Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (September 14 - September 20, 2013)
Daily Mail led off with a headline that has probably caused the total mental collapse of hundreds of BBC Sherlock fans, leaving thousands more contemplating what it would take to hire an airgun toting hitman: “U.S. threat to kill off BBC’s Sherlock: Hungarian-born socialite threatens legal action claiming she owns Arthur Conan Doyle character" - say what?! As apocalyptically insane this headline sounds, there’s probably really nothing to worry about. Longtime Sherlockians are probably familiar with the Andrea Plunket saga and her various claims to copyright of the Sherlock Holmes characters/stories based on having once been married to TV producer Sheldon Reynolds - who created the Ron Howard Sherlock Holmes (1954-1955) series as well as a quasi-remake Sherlock Holmes & Doctor Watson (1979-1980) with Geoffrey Whitehead as Holmes - from which she supposedly acquired the copyright in a 1990’s divorce settlement. If this is your first time hearing about Plunket’s claims on the Sherlock Holmes properties (in one form or another) and want to learn more, you are in for a transcontinental soap operatic treat that involves attempted murder, squandered fortunes, a Swiss tax haven, a Georgian ‘princess’ and a bed & breakfast in upstate NY. A 2010 article in the NYT “For the Heirs to Holmes, a Tangled Web" did a good job summarizing the history of ACD’s literary properties, mentioning all the major players since 1930. Next check out "The Case of Andrea Plunket and the Sherlock Holmes Copyrights" for a closer look at Ms Plunket and then see Chris Redmond's “Notes on the Ownership of the Sherlock Holmes Stories" for a variety of relevant links. Note of clarification: Andrea Plunket’s company The Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate is not the same entity as the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., the company currently involved in Klinger v Conan Doyle Estate (cf. Free Sherlock!). Read the Conan Doyle Estate’s view on Plunket here. On a final note, you can find Ms Plunket on Facebook.
[Opening title for Sheldon Reynolds' Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson from 1980. The only place on Earth I’ve been able to find copies to watch is on, ironically, YouTube - though the quality is almost unwatchable due to having been recorded from TV to VHS and then ripped to a video file.]
Sherlock Holmes Exhibition a “unique and interactive experience showcases areas of forensic science that enabled Sherlock Holmes to solve crimes, as well as the historic underpinnings of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rich and vibrant stories” opens at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) this October 2013. Exhibits include Dr. Conan Doyle’s Study, the Science & History behind Sherlock Holmes’s methods, a recreation of Sherlock Holmes’ sitting room at 221B Baker Street and an exhibit dedicated to Sherlockiana and Culture in all it’s manifestations. For the latest news and updates regarding what is sure to be one of the greatest popular Sherlock Holmes events in decades make sure to follow @SherlockExhibit on Twitter and The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes on Facebook. Speaking of news, on September 18th their Facebook and Twitter excitedly announced “The first artifact crate from the UK arrived at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) today!”
[Click for a PDF of the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes Press Release.]
The Norwood Builder put together a post that is a stunning example of why being a Sherlockian is one off greatest intellectual ‘lifestyle choices’ one can make. In “Sherlock Holmes’ clients - Or: The demography of Canon" readers are treated to an amazing undertaking where we find the Norwood Builder "trying to get a bird’s eye view of Sherlock Holmes’ canonical clients, with a particular regard to their demographic representativeness - or lack of it." When a prospective client marches down Baker Street, zeros in on ‘221B’, gains admittance from Mrs Hudson (or a boy in buttons) and ascends the seventeen steps leading to the sitting room of Mr Sherlock Holmes, it’s important to remember that said client does not simply materialize out of thin-air but possesses a rich biography. As (fanatical) readers of the Canon, we have a strong sense that these biographies are varied and drawn from all strata of society: for every Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein there is a Shinwell ‘Porky’ Johnson; with every missing Lady Frances Carfax there is a Mrs Amberley whose fate for better or worse must be discovered; for each wrongly accused Thaddeus Sholto there is a John Horner or even a Flora Millar whose name must be cleared. But does the assumption that Holmes’ clients came from all walks of life hold true? To answer this question, Holmes’ Canonical clients are broken down by Type, Gender and Status and the results will surprise you! The Norwood Builder’s blog is no stranger to the application of statistical analysis to elements in the Canon: click here to see all his posts tagged with “statistics.”
[“…and then he entered himself–so large, so pompous, and so dignified that he was the very embodiment of self-possession and solidity. And yet his first action, when the door had closed behind him, was to stagger against the table, whence he slipped down upon the floor, and there was that majestic figure prostrate and insensible upon our bearskin hearthrug.” (PRIO)]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere reports on Mr Jerry Margolin’s, BSI (“Hilton Cubitt”) latest Sherlockian objets d’art acquisition, the original artwork for a piece titled Sherlock Joker, the Crown Prince of Crime Detection (insert combination of the Joker’s infamous “Hahahah…” maniacal laughter with Holmes’ measured comments on Early English Charters) which was the original art used for one of two cards depicting Batman’s arch nemesis the Joker in the guise of the Great Detective for Batman Master Series, a 1996 card set released by Fleer. Where as Margolin’s piece depicts a somewhat calm Joker hamming it up in deerstalker and calabash but revealing a glimpse of his true insanity via the magnifying glass, the second Sherlock Joker image shows Arkham Asylum's number one resident patient at the apex of total madness revealed by the now shattered magnifying glass. There is a long history of Sherlock Holmes appearing alongside Gotham’s Caped Crusader, but the most recognizable is from the cover of the 50th anniversary of Detective Comics, Issue #572 (March 1987), where we see Batman and Holmes paging through the 1937 Detective Comics issue where ‘The Batman’ first appeared. One of the stories contains an amusing panel sequence where we see Batman and Sherlock Holmes (at 135!) discussing his secret to good health: ”A proper diet, a certain distillation of royal jelly developed in my beekeeping days, and the rarified atmosphere of Tibet, where I keep my primary residence…” Batman then attempts to light Holmes’ pipe only to be told “Thank you, for I’m afraid the pipe is purely for show these days.”
[“Holy Sherlock Holmes!" Congratulations Jerry on Sherlock Joker, one of two Joker as Sherlock Holmes renderings, by artist Carl Critchlow, originally commissioned by Fleer as part of the Batman Master Series set.]
Lyndsay Faye, as announced last week, appeared at The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC for the launch of her latest novel, the sequel to the excellent The Gods of Gotham, Seven For a Secret - and it was a ‘Wilde time.’ Not surprisingly there was a strong Sherlockian presence on hand to support Ms Faye as she discussed the world of Timothy and Val Wilde as well as the time period in which they lived. Most interestingly was her discussion of the various reactions she’s received regarding the moral outlook and attitudes of the characters, in particular the criticism (by some) that Timothy Wilde’s views on blacks, gays and religion are overly ‘modern’. For further proof that Ms Faye’s literary star is rising, read her interview in last Sunday’s LA Review of Books “Sherlockian Girl Goes Wilde" (Ha! Get it?)
[Photo by Erin Malone - the Mysterious Bookshop makes for the perfect environment to reflect on New York in the 1840s.]
Baker Street Babes, in their first NC-17-rated podcast, released Episode 44: “Sherlock Holmes After Dark Pt I” wherein “Babes Curly, Liz, & Lyndsay talk dirty with Les Klinger, Sketchlock, reapersun, and Madlori in this first of two episodes about doing the dirty in Sherlockiana. This is the first of a two parter episode. In the first part we cover Victorian Pornography, how Les started collecting Sherlockian porn, his recommendations, and then why women like slash.” My guess is that Part II will be an hour long analysis/discussion of the Granada scene from “The Master Blackmailer” wherein Jeremy Brett is filmed canoodling with Agatha, Milverton’s housemaid, in what has to be the single most awkward (sexual) moment in the history of Sherlockian anything in any medium ever. The Babes of course aren’t the first Sherlockians to delve into the sexual underpinnings of the Canon. Mr Chris Redmond wrote a book titled In Bed With Sherlock Holmes: Sexual Elements in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Stories of the Great Detective which not only analyses sexual elements in the Canon, but also looks at the non-Sherlockian fiction, letters, essays and speeches of ACD as well as aspects from his personal life. Finally, for a good time, check out I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere's “Top 10 Most Suggestive Lines from the Sherlock Holmes Stories.” For example, #8: “I remember nothing until I found myself lying on my bed trembling all over. Then I thought of you, Mr. Holmes.” (COPP)
[The above image is everyone’s favorite ‘suggestive’ Canonical illustration, though it actually depicts Holmes and Watson relaxing at the Turkish baths, but I’m never quite sure if that makes the picture more or less suggestive: “ I had asked him whether anything was stirring, and for answer he had shot his long, thin, nervous arm out of the sheets which enveloped him and had drawn an envelope from the inside pocket of the coat which hung beside him.” (ILLU)]
The Hollywood Reporter in “Conan Doyle Estate: Denying Sherlock Holmes Copyright Gives Him ‘Multiple Personalities’” reports on the latest development in the Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate lawsuit. In response to Klinger’s lawsuit arguing that the major story elements of the Sherlock Holmes stories are fair game, ie. the free use of Canonical characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, irregardless of the fact that a few of the final stories have yet to enter the public domain. “The Doyle estate makes the case for a special breed of “complex literary characters” (unlike alleged “flat” television ones like Amos ‘n’ Andy) who develop their personalities, not always as expected, presumably making them more real. The defendant says, “Sherlock Holmes is such character, having all of the complex background and maturing emotions, thoughts, relationships and actions that characterize human development over time.”” Put simply, the Estate makes the claim that Sherlock Holmes is the sum of all sixty stories and since not all sixty stories are in the public domain, Sherlock Holmes can’t be freely used since ‘part of him’ is still protected. An interesting argument for sure, but will it stand up in a court of law? On a related note, read Alistair Duncan's views on the Free Sherlock case here.
Friends of the Soldier Named Murray a Sherlock Holmes Society based out of The Terrance on Mountain Creek, an assisted living facility in Chattanooga, TN., was recently made an Official Scion of the Baker Street Irregulars. Consisting of about 16-18 “active members attending each meeting…the study group meets monthly and discusses a different Sherlock Holmes short story….Any person who is a resident in an Assisted Living Facility and would like to form a Sherlock Holmes Society may contact the “Friends of the Soldier Named Murray” by email request to Jody Baker for tips, forms and other organizational assistance.” Sherlockians truly are everywhere!
Sidgwicks uncovered another wonderful illustration from a non-English source, this time in an Italian translation of The Sign of Four by Ugo Matania for “Il segno dei quattro”, Il Romanzo Per Tutti (Vol. 4, No. 5), 1948. Earlier this month, Sidgwicks posted a scan from a German edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles: Richard Gutschmidt for Der Hund von Baskerville, Stuttgart: Robert Lutz, 1907. I’ve seen a few illustrations from German and Italian translations over the years and they’ve all been rather stunning. Perhaps one day someone will publish a collection of non-English edition illustrations of the Canon.
[“He began to play some low, dreamy, melodious air,”]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (September 7 - September 13, 2013)
Meiringens posted a letter from my Sherlockian hero Vincent Starrett to mystery duo ‘Ellery Queen' quoted in the wonderfully rare The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes 1944. For those unfamiliar with Queen’s collection of Holmes pastiches (written up to 1944) that was for all intents and purposes removed from the shelves due to (legal) complaints from ACD’s rapacious children Adrian and Dennis Doyle, I strongly suggest reading Jon Lellenberg's account of the affair in the essential BSI Archival History: Irregular Proceedings of the Mid ‘Forties (1995). The book first appeared at the BSI’s March 1944 legendary “Trilogy” dinner “held at the Murray Hill Hotel to celebrate publication of three landmark books: Profile by Gaslight, Edgar W. Smith’s anthology of BSI Writings About the Writings; Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: A Textbook of Friendship, Christopher Morley’s groundbreaking version of an annotated Canon; and The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen’s collection of parodies and pastiches” (from Lellenberg’s “March of Time”). Copies of The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes go for as high as $750 though you can download a copy for free in a variety of formats from Archive.org. Prior to Vincent Starrett’s offering of “The Unique Hamlet”, argued by some to be the greatest Holmes pastiche ever written, Queen writes the following: "But in your Editors’ opinion one of the most provocative paragraphs Mr. Starrett ever wrote about Holmes has never appeared in print until now. Here it is a postscript from one of Mr. Starrett’s letters to your Editors:"
[“I’ve always wanted to do a synthetic Sherlock. the beginning of one story, the middle of another, and the conclusion of a third; or perhaps six or eight of the adventures merged into a perfect Holmes tale…” Click Archive.org for the entire text of Queen’s (eds) The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes and to see the Starrett/Queen exchange in context.]
Baker Street Journal arrived in my mailbox this week and the Autumn 2013 (Vol. 63, No. 3) issue is one of the all around best issues I’ve read this year; they’ve all been good, but this spytastic, BRUC-centric issue is particularly terrific. Contributors include Sherlockian.net's Chris Redmond with a piece analyzing a deceptively simple line of text spoken by Violet Westbury, fiancee of the deceased Arthur Cadogen West, from BRUC, author Lyndsay Faye discussing Holmes’ relationship with popular though morbid Victorian publication Newgate Calendar (subtitled “The Malefactors’ Bloody Register”) as well as narcotics, Fred Leise discussing Holmes’ Indexing abilities, Leslie Klinger arguing for Watson as the true genius behind the Canon, Peter Calamai writes about a 10-bedroom manor house that had been home to a Baskerville family at one time, Nancy Holder with “Sherlock Holmes, My (Comic Book) Hero”, Terence Faherty with “A Case of Paternity” and Albert Silverstein with “Reflections on the Holmesic Hero”, along with a particularly engaging ‘Letters To Baker Street’ section. If you’re not currently a subscriber, then I suggest borrowing $38.50 from a close friend and clicking here.
[BRUC-centric cover for BSJ issue Autumn 2013 (Vol. 63, No. 3).]
Lyndsay Faye, author of Dust and Shadows and The Gods of Gotham as well as numerous articles for publications like The Baker Street Journal as well as popular blogs such as Tor, will be reading from her latest novel Seven for a Secret, the second Timothy Wilde novel set in 1860s New York City at The Mysterious Bookshop on September 18th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The Mysterious Books launch party will also include a special drink made by Faye’s extremely talented ‘mixologist’ husband Gabriel Lehner billed as ‘Wilde’s Secret’ - and if it’s anything like Gabe’s Gods of Gotham-inspired cocktail, attendees are in for a ‘spirited’ evening (and semi-painful morning). Seven for a Secret was also chosen by IndieBound as their ‘October read’. Also make sure to read Ms Faye’s recent essay for Criminal Element entitled “Holmes 2.0: Life in the New Sherlockian Renaissance”: “We are not quite normal, we Sherlock Holmes fanatics, supposing normalcy exists. Of late, however, there are a lot of us. There are a very, very great many, in all shapes and sizes and colors and ages, and we daily gain recruits to our geekish hordes. Brainy, you could argue, is the new sexy. Which leads me to ask two questions. Why now? And why Holmes?” Finally in LF-related news, Ms Faye recently announced: “I’m going to be writing multiple guest issues of the incredibly fierce comic Watson and Holmes.”
[The cover of Ms Faye’s latest Wilde novel Seven For a Secret.]
Digital Spy announced that this December 2013 Dynamite Comics has drafted writer David Liss and artist Daniel Indro to “tackle the classic Arthur Conan Doyle villain in a five-issue miniseries” Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives, which “will center around the detective’s foe, with no appearance from Holmes.” ComicsBeat reported Liss describing a bit more of what we can expect from the Napoleon of Crime: “No one is the villain of their own narrative, and no one is evil all the time, so I thought it be fun to tell a story about a very bad man who finds himself in a situation in which he chooses to be good - mostly. At least a little. This story is going to take place right after the Arthur Conan Doyle story, “The Final Problem,” in which both [Holmes and Moriarty] presumably die in Switzerland. What if Moriarty survived the fall? Where did he go?” And a third blog, ICv2, suggests that this post-Reichenbach Morarity will be using “his intellect and cunning to battle a villain far more evil and dangerous than the criminal mastermind himself.” The cover art for Issue #1 is super epic (cf. below) and has me all pumped up to read about the ‘good’ Professor existing in a world free from Holmes’ incommoding, hampering, inconveniencing and/or persecuting.
[Professor James Moriarty just moments after getting Bartitsued down the Reichenbach Falls; other than getting really really wet, what other effects will Moriarty’s ‘fall’ have on “the organizer of half that is evil” in London?]
Sherlock Peoria in “Important classic literature or pop culture?” reflects on a recent Forbes article - written in a genre style which Keefauver declaims as “these kids today just aren’t the people we were” - declaring that only 5% of college students know that the Sherlock Holmes tales were authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (or that Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World; Marie Curie discovered radium; Euclid is the father of geometry; Mozart wrote Don Giovanni) but: “knowing the name of the creator of a legend that has been passed along through the hands of storyteller after storyteller is special knowledge, reserved for those who care enough to look back into the past. Sure, you don’t have to look hard to find Doyle, but you do have to make the effort to look. Should we be educating every child in America that Conan Doyle wrote the stories? Do we even want to force every child in America to read the stories to broaden their minds Sherlockianly?” I’m guessing that only 5% of hardcore Sherlockians would answer that ACD authored the Sherlock Holmes tales as well.
[A rendering of the supposed author of the Sherlock Holmes tales, an author which supposedly only 5% of ‘kids these days’ would be able to name.]
Free Sherlock! posted the latest epic update in the Homeric Klinger vs the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. legal battle vying for the hearts and minds of Canonical characters everywhere…or less dramatically: “On September 10, 2013, the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. filed opposition to our Motion for Summary Judgment, along with declarations from the Estate’s witnesses Jon Lellenberg, George Fletcher, Larry Woiwode, Valerie Sayers, and Loren Estleman. We have 14 days in which to respond, and upon filing with the Court, we will post our response on this website. Thereafter, it will be up to the Court to determine the outcome.” (Click on the above names for the PDF of their ‘Declarations’ aka their affidavit, which are actually all rather interesting reading.)
[I’ll admit to being a tad disappointed by the lack of Canonical names to be found in the cast of legal characters involved in this case. Just imagine if there was a “Frankland” to be had or even a non-Canonical but equally amusing “Playfair”. ]
Doyleockian reflects on where to begin in the world of collecting Sherlockiana. To the novice Sherlockian the possibilities for collecting seem infinite but unless you plan on spending the rest of your life trying to be the second coming of John Bennett Shaw, the faster you figure out just exactly what your Sherlockiana niche is, the faster you can get out there and collect. Alistair Duncan advises: “Well the first thing you need to do is define your scope. You cannot hope to collect everything so you must focus. You could elect to focus purely on the canonical (i.e. written) Holmes and collect items relating to that. Or you could focus on one or more of the adaptations. Alternatively you could set your focus differently.”
[Bookplate from John Bennett Shaw.]
Sherlock’s Danger Night put together a truly remarkable list which attempts to exhaustively enumerate every book and magazine used on BBC Sherlock. Proprietress mid0nz, with the help of a few volunteers, maintains both a Tumblr and a LiveJournal and appears to be updated as new information becomes available. Originally brought to my attention via the Baker Street Babes, I can’t help but concur with their continual astonishment at the “amount of detail that members of the Sherlock fandom go into to uncover clues, decipher scenes, and explore the intricacies of the characters.” Along with the list itself, there is a “key for which episodes the various tomes and weeklies appear in…[and] even goes further and lists the books found in other episodes that aren’t necessarily at 221B” (eg. the C.O.’s office from Hounds of the Baskerville). Personally, my favorite book at BBC 221B is Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, where the concept of a meme was first coined, and then abused ad nauseum with the advent of the Internet.
[“Knowledge of Literature - nil??]
Baker Street Babes announced that they are “starting to post guest articles here on the site and we are very happy to say that the very first shall be from the illustrious collector Howard Ostrom! His full essay…is a doozy and incredibly fun! Sherlock Holmes as a cowboy. Enjoy!” “The Case of The Vitagraph Holmes” (Or, Cowboy in a Deerstalker) is the essay of the week and highly recommended reading if you have a few moments.
Don Libey, Co-Director of the recently formed John H Watson Society, released The Biography & Autobiography of Sherlock Holmes: Being a two book, one volume edition of ‘My Brother, Sherloc’ by Mycroft Holmes and ‘Montague Notations’ by Sherlock Holmes (Campbell & Lewis, 2013), two fascinating though highly speculative accounts of the ‘real’ life of Sherlock Holmes. For starters, imagine if Holmes never actually lived on Baker Street but instead lived and worked out of Montague Street - and that’s just the start. Even if you’re not a fan of pastiches, Mr Libey’s approach is scholarly and drenched in the Canon and should appeal to those with purist tendencies as well as pastiche lovers alike.
Dan Andriacco inspired by the recent flurry of discussion surrounding the news that Sir Ian McKellen has been cast in the role of the Great Detective for the film adaptation of Mitch Cullen’s A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005), a pastiche that apparently many Sherlockians - including myself - are unfamiliar, recommends another book where we find Holmes in the Winter of his Life: Michael Chabon's excellent The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (2005): “To me this little book (131 pages) is a gem. It’s about a nine-year-old boy, German and mute, and an 89-year-year-old beekeeper referred to only as “the old man.” The boy is a refugee from Nazi Germany. He doesn’t talk, but his bird does.” Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon is one of my favorite contemporary authors, having written Wonder Boys (which was made into an excellent film featuring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Katie Holmes and, playing amorous book editor Terry Crabtree, one Robert Downey Jr!), The Yiddish Policeman’s Ball, and his epic love letter to the Golden Age of comic books, the brilliantly entertaining The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000).
[Chabon’s amazing The Final Solution is one of the best Holmes pastiches out there.]
The Consulting Detective explains why The Sign of Four is a masterpiece: “Of all of Doyle’s novels, this one if perhaps the most original. The fact that it manages to cross a number of genre lines is excellent, making it perhaps the most entertaining of the four original Sherlock Holmes novels…[as well as] the most historically important Sherlock Holmes stories. For the first time in print, Sherlock Holmes is portrayed taking drugs…” It’s refreshing to read a blog post that’s strictly about the Canon, in this case the virtues of the second Holmes novel from an historic, aesthetic and cultural perspective.
[One of my favorite SIGN covers.]
CB Productions Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure adapted by Steven Dietz, based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle November 1-10, 2013: “The King of Bohemia is about to be blackmailed by a notorious photograph, and the woman at the heart of this crime is the famous opera singer, Irene Adler. With his trusted companion, Doctor Watson, at his side, Sherlock Holmes pursues first the case, and then the affections of Miss Adler - and in doing so, marches right into the lair of his longtime adversary, that malevolent genius of crime: Professor Moriarty.” If you’re in the St Paul/Minneapolis area, this sounds like a promising Sherlockian night at the theater.
Tea at 221B in “Canon Sherlock Holmes Comic Books” looks at a unique series of Canonically-inspired comics Cases of Sherlock Holmes created by Dan Day: “The original run of fifteen was published bi-monthly in 1988 by Renegade Press. The remaining five issues were published by Northstar.” Even if comics aren’t your thing, these releases are about as good as it’s going to get in terms of Canon-to-illustration reading. I own most of the Cases of Sherlock Holmes issues and compared to the majority of Holmes-inspired comics that have been released over the last 50 years, these are actually worth owning, or at least perusing, and some of the cover art is quality enough to out in a frame and hang on your wall. Check out the rest of the images posted by Tea at 221B and if you have a hankering to acquire a few issues of your own, eBay appears to have most of them for reasonable prices ranging from $3 to $10 an issue.
[Just one of many wonderfully illustrated, Canonically-sensible covers from the Cases of Sherlock Holmes comic series from 1988.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
John H Watson Society recently added a section to their website titled “The Doctor’s Bookshelf" consisting of reviews of books written by JHWS members. Volumes reviewed so far include: the sixth issue of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, two books by Kieran McMullen (“Raleigh”) The Many Watsons and the three-in-one hardcover from MX Holmes & Watson: The War Years, Jon Lellenberg's (“Towser”) exquisitely edited (and designed) ACD diary Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Nicholas Utechin (“Rex”) Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: Sherlock Holmes, the Wessex Press published pastiche by Ann Margaret Lewis (“Cameo”) Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, Roger Johnson and Jean Upton's The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany, “Dutch” aka Mr Dan Andiacco's The Disappearance of Mr James Phillimore. As a certain old bookseller once remarked to a distracted doctor: “With five volumes you could just fill that gap on that second shelf. It looks untidy, does it not, sir?” (EMPT)
[“I moved my head to look at the cabinet behind me. When I turned again, Sherlock Holmes was standing smiling at me across my study table. I rose to my feet, stared at him for some seconds in utter amazement, and then it appears that I must have fainted for the first and the last time in my life.” (EMPT)]
* To find a Sherlockian event in your area, check out The Sherlockian Calendar - maintained by Ron Fish with Sue and Ben Vizoskie of The Three Garridebs of Westchester Country, NY. If you are interested in posting an event to the calendar, please email the details to webmaster Ron Fish at RonF404 [at] aol.com.
** If you’d like to see your event mentioned here on Always1895, please email me the name of your group/event, the details, contact info & web address Twitter, Facebook, etc. and any other info that should accompany the above.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (August 31 - September 6, 2013)
This week we react to the news that Sir Ian McKellen has been cast as Holmes in an upcoming film adaptation of A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005), Episode 56 of ‘I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere’ gives free reign to Brad Keefauver of Sherlock Peoria, two takes on the importance and merits of A Study In Scarlet are given, Ray Betzner on Vincent Starrett’s mystery novel Murder in Peking, Dan Andriacco discusses life lessons learned from Holmes, Alistair Duncan looks at four ages of ACD, Jon Stewart pretends to be Sherlock Holmes for 3 seconds, The Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections award Don Yates for his essay “Sherlockian Memories” and The Priory Scholars of NYC gear-up for their “Back to School 2013” meeting.
The Telegraph announced that Sir Ian McKellen (ie. that guy who also played Magneto and Gandalf) will play Sherlock Holmes in a film adaptation of a novel by Mitch Cullin called A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005). Wow, what?! I have to admit that I’ve never read Cullin’s novel that’s set in “1947, and the long-retired Sherlock Holmes, now 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper and her young son. He tends to his bees, writes in his journal, and grapples with the diminishing powers of his mind. But in the twilight of his life, as people continue to look to him for answers, Holmes revisits a case that may provide him with answers of his own to questions he didn’t even know he was asking - about life, about love, and about the limits of the mind’s ability to know.” The New York Times gave Cullin’s novel (his seventh at the time) a very good review back in 2005: “The strange, silent image of an old man staring into an apiary governs the entirety of A Slight Trick of the Mind. “When you look upon me,” Holmes tells his grief-stricken housekeeper, “I believe you find a man incapable of feeling… . If I choose to speak at any length, I usually talk of the creatures.” Talking exclusively “of the creatures,” though, doesn’t make human beings disappear; it only makes their demands more desperate. As the conclusion of this beautiful novel makes plain, lives aren’t like cases or, for that matter, like narratives. They are never solved or resolved: they just one day come to an end.” Unless filming goes terribly wrong, a film version of A Slight Trick of the Mind has the potential to emotionally and intellectually probe the depths of the Great Detective in the Winter of his life. On Friday, Sir Ian himself via his Twitter @IanMcKellen had this to say about the news: “Working again with Bill Condon? Playing Sherlock Holmes? Elementary. Couldn’t be happier.”
[Ian McKellen as Gandolf from The Lord of the Rings - so far he has the long stem pipe working for him.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere released Episode 56 featuring longtime Sherlockian blogger Brad Keefauver, BSI (“Winwood Reade”) of Sherlock Peoria (as well as older manifestations). IHOSE hosts Scott Monty and Burt Wolder “discussed [Keefauver’s] first meeting with Sherlock Holmes, noting that it was far from typical. It was theatrical in nature, but you’ll have to listen to hear the exact work that captured Brad’s attention. We were then off and running into the sci-fi world of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and others, with Brad openly admitting his Trekkie origins (not that there’s anything wrong with that).” After Mr Keefauver’s exit various current Sherlockian news items are discussed, with the show concluding on “a reading of the Editor’s Gas-Lamp, this time selecting “One Advocating Sherlock Holmes” from the March 1987 issue (Vol. 37, No. 1) of the Baker Street Journal. While the topic and some of the pronouncements may be controversial, we like to think that we found some common ground in it.” Another excellent episode from two of the hardest working guys in the Sherlockian world. If you don’t already subscribe to IHOSE, you can do so either through their IHOSE website or via iTunes.
[If you’re familiar with Brad Keefauver’s work over the years, IHOSE Episode 56 should be a real treat - if you are new to Peoria, Illinois’ king of Sherlock Holmes, sit back, relax and get ready to rumble Keefauver-style!]
Bauman Rare Books posted a succinct history of the story behind the first Sherlock Holmes novel A Study In Scarlet, a history familiar to anyone versed in the Canon but essential knowledge for those at the onset of their Canonical explorations. Published originally in the 1887 issue of Beeton’s Christmas Annual, as an objets de Littérature it is now “a rare collectible and considered the most expensive magazine in the world, with a Beeton’s 1887 selling for $156,000 at Sotheby’s in 2007." Whether you’re a neophyte or experienced Sherlockian, for a mind-blowingly good time, make sure to stop in at Randall Stock's fantastically essential “Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887: An Annotated Checklist and Census" page for a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the magazine itself, price list, summary of recorded copies and the crown jewel, a list of Confirmed Copies of Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887 known to exist with location, description, current owner, provenance, etc. If you’ve never visited Mr Randall Stock’s Best of Sherlock website, bookmark the “Annotated Checklist and Census” page and then save it for a leisure moment when you can sit back and fully embrace the awesomeness of the document in toto. (Thanks to NYC Sherlockian John Genova for the tip!)
[And though the chances of ever owning - or even holding - a copy of Beeton’s 1887 are lower than low, a plethora of facsimiles of varying quality exist and can be had for a somewhat reasonable price. If you’re interested in learning more about STUD facsimiles, Randall Stock has you covered with his “Facsimile Editions of Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887.”]
The Consulting Detective, by coincidence also featured a piece on A Study in Scarlet, though calling it “a most unusual introduction” citing the “The Country of the Saints" flashback as an odd structural choice: "Don’t get me wrong - A Study in Scarlet is a fine piece of writing and without it, I wouldn’t have a favourite fictional character to blog about. But in terms of plot structure, the novella is at first glance very unusual. I cannot speak for others, but I feel that the first part (the actual mystery) is far more interesting than the back-story set in Salt Lake City, Utah.” Personally, my views on Part II of STUD aren’t definitive but sometimes I like to think of it as crafty Watson’s literary endurance test inserted to scare off those incapable of matching strides with “an old campaigner” - for once you survive the desolation of Utah, the whole universe of the Canon lay before you. Also this post contains the first instance I’ve seen of the new STUD edition from BBC Books featuring an Introduction by BBC Sherlock creator Steven Moffatt - along with the inevitable Benedict Cumberbatch adorned cover.
[I can almost here BC firing off “the game is on” to the chagrin of almost every cranky Sherlockian on Earth. That aside, the BBC Books cover isn’t any less relevant/related to the plot of STUD than the original Beeton’s cover.]
Ray Betzner, Pennsylvanian Sherlockian and editor of Wessex Press’ must-have 75th Anniversary facsimile edition of Vincent Starrett’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, posted a terrific Starrett-centric post about Murder in Peking (originally published in 1936 as The Laughing Buddah), Starrett’s last mystery novel: “In his memoirs, Starrett wrote of the story: “It was a roman a clef with a vengeance. Friends and acquaintances made up the dramatis personae and the fictional murderer was myself.”” I sometimes forget that Starrett’s Sherlockian writings only make up a fraction of the esteemed Chicago author’s oeuvre, which included mystery novels and short stories, newspaper columns, literary criticism, poetry, science fiction and even a book about boats.
[Mr Betzner also included two deliciously lurid covers, the above published in the Sunday supplement of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Sunday, May 16, 1948).]
Dan Andriacco “On Friday I had the chance to introduce Sebastian McCabe, Jeff Cody, and Lynda Teal to a few new readers at the Oakwood (Ohio) Rotary Club. My primary mission, though, was to deliver a talk called “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Sherlock Holmes: Life Lessons From the Great Detective.”” Check out Mr Andriacco’s post listing “Ten Life Lessons Learned From the Master,” my favorite being # 8: “Life really is stranger than fiction…and even fictional characters know it.” Speaking of McCabe & Cody, I just finished reading Andriacco’s fourth novel in the series The Disappearance of Mr James Phillimore (MX, 2013), his first set outside of Erin, Ohio, which takes place in London and is wonderfully packed with ‘Holmesian’ references and Sherlockian ‘in jokes’ and Easter eggs which will thrill and delight enthusiasts on both sides of the pond. This was also the first Andriacco book I read via the iPad, and I must say it was formatted beautifully for the iBooks app available from iTunes - highly recommended as a quality alternative to owning the physical book.
[Whether on a new school e-reader or in traditional book form, Andriacco’s fourth McCabe/Cody novel is another winner. ]
Doyleockian served up a delightful little post showing Arthur Conan Doyle at four different ages: 1) a young, newly-qualified, Arthur Conan Doyle from the mid-1880s, 2) ACD in 1893, the year of Sherlock Holmes’s “death”. “Here we see the 34 year old Conan Doyle during one of the worst years of his life,” 3) Boer War-era Doyle from early 1900 (aged 40 but shortly to turn 41) dressed in the bespoke pseudo-military outfit that he wore for his brief turn as a medic in South Africa, and 4) a still from Conan Doyle’s movietone interview from October 1928 when he was 69 years old. As long time readers of Always1895.net know, I’ve been a fan of Mr Alistair Duncan's blog for quite a while; and it is the simple yet informative, entertaining posts like this one that make his Doyleockian blog worth reading regularly. If you're new to Mr Duncan and his blog, and a fan of the greatest of literary agents, Arthur Conan Doyle, make sure to check out his well-researched series of books exploring various stages of ACD's life, each centered around a Conan Doyle domicile. Check out the Alistair Duncan Sherlock Holmes Collection on MX for more details - and while you’re at it, follow Mr Duncan on Twitter @alistaird221b.
[ACD from early 1900 - click on the image to view the rest of Duncan’s Conan Doyle images.]
The Daily Show welcomed back host Jon Stewart on September 3rd from his Summer sabbatical (he was directing a film in the Middle East). The ‘gag’ was that Stewart ‘forgot how to be an American’ and went through a cycle of different identities, becoming ‘Sherlock Holmes’ for a few seconds. Jeremy Brett, Basil Rathbone and even Charlton Heston or Rupert Everett won’t be upstaged any time soon by Stewart, but I’m sure he can beat out at least a few actors who’ve attempted to ape the Great Detective on celluloid over the years. For a semi-complete list of the best-to-the-worst Sherlock actors, check out this Sherlock Holmes Actors I Watched (From Best to Worst) list on IMDB.
[Jon Stewart returns to The Daily Show after a three month hiatus of sorts and goes through an identity crisis, assuming the guise of Sherlock Holmes for a brief moment.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
The John H Watson Society announced that Founding Chair, Don Yates, has received the 2013 Dr. Bryce L. Crawford, Jr. Award for an outstanding essay in the tradition of the purist form of scholarship from the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections for his essay “Sherlockian Memories” which appeared in the September 2012 issue of the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections Newsletter. From ‘Baron’ to ‘Pal’, a hearty congratulations Sir!
Priory Scholars of NYC are quickly filling seats for their ‘Back To School 2013’ October 6, 2013 session at a new Manhattan venue The Churchill Tavern. Anyone in the NYC area, young or old, neophyte or old-hand, innocent or guilty are invited to join in on the Sherlockian scion scholarly fun. If you’re interested in attending, please check out the Facebook page for registration info; and then hit the books and study up on “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" for a quiz and discussion.
* To find a Sherlockian event in your area, check out The Sherlockian Calendar - maintained by Ron Fish with Sue and Ben Vizoskie of The Three Garridebs of Westchester Country, NY. If you are interested in posting an event to the calendar, please email the details to webmaster Ron Fish at RonF404@aol.com.
** If you’d like to see your event mentioned here on Always1895, please email me the name of your group/event, the details, contact info & web address Twitter, Facebook, etc. and any other info that should accompany the above.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (August 24 - August 30, 2013)
BBC News reports on research undertaken by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London (SHSL) in the 1980s, but never previously published, which argues that Donnithorpe - the fictional home of Victor Trevor and his father in “The Gloria Scott" - was based on the village of Rollesby on the Trinity Broads. “The research was undertaken by the late Bernard Davies, a member of the society…[who] by relating the Broads to the railway system as it was, to the approximate speed at which a horse and buggy could go, and most importantly the times of sunset… by these and the descriptions of Donnithorpe with its view over the Broads, it narrows down to one place and one place only, and that’s Rollesby Hall.” According to Mr Roger Johnson (editor of The Sherlock Holmes Journal), Davies called this sort of research “literary topographical detection,” an appropriate name indeed. There’s also a fascinating 60 minute BBC Norfolk Radio Special “Far From the Fogs - Sherlock Holmes in Norfolk" (first broadcast on August 26, 2013 - only available for 7 days): "Paul Hayes explores the links between the character of Sherlock Holmes and the county of Norfolk." Roger Johnson’s commentary on Davies and Rollesby Hall is worth the price of admission. Stories mentioned and explored include: “The Dancing Men”, “The Gloria Scott”, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Below is a photo from a Flickr photo series called ”1984 - In the Country of the Broads" documenting a SHSL trip to various locations in the Trinity Broads which Davies identified as having canonical significance.
[“At the lodge, Rollesby Hall - Bernard Davies expounds” and explains the fruits of his literary topographical detection work. Click for the complete set titled “1984 - In the Country of the Broads.”]
Mattias Bostrom, recent father, world traveler, ex-stand-up comedian and Swedish Sherlockian extraordinaire, was interviewed this week by Lisette Verhagen (LV) of Brandt New Agency, who just sold the Danish rights to Bostrom’s new book to Forlaget Modtryk. Piratförlaget, the company that put out Bostrom’s gorgeously designed Från Holmes till Sherlock is one of the most respected publishing houses in Scandinavia. Since we (English speakers anyway) can’t read the book, here’s the first interview question with Mattias explaining what his Sherlockian tome is all about: LV: Could you explain briefly what From Holmes to Sherlock is about? MB: ”It’s a narrative non-fiction story about the people who have made Sherlock Holmes such a success from the 1880’s until today. Arthur Conan Doyle created the detective, but he would soon have stopped writing about Holmes had it not been for editors, publishers and literary agents. And later in life other people recreated the detective for their own purposes and according to the time they were living in: theatre actors, film, radio and TV producers, pastiche authors, and fans. All under the surveillance of the Conan Doyle Estate: primarily Arthur Conan Doyle’s sons Adrian and Denis. This is a book about how all these persons interacted and how they made the success continue till now.” And the English speaking world awaits…To find out more about Mr Bostrom (in English) check Facebook for his ‘Mattias Boström - Author' page (or his webpage in Swedish) and you can follow him on Twitter via @mattias221b.
[Mr Bostrom’s Från Holmes till Sherlock reviewed in Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan. Again, since it’s in Swedish let’s assume they are writing deservedly wonderful things about him and his new book. For any readers of The Pink‘un out there, I’m willing to bet 50 kronor that the line “Sherlock Holmes-konferens i Minnesota” is about Bostrom’s recent appearance in Minnesota.]
Dan Andriacco invites us (back) into one of the most sacred spaces for a seasoned Sherlockian; I speak of course of one’s personal library. Commemorating his 408th blog post - started back in May 28, 2011 - Mr Andriacco revisits his original Baker Street Beat post discussing his approach to book ‘acquiring’ (“Just don’t call it a collection.”). Additionally this week Mr Andriacco presents a new feature, Quintessential Quotes of John H Watson: “Thinking a lot recently about Dr. Watson in conjunction with the formation of the John H. Watson Society, it occurred to me that one could assembly a hefty compendium of interesting Quintessential Quotes from the Good Doctor.” Stay tuned to Always1895.net for an upcoming Andriacco-o-thon where we’ll look at a few of his latest publications, all available from MX Publishing: The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore, Sherlock Holmes in The Perculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden and Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Magic Umbrella (available on Kindle).
[Mr Andriacco and his “several hundred – various editions of the Sacred Writings, pastiches, critical works, biographies, works of fact and fiction peripherally related to Holmes, books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and juvenile books.”]
Doyleockian finds Mr Alistair Duncan discussing two contemporaries of Sherlock Holmes, Victorian detectives Loveday Brooke and Sexton Blake in “A Study In Syllables”. For those relatively new to the world of Victorian detectives, Sherlock Holmes was just one of a small army of private consulting detectives of one type or another scattered throughout London. Tracking down the originals in publications like The Strand can be tedious but there are two separate series of books, both titled The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, which collect some of the better stories featuring the likes of Martin Hewitt, Dr. John Thorndyke, Max Carrados, Simon Carne aka Klimo, etc. Hugh Greene's The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes was also the inspiration for a two season TV series by the same name. The other Rivals book set was edited by Alan K Russell and contains 80 facsimiles of various Victorian and Edwardian detectives. (Personally I prefer the Russell set.)
[Detective Sexton Blake “appeared on the scene pretty much as Holmes went over the falls.”]
Scientific American blogger Jennifer Ouellette in “Sherlock Holmes and the Dynamics of an Asteroid” starts off on the amusing note: “As a die hard fan of Sherlock Holmes, I sometimes envy my (now former) SciAm co-blogger Maria Konnikova for figuring out to combine her love for Holmes with her field of psychology (cf. her bestselling book, Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes).” But Ms Ouellette is a welcome addition to that loose fraternity of writers/columnists from popular newspapers/magazines or more specialized publications like Scientific American who, whenever possible slip in some delicious Sherlockian tidbits up to writing a full blown article on some aspect of the Great Detective which is, presumably, of interest to their non-Sherlock Holmes obsessed general readership. The reigning king of this fraternity is of course Vincent Emerson Starrett, author of that seminal work The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes which arguably kick-started what we think of today as modern ‘Sherlockian Scholarship’. For a crash course in Starrettian column writing on Holmes, I advise you to pick up Sherlock Alive: Sherlockian Excerpts From VS’s Books Alive Column in the Chicago Tribune 1942 - 1967. But I digress: Ms Ouellette’s piece fits wonderfully in SA and does a terrific job summarizing some of the literature on Professor Moriarty’s magnum opus The Dynamics of an Asteroid, "a book which ascends to such rarefied heights of pure mathematics that it is said that there was no man in the scientific press capable of criticizing it?" (Chapter 1: "The Warning" from The Valley of Fear.)
[Atari’s 1979 hit video game Asteroids also ascended to such rarefied heights that no 12 year old in the 1980s could walk past a machine without shoving a quarter in - a brilliant scheme whose nefarious success would have made the Professor proud…that is, if it wasn’t the Professor himself who conceived, designed and implemented said plan while working from the shadows, beginning in 1891 after his reported death at Reichebach.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere looks at the rise of the Kindle and other e-readers in conjunction with Sherlockian culture (eg. Kindle Sherlock Holmes Readers), where a purported 1,700 Sherlock-related e-books exist to choose from. Last week saw the historic release of Leslie S. Klinger's The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes on Kindle, and just last week I received a set of iTunes ‘codes’ for downloading all the newest Sherlockian MX Publishing titles for review purposes - opposed to receiving a box of books; and as a final example, I’ve spent the last week systematically reading the digital scans of the entire run of Baker Street Miscellanea, a brilliant journal whose original editorial staff consisted of William D Goodrich, John Nieminski and Donald K Pollock, Jr, on a new iPad Mini; an experience I hope to repeat with The e-Baker Street Journal eBSJ v2.
["The Complete Baker Street Miscellanea on CD-ROM provides a complete run of this outstanding Sherlockian and Doylean journal. It includes all 76 issues from 1975 to 1993 as well as the two BSM author/title indexes.” Priced ridiculously low for $40 (!!) at The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, you should do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the BSM, then load it up on your iPad, preferably, sit back and read through three decades of Sherlockian scholarship, news and controversy which were just as remarkable, contentious and innovative as the present.]
The Norwood Builder (originally posted by ImJohnLocked) shared this marvelous map whose chief feature is everyone’s favorite London street: ”Baker Street: From Oxford Street to Regent’s Park and St John’s Wood.” The detail on this map, after clicking on enlarge, is fabulous and you can almost see Tiny Holmes and Tiny Watson trying to hail a hansom as they bounce from one London location to another.
[Or, one can imagine Tiny Watson walking back triumphantly from Tiny Latimer’s in Oxford Street where he just acquired a new pair of English boots followed by a trip to the Turkish baths to treat a flair-up of his rheumatism (and perceived old age).]
No Place Like Holmes announced the start of their fourth season with an episode entitled ”Dawn Of The Red” Part 1 (Se4xEp01). For those who’ve watched Ross K. Foad's Sherlockian web series up to this point: “Madeline Chambers and her villainous Red Headed League are still obsessed that something is not right about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. They have no council records, they is no trace of a passport or birth certificate, he doesn't appear to even have a library card. The league is convinced he can not be who he says he is…unluckily for the detective and doctor duo, Miss Constance believes she found a way to prove it…” (cue dramatic outro music!) Also check out Mr Foad's MX release Holmes In Time For Christmas (Xmas in August!) where “one fateful Christmas day Holmes receives a letter which prompts him to finally open up and enlighten his friend on one of the most harrowing and twisted cases he has ever investigated whilst working under the alias of Norwegian Explorer Sigerson during the Christmas of 1893.”
[Based on the 2010 Christmas Special of the hit Sherlock Holmes web drama comedy No Place Like Holmes.”]
Holmesosis dug up this fascinating quote from Simon Callow regarding Jeremy Brett: ”The superbly handsome Jeremy Brett, the regularity of his features made dramatic by a broken nose, the mellifluousness of his voice made arresting by a slight vocal impediment, presented a ravaged and romantic Holmes, a man who had suffered deeply and whose recourse to the syringe was the compulsion of a self-destroying temperament….” Read on, keeping in mind that Callow wrote the above in 2009 - fourteen years after Jeremy Brett had died - and be amazed at the sheer staying power which Brett possesses even in death.
[Jeremy Brett will always be the Sherlock Homes.]
Tea at 221B, in what has become one of my favorite irregular features of any Sherlockian blog, has found yet another gorgeous illustration by my favorite Canonical illustrator Frederic Dorr Steele. Discovered in that virtual goldmine that disguises itself as the digital collection of the The Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota Library. Depicting a scene from “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client,” FDS successfully captures the mood of Sherlock Holmes, Kitty Winter & Violet de Merville as Ms Winters categorically dresses down the deluded Ms de Merville as Holmes looks on approvingly.
[A defiant Kitty Winter to Violet de Merville: ”And you needn’t look at me like that, my fine lady.” (ILLU)]
The Crew of the S.S. May (Northern Ireland’s Sherlock Holmes Society) posted their Sherlockian “New Bulletin 132” with links to Stephen Fry - now you’re picturing Mycroft naked - discussing why he thinks Holmes was “both experientially and neurologically…wrong” regarding the attic room as mind analogy, a set of stories about the ‘fake’ BBC Sherlock scenes filmed to throw off the spoiler-hungry wing of the BBC fandom, an Anthony Horowitz's charity scheme involving the naming rights for a character in his upcoming sequel to The House of Silk, and more links which can be viewed by clicking here.
[Mycroft (Stephen Fry) and a blushing Mary Watson née Morstan played beautifully by Kelly Reilly.]
Sidgwicks posted a remarkable piece of Canonical art by Henry Lauritzen, which originally appeared in Sherlockiana in the mid-1950s in the journal of the Danish Baker Street Irregulars, consisting of four ‘line-ups’ of Canonical characters. Make sure to visit Sidgwicks blog for larger versions of all four rows, one of which is pasted below. The artist’s interpretation of each character shows a significant and impressive familiarity with the minutia of the Canon. I would love to own high quality prints of these drawings.
[The above Canonical line-up features: James Ryder, Joseph Harrison, Duke of Holdernesse, Jonathan Small & Tonga, Holy Peters, Hudson, Dr Leon Sterndale, Mortimer Tregennis, Jack Woodley and Colonel Lysander Stark. This series appeared originally in Sherlockiana (Vol. 1, Nos. 3-4) in 1956.]
MapBox is a web-based HTML5-built platform for creating custom maps and visualizing user data in an interesting, dynamic and aesthetically pleasing manner, as well as allowing users to connect/integrate various apps like Evernote, foursquare, etc. within the project. Whether or not that last sentence means something to you or not, I highly suggest watching their ‘Sherlock Tutorial' which breaks down “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" and presents the story in summarized chunks which are displayed on the screen while a map of London automatically moves from Canonical location to Canonical location driven by the part of the story you’re currently reading. For example, the Aldgate Station section is represented by a little train tunnel icon placed on it’s location on the map (cf. screen of the Aldgate Station section below) with the accompanying text: “Arthur Cadogan West was found dead, head crushed in on train tracks at Aldgate Station at 6AM Tuesday morning. West worked at Woolwich Arsenal on the Bruce-Partington submarine, a secret military project. Plans for the submarine had been stolen and seven of the ten missing papers were found in West’s possession. Mycroft implores Sherlock to take the case and recover the three missing papers.” Remember this is not meant to replace the story, but act as a ‘tutorial’ or summary of the story - but a summary with some cool bells and whistles. If you’re a certified crazy Sherlockian and your first thought after seeing this was “Well, how does it handle Canonical references that have been ‘disguised’ or obscured by Watson?” - then jump a few places ahead to 13 Caulfield Gardens - the swinging bachelor pad of master spy Hugo Oberstein - which didn’t exist in Kensington in 1895. A really cool web app/toy which if used in an interesting and intelligent way could truly augment and enhance a project, such as ‘ways to present the Canon to younger readers’. I’ll have Parker keep an eye on MapBox and let you know if any more Canonical maps are created.
[“It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London.” (Sherlock from REDH)]
Jerry Margolin, perhaps the greatest Sherlockian art collector of all time, asked that I alert the readers of Always1895.net to this very special opportunity: painted by artist SanJulian, this framed painting measures 20” by 24” and depicts five actors who have played Holmes over the years: Rathbone, Brett, Cushing, Downey and Cumberbatch. Mr Margolin is asking asking $1500.00 + shipping. For more information or to make a bid, please email Margolin at: email@example.com.
[You could wake up every morning and see this stunning, one of a kind painting on your wall.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
The Norwegian Explorers, when not planning or hosting life-changing, three day conferences, run a Sherlockian discussion group said to be one of the most scholarly and engaging study groups in existence. At their next meeting (9/21/2013), Starrettian extraordinaire Karen Murdock, editor of the indispensable Sherlock Alive (2011), will lead a discussion of “The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" as well as hand out door prizes.
[Sherlock Alive: Sherlockian Excerpts From VS’s Books Alive Column in the Chicago Tribune 1942 - 1967.]
* To find a Sherlockian event in your area, check out the SherlockianCalendar - maintained by Ron Fish with Sue and Ben Vizoskie of The Three Garridebs of Westchester Country, NY. If you are interested in posting an event to the calendar, please email the details to webmaster Ron Fish at RonF404@aol.com.
** If you’d like to see your event mentioned here on Always1895, please email me the name of your group/event, the details, contact info & web address Twitter, Facebook, etc. and any other info that should accompany the above.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (August 17 - August 23, 2013)
Peter Blau's Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press - the main inspiration for Always1895's “Friday Sherlock Links Compendium” - ”has been published monthly on ink-on-paper, with occasional illustrations and enclosures, for forty years.” Peter Blau, BSI (“Black Peter”), in his most recent list (July 13, 2013), mentions: Norman Schatell's brilliant The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes (MX), the Titan CBS Elementary tie-in novels, the soon-to-be-released “28-page tribute to a man who was admired by more than one generation of Sherlockians” The Sage of Sante Fe: The Adventures and Public Life of John Bennett Shaw (Oceanside: Sherlock in L.A. Press, 2013) by Susan Rice and Vinnie Brosnan, and much much more. Make sure to check out the Spermaceti Press Archive of newsletters dating back to 1985; and let us hope that one day the entire run of newsletters dating back to 1971 is made available.
[The above image is of Black Peter, Mr Blau’s titular investiture in the BSI and logo for Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press. For those of you rusty on your nautical/whaling terminology, “spermaceti" is a wax that is most often found in the head cavities of the sperm whale used to make candles and oils and ""scuttlebutt" is an appropriate pun, since it means gossip, and comes from the barrel (butt) of water used to provide drinking water for the crew of whalers and other ships." Learn more at the archive.]
Sherlock Peoria tinged his post with just a hint of romanticism when relating the story of “perusing the Sherlock shelves tonight, I noticed a section where the dust was noticeably thicker than every other part of the library. I like a little dust in my library, a bit of a tribute to [Wilder’s] The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, as well as a nod to every library of arcane lore on film, where that particular tome you were looking for always requires having the dust blown off the top after you pull it down….” And what valuable though neglected treasure does Mr Keefauver refer? None-other-than the various adventures - some might call them the apex of all Sherlockian pastiches - of Solar Pons! ”Solar Pons might even be seen as the greatest fan of Sherlock Holmes who never existed, re-creating the detective more perfectly than anyone ever did, in fact or fiction.” Born from the rich and prolific pen of August Derleth (1909-1971) who among other accomplishments was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1938, founded Arkham House in 1939 and was an early champion of the then obscure American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and the now classic “Cthulhu Mythos”. ”No other writer, of whatever background or training, knew and understood his particular ‘corner of the earth’ better than August Derleth” wrote professor of History William F. Thompson in his Forward to the 1985 reissue of Derleth’s non-fiction book The Wisconsin: River of a Thousand Isles (1942). Somehow between 1945 and his death in 1971 Derleth managed to write eleven Solar Pons story collections on his Arkham House imprint Mycroft & Moran, the first titled In Re: Sherlock Holmes” – The Adventures of Solar Pons (1945) whose Introduction was written by no less a personage than uber Sherlockian Vincent Starrett. Later Solar Pons collections would contain Introductions by equally eminent writers/Sherlockians such as Ellery Queen, Edgar W Smith, Anthony Boucher, Michael Harrison and Peter Ruber.
[The first edition cover for In Re: Sherlock Holmes” – The Adventures of Solar Pons (1945) containing an Introduction by Vincent Starrett on Derleth’s own Mycroft & Moran imprint published to the tune of 3,604 copies.]
Doyleockian in “A 3 or 4 or 5 pipe problem?” reminds us that “two of the most iconic elements of Holmes were provided by people other than the author,” the iconic deerstalker and the equally iconic ‘curved pipe’ or Calabash. The deerstalker is derived from a reference in BOSC to a “close-fitting cloth cap” which illustrator Sidney Paget interpreted as the now classic deerstalker. Read the rest of Mr Alistair Duncan's post to learn more about Holmes' preferences regarding tobacco pipes, none of which were the 'curved pipe' first made famous by actor William Gillette. And don’t miss Mr Duncan’s piece “The Villain I Want To See" on why BBC Sherlock Season 3 should include Chinese pottery expert, master scrapbooker and multiple murder Baron Gruner from “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client”. Mr Duncan even goes so far as to make a (rather controversial sounding) suggestion as to who should play the fiend: “my current idea, and I admit, it is a bit “out there”, would be to have David Tennant play Gruner. His ‘ladies man’ credentials are firmly established courtesy of Casanova and I think he would be an excellent Gruner.” Someone get Moffat on the line…
MX Publishing is hosting a book launch party September 26, 2013 in London for the release of David Marcum's latest collection of Sherlock pastiches The Papers of Sherlock Holmes Vol. 2 (MX, 2013) - and you can order Volume 1 here. Other MX authors such as Luke Kuhns, Ross K Foad and Tony Reynolds will be on hand to sign their books and talk Sherlock with attendees. Then on November 8, 2013 MX is hosting a BBC Sherlock and CBS Elementary book launch for Matthew Elliott and Luke Kuhns's The Immortals: An Unauthorized Guide to Sherlock and Elementary, a “companion to both the UK and US hit series, analyzing each episode (including the un-filmed pilot for Elementary), identifying trivia, offering criticism and considering Canonical fidelity.” For more up-to-date information about MX releases and events, check out MX on Facebook.
[Cover for The Papers of Sherlock Holmes Vol. 2 (MX, 2013).]
The Huffington Post (originally composed by Nathan Rostron for Bookish.com) article that I’m linking to is begging for me to ask the following question: What do Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Sue Grafton, Lee Child, John Grisham, Michael Connely and Scott Turow have in common with one of Always1895’s absolute favorite Sherlockians, historical mystery novelists and Baker Street Babes aka Ms Lyndsay Faye? They are all authors of books in the “11 Best Upcoming Mystery/Thriller Novels Of Fall 2013”! That’s some serious company - and this isn’t exactly an ‘off’ year for Stephen King considering his entry, Doctor Sleep, is an official sequel to the 1977 horror classic The Shining. “Lyndsay Faye caught the attention of thriller aficionados with her Edgar-nominated historical novel The Gods of Gotham, about down-on-his-luck Timothy Wilde, who joins the brand-new NYPD in the 1840s. In the second book in Faye’s Timothy Wilde trilogy, Seven for a Secret, Wilde has proved himself an able cop, and he’s horrified to learn of the powerful underground network of “blackbirders" who steal free black Northerners and sell them in the South as slaves." All I can say for now is that we’re quite proud of the "booming" of Ms Faye’s name and talents throughout the Mystery/Thriller world.
[Note the giant poster for “New Yorks gudar” hanging up in the background…that’s how Gods of Gotham is translated into Swedish - and that’s some serious promotion. Booming indeed! An accommodation goes out to Mr Mattias Bostrom for taking and posting the above photo via his @mattias221b account.]
Sherlock DC alerted me to the Sherlock Pajama Party Watch-a-Long, wherein participants 1) don their very best sartorial sleepwear, 2) tune in to WETA UK Wednesday, August 28 at 10:30pm for A Study in Pink (or synchronize their DVD players or AVI players on their computers), 3) drop-in at the Sherlock DC chat room where you can type chat or video chat (remember to make sure your PJs rivals the Master’s dressing gown, be they blue, purple or mouse) and 4) comment, critique, edify and/or amuse in the Sherlock DC chat room during the episode. Though this will be Sherlock DC’s first sleepwear-themed watch-a-long, the group hosts a weekly Granada Sherlock Holmes ‘tweet-a-long’ using the hash tag #GranadaHolmes. If you’re unfamiliar with what a tweet-a-long is, instead of using a chat room, everyone gets together virtually and watches the Granada Holmes episode while simultaneously tweeting about the episode. And last but certainly not least, on August 31st, 2013 WETA UK will be showing a film extremely close to my Sherlockian heart and soul, The Private Life of Sherlock Homes (1970) and of course Sherlock DC is planning a tweet-a-long. I can’t wait to read the raw reactions of Sherlockian neophytes on Twitter as they watch Robert Stephens assume his nuanced and brilliantly ambiguous role as the Great Detective.
[Holmes (Robert Stephens) searching for his 7% Solution which we learn Watson has been diluting to a mere 5% from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.]
The Younger Stamfords via Monica Schmidt (also webmistress for Peter Blau’s The Red Circle) announced “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) film screening September 23, 2013 at the Iowa City Library at 7:00 pm…the first in a series of Sherlockian film screenings/moderated discussions” by the Younger Stamfords. Best of luck to the burgeoning scene of Sherlockians in Iowa City as they kickoff a moderated Sherlockian film series with what I consider to be the greatest Sherlock Holmes film in existence (not to be confused with the greatest Holmes adaptation, which is of course Jeremy Brett's Granada series), Billy Wilder’s 1970 classic film featuring the remarkable Robert Stephens in the role of the Master Detective alongside Mycroft as played by one time Sherlock actor Christopher Lee.
[Watson (Colin Blakely) shows off his latest Strand publication to an unimpressed Holmes: Watson: “Here’s an advance copy of Strand Magazine. They’ve printed “The Red-Headed League!”” Holmes: “Very impressive…” Watson: “Would you like to see how I treated it?” Holmes: “I can hardly wait. I’m sure I’ll find out all sorts of fascinating things about the case that I never knew before…." (Click for PDF of full shooting script here.)]
John H Watson Society announced that longtime New Jersey Sherlockian Al Gregory, BSI, (“The Grimpen Postmaster”) recently appeared on Classic Movies with Ron MacCloskey in an extensive and excellent interview about all things Sherlock Holmes. The format of MacCloskey’s Classic Movies program consists of a long form interview broken up occasionally by the movie of the week which the guest and interviewer then comment on and discuss. For the Al Gregory episode, a colorized version (!?) of the Rathbone/Bruce film The Woman in Green (1945) is shown and discussed making for an unique and edifying experience for viewers of all levels of Holmes expertise. Totaling 1 hour and 33 minutes, this is a video you’ll want to carve out a bit of Sherlockian-me-time for as you sit back and listen to an expert Sherlockian discuss the topic nearest and dearest to his heart and then share in a movie viewing experience. (Note: when clicking on the link to watch the video you may get an “opening an external application” warning - don’t worry the link is safe and it simply opens up a video player (eg. Windows Media Player) on your computer.)
Tea at 221B posted scans of a set of Sherlock Holmes Playing Cards produced in 1989 by The Gemaco Playing Card Company. I’ve never seen these before, but I absolutely must find a set of these. Not only is the artwork well done, but the range of characters extends well beyond the usual choice of Canonical personages used for projects like this. As seen on Tea at 221B, Sherlock Holmes is the Ace of Hearts, Dr John H Watson is the King of Hearts (appropriately enough), Mrs Hudson is the Queen of Diamonds, Prof. James Moriarty is the King of Spades, Col. Sebastian Moran is the Jack of Spades, Mycroft Holmes is the King of Diamonds and Inspector Lestrade is the King of Clubs. After a few quick image searches, I found scans for the entire 1989 Gemaco Sherlock Holmes playing card set - and here’s where it gets really interesting: Jabez Wilson from REDH is the Red Joker, poor little Tonga from SIGN is the Black Joker. Aces: all four Aces are Sherlock Holmes though shown in different poses: Ace of Spades shows Holmes scowling with pipe and magnifying glass, Ace of Hearts shows Holmes playing his Strad, Ace of Diamonds has Holmes tinkering with his chemistry set and Ace of Clubs shows Holmes brandishing a pistol, presumably about to fire at the Black Joker card. Kings: all shown on Tea at 221B (though click for individual, hi-res images of each), the King of Spades is the fiendishly misshapen Napoleon of Crime Prof. Moriarty, the King of Hearts Dr John H. Watson, the King of Diamonds is Mycroft and the King of Clubs is Lestrade. Queens: here’s where the cards get super awesome - who else could be the Queen of Spades other than the Woman Irene Adler (in drag no less), the Queen of Hearts is of course Mary Morstan, the Queen of Diamonds is the long-suffering Mrs Hudson and the Queen of Clubs is Miss Hatty Doran (misspelled on the card as “Hattie Doran”) from “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" - no offense to Ms Doran, but I think Kitty Winters would have made a much better Queen of Clubs. Jacks: Col. Moran is the Jack of Spades, Jack Stapleton (aka Rodger Baskerville) is the Jack of Hearts, probably the coolest card in the deck is the Jack of Diamonds featuring Dr Grimesby Roylott with a ‘swamp adder' wrapped around his head ready to strike and last but certainly not least the Jack of Clubs, the most haunting card in the deck, features Col. Lysander Stark grasping a menacing looking cleaver. A framed set of all 18 of the illustrated cards would look glorious on my wall, but for now I’ll have to settle for these scans as supplied by one Albinas Borisevicius (credited on both Tea at 221B and the .EU site).
[As this post goes to press, I’ll have already written the Gemaco Playing Card Company begging/pleading for a set of these 1989 Sherlock Holmes playing cards.]
Midtown Comics posted this stunning illustration of Sherlock Holmes and Batman by Alex Maleev, known first and foremost for his work on Marvel’s Daredevil. The original piece currently resides in the legendary Sherlockian art collection of Jerry Margolin. At Comic Art Fans you can view 65 + extraordinary pieces from Mr Margolin’s collection, including Sherlock Holmes: Spiderman, Sherlock Holmes: Snoopy and a rather scandalous Cat in the Hat with 7% Solution drawing. If you want to learn more about Jerry Margolin and his history of collecting various Sherlockian objects, check out Episode 16: Collector’s Corner - Jerry Margolin of the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast.
[The Caped Crusader versus the other Caped Crusader!]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
Scintillation of Scions VII announced their first round of SOS VII speakers: Scott Monty, BSI (“Corporal Henry Wood”), Brad Keefauver, BSI (“Winwood Reade”) and Ashley Polasek - and if this group is any indication of what the esteemed Jacquelynn Morris has in store for SOS VII, attendees should prepare for a weekend of legendary Sherlockian proportions.
Priory Scholars of NYC have just announced a date, October 6, 2013, for their ‘Back To School’ Fall Session of the PSNYC which will take place at a brand new Manhattan venue (for us) called The Churchill Tavern, replete with all the trappings one might suspect from a British-style pub plus a variety of distinct Churchillian touches like the playing of WSC speeches in the bathrooms and a gigantic portrait of the World War II English Prime Minister dominating the fireplace room (cf. photo below). I have yet to find a definitive list of connections between the Great Detective and Winston Churchill, but I do know that during World War II Churchill nicknamed the Special Operations Executive, the group tasked with espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance behind enemy lines, the Baker Street Irregulars for their presumed ability “to go everywhere, see everything and overhear everyone.” (SIGN, Ch. 8)
[A small taste of the Churchill’s sumptuous decor rumored to rival that of the Amateur Mendicant Society’s luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (August 10 - August 16, 2013)
Last weekend I had the tremendous good fortune to attend Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place, a three day conference organized by the venerable Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections and the University of Minnesota. I’m saving all related #SHMN13 links plus my various reviews for posts later this week, but for now I’ll say that the experience was an incredibly inspiring one, and I hope to channel some of that inspiration into Always1895.net.
Wessex Press, purveyors of finest Sherlockian products such as Klinger’s (ed) Sherlock Homes Reference Library, Dahlinger’s, et al. (eds), Sherlock Holmes, ACD and The Bookman and Bill Rabe's Voices From Baker Street (2 CDs) to name just a few, announced that September 12 - 14th, 2014 in Indianapolis, IN. Sherlockians should mark their calendars for From Gillette to Brett IV: Basil, Benedict and Beyond, a conference which will feature “rare Sherlockian films, vendors, and an all-star roster of distinguished speakers, presenters, and events. The conference will be held on the beautiful campus of Indiana University at the Indiana Memorial Union. We are thrilled to present exclusive, 75th Anniversary screenings of Basil Rathbone's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) in the state-of-the-art IU Cinema.” Read about From Gillette To Brett III for a taste of what you can expect. I’ve actually never attended one of Wessex Press’ tri-annual FG2B conferences, but I’ve heard nothing but great things (“Gillette to Brett III Was Unforgettable!" - Dan Andriacco) and plan on being in attendance next September 2014.
[Basil vs Benedict - two men enter, one man leaves!]
Leslie S. Klinger appears to have Cthulhuian powers over the Internet - and not just because this annotating fiend is currently working on The New Annotated HP Lovecraft - this week alone we found his tentacles reaching into at least three corners of the net. Known primarily for his superhuman annotation skills, the uncanny annotator announced that his New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Volume Vol. 1, originally published by Norton in 2010 as part of a three volume set will be out on Kindle August 26, 2013, as well as other formats to follow; and presumably the next two volumes to follow as well. You can pre-order a copy and have it sent straight to your device or find out more information at Amazon. When not making an edifying and amusing keynote address at the Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place Saturday night banquet, Klinger was being interviewed by the University of Minnesota (click for video interview and text) on “Sherlock Holmes and the ‘New Sherlockians’” where he discusses early Sherlockian scholarship, his relationship to the Robert Downey Jr films and BBC Sherlock and why he thinks both are good for the Canon and his views on the newest generation of Sherlockians; concluding in the case of the latter that the great edifice of Sherlockian culture will not be brought down in one fell swoop by Cumberbatch’s cheekbones and that the future for Sherlock Holmes and the Canon is a bright one. And if making the annotated Canon more accessible and predicting the heath and continuance of Sherlockian culture wasn’t enough, Klinger’s Free Sherlock project posted the following update regarding Klinger vs the Conan Doyle Estate: “ACD Estate now has until September 10, 2013 to respond to our Motion for Summary Judgment; our reply due by September 30, 2013. Court will rule by mail.” Finally, don’t forget his “Basic Holmes Library" (kind of a Shaw 100 Klinger-style) posted last week for burgeoning Sherlockians looking to get deeper into the Writings Upon the Writing. Someone get this man a drink!
[Klinger just sitting around and not annotating and not waxing philosophical on the future of Holmes and not defending your right to write about the Master and definitely not compiling a list of essential Holmes-centric books. Clearly, all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained to Klinger’s office!]
Addicted To Sherlock posted the first trailer (with English subtitles) of the hotly anticipated Russian Sherlock Holmes (2013). At first glance, Igor Petrenko as Sherlock Holmes and Andrei Panin as Doctor John Watson seem to borrow rather heavily from the Robert Downey Jr. approach to the Great Detective: there’s lots of gun play, 19th century fight clubs and Victorian-style dark Satanic-looking rituals. On the other hand, this 2013 Russian adaptation will clearly pay homage to the brilliant 1979-1986 Russian series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson choosing to show Holmes and Watson as young men and even including a boxing match between the two using the 221B sitting room as their boxing ring. Again, judging just from this trailer, the dialogue (as subtitled into English) seems very familiar (in a good way) and the Victorian setting, though garish at times, also appears gritty enough to pass as our beloved London of the Canon where “the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses.” No word yet on when the new Russian Sherlock Holmes will officially air stateside, but at the very least it appears that we’re in store for an above average set of adaptations-cum-pastiches.
[Russian Holmes waking up Russian Watson from the soon-to-be aired Russian Sherlock Holmes (2013).]
Digital Spy posted the first BBC Sherlock ‘trailer’ for Season 3, and though it’s not wildly revealing, I still got goosebumps even though I sometimes pretend that ‘feels’ are “abhorrent to my cold, precise but admirably balanced mind”. The Digital Spy link also includes a link to an interview with your favorite trifecta of pain Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue and Mark Gatiss, who predictably (and thankfully) reveal absolutely nothing about Sherlock Season 3.
[We only have to wait until the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fourteen…]
Baker Street Journal's Steve Rothman teased @BakerStJournal's followers with a preview of the Fall 2013 cover of the BSJ: “Autumn issue off to the printer today. Here's a glimpse of its glorious cover. Guess which story…” My response (paraphrasing a certain detective): “@always1895 Appears that the Fall 2013 @BakerStJournal cover is meant to cause a healthy excitement among the train classes ie. John Baesch (BSI, “State and Merton County Railroad”) & Guy Marriott (BSI, “The Hotel du Louvre”)! A reader guessed the cover was for BRUC and was correct, though a jet-lagged Mattias Bostrom suggested the the cover was for “that one about the train cormorant” and Mickey Fromkin posted my favorite answer: “Going apocryphal with “The Lost Special”?” Tim Johnson, a very welcome addition to the Twitterverse who now has a brand new shiny Twitter account post- #SHMN13, replied to my “healthy excitement” post with: “Add me to the train classes. Grandpa J worked the Northern Pacific for 47 yrs and I have a model train layout.” If you don’t already, I strongly suggest subscribing to the BSJ immediately so as not to miss out on all the Sherlockian fun!
[There’s no doubt that the above cover for the BSJ Autumn 2013 issue is meant to cause a healthy excitement among the train/transportation classes within the Sherlockian world, namely John Baesch (BSI, ), Guy Marriott and Tim Johnson.]
John H Watson Society is directing a Canonically intense scavenger hunt called The First Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt. In other JHWS news, Mr Dan Andriacco announced that his article entitled “Doctor Watson, Detective?” has been accepted for publication in the inaugural issue of The Watsonian the scholarly journal of the JHWS: “Aspiring one day to become a journal with a small portion of the greatness of the Baker Street Journal or The Sherlock Holmes Journal, The Watsonian concerns itself with Traditionalist and Revisionist articles concerning John H. Watson, M.D. The editorial policy of The Watsonian is to have no editorial policy. The journal is open-minded and receptive to thoughtful as well as amusing articles. As always, By-Laws 1 and 2 must be honoured and good taste must be, at all times, in evidence. Initially, the journal will not be juried, rather all publication acceptance will be at the discretion of the Chair, the Director of Publications and Editor-in-Chief, and the Directors, all acting as the Editorial Board.” Exciting times!
[The Watsonian - journal of the JHWS.]
Green Bay Press Gazette interviewed director Kimberly Senior who is currently putting the finishing touches on Ken Ludwig’s new Sherlockian-infused comedy whodunit “The Game’s Afoot.” Q. What have you learned about Gillette or Conan Doyle you didn’t know before rehearsals started? A. ”I am so fascinated by individuals who borrow, and sometimes improve, the work of the original….William Gillette was an actor and playwright. He was the first person to adapt Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to the stage and played the iconic detective in more than 1,300 performances worldwide. Gillette is a featured character in “The Game’s Afoot”. A special pre-show chat with author Henry Zecher, who wrote William Gillette, America’s Sherlock Holmes, is set for Aug. 28.” (Thanks to Ray Wilcockson for the tip!)
[The famous William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes caricature by ‘Spy’ from Vanity Fair (1907).]
Special and Rare on a Stick, the blog of ‘The Man With the Greatest Job in the Universe’ whom regular readers will recognize as Tim Johnson, curator of The Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota Library, shares his observations as a neophyte Twitter user: “I have no idea what finally triggered my conversion. Perhaps it was an unrealized need to be part of a larger conversation (or in this case a specific conversation connected with our Sherlock Holmes conference).” Regardless I, along with many other Sherlockian-minded Twitter users, very much welcome Mr Johnson to the never ending 140 character dialogue as he assumes the appropriate guise of @UMBookworm.
[Bookplate of John Bennett Shaw from the Sherlock Holmes Collection.]
Baker Street Babes in anticipation no doubt for BBC Sherlock Season 3 announcement that actor Lars Mikkelsen will play the role of the Master Blackmailer, released Episode 43: Charles Augustus Milverton Appreciation: “The worst man in London. The blackmailer. That guy from Jurassic Park that gets eaten by the shaky dinosaur thing. That douchebag. It’s Charles Augustus Milverton and we love to hate him. Join Babes Curly, Lyndsay, Melinda, Ardy, Maria, Taylor, and Amy as they discuss the case, the man himself, the adaptations, and the historical figure behind Milverton.”
[“Do you feel a creeping, shrinking sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in the Zoo and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that’s how Milverton impresses me. I’ve had to do with fifty murderers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the repulsion which I have for this fellow.” (CHAS)]
Christopher Morley Literary Estate is just one of the many reasons Sherlockians should consider using Facebook if they have yet to make the plunge, or have registered but have yet to explore the popular social networking platform. Would ‘Kit’ have created a Facebook profile? Let’s pretend he had a FB for a moment: just imagine what his friends page would look like (Edgar Smith, Vincent Starrett, Chris Cella…though I’m sure Alexander Woollcott's friend request would be left pending indefinitely) or his groups (The Three Hours For Lunch Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, Saturday Review of Literature, Grillparzer Sittenpolizei Verein, etc etc.) or his timeline (1934: birthday party for the Master at the Hotel Duane, 1936: ‘friends’ Edgar Smith, 1944: ‘likes’ Trilogy Dinner event, 1946: Adrian Conan Doyle ‘unfriends’ Morley, 1947: states there will never be another BSI dinner, 1948: comments with a “:(” on Smith’s posting of a “committee-in-camera” BSI dinner, 1949: changes relationship status to BSI as ‘It’s complicated’, etc.). Oh what could have been….
[Morley’s latest profile picture on Faceook.]
Bartitsu Club of NYC announced that their next training session will be this Sunday, August 18 at 11:30 am at The Society for Martial Arts Instruction (SFMAI) - RSVP on their Facebook. “A reporter and photographer from The Epoch Times will attend. They plan to run a feature story about Bartitsu. The Epoch Times is distributed in 35 countries in 21 languages, so it’s a good opportunity to promote Bartitsu to an international audience.” There’s also a seminar on August 25th in New Jersey.
Sherlock Scion Links:
ASH Wednesdays based out of NYC and open to all is the monthly, informal meeting of the storied Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, the oldest women’s Sherlockian society in the world - though of course open to the males of the Sherlockian species as well. I’ve been attending ASH Wednesdays for a while now and if you’re looking for a gentle first time Sherlockian meeting experience, you absolutely cannot go wrong with ASH. Meetings usually consist of 15 to 25 male and female, young and old, neophyte and experienced Sherlockians hanging out in the relaxed environs of a NYC Irish Pub. Discussion spans the Sherlockian world but often veers well outside Holmes-centric topics and ranges over literature, Star Trek (I’m looking at you Nick!), movies, cooking recipes, baseball (Go Cubs!), suggestions for surviving any number of apocalyptic scenarios, cats, cats, cats and anything and everything else that strikes our fancy. The next gathering is September 4, 2013.
[UPDATE] The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes have canceled their August 31, 2013 meeting due to a temporary health issue of one of it’s leaders. I’ve been reassured though that the Chatham, NJ scion society will reschedule for some time in late Fall 2013 with Canonical discussion maestro Dr Bob Katz once again conducting his symphony of Sherlockian opinions and speculations. Personally, I’ll be awaiting the Return of the Epilogues with baited breath.
* To find a Sherlockian event in your area, check out and bookmark one of the most useful Sherlock Holmes resources on the Internet: the www.SherlockianCalendar.com - maintained by the indomitable Ron Fish as well as Sue and Ben Vizoskie of The Three Garridebs of Westchester Country, NY.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (July 27 - August 2, 2013)
Only one week to go until Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place in Minnesota! I hope to see many of you there. For those Sherlockian Twitter users posting from the conference or following from home, it’s been officially decided that the hashtag #SHMN13 will stand for Sherlock Holmes Through Time & Place. See you soon!
221B Con - “Watsons Through Time” (52:10) “Recorded live at 221B Con, this panel was all about all the Watsons through ALL OF TIME! Well, as much as we could fit in just under an hour. Panelists were Kristina Manente (Curly), Ashley Polasek, Eddy Webb, and Roane.” The original panel subtitle was “From ladies’ man to comedic buffoon, how have representations of John Watson changed over time” and the panelists do a great job weaving current and vintage Sherlock Holmes adaptations in along with the Canon. An overarching theme is - predictably but alas still necessary - the ‘Watson is not stupid’ theme, and of course plenty of time is spent discussing, analyzing and giggling about the Sherlock and John (BBC Sherlock first names rule applies here) dynamic. The word on the street (OK, on Twitter) is that a few more 221B Con panels are set to be released - I’ll put 6,000 pounds (though “I am a poor man”) that “Fandom: What the Hell is Wrong With Us?” wins out.
[At some point, you’ll develop a soft spot for Nigel Bruce so don’t be too harsh on him now.]
Sherlock Peoria begins “Watsons Through Time and Gender” by commenting on the above 221B podcast ”Watsons Through Time”: “It’s a good podcast for anyone to listen to, but I’d especially recommend it to those who think the new Sherlockians are all airheaded Cumberbatch swooners. A lot of good thoughts can be heard there from the panelists and the audience, as well as the recognizable voice of Howard Ostrom, Sherlockian film expert extraordinaire.” Brad Keefauver's foray into the topic of 'Watson and Gender' is motivated by a phenomenon he noticed occurring during the 221B panel discussion: “Watson was being defined by his relationship with Holmes as much as any other characteristic, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the charm of a given Watson didn’t prejudice the view of that relationship just a tad…” Read on for Keefauver’s insights into the changing role of Watson, and in particular how said changes might be motivated by a gender shift within the Holmes world.
[Confirmed bachelor John H Watson?]
221B: The Sherlock Holmes Web-Series is developed by Filmmaker Carter deLaat and features, for all intents and purposes, the first Sherlock Holmes adaptation featuring a female Sherlock: “It’s 1891 and military doctor, John Watson has returned home to England after a long and dangerous Afghanistan campaign. Seeking lodgings at an affordable price, he finds himself at 221B Baker St. Where he meets a young, volatile, brilliant and eccentric woman…named Sherlock Holmes…While not the grand Sherlockian mystery most are used to, 221B emphasizes the domestic side of the mystery solving duo, often leading to comedic, puzzling and dangerous results. Giving a fresh perspective to the English Icons.” Episode One: No Place Like Holmes was released on Vimeo (a free video streaming site like YouTube) on July 23, 2013 and Episode Two: Fire Trap was released this week. The series will consist of five episodes total each with a running time between 5 and 8 minutes. Check out 221B: The Sherlock Holmes Web Series blog for new episodes, bios, extras and more.
[Promo poster for 221B: The Sherlock Holmes Web Series.]
Leslie Klinger, scholar, attorney, annotator, editor, liberator of the Canon and Sherlockian celebrity “was asked today to suggest my favorite books for a beginning Holmesian collector/scholar. Here’s the list that I created for my UCLA Extension class on “Sherlock Holmes and His World,” which will be on October 26 this year. Click to download a PDF of Klinger’s: The Cornerstones of a Definitive Collection - which seems to be a condensed version of The Shaw 100 - and includes many of my personal favorites such as D. Martin Dakin’s A Sherlock Holmes Commentary (1972) and Edgar Smith’s Profile by Gaslight: An Irregular Reader About the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1944). In related news, Klinger just officially announced his next publishing project: The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, set to hit bookstores (and my shelves!) in the Fall of 2014.
[The day I found Profile by Gaslight for the insane price of $5 was one of my happiest book buying days ever.]
Dan Andriacco posted reviews of his two most recent releases: The Disappearance of Mr James Phillimore reviewed by The District Messenger, newsletter of the venerable Sherlock Holmes Society of London, and The Amateur Executioner reviewed by fellow mystery author Kathleen Kaska. I have yet to read Andriacco’s novella about Mr James Phillimore (“who, stepping back into his own house to get his umbrella, was never more seen in this world” from THOR), but I have had the pleasure of reading The Amateur Executioner (co-authored with the equally talented Kieran McMullen) which can best be summed up as a virtual who’s who of London during the Edwardian era. On a side note, for a ranking/discussion of some of the most intriguing sounding untold Holmes cases, see the website of Mr Randall Stock and his The Top 10 Untold Tales of Sherlock Holmes. Also, congratulations to Dan ‘Dutch’ Andriacco for having received his official John H Watson Society certificate of charter membership - my mailbox and I (ie. Baron) were also recently honored with a JHWS certificate.
[Cover of Dan Andriacco’s The Disappearance of Mr James Phillimore on MX.]
Better Holmes & Gardens reviews Paul D Gilbert's “The Annals of Sherlock Holmes, (2013, Robert Hale Press) a collection of three stories inspired by canonical references (to both unpublished cases in Dr. Watson’s dispatch box at Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, and fringe characters from published stories).” The first story is “The Dundas Separation Case”, a tale inspired by a reference made in “A Case of Identity”; the second story explores just what the meaning is behind those famous lines “the depth to which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day” in ”The Abernetty Mystery" from "The Six Napoleons;" and in the final tale we see Watson reunited with Mrs. Cecil Forrester, former employer of Mary Morstan, in ”The Adventure of the Reluctant Spirit." Gilbert’s previous, well-regarded pastiches include The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes, The Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes and The Giant Rat of Sumatra. Ms Jaime Mahoney in her review gives high marks to Gilbert’s latest dive into Watson’s (seemingly infinite) Tin Box: “Gilbert has summoned a Sherlock Holmes who is in full possession of his powers, and does not hesitate to use them completely. His Watson is at equal turns admiring and exasperated, but always at the Detective’s side. Everything about them is authentic and familiar, as comfortable as a visit to Baker Street and an old dressing gown."
[Gilbert’s distinct cover art in a style that can be seen on many of his books.]
Free Sherlock, Sherlockian annotator and defender of the faith Leslie S Klinger's blog devoted to updates regarding Klinger vs the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., summarized the latest legal developments in this historical case and posted a variety of related documents (Eg. for a good time click to download a PDF of Stamped Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment): “Following the entry of a default order against the Defendant, Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd., Leslie Klinger has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asking that the Court enter a judgement against the Estate” - which I assume cam only mean that we’re very close to seeing just where future pastiche authors and other creators of Holmes -related and -inspired content stand in relation to the Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. For a variety of opinions regarding this case from around the internet, see Free Sherlock’s Opinions page.
Peter Cushing Blog and the related Peter Cushing Facebook contain a wealth of information and pictures, as well as contests and other fan-related hijinks, on the late, great Peter Cushing. Sherlockians of course know him best for his adaptation of the Great Detective: first in 1959 for the Hammer films’ adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, then in the late 1960s for BBC’s Sherlock Holmes and finally his 1984 Sherlockian swan song The Masks of Death. In 1971, Cushing also recorded an unabridged version of The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Mr Cushing was also in a little movie from 1979 called Star Wars as Grand Moff Tarkin.
[Peter Cushing has a posse!]
[Part of me really loves this image, but another part of me can’t help but feel a little creeped out by the scene - which kind of makes me love it even more.]
Sherlock Holmes For Dummies's Steve Doyle dug up this old newspaper ad: “I love vintage advertising like this, which is a 1970s-era magazine ad for the airing on WHAM-TV (Rochester, New York) of the Basil Rathbone Holmes films. The Rathbone films syndication package was pretty common back then, and many Sherlockians of a certain age credit their entree into the hobby with weekend TV viewings.”
[“Sherlock Holmes: Is the old man as harmless as he looks? Could he be guilty of a hideous crime? Be in on the excitement when Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr Watson (the late Nigel Bruce) solve even the most baffling mysteries….Every Sunday [in] your living room!”]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (July 20 - July 26, 2013)
A Requiem For Sherlock Holmes announced dates for a staged reading happening this coming weekend August 8th - 10th, 2013 at WorkShop in NYC by PGM Productions. More about PGM: “One could say the ‘creative trust’ of PGM was informally born over a friendly glass of Scotch. On the evening of January 18, 2012, WorkShop Theater Company members, Paul Singleton, Greg Oliver Bodine and Michael Selkirk met at The Players on Gramercy Park to discuss partnering on a Sherlock Holmes play that Greg would write, with Paul and Michael in the iconic roles of Holmes and Watson….it was agreed that Greg should adapt two Sherlock Holmes stories, “The Final Problem" and "The Adventure of The Empty House”. Learn more by following PGM on their Facebook page. And for a preview, check out A Requiem For Sherlock video. Lastly, those Sherlockians who attended The William Gillette Memorial Luncheon during BSI Weekend 2013 were treated to a short but brilliant five minute teaser featuring the epic scene when Holmes and Moriarty first meet (ie. “All that I have to say has already crossed your mind…” FINA). To be clear, this weekend’s performance is not the final play, but simply a read through - the actual performance is scheduled for sometime in 2014.
[Note that the flier features a depiction of a black arm band reportedly worn by Londoners after “The Final Problem" appeared in The Strand (December 1893); to find out more about black mourning arm bands, the ‘death’ of Sherlock Holmes and whether or not they are “apocryphal”, check out the next link re: Peter Calamai.]
Baker Street Journal - for those that missed the actual letter from Peter Calamai regarding post-FINA ‘apocryphal’ black mourning bands in the BSJ Spring 2013: “The first person offering proof (as judged by your Editor) of Londoners wearing mourning bands upon the publication of “The Final Problem” in response to Sherlock Holmes’s ‘death’ wins a year’s free subscription to the Journal.” Peter Calamai’s (the 2012 Morley-Montgomery Memorial Award winner) challenge has inspired many of us to conduct searches through various online newspaper archives starting from December 1893 - the publication date of FINA in The Strand - but so far it’s all been for naught. It appears that John Dickson Carr's reference in his The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to men wearing mourning bands post-FINA, is in fact apocryphal and/or some sort of literary urban legend.
[Cover of the BSJ Spring 2013 issue wherein Peter Calamai dropped the proverbial mourning band gauntlet.]
Dan Andriacco recently picked up three issues of the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine: “SHMM is a blend of mystery fiction and non-fiction, some but not all of which has Sherlockian connections. It is edited by veteran mystery writer and anthologist Marvin Kaye, who recently agreed to buy for the magazine an article that I wrote on Rex Stout and Sherlock Holmes.” I’ve been seeing advertisements for the SHMM quite a bit recently and have wondered if I should add it to my current stable of Sherlockian-centric subscriptions (ie. Baker Street Journal, Sherlock Holmes Society Journal, The Serpentine Muse). Mr Andriacco’s review is the first SHMM review I’ve read so far, and it’s positive enough that I might have to at least pick up an issue or two. So far, my favorite SHMM cover I’ve seen is the below illustration of Holmes, the hound and a young maiden who is probably supposed to be the daughter of the yeoman from HOUN.
[The SHMM Shop is having a special at the moment where one can buy six issues for $55.00.]
Westminster Libraries by way of announcing the recent move of the Sherlock Holmes Collection from the Marylebone Library to the Westminster Reference Library, published an irregular observation ”The Case of the Leicester Square Furniture Van”. Their tale begins: “[it] was in July ’13 that Sherlock Holmes and I left our old rooms near Baker Street for the last time. Impending redevelopment and building work would bring major improvements for habitués, but we had to move elsewhere. It was not without a tinge of sadness that I surveyed the 150 crates into which our books and artefacts were packed, re-locked the 6 massive bookcases and checked the other furniture ready to be loaded on to the lorry…” Visiting the Sherlock Holmes Collection, now housed at Westminster, is definitely on my Sherlockian bucket list.
[Westminster Reference Library is a specialist public reference library in London’s West End and is the new home of the Sherlock Holmes Collection, Third Floor, Westminster Reference Library, 35, St. Martin’s Street, London, WC2H 7HP.]
My Tin Dispatch Box reviewed Death on a Pale Horse: Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Donald Thomas. Quite a promising sounding pastiche, the grandiose titled Death on a Pale Horse is described as a “thrilling military adventure which pits Colonel Rawdon “Hunter” Moran, elder brother of Colonel Sebastian Moran, against Sherlock Holmes and presents danger to Dr Watson. We see both Holmes take on Moran from the safe confines of Baker Street to continental Europe, culminating in a climatic showdown in the English Channel.” The British Government aka Brother Mycroft makes an appearance in the guise of the British Secret Service, essential to defeating Moran and restoring a piece of honor back to the British army and the British Empire.
[Death on a Pale Horse by Donald Thomas.]
Barefoot on Baker Street muses on the differences between BBC Sherlock and Granada’s Sherlock Holmes and compares and contrasts the two shows by framing them through the brain of her 15 year old stepson who enjoys reading the Canon (via his Kindle) and BBC Sherlock but for whom “the gentle world of Victorian London with its telegrams and steam trains couldn’t be further from his modern life…” Ms Walters accepts some of the inherent, quasi-generational differences between the two shows, but concludes: “I’m not making comparisons and happily love both interpretations, but it’s my Granada box-set I turn to when I really need a Sherlock Holmes fix." Indeed!
Granada Brettish Holmes, speaking of getting one’s Granada Sherlock fix, posted one of my favorite ‘modern’ Sherlock posters of all time. This particular poster, designed by artist Paul Davis, was used for Granada’s The Master Blackmailer (1993). I’ve seen a few of these posters in real life and they’re very large and even more arresting in the proverbial flesh.
[Click the above image for the full sized, two part awesomeness that is this modernist rendering of Grananda’s Sherlock Holmes!]
Culture Shot, who clearly gets their Sherlockian fix via BBC Sherlock, might have published the last word on BBC Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch in “Feed your Ben-addiction with this comprehensive guide to Cumberlovin’” by Cumberbitchin’ fangirl Caitlin Kelley, who is a staff writer for The Daily Californian. Ms Kelley points out that “fangirling over Benedict is not just about adding the prefix “Cumber-” to any word until it loses any meaning it already didn’t have. Being a fangirl is about appreciating every aspect about him that you can glean from his public image. And I’ve done in-depth, ahem, research to help you develop your Cumbercrush…” And she’s not lying. Cumber-punning aside, this article features BC in various states of undress (and even in a dress), video interviews of BC being “serious”, clever, ridiculously charming, hilarious and any other trait one might find in a denizen of Mt Olympus. If you’re going to read just one article all year about the guy that plays Holmes in the BBC modern adaptation of the Sherlock adventures, let this be the one.
[Personally, I think Robert Downey Jr. looks better in a dress than BC, but that’s just one Sherlockian’s humble sartorial opinion.]
Sherlock Peoria considers the day-to-day experience and surprises of living with your post-pruned Sherlockian library - specifically about how it is practically impossible for a Sherlockian library to be 100% Christopher Morley-free. Like Tribbles, the books by “the first Sherlockian super-fan, Christopher Morley" - Keefauver’s post is worth reading just for that apt description - are always lurking somewhere in or near the library of a Sherlockian (eg. Parnassus on Wheels). Having written considerably more non-Sherlockian material than actual books about Sherlock Holmes, it’s easy to find yourself with a mini-Morley library of books that really have nothing to do with Holmes yet due to said ‘first super-fan’ status, are tacitly allowed to live in the general vicinity of the Sherlockian neighborhood. Well, Mr Brad Keefauver took a stand and tried to liquidate all his Morley books (“to live with a fellow Sherlockian who is enjoying him anew”), only to trip over four overlooked Morley books a few days later - lending credence to the notion that the bookshop is haunted.
[I’ll never tire of saying this, but one book no Sherlockian should be without is Steven Rothman's collection of essential Morley writings on Sherlock Holmes The Standard Doyle Company.]
Sherlock Holmes Society of St. Charles discovered artist Larry Gosser whose Drawing Room project hosts his series “Sherlock Holmes Casebook: Famous Crime Scenes” featuring really incredible renderings of Holmes’ most famous cases, or more specifically, illustrations depicting the main scene of the main crime from a given story. For example, the Silver Blaze Crime Scene depicts John Straker’s body sprawled out on the moor with key features carefully labeled (eg. “horse shoe tracks”). As a bonus, Sherlock Holmes has been drawn into most of the scenes where he is usually smoking a pipe and/or making that scowling ratiocination face one might employee while viewing a crime scene. One of Mr Gosser’s best pieces in the series is his Hound of Baskervilles Crime Scene which is framed by the giant footprint of a gigantic hound. (Update: Larry Gosser is the artist of this fabulous work, and John Foster is the the proprietor of the Sherlock Holmes Society of St Charles.)
[“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”]
Sherlock. Everywhere. reposted an item from Cracked.com’s ‘If 40 Famous Movies Had $50 Budgets’; imagine Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows if Guy Ritchie's budget was cut down from $125,000,000 (yes, that's 125 millions of dollars) to $50 (via @pawkysherlockianhumor).
[Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows via @pawkysherlockianhumor.]
Sherlock Prom is happening this Saturday July 27, 2013 for those in the NYC area: “The event is Sherlock Prom, a Sherlock Holmes themed prom event right here in New York City! There will be music and dancing, food, a small viewing area which will be playing various Sherlockian shows and movies, a photo booth, and more! It’s generally a prom party, but the theme is Sherlock Holmes, and that will be reflected in a lot of the decorations and activities….Tickets are $15 for General Admission, and $25 for VIP.” And it’s not all fun and games afoot, because proceeds from Sherlock Prom will go towards the non-profit Pathways to Housing NY.
[Click to get your tickets for Sherlock Prom 2013!]
Priory Scholars of NYC still has 4 or 5 seats available for their Sunday meeting ‘Summer Session 2013’ (July 28, 2013), but please RSVP if you plan on attending. Come prepared to get deep into “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" and win prizes ranging from a Sherlock t-shirt to comics to books.
Jamie Mahoney, during this week’s #GranadaHolmes watch along Twitter session, co-hosted by @Sherlock_DC and friends, punctuated a discussion about Jeremy Brett's performance in The Boscombe Valley Mystery with the below image that’s best left to speak for itself. If you’re interested in joining in on the virtual Granada watching hangout session, mark your calendar for Thursdays at 8pm (EST) and look for the #GranadaHolmes - and click to see what else my fellow Granadianphiliacs and I had to say about BOSC.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (July 13 - July 19, 2013)
The Baker Street Journal's Summer 2013 issue recently appeared in our mailboxes bringing joy to Sherlockians the world over, and for those with a particular fascination for the Altamont phase of Holmes’ career, an extra special treat lay within the familiar yellow wrappers illuminated with a gorgeous portrait of Holmes/Altamont which originally appeared on the cover of Collier’s Weekly Magazine (September, 1917) from the brush of my favorite Canonical illustrator Frederic Dorr Steele. As always you can read an online version of Steve Rothman's latest “Editor’s Gas-Lamp” to wet your appetite. If you’re not a current subscriber to the BSJ, I strongly suggest procuring the very reasonable $38.50 yearly subscription rate and treating yourself to the greatest (ir)regular Sherlockian publication on the market (since 1946).
[Baker Street Journal Summer 2013 (Vol. 63, No. 2).]
I Hear of Sherlock released Episode 54 of their IHOSE podcast featuring an interview with columnist and psychologist Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind, on ‘mindfulness’ and other related mental techniques employed by Holmes in the course of his adventures. Ms Konnikova is an excellent spokesperson for Psychology, particularly when conveying some of the fundamental concepts of Cognitive Psychology by way of the Canon. Make sure to subscribe to Konnikova’s Scientific American column ‘Literally Psyched’. Next, Mr Wolder and Mr Monty discuss one of my favorite collections of early 20th century, pre-BSI/BSJ era writings - in this case 1895 to 1933 - on Holmes and the Canon, Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle and The Bookman, edited by noted Sherlockian scholar S. E. Dahlinger and annotator extraordinaire Leslie S. Klinger on Gasogene Books. Following their chat about The Bookman, it is announced that IHOSE’s sister website The Baker Street Blog has begun syndicating the Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (ie. what you are reading right this very moment!) and that in future episodes of IHOSE, listeners can expect to hear Matt Laffey (he wrote in the third person…) deliver a range of short audio segments on everything from summaries of recent Sherlockian news items to hard hitting, on the ground reporting from various Sherlockian meetings, soirees, conferences, parties and hootenannies. Episode 54 ends with a traditional reading from the BSJ’s “Editor’s Gas-Lamp” though instead of dusting off a decade’s old issue, Steve Rothman's piece from this Summer's issue (Vol. 63, No. 2) is used. Another great episode made even more memorable by Monty and Wolder’s extremely kind and generous praise of Always1895 as well as the announcement that I’ll be contributing regular audio pieces to the podcast - an honor that’s particularly amazing considering IHOSE was one of the primary gateways into contemporary Sherlockian culture.
[Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle and The Bookman (2010) ed. by S.E. Dahlinger & Leslie Klinger published by Gasogene Books.]
BBC News announced what might truly be one of the final nails in the coffin of the Victorian Age: “India’s last telegram will be sent on Sunday night as the country’s state-run telegraph service shuts down….The telegraph service started in 1851 when the British East India Company built a 30-mile (48km) electric telegraph line from the city of Calcutta to its suburb of Diamond Harbour, primarily for official use. Over the next few years, telegraph lines were expanded to cover the entire country and in 1855, the service was opened for public use.” Unsurprisingly, India’s not the first country to stop offering telegram service: Australia shut down it’s telegram service in 2011 (though “in the Victorian town of Beechworth, visitors can send telegrams to family members or friends from the Beechworth Telegraph Station.”), along with Ireland in 2002, New Zealand in 1999 and Nepal in 2009. Surprisingly, one can still send telegrams in the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, the United States and Mexico (where “telegrams are still used as a low-cost service for people who cannot afford or do not have access to e-mail.”) Check out the worldwide status of telegram services for a complete listing. We of course know how Holmes would feel about this sad state of affairs, Watson once having remarked that Sherlock “never been known to write where a telegram would serve" (DEVI).
[“An answer had arrived to Holmes’s telegram before our Surrey officer had returned. Holmes read it and was about to place it in his notebook when he caught a glimpse of my expectant face. He tossed it across with a laugh. “We are moving in exalted circles,” said he. The telegram was a list of names and addresses…” from “The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge”]
Sherlockology and BBC America both reported on the first ever BBC Sherlock panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con: “To a packed out crowd of over 4,000 people in the huge Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center, producer Sue Vertue and co-creators / executive producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss discussed the peculiarities of their take on Conan Doyle’s famous novels, the increasing popularity of the show across the globe and the gratification of working with actors who have, since the series began, gone on to become major Hollywood stars.” First off, that attendance figure is not a typo - a reported four thousand (4,000) SDCC attendees were present to hear Vertue/Moffat/Gatiss flex their wit, praise ACD and elevate question avoidance (eg. “How did SH survive the fall…”) to an art form. To make up for the conspicuous (or inconspicuous, depending on how you see the world) absence of Cumberbatch and Freeman, the crowd was shown a specially recorded video featuring the dynamic duo.
[Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and Sue Vertue ‘hanging out’ with 4,000 of their closest friends at SDCC this past week (July 2013).]
Baker Street Babes' Kristina Manente posted a highly entertaining review of her SDCC experience, specifically the Sherlock Panel and the SherlockeDCC party. Ms Manente's post is packed with links related to the SDCC Sherlockian madness as well as some great photos of attendees and some very special surprise guests.
[Mark Gattis wearing a crown and Kristina of the Baker Street Babes at the SherlockeDCC party.]
MTV Geek - an MTV ‘subsidiary’ I didn’t know existed until just now - ran their own odd little Q&A with Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Sue Vertue regarding BBC Sherlock Season 3. The interviewer seems a bit overly focused on getting Moffat and Gatiss to ‘react’ to various ‘crazy’ and ‘wacky’ BBC Sherlock fandom stuff (eg. Mystrade), while also seeming not to realize how ‘in touch’ Moffat/Gatiss/Vertue are with the Tumblr/Twitter/etc. world. One particularly odd tentative de provocation seems to be the interviewers total misunderstanding of Sherlock fans’ use of “feels” (eg. “Reichenfeels”) coupled with the BBC fandom’s habit of affectionately referring to Moffat as a Troll: MTV Geek: “Obviously fans get very into Sherlock. Many have accused you of “destroying their feelings”. What would you like to say to those fans?” Gatiss: “Well, I haven’t. We haven’t. Conan Doyle made everyone wait ten years to find out what happened to him. We left it five minutes between saying he was dead and saying he’s not dead. I think that’s not cruel. I think it’s actually quite kind.” Check out the (BBC) Sherlock Fandom Glossary and learn things you never knew existed.
We Recycle Movies announced that July would be Sherlock Holmes Month and that “in honor of my favorite detective, and with extreme personal bias, here are the three great adaptations that will consume the rest of July:” 7/13: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942), 7/20: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) and 7/27 BBC Sherlock. “In order to best compare these films, I decided to create a game of my own: Sherlock Bingo! Each square has a trope of the Sherlock story, so we can tick off the various allusions as they appear.”
Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes maintained by Glenn Schatell, son of Norman Schatell, the author of The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes: The Sherlockian Artwork of Norman Schatell (2013) on MX, has a ton of artwork samples and info about Mr Schatell who passed away 30 years ago. But due to the dedication and handwork of his son Glenn, this labor of love is finally seeing the light of day.
[Thirty plus years in the making.]
Peter Blau's Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press June 2013 issue is available for perusing and overflowing with Sherlockian news/info from far and wide including: crime writing festivals, Holmesian theater adaptations, books on Victorian clothing patterns, scion events and much, much more. Bookmark Mr Blau's Scuttlebutt from the Spermacetti Press site if you haven’t already.
Buddy2Blogger explores various Canonical references (42 points in total) from BBC Sherlock Season 1, Episode 2 The Blind Banker. For example, in point # 6, ”The character of Sebastian [Wilkes] seems to be based on Reginald Musgrave, based on his body language and dressing sense. Here is how Sherlock describes Musgrave in “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual”: “He had changed little, was dressed like a young man of fashion - he was always a bit of a dandy - and preserved the same quiet, suave manner which had formerly distinguished him. You can follow @Buddy2Blogger on Twitter and/or read his blog at Buddy2Blogger.blogspot.com. (Thanks to Mr Ray Wilcockson for the tip!)
[On the left is Sydney Paget's illustration of Reginald Musgrave from MUSG and on the right is Sebastian 'Seb' Wilkes from BBC's The Blind Banker.]
Barnes & Noble Blog in “Six Books to Fill the Sherlockian Void” attempts to ease the withdrawal pains of the vast legion of BBC Sherlock fans who have been waiting for an eternity (at least in Tumblr years) for (“the mythical, unicorn-status”) Season 3 by suggesting six Sherlock pastiches. My two favorite pastiches listed on here are Kim Newman's Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urberville (basically, the Canon seen from the perspective of Sebastian ‘Basher’ Moran) and Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson (a pastiche which could only be written by a seasoned Sherlockian). On a related note, I hope it goes without saying - since the author of this piece never mentions it - that those afflicted with an idée fixe regarding BBC Sherlock should, first and foremost, read the entire Canon if he/she has yet to do so. And if you’ve read all the stories once or still have a few unread stories to go (lucky you!!) I highly suggest re-reading the Canon using one of the four main annotated editions: Baring-Gould’s Annotated Sherlock Holmes (2 vols), Oxford Sherlock Holmes (9 vols), Klinger’s Sherlock Holmes Reference Library (Gasogene, 10 vols) or Klinger’s New Annotated Sherlock Holmes (Norton, 3 vols). If you’re on a tight budget, you can probably find the Baring-Gould two volume set used (VG/G condition) for $10 to $15. If you need a second opinion, check out the first comment from one Leslie S Klinger: “When in despair, read the Canon! Certainly Mr. Moffat is! What better time to start all over again, with A Study in Scarlet?”
[A typical page from Baring-Gould’s Annotated Sherlock Holmes.]
Wear Sherlock announced the release of recreations of the BBC Sherlock Series 2 striped set mugs, which are now available to purchase at the Wear Sherlock Mug Store. What on earth are the ‘Series 2 striped set mugs’ you ask? The Beginners Guide to the Sherlock Fandom has the somewhat disturbing answer: “The stripey mugs nearly broke Tumblr as a result of the sheer volume of crack that they produced. During the filming of series two, this photo [see below] was taken on the set and at some point ended up on Mark Gatiss’s Twitter. Showing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s matching mugs full of tea (and revealing that Martin Freeman apparently takes milk in his). With the hiatus getting to them rather pitifully, the fandom spun this photo into its own universe of mug-porn, mug-fanart, mug-replicas, and mug jokes. There is literally fanfiction written about these mugs. It is beyond reason…” This is precisely where the ‘Sherlockian Kool-Aid’ was meant to be drunk from; and even if you think the BBC Sherlock Tumblr fandom is insane, these still make handsome mugs.
[Above is the recreation of Benedict’s Mug. Click to see the recreation of Martin’s mug.]
Top Gear - UK car show and “the world’s most widely watched factual television program” - recently featured Mr Benedict Cumberbatch in a ten minute segment whose conversation ranged over BC’s first car (it was a British made Mini) to the proper way to fake a punch for the cameras as well as a fascinating factoid about BC’s actress mother, Ms Wanda Ventham, who played Colonel Virginia Lake in the cult 1970′s science fiction television series UFO (1970-73) among a myriad of other TV shows and movies. Incredibly, she appeared in 13 episodes of Doctor Who from 1967 to 1987, playing three different characters, a different one in each decade (1967, 1977 and 1987). The segment ends with BC driving around a race course in a segment called “The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car”. Overall, an entertaining, if slightly surreal, ten minutes of TV.
[Wanda Ventham, Benedict Cumberbatch’s mom, in a super fancy car as seen on Top Gear.]
[Captioned image from the Sherlock Holmes story “The Naval Treaty.”]
Tea at 221B posted a great illustration by Charles Raymond Macauley from a 1905 edition of “The Adventure of the Priory School”: "I must have a peep through that, Watson. If you bend your back and support yourself upon the wall, I think that I can manage." An instant later his feet were on my shoulders. But he was hardly up before he was down again. "Come, my friend," said he, "our day’s work has been quite long enough. I think that we have gathered all that we can. It’s a long walk to the school, and the sooner we get started the better." (PRIO)
[Charles Raymond Macauley’s illustration for “The Adventure of the Priory School”.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (July 6 - July 12, 2013)
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page's Don Hobbs gave a special talk on Collecting Sherlock Holmes at a recent Mensa meeting in Fort Worth, TX to about 75 attendees, many of which weren’t Sherlockians but none-the-less: “The attendees could not have been more responsive. They laughed in all of the right places, asked intelligent (pun intended) questions and showed genuine interest. My allotted time of seventy-five minutes flew by so fast that I actually skipped over a few of the paragraphs of my talk. Afterwards, one of the attendees told me that it was the best and most interesting talk he had heard so far at this meeting. Considering that some of the talks included “Has the Onion Outlived its Usefulness?”; “Spiritual Exercise Light”; and “Friendly Delicate Bridge” I am not sure if this was a compliment or an insult. Another one said that when a room full of Mensa Member all clap, that is a great accomplishment. I was pleased.” And though I would like to know if the onion has in fact outlived it’s usefulness, I would very much like to read/hear Mr Hobbs’ entire talk - let’s hope he decides to post the contents of ‘Collecting Sherlock Holmes’ sometime soon. In the meantime, enjoy this interview with Don Hobbs on collecting Sherlock Holmes translations. Q: How did you first get started collecting? Hobbs: “I have always been a collector. I believe one either has the collector gene or not. I am the former.”
[Don Hobbs addressing 75 brainiacs on the finer points of collecting Sherlockiana.]
Romantic Chamber of the Heart re-posted (originally in Russian) a set of photos and some information about the upcoming Sherlock Holmes (Russian 2013 TV Series): “This series will return the Russian audience to 221b Baker Street, where we meet Holmes and Watson. Their roles will be played by Igor Petrenko and Andrey Panin…The writers of the show decided to add to the outline of the story their amusing details. For example, Holmes doesn’t smoke a pipe, Watson just came up with it for his notebook. Professor Moriarty (Alexei Gorbunov) and charming Irene Adler (Lyanka Gryu) confront the genius investigator.” For those surprised that a brand new adaptation of the Great Detective is being produced for a Russian audience, I suggest familiarizing yourself with the original (and totally brilliant) Russian Sherlock Holmes series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1979-1986) featuring two of the best Holmes and Watson team-ups of all time: Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin; Mr Livanov’s interpretation of Holmes was so admired that in 2006 he “became an honorary member of the Order of British Empire for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.” For an excellent introduction to the original Russian series as well as a detailed episode guide, make sure to read through the Russian Sherlock entry at Baker Street Dozen. If the 2013 Russian Holmes adaptation is any where close to being as good as the original Russian Holmes, then we’re in for a treat indeed!
Sherlock. Peoria. shares his sincere delight in this review of the latest Baker Street Babes podcast, Episode 42 - Lestrade Appreciation. “There are great little stories on actors who played Lestrade, the evolution of prostitutes in Ripper movies, the historical perspective on the Scotland Yard inspector, and “an audio description of a painting of a statue.” For those who think the Babes are overly fond of BBC Sherlock, I would note that they make it fifty minutes into the episode before that particular topic even comes up. But they quickly get back to the Canon and Paget drawings of Lestrade and their contribution to the characters." For a full transcript of the Babes’ 42nd episode, click here.
Sherlock DC announced that “Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC Sherlock) and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary) will be screening Monday January 6, 2014 and Monday January 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC.” Just what exactly does it mean that they are ‘screening a play’? The National Theatre Live project is a four year old program consisting of HD broadcasts of National Theatre plays projected onto cinema screens around the world. The presentations were originally performed live in London and filmed in high definition, and subsequently edited/produced for presentation exclusively by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. To learn more about NTL visit NationalTheatre.org. Tickets for the Sherlock DC sponsored screening of Frankenstein go on sale Monday July 29, and there are planned Sherlockian DC meet-ups (details TBD) after both showings. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP and offer any meet-up logistics input. For readers unfamiliar with the original Boyle play, the roles of Dr Frankenstein and his Monster were played by the two contemporary actors who are each currently portraying the Great Detective in their respective Sherlock series’. Frankenstein's world premier was on February 5, 2011, prior to casting for Elementary, leading to this bizarre coincidence, made even stranger by the fact that either role is interchangeable, meaning the two Sherlockian heartthrobs take turns playing either the doomed Doctor or the ill-fated Monster with each other.
The Norwood Builder often responds to reader’s questions with lengthy and knowledgeable replies on various Canonical and supra-Canonical subjects. Recently a reader asked about the various disguises employed by Holmes over the years, and the Norwood Builder rose to the occasion with an extremely thorough response: “firstly, I’ll have a look to all the main canonical episodes in which Holmes impersonated this or that other figure, and then I’ll close with some general considerations about Sherlock Holmes’ acting abilities.” The following disguise categories are used to organize his response: 1) Clergymen, 2) Manual labourers, 3) Women, 4) Old and/or sick characters, 5) Seamen and 6) Foreigners. One of the great pleasures of the Canon is imagining Holmes donning one of his numerous disguises, his mastery and virtuosity causing Watson to remark in “A Scandal In Bohemia" "The stage lost a fine actor, even as science lost an acute reasoner, when [Holmes] became a specialist in crime."
Markings run by Ray Wilcockson recently took a look at the Holmes adaptation that many Sherlockians, even in the age of Cumberbatch, consider to be the apex of Sherlock on screen: “I know I am not alone in often spotting some little treat I hadn’t noticed before in a repeat viewing of one of Granada’s classic episodes of Sherlock Holmes. They are truly evergreen. The artistry of Jeremy Brett has much to do with this, but honours must surely be shared with some inspired screenplays and production values. Together they created what are at times masterpieces. As Holmes observes in the Epilogue to Valley of Fear: ‘You can tell an old master by the sweep of his brush.' The closer you look at this series the more authentic and well-executed it appears. With this post I am opening a place to collect some of this fine detail. I'll add to it as and when, advertising new entries.” I look forward to reading Mr Wilcockson's observations regarding Jeremy Brett's genius in his portrayal of the Great Detective.
Bartitsu Club of NYC is co-hosting their ‘Third Annual Antagonistics Weekend’, July 27-28 - Join the Bartitsu Club of NYC as we learn about 19th century fighting arts in North America in both the cities and the frontier. Topics include the Bowie knife and how it got its name, and the fierce Irish faction fighting of the mid-19th century - the infamous “Gangs of New York.” 19th-century civilian combatives, including Bartitsu and pugilism, will also be explored. The seminars will be taught by historic combat expert Mark P. Donnelly, Professore di Armes. Attend either or both days as well as our Saturday Evening Social in historic Lower Manhattan. No martial arts experience required. A study in self-defense and in history! More info at NYC Steampunk.
[You can RSVP on their Facebook page here.]
Video Tribute to Moriarty ‘Let It Rock’ was brought to my attention via Brad Keefauver's 'Jim Moriarty & Living in the Future’, a post that not only celebrates the genre of fan ‘video tributes’, but also argues the point that we live in the best possible of all Sherlockian worlds: “Well, here’s the even cooler thing about this day of Sherlockiana we live in. If you get out on YouTube and start browsing, eventually you’re sure to find something that you do agree with…Our world has gotten that expansive. And I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time.” Fan video tributes - essentially, edited clips from a TV show set to music - can be an acquired taste, but every now and then a truly remarkable one appears on the scene. ‘Let It Rock' may not be your style, but I'm willing to bet there's at least one fan video out there that would float your Aurora.
[Moriarty and Holmes relishing the last moments of their final dance.]
Doyleockian posted a translated version of his recent interview for French paper Le Figaro: What do you think of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock? Alistair Duncan: “Every actor brings something different to the role of Sherlock Holmes and Cumberbatch is no exception. Although his Holmes is more abrupt than the Holmes of the books it is, perhaps, a more apt portrayal for the setting than the original Holmes would be. I think for a contemporary Sherlock he is perfect.” Read the entire translated interview here.
Better Holmes & Gardens thoroughly reviewed Granada’s The Man With the Twisted Lip: “in the original short story, after a few hours of sleep at the St. Clair residence, Watson (and therefore, the reader) is awoken by Holmes’s shout of revelation, to find the Detective still smoking and in much the same contemplative position as he was before the Doctor drifted off. Holmes has solved the case, but the readers do not get to witness the actual epiphany. Granada’s adaptation remedies this omission by having the audience witness Sherlock Holmes while in the midst of his method. Immersed in the golden light of a slowly rising sun and subtle clouds of tobacco smoke, the Detective sits in a meditative state.”
[Jeremy Brett portraying one of Paget’s greatest illustrations from “The Man With the Twisted Lip" - click image for the original.]
Dan Andriacco continues his musings on Holmes and the Press, this time reflecting on the surprisingly few times Holmes actually placed advertisements: “Sherlock Holmes doesn’t place advertisements in newspapers as often as you might think — and certainly not nearly as Nero Wolfe. I count only five times in which he took out an advert, from key actions in A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four to an ad that finds no takers in “The Naval Treaty,” to a passing mention in “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax.” Most memorable for me is the scene in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle…” Another excellent post from the author of the McCabe/Cody cycle.
Tea at 221B dug up this very obscure yet very cool Granada Television Postmark which apparently was “a special postmark which was used specifically for all correspondence about the Sherlock Holmes series.”
[How cool would it be to receive a letter with the above postmark affixed to the envelope?]
The Baz, the Tumblr version of The Baz: a Basil Rathbone blog, posted this fantastic illustration of Rathbone as the Great Detective. You can also follow this most excellent Rathbone-themed blog on Facebook. Click image below for a much larger version:
[Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes.]
The Game is On, a Sherlock pub quiz, happens this weekend on Saturday July 13, 2013 from 2pm to 7pm at the Way Station in Brooklyn, NYC. Fill out their RSVP form to join in on the fun - and if I can move a few obligations around I might even be in attendance for what sounds like an excellent way to while away an afternoon.
Priory Scholars of NYC is nearing ‘sold out’ territory for their Summer Session 2013 meeting happening on July 28 at East of Eighth in Manhattan. Contact Headmistress Judith Freeman ASAP to reserve your spot at the intellectual smorgasbord that is the PSNYC discussion and quiz. REDH is the assignment, so re-read and come prepared.
The John H Watson Society continues to expand announcing a number of exciting additions to their ledgers (to name a few): Dan Andriacco of Baker Street Beat blog, Steve Rothman editor of the Baker Street Journal, Don Hobbs collector and blogger, and Kieran McMullen pastiche author and blogger who I believe has actually been to Afghanistan in a soldiering capacity. Exciting times to be a fan of the one fixed point in a changing age! Read Dan ‘Dutch’ Andriacco’s recent post about the JHWS.
[The man, the myth, the legend…Dr John H Watson.]
The Denver of the Secret Nine - celebrators of “PG Wodehouse at altitude” - announced that the “second meeting of The Denver of the Secret Nine will be July 14th at 12:30 p.m. at Pints Pub in downtown Denver,” which is of course on Bastille Day.
The Sound of the Baskervilles is a scion society of the BSI based out of Seattle, Washington - and also happens to have one of the cleverest Sherlockian pun names, imo - whose next monthly meeting is August 18, 2013, though they have a John H Watson Picnic planned for July 20th (see all events here). The SOB’s (as they affectionately refer to themselves) monthly newsletter, Ineffable Twaddle, is packed with Sherlockian bits of info, news, trivia and happenings.
221B Con assured attendees of the first annual 2013 221B Con in Atlanta, GA. as well as those interested in partaking in future 221B Con activities to “fear not over our recent radio silence! We have been working hard on your 2014 221B Con experience and hope to have some exciting announcements for you in the near future.” Make sure to follow @221bcon for up-to-date announcements leading up to opening day April 4, 2014.
[2014 221B Con happening on April 4 - 6, 2014.]
ACD Passed Beyond the Reichenbach on this Date, July 7th, 1930
Arthur Conan Doyle, doctor, writer, father, spiritualist, failed politician, champion of the wrongly incarcerated, Knight Bachelor and Literary Agent extraordinaire, died on this date July 7th, 1930. Though I’ve never heard reference to - apocryphal or otherwise - Londoners donning black mourning bands in honor of ACD, there is no doubt his death, and by extension life, was memorialized in newspapers and magazines the world over. (Two years ago I posted an ACD obituary scan from the Lawrence Journal-World.)
To commemorate ACD’s death this year, I found a scan of "In Memoriam: Sherlock Holmes," (the first part displayed below) published on August 2, 1930 by Christopher Morley, from the storied locus of early Sherlockian studies The Saturday Review of Literature (click for a PDF of the entire essay):
You can also read Morley’s “In Memoriam Sherlock Holmes” in one of my favorite books of all time, Steven Rothman’s The Standard Doyle Company: Christopher Morley on Sherlock Holmes (Fordham University Press, 1993). Mr Rothman is the current editor of the Baker Street Journal, a publication that burgeoning and hardcore Sherlockians alike should all be subscribed.
[Do yourself a giant favor and pick a copy of Rothman’s The Standard Doyle Company; it’s a book that completed my conversion from Sherlock Holmes beginner to full-blown Sherlockian obsessive.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (July 1 - July 5, 2013)
Mattias Bostrom was interviewed this week on Baker Street Beat by Dan Andriacco about Mr Boström’s recently published Från Holmes till Sherlock (“From Holmes to Sherlock” in English). Mr Boström’s opus, though currently only available in Swedish, is already causing quite a stir in the Sherlockian world. Like Mr Andriacco, I was fortunate enough to have received an inscribed copy of what is one of the finest looking Sherlockian books published in the last few years - and going by just the end notes and bibliography (which are mostly in English), it’s overwhelmingly clear that the book I’m holding is a meticulously researched scholarly love letter to ACD and his most famous creation. Boström answers questions on how he first discovered ACD and Holmes, how he came to write Från Holmes till Sherlock, what his research practices are, if/when we can expect an English translation and the level of popularity of Sherlock Holmes in the Scandinavian countries. A fascinating interview which will leave Sherlockians wanting more: “In my book I present some previously unknown facts regarding the years when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was alive, but in the later half of the book there are big chunks of unknown facts.”
[Mattias Boström, BSI “The Swedish Pathological Society”.]
Oxford Press announced an intriguing sounding ACD-centric release titled Conan Doyle: Writing, Profession and Practice (2013) by Douglas Kerr, set for release in late July 2013. Conan Doyle is described as: ”A critical study of the writings of Arthur Conan Doyle and a cultural biography, this is a book for students of literary and cultural history, and Conan Doyle enthusiasts. It is a full account of all of his writing, and an investigation of the role of the author as he practiced it, as witness, critic, and interpreter of his times….The subject of this study is what Conan Doyle knew - the knowledge of his own culture, its institutions and values and ways of life, its beliefs and anxieties, which is created and shared by his writing. The book is organized according to a number of cultural domains - sport, medicine, science, law and order, army and empire, and the spiritual life.” The author Douglas Kerr is Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong and has previously written books on George Orwell, the English soldier-poet Wilfred Owen and Eastern Figures, a fascinating sounding study of Orient and Empire in British Writing in the 19th and 20th centuries. I’m a fan of much of ACD’s non-Literary Agent work, particularly his short stories from The Strand and other magazines collected in The Best Supernatural Tales and Uncollected Stories: The Unknown Conan Doyle and look forward to this comprehensive study of Doyle qua author.
[Cover for Conan Doyle: Writing, Profession and Practice.]
Baker Street Babes, who can be found at their new online home Libsyn (bakerstreetbabes.libsyn.com) as well as AudioBoo (“still a work in progress”), released their 42nd podcast episode “Lestrade Appreciation”: “Detective Inspector Lestrade doesn’t get the credit he deserves, so we’re here to fix that! Join Curly, Lyndsay, Melinda, Kafers, Ardy, & Sarah as we discuss and coo about our favorite Lestrades, how he’s important to Holmes, how to pronounce his name, & who our favorite Lestrudels are. Yes, Lestrudels.” To find out what on earth a ‘Lestrudel’ is, give Episode 42 a listen and join in on the Lestrade-a-thon madness!
[Lestrade, still dubious regarding “the Napoleon bust business again,”, looks on as Holmes acquires the final bust from the steadfastly honest Mr. Sandeford, of Reading. In a few moments Lestrade will commend Holmes for his workmanlike job in acquiring the famous black pearl of the Borgias: “”Well,” said Lestrade, “I’ve seen you handle a good many cases, Mr. Holmes, but I don’t know that I ever knew a more workmanlike one than that. We’re not jealous of you at Scotland Yard. No, sir, we are very proud of you, and if you come down to-morrow, there’s not a man, from the oldest inspector to the youngest constable, who wouldn’t be glad to shake you by the hand.”” (SIXN)]
Post-Meridian Radio Players are the public face of Hub of the Universe Productions, a radio drama company out of the Boston area doing live shows before an audience in the style of old time radio. They did a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles during the Summer of 2012 - you can listen to an eight minute sample of their HOUN production here - and this summer they’ll once again bring the Great Detective to the stage with an adaptation of The Sign of Four! Opening night is July 11th, 2013 at 8pm at Responsible Grace in Somerville, MA., with six showings throughout the month of July. I’ve had a listen to their online sample of HOUN and their approach to interpreting the Canon is both faithful and humorous, making fine use of a full cast, mood-inducing music and judiciously chosen old time radio-style sound fx.
[Click image for more info about PMRP’s stage adaptation of SIGN and click here for a sample of their previous adaptation, The Hound of the Baskervilles.]
Book Reader’s Heaven posted the first blogoshere review of Lyndsay Faye's Seven For a Secret. “The complexity of this novel is what keeps readers’ attention! Just when we mystery lovers are on the scent, we are confronted with an entirely new political or criminal issue with the normal police actions taking place. Timothy is so engrossed in fulfilling his promise that he disrupts court proceedings, is involved with the murder of another Copper Star, as well as being forced to attend a political function, dressed up in clothes bought for the occasion by his brother…and then being kidnapped himself and taken, beaten, and sentenced to death by a small group of politicos!” Like I said last week, if you enjoyed Ms Faye’s Gods of Gotham, Seven For a Secret will put you right back into the action and squalor of 1850s NYC,
[Timothy and Val Wilde and their Copper Star friends and enemies are back for another round of intrigue, murder and mystery!]
Tea at 221B discovered this “unpublished photograph from an unused scene. In the Granada episode, we only see Holmes tying a turnoquite from a back shot, his arm out. He covers his arm as Watson walks in and unsuccessfully hides the cocaine…” Granada’s Devil’s Foot is one of my favorite adaptations of one of my favorite Holmes stories, and this scene sets the tone for precisely where Holmes is in relation to his habit at the start of the episode; later of course we watch as Holmes discards his syringe and ‘solution’.
[“Now I knew that under ordinary conditions he no longer craved for this artificial stimulus, but I was well aware that the fiend was not dead, but sleeping; and I have known that the sleep was a light one and the waking near when in periods of idleness I have seen the drawn look upon Holmes’s ascetic face, and the brooding of his deep-set and inscrutable eyes.” Watson from MISS.]
Baker Street Blog posted a lengthy and thought provoking piece by contributor James O’Leary that deals with various aspects of the ongoing Klinger vs. ACD Estate case. Making sure we’re all on the same page, Mr O’Leary begins by explaining what’s at stake with an extensive quote from the Free Sherlock (ie. Team Klinger) site: “Klinger seeks to have the Court determine that the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson are no longer protected by federal copyright laws and that writers, filmmakers, and others are free to create new stories about Holmes, Watson, and others of their circle without paying license fees to the current owners of the remaining copyrights.” Almost every Sherlockian I’ve spoken to about this case has at least a moderately strong opinion regarding what the outcome should be (though most are pro-Klinger), but there is apparently a segment of pro-Klinger stalwarts whom “have taken the Free Sherlock movement to heart. They have “taken up arms”, spiritually if not financially, with Klinger and see the seal of the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. as something undesirable” - in short, they have called for a boycott of Sherlockian ‘products’ that feature the Estate seal. When asked about this boycott, Klinger responded “While I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think that a boycott is fair. Many licensees have been pressured into obtaining licenses, and not everyone has the freedom (that is, the time or the money) to stand up to the Estate’s bullying and threats of blocking sales. I do have a problem with flaunting “authorized” status, as in the case of The House of Silk" (cf. Klinger’s review in The Globe and Mail of House of Silk and argument against ‘flaunting’ here). I strongly encourage you to read the entire piece.
Sherlock. Everywhere. posted a fascinating, online interactive map of selected Sherlock Holmes sites throughout London. The map is based on The London of Sherlock Holmes (MX) by Thomas Bruce Wheeler and features over 31 select Sherlock Holmes sites in London, including canonical locations such as Simpson’s on the Strand (mentioned in DYIN and ILLU) and Lauriston Gardens (STUD); or Sherlockian places of interest such as the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 239 Baker Street, NW1.
[Spend some time virtually exploring the London of Sherlock Holmes.]
No Place Like Holmes, the website of Sherlockian video reviewer Ross K, is rolling out a set of videos from the Great Sherlock Holmes Debate 4 which took place on June 8, 2013 and examined “What The Current Media Adaptions Contribute to the legacy of Sherlock Holmes”. The current videos available cover: Introduction/Opening Remarks regarding the scope of the GSHD 4; and presentations about: 1) The Warner Bros Franchise; 2) “The Russians" (ie. the upcoming Fall 2013 Russian adaptation), 3) Big Finish Audio (ie. Nicholas Briggs as Holmes in a variety of audio adaptations of the Canon) - with five more videos to come. Each video is about 7 minutes long and acts as an informative summary of each major, contemporary Holmes adaptation across a variety of mediums; and taken as a whole, the videos provide a nice overview of how ‘we’ are interpreting Holmes in the beginning of the 21st century, over 125 years after the Great Detective’s first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual, 1887.
[Still from “The Russians” presentation featuring Watson (Andrei Panin) in the Fall 2013 Sherlock Holmes Russian adaptation. Sadly, Mr Panin died unexpectedly on March 7, 2013 in his Moscow apartment.]
The Guardian mentioned a new Holmes pastiche: “Critic Nick Rennison is a Sherlock Holmes expert with a special interest in the copycat sleuths who sprang up in his wake. So it is no surprise to find him pastiching Conan Doyle in Carver’s Quest, the first of a projected series starring amateur archaeologist Adam Carver and his runtish manservant Quint…” From the Goodreads synopsis: set in 1870 (which would make Holmes about 16 years old), it’s ”an elaborate mystery which comes to centre on the existence (or not) of a lost text in Ancient Greek, one that may reveal the whereabouts of the treasure hoard of Philip II of Macedonia.” (Thanks to Brenda for the tip!)
[A young Sherlock Holmes teams up with archaeologist slash detective Adam Carver “from the foggy streets of London to the bandit-infested wilds of Greece…”]
Baker Street Beat in ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Agony Columns’ considers the frequency in which characters in the Canon place and respond to newspaper ads as well as Holmes’ acute awareness of the importance that these cryptic, and often desperate, lines of type represent. “He seems to have regarded “the agony columns,” what we now called classified ads, and news stories as equally file-worthy.”
Entertainment Weekly notes that BBC “Sherlock is going to San Diego Comic-Con for the first time, bringing PBS’ Masterpiece cult hit to the fan convention later this month. The panel will include Steven Moffat (co-creator, executive producer and writer), Mark Gatiss (co-creator, executive producer and writer) and Sue Vertue (producer).” Unfortunately, EW also confirms that Sherlock will not make it’s American Season 3 debut until 2014.
Ray Wilcockson posted this very cool piece of art by “Albert Morrow (1863-1927), an Irish poster designer who created this Hound of the Baskervilles cover for Strand Magazine.” Read more from Mr Wilcockson at his Markings blog.
[Albert Morrow cover for HOUN.]
Tea at 221B dug up this delightful behind-the-scenes Granada photo of Jeremy Brett from the set of what I assume to be The Hound of the Baskervilles.
[Click for a larger version of JB displaying his single stick prowess against an unknown opponent.]
The Game Is On is a Sherlockian gathering happening in Brooklyn, NY on July 13th from 2pm to 7pm. Click for the RSVP form for ”The Game is On: A Sherlockian Meet-Up At The Way Station” - 683 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, New York 11238.
Baker Street Blog to Syndicate Always1895’s Friday Sherlock Links
I have some exciting news on the blogging front: Scott Monty, BSI “Corporal Henry Wood” the social media guru, Sherlockian podcast auteur and all around excellent Holmes propagandizer made an announcement on Friday on the Baker Street Blog regarding some new additions to the site:
"As we prepare to combine our work here with that of [I Hear of Sherlock], we thought it was time to expand our editorial offerings. We still have a fine lineup of authors who occasionally pitch in with excellent contributions from the corners of the Sherlockian world that grab their attention.
Now we add Matt Laffey to that list. If you don’t know Matt, he is a dedicated Sherlockian from Brooklyn with an eye toward the online world and an affability that makes him excellent company at gatherings in the offline one. In short: a classic Sherlockian. His web site Always1895.net is a treasure trove of material, with a weekly feature that he calls “Friday Sherlock Links Compendium.
To us, that means that he’s somewhat of a modern-day weekly Peter Blau. And we’re proud to welcome Matt and his weekly contributions here on our site…”
The first Always1895 + Baker Street Blog post was last week under the appropriately chosen Canonical quote ”I hammered away until Friday.” (STOC) Needless to say I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to a site that I’ve been reading since the beginning of my interest in all things Sherlockian as well as an inspiration in starting my own Sherlockian-centric blog. As always, please send all Sherlockian-related info to email@example.com. Thanks for reading!
[As my friend Lyndsay Faye said regarding this joint venture: “Epic combo!”]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (June 23 - June 30, 2013)
The Norwood Builder has fearlessly plunged headfirst into that - to paraphrase Watson - great cesspool into which all the obsessives and pedants of Canonical Studies are irresistibly drained; that is he’s attempted to construct a chronology of ACD’s Canon, from scratch: “this is, naturally, only my personal timeline: I intentionally avoided going back to my Baring-Gould or other chronologies, compiled by other people, so as not to be influenced.” Let us pause for a moment and remember those intrepid Sherlockian madmen, scattered throughout the 20th century, who have attempted to piece together a coherent ‘linear’ timeline of events in the Canon: H.W. Bell in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson The Chronology of Their Adventures, Jay Finley Christ in An Irregular Chronology Of Sherlock Holmes Of Baker Street, Gavin Brend in My Dear Holmes: A Study in Sherlock, Ernest Bloomfield Zeisler in Baker Street Chronology: Commentaries on the Sacred Writings of Dr. John H. Watson, William Baring-Gould in The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and my personal favorite D. Martin Dakin in A Sherlock Holmes Commentary. Sherlockian scholar John McGowan put together an extremely useful online “Index of Internal Chronologies" which compares/lists each chronologists’ datings of the sixty stories from the Canon. I look forward to studying this intensely detailed chronology at length this weekend.
[A small sampling of The Norwood Builder’s comprehensive and impressive chronology - where it’s always 1895! Click for the entire document.]
BBC News (and The Evening Standard) announced an upcoming exhibit ‘Sherlock Holmes’ set to open in 2014 at The Museum of London exploring the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and London. The exhibit “will “look beyond the familiar deerstalker, pipe and cape” in search of the “real, complex and multi-faceted” Sherlock Holmes. It claims the show will “mirror the way he used his own remarkable observational powers and analytical mind to reveal the truth”. The Great Detective is clearly ‘so hot right now’ with curators considering the epic sounding International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes opens this Fall at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry as well.
[A Hansom Cab Stand by P. Stahl. Oil on canvas, 19.7 x 25 cm Collection: Museum of London.]
Britain’s Secret Homes on ITV is a new British show “which reveals the stories of the people and houses that have changed the history of Britain and the world.” In the very first episode Stonyhurst College, the Jesuit school which Arthur Conan Doyle attended, was featured. I haven’t had a chance to view it yet but Alistair Duncan posted a piece that was highly critical of the episode saying that “it was not exactly right to imply that the [Stonyhurst library] and ACD’s memories of it led to the creation of The Hound of the Baskervilles.” And even though Mr Duncan takes issue - rightly I think - with host Anthony Horowitz's claim that “the practice of allowing dogs in the grounds fed the idea of the hound itself.,” the picture (cf. below) of Elsa the Irish Bloodhound on Stonyhurst's website is almost enough to change my mind.
[Clearly, this was the inspiration for the “enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog.” (HOUN)]
Licensing.biz announced that Titan Publishing Group will release a series of original novels based on CBS’s Elementary: the “series of original novels, created in conjunction with the show’s production team, will allow fans to “immerse themselves in Sherlock Holmes’ eccentric life in contemporary New York City”.” To date, Titan has released over 25 Holmes-related fiction and non-fiction books including David Stuart Davies' Starring Sherlock Holmes (Revised Hardcover Edition) and The Veiled Detective, Daniel Stashower's The Ectoplasmic Man and The Scroll of the Dead and possibly the best Titan Holmes-related book available, Moriarty - The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman, who gave the BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecture at BSI Weekend 2013.
[I couldn’t find any cover art for the Titan Elementary novels, so here’s the cover for Kim Newman’s awesome ‘biography’ of Professor Moriarty from the sinister - and dare I say at times hilarious - perspective of Col. Sebastian ‘Basher’ Moran.]
Sussex Express published a piece by a former police constable who “later became the HOLMES liaison officer for the British Transport Police, although in this sense it is an acronym for the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System. I was such a fan of the sleuth that, on the night before my wedding, I arranged to stay in the Undershaw Hotel at Hindhead, Surrey, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived between 1897 and 1907.” The role of Sussex (this appearing in the Sussex Express after all) in the Great Detective’s adventures, primarily as the location of Holmes’ retirement in 1907, is explored via reference to the Preface from His Last Bow, “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane”, “The Second Stain" ("he has definitely retired from London and betaken himself to study and bee-farming on the Sussex Downs") and "The Creeping Man" ("Now we have at last obtained permission to ventilate the facts which formed one of the very last cases handled by Holmes before his retirement from practice") reaching the conclusion that: "Sherlock Holmes retired to a building located between Eastbourne and Seaford (there are no cliffs east of Eastbourne). The location has to be inland as you can’t keep bees on a cliff edge, so five miles would make the location East Dean or maybe Friston.”
[“The place was deserted and there was no sign of life save for two sea-birds circling and screaming overhead….For a long time I stood in deep meditation while the shadows grew darker around me. My mind was filled with racing thoughts. You have known what it was to be in a nightmare in which you feel that there is some all-important thing for which you search and which you know is there, though it remains forever just beyond your reach. That was how I felt that evening as I stood alone by that place of death. Then at last I turned and walked slowly homeward.” (LION)]
The Middletown Press announced that Gillette Castle will offer free outdoor performances this summer - in particular “on July 6 and running until Aug. 11, “Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band" takes the outdoor stage." For more information on this free adaptation of Gillette’s dramatized version of "The Speckled Band", see East Haddam Stage Company. For those unfamiliar, Gillette Castle, situated on the banks of the Connecticut River, was commissioned and designed by early 20th century actor William Gillette who of course played the role of the master sleuth in Sherlock Holmes (penned by Gillette himself) onstage starting in 1899 more than 1,300 times over a thirty year period. I’ve always felt that the power and influence of seeing Gillette don the role of Holmes was best articulated by Booth Tarkington (Pulitzer Prize-winning author) who told Gillette, “I would rather see you play Sherlock Holmes than be a child again on Christmas morning.” The legendary actor and Holmes aficionado resided at Gillette Castle until his death in 1937.
[“In 1943, the Connecticut state government bought the property, renaming it Gillette’s Castle and Gillette Castle State Park. Located in 67 River Road, East Haddam, Connecticut, it was reopened in 2002. After a four years of restoration, costing $11 million, it now includes a museum, park, and many theatrical celebrations. It receives 100,000 annual visitors.”]
Doyleockian's Alistair Duncan alerted us to an upcoming interview conducted by French newspaper Le Figaro on Mr Duncan’s views regarding BBC Sherlock and Sherlockian matters in general. Though the interview will be published in French, Duncan assures us that he’ll publish his pre-translated answers in a few days time. Equally exciting for Mr Duncan is his pending debut in the Summer 2013 edition of the Baker Street Journal with an article titled “The Changing Face of the Sherlockian" comparing and contrasting long time Sherlockians with their neophyte counterparts. And speaking of the BSJ Summer 2013 edition, @BakerStJournal posted a photo of the cover art and it appears to be an illustration of Sherlock Holmes qua Altamont, as described in “His Last Bow" - and what a remarkable cover it is….
[“[Altamont] was a tall, gaunt man of sixty, with clear-cut features and a small goatee beard which gave him a general resemblance to the caricatures of Uncle Sam.” (LAST)]
Lyndsay Faye - author of The Gods of Gotham and Dust and Shadow - announced dates/locations for her upcoming U.S. book tour: 9/18: The Mysterious Bookshop, NYC. 9/19-9/22: Bouchercon, Albany, NY. 9/23: Once Upon a Crime, Minneapolis, MN. 9/24: Murder by the Book, Houston, TX. 9/25: Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ. 9/26: Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA. and 9/27: Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills, Portland, OR. If you reside in/near any of the cities so mentioned, I strongly encourage you to check out one of my favorite Sherlockian authors Ms Lyndsay Faye as she drops the sequel to The Gods of Gotham, Seven For a Secret, on an unsuspecting world. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy and I can confidently say that if you enjoyed the hair-raising, urban decaying, how-the-hell-did-people-even-survive-back-then, exploits of 1850s NYC ‘copper star’ Timothy Wilde and friends (and enemies), you’ll feel like you were thrown right back into the filth, pestilence and chaos of Five Points and Lower Manhattan from the moment you crack open Seven For a Secret.
[Break out your copy of George W Matsell’s Vocabulum: Or, The Rogue’s Lexicon (1859), send the kinchin off to bed and pour yourself a glass of something 180 proof because Seven For a Secret is another intense trip to mid-nineteenth century NYC.]
The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, the play written by Jeremy Paul featuring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke (during a Granada filming break c. 1989), is one of the best Sherlockian pastiches in existence. You may recall that two years ago I posted about the discovery/release of a full audio recording of a Secret of Sherlock Holmes performance which was available as a free download. Now as an added bonus, David Somen (a fellow member of the Google+ Sherlock Holmes community) scanned the original theater program and put together a small website containing the scans plus the audio as well as his reminiscences of attending the play in 1989 at the Alexandra theater in Birmingham, UK. If you haven’t listened to this play yet, you’re in for a giant Sherlockian treat! On a related, though less cheerful note, Patrick Garland - director of The Secret of Sherlock Holmes - passed away this past April at the age of 78.
[Original advertisement for The Secret of Sherlock Holmes. Click to download a PDF of the original theater program.]
Sherlock Peoria commented at length on a recently sent-out BSI 2013 Mid-Year Letter from the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars (aka ‘Wiggins’) Michael Whelan. In particular, Mr Keefauver points out Mr Whelan's remarks concerning the ‘devotee vs. fans’ dust-up that occurred this past January as well as “lapsed Irregulars” in general, and wonders if it’s indeed possible for someone to be kicked out of the BSI. Most of what’s discussed resides solely in the confines of internal BSI politics, leaving Keefauver to conclude that “most Sherlock Holmes fans these days don’t care a whit about everything I just wrote;” only time will tell. [Note: I made a slight edit to the above for clarification: “devotees” (plural) is now “devotee” (singular) and the scope of “lapsed Irregulars” extends beyond any single issue/controversy. It is up to you to draw your own inferences: "Here is my lens. You know my methods. What can you gather yourself…" (BLUE)]
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London just announced: “Following our outstandingly successful pilgrimages to Switzerland, France and the Baltic Cruise, the Society is planning its most ambitious overseas trip so far - a 14 day trip to India.” I highly recommend reading the trip itinerary and/or downloading the “To India With Sherlock Holmes" trip 2014 PDF. Also, don’t forget to read the SHSL’s always informative newsletter “The District Messenger”, edited by Roger Johnson, for the latest Holmesian news coming from the SHSL.
[Entry gates of the Agra Fort, site of the events described in “Chapter 12: The Strange Story of Jonathan Small" in The Sign of Four.]
The John H. Watson Society, first mentioned two weeks ago on this blog, continues to expand and announce new ‘Watsonians’ into their rapidly swelling ranks. I’m proud to have been invited into this most promising of new ventures - as well as assigned the titular Bull Pup societal name of ‘Baron’! In the coming weeks I hope to post an in-depth interview with JHWS founders Prof. Donald A. Yates BSI, “The Greek Interpreter” and Don Libey along with fellow Watsonians regarding the purpose of the Society as well as their short and long term goals. For a taste of just what the JHWS stands for, consider this quote from their membership page: “The Society shall foster and encourage the introduction of youth to the writings of John H. Watson in The Sacred Canon with a goal of keeping the memory of 221B Baker Street and 1895 forever green through the recruitment of successive generations of Watsonians and Sherlockians.” What more could one ask from a society of one’s peers?
[The one fixed point in a changing age.]
SherlockeDCC - the Sherlockian conglomerate multinational corporation made of the Baker Street Babes, Being Geek Chic, The Nerdy Girlie, SherlockDC, and Cara McGee - raised a grand total of $6,526 (!) for the upcoming Sherlock Fan Party happening during San Diego Comic Con. Congratulations to the Babes and friends - I have no doubt that the SherlockeDCC party will be an event the likes no Comic Con has ever seen.
The Baz posted a letter (originally discovered by The American Reader) from Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World) to Basil Rathbone describing various textual changes Huxley made to his play The Gioconda Smile in which Basil Rathbone was starring as Henry Hutton. This 1950 adaptation opened on October 7th at the Lyceum Theater in New York City, and would run for 41 performances before going on tour (click here for the playbill). Coincidentally, the role of Hutton, during an English theatrical run the year prior, was played by Clive Brook, who of course donned the role of the Great Detective three times previously in Sherlock Holmes (1932), a short titled “Murder Will Out” - alongside William Powell as Philo Vance - in the revue Paramount on Parade (1930) and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1929).
[Rathbone in the role of Henry Hutton, whose performance Time magazine described unsympathetically as “hamming as the husband” (Time, October, 1950).]
Symposion dug up this charming photo of David Burke and Jeremy Brett from Granada’s adaptation of “The Final Problem.” As idyllic and calm as this picture seems, one has feels a definite sense of foreboding in the knowledge that Dr Watson is but moments away from losing his best friend to the unforgiving jaws of the Reichenbach, seemingly forever.
[Granada’s FINA would be David Burke’s final appearance as Watson - and though his replacement by Edward Hardwicke was by no means a downgrade, Burke’s particular understanding and interpretation of Watson would be missed.]
Baker Streets found a wonderful rendering of Holmes surveying the living room at 221B Baker Street by British cartoonist Ronald Searle. “The hard-copy Catalogue of the 1951 Festival of Britain Sherlock Holmes Exhibition contains a number of illustrations by Ronald Searle: Sherlock Holmes Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at Abbey House, Baker Street, London May - September 1951 (click for text). You can read all about the intriguing set of events that led to the creation of the Holmes Exhibition at JohnWatsonMD.com.
[Judging from the state of 221B in this picture, we can sympathize with Watson’s “…constant bullying to tidy our room in Baker Street” as referenced in Granada’s “The Musgrave Ritual”.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (June 15 - June 21, 2013)
Mattias Boström was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book Från Holmes till Sherlock (From Holmes to Sherlock) this past week and even though it’s in Swedish (with news of a Danish translation on the way), it’s lavishly produced and judging from the End Notes and Bibliography, one can see Mr Boström has created an exquisitely researched magnum opus synthesizing years of inquiry into ACD and Sherlock Holmes. You can follow Mr Mattias Bostrom on his English webpage here (or Swedish page here) Twitter in English @mattias221b (or @mattiasb in Swedish) and on Facebook. Let us hope that an English/American publisher recognizes the value of Bostrom’s contribution to Sherlockian studies and publishes an English translation posthaste! (Note: I strongly suggest using Google’s Translator to read the above Swedish links in English.)
[Swedish cover of Mattias Boström's 500+ page magnum opus on ACD and Sherlock Holmes. Let’s hope and pray for an English translation soon because I have the feeling that Bostrom’s contribution to the published corpus of Holmes/ACD writings is top notch and a valuable resource.]
Barefoot on Baker Street considers “Has the Sherlock Holmes market reached saturation point?” (there’s even a poll!) and reiterates her response (She thinks there’s room for more) to a similar question during this past weekend’s Great Sherlock Holmes Debate 4, live at UCL in London, sponsored by prolific Sherlockian publishers MX. Ms Charlotte Anne Walters - author of the fascinating and daring pastiche Barefoot on Baker Street - explains: “I believe there is room for something which falls within the human-interest genre bracket but remains heavily rooted in the canon and in the Victorian period. This would appeal to this new section of viewers, as well as existing Sherlock Holmes fans. We need something which is a hybrid of modern tastes for emotional drama set in the past, but blended with the crime and ‘method’ in the canon.” Click to watch a GSHD 4 trailer as well as their Slideshare detailing the specifics of the debate. For another GSHD4 review see: Luke Benjamen Kuhns,
[Set of questions from the GSHD regarding the current state of Sherlock Holmes adaptations and whether or not the Sherlockian market has reached an untenable saturation point or if there is still room for more.]
A Case of Witchcraft “made a little Pinterest album of images of things and people that figure (or are referred to) in the novel. Here you may see not only Holmes and Crowley, but also (for example) their hotel, a mutoscope, the Battle of Abu Klea, the Prince of Wales, and an actress in a ‘breeches part’. Readers may like to have a look and see how their mental images match up to reality.” As a fan of Joe Revill's Holmes pastiche involving a young Aleister Crowley - read my review of A Case of Witchcraft here - I’m delighted to see images relating to the story.
[From the album: “The great folklorist Sabine Baring-Gould, a model for the character of Melchior Tollemache” - not to be confused with William S Baring-Gould, author of the monumental Annotated Sherlock Holmes (1967), who it turns out the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould is WSB’s paternal grandfather.]
Sherlock Peoria continuing the recent trend of Sherlockian bloggers criticizing the ‘Irene Adler and/or Professor Moriarty’ tropes so prevalent in various Holmes adaptations offers some positive suggestions in “Ten Holmes adversaries I’d like to see” my personal favorite being Isadora Klein from 3GAB: “Please, please, please, Isadora Klein! Holmes may have called Irene Adler “the woman,” but really, as adversaries go, I think Isadora could probably have kicked Irene’s ass, just because she’s actually nasty. Very nasty. Beat-you-while-breaking-your-heart nasty. A great villain.” So it warms my heart to read: “When it comes to adversaries on film, on television, and in pastiches, a fan of either Irene Adler or Professor Moriarty should be one happy person. After considering “the Moriarty cliff” of the Holmes story cycle a few days ago, I’m now starting to wonder at how all of the recent adaptations are completely ignoring that rich stock of Sherlock Holmes adversaries they have available to them, many of them much better characterized than Irene or James.” Whether or not we have achieved total Holmes saturation, there certainly always has been an overuse of certain canonical villains/adversaries such as Moriarty and Adler in adaptations and pastiches. As an effective antidote to this situation, I highly recommend pastiches such as Samuel Williams' Anomalous - Sherlock Holmes, Jack Johnson and Alphonse Capone, where a relatively obscure character like Steve Dixie (also from 3GAB) is explored to great effect.
[Isadora Klein pleading with Holmes not to go to Scotland Yard.]
NY Post interviewed Rick Leonardi, the artist behind the new comic series Watson & Holmes from New Paradigm Studios, a re-imagining of the Holmes adventures placing the Great Detective and Watson in modern day Harlem as African American crime solvers. From the interview: “Q: Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan? A: “I’ve read and re-read the collected stories many times since being introduced to them in high school. I remember watching the Basil Rathbone movie versions on UHF broadcast TV back then too.” I haven’t had a chance to check out the very promising sounding Watson & Holmes, but I’ve been intrigued ever since hearing Leonardi and writer Karl Bollers interviewed on Episode 44 of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.
[Artwork from Watson & Holmes, Issue No. 1.]
Gamercast takes an in depth first look at the new Sherlock Holmes video game from Frogware Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments, available for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. “Throughout the game as Sherlock you’ll work on 8 different cases ranging from murders to disappearances across interiors and exteriors of some of the poorest and more affluent regions in London. With an expected runtime similar to the Sherlock Holmes games in the past, there will be a variety of puzzles on hand, however Sherlock Holmes’ new powers (eg. ‘Sherlock Holmes vision!) of deduction will take the front seat in your investigation over the usual locked door puzzles, which I for one am most definitely glad to hear.” It sounds like at least some of the action is straight out of the Canon since one segment involves “an investigation into the death of the whaling ship captain Peter Carey who was harpooned through the chest in his office”, of course the basic plot of “The Adventure of Black Peter" from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Personally I’m not much of a gamer, but I would love to spend a few hours flexing ‘Sherlock Vision’ and immersing myself in a virtual 1895. Expected release date is early 2014.
[The virtual London of Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments.]
Tea at 221B posted the following text from “The Adventure of the Dying Detective" along with a drawing by my favorite Holmes illustrator Frederic Dorr Steele: “The mention of my friend’s name had an extraordinary effect upon the little man. The look of anger passed in an instant from his face. His features became tense and alert. “Have you come from Holmes?” he asked. “I have just left him.” “What about Holmes? How is he?” “He is desperately ill. That is why I have come.”” And so Watson unwittingly sets in motion one of Holmes’ greatest displays of artistic duplicity.
[Frederic Dorr Steele illustration from DYIN.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Sherlock DC posted their Scintillation of Scions VI (on June 6, 2013) talk “All Roads Lead to Holmes: How New Media Builds Connections Across the Sherlockian Ages” (download PDF) which is a discussion of the “ways in which people learn about Sherlock Holmes and express their enthusiasm for The Great Detective. The presentation focuses on how fans use new media to make connections from canon to recent incarnations of Sherlock Holmes.” A fascinating and relevant read.
Baker Street Babes and friends Sherlock DC, Cara McGee, Being Geek Chic & The Nerdy Girlie are raising money for SherlockeDCC: The Sherlock Fan Party of San Diego Comic Con via IndieGoGo (like Kickstarter) where you receive specific Sherlockian prize packages based on how much you donate (eg $40 gets you the “221B t-shirt screen printed with the famous wallpaper design plus a button.”). You can purchase tickets for the SherlockeDCC party, but act fast before they sell out! Watch the SherlockeDCC video for information on all the prizes offered on IndieGoGo as well as reasons why you might want to contribute even if you don’t plan on trekking out to San Diego’s ComicCon.
The Well-Read Sherlockian posted a thorough review of Robert Veld's highly anticipated The Strand Magazine & Sherlock Holmes: The Two Fixed Points in a Changing Age (2013) on Wessex Press. Among other aspects of the storied publication, “Veld traces the decades-long relationship between Sherlock Holmes and The Strand in great detail, as well as the complicated dealings Conan Doyle himself had with the detective.”
[“The list of authors featured during The Strand’s sixty years contains some of the most talented names of the time: Kipling, Wodehouse, Wells, Christie, Sayers, Allingham, Wallace, Simenon, and even Churchill.”]
Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine returns with its “July/August 2013 issue, presenting the best in modern and classic mystery fiction. Included this time are the usual columns by Lenny Picker and Mrs Hudson” along with eleven Holmes-related or inspired stories including “The Blackheath Collapse” purportedly told by Holmes himself, and for good measure ACD’s “The Five Orange Pips”.
[Vintage-style lurid artwork gracing the cover of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #9.]
Culture Beat, Houston, ran a lengthy and informative review ‘An Ode to Dr. Watson: Sherlock Holmes Sidekick Deserves Better - and More Stage Time in Suicide Club' of the play recently viewed by Don Hobbs and fellow Texas Sherlockians as reported in Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page.The play Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club by Jeffrey Hatcher is loosely suggested by three Robert Louis Stevenson short stories published in 1878 under the title of The Suicide Club. Hatcher’s play is set on the eve of World War I, where in the heart of London, behind the impassive facade of a windowless house, some of Europe’s most powerful men gather to play a game. The game is murder and this is The Suicide Club. But the Club has a new member: Sherlock Holmes - brilliant, perceptive, the greatest detective in the English-speaking world. Does Holmes wish to die? Will he have to kill? Can his old friend Dr. Watson save him? Or doesn’t Holmes want to be saved?” (Synopsis from Broadway World.)
Boing Boing in “Edwardian Doing Bike Tricks” mentions the recent reissue of Isabel Marks' cult classic (among everyone from fixed gear bike enthusiasts to fans of the steampunk aesthetic) Fancy Cycling: 1901: An Edwardian Guide. “This is a special cloth hardcover gift edition reproduction of the original 1901 book which was one of the first to promote daring tricks for weird and wonderful acrobatics on two wheels, such as handle bar riding, riding backward and standing on the seat riding, hands off! Illustrated with period photographs showing outlandish daredevil “fancy cycling” stunts that have to be seen to be believed, it wonderfully captures a bygone age when popular fads and crazes were met with wild enthusiasm and is a delightful keepsake for cycling or sports enthusiasts.” The Guardian posted a 17 image slideshow featuring some of the fanciest and trickiest of Edwardian bicycle fancy tricks.
[I keep on imagining an Edwardian remake of the 1980s cult classic Rad using Fancy Cycling as a guide.]
Criminal Element considers Rex Stout's Archie Goodwin qua detective sex symbol: “Archie is every woman’s dream man. He’s tall. He’s dark. He’s handsome. He loves to dance. And he’s one heck of a detective, determined to protect any woman who needs protecting. By looking at him through female characters’ eyes, it’s easy to see why women, me included, consider him a hero.” There’s no doubt that the Goodwin of Stout’s novels is about as cool as they come, but for anyone that has watched the Nero Wolfe (2001-2002) adaptation, one experiences a vague cognitive dissidence watching Timothy Hutton play Archie Goodwin in Hutton’s signature over-the-top style.
[“Archie as imagined by Austin Briggs for the 6/21/1958 Saturday Evening Post.”]
Free Sherlock! posted a short update last week: “The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has failed to file a formal appearance or any other responsive pleading in the matter within the time granted to it. We are considering our next actions in the case and will keep you posted!” Recall that last February a civil action was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the ACD Estate by Leslie S. Klinger, who you’ll remember ”seeks to have the Court determine that the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson are no longer protected by federal copyright laws and that writers, filmmakers, and others are free to create new stories about Holmes, Watson, and others of their circle without paying license fees to the current owners of the remaining copyrights.” (Note: The Conan Doyle Estate Ltd (referenced above) is owned by the Arthur Conan Doyle family; not to be confused with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate administered by Andrea Plunket whose late former husband was Sheldon Reynolds, producer of two series of Holmes TV adaptations: 1954-1955 and 1979-1980. Read about Plunket v. Doyle, 2001 here. Thanks to Alistair Duncan for catching my mislinking of the competing Estates.)
Amazon is offering a special edition Kindle version of The Hound of the Baskervilles: The Peter Cushing Centenary Illustrated Edition (Illustrated Sherlock Holmes Inked) “with striking monochrome ink drawings depicting Cushing as Holmes. Many are studies from the classic 1959 Hammer version of the story starring Cushing with Andre Morell as Watson.” Peter Cushing was born in 1913 and even though he departed this mortal coil in 1994, he still exudes a powerful influence on the psyche of Holmes fans, particularly in relation to Holmes adaptations.
[Cover for The Peter Cushing Centenary Illustrated Edition of HOUN available only on Kindle for a 99 cents pittance.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit had their Spring meeting last Saturday (June 15, 2013) with an impressive turnout of 65 Sherlockian souls, with 8 first time attendees. Along with the obligatory toasts (The Woman, Watson’s Second Wife and Mrs Hudson), a quiz and lively discussion of “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet" was had - though the question of "Why banker Holder took the priceless crown home with him instead of leaving it in his bank vault" was discussed, no decisive resolution was achieved. Read on for all the details and thanks to AMS Commissionaire and archivist Chris Music for the link.
The Priory Scholars of NYC announced their ‘Summer Session 2013’ happening on July 28, 2013 in Manhattan. Please visit PSNYC on Facebook for updated announcements and catch them on Twitter @PrioryNYC for Priory Scholars and general scion news.
Amy Thomas reviewed 221B Con and going by posts from Ms Thomas and other attendees the first annual conference was an outrageous success. “As a first fan convention experience, I couldn’t have asked for anything better than 221B Con. I met hundreds of interesting people and enjoyed the special thrill of sharing like-minded interests. I also got to meet many actual, real-life listeners of the Baker Street Babes podcast, which helped me to see that what we do over Skype, sometimes into the night, really means something to people. Without a doubt, the greatest highlight of all was finally meeting four of my fellow Babes in person. They truly are as intelligent, beautiful, and hilarious as I’d always supposed.” Ms Thomas is the author of The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes on MX. On a related note, pull out your calendar and save the date for 221B Con 2014 happening in Atlanta, GA on April 4-6, 2014!
Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place (August 9-11, 2013) is drawing closer, and the excitement is almost palpable when talking to fellow Sherlockians who plan on attending. The Norwegian Explorers, founded in 1948, have a solid reputation for maintaining a rigorous, academic approach to all things Sherlockian and ‘Through Time and Place’ is said to be the apex of said pursuit.
[The Norwegian Explorers’ sponsored Sherlock Holmes conference which is sure to be the social event of the year.]