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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (June 8 - June 14, 2013)
After a two month mini-break, I’m thrilled to announce that Always1895.net is back! I want to thank everyone that wrote inquiring about the status of this site as well as checking to see if I was doing alright. I apologize for appearing to fall off the face of the Earth. I also want to take a moment to particularly thank the following Sherlockians whose kindness and concern meant the world to me when I was in Sigerson mode: Susan Rice, Mickey Fromkin, John Baesch, Evelyn Herzog, Bob Katz, Jacquelynn Morris and Mattias Bostrom. So without further ado, let’s get back to business…
Sherlock DC posted one of the first reviews of an event that took place last weekend outside of Baltimore, MD called Scintillation of Scions VI - an event that all Sherlockians should be at least vaguely familiar and which many of you surely attended. Jacquelynn Morris is without a doubt the woman of the hour, having put together a wildly successful sixth SOS event with a sold out attendance of over 100 Sherlockians from all over the US and around the world. More reviews and pictures from SOS VI can be found at the Facebook page of Watson’s Tin Box (Maryland).
[Jacquelynn Morris - the undisputed Sherlockian of the hour - speaking at Scintillation of Scions VI.]
Dan Andriacco in the appropriately titled “What Could Be More Fun?” wrote a short review of his experience of Scintillation of Scions VI where he both attended and gave a fascinating sounding talk titled: “A Most Valuable Institution: How Sherlock Holmes Used the Press.” Even if you weren’t in attendance (like myself, who sadly had to sit out this year’s SOS), one can form a pretty accurate idea of what the weekend was like based on Mr Andriacco’s question and answer review: “What could be more fun than doing what you like and talking about what you like with people you like? Nothing!” My experience of last year’s SOS V was one of the highlights of my Sherlockian career. I don’t care if it kills me, I will not miss out on Scintillation of Scions VII in 2014.
[Mr Dan Andriacco appearing to have what one can only deduce as “a good time” selling/signing (and presumably discussing) his various books in the Dealer’s Room at SOSVI.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere Episode 53 ‘For the Sake of the Trust’ interviewed Tom Francis, BSI (“The Imperial Opera at Warsaw”), who among other things is the Chair of the BSI Trust, an organization within the BSI whose “purpose is to assemble, preserve, and make available for study materials related to the history of The Baker Street Irregulars and individuals and organizations that have devoted themselves to such studies.” Mr Wolder and Mr Monty discuss the Trust and it’s Aladdin’s cave of BSI documents and memorabilia housed at Harvard’s Houghton Library and Mr Francis makes a strong case for the need and importance of the BSI Trust as well as a plea for BSI-related documents. I strongly recommend perusing For the Sake of the Trust, the organization’s edifying and interesting newsletter; in particular, see Andy Solberg's “Tell Us a Story: The BSI Trust’s Oral History Project” (click for PDF) for a glimpse of a project I feel may be one of the most important which the BSI Trust is involved. And for those unfamiliar with the Baker Street Irregulars in general, this is also an excellent opportunity to reference Ms Lyndsay Faye’s classic “Inside the Baker Street Irregulars”, a shocking expose detailing the depths of depravity achieved during the annual BSI Weekend in NYC.
[Holmes contemplating all the important and essential work of the men and women of the BSI Trust.]
The John H. Watson Society is a (very) recently founded society which “seeks a level of equality in scholarship and enthusiasm for the life and work of John H. Watson, M. D. The Founding Members are committed to recognition of Dr. Watson’s contributions, albeit often masked and misunderstood, to the cases, adventures and memoirs he wrote as the first biographer of Sherlock Holmes. The Society believes that Watson has an equality of stature with Holmes and that his accomplishments and talents deserve further scholarship and research.” You can read more about the purposes and goals of the John H. Watson Society here. For updated information and society news as well as fascinating and informative biographies of those Sherlockians…or should we say Watsonians, who have most recently become members, make sure to check out The Watsonian Blog. It should come as no surprise that the Society’s motto is derived from one of Holmes’ final reflections on his stalwart friend and biographer, found at the very end of “His Last Bow”: “Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age." It strikes me that even though the society is a new one, the seeds of the group were planted long ago in the minds of those involved giving The John H. Watson society an air of established, long standing permanence. I also look forward to subscribing to and reading The Watsonian, journal of the society.
[Front and back cover for the Fall 2013 issue of The Watsonian.]
Doyelockian in “We Profit From His Mistakes” - “his” of course being ACD - considered the prima facia paradoxical notion that “Much of the Sherlockian world we enjoy today exists because of Conan Doyle’s mistakes and the attempts of generations of Sherlockians to account for them. It is not often that we are thankful for errors but without these errors it is doubtful that the Sherlock Holmes stories would be quite so enjoyed as they are (and will continue to be).” An intriguing argument: if ACD (and by extension Watson, the chronicler of the majority of Holmes’ adventures) had been completely consistent (eg. in chronology) and error free, Sherlockian scholarship would look radically different today, if it could exist at all. Who knows, we might all be Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusenians or Max Carradosians? Along with this intriguing theory, Alistair Duncan - proprietor of Doyleockian - has recently written about the difference between Sherlockian pastiches versus homages and a follow up to his ‘saturation' post (ie. overuse of canonical villains in pastiches) positing that the reason pastiche authors often break with formula is based on “a desire to be different and thus stand out”. You can find Mr Duncan on Twitter as @alistaird221b.
[‘The Thinking Machine’ aka Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen from the mind of author - and RMS Titanic passenger/casualty - Jacques Futrelle. The above photo shows Van Dusen portrayed by former Sherlock Holmes actor Douglas Wilmer from the series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Thames TV) which adapted two Futrelle stories “Cell 13" and "The Superfluous Finger”.]
The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes announced that it will make it’s world premier at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on October 10, 2013: “A collaborative effort between Conan Doyle Estate Ltd….[and others]…, this 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.” The main exhibits include: ACD’s letters and manuscripts relating to the creation and development of his most famous creation Sherlock Holmes; an exhibit developed by E.J. Wagner (author of The Science of Sherlock Holmes) on the science and technology of the 1890s; and sure to be the centerpiece of the entire show, visitors can enter a recreation of Holmes and Watson’s sitting room at 221B; visitors can attempt to solve a murder developed/written specifically for the exhibit by noted Sherlockian and novelist Daniel Stashower; and the final exhibit bills itself as “the most comprehensive display anywhere” of Sherlockiana from the last 126 years (eg. vintage Sherlock Holmes-themed card games, comics, magazines, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s Holmes and Watson costumes). After debuting at the OMSI, the exhibit will tour ten North American cities before moving on to international locales (check their Facebook for updated info). You can download a comprehensive press release for the exhibit here. This seems like the supreme testament to the latest Sherlock Holmes resurgence, unleashed in part by BBC’s Sherlock and the Guy Ritchie films, nurtured by longtime, hardcore Sherlockians who were here before the Holmesplosion and will be here after it inevitably dies down, and sustained by legions of new fans wielding powers unthinkable before the existence of the web. Check out The Baker Street Blog to view a set of ‘under construction' images from the OMSI. I look forward to eventually visiting the exhibit myself as well as seeing if it joins the ranks of great Holmes exhibits such as The 1951 Sherlock Holmes Exhibit at Abbey House, Baker Street, London NW1.
[I have to admit I am extremely excited to attend the exhibit at the first chance I get - especially the 221B sitting room recreation.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Game’s Afoot's Molly Carr described a recent tour she took of The 'Englisher Hof' while visiting Meiringen, Switzerland - the location where much of the action in “The Final Problem" took place leading up to Holmes and Moriarty’s infamous confrontation on the Reichenbach Falls.
Sherlock Peoria in “The Moriarty Cliff” - speaking of the dreaded falls - takes note of the “three major Sherlock-related franchises right now, all facing the Moriarty cliff. Not the Reichenbach fall, which “kills” Sherlock, time after time, but the drop that must inevitably follow when Sherlock Holmes has faced his greatest foe … and is done.” In a post from earlier this week titled “The Grocery Store Threshold” Mr Brad Keefauver further reflects on the undeniable popularity of Sherlock Holmes, but speculates that “there are…many mountains left for Sherlock, even in his Sigerson persona, left to climb”; whether this state of affairs is a positive or a negative, only time can tell.
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page described a recent adventure from Dallas to Houston (this being in the Lone Star state) undertaken by Don Hobbs and friends to see a showing of an original play called Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club at Houston’s Alley Theater. Mr Hobbs had high praise for the play and added, much to my delight, “Happily, Moriarty and Irene Adler made no surprise appearances.” (Just say NO to saturation!)
[Poster for Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club.]
Gothamist is hosting a Copper-inspired ‘Crime Contest’ where you’re asked to solve a real 1865 murder in order to win a real 2013 iPad plus the book Gotham at War: New York City, 1860-1865; five runners-up win Copper Season One on DVD. The crime itself happened back on July 25, 1865 in Jones’ Wood (you know those woods on the Upper East Side) during a Fenian Picnic: “Our Celtic friends are warmhearted and impulsive. They are fond of whisky, and are apt to indulge in a little ground and lofty tumbling at these festive gatherings… The young Irish girls who danced and flirted, and talked, and romped, and sat in the swings, and played pretty little games on the greensward, were mainly shop girls, work girls of various degree.” A reveler was “attacked by a knife-wielding man. Slashed in the throat and repeatedly stabbed in his back and other areas” when he proceeded to walk “150 feet until he collapsed and died.” The contest is open until June 27, 2013. Season 2 of Copper starts Sunday, June 23 on BBC America. If you’re a fan of Sherlockian Lyndsay Faye's The Gods of Gotham, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and/or New World abject Victorian poverty, misery and semi-lawlessness, give this a shot.
[“New York, 1865. There are no city limits.” Clever!]
Slashing Through (thanks to @ScarletSherlock for the twitter tip!) honored ‘The Gentleman of Horror’, legendary actor Peter Cushing with a short profile of his most famous roles: 5) Grand Moff Tarkin (Star Wars IV), 4) Gustav Weil (Twins of Evil), 3) Sherlock Holmes (Hammer’s 1959 Hound of the Baskervilles), 2) Dr Van Helsing (Hammer’s Dracula series) alongside fellow gentleman of horror Christopher Lee) and 1) Baron Victor von Frankenstein (The Curse of Frankenstein). If you’ve never done so, check out Peter Cushing's IMDB page and let your eyes just drift down the list of film titles for a sense of the versatility Cushing must have needed even though many considered him as typecast most of his career.
[One of my favorite Cushing images from his 1959 Hound of the Baskervilles.]
Markings, in a slight departure from his usual Sherlockian musings, dedicated space to that other giant of English literature, the Bard in “Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Set Text 2013 - for Department for Education Study”.
David Ruffle's blog reviewed Kieran McMullen's latest release Holmes & Watson: The War Years, a handsome hardcover collection of three of McMullen’s previously released Sherlockian pastiches: Watson’s Afghan Adventure, Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Boer Wagon and Sherlock Holmes and the Irish Rebels.
The Nashville Scholars (thanks for the tip Sherlockian E-Times) shares the story of Shannon Carlisle and her 4th Grade Accelerated Learning Language Arts Class who recently investigated the safe in “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”. “Ms Carlisle was awarded the Beacon Award for 2013. Mrs. Carlisle is known as the “Chief Sherlockian” in her school where she introduces 4th graders to the stories about Sherlock Holmes and his use of deductive reasoning.” Using deductive reasoning skills learned in class as well as corresponding with various Sherlockians from the U.S. and London as well as safe company experts, it was concluded that “Dr. John H. Watson owned a Chubbs safe No. 33 (1882)” (a complete report of their findings can be read in a Word Doc found in this article).
Big Finish - the audio book company known on here primarily for their myriad of Sherlock Holmes audio books featuring English actor Nicholas Briggs as the Great Detective - announced this week that “From today right through the weekend, we give you an opportunity to own some of Big Finish’s finest non-audio works (that’s books to the layman) - for only £2.99 each! And as a special treat, we’ll be giving one lucky bookworm the chance to own some non-BF books, chosen - and signed - by members of the Big Finish family!” Follow them at @BigFinish for future releases and offers.
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, brainchild of Steven Doyle, recently came across this autographed postcard of actress Maude Fealy, who was the first actress to play Alice Faulkner (from 1901 to 1902) opposite William Gillette in the early 20th Century smash hit play Sherlock Holmes. If you’re not a Sherlockian, you would have probably noted first that Ms Fealy “appeared in nearly every film made by Cecil B. DeMille in the post silent film era.”
[Actress Maude Fealy - favorite of legendary director Cecil B. DeMille.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
The Priory Scholars of NYC are hosting their first event of the year on July 28, 2013 in Manhattan, and though all interested Sherlockians are welcome, there will be limited seating so please register early to ensure a place. For updates and further information you can follow them on Twitter @PrioryNYC, on Facebook and at their website. Headmistress Judith Freeman will host the meeting, Nick Martorelli reprises his role as quizmaster testing your knowledge of “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" while Matt Laffey (that’s me!) leads the participation-heavy discussion.
The Montague Street Lodgers of Brooklyn, hosted by the indomitable Peter Crupe, will meet next on June 30, 2013 at 3 PM. The quiz will be an examination of “The Problem of Thor Bridge”. The guest speaker is Francine Kitts who will discuss The Strand magazine with the able assistance of her spouse, Richard Kitts.
Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes has their next monthly ASH Wednesday dinner on July 3, 2013 starting at 6:30 pm. Please contact Susan Rice to RSVP and/or for more information: susan221B@gmail.com.
Temporary Hiatus of Always1895.net
I apologize for not posting lately but I’ve had to put Always1895.net on temporary hiatus. I hope to be back posthaste! Be seeing you…
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 30 - April 5, 2013)
Doyleockian in “Villains - Don’t Look Back" - a post after my own heart - makes the brief yet totally relevant/necessary argument that canonical villains should not be overused in adaptations/pastiches such as BBC Sherlock: “Yes [Moriarty & Adler] were significant characters (as they were in the original stories) but if you keep bringing them back you dilute them. Irene Adler holds such a place in the canon precisely because she outwitted Sherlock Holmes in one adventure. However if Conan Doyle had kept bringing her back he either would have had to have her lose or keep beating Holmes.” In particular, Mr Alistair Duncan takes issue with that (rather vocal) segment of the BBC Sherlock fandom who insist that they want “more Moriarty” and/or “more Irene Adler” in the coming seasons. Mr Duncan, rightly in my opinion, bluntly states the futility and danger in constantly using and overusing particular canonical favorites (eg. the woman and the Napoleon of Crime).
[Moriarty feeling ‘used’ due to the overuse of his likeness in pastiches and adaptations.]
Car Talk (fans who obsessively listen to NPR will at least be passingly familiar with voices of car talk hosts Tom and Ray) posted a short little story - “I’d like to give you this Puzzler in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” - and then asked their readers/listeners: “How did the inspector know that the gardener did it?” It’s an intriguing little riddle and worth thinking about…can you figure it out? Click back here on/after Saturday April 13 for the answer. (Thanks to Ms Kate Karlson (BSI, ASH) for the tip!)
Kickstarter is hosting a fundraising project for Watson & Holmes, a comic/graphic novel by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi, “a re-envisioning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as African Americans living in New York City’s famous Harlem district.” Money raised will be used for “covering fees, postage, and printing of the exclusive Kickstarter copies. Leftover money will be used to fund future projects, which include 5 planned Watson & Holmes one shot stories by other industry professionals.” There are some great packages available (signed comics, prints, t-shirts and even the chance to have your likeness appear in a future issue!) at a variety of donation levels. Make sure to check out the three minute promo video that accompanies the post. For general information on the book itself, make sure to check out the Watson & Holmes Facebook page or to buy the first issue at Comics Plus. (Thanks to Ms Lyndsay Faye for the hot tip!)
[For $500, you receive a print, t-shirt, signed cover comic and you - or your likeness - can appear in a future issue.]
Dan Andriacco reflects on the importance of maintaining tangible links to the past: “…count me among those who will never lose my affection for traditional books in their printed form. One of the reasons is the physical connection they give you to history. Today’s case in point is my copy of Profile by Gaslight, published in 1944…Edited by Edgar W. Smith and subtitled An Irregular Reader About the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, it’s a stellar collection of essays from the early days of Sherlockian scholarship.” I couldn’t agree with Mr Andriacco more, about both the importance of maintaining tangible connections to the (Sherlockian) past via books as well as his choice of examples of one such tome.
[An absolutely essential piece of any Sherlockian library: Profile By Gaslight (1944) edited by the legendary Edgar Smith.]
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page explained the reasons for the dearth of posts as of late: “I have been working on my two talks that are fast approaching. On July 5, I am speaking to the Annual Gathering of the National Mensa Society in Fort Worth [Texas]. On August 10, I am speaking at the Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place conference in Minneapolis sponsored by the University of Minnesota [and the Norwegian Explorers].” I’ll personally be looking forward to seeing Mr Don Hobbs speak at the latter event this August and hopefully have the opportunity to meet him in person. As well as preparing his trifling monologues, Mr Hobbs has also been giving mini tours to extremely lucky Sherlockians of his mega famous Holmes translations library. One of those lucky Sherlockians was Mr Joe Faye, a fellow member of Texas scion Crew of the Barque Lone Star (mentioned in last Friday’s Links) who’s pictured in the photo below with Hobbs and a fraction of Hobbs’ library.
[Mr Hobss and Mr Faye and hundreds of translations of the Canon.]
Scintillation of Scions is quickly approaching (June 7 - 9, 2013) and registration - capped at 100 Sherlockians - is a must. If you’re still deciding on whether to go or not, just check out the line-up of speakers for SOS VI: Daniel Stashower, Lyndsay Faye, Regina Stinson, Donna Andrews, Sherlock NYC, Sherlock DC, Dana Cameron, Dan Andriacco and the guy that runs Always1895.net. Having attended SOS V last year, I stress in the strongest possible terms that you do whatever it takes to attend.
[Click for a history of Scintillation of Scions.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Daily Dot attempts to explain “how a middle-aged Scottish sitcom writer came to be the idol of Tumblr users across the globe” - the writer of course being Doctor Who and Sherlock czar Steven Moffat.
MX Publishing and Save Undershaw are hosting a ‘caption contest’: “This week’s caption competition - Another great piece of fan art from The Art of Deduction. Prize is a pre-publication copy of The Amateur Executioner (new Holmes novel from Andriacco and McMullen) delivered to your door….”
The Bartitsu Club of NYC invites one and all seeking to master the Victorian fighting style, which allowed Holmes to soundly trounce the Napoleon of Crime, to a seminar on Bartitsu with Mark P. Donnelly, Professore di Armes, on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, 2013 at Studios 353 in Manhattan. For more information about the seminars or to learn about Bartitsu, visit NYC Steampunk.
[How well would you do if confronted by a senior citizen professor on the edge of a waterfall?!]
What Ho! posted one of my favorite original Strand covers from January 1927 which featured the third to last Sherlock Holmes story ever published “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”, later part of The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.
[The Strand, January 1927.]
Pink Studies created this diptych titled ‘Contrast’ featuring the likenesses of Holmes and Watson (a la BBC Sherlock). Fan art is often hit or miss but this piece is definitely one of the cooler stabs at more ‘serious’ Sherlockian art.
[‘Contrast’ by Pink Studies.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 23 - March 29, 2013)
BBC News announced that “volunteers are being sought to bring a rare collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle memorabilia to a wider audience…More than 40,000 items once belonging to the Sherlock Holmes writer lie in the city’s archives, with only a small amount on display at Portsmouth City Museum.” A short video clip interviews a senior archivist as well volunteers at Portsmouth and argues for the importance of making more of the collection available to scholars and the public. I can’t imagine anything cooler than taking a month off of work and volunteering my services at Portsmouth - living and breathing ACD/Sherlock day and night sounds like the best vacation ever! For more information about the collection check out the ACD Collection at Portsmouth Facebook page. (Thanks to Howard Ostrom for the tip!)
[Senior archivist at Porstmouth Michael Gunton explains how only a fraction of the 40,000 pieces from the ACD/Sherlock collection has been properly cataloged. Note the timeline in the background with that magic year of 1895 prominently in view.]
Crew of the Barque Lone Star, a scion society of the BSI founded in 1973 and based out of the Greater Dallas and Fort Worth area, posted about the first meeting of the newly-constituted Crew of the Barque Lone Star. Legendary Sherlockian collector “Don Hobbs offered the toast to Queen Victoria and then gave a brief history of the Crew…Steve Mason led the discussion about our story of the month, MISS, and then updated all of us on Sherlockian happenings around the country, including 221B Con, A Gathering of Southern Sherlockians in Chattanooga, the Minnesota Conference in August, and Les Klinger’s lawsuit against the Conan Doyle estate. Joe Fay, (author of the blog) gave a brief photo essay on [his] recent trip to London and an even quicker overview of the rules of rugby. Stu Nelan offered the toast to Sherlock Holmes to end the proceedings, but not before he made sure to mention the recent publication of Steve Mason’s article titled, “What Would You Keep?" in the current issue of The Serpentine Muse." Sounds like a promising reboot for a group that seems inspired to make it’s mark in the Sherlockian scion world. You can also follow them on Twitter @BarqueLoneStar and Facebook as well.
[Click for the website of the Crew of the Barque Lone Star.]
What Ho! commented on January 2013 marking the “150th Anniversary of the first of the London Underground lines – the Metropolitan opened in January 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon. The event was marked by the running – in passenger service – of steam-hauled trains through the tunnels over the original route, through Baker Street station.” Click to see a vintage photo of a steam-hauled train. For a nice intro to the history of London and trains, see the History of the London Underground.
[A London tube station circa 1900.]
Radio Times announced that “Martin Freeman’s partner Amanda Abbington joins the cast of Sherlock…in a role that significantly impacts upon the lives of John and Sherlock.” Last year the Baker Street Babes interviewed Ms Abbington for Episode 27 after receiving a FB comment from Abbington that asked: “How do you officially become a Baker Street Babe? Can I apply? xx” You can check up and see what the Season 3 Sherlock starlet is up to via @amandaabbington. ** Note: As an aside, if you value your sanity, avoid the ridiculous Amanda Abbington/Mary Morstan ‘war’ (for lack of a better term) that tore through Tumblr (and Twitter) regarding ‘concerns’ a segment of the BBC Sherlock fandom had about the ramifications of introducing Mary Morstan onto the show. If you were wise enough to heed my warning about valuing your sanity you are no longer reading this paragraph and are safe - if you are prepared to question the value of the Internet, here’s a simplified summary of what all the insane hullabaloo is about: fans of BBC Sherlock who are Johnlock (John + Sherlock) shippers (ie. term used to denote one’s interest in specific TV show character pairings eg. Buffy & Spike vs. Buffy & Angel shippers from BtVS) are deeply terrified that introducing Mary Morstan (aka Mary Watson née Morstan, wife of Dr John H(amish?) Watson by canonical reckoning) into the show will somehow ruin the Johnlock dream - regardless of the fact that apart from fanfic and one’s so-called ‘headcanon' (*sigh* yes that is a word) there's been precisely zero evidence pointing toward the realization/instantiation of Johnlock - either as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb or whatever - that is of a romantic/sexual relationship between Watson and Holmes on the show. And when I say “deeply terrified” I mean pages and pages, and post after post, or tweet followed by tweet, etc of ranting diatribes against writing Mary Morstan into the show. I rarely dignify the (what I consider) utterly pointless Sherlockian internet memes/arguments with a mention on Always1895 but I think a lot of Sherlockians of all stripes and dedications have been bemused/alarmed by the #MaryMorstan overflow, hence the need for a short explanans in this Friday’s Links post. /end Fear for Sanity.
[Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington and their dogs.]
Barefoot on Baker Street told a story about how when she was 16 she wrote a full-length Sherlock Holmes screen play and sent it to a producer at Granada, only to receive a very polite ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter from the producer: “Their series had ended for the final time and the producer explained that Holmes had been ‘done to death’. They had no plans for any further productions involving that character…Now, 19 years later, I’ve received a very similar letter mentioning BBC Sherlock. How ironic. I am in the process of submitting my novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, to production companies in the hope that someone will want to adapt it for television. I had a lovely email last week from the head of development at one of the companies I had contacted. She genuinely enjoyed my novel and wrote some wonderful comments but felt that it will be impossible to get it on TV as long as BBC Sherlock is running.”
[The BBC may have rejected Ms Walters Sherlockian pastiche, but I highly recommend picking up a copy to read one of the more inventive approaches to a Holmes pastiche.]
Doyleockian, partially in response to last week’s post featuring a photo of ACD in his sitting room at Windlesham, where it was temporarily misidentified as Undershaw, posted “Identifying Arthur Conan Doyle’s Homes" where Mr Duncan identifies the most iconic images of ACD’s domiciles with the name of the house and a short biography. I would love to see a project like this expanded into a full blown coffee table book.
Markings in “The Other Dr. Watson - Conan Doyle’s Harrogate Friend & Colleague” finds Mr Ray Wilcockson researching ACD’s “connection with Harrogate. This post details what I have discovered thus far - some of which has rather taken me by surprise. I’ll present my findings under three sub-headings: Doyle’s Harrogate, The Other Dr. Watson and One Degree of Separation.” Interestingly, Mr Wilcockson’s father was 8 months old when ACD visited and also had a direct connection to the ‘Dr Bertram Watson’ uncovered during the course of this research - fascinating stuff!
Baker Street Journal noted the anniversary of Christopher Morley's death (March 28, 1957) by posting a letter Mr Morley wrote to The Sunday Times in 1950 titled The Baker Street Irregulars, of New York which contains one of my favorite commemorations of ACD: ”Myself, I do not wholly agree with the tradition that A.C.D. should never be formally mentioned. I loved him long before his heirs and assigns and agents were born, and I find in his writings the most delicious asymptotes to the Holmes-Watson codex. As I have often said, how ridiculous he was only Knighted - he should have been Sainted.”
Tookmyskull in “The Unsolved Case of the Garroted Sherlockian” remembers beloved Sherlockian and master collector Richard Lancelyn Green (July 10, 1953 - March 27, 2004) on the anniversary of RLG’s untimely and mysterious death, made famous in part by a New Yorker article written in rather dubious taste “Mysterious Circumstances”, later published in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession by David Grann - and then quasi-dramatized in The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I posted a remembrance of RLG on his birthday last year and received quite a bit of feedback from many Sherlockians who knew and missed RLG, many of whom feel that Moore’s novel and Grann’s New Yorker piece are tasteless at best and exploitative at worst. It’s a tough line to walk - respecting RLG’s memory and reporting on the undeniably ‘mysterious’ elements surrounding the case - but regardless I think RLG will ultimately be remembered for his incredible Sherlockian/ACD collection which he bequeathed to the Portsmouth Library. The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection ”brings together an unparalleled variety of books, documents and objects connected to Holmes and the life of his creator” - in fact it’s a dream of mine to one day visit the collection in Portsmouth. And as I mentioned above, the ACD Collection is looking for a few good Sherlockians to volunteer to finish cataloging and archiving the collection.
[To Keep the Memory Green edited by Steve Rothman and Nicholas Utechin - listen to the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere (Ep 8) podcast to hear Rothman and Utechin discussing RLG’s legacy.]
The Well-Read Sherlockian reviewed one of my favorite releases of 2012, Mr Dan Andriacco's The 1895 Murder. Ms Leah Cummins Guinn, proprietress of the Well-Read Sherlockian, remarks that Andiacco’s third McCabe/Cody novel features “the same entertaining characters and (for Jeff) ridiculously uncomfortable situations, but we also have something new–an oddly bleak mystery…the most smoothly-plotted and written Cody/McCabe mystery yet. Mr. Andriacco plays fair with the reader, but his clues are deftly hidden, much as Sebastian McCabe hides the secrets to his magic tricks under an entertaining run of palaver. Jeff Cody’s stream-of-consciousness narration is amusing as always, and still more revealing than he might wish.” A well deserved 4 out of 5 rating - though personally I would have given it a 5 or at least a 4.5.
[For another take, check out my review from last Winter.]
Sherlockian Calendar, one of the most useful Sherlockian sites in all of creation, announced that they have a new URL: www.SherlockianCalendar.com - congratulations to Ron Fish and Sue and Ben Vizoskie on the upgrade. Visit and visit often - and tell a friend!
The Game Is On is developing a ‘fan-art’ Sherlock video game which, judging from the screenshots and posted artwork, has some serious potential. It will be interesting to see where this project leads and if it does come to fruition how canonically accurate will the in-game story be. Click the screenshot below for more information.
[Thanks to Baker Street Babes for the tip.]
Lyndsay Faye shared a panel from a Sherlock Holmes comic she wrote a few years ago which is currently being shopped around to publishers. The comic is Ms Faye’s version of ‘Why Reichenbach Happened That Way’ - from the scripts I’ve read, there’s some real (and real awesome!) cause for excitement and burning hope that this project gets picked up by a publisher.
[Click for the full page of this scene.]
Sherlock Peoria laments the news we all knew was coming: CBS’s Elementary has been renewed for a second season. And though I suspect that a tiny piece of Mr Brad Keefauver’s soul may have died upon hearing the announcement, his blogging response is classic: “As the announcement of another season of Mr. Elementary, once it had time to fully sink in, did not elicit any wailing or gnashing of teeth in the subterranean lair where Sherlock Peoria houses it’s secret blog machineries…no…no…no. Just the gentle stroking of a cat, and the slight turn of what might be a smile. And if you pulled back, receding into the distance outside the walls of said lair, you might have heard the beginnings of a muffled “Bwah-ha-hah …”
Tea at 221B posted one of my favorite Jeremy Brett & Edward Hardwicke stills of all time - which also has always been a bit of a mystery as to it’s origins. Obviously, it’s from a scene that never actually appeared in a Granada episode and it clearly depicts Holmes during his retirement to the Sussex Downs - “I had given myself up entirely to that soothing life of Nature for which I had so often yearned during the long years spent amid the gloom of London” (LION) - but why did Granada never use it? At long last, Tea at 221B has the answer: “This was initially filmed for inclusion in “The Second Stain” (Sherlock reminiscing). Producers thought an entire episode could be created from it and shelved the scene for later use. No episode was ever made, the scenes were never made public and the film was destroyed.”
[At least we can dream of what could have been…]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 16 - March 22, 2013)
Dan Andriacco considers a little known theory of master English humorist and ACD/Sherlock enthusiast P.G. Wodehouse suggesting that Sherlock Holmes was in fact the Master Criminal…! Quoting from Wodehouse’s 1975 Introduction to the Ballantine Mystery Classic paperback edition of The Sign of Four: “If you want to salt a few million away for a rainy day, you don’t spring into 9:30 trains to go and talk to governesses, you become a Master Criminal, sitting like a spider in the center of its web and egging your corps of assistants on to steal jewels and Naval Treaties….Holmes was Professor Moriarty.” Mr Andriacco points out that even though Wodehouse and ACD were friends - Plum was periodically a guest at Doyle’s country home where they enjoyed playing cricket - this did not stop Wodehouse partaking in the occasional satirizing of Holmes. In Wodehouse’s own words: “I have sometimes amused myself by throwing custard pies at that great man.” For more information on Wodehouse’s introduction to SIGN as well as the Ballatine Mystery Classic series, see this 2008 essay Wodehouse’s Introduction to The Sign of Four.
[The 1975 cover of Ballatine’s edition of The Sign of Four with an Introduction by P.G. Wodehouse: “When I was starting out as a writer Conan Doyle was my hero. Others might revere Hardy and Meredith. I was a Doyle man, and I still am. Usually we tend to discard the idols of our youth as we grow older, but I have not had this experience with A.C.D. I thought him swell then, and I think him swell now.”]
Den of Geek was just one of many sources (Sherlockology was another) who reported on the latest - and juiciest - morsel of BBC Sherlock Season 3 news sweeping the Sherlockian blogosphere, originally revealed in a twitter post by Mark Gatiss: the title of Season 3, Episode 1 is “The Empty Hearse" - a clever play on "The Empty House" in the now familiar BBC canonical pun style first used when referencing ‘off camera’ cases such as "The Speckled Band" and "The Greek Interpreter" vis-à-vis "The Speckled Blonde" and "The Geek Interpreter" respectively.
[”The Empty Hearse" - a cute/clever play on EMPT but we still have no concrete idea of how Holmes survived his apparent fall/dive off of the roof of St Barts after Moriarty, rather inexplicably, took a non-air gun to his own head and pulled the trigger.]
Yorkshire Evening Post draws our attention to how the world’s greatest detective is the inspiration for the latest Beautiful Octopus Club night, run by the Leeds Octopus Crew, with support from staff at West Yorkshire Playhouse….From learning to DJ and film-making to creating live music and club décor - the events provide work-based training and a safe, fun and creative environment for adults with learning disabilities and their families.” On the Playhouse’ Quarry stage from May 18 to June 8 they will be putting on Sherlock Holmes: The Best Kept Secret.
[Some of the cast of Sherlock Holmes: The Best Kept Secret.]
Wired in ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Never Ending Adventures’ comments on a number of Sherlock pastiches the author recently read including one of the smallest (physical size) Sherlock pastiche publications I’ve ever seen called Sherlock Holmes: The Essential Mysteries In One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius (see cover below); The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: The Methods and Mysteries Of The World’s Great Detective by Ransom Riggs; The Case Files Of Sherlock Holmes by Dr. John Watson, a very unique presentation of Holmes’ adventures featuring a variety of ‘original evidence’; and make sure to check out the rest of the Wired article for a complete list with reviews.
[Sherlock Holmes: The Essential Mysteries In One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius.]
Orange County Register in ‘Sherlock Holmes as Steampunk Hacker’ profiles a potential web series - the producers have launched an online fund-raising campaign with Indiegogo…where they are trying to raise $35,000 by April 26 - which is about a “19th Century England has a steam-powered Internet and Jack the Ripper is posting files of his crimes on the Victorian version of WikiLeaks. Oscar Lerwill, the best hacker of the Empire, plays a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the killer under the Orwellian gaze of a repressive monarchy bent on censoring the web.” While not featuring Sherlock Holmes directly (the action seems to center around Jack the Ripper and hacker Oscar Lerwill), I’d imagine many Sherlockians/Victorianists with steam punk proclivities might find this potential web series quite interesting.
[An image from the Jack the Ripper Steampunk Web Series.]
The Stormy Petrels posted a double review of Martin Powell and Jamie Chase’s graphic novel adaptation of Hound of the Baskervilles: both bloggers (S. Sigerson & HamishMD) give a rating of 4.5 out of 5 (Orange Pips - a great rating system if there ever was one). The only minor complaint regards the script used for some of Watson’s handwriting which is apparently a bit difficult to read, though that’s about it. On the other hand, “the artwork here has a ‘sophisticated’ and comparatively mature feel” and is “stunning”: “At just about 65 pages, Powell’s HOUND hits a good balance, adapting the text into a tight and exciting narrative, while also not leaving out the best of Doyle’s dialogue.” If you are like the reviewers and myself, I don’t own many graphic novels but based on this review and the example artwork, Powell/Chase’s HOUN adaptation might be worth an exception.
[One of my favorite ways to quickly judge any type of adaptation of HOUN (TV, film, comic, or otherwise) is to have a look at how said adaptation renders the famous ‘Man on the Tor' scene; and judging by the above graphic, Powell & Chase's HOUN looks quite impressive.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Sherlock Peoria continues his assault on CBS’s Elementary, this time in the form of a short, whimsical bedtime story: “This is the story of Sir Sherlock-He’s-Not. Sir Sherlock-He’s-Not was the silliest and talkiest hobo on Skid Row….” (etc.) The moral of the tale seems to be that Jonny Lee Miller is a horrible Holmes and Lucy Liu would probably do a better job in the lead role.
[Lucy Lui telling a shocked and saddened Jonny Lee Miller about Brad Keefauver's latest Sherlock Peoria post.]
Flickering Myth takes a look at BBC Sherlock from the perspective of someone who, as the title of the article suggests, might be a little ‘Late to the Show’ and/or living under a rock for the last two years and has yet to hear about the now almost universally recognized brilliance of BBC’s modern take on the Great Detective. The author does make one odd comment about how Holmes of the Canon was addicted to opium, opposed to the tamer BBC Sherlock who is only addicted to nicotine - a line that inspired ”Sherlock Holmes Is Not A Drug Addict” on Sherlock Cares immediately below.
Sherlock Cares in “Sherlock Holmes Is Not A Drug Addict, Watson” argues at length for why it’s totally false to refer to Holmes as a drug addict. The author reviews each canonical reference to drug use by Holmes in the Canon and then takes a look at the role various Sherlock adaptations over the last 100 years contributed to the Holmes-as-addict myth, ending on: “Let’s start dealing with facts and truth. In the canon, Sherlock Holmes never demonstrated the behaviour or clinical traits of drug addiction. Possibly poor judgement, but not drug addiction.” One of my personal favorite Sherlockian studies on Holmes and drugs is Jack Tracy's Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson: Sherlock Holmes and the Cocaine Habit, the cover of which can be seen below:
Hello Giggles explores the century old question:”what is it about Holmes that fans love so single-mindedly?” Using the recent interest in BBC Sherlock as a launching point, the author traces the rise of Holmes and ACD’s ultimately futile attempt at killing him and the subsequent public outcry (surprisingly apocryphal black arm bands are not mentioned) up to the present day’s fan base going “haywire over a momentous occasion in the Consulting Detective’s life” or the announcement that Season 3 has begun filming - which will finally answer the question of which has been obsessing BBC fandom for over a year now: how did Cumberbatch’s Sherlock survive his fall from the roof of St Bart’s?
The Cutter Alicia mentions how she had a blast writing an “analysis of the techniques used in the morgue scene in “A Scandal in Belgravia”" and decided to write another scene analysis, this time choosing the "Battersea Power Station scene in the same episode." A fascinating synthesis of Sherlockian fandom obsessiveness and applied film school theory and aesthetics.
[Scene begins at the 52:00 mark on the BBC/DVD edit.]
Baker Street Babes explore the Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate aka Free Sherlock! controversy in their 38th podcast to date. “Babes Lyndsay & Curly chat with Holmesian extraordinaire and vigilante Les Klinger about freeing Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and a host of other characters from copyright. Also mentioned: Shreffgate, Sherlock Holmes 3 (the movie), Sherlock Gnomes, and some pornography.” Whichever direction the actual court case goes, it’s fairly obvious that Team Klinger has won in the court of public opinion.
The Chattanooga published a short piece, written in the guise of Inspector Baynes (via Chattanooga attorney and Sherlockian Jody Baker), arguing that through the words of Dr Watson we can come to an accurate picture of the inner Watson himself. For example, citing a passage from “Black Peter” where Watson “emphasizes all that is good about Sherlock Holmes and ignores all the bad. In his selection of the qualities and characteristics of Holmes to emphasize, Watson tells us much about himself. We get a glimpse of the inner man of Watson.”
A Case of Witchcraft considers the portrayal of the young Aleister Crowley in the Holmes pastiche of the same name (read my review of A Case of Witchcraft here) and defends the notion that Crowley might have been loyal to a personality such as the Great Detective, at least in his younger days. Regardless, I highly recommend this highly original Sherlock pastiche from Mr Joe Revill.
[Holmes and Crowley team-up to solve a mystery involving witches and murder.]
Sherlock Holmes: Past and Present is a conference scheduled for June 21-22, 2013 at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London. The conference “offers a serious opportunity to bring together academics, enthusiasts, creative practitioners and popular writers in a shared discussion about the cultural legacy of Sherlock Holmes.” For more information about the program, click here. Full registration information for the Past and Present conference can be found here.For Sherlockians in the UK, this sounds like the place to be on June 21st and June 22nd.
[Sherlock Holmes: Past & Present flier.]
Doyleockian reviews The Wrong Passage (2013) “a comprehensive look at the Sherlock Holmes story “The Golden Pince-Nez”. It contains a facsimile of the original manuscript along with comprehensive annotation and supporting essays. It forms part of the excellent Baker Street Irregulars Manuscript Series…All in all, this is an excellent book.” Another positive review of Dr Bob Katz and Mr Andrew Solberg's excellently edited original ACD manuscript which is sure to go down as one of the most important Sherlockian publications of the last few years.
Napoleon of Holmes reported on a recent (Friday, March 22, 2013) gathering sponsored by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London where “quite a large contingent of people (I believe around 50) went to the Transport Museum first, for a guided tour and talk” and later listened to a history of Covent Garden. I look forward to the day when I find myself in London and able to attend a SHSL event.
Timor Panico posted this fine sketch to celebrate a re-watching of Star Trek: the Next Generation: “here is a little fanart of Data and Geordi as Sherlock and Watson!” The two ST:TNG Sherlock-themed episodes are Elementary, Dear Data and Ship in a Bottle, worth watching even if you’re not a Star Trek fan.
[A delightful fan-art homage to Mr Data and Geordi LaForge’s holodeck adventures.]
Tea at 221B found this fantastic image of ACD reading at home, when home was
Undershaw. Update: according to Mr Alistair Duncan “This is not Undershaw it’s Windlesham." Windlesham in Crowborough (East Sussex) is where ACD lived with his second wife Jean Leckie from 1906 to his death in 1930.
[It’s slightly disappointing not seeing a jack knife stuck into the fireplace mantel behind ACD or the lack of framed or unframed pictures of General Gordon and Henry Ward Beecher; or really any other typical objects from the sitting room of 221B, many of which can be seen here.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 9 - March 15, 2013)
The Telegraph's Damian Thompson, Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, waxes quasi-bemused while describing the obsessive depths to which Sherlockian sapien plunges when possessed of that “glorious example of Anglo-Saxon eccentricity”. Actually, if he’s not careful Mr Thompson might just be mistaken for one of the hardcore himself with his casual citings of D. Martin Dakin's A Sherlock Holmes Commentary - one of the finest volumes of Sherlockian studies ever published - as well as Mgr Ronald Knox and Dorothy L Sayers, as well as various Canonical mainstays such as the Oxford/Cambridge question, Holmes’ notoriously bad luck with colonels (eg. Colonels: Moran who needs no introduction, Walters of BRUC, Ross of SILV) and chronological conundrums along with acceptable Sherlockian evidence (cf. Zeisler). The truly impressive aspect of this piece isn’t Thompson’s knowledge or interest, but the fact that all of the above and more are discussed in just a few short yet succinct paragraphs as part of a random Telegraph column.
[Dakin’s A Sherlock Holmes Commentary - might we presume a volume which can be found on the library shelves of The Telegraph?]
Dan Andriacco - in a valiant attempt at deriving a modicum of levity from the court case - suggests a creative, alternative use for Exhibit A, “Sherlock Holmes Story Elements” from the Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate suit: “Klinger lists those characters and characteristics along with the names of stories in which they appear. The result winds up being a wonderful little cheat sheet for those of us (like me) with poor memories. Holmes’s erratic eating habits? Look in “The Norwood Builder.” Bohemian nature? “The Musgrave Ritual.” Fees? Klinger lists four stories. Aptitude for disguise? Five stories. This is a great resource. Check it out online!” And the Persian slipper in the sky keeps on turning….
[Click on the above clip from Exhibit A for all of Klinger’s “Sherlock Holmes Story Elements”.]
Doyleockian reviewed Tim Symonds’ recently released Holmes pastiche on MX Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bulgarian Codex. I agree with Mr Duncan that the “pace of the book is good and Symonds comes close…to the Watson style.” In my opinion, this an example of the best kind of Sherlockian pastiche: self-contained and not over burdened with Moriarty tropes and canonical stereotypes, The Bulgarian Codex employs just the right mix of historical detail - in this case a Bulgarian prince - while inserting Holmes and Watson into an imaginative adventure colored by turn-of-the-century European balance of power diplomacy that both entertains and educates.
[Holmes and Watson travel to Bulgaria in search of a missing national treasure where nothing is as it seems.]
The Boscombe Valley Mystery is the story where Watson reveals Holmes’ research into the famed ‘140 different varieties of tobacco ash’.
[A clip from BOSC highlighting Holmes’ explorations of tobacco ash in the pursuit of crime and criminals.]
AL.com reports on The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library's plan to pay “homage to the great detective during Community Read 2013. Throughout the month of April, we’ll celebrate The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes through book club discussions, arts and crafts programs for all ages, and more. We’ll also screen Holmes movies and hear contemporary authors talk about his legacy.” It’s comforting to know that even in the midst of an all out, intercontinental Sherlockian Civil War, the Canon is still a cause for celebration and inspiration while simultaneously being (re-) discovered (one hopes) by the next generation of young readers.
Jon Lellenberg in his March 2013 Editor’s Gas-Bag gives us “Three Surprises from Christopher Morley”. The first two consist of interesting Sherlockian tidbits from Morley’s columns in the (original) Saturday Review of Literature ‘Trade Winds’ and ‘Bowling Green’, the first dealing with Holmes’ birthday and the second regarding the in all likelihood very first instance of “B.S.I.” used to denote a member of the (then nascent) Baker Street Irregulars: Harry Kriewitz, B.S.I. The third piece of Morleyana is about “Schlogl’s, the Teutonic Chicago restaurant on Wells Street that was the local Mermaid Tavern for its literary and journalistic circles, and for Vincent Starrett and The Hounds of the Baskerville (sic) what Christ Cella’s was to Morley’s Three Hours for Lunch Club and the early BSI.” For more information about Schlogl’s, check out “Gastronomica Literati: Schlogl’s" in The Chicago History Journal blog. Mr Lellenberg’s piece features a picture from 1933 but the photo below from the Chicago History Journal article was taken in 1924 and also features Vincent Starrett:
[Can you spot VS? Click the photo for a much larger version.]
NowGamer reports on the possibility of a Lego Sherlock Holmes game based on in-game evidence uncovered in Lego City: Undercover. Holmes “first appears with sidekick Watson in an early mission clipscene - but this appears to be a normal run-of-the-mill pop culture reference. But a billboard discovered by NowGamer which is hidden in plain sight in the game’s open world also has a Lego Sherlock figure on it, alongside several symbols and what looks like a Warner logo.” Here’s a thread from gaming forum NeoGAF further speculating on this intriguing possibility.
[“The Detective is a Collectable Minifigure set released in 2011 as one of the sixteen minifigures from 8805 Minifigures Series 5.” Note that this little Lego guy is just called “The Detective” and not Sherlock.]
McMurdo’s Camp reflects on St Patrick’s Day: “The 17th is practically upon us. If you harbor feelings about the Irish, check out “Hibernian Holmes” in the Trifling Monographs section to find about any Irish participation or influence on the great detective. There’s plenty. Special recognition to any reader of McMurdo’s Camp who can find one we have not noted.”
Barefoot on Baker Street ponders on “what sort of a woman would suit a man like Sherlock Holmes” - for example, would/should Holmes go for a Molly Hopper-type or an Irene Adler-type?
Small Pond is the personal blog of a “middle-aged mom, absent-minded professor, inveterate reader” and “BSI virgin” - this was her first BSI Weekend though she mentions having attended some meetings of Watson’s Tin Box (of Baltimore) - who published an epic seven part review of BSI Weekend 2013, chocked full of pictures (I see myself in at least three of them!), event reviews, personal musings and the like. I strongly suggest reading through these extremely insightful and fascinating observations for a self-described “Sherlockian outsider’s” take - though regularly attending local scion meetings and knowing enough about the Sherlockian world to even attend BSI Weekend. Conclusion: “So, am I glad I went? Yes! I had a great time, proved to myself in the process that I’m still fairly intrepid(-ish), and, as a bonus, collected a few anecdotes that may help me find my niche in my local scion a little more quickly than I might otherwise have done. All good things.” Let’s hope ‘Small Pond’ decides to attend in 2014.
[If you look closely, there’s me in the reflective shoes in the background and Mr Andy Solberg in the foreground at the Sunday ASH Luncheon, which was the final event of BSI Weekend 2013.]
Tea at 221B uncovered this little gem: “Sherlock Holmes Writing Set Created by the Stuart Hall Company in 1946. The set included “Sherlock Holmes” invisible and ‘special writing’ ink as well as paper and a ‘code book’. The ‘code book’ used a code based upon that in “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”. (Sold in the US in 1946 and the UK in 1947. Production stopped in 1948)”. As one re-poster remarked “I need this in my life!”
[Image of Sherlock Holmes Writing Set from the mid-1940s.]
Sherlock Peoria in “The Gentleman Sherlockian’s Elementary Watch” formally takes one for the team (at least the part of the team that considers Elementary to be below serious consideration): “…And that ends tonight’s Elementary watch, for those of you who would rather not watch Elementary. Remember the gentleman Sherlockian’s Elementary watch guarantee: Leave the watching to me, and you won’t miss a thing! Truly. Not a thing.” Please read Mr Brad Keefauver's entire article for an explanation of why, even by Keefauver's standards, “Deja Vu All Over Again” was one of the worst of the worst of the Elementary-verse.
[Joan and Sherlock doing whatever they do in Elementary.]
Radio Times announced the heart-stopping news (for some) that Sherlock series 4 will happen : “In arguably the biggest (Sherlock) news of the century, Benedict Cumberbatch has announced that he and co-star Martin Freeman have signed up to make a fourth season of the BBC1 detective drama. “We’ve agreed to two more [series] but I could get into trouble for saying that,” revealed Cumberbatch.” Equally exciting is the news that “Filming of Sherlock season three begins on Monday (18 March) with the series expected to air in late 2013.”
[Looks like these guys will be hanging around Baker Street for at least a few more years.]
Daily Dot inspired perhaps by Cumberbatch’s sort-of-official announcement that there will be a Season 4 of BBC Sherlock re-posted and reviewed a collection of totally adorable and humorous ‘Sherlock #NotDead’ animated GIFs by Tumblr fan artist Shocking Blankets. “Shockingblankets’ hilarious artwork offers up various possibilities, all involving John involved in routine domestic affairs at 221B, when suddenly Sherlock pops up like an over-sized jack-in-the-box. Whether it’s the cute simplistic drawing style, the fandom in-jokes (John’s been washing his famous red pants!), or the hilarious jawdrop that John does every time, this is an addictive art series even if you aren’t a fan of the show.”
[My personal favorite #NotDead GIF features the good Doctor doing his laundry, only to discover Holmes alive and well posing not as an old bookseller but as clean linen.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 2 - March 8, 2013)
New York Times published the exciting piece “Suit Says Sherlock Belongs to the Ages” which succinctly outlined all the major controversies to happen in the Sherlockian world (so far) in 2013, from the Philip Shreffler article in the revamped Saturday Review of Literature to Klinger vs Conan Doyle Estate. For an insightful follow-up to the NYTimes piece from an indisputable Sherlockian insider, check out Sherlock Peoria's Mr Brad Keefauver's “Cry “Havoc!” and Loose the Hound of the Moor!, a most clever and appropriate title borrowed from the Bard. Sherlockian friends and acquaintances as well as organizations quoted and/or referenced in this historic (at least to Holmes fans/connoisseurs) New York Times article include: Leslie S Klinger, Lyndsay Faye, Richard Lancelyn Green, the Baker Street Irregulars, the Conan Doyle Estate, Betsy Rosenblatt, Jon Lellenberg (unfortunately “Mr. Lellenberg declined to comment”), Darlene Cypser, the Baker Street Babes, Philip Shreffler, Christopher Roden, Richard Monson-Haefel (Steampunk Holmes publisher) and Alistair Duncan (though not named, Mr Duncan’s “Sherlockian Civil War" comment was referenced).
This Week’s Klinger vs. Conan Doyle Estate Articles:
Melville House begins with the rather provocative title: “Sherlock Holmes Estate Charged With ‘Copyfraud’” and goes on to frame the case within the larger fight against copyfraud ”whereby copyright is falsely asserted over works that are in fact in the public domain, is unfortunately a common practice in literature, particularly in the world of estate maintenance.”
Christian Science Monitor in “Sherlock Holmes fan to estate: Sherlock belongs to all of us” lists some of the key players in the case along with a very basic summary of the issues at stake.
Bloomberg Businessweek in “The Man Who’s Trying to Free Sherlock Holmes” focuses on Klinger qua Sherlockian and attorney, ending on the rather incongruous and bemusing note: “”The folks who are going to benefit from this the most are the ones making big Sherlock Holmes productions,” says Klinger. “Nobody cares about a short story anthology that, if it does really well, will still sell only 4,000 to 5,000 copies.” Maybe not. But plenty of people care about Sherlock Holmes.” Didn’t this all start because of a short story anthology?
Gawker in “No Suit, Sherlock: Doyle Estate is Embroiled in Public Domain Legal Battle” begins with one of the worst Sherlockian-legal puns as of late and ends with a downright weird attempt at breaking down the ‘key players’ as interpreted from the recent New York Times piece.
Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Links:
Baker Street Babes are celebrating 500,000 (that’s a “5” with five zeros after it - and a mustache apparently!) listens - including 15,000 Tumblr followers, 10,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 Facebook followers - this week by hosting three simultaneous and generous giveaways (one for each social network). For a list of prizes, click on the following: Twitter Prize, Tumblr First Prize, Tumblr Second Prize, Facebook First Prize and Facebook Second Prize. Personally, winning either the Basil Rathbone doll or the Billy Wilder The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Spanish poster would make my day. I’m sure it was also a nice treat to be mentioned prominently in last week’s NYTimes article as well.
[Congratulations to the Babes on 500K listens! That’s the equivalent of every citizen of Seattle, WA listening to the BSB podcast. BSB500K!!]
The Art of Deduction - A Sherlock Holmes Collection “contains more than 50 brilliant examples of fan art and loads of stories, writings and poems. The book was created by blogger and huge BBC Sherlock fan Hannah Rogers and is now out in the USA (click here) and UK (currently the #1 Sherlock Holmes book in the UK click here). For fans outside the US and UK Book Depository (click here) offer free worldwide delivery. If they’re smart maybe they’ll also release a few limited edition print runs of some of the best work contained The Art of Deduction.
[Click for larger size to truly appreciate the subtlety of this example of “I Believe in Sherlock” fan-art.]
Neon Tommy published the second (of a projected three) obsessively delightful essay “Into The Hive Mind: Investigating Pastiches, Adaptations And Sherlock Holmes Beyond The Canon” where some of best Holmes TV and film adaptations are discussed along with an assortment of notable pastiches.
Amarillo notes that this month “West Texas A&M University professor David Hart will introduce Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Valley of Fear,” featuring one of the detective’s most notable encounters with arch-rival Moriarty. This event is sponsored by WT’s Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages. Series events are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month.” Click for more information but let’s hope someone has the presence of mind to either video or audio record this interesting sounding lecture.
iFanboy explores the role of Sherlock Holmes in their DC Histories series (“where we try to make sense of the continuity that perplexes, befuddles, and intimidates”). I absolutely love the art attached to this lengthy and informative piece. Find out about the history of Sherlock Holmes as found in various DC incarnations, including the Great Detective’s encounters with Batman, the Joker and other notable DC characters leading up to his most recent DC appearance in the Wildstorm miniseries titled Victorian Undead.
[Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #572 (1987) In-House Ad.]
Baker Street Blog reviewed Maria Konnikova’s Mastermind: “For both Sherlockians and the casual reader, Mastermind is relatively easy to comprehend, avoiding complicated language for an extremely simple approach. The final chapter - which outlines precisely how to attain Holmesian skills in deduction - is well worth the cost of the book. But it’s the chapters leading up to it, mixing familiar (and some unusual) references to the canon, that provide the bulk of Mastermind's value, placing Holmes' abilities in the realm of possibility. Mastermind may not necessarily lead you to consider a career in being a consulting detective….but provides one of the best pieces of both Sherlockian and psychological scholarship. This is a must-read for the serious Holmes scholar.”
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page, the exciting new blog of Don Hobbs Sherlockian collector extraordinaire, shares a few pieces of his Hungarian Sherlockian collection “Of all my Hungarian translations the one below has one of my favorite covers.” I couldn’t agree more - absolutely stunning, though the Hound looks a little more like a dragon than I’ve ever imagined.
[1918 Hungarian pulp edition of the Hound.]
Tumblrful World of Disney posted a still from Alice’s Mysterious Mystery (1926). For the time being, you can find the complete short here, where the below scene can be found at 2:21 (coincidentally!).
[Scene from Alice’s Mysterious Mystery (1926).]
Sherlock Peoria in “Just Sherfocking Around’ reminds us that Sherlock Holmes is ultimately about having fun: “One of the great problems with being in what might be the world’s oldest ongoing fandom is that when something gets old, people start taking it a little too seriously. What started out as just a way of amusing one’s friends, something like the B.S.I. Buy-laws or that “Aunt Clara” song, eventually becomes ritual. And once something becomes ritual, it will always be very serious business in the eyes of some. The jokes cease to be funny (or are laughed at mechanically), and are dragged onward through history with the persistence of a Roman church.” Points to Mr Keefauver for admitting to a bit of inconsistency over the years when it comes to his writings on Sherlock Holmes in toto, though proclaiming somewhat dubiously that “style is just as important (or moreso) than substance”. So go out and do some quality Sherfrocking, either alone, with a friend or even, one can imagine, in a group!
Journal of Victorian Culture Online posted a set of reactions to BBC’s new offering Ripper Street from a variety of academics and/or Victorianists. If you haven’t seen an episode yet, Ripper Street is “a BBC TV series set in Whitechapel in London’s East End in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.” The first episode was entertaining (the case involved the brave new world of Victorian ‘snuff moving pictures’), but I have yet to sit down and really give it a chance.
[The cast of BBC’s Ripper Street.]
Tea at 221B finds yet another fantastic Frederic Dorr Steele piece, this time in the form of an advertisement for “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange” from Collier’s.
[“…At all news-stands for an entire month, 10 cts.”]
Lyndsay’s Intro to the Canon Part IV “the fourth and sadly last of Lyndsay’s four [audio] classes on the Sherlock Holmes stories at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan. This time it’s full of lots of Adventures!”
Meiringens posted a still of Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering from Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1979-1980). The series is unofficially available through Youtube though I wish someone would find the original masters and clean them up and formally release them.
I Hear of Sherlock, the Tumblr blog of the IHOSE podcast of Burt Wolder and Scott Monty, posted one of the most colorful Sherlock movie posters of all time: “from the 1965 film A Study in Terror, in which Sherlock Holmes meets Jack the Ripper.” I was inspired to re-watch John Neville’s portrayal of Holmes - with Donald Houston picking up the Watson duties - and though A Study in Terror isn’t the most nuanced approach to the Great Detective, it can certainly be enjoyed for it’s straight shooting story telling style as well as sumptuous Eastmancolor visual glory - I highly suggest viewing a quality, widescreen (ie. proper aspect ratio) color print. (Beware: if you download your movies from torrent sites, you’ll find both pristine, true to color widescreen DVD-rips as well as a poor quality, washed-out color VHS-rips.)
[“For all of the Batman fans out there…”]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 23 - March 1, 2013)
Kieran McMullen on The Amateur Executioner, a new book by co-authors Kieran McMullen and Dan Andriacco: “It’s 1920 and Holmes is still an active player on the stage of life but this time he has competition. Enoch Hale, a Great War veteran and reporter for an American news syndicate lives and works in London. Hale is on the track of a killer and a mix of the nobility and the dregs of society are involved. Will Holmes help or hinder Hale as he tries to sort out fact from fiction? Will Hale be able to resist the tugs of a beautiful woman who may be involved in the mystery more than he wants to admit to himself? Will another Holmes stand in the way of both Sherlock and Enoch?” On a related note, Dan Andriacco recently posted a Q & A received from a young fan working on a school project about the Great Detective.
[Great cover art for the new Dan Andriacco & Kieran McMullen literary teamup!]
Bafflegab announced the release of a ‘new’ two volume audio recording of The Return of Sherlock Holmes read by none other than Peter Cushing. “The first 4-CD volume contains the first four tales from The Return of Sherlock Holmes: “The Empty House”, “The Norwood Builder”, “The Dancing Men” and “The Solitary Cyclist”. The second volume includes the tales “The Adventure of the Priory School”, “The Adventure of Black Peter”, “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” and “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”…Originally recorded in 1971, Peter Cushing’s reading of The Return of Sherlock Holmes has never been released commercially before. This edition has been digitally re-mastered from the original recording, and includes new sleeve notes by Holmes expert David Stuart Davies.” Though this is the first commercial release of Mr Cushing’s recordings, they were originally meant for “the Royal National Institute for the Blind. The recording has previously only been available to registered blind users of RNIB audio recordings.” I have recordings of the original RNIB tapes and highly recommend these CDs, which can be ordered from Amazon.
[The Return of Sherlock Holmes: Volume 2 read by Peter Cushing.]
The Agony Column (Bookotron) interviewed Leslie Klinger for their February 21, 2013 podcast: “we talked about how [Klinger’s] knowledge of the canon helped him to write up a document that demonstrates how copyright law can be abused by those with enough money to hide behind the cost of a lawsuit. We also talked about the more terrifying prospect of trademarking the character. Klinger and I walked through his case and his papers, which you can find at his website. You can also find links to help his cause via PayPal. Klinger is smart, concise and genuinely respectful of Conan Doyle’s accomplishment. He understands the intricacies of the law and is able to explain it. To hear the sound of Sherlock Holmes being set free, follow this link to the MP3 audio file.” In support of Klinger and Free Sherlock! here’s a graphic from Mattias Bostrom of The Swedish Pathological Society:
[Keep Calm and Free Sherlock.]
Cosmic Geekout in “Where it isn’t necessarily always 1895" (love the title!) designed a very clever animated GIF with one of three possible outcomes. Click the door below to see the full size animation with various incarnations of Holmes and Watson. Apparently the inspiration for this is based on an Etsy seller named Tumblebuggie - who donates all proceeds Direct Relief International and Doctors Without Borders - that creates Sherlock and Doctor-themed greeting cards.
[Click to find out what’s behind door 221B….Hint: The animated GIF is titled ”Where it isn’t necessarily always 1895”. Just like the ending of Clue (1985), this animated GIF has three possible ‘endings’: BBC, Granada or Warner Bros…with the promise that Basil and more to come.]
The Well-Read Sherlockian published the fourth part (out of 4) in her advice for aspiring pastiche authors series, “Observations: Style in Pastiche" - which follows Part 1: “Using [the] Canon in Your Fiction”; Part 2: “Characterization”; Part 3: “Research”. Part 4 represents everything that didn’t quite fit into parts 1 - 3 and contains suggestions on punctuation, usage, spelling, staying in character, how to publish your work, etc. Also included are two infinitely useful suggestions: an investment in both The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) as well as Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.
Sherlock Holmes Motivators is a blog that really needs to come back to life - the last post was 8 months ago!. If you’re unfamiliar, they take classic Strand (Colliers, etc.) Sherlock illustrations and append semi-related and amusing motivational phrases or observations. Here’s a favorite from “The Man With the Twisted Lip”:
[“Opium Dens: An awkward place to run into your roommate.”]
Sherlock Peoria in “Digging Out” takes a break from his anti-Elementary crusade to report on a plan to cull down his Sherlockian library/collection over the coming months: “Over the past few years, my Sherlockian library has become quite the uninhabitable place….This year is going to be a year of Sherlockian spring cleaning like no other. And since I hate eBay and don’t really like the thought of selling Sherlock, it looks like it’s time to play Johnny Watsonseed and spread the Sherlock around. Exactly what and where and to whom has yet to solidify, but I have some ideas. It will be interesting to see how much stuff I can actually get out the door.” I hope Johnny Watsonseed comes through my town…*cough cough*
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page remarks on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon where he, Don Hobbs, master collector of the Canon in translation, dropped in on Portland resident Jerry Margolin, master collector of Sherlockian artwork, for dinner. One would like to be a fly on that wall listening in on the conversation of two master Sherlockian collectors.
[Holmes having a little fun at Watson’s expense.]
Lyndsay Faye posted the aptly titled “Instant Sherlockian Reblog”. If you are unclear why Ms Faye would title an image of a Honey Bee as such, here’s an extended quote from “His Last Bow: The War Service of Sherlock Holmes”: ”Exactly, Watson. Here is the fruit of my leisured ease, the magnum opus of my latter years!” He picked up the volume from the table and read out the whole title, Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. “Alone I did it. Behold the fruit of pensive nights and laborious days when I watched the little working gangs as once I watched the criminal world of London.” (LAST).
[The humble subject of Holmes’ opus Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen.]
Argo (Wired Magazine, 2007) may have won best picture, but there’s a minor ACD connection and a story of what-could-have-been: “Several people solicited Studio Six with decent-sounding projects, so Sidell took meetings with them. One writer wanted to adapt a little-known Arthur Conan Doyle horror story about a reanimated mummy; Sidell even pursued releases from the Doyle estate - all the while knowing that, one day soon, Studio Six would disappear without a trace.” The ACD story referred to is “Lot 249" and is one of the original templates for the ‘ancient Egyptian mummy discovered and comes back to life’. Published originally in the October 1892 issue of Harpers Magazine, “Lot 249” was anthologized two years later in Round the Red Lamp. (Download the text at Project Gutenberg.) See the next item for the two times “Lot 249” was adapted.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, along with being the name of our favorite literary agent, was also the name of a single season (13 episodes) TV show produced by the BBC and released in 1967. The IMDB synopsis describes it as “Conan Doyle’s non-Sherlock Holmes stories embodying the author’s interest in boxing, the supernatural and medical matters.” John Hawkesworth - of Granada’s Sherlock Homes fame - is credited as working on all 13 episodes, which include some of ACD’s best short stories: Lot 249, The Croxley Master, The Chemistry of Love, The Lift, Crabbe’s Practice, The Willow House School, The Brown Hand, The Mystery of Cader Ifan, The New Catacomb, Redhanded, The Black Doctor, The Beetle Hunter and Playing With Fire. If you have ACD’s. A source at the BBC replied to my question about the series that only one of the original films exist in the archives and also drew my attention to an online episode analysis of “Lot 249” at The Illustrated Gazette. "Lot 249" was adapted once in 1967 (cf. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle below) and again in 1990 as an episode for Tales from the Darkside: The Movie - the latter adaptation included an all-star cast: Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and a guy named Robert Sedgwick who happens to be Kevin Bacon's brother-in-law.
[Still from the 1967 adaptation of Lot 249: “Bellingham looks on as Monkey and Hardacre examine the Mummy.”]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Norwood Builder reintroduces his blog and makes some interesting distinctions between “Sherlock” and “Sherlock Holmes” and explains his love of “apocryphals and fanfictions”.
Sherlock’s Danger Night maintains a rather unique list: “Sherlock’s Books: Master List Through Season 2”, represents books visible at 221B as well as other books seen and mentioned throughout BBC Sherlock's two seasons.
Neon Tommy posted the first of three projected (lengthy) columns charting the history and culture of Sherlockian culture - though the author insists on subsuming every bit of Sherlock Holmes culture under “fandom” it’s still a passionate and readable introduction to all things Sherlock Holmes in 2013.
What Ho! re-posted a Clive James review for the New York Review of Books (1975) of the Sherlock Holmes Collected Edition and some holmesian commentaries titled “The Sherlockologists" - "this is a field in which all credentials, and especially impeccable ones, are suspect. To give your life, or any significant part of it, to the study of Sherlock Holmes is to defy reason."
BBC Sherlock Fan Forum are hosting a running thread on this amazing People magazine mock-up based on BBC’s “The Reichenbach Fall”.
[I love this fake People magazine BBC Sherlock ”The Reichenbach Fall” tie-in cover featuring Jim Moriarty/Richard Brook proclaiming his innocence along with the ‘Sherlock is a fraud’ plot line. As a side note, who would ever have thought “Mycroft Holmes Spotted at Cake Expo!" would be a sentence that actually exists?!]
The Telegraph reports on another legal battle brewing in the Sherlockian world: “The Sherlock Holmes Museum was founded by John Aidiniantz in 1990 with the assistance of his mother, Grace. But they have fallen out over who is entitled to almost £2 million (!) in admission fees collected over the past two years, and Mrs Aidiniantz and her daughter Jennifer Decoteau are now suing Mr Aidiniantz.” As my friend and Sherlockian John Baesch, BSI remarked: “The year 2013 might be marked down as the winter of Sherlockian discontent.” Let’s hope happier and less litigious times lay ahead.
The Cutter Alicia collected an informative and somewhat amusing and at times tedious list of “20 Things You May (or May Not) Know About BBC Sherlock”. My favorite factoid - and you have to love Gatiss and Moffat for this - “According to Sue Vertue, several well-known actors have made inquiries about guesting on the series. But Mark Gatiss has said that they much prefer giving lesser known actors the opportunity, citing Benedict and Andrew Scott as actors who were known in the industry but didn’t break out until Sherlock.”
AudioGo announced (via Pinterest) six new audio books including: The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Amy Thomas, The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Dr John Watson by Tony Reynolds, Sherlock Holmes and the Murder at Lodore Falls by Charlotte Smith, The Valley of Fear: An Unabridged Reading by Sir Derek Jacobi, etc.
Addicted to Sherlock posted new Russian Sherlock Holmes TV stills (not to be confused with the 1979 - 1986 Soviet show The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Vasily Livanov). According to Wikipedia, the air date for the newest Sherlock adaptation has been postponed until September-October 2013.
[A classic scene from the new Russian Sherlock series.]
Baker Street Babes have a new online storefront where one can acquire BSB buttons, tshirts, mugs, tote bags and more. Stock up on all your Sherlockiana essentials and support the massive costs of hosting an incredibly popular podcast.
Geeks of Doom reviewed a new comic adaptation of ACD’s Hound of the Baskervilles. It appears that Dark Horse is releasing Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Martin Powell & Jamie Chase in February 2013. Along with the hardcover graphic novel version there will be a Kindle release, which is selling for the reasonable price of $6.85.
[Based on the cover art, the graphics promise to be pretty sharp and bold.]
The Final Problem released a tentative schedule for upcoming Wednesday Watchalongs - their virtual group viewing of various Holmes TV and film adaptationse. All watchalongs are at 8:30 pm EST and “anyone is welcome to join the watchalongs. Just get a copy of the episode we’re watching, and come to The Giant Chat of Sumatra.” I do regret to report that they’ve already had (on February 2013) a Sherlockian watchalong of The Asylum’s Sherlock Holmes - yes, the one with the robot dinosaurs who attach London and Sherlock’s ‘other’ brother.
Tea at 221B does it again with this excellent Frederic Dorr Steele - my personal favorite Holmes illustrator - rendering from “The Adventure of the Creeping Man" which appeared in Hearst’s International Magazine.(March 1923, USA). The original manuscript for CREE currently resides in the Portsmouth Library as part of the Dame Jean Conan Doyle bequest. For more information about the CREE manuscript, check out Randall Stock's infinitely useful Best of Sherlock Holmes site. Every time I see an FDS illustration that I’m not entirely familiar I consistently get the sense that Mr Steele ‘got’ Sherlock Holmes more than any other illustrator, Paget included.
[Frederic Dorr Steele illustration from “The Creeping Man”. One day when I’m rolling in dough I hope to own my very own FDS original, perhaps one similar to the FDS original (from “The Norwood Builder”) hanging up in the Player’s Club in NYC.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 16 - February 22, 2013)
Sherlock Holmes Through Time & Place (August 9-11, 2013) the conference put together by The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota and the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota, posted updated conference information including a list of confirmed speakers (including some of my favorite Sherlockians Mattias Boström, Chris Redmond, Don Hobbs & Les Klinger) as well as new information on the panel discussion: “May I introduce Mr Holmes: connecting new audiences to the Canon" moderated by Pj Doyle, (ASH, BSI) featuring Elaine & Joe Coppola of the Beacon Society, Kristina Manente of the Baker Street Babes and (yours truly!) Matt Laffey of the Always1895.net.
[Click for more info on Sherlock Holmes Through Time & Place (August 9-11, 2013).]
Baker Street Journal in “The World of Sherlockians” reflects on recent BSI developments in 2012 and ends with the statement: “We deplore and condemn the idea that proper appreciation of the stories of Sherlock Holmes should be limited to a small, elite fandom. Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world, and we applaud all who share the devotion of The Baker Street Irregulars to the memory of the Master Detective, regardless of age, sex or the medium in which they express their views.”
Sherlock Peoria - speaking of the BSI - in “Upon belonging to exclusive clubs” reflects on the non-democratic nature of the Baker Street Irregulars’ admittance ‘policies’. Make sure to read the comments that accompany the piece.
Slate dug up this amazing ACD questionnaire: “When some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s papers arrived at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, archivists found this mysterious questionnaire filed among his other works. Doyle signed the bottom of the sheet and indicated that he had taken the quiz on Oct. 29, 1899, at Undershaw, the family’s residence in Surrey, England. But we don’t know why or for whom he filled it out.”
[“Archives assistant Arcadia Falcone, who has worked with the Doyle papers, speculates that the quiz may have been part of a parlor game. The famous list of personal questions that Marcel Proust answered, and that Vanity Fair asks celebrities to respond to in each issue, was a fashionable diversion in the late 19th century.”]
The Holmes of the Baker Street scanned a few frames from A Sherlock Holmes Mystery: The Hound of the Baskervilles (illustrations by Stibane & Luce Daniels). As a very general rule I’ve found that Sherlock Holmes comic adaptations tend to have much better art compared to the text. Recently a very generous Sherlockian deposited his entire Sherlock comics collection into my care. Originally I had planned on simply giving all of it away to various comic-inclined Sherlockians, but as I peruse the boxes and boxes of Holmes comics from the last four decades my archival reflexes have started kicking in and I feel like they should be scanned and cataloged before breaking up the collection. For a listing of various Holmes comics, check out the Universal Sherlock Holmes (cartoons, comics, jokes). A possible future project - but for now, here’s a frame from the HOUN adaptation mentioned above:
[A Sherlock Holmes Mystery: The Hound of the Baskervilles (illustrations by Stibane & Luce Daniels).]
East Wind Coming due out in May 2013 is a new book published by MX and coauthored by British Sherlockian scholar John Hall and Japanese Sherlockian and member of the Baker Street Irregulars Hirayama Yuichi. ”One offers the other three questions, and the other answers them with all their Sherlockian knowledge. They are serious Sherlockian battles between an English knight and Japanese samurai! This volume also includes Hirayama’s Sherlockian papers published in The Musgraves, The Baker Street Journal, The Canadian Holmes and The Shoso-in Bulletin.”
[East Wind Coming approaches various Holmes-related questions from two perspectives provided by two Sherlockian scholars emerging from different traditions, loosely thought of as East and West.]
Strictly Sherlock's Prof Tracy Revels in “Sherlock Sticks With Scholars!” reflects on the lasting power of Sherlock Holmes, especially when used as a teaching tool in the pedagogic environs of academia: “The canon makes one think about science, history, psychology, art, music, politics, government, technology, sociology, criminology, and gender relations. A thoughtful reader will confront issues of colonialism, sexism, and racism. Most importantly, the Sherlock Holmes stories are invitations to critical thinking, which is the beating heart of higher education.” Dr Thorneycroft Huxtable, M.A., Ph.D., etc. would be proud!
[Huxtable’s grand 221B entrance.]
And in Klinger vs. ACD Estate News….
Free Sherlock! posted a list of the more prominent mentions the Klinger vs ACD Estate case has garnered. The blog also set-up a way for supporters to donate to the cause: “Funds will go exclusively to offset legal fees and expenses of the litigation.”
The Economist in “Who Owns Sherlock Holmes?” posted one of the best pieces on some of the issues surrounding the Klinger vs ACD Estate case: “An expert in the duration of copyright terms in America, Peter Hirtle of Cornell University finds no basis for the Conan Doyle estate to claim general ownership over aspects of Holmes from stories that are in the public domain. “Let’s imagine that the fact that Holmes plays the violin was included for the first time in one of the copyrighted stories,” he says via e-mail, “then it can’t be included in any new story that draws on the public domain versions.” But if the “Company” stories rely entirely on public-domain elements, then the estate has no ground to stand on, he adds.”
Publishers Weekly ”reported on suit filed by author and scholar Leslie Klinger that asks a federal court to declare that Holmes, Watson, and others of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters lie firmly in the public domain.” Listen to the 15 minute audio discussion as a podcast here.
Lyndsay Faye posted an excellent follow-up/public reply to Mr Alistair Duncan's “Sherlockian Civil War” piece from last week on Doyleockian - Ms Faye writes: “I deeply appreciate the spirit in which this post is intended. I fear, however, one or two items may have been slightly mischaracterized - if only to my own eyes - and thought that I should make mention of them since the post was written in such tremendously good faith…”
Quick Sherlock Links:
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page - a new Sherlockian blog by collector Don Hobbs - remembered Fred Levin, BSI, “a kindred soul….He was one of those rare Sherlockians that collected foreign translations of the Canon. Fred passed over Reichenbach Falls last February after suffer a debilitating stroke. His wife, Sunnie, asked me if I would help price Fred’s foreign language books and then ended up selling all of them to me for a price I could not refuse. Last week, I hopped into my Hansom Cab and headed to Skokie, Illinois to pick up those books.”
[Approximately 1/6th of Don Hobbs' legendary collection of translations of the Canon.]
Doyleockian laments the sad state of affairs surrounding a former home of ACD (that isn’t Undershaw): “Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home at 12 Tennison Road - South Norwood is up for auction as (potentially) a conversion prospect (i.e. division into flats). The sale takes place on February 28th 2013.”
Barefoot on Baker Street offers her opinion on the ongoing Klinger vs ACD Estate: “I share Klinger’s views completely. He is a lawyer and fully respects that the Estate owns copyright to ten of the original stories in the US which appeared in The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. His issue is that those characters are already known through the other stories which are no longer protected by copyright. So anyone should be able to use them. Not only does this make perfect legal and common sense, but it is also good for the legacy of Holmes and ultimately Doyle himself.”
Digital Spy updated Sherlockian gaming fans regarding Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments which will comprise of eight grand cases, but unlike previous games in the series, there will be multiple ways a case can be resolved” - a reported 12 endings per case. I don’t get much of a chance to play video games, but I hope that at some point I get a chance to play a few rounds Crimes & Punishments.
[A scene from the new Sherlock Holmes game Crimes & Punishments.]
Comic Vine reviewed the comic Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon 2 (of 5) along with copious examples of the artwork. I haven’t had a chance to read any of the Liverpool Demon series, but it looks better than your average Homes comic adaptation.
[An example of the artwork for Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon 2 (of 5). For more general information about the series in general (plus a myriad of related Sherlock links), click here.]
Best of Sherlock, one of the most informative Sherlockian sites in existence, recently updated their checklist of Paget original drawings. In “Sidney Paget Original Drawings and Artwork: A Census and Checklist Update from His Sesquicentennial” Randall Stock, BSI, the interested Sherlockian can find an exhaustive list of all known original Paget illustrations, most of which were first published in The Strand accompanying the original appearances of various Holmes adventures.
Sherlock Cares posted a lengthy “BBC Sherlock Season 3 Guide and Guesses”, using Moffat’s “Rat, Wedding, Bow” hints.
Sherlock. Everywhere. posted the best February 21, 2013 aka 2/21/13 aka 221B Day post (if you still don’t see it, imagine that the “13” can sort look like a “B”) - as well inviting readers to “Tell a Sherlockian how much they mean to you today!”
[You can purchase your very own 221B sticker from the Baker Street Blog.]
Tea at 221B found some amazing illustrations by an artist named “Robert Fawcett…From 1952 to 1953 Adrian Conan Doyle, Arthur Conan’s youngest son, wrote a total of one dozen “Sherlock Holmes” stories with John Dickson Carr. Published in both Good Housekeeping and Colliers. All twelve stories were illustrated by Robert Fawcett. The stories were published in the book: The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes.”
[One of Robert Fawcett’s illustration from JD Carr and Adrian Doyle The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes.]