One of my primary inspirations for starting Always1895.net, Mr Blau has been publishing Scuttlebutt since 1971.
Lyndsay Faye announced the March 1st paperback release of The Gods of Gotham, so if you haven’t read it, now is the time.
The Well-Read Sherlockian in “Observations: Using Canon in Your Fiction” created a useful primer for aspiring Sherlockian pastiche writers inspired by ”common ways Sherlockian authors writing for the commercial market either succeed or fail”. The first part of Ms Leah Guinn’s primer explores fiction born out of a love for the Canon, opposed to a love of Research which is the focus of Part 2.
Bartitsu Club of NYC will convene for a 2 hour training session on Sunday, February 24 at 11:30 am at The Society for Martial Arts Instruction (4 West 18th Street, NYC). Also the next Bartitsu seminars with Professor Mark P Donnelly will be on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, 2013.
[“The next few minutes were delicious. It was a straight left against a slogging ruffian. I emerged as you see me. Mr. Woodley went home in a cart.” (“The Solitary Cyclist”)]
Empire Online posted a rare series of behind the scenes photographs from the filming of Star Wars IV (1977), leading off with a fabulous shot of Grand Moff Tarkin played by Holmes adaptor Peter Cushing. Donning the role of the Great Detective first in the Hammer Films’ adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), then the BBC Sherlock Holmes (1968) series where he again appeared in a version of The Hound and finally The Masks of Death (1984) a pastiche pitting an older Holmes against an unseen conspiracy. According to The Television Sherlock Holmes by Peter Haining: “Peter Cushing considered Sherlock Holmes to be his favorite role”. Sadly, according to Alan Barnes‘ Sherlock Holmes on Screen, there “were plans for a followup entitled The Abbot’s Cry but the film never materialized due to Cushing’s declining health.” What could have been…
[Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope An off-duty Mark Hamill shares a laugh with Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin). Although they never share a scene together in the film, Hamill watched all of Cushing’s scenes being shot, nabbing an autograph in between takes. “Cushing is the ultimate English gentleman,” recalled Hamill. “So distinguished.”]
Meiringens posted this fine publicity still of Robert Stephens in the part of the Great Detective prompting Ms Lyndsay Faye to exclaim “if you’ve not seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), fix that” - a sentiment I could not agree with more. I would argue that Billy Wilder’s film is not only a fine Sherlockian pastiche but is perhaps the single best Holmes movie made in the last 50 years. This past August at Sherlock Holmes: Behind the Canonical Screen, the Canonical Academy Awards (voted on by Sherlockian luminaries the world over) voted Wilder’s The Private Life of SH as ‘Best Pastiche’ along with voting Christopher Lee (who played Mycroft in Private Life) as ‘Best Supporting Actor’.
Tea at 221B uncovers another gem from the University of Minnesota Sherlock Holmes Special Collection. Here’s a Frederic Dorr Steele piece I’ve never seen: an initial sketch for “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”.
[Depiction of an early scene from CARD.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 26 - February 1, 2013)
Daily Record published an interview with one Dr. Robert Katz (BSI), retired vice chairman of pathology at Morristown Medical Center, and most recently co-editor of The Wrong Passage: A Facsimile of the Original Manuscript of “The Golden Pince-Nez” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle along with Commentary on the Story (BSI Manuscript Series #8) along with Andrew Solberg (BSI). Dr Katz, on being asked whether or not Sherlock Holmes qua detective influenced him personally in any way responded quite elegantly: “So much of medicine is really solving a mystery, and making a diagnosis is a process of using clues and evidence, which is very much like Sherlock Holmes did in the stories,” Katz said. “I definitely was influenced by him - the personality of Sherlock Holmes. And we have to remember his partner, Dr. Watson, who was a physician. I think it’s the influence of those two characters that really played a large role in my own life.”” And don’t forget about Katz & Solberg’s 1.5 hour interview on IHOSE!
[Dr Katz at his microscope, presumably waiting to see if his sample turns blue or red: ““You come at a crisis, Watson,” said he.“If this paper remains blue, all is well. If it turns red, it means a man’s life.” He dipped it into the test-tube, and it flushed at once into a dull, dirty crimson.” (NAVA)]
The Wrong Passage, as mentioned above, is the eighth title in the venerable BSI Manuscript Series and is currently available via the Baker Street Journal website (as well as a few select book stores such as Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan) in hardback with plans for a super deluxe Limited Edition version in the works for early 2014. In addition to a facsimile and transcription of “The Golden Pince-Nez”, a number of prominent Sherlockian scholars made contributions such as Beth Austin, John Baesch, Phillip Bergem, John Bergquist, Denny Dobry, Andrew G. Fusco, William Hyder, C. Paul Martin, Jacquelynn Morris, Peggy Purdue, Donald Pollock, Albert Silverstein, Randall Stock, Richard J. Sveum and William G. Wagner. For a comprehensive list of contributors and Table of Contents, click here. For a free online excerpt and taste of what you can expect, I highly recommend Mr John Baesch’s (BSI, ”State and Merton Railway”) contribution: “From Russia with Love: Siberia to Yoxley Old Place”.
[The Wrong Passage.]
The Guardian posted a detective-centric crossword puzzle from their Cryptic Crossword Puzzles series (which I guess is a thing). I’m going to give it a try this weekend and test my mettle - I’m horrible at crossword puzzles though. I never would have solved Frank Morley’s 1934 Sherlockian crossword puzzle published in the Saturday Review of Literature - where Christopher Morley had his famous “Bowling Green” column - the winners of which were invited to the very first BSI dinner. Notable winners included: Elmer Davis, Malcolm Johnson, Basil Davenport, Harvey Officer and Vincent Starrett. If you want to try Morley’s 1934 Sherlock crossword for yourself, there’s an interactive web version here. (Thanks to Mr Chris Redmond for the Guardian crossword puzzle tip!)
[Seven down: “Hesitation among group of constables, mostly — three-pipe problems? (6)”]
Scintillation of Scions - hosted by the indomitable Jacquelynn Morris - is the Sherlockian event to attend in June (June 8th, 2013 in Hanover, Maryland at the Hilton Garden Inn to be exact) but you’ll need to act fast because it was just announced that capacity is set at 100 and so far 59 proactive Sherlockians have already registered!! This year’s speakers include: Daniel Stashower (recently co-edited the amazingly gorgeous Dangerous Work), Lyndsay Faye (The Gods of Gotham), Matt Laffey (proprietor of the very blog you are reading), Dan Andriacco (Baker Street Beat), Dana Cameron, Sherlock_DC, Sherlock_NYC, Donna Andrews and Regina Stinson. If you attended last year’s SoS you know how incredible an event this is sure to be! I encourage everyone in the strongest possible terms to follow @Scint_of_Scions on Twitter for updated info and announcements on SoS VI.
BSI Archival History’s Jon Lellenberg in “The Mystery of the Two Irregular Plates” reported on one of the most interesting items to appear in the Dealer’s Room (aka The Saturday morning Huckster’s Room at the Roosevelt Hotel) during this BSI Weekend past, or any birthday weekend in the last decade or so: two large brass plates (the kind used for printing) featuring Frederic Dorr Steele’s classic Sherlock Holmes profile along with the title of Vincent Starrett’s 1940 book 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes (Macmillan) and various other U.S. and U.K. symbols of note. Right now you might be saying to yourself, “Um what? What is so great about these?’ Well for starters, it’s a mystery just where exactly these came from and what exactly they are for; and they’re rather gorgeous objects (the picture doesn’t begin to do the pieces justice). Lellenberg writes of the experience: “two brass plates displayed at Saturday morning’s hucksters room by Madrid antiques dealer Javier Doria…they honored the Baker Street Irregulars, 1940’s annual dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel, and Vincent Starrett’s anthology of BSI writings 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes, for which that January 30th, 1940 dinner - first in four years - was a publication party, with everyone present receiving a copy of the book hot off the press.” But the real mystery is ‘the why’: “Nothing in contemporary Irregular correspondence I’ve read has as much as hinted at the existence of these extraordinary plates” - which is really saying a lot since Lellenberg (literally) wrote the book(s) on BSI history (BSI Archival History Vols. 1 - 8).
[Lellenberg: “But for us, the principal mystery is how and when the brass plates came to be in the first place. All information gratefully received!”]
The Daily Beast published a lengthy and insightful piece on P.G Wodehouse in relation to the recent release of P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters. “In the final pages of this splendid narrative hybrid of letters and biography, Wodehouse himself seems not entirely unaware of his future durability. One letter contains a lovely rumination on the subject of “the knut.” What on earth, you ask, is a “knut”? Well, Bertie Wooster was a knut, par excellence: a second son of an earl or other nobleman, equipped with a monthly allowance providing a perfectly happy, if somewhat pointless existence. “Like the lilies of the field,” Wodehouse writes here of the knut and his ilk, “they toiled not neither did they spin, they just existed beautifully…Then the economic factor reared its ugly head. Income tax and super tax shot up like rocketing pheasants, and … Algy had to go to work.” And so ended a nifty, golden era. “It is sad to reflect,” he adds, “that a generation has arisen which does not know what spats were.” For a more formal review of A Life In Letters, here’s a piece from the NY Times.
[P.G. Wodehouse: A Life In Letters edited by Sophie Ratcliffe on Norton.]
Dan Andriacco in “The Unpopular Opinions of Dorothy L. Sayers” wonders if people still read Ms Sayers and points out various themes and topics one might expect to encounter after cracking open her Unpopular Opinions: theological, political, and critical - with four essays concerning Sherlock Holmes in particular, the most famous of course being ”Dr. Watson’s Christian Name” wherein Ms Sayers deftly posits that the “H” in John H. Watson stands for “Hamish” which is the Scottish form of James, the name Mrs Watson inexplicably calls her husband in “The Man With the Twisted Lip”: “Now, you must have some wine and water, and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?”” - inexplicably that is until Ms Sayers dropped said article on the reading public!
[Though not super easy to find, Ms Sayers’ Unpopular Opinions is and an essential volume for every serious Sherlockian library.]
Chicago Reader covered the recent re-release of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution on DVD, which ends on a fantastically damning note: “Whatever its flaws, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is still more satisfying than the recent slam-bang franchise with Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. Like Billy Wilder’s more impressive The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), it comes from an era when people were rediscovering the Sherlock Holmes mysteries but also digging into some of their buried themes, rather than turning them into modern, globally homogenized entertainment. The people shepherding Holmes to the screen now clearly have no clue.” Ouch. More reviews can be found at Pop Matters and The New York Times.
[The Seven-Per-Cent Solution re-release double DVD set.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Baker Street Xmas Annual arrived in the mailboxes of all BSJ subscribers this week and it’s another high quality, well-researched, super informative, erudite journey into a specific and relevant Sherlockian topic.The 2012 Xmas Annual is dedicated to actor John Barrymore and his role as the Great Detective in Sherlock Holmes (1922) and is written by Sonia Fetherston (BSI). To celebrate, here’s a great post from Tea 221B that features an original print advertisement for Barrymore in Sherlock Holmes.
[Awesome theater flyer for John Barrymore’s Sherlock Holmes (1922).]
Sherlock Peoria in “Validation” reflects on potential insecurities a newish Sherlockian may experience as they begin to ‘rise’ in the ranks but assures readers: “That’s the thing any new Sherlock Holmes fan needs to consider as they enter the larger world of Holmes fandom: The previous generations need you as much as you need them. Because one day, you’re going to be the surviving face of Sherlock Holmes fandom”. Another provocative essay by Mr Keefauver that should rattle a few chains (productively) as well as motivate some discussion in regard to both how new Sherlockians are received as well as how new Sherlockians tread in a world/culture that’s existed for decades prior to their arrival. And speaking of making your mark in the Sherlockian world…
Doyleockian in “Getting On the Radar” considers the various paths/approaches to achieving recognition in the Sherlockian world. Mr Alistair Duncan describes two basic routes one might take on the path to Sherlockian super-stardom: the ‘Internet route’ (via blogs, twitter, etc.) and the ‘traditional route’ (via attending/participating in scion meetings, publishing in journals, etc.). Make sure to read Mr Duncan’s entire post because his conclusions regarding ‘what it takes’ not only act as a road map for personal growth and development in the Sherlockian world, but also describe the priorities and values of (to borrow a phrase from C.P. Snow) The Two (Sherlockian) Cultures: “many Sherlockians walk only one path. Ideally you should try and walk both if you want to really get yourself noticed and you need to discover and understand the expectations of the two routes. It is not the case that one has higher standards/expectations than the other, but it is the case that there are different expectations and different ways to approach each.” I’ll be watching Duncan’s comment section with interest to see how this post is received.
Asbury Pulp did a feature on the Baker Street Babes and their podcast: “It’s a demographic within the Sherlock Holmes fandom that is new and growing and doesn’t yet have a voice. We hope to become that voice and we want to prove that we’re not just going to coo over Robert Downey, Jr, and Benedict Cumberbatch, as lovely as they are, but that we know the canon and want to have discussions about it as well.” After you finish reading the article, head over to BSB HQ and check out the Babe’s latest podcast (episode 36) featuring Maria Konnikova as well as the just announced BSB tea!
[Newest Baker Street Babe item for purchase, BSB Tea!]
The Chattanoogan published a piece on the first designated scion to emerge out of Chattanooga, The Friends of the Soldier Named Murray (a scion name after my own heart) - of course referencing Watson’s orderly Murray who lifted the injured doctor to safety during The Battle of Maiwand in the Second Afghan War.
Lyndsay Faye - novelist, Baker Street Babe and ‘apologist’ will be reading from The Gods of Gotham on February 9th, 2013 at KGB Bar in the East Village: “You want to hear me patter flash? Come on down!” Support!
The One Fixed Point, the joint book project between Wessex Press and the Baker Street Babes, submissions are due March 1, 2013. I hope to submit a contribution to The One Fixed Point In A Changing Age: Essays on Sherlockiana By Online Fandom, and I look forward to reading my fellow internet-based Sherlockian compatriots’ views and perspectives.
Londonist, in celebration of Benedict Cumberbatch’s role in the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness looks at various examples of Sherlock Holmes In Sci-Fi And Fantasy: Sherlock Holmes’s War of The Worlds (1975), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999-2001), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (2010, ie. the robot dinosaur one),
Special & Rare on a Stick - blog of librarian and Sherlockian Tim Johnson - announced the imminent release of newly scanned material from the Howard Haycraft collection on the UMedia Archive including “Christmas cards from President and Mrs. Roosevelt; a telegram, letters, and short notes written by Eleanor Roosevelt to Haycraft; and a holiday card from the former head of the Baker Street Irregulars, Edgar W. Smith.”
Better Holmes & Gardens posted “Some Thoughts on Character: Colonel Sebastian Moran“ analyzing everyone’s favorite shikari - which Ms Jaime Mahoney goes on to explain “is a Persian word in two parts: the main “Shikar,” meaning “of hunting” and the suffix “i” denoting possession.”
Journal of Victorian Culture Online has had a field day posting about and criticizing the new BBC show Ripper Street - though this week they vowed to take a more positive stance and compare this Jack the Ripper ‘procedural’ (for lack of a better term) with the long-running and ridiculously successful CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Sherlock DC announced an upcoming lecture “The Game is Always Afoot” on February 27, 2013 taking place at George Washington University by Michael Dirda, author of On Conan Doyle and book critic and blogger for the Washington Post.
The Well-Read Sherlockian tackled one of my favorite Holmes pastiches Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman (author of Anno Dracula) concluding that “No novel is perfect but as far as I’m concerned, The Hound of the D’Urbervilles comes close” (!).
[Great cover art for a great novel length pastiche which includes a delightfully insane parade of Victorian literary characters of the villain persuasion from a variety of sources teaming-up to wreak havoc and mayhem in the London of Sherlock Holmes.]
[I hope to one day come across a Stradivarius for 55 Shillings/Dollars in a pawn or thrift shop.]
[Click for animated version of the above image of Moriarty from BBC’s “The Reichenbach Fall”.]
Matt Laffey’s Excellent Scion Adventure - Fall 2012*
Recent Sherlock Holmes Scion Meetings and Dinners (Fall 2012 Edition)
(* Title suggested by Dr Bob Katz, BSI)
The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes (December 1, 2012) Though there are a plethora of Sherlockian societies all united by a love for the Canon, each scion group has it’s own distinct flavor and The Epilogues are no exception. Founded in 1990 by Dr Bob Katz and co-hosted by Peter McIntyre, the group meets in a Quaker meeting house near Chatham, NJ and is divided into two parts: the evening starts with a delectable Dionysian orgy of home cooked deliciousness which then dissolves seamlessly into an Apollonian affair where Dr Katz leads the group in a discussion of two seemingly disparate canonical tales (CROO & DANC) followed by the coup de grâce where a common thread is discovered and the evening is neatly tied up in a grand display of Canonical synthesis. The Epilogues is one of the greatest scions you’re going to find and I wholeheartedly recommend attending.
[An exciting action sequence featuring Dr Bob Katz directing the discussion of CROO and DANC.]
The Broadway Special (November 30, 2012): Now and then it’s a good idea to remind yourself that there’s more to life than Sherlock Holmes and what better way to do so then attend a meeting of a local chapter of The Wodehouse Society? Described as an “association of agreeable human beings who share an admiration of P. G. Wodehouse and the rich products of his imagination”, it functions similar to the BSI, acting as a centralized ‘mother’ society with a myriad of small, local groups (in which The Broadway Special is one) supporting it. Hosted by Philip Shreffler - former editor of the Baker Street Journal and editor of Sherlock Holmes By Gas Lamp: Highlights from the First Four Decades of the Baker Street Journal - The Broadway Special meets once every two months at the storied Player’s Club across the street from Gramercy Park in NYC.
[Click for a larger version of Philip Shreffler holding a slingshot during the meeting of The Broadway Special - a chapter of The Wodehouse Society) - I swear Mr Shreffler is merely demonstrating the use of the sling shot and not summarily executing nascent Sherlockians or a likeness of Benedict Cumberbatch (*wink wink* *nudge nudge* *sigh*).]
Montague Street Lodgers of Brooklyn (November 10, 2012) Hosted by Peter Crupe (BSI), this Fall’s 2012 Montague Street Lodgers meeting had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy from November 3rd to November 10th. This was also the first MSLBK meeting to happen at Armando’s, coincidentally located on Montague Street in Brooklyn. The guest speaker of the night was Howard Einbinder who delivered a hilarious pun-tastic talk about Sherlock Holmes and taxes (cf. below) - and who also won the Marlene Aig-Patricia Moran award. Toasts were given by Joe Moran and myself (I toasted Sir Reginald Musgrave). Mr Crupe puts together a solid program and schedules meetings like clockwork so be on the lookout for the Spring 2013 meeting.
[Sherlock Holmes’ 1040 tax returns.]
ASH Wednesday (November 7, 2012) A constant in my life since I started down this wild and crazy road we call Sherlockian Culture is attending the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes’ monthly dinners at O’Casey’s Irish Bar in Midtown. Normally the informal meetings consist of approximately 20 or so ASH members and NYC Sherlockians and requires minimal effort to attend, but due to a surprise freak snowstorm (following in the steps of Hurricane Sandy) only 8 intrepid souls braved and conquered the elements. The indomitable hosts Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin regaled us with tales of ASH meetings past and all present enjoyed the lock-in/Breakfast Club vibe ending in everyone sharing their deepest feelings regarding Star Trek versus Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The Sons of the Copper Beeches (October 26, 2012) One of the only remaining all-male Sherlockian scions in existence as well as one of the oldest scions on the East Coast, The Sons gatherings (which happen in Philadelphia) feel like a vintage BSI Dinner circa 1940s (or what I’d imagine such a dinner to be like after consuming Lellenberg’s multi-volume BSI Archival History Series). If you didn’t get enough of Dr Bob Katz (cf. above) at the Epilogues Meetings, the good doctor is the Headmastiff (as of October 2012) and master of ceremonies of this (progressively throughout the night) riotous group of Sherlockians.
[A rapt audience listens as a toast is delivered at the Fall 2012 Sons of the Copper Beeches meeting. Note Steve Rothman, editor of the Baker Street Journal, preserving the moment for posterity by snapping a photo on the extreme right.]
Priory Scholars of NYC (October 21, 2012) As co-host alongside Headmistress Judith Freeman, I take particular pride in reporting that our Fall 2012 ‘Back to School’ meeting attracted approximately 40+ Sherlockians and Holmes-enthusiasts leading to one of the more lively and energetic Sunday afternoons experienced in recent memory. Brief talks were given on the history of the PSNYC by Joe Moran, Evelyn Herzog, and others. Quizmaster Nick Martorelli served up a wickedly devilish test of our knowledge of “The Man With the Twisted Lip”, the winners of which received prizes from the Ray Betzner Trust. As discussion leader I had the honor of leading a quite spirited discussion of TWIS, in which almost everyone participated. The conclusion of the meeting was marked by Mickey Fromkin (in her role as Choir Mistress) leading a rousing rendition of “The Priory Scholars Song”. Everyone agreed on the success of ‘Back to School with the PSNYC Fall 2012”, but success is sometimes a double-edged sword and in our case we’ve outgrown East of Eighth and are on the hunt for a larger, more private space. For more information about the PSNYC please visit our website.
ASH Fall Luncheon (October 20, 2012) Taking place at a restaurant called Moran’s in Chelsea NYC, one might suspect a sinister edge to the proceedings - but fear not! The biannual ASH Luncheons are slightly more formal versions of their monthly ASH Wednesdays, which is to say they are even more delightful experiences in organized Sherlockian chaos (that’s a good thing). The erudite and stately Evelyn Herzog runs the show (“Layyydies!!”) and a most excellent time is had by all.
If you would like to engage in similar Sherlockian shenanigans, make sure to check out the Sherlockian Calendar for events happening in your area. And if you’ve never been to an event and are worried that you’ll instantly be quizzed on your canonical acumen or bitten by a (head)mastiff, fear not - Sherlockians by nature are an inviting and gregarious bunch and rarely bite.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 19 - January 25, 2013)
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere released their 50th episode “A Golden Passage” and it’s one of their best to date. What better way to celebrate a 50th episode milestone than to host “a scintillating conversation with the two editors of the Baker Street Irregulars’ eighth entry in their Manuscript Series, The Wrong Passage, which is a look at the manuscript of “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez.” Co-editors Andrew Solberg, BSI (“Professor Coram”) and Robert Katz, MD, BSI (“Dr. Ainstree”) joined us to discuss just what it is that goes into creating a significant piece of scholarship such as we’ve come to expect from BSI publications of late.” Clocking in at a breezy one and a half hours, I’ve listened to this podcast twice and thoroughly enjoyed every deliciously Sherlockian moment contained therein.
[Cover of The Wrong Passage.]
Baker Street Journal capped off their 62nd volume (Winter 2012) with an extra thick offering of Writings upon the Writings. Included are enticing sounding articles such as: “”Fleet of Foot”: Watson at the Battle of Maiwand (or Not)”, “Out of Africa: Cracking the Carbuncle Conundrum”, “Dickens, Conan Doyle, and Holmes”, “Validation of Internet Fandom: Bridging the Gap between Traditional Fandom and the Age of Tumblr” and “Sherlock Holmes Fan Fiction”. Also, @BakerStJournal celebrated their 2 year anniversary on ‘the twitter’ recently - 140 cheers for them! Lastly, now is the absolute perfect time to (re) subscribe to the BSJ so that you’re sure to receive all four (ir)regular issues, along with the always erudite and fascinating Christmas Annual - like this year’s 2012 Xmas Annual by Sonia Fetherston about John Barrymore and his role in Sherlock Holmes (1922) as the Great Detective.
[Cover for Baker Street Journal, Winter 2012, Vol. 62, No. 4.]
New York Times in “The Holmes Behind the Modern Sherlock” argues that The Seven-Per-Cent Solution “deserves special consideration because [it’s] the father of all those modern Holmeses. Besides being a clever comic mystery with an absurdly talented cast, this 1976 film — based on Nicholas Meyer’s playful novel imagining the meeting of two great Victorian detectives, one of whom is Sigmund Freud - established the template for all the twitchy, paranoid, vulnerable, strung-out Holmeses to come.” I mostly agree with this assessment though hasten to add Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) as the other ‘father’ of modern Holmes adaptations. Released this week in a new Blu-ray and DVD package, the double disc set of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution on Shout! Factory contains a wealth of extra features including an interview with Nicholas Meyer.
[DVD title screen for the newly re-released double disc set of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.]
Digression: A Study in Controversy (or The Great January 2013 ‘Debate’ On What It Means To Be a ‘Real Sherlockian’) *Updated
I had originally planned, at least temporarily, to avoid writing about the growing (internet) controversy that started earlier in the week when Kristina of the Baker Street Babes posted a (self-described) rant against Sherlockians who dismiss various types of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasm as ‘not Sherlockian’. The two main reasons for her rant were 1) a post someone made on Facebook which called into question one of her friend’s ‘real Sherlockianness’ and 2) an article by Philip Shreffler (BSI and former editor of the Baker Street Journal) in a new publication titled The Saturday Review of Literature (which cleverly captures the look/feel of Christopher Morley’s original mouthpiece for early Sherlockian musings and news c. 1930s) entitled “The Elite Devotee Redux“ which questions the recent surge in Sherlock Holmes enthusiasm due to Benedict Cumberbatch/BBC Sherlock - which is a follow-up by Mr Scheffler to an “Editor’s Gas Lamp” piece “The Elite Devotee” (March 1988) written during his tenure as BSJ editor regarding the potential dangers associated with the sudden popularity of Sherlock Holmes due to Jeremy Brett/Granada.
Baker Street Babes posted a late night essay/rant about why she (Kristina Manente) is sick of certain perceived attitudes in the Sherlockian (BSI) world where recent fans of Holmes (by way of Cumberbatch) are put down as ‘not real Sherlockians’, immediately setting-off a Tumblr/Facebook avalanche of responses, mostly in support of Ms Manente’s essay.
Lyndsay Faye in “Notes Upon the Care and Feeding of Your Curmudgeonly Sherlockian” takes a humorous approach in her response to Kristina’s original post - as well as providing some perspective/frame of reference when talking about the type of Sherlockian who is accused of being overly exclusive, snobby, etc.
Frida Frag opted against her original knee-jerk snarky reaction and instead composed “A Love Letter to *All* Sherlockians” detailing what she thinks makes for a true Sherlockian.
Doyleockian weighs in with “Are You a Sherlockian” exploring the question: when does one become a Sherlockian?
Sherlock Peoria’s titles speak for themselves: “Women kicking cranky old ass”, “Me, not hating the playa” and “Serious Sherlockian bullshit”.
Unfortunately, thus far, apart from Mr Philip Shreffler’s original article in The Saturday Review of Literature, (No. 1, Jan 2013), the conversation has been completely one sided in nature and I fear the ‘reaction’ blog posts are becoming more and more defensive and less open to productive dialogue; in addition many of the arguments tend to be directed at an overly-generalized ‘straw-man’ opponent (eg. big, mean, cranky, old, white male know-it-all Sherlockians who don’t like girls or anything new) opposed to engaging in a dialogue with what is of course a much more nuanced and multifaceted set of view points.
Regardless of how you feel about Mr Shreffler’s editorial, the publication also contains significantly less controversial though thoroughly interesting articles such as a selection of recently discovered New Statesmen essays from 1927 under the title of “Desmond MacCarthy and the Chronologicla Problem” which 1) underline the central part played by chronological researches in the early years of the history of our game; 2) propose some of the canonical (and perduring) methods for dating the stories… 3) expose some major questions and problems that will be discussed for decades and thus illustrate the, at the time, future and constant disagreement among Sherlockian scholars…
Don’t outright dismiss this project just because you disagree with one of it’s editorials - or at the very least own a limited edition piece of controversial Sherlockian history: 221 copies of this issue reviving the Saturday Review of Literature of Christopher Morley’s day have been printed, for $5 postpaid while they last from Donald Pollock, 521 College Avenue, Niagara Falls N.Y. 14305.
[The cover of the publication that started all this hullabaloo.]
Dan Andriacco released a new short e-reader only Sherlock Holmes pastiche called Sherlock Holmes in the Adventure of the Magic Umbrella, an exploration of one of Watson’s unwritten cases mentioned in “The Problem of Thor Bridge” about “the mysterious disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore, who stepped back into his house to get his umbrella and was never seen again”. Mr Andriacco, along with his brilliant McCabe/Cody cycle and collection of Holmes essays, plays and musings Baker Street Beat, previously released a short Holmes pastiche called Sherlock Holmes: The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden also dealing with an untold case which Watson mentions in passing at the start of “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” (ie. “he was immersed at the moment in a very abstruse and complicated problem concerning the peculiar persecution to which John Vincent Harden, the well-known tobacco millionaire, had been subjected.”) I love the concept of pastiches based on the ‘untold cases’ and I also love Mr Andriacco’s writing style, so I hope it goes without saying that I highly recommend both of these novellas.
Quick Sherlock Links:
Markings posted an insightful essay on one of the great tragedies in the Sherlockian world: the loss of William Gillette’s 1916 film adaptation of his play Sherlock Holmes. Luckily, a smattering of stills survive and Ray Wilcockson collects a sampling of them here from the University of Minnesota Rare Holmes Collection.
[Click the above image for a larger view plus many more stills.]
KUOW in “Sherlock Holmes, The Junkie” notes that “when the fictional character Sherlock Holmes took up his recreational cocaine habit, the drug was still considered a responsible alternative to alcohol. It was a thinking person’s drug. But the public perception of cocaine changed and in response, Holmes’ creator painted the great detective’s coke addiction in increasingly darker tones.” Listen to All Hopped Up: Drugs in America (Backstory Radio) for an in-depth discussion of drugs in 19th century literature, ACD included.
Huffington Post published “Sherlock Holmes: A Science Based Detective”, an essay by Jim O’Brien whose recently published book The Scientific Sherlock Holmes (Oxford University Press) “examines the science and forensics that Holmes employed and even makes the case that it is the science that has made the Holmesian Canon so enduring.”
Angelophile delivered up visually fascinating series of side-by-side comparisons of original Strand illustrations and scenes from Granada’s Sherlock Holmes adaptation. Even though I’ve watched each episode of the Jeremy Brett incarnation of Holmes at least a dozen times, I’m continually blown away by the tremendous attention to detail which the Granada team achieved.
[Paget and Granada Holmes from “The Man With the Twisted Lip”.]
Tenacious looks at the new plaque presented this past weekend: “This plaque commemorates the historic meeting early in 1881 at the original Criterion long bar of Dr. Stamford and Dr. John Watson which led to the introduction of Dr. Watson to Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”
[This plaque commemorates the historic meeting early in 1881 at the original Criterion long bar of Dr. Stamford and Dr. John Watson which led to the introduction of Dr. Watson to Mr. Sherlock Holmes.]
Door County Daily News investigates “What Kind Of Pipe Is Sherlock Holmes Smoking?” explaining that “it may surprise you to learn that the two-billed deerslayer hat and the curved pipe aren’t even mentioned in what Holmes scholars call “the Canon”. Included is an audio segment by local actor and director Ross Dippel discussing this ‘multi-pipe problem’.
The Norwood Builder posted a fascinating analysis of Sgt Donovan’s character from BBC Sherlock in regards to her blatant dislike/distrust of Sherlock. Personally, I’ve always been taken aback by Donovan’s over-the-top hatred of Sherlock (cf. Study in Pink where Donovan ‘warns’ Watson about Sherlock’s psychopathic potential) to the point where I find her character distasteful. A tremendous amount of thought was put into this essay and it’s worth reading in its entirety.
[Donovan to Watson: “One day we’ll be standing round a body and Sherlock Holmes will be the one that put it there.” (A Study In Pink).]
Humans of New York announced on Twitter: “Sherlock Holmes spotted in the lobby of The Met yesterday, no doubt uncovering some bigtime clues. w/ photo.” Perhaps Holmes was checking out the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s holdings of his great-uncle Horace Vernet? Perhaps he was looking in on Vernet’s The Start of the Race of the Riderless Horses (by 1820) - which perhaps reminded the Great Detective of Silver Blaze or Shoscombe Prince.
[Painting by Horace Vernet, great-uncle of Sherlock Holmes.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 12 - January 18, 2013)
Another BSI Weekend has come and gone and January 2013 in NYC was a rip-roaring good time which deserves and requires a few lengthy blog posts to do it adequate justice. With that said, I beg your patience because it’s going to take me a week or two to finish the BSI posts I’ve been working on. In the meantime, please feel free to send me any links, photographs or personal reminiscences you would like to see published along with my personal musings on Always1895.net. Until then, here’s a belated Friday Sherlock Links Compendium post for your edification and amusement.
[Susan Rice making some introductory remarks at the annual ASH William Gillette Luncheon during the 2013 BSI Weekend.]
Baker Street Journal announced that the BSJ 2012 Xmas Annual by Sonia Fetherston is called “Barrymore in Baker Street: “The Great Profile” Meets the “Great Detective,” and They Both Get Their Names Up In Lights”. The title of course refers to silent film legend John Barrymore and the storied film Sherlock Holmes (1922), which was lost and scattered to the four corners of the Earth only to be painstakingly reassembled in the late 1970s and then again in 2001 after new pieces were discovered. Based on William Gillette’s 1899 play Sherlock Holmes which “drew material from Conan Doyle’s published stories “A Scandal in Bohemia”, “The Final Problem”, and A Study in Scarlet, while adding much that was new as well.” You can find video clips and stills of Barrymore’s Sherlock Holmes online, but legally the only way to see the entire film is either at a screening or by purchasing the Kino released DVD. If you’re a BSJ subscriber, keep a close eye on your mailbox for I’m told the release is imminent.
[The best looking BSJ Xmas Annual cover yet!]
Dan Andriacco posted a short review of a new MX title I recently finished myself: Sherlock Holmes & Young Winston: The Deadwood Stage. “Young Winston” referred to in the title is of course the legendary Winston Churchill and this pastiche by Mike Hogan is the first title in a series featuring the precocious boy Churchill who has crossed paths and at times joined forces with Holmes and Watson. Mr Andriacco praises the novel’s “fast-moving adventure, strong characterization, realistic dialogue, and good writing.” Cleverness abounds in Mr Hogan’s novel as the reader is introduced to a variety of beloved canonical characters as well as historical figures not typically found in traditional Holmes pastiches. Truly a breath of fresh air - I’m very much looking forward to the next two releases.
[Sherlock Holmes & the Deadwood Stage on MX]
bOING bOING published a great piece by Maria Konnikova - author of the recently released Mastermind - on “Sherlock Holmes and the infamous brain attic”. Everyone love’s the Great Detective’s famous/infamous reference to his ‘brain attic’ or the mental ‘trick’ for remembering and organizing immense amounts of information, so it’s particularly exciting to read Ms Konnikova’s essay which attempts to show that ”research on memory formation, retention, and retrieval has proven itself to be highly amenable to the attic analogy.” Every blog, science-ish media outlet and the like seems to want a piece of Ms Konnikova but if you’re going to read one Konnikova-themed article this week, I encourage you to make it this one. Note: As an entertaining aside, I draw your attention to one of the comments: “However interesting Sherlock Holmes may seem, we have to remember he’s not and was never a real person. He came from a man’s imagination, and is entirely fictional…” - read the rest for yourself for an amusing look at people who really just ‘don’t get it.’ Finally, the image that accompanies the essay by tisserande is quite nice and worth a close look:
Wessex Press starts off 2013 with two new exciting titles: The Strand Magazine and Sherlock Holmes: The Two Fixed Points in a Changing Age by Robert Veld and “Occasionally to Embellish” Some Writings on Sherlock Holmes by Nicholas Utechin.
[Two newest Sherlockian titles from Wessex Press/Gasogene Books.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Scintillation of Scions, now that BSI Weekend 2013 is in the rear view mirror, is next big event every east coast Sherlockian should be looking forward. Registration before May 15th is only $50 - a virtual steal considering the wealth of activities and speakers scheduled for the two day event. If you’re still on the fence about attending, check out the history of SoS here.
Bob Burr passed beyond the Reichenbach last week, but if you want to read more about this venerable Sherlockian check out his profile at the Sherlock Holmes Social Network which includes biographical information along with links to his various projects as well as an obituary.
The Adventure of Sherlock Mario was an episode of Super Mario Bros. Super Show (1989-1990) featuring Herlock Solmes of 221B Bonkers Street. Watch the entire episode here. Here’s an amusing image of Mr Herlock Solmes’ diggings:
[221B Bonkers Street, home of Herlock Solmes - here’s another shot of Mario as the Great Detective.]
My Particular Friend in “Let Holmes be Holmes: Diagnosing the great detective” considers the perennial theory of Holmes and autism (and related afflictions : “I think if you truly consider Holmes from the writings, you will find that he is not in lock step with the characterization of Asperger’s listed at the National Institutes of Health, WebMD and the Mayo Clinic websites. Here are some of those characterizations and how I think Holmes does not exhibit these traits.”
Zap2It posted the single biggest un-news item I’ll ever post on Always1895: “CBS Elementary’s Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) are never, ever getting together”…OMG 4 REAL! So there you have it. Now where’s Moriarty (as played by Andrew Scott) when I want/need to be burned to the ground?
Better Holmes & Gardens in “I hear of Sherlock everywhere…” confesses to reading books on topics other than Sherlock Holmes, though relishes (as I’m sure many of do) in the occasional Sherlockian reference.
American Scholar published a piece by Michael Dirda, Sherlockian and book critic for The Washington Post, about what it’s like as a writer to be asked about one’s next writing project (along with some excellent musings on BSI Weekend 2013): “While the BSI blowout is always fun, especially for those who have trained for it or possess, by genetic gift, the capacity for drink of 1930s newspapermen, I was constantly being asked a question that bothered me. It’s one that any writer, journalist, or scholar will recognize: “What are you working on now?” This actually means: What is your latest book project?”
The Guardian published their review of Maria Konnikova’s Mastermind - which is worth reading - but I also wanted to draw your attention to the fantastic graphic that accompanied the piece:
[I love this graphic that accompanied The Guardian review of Mastermind. Thanks to Brenda for the tip.]
Yahoo News posted the Mystery Writers of America’s 2013 Edgar Award Nominations - and I’m thrilled to report that Lyndsay Faye’s wonderful The Gods of Gotham was nominated for ‘Best Novel’!! It goes without saying that Always1895.net will be rooting 100% for Ms Faye and her tale of the genesis of the police force of 1840s New York City.
She Knows Book Lounge - speaking of one of my favorite authors - interviewed Lyndsay Faye who is “here today talking Gods of Gotham, Sherlock Holmes, and showing off her flash slang.” Enter the mind of Ms Faye and read this interview.
The Monroe Monitor in “Lectures at the library: Sherlock Holmes and the Wild West” announced a talk by Seattle Times movie critic Tom Keogh which asks teh question: “Why has Sherlock Holmes continued to fascinate people for a century and a half?”
Christopher Morley Literary Estate can be found on Facebook: “Contact the literary estate executor, John Christopher Woodruff, with stories about your interactions with Morley’s work through this page. Notable publications have been posted to the time line. Share a thought or story.” A nice edition to the FB neighborhood.
[“Christopher Morley (May 5, 1890 – March 28, 1957), American journalist, novelist, essayist and poet….” and of course Sherlockian extraordinaire.]
Doyleockian points out that An Entirely New Country (MX) was chosen by Randall Stock as one of his top 2012 books about ACD and Holmes. Also, read Alistair Duncan’s post The Elementary Problem regarding his rather unique perspective on Elementary - due to transatlantic restrictions, Mr Duncan has only seen the pilot episode but his musings are still worth reading.
Radio Times tackles, in-depth, a topic on the minds of many a young burgeoning BBC Sherlockian enthusiast: “Sherlock series 3: what do we know so far – and what can we deduce?” A fun assessment of “what the clues might tell us about the what, when and who of the upcoming new episodes…” ripe with speculation on series 3 villains, plots and of course Steven Moffat’s infamous three word teaser: rat, wedding, bow. Charlotte Anne Walters on her Barefoot on Baker Street provides some further analysis and if you still aren’t satisfied, check out the “Rat, Wedding, Bow” thread over on the BBC Sherlock Fan Forum for copious amounts of speculation.
[Two of the stills from this eight panel homage to Granada’s adaptation of DEVI.]
[Two of my favorite things in the world: Sherlock Holmes and bicycles. The only things missing are cats and collectible tomes of the Sherlockian variety.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 5 - January 11, 2013)
As I write this, BSI Weekend 2013 is in full swing. So far I’ve attended The ASH Wednesday Dinner, the Christopher Morley Memorial Walk, a BSJ Cocktail Reception, the Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Ball, the William Gillette Luncheon and the Mysterious Bookshop Open House - not to mention the innumerable small hangout sessions which are truly the glue that holds BSI Weekend together. Tomorrow morning is the hucksters/dealers room at the Roosevelt Hotel where I look forward to meeting many of my favorite Sherlockian authors and Sunday is Lyndsay Faye’s ASH Brunch…and then I’ll pass out for a while, dream about all the excellent Sherlockian fun I just had and then wake up and be inspired for the duration of 2013. Somehow in the middle of all this I managed to put together this Friday Sherlock Links post. Enjoy!
Markings: The Poetry of SH posted the snippet of verse I quoted in last week’s “39 Years Ago Today Vincent Starrett Departed This Mortal Coil” in ‘The Poetry of Sherlock Holmes’, Ray Wilcockson’s special ongoing poetry subsection in Markings. First off, thanks to Mr Wilcockson for the quote. While reviewing the quote I re-read a comment I left on said blog in August of 2012 regarding the dramatic change in the presence of poetry in Sherlockian publications: “I’m always surprised at how much Sherlockian poetry (or poetry composed by Sherlockians about Sherlock Holmes, Victorian/Edwardian times, etc.) appeared in the early days of the BSI/BSJ (c.late-40s/50s). By way of example, the current BSJ issue (Summer 2012 - Vol.62, No.2) contains exactly zero (0) lines of poetry, and zero (0) lines of text about poetry. On the other hand, precisely 50 years ago in the BSJ (Vol.12, No.2), we find a page-length poem ‘What Doth the Bee’ by one Charles E. Lauterbach (cited as “the Poet Laureate of The Baker Street Irregulars” in his obituary!). Also in the same issue is an extensive piece on T.S. Eliot’s work by noted Eliot scholar Grover Smith.” Poetry isn’t exactly my forte, but I wonder what made Sherlockians (or society/intellectuals/etc.) more inclined to verse (the wonderful to the doggerel) in the days of yore? And speaking of poetry and poets…
[The above image is from Waffle Guppies which has an excellent series of shots featuring poor, opium addicted Victor Savage (Granada’s DYIN) engaged in his final game of ‘rug-skatery’ before succumbing Sumatran River Fever. You’ll recall Mr Savage had aspirations to become a poet, contrary to his family’s expectations.]
Sherlock Peoria wrote a touching remembrance of Bob Burr (BSI, The Rascally Lascar) who passed beyond the living earlier this week (Jan 9, 2013). Mr Keefauver was a Peorian Sherlockian colleague of the late Mr Burr and my condolences go out to him as well as everyone who had the opportunity to know Robert Burr. I didn’t know the rascally lascar personally but his web presence (on Hounds of the Internet, Sherlock Holmes Social Network, etc.) was much greater than the average Sherlockian, particularly of his generation. Just a few weeks ago I received a book from MX Publishing called The Punishment of Sherlock Holmes compiled by Bob Burr and Philip K Jones which is a hilarious collection of Sherlock Holmes-related puns from a variety of sources, many of which came from Burr himself. I look forward to reading more about The Rascally Lascar in the coming days.
[For Sherlockian punsters everywhere.]
The Final Problem scanned a short Sherlock Hemlock book entitled Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery or The Mystery of the Terrible Mess in My Friend’s Front Yard. Besides the fact that Sherlock Hemlock is one bad ass consulting detective from Sesame Street, The Final Problem posted the scans because “today was my blog’s first birthday. I got you a present.” Congratulations to the slightly-obsessed-with-The-Reichenbach-Fall BBC Sherlock-inspired blog. Bonus: Check out her recently posted radio show from 1945 “The Notorious Canary Trainer” from The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (with Rathbone & Bruce). The case referred to as that of the Notorious Canary Trainer is an 1895 adventure mentioned in the introduction of “Black Peter” which involved someone named Wilson, a “notorious canary-trainer, [whose arrest] removed a plague-spot from the East End of London.”
Maria Konnikova has generated an unbelievable amount of press over the last week since her book on the links between Holmes and Psychology, Mastermind, was released. Here’s just a sampling (with headlines): Become a ‘Mastermind’ with Sherlock Holmes’ help (CNN Living), Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Toronto Star), The Science of Sherlock Holmes (New Scientist), The Brain of Baker Street (WSJ) (the last two also review James O’Brien’s The Scientific Sherlock Holmes (2013) from Oxford Press), Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (A Review) (Big Think), How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Scientific American) and Mastermind (Boston Globe). If you’re still on the fence regarding whether to buy Mastermind or not, this article from Brain Pickings will give you an excellent sense of what you can expect. Also, if you’re sick of reviews read this interview from Psychology Today with Ms Konnikova. Two reviewers I would trust more than almost any one you’re going to find out there (including the illustrious outlets above) are: Jaime Mahoney of Better Holmes & Gardens. Ms Mahoney’s review also includes the UK cover art for Mastermind which is WAY cooler than the US version (cf. below). And also the Well-Read Sherlockian - happy one year blog anniversary! - who gave it a 5 out of 5 and added a bunch of great images and even used footnotes for their highly detailed review.
[UK cover of Mastermind.]
Dan Andriacco attempts to piece out the reason(s) why Rex Stout did not include a single Sherlock Holmes story in Stout’s personal list of top 10 detective stories (as related by Vincent Starrett in one of his “Books Alive” columns. Mr Andriacco rejects Starrett’s attempt to address this question, though VS’s suggestion that “Holmes himself, the epic creation, is greater than any isolated story about him; the miracle is the entire Holmes saga considered as a unit” is admirable. Why would Rex Stout, an ardent Holmes fan and dyed-in-the-wool Sherlockian, leave the Master off this list? For more Vincent Starrett columns about Sherlock Holmes check out Karen Murdock’s Sherlock Alive from The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, a personal favorite. PS. I am one of the thirty-somethings reading Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels.
[Rex Stout, still a cool dude even if he forgot to put Sherlock Holmes on his Top 10 list.]
Doyleockian mines the Canon for reliable information about the Baker Street Irregulars - the band of street Arabs from the stories, not the organization of Holmes enthusiasts from the the USA - such as “how they were organised and how many of them there were. Were they a set force or were they recruited on an ad-hoc basis?” Mr Duncan’s textually-based conclusions leave us pretty much where we started regarding the number and make-up of the BSI: “Looked at in modern terms you could say that Wiggins was staff and the rest of the irregulars were temps/contractors” and that’s it. Still, Mr Alistair Duncan has inspired me to think a little harder about the place of Holmes’ ‘street Arabs’ within the world of the Canon.
[Power shot from The Baker Street Irregulars (2007).]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Humanities in “Long Live Sherlock Holmes” considers the remarkable staying power of Sherlock Holmes who despite being despised and resented by his creator managed to endure in one guise or another the ever changing tastes of generation after generation, only to emerge just as fresh and robust as when we (and Dr Watson) first encounter him in a St Barts laboratory. “It is the paradoxical appeal of Holmes - heroic but repellent, remote but indomitable, machine-like yet persuasively human - that causes him to linger in hearts and minds.”
Baker Street Blog wished a happy birthday to The Great Detective and explained why we chose January 6, 1854 as the date of Sherlock Holmes’ birth. Sherlock. Everywhere. posted a great picture of a Sherlock cake. And the Well-Read Sherlockian wondered about the dangers of lighting 159 candles - also happy one year anniversary to the Well-Read Sherlockian!
[Happy Birthday to Holmes!]
Barefoot on Baker Street asks “Will Mrs Hudson’s Diaries be the next Holmes offering on screen?” Based on the book Mrs Hudson’s Diaries: A View From the Landing of 221B by English comedy writer Barry Cryer, it’s described as “a portrait of life below stairs at 221b Baker Street that is by turns silly, slapstick and sentimental.” As reported earlier here, Dame Judi Dench is supposedly “in line” to play Mrs Hudson. Hmmm…I can see the taglines now: “FUNementary!” “Sherlock HaHaHolmes” and “Dr Wocka-Wocka Watson!” Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be the joke that did nothing in the nighttime (and let’s hope that I’m not writing their copy).
Baker Street Babes hosted a fantastic BSI Weekend 2013 event called The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet which held an auction to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ll be reviewing the event elsewhere, but for now check out the amazing auction catalog. On a personal note, I went home with the painting ‘Murray Saving Watson’ by Laurie F Manifold, which a friend won at the auction and presented to me as an early birthday gift. The next day Sherlockian art collector extraordinaire Jerry Margolin offered to buy it from me which I took as the highest compliment possible.
[Laurie Manifold’s amazing painting of Murray saving Watson at the Battle of Maiwand - an act that not only prevented Watson falling into the hands of the murderous Ghazis, but set off a chain of events which eventually led to Watson “Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.” (STUD)]
io9 wonders “Why can’t any recent Sherlock Holmes adaptation get Irene Adler right?”, pitting Irene Adler of the Canon with various adaptations of The Woman which all seem to fall short somehow, argues the writer. Along with reading the article itself, this post generated at least 130 comments taking one side or the other regarding Ms Adler’s place in the world of Sherlock Holmes.
[Adler in drag pulling the wool over Sherlock Holmes.]
Flavorwire had an operative at the Baker Street Babes Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball who shares their impressions of the wacky world of Sherlockian meetings. As a bonus, they included a slue of quotes from the night presented in an ‘overheard at..’ format. Hilarious stuff.
Quill & Quire announced a new Sherlock Holmes exhibit Adventures With Sherlock Holmes at the Toronto Reference Library featuring items from the collection. To celebrate the opening there will be screenings of Murder By Decree and The Real Sherlock Holmes - I assume they mean the 2012 Canadian History Channel documentary - and a lecture on ACD from Doug Wrigglesworth (BSI, The Retired Colourman). The exhibit runs until March 2013. There’s also a short but informative interview with library curator Peggy Purdue about the collection.
Everything Long Beach announced that The Long Beach Shakespeare Company will broadcast an old-time radio show double-feature of Sherlock Holmes mysteries live from the the Richard Goad Theater January 18-20. Audiences can watch as actors perform all sound effects and music for two of tales of intrigue based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” The stories are “The Musgrave Ritual” and “The Crooked Man”. It’s fine if you don’t live in Long Beach because “performances will also be available via live webcast.” I’ll remind everyone on next Friday’s Links to tune in.
Girl Meets Sherlock looks at the year in Sherlockian film/tv and applies her ‘Three Principles of Adaptations’ when discussing/analyzing them. An insightful read, whether or not you loathe Elementary.
The Week published a short puff piece about the resurgence of Sherlock Holmes with quotes from Les Klinger and - in a shocking revelation - Christopher Morley and Scott Monty’s lovechild Scott Morley!
[Next time they should talk to my friend Edgar Klinger.]