Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 5 - January 11, 2013)
As I write this, BSI Weekend 2013 is in full swing. So far I’ve attended The ASH Wednesday Dinner, the Christopher Morley Memorial Walk, a BSJ Cocktail Reception, the Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Ball, the William Gillette Luncheon and the Mysterious Bookshop Open House - not to mention the innumerable small hangout sessions which are truly the glue that holds BSI Weekend together. Tomorrow morning is the hucksters/dealers room at the Roosevelt Hotel where I look forward to meeting many of my favorite Sherlockian authors and Sunday is Lyndsay Faye's ASH Brunch…and then I'll pass out for a while, dream about all the excellent Sherlockian fun I just had and then wake up and be inspired for the duration of 2013. Somehow in the middle of all this I managed to put together this Friday Sherlock Links post. Enjoy!
Markings: The Poetry of SH posted the snippet of verse I quoted in last week’s “39 Years Ago Today Vincent Starrett Departed This Mortal Coil" in ‘The Poetry of Sherlock Holmes’, Ray Wilcockson's special ongoing poetry subsection in Markings. First off, thanks to Mr Wilcockson for the quote. While reviewing the quote I re-read a comment I left on said blog in August of 2012 regarding the dramatic change in the presence of poetry in Sherlockian publications: “I’m always surprised at how much Sherlockian poetry (or poetry composed by Sherlockians about Sherlock Holmes, Victorian/Edwardian times, etc.) appeared in the early days of the BSI/BSJ (c.late-40s/50s). By way of example, the current BSJ issue (Summer 2012 - Vol.62, No.2) contains exactly zero (0) lines of poetry, and zero (0) lines of text about poetry. On the other hand, precisely 50 years ago in the BSJ (Vol.12, No.2), we find a page-length poem ‘What Doth the Bee’ by one Charles E. Lauterbach (cited as “the Poet Laureate of The Baker Street Irregulars" in his obituary!). Also in the same issue is an extensive piece on T.S. Eliot's work by noted Eliot scholar Grover Smith.” Poetry isn’t exactly my forte, but I wonder what made Sherlockians (or society/intellectuals/etc.) more inclined to verse (the wonderful to the doggerel) in the days of yore? And speaking of poetry and poets…
[The above image is from Waffle Guppies which has an excellent series of shots featuring poor, opium addicted Victor Savage (Granada’s DYIN) engaged in his final game of ‘rug-skatery’ before succumbing Sumatran River Fever. You’ll recall Mr Savage had aspirations to become a poet, contrary to his family’s expectations.]
Sherlock Peoria wrote a touching remembrance of Bob Burr (BSI, The Rascally Lascar) who passed beyond the living earlier this week (Jan 9, 2013). Mr Keefauver was a Peorian Sherlockian colleague of the late Mr Burr and my condolences go out to him as well as everyone who had the opportunity to know Robert Burr. I didn’t know the rascally lascar personally but his web presence (on Hounds of the Internet, Sherlock Holmes Social Network, etc.) was much greater than the average Sherlockian, particularly of his generation. Just a few weeks ago I received a book from MX Publishing called The Punishment of Sherlock Holmes compiled by Bob Burr and Philip K Jones which is a hilarious collection of Sherlock Holmes-related puns from a variety of sources, many of which came from Burr himself. I look forward to reading more about The Rascally Lascar in the coming days.
[For Sherlockian punsters everywhere.]
The Final Problem scanned a short Sherlock Hemlock book entitled Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery or The Mystery of the Terrible Mess in My Friend’s Front Yard. Besides the fact that Sherlock Hemlock is one bad ass consulting detective from Sesame Street, The Final Problem posted the scans because “today was my blog’s first birthday. I got you a present.” Congratulations to the slightly-obsessed-with-The-Reichenbach-Fall BBC Sherlock-inspired blog. Bonus: Check out her recently posted radio show from 1945 “The Notorious Canary Trainer" from The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (with Rathbone & Bruce). The case referred to as that of the Notorious Canary Trainer is an 1895 adventure mentioned in the introduction of “Black Peter" which involved someone named Wilson, a "notorious canary-trainer, [whose arrest] removed a plague-spot from the East End of London."
Maria Konnikova has generated an unbelievable amount of press over the last week since her book on the links between Holmes and Psychology, Mastermind, was released. Here’s just a sampling (with headlines): Become a ‘Mastermind’ with Sherlock Holmes’ help (CNN Living), Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Toronto Star), The Science of Sherlock Holmes (New Scientist), The Brain of Baker Street (WSJ) (the last two also review James O’Brien's The Scientific Sherlock Holmes (2013) from Oxford Press), Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (A Review) (Big Think), How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Scientific American) and Mastermind (Boston Globe). If you’re still on the fence regarding whether to buy Mastermind or not, this article from Brain Pickings will give you an excellent sense of what you can expect. Also, if you’re sick of reviews read this interview from Psychology Today with Ms Konnikova. Two reviewers I would trust more than almost any one you’re going to find out there (including the illustrious outlets above) are: Jaime Mahoney of Better Holmes & Gardens. Ms Mahoney’s review also includes the UK cover art for Mastermind which is WAY cooler than the US version (cf. below). And also the Well-Read Sherlockian - happy one year blog anniversary! - who gave it a 5 out of 5 and added a bunch of great images and even used footnotes for their highly detailed review.
[UK cover of Mastermind.]
Dan Andriacco attempts to piece out the reason(s) why Rex Stout did not include a single Sherlock Holmes story in Stout’s personal list of top 10 detective stories (as related by Vincent Starrett in one of his “Books Alive” columns. Mr Andriacco rejects Starrett’s attempt to address this question, though VS’s suggestion that “Holmes himself, the epic creation, is greater than any isolated story about him; the miracle is the entire Holmes saga considered as a unit” is admirable. Why would Rex Stout, an ardent Holmes fan and dyed-in-the-wool Sherlockian, leave the Master off this list? For more Vincent Starrett columns about Sherlock Holmes check out Karen Murdock's Sherlock Alive from The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, a personal favorite. PS. I am one of the thirty-somethings reading Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels.
[Rex Stout, still a cool dude even if he forgot to put Sherlock Holmes on his Top 10 list.]
Doyleockian mines the Canon for reliable information about the Baker Street Irregulars - the band of street Arabs from the stories, not the organization of Holmes enthusiasts from the the USA - such as “how they were organised and how many of them there were. Were they a set force or were they recruited on an ad-hoc basis?” Mr Duncan’s textually-based conclusions leave us pretty much where we started regarding the number and make-up of the BSI: “Looked at in modern terms you could say that Wiggins was staff and the rest of the irregulars were temps/contractors” and that’s it. Still, Mr Alistair Duncan has inspired me to think a little harder about the place of Holmes’ ‘street Arabs’ within the world of the Canon.
[Power shot from The Baker Street Irregulars (2007).]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Humanities in “Long Live Sherlock Holmes” considers the remarkable staying power of Sherlock Holmes who despite being despised and resented by his creator managed to endure in one guise or another the ever changing tastes of generation after generation, only to emerge just as fresh and robust as when we (and Dr Watson) first encounter him in a St Barts laboratory. “It is the paradoxical appeal of Holmes - heroic but repellent, remote but indomitable, machine-like yet persuasively human - that causes him to linger in hearts and minds.”
Baker Street Blog wished a happy birthday to The Great Detective and explained why we chose January 6, 1854 as the date of Sherlock Holmes’ birth. Sherlock. Everywhere. posted a great picture of a Sherlock cake. And the Well-Read Sherlockian wondered about the dangers of lighting 159 candles - also happy one year anniversary to the Well-Read Sherlockian!
[Happy Birthday to Holmes!]
Barefoot on Baker Street asks “Will Mrs Hudson’s Diaries be the next Holmes offering on screen?” Based on the book Mrs Hudson’s Diaries: A View From the Landing of 221B by English comedy writer Barry Cryer, it’s described as “a portrait of life below stairs at 221b Baker Street that is by turns silly, slapstick and sentimental.” As reported earlier here, Dame Judi Dench is supposedly “in line” to play Mrs Hudson. Hmmm…I can see the taglines now: “FUNementary!” “Sherlock HaHaHolmes” and “Dr Wocka-Wocka Watson!” Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be the joke that did nothing in the nighttime (and let’s hope that I’m not writing their copy).
Baker Street Babes hosted a fantastic BSI Weekend 2013 event called The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet which held an auction to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ll be reviewing the event elsewhere, but for now check out the amazing auction catalog. On a personal note, I went home with the painting ‘Murray Saving Watson' by Laurie F Manifold, which a friend won at the auction and presented to me as an early birthday gift. The next day Sherlockian art collector extraordinaire Jerry Margolin offered to buy it from me which I took as the highest compliment possible.
[Laurie Manifold’s amazing painting of Murray saving Watson at the Battle of Maiwand - an act that not only prevented Watson falling into the hands of the murderous Ghazis, but set off a chain of events which eventually led to Watson “Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.” (STUD)]
io9 wonders “Why can’t any recent Sherlock Holmes adaptation get Irene Adler right?”, pitting Irene Adler of the Canon with various adaptations of The Woman which all seem to fall short somehow, argues the writer. Along with reading the article itself, this post generated at least 130 comments taking one side or the other regarding Ms Adler’s place in the world of Sherlock Holmes.
[Adler in drag pulling the wool over Sherlock Holmes.]
Flavorwire had an operative at the Baker Street Babes Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball who shares their impressions of the wacky world of Sherlockian meetings. As a bonus, they included a slue of quotes from the night presented in an ‘overheard at..’ format. Hilarious stuff.
Quill & Quire announced a new Sherlock Holmes exhibit Adventures With Sherlock Holmes at the Toronto Reference Library featuring items from the collection. To celebrate the opening there will be screenings of Murder By Decree and The Real Sherlock Holmes - I assume they mean the 2012 Canadian History Channel documentary - and a lecture on ACD from Doug Wrigglesworth (BSI, The Retired Colourman). The exhibit runs until March 2013. There’s also a short but informative interview with library curator Peggy Purdue about the collection.
Everything Long Beach announced that The Long Beach Shakespeare Company will broadcast an old-time radio show double-feature of Sherlock Holmes mysteries live from the the Richard Goad Theater January 18-20. Audiences can watch as actors perform all sound effects and music for two of tales of intrigue based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” The stories are “The Musgrave Ritual” and “The Crooked Man”. It’s fine if you don’t live in Long Beach because “performances will also be available via live webcast.” I’ll remind everyone on next Friday’s Links to tune in.
Girl Meets Sherlock looks at the year in Sherlockian film/tv and applies her ‘Three Principles of Adaptations’ when discussing/analyzing them. An insightful read, whether or not you loathe Elementary.
The Week published a short puff piece about the resurgence of Sherlock Holmes with quotes from Les Klinger and - in a shocking revelation - Christopher Morley and Scott Monty's lovechild Scott Morley!
[Next time they should talk to my friend Edgar Klinger.]
39 Years Ago Today Vincent Starrett Departed This Mortal Coil
One month after the death of Sherlockian uberman Vincent Starrett (1886 - 1974), Jeffrey L. Michelman writing in “The Unique Vincent” attempted to grapple with this momentous loss through verse. He composed a poem in nine stanzas “dedicated to the memory of Vincent Starrett” and published it in The Devon County Chronicle (DCC 10, No. 2).
Even the Master in Sussex
From the hive
Would I’m sure admit
With Vincent Starrett gone,
It’s no longer 1895.
[Vincent Starrett (October 26, 1886 – January 5, 1974).]
Note: I came across the above poem fragment in Ronald Burt De Waal's The International Sherlock Holmes: A Companion Volume to The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson (1988) under Vincent Starrett’s entry in “Sherlockians (Bibliographies, Reminiscences and Tributes)”.
[De Waal’s The International Sherlock Holmes (1988).]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 1 - January 4, 2013)
Welcome to Always1895.net in 2013!! Mr Ray Wilcockson started the new year with a bang by announcing that the calendar for the year 1895 is identical to that of 2013, a happy coincidence which I hope to make use of throughout the next 365 days. Observe the calendar for 1895 below and then compare it to a calendar for 2013 (eg. Vincent Starrett's birthday, October 26, falls on a Saturday on both calendars). Now all I need to do is find an intact vintage calendar from 1895 and hang it on my wall.
Every year around this time I enjoy re-visiting various accounts of the history and culture of the BSI. Classic texts written by Sherlockians include: Steve Rothman’s The Standard Doyle Company, Jon Lellenberg’s BSI Archival History (Vols. 1-5) and Edgar W Smith’s Profile By Gaslight. On the audio front, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere has recorded a few excellent BSI Weekend-centric episodes containing reviews by and personal reflections from hosts Burt Wolder and Scott Monty: 2010 Weekend In Review (Ep 23), Michael Whelan, Wiggins of the BSI (Ep 14-15) and Peter Blau (Ep 6-7). The Internet, not surprisingly, contains some choice contemporary blog posts: “A Curious Constitution" looks at the BSI’s constitution composed by legend Elmer Davis, Brad Keefauver’s satirical essay on the underlying logic of admittance into and quotas for the BSI “Who’s Getting Into the BSI”, and finally, Ms Lyndsay Faye’s “Inside the Baker Street Irregulars" is an invaluable and fascinating look at what exactly happens during BSI Weekend from an insider’s perspective.
[1895 = 2013.]
Baker Street Journal created quite a stir with their announcement of a new edition of the BSJ archive. The new e-BSJ adds 55 issues (from 2001 - 2011) covering 1954 to 2011 as well including the BSJ Xmas Annuals. Improvements include fresh PDF scans with more advanced OCR and increased search reliability, particularly in regards to the somewhat problematic issues from the 1950s. Priced at an extremely reasonable $149.95, the entire set is contained on a single DVD (opposed to 4 CDs). For information regarding the new archive along with details on how to receive a $100 discount (for a limited time only), download and read this PDF which explains the BSJ CD-ROM Trade-In/Upgrade Program. After subscribing to the BSJ and attending meetings of your local scion, I consider owning/using the e-BSJ set as one of the most essential aspects of being an active Sherlockian. I dream about getting a new iPad Mini and loading it up with full runs of the electronic versions of the Baker Street Journal, the Sherlock Holmes Journal, Baker Street Miscellanea and whatever other Sherlockian journal/chapbook scans I can find - and then head out to a cabin in the woods for a month. For the future of Sherlockian e-publishing, check out publisher George A. Vanderburgh’s Battered Silicon Dispatch Box (e-books) and Barbara and Christopher Roden’s Calabash Press (click for available e-books).
[Who knew that so much, written by so many, for so few would be less than 5 gbs?]
No Place Like Holmes has become the virtual host for The Howard Ostrom Holmes & Watson Collection: “For over 30 Years Howard Ostrom has been determinedly creating an unrivaled collection in his home in Winter Springs Florida of a gallery of autographed photos of all those actors who have played the Great Detective and Doctor in some form or another. From well known ones such as Hollywood blockbuster’s Downey and Law, ‘The Holmes To End all Holmes’, television’s Jeremy Brett, war time cinematic legends Bruce and Basil to such rarities as William Gillette, the first actor ever to play the role [of Holmes who] went on to perform the play over 1,300 times.” You need to see this collection to believe it.
Baker Street Babes re-posted mid0nz's essay “The Most Beautiful Object on the 221B Set” about the binoculars on BBC Sherlock’s desk as well as the object below “designed in 1897 by León Bloch who in 1912, with Edmund Bloch, invented “Le Sherlock Holmes,” a stealth camera disguised as a small briefcase!” Make sure to read the entire piece and follow the links for a fascinating look at Edwardian Era brilliance. Also, I kind of really want one of these for myself now.
[Two Inventions by León Bloch: binoculars and briefcase camera.]
Sherlockian.net - one of the oldest and most respected Holmes-centric websites whose Canadian proprietor Christopher Redmond has been a player in the Sherlockian world since he was in his mid-teens - announced his first annual award for “the best Sherlockian book I read” during the preceding calendar year (in honor of Marlene R. Aig, a Sherlockian who departed this mortal coil in 1996). For 2012 the winning book is Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman. Imagine the Canon if it was seen and described from the perspective of Col. Sebastian Moran (nickname: ‘Basher’) as he goes about the nefarious and sordid daily business of being the Napoleon of Crime’s right-hand man, engaged in blackmail, assassination, revenge, robbery, and all manner of assault, intimidation and ruthless skulduggery. A remarkable number of famous Victorian literary characters - or what, according to Mr Redmond, Christopher Morley called “Victorian corn" (eg. The Creeper, Raffles and Bunny, Dr Mabuse) - make cameos along with minor characters from the Canon (Stamford, Irene Adler). Make sure to read Redmond’s review and then run out and buy Moriarty. Note: Don’t forget that Kim Newman is giving the 2013 BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecturer.
[Sherlockian.net’s Chris Redmond names Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles as his top book of 2012.]
Sherlock. Everywhere. announced the imminent release of the The Wrong Passage the “eighth book in the BSI Manuscript Series which reproduces the manuscript of “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez" and includes scholarly chapters on the manuscript, Conan Doyle’s writing of it, its publication, and other interesting aspects of the story." Edited by Dr Bob Katz and Mr Andy Solberg, I can’t wait to add this volume to the ACD manuscripts section of my bookcase. It will be available for purchase during the BSI Weekend and afterwards at bakerstreetjournal.com.
[Looking forward to picking this up at The Merchant’s Room and then having Dr Bob Katz and Mr Andy Solberg inscribe it.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Maria Konnikova counts down the days until Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.is released (January 3, 2013) and posts advanced reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Psychology Today, and Scientific American. In you’re in the NYC area on Monday, January 7, 2013 check out Ms Konnikova at BookCourt in Brooklyn reading from her, hot off the presses, Mastermind.
Dallas Morning News ran a profile on Don Hobbs (along with an excellent photo of Mr Hobbs among his collection), a Sherlockian who is best known for his insanely huge collection of books from the Canon in translation. Read a former colleague of Hobbs Mr Brad Keafauver's response here.
Sherlock Peoria considers whether or not the net is building better Sherlockians. I particularly enjoyed the following: “As this blog is really an extension of an ongoing Sherlockian commentary that started in a monthly newsletter in 1983, I don’t really consider it a part of the new age of online Sherlockian fandom. There are far too many cranky old guy notions floating around my Sherlockian brain, so I’m always delighted to see fresh work from new folk.”
Doctor Who (*spoilers*) recently aired it’s 2012 Xmas special “The Snowmen" which took place in Victorian London and wouldn’t you know, Mr Sherlock Holmes makes an appearance! If you are at all familiar with the latest incarnation of the (the 11th) Doctor, you’ll notice that the Great Detective is actually the Doctor (played by Matt Smith), but it’s still one of the most enjoyable three minutes of TV I watched all Christmas (view the scene here). Again, if you’re familiar with Doctor Who you’ll know that the show’s main producer/writer is Steven Moffat who also just happens to be the producer/writer of BBC Sherlock, which makes this scene all the more satisfying.
[Matt Smith as Sherlock Holmes.]
Kafers reflects on her last two years as a Baker Street Babe and as a Sherlockian: “Without the Babes, I often wonder if I would have stagnated and never tried to reach for something more. Maria, Ardy and Kristina, as well as a lot of honorary Babes and some other friends who have come and gone, gave me some of the best experiences in my life to date.”
Digital Victorianist published a piece “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Repeat Prescription” comparing the current Beechams ad campaign (“Shorn of his deductive powers by a troublesome head cold, Holmes only regains his crime-solving abilities thanks to a timely dose of Beechams Ultra All In One”) to a series of Beechams Pills advertisements from 1893 which also featured the Great Detective. The contemporary commercial is almost too painful to watch (“Aha! It was the Butler!” Really?) and the 1893 advertisements are rather predictable, but I was shocked to learn that the original Beechams Pills were in production up until 1999 - as far as fake medicine goes, patent medicine is so much cooler than the boring contemporary homeopathic craze. For an excellent survey of Sherlock-themed advertising over the last 100 years or so I highly recommend Bill Blackbeard's Sherlock Holmes in America.
Contact Music dropped a bit of a bombshell this week when announcing that Dame Judi Dench has been contacted to play the role of Mrs Hudson for an upcoming TV adaptation of Sherlock Holmes: “The Oscar winner is in talks to portray the super snoop’s loyal employee Mrs. Hudson in a new show based on her journals, called A View From The Landing At 221B Baker Street. The script has been penned by British comedy writer Barry Cryer and his son, Bob, and the pair is adamant the Bond actress is the perfect person for the job. Cryer tells Britain’s Daily Mail, “It’s all at a very early stage but it would be brilliant if Dame Judi were to play Mrs. Hudson. She would be ideal.” For more information about A View From the Landing, check out this BBC Sherlock Fan forum thread.
[The future Mrs Hudson.]
Better Homes & Gardens reviewed The Crucifer of Blood featuring Charlton Heston as Sherlock Holmes. The 1991 film is based on a Paul Giovanni's play of the same name which featured a pre-Granada Jeremy Brett playing the part of Dr Watson in the 1980 Los Angeles production.
Dan Andriacco wishes The Master an early Happy Birthday: “After all, according to Vincent Starrett’s beloved sonnet 221B, Holmes and his devoted friend Dr John H. Watson “never lived and so can never die.” Some Sherlockians may disagree with the first assertion, but none would doubt the second.” I couldn’t agree more.
Markings looks at “the good doctor’s contribution to our appreciation of how and why Sherlock Holmes solves the case of “The Blue Carbuncle”” by breaking down and analyzing a number of features of the story including: the Reminiscing Narrator, the Dramatic Narrative, An Intellectual Problem, A Practical Case, the Application of Advanced Skills and Perfectionist & Professional Pride along with notes on writing like Watson. Another fine post by Mr Ray Wilcockson.
Twyla, a Twitter web app that organizes your Twitter posts into a very readable web magazine-looking thing, was recently brought to my attention by Mr Joe Riggs. Check out the sharp-looking Twyla version of his Twitter at: tweets.theworldofjoeriggs.com.
Victoriana Magazine has an excellent primer to Victorian Balls including Victorian dress for men and women, comportment on the night of the ball, at the ball and after the ball is over. Just to give you a taste of what’s involved: “In a private Victorian ball or party, it was proper for a lady to show reserve, and not manifest more preference for one gentleman than another - she would dance with all who asked properly. Ladies would avoid talking too much during the dance; it was also in bad taste to whisper continually in the ear of her partner.” For anyone planning on attending the Baker Street Babes' The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball, this guide to proper behavior will be essential, I’m sure.
Bookish Adventures posted a series of animated GIFs of classic Paget-inspired scenes brought to life by Granada’s Jeremy Brett and David Burke.
[Click the above image for a series of animated GIFs featuring JB and DB channeling Paget.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (December 22 - December 28, 2012)
Welcome to the final Friday Links post of 2012! Before Father Time carves another notch in his belt (of Time) I’ll have a Fall 2012 Sherlockian scion roundup, an Always1895.net best of 2012 post and a few odds and ends that I never got around to posting in 2012. I hope to start 2013 off with a Starrettian bang via Vincent Starrett Week 2013 (which will orbit January 5, the date of VS’s death). Also, there will be a plethora of posts pertaining to BSI Weekend 2013 (before, during and after). I hope everyone had a relaxing ‘holiday season’ and thanks for reading!
Baker Street Blog's Mr Scott Monty with an eye toward the rapidly approaching BSI Weekend 2013 (!!!) provides “a series of tips for the veteran attendees and the newbies alike.” Everything from what to pack (ie. pack lite so you have plenty of room in your suitcase to fill with newly acquired books) to items to facilitate meeting others (business cards); from comportment suggestions (avoid ‘Dutch courage’ when scheduled to speak) to attire (comfortable shoes); as well as practical advice on time, money and travel management. A “handy downloadable and printable guide for the weekend" is available along with various online resources (check out this neat list of Sherlockians on Twitter) plus a reminder that “#BSIWeekend" is the official Twitter hash-tag. At the very least, make sure to bookmark Mr Monty’s Baker Street Blog BSI Weekend suggestions post for perusal throughout the weekend and as an added defense against dead phone batteries and poor reception, it doesn’t hurt to print out (to physical paper) a schedule highlighting the events you plan on attending, a decent map of Manhattan and the subway and a list of essential phone numbers (friends and hated rivals) you would want to have access to if your phone was lost. Personally, I plan on live tweeting from the BSI Weekend as much as humanly possible, so please follow me at @always1895.
[I hope to see many of you in just under two weeks time!]
Digression: Links Re: “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”:
Dan Andriacco extends the (obligatory) compliments of the season (on Boxing Day) to his readers and disputes the oft repeated notion, as expressed by Christopher Morley, that “The Blue Carbuncle” is a Christmas story without slush: “In fact, the phrase [has] so often been repeated that hardly anybody seems to have noticed that it is patently untrue. In reality, there is plenty of slush in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”.” Pointing out both Mr Henry Baker’s attempt at winning back the affections of his wife by presenting her with a fine goose procured from his participation in the Goose Club (as hosted by the kindly Mr Windigate, proprietor of the Alpha Inn) as well as Holmes’ remarkable decision allowing the despicable Mr Ryder to avoid punishment for his role in the theft of the Blue Carbuncle, Mr Andriacco concludes “[i]f that’s not slush, I don’t know what is!” What do you think?
[Christopher Morley’s intro to Christmas Story Without Slush.]
Meiringens posted this two-panel scene from Peter Cushing's adaptation of “The Blue Carbuncle" which, though non-canonical, is one of the more touching scenes throughout the 1968 BBC Sherlock Holmes series: Watson (Nigel Stock) presents Holmes with a gift of tobacco while stopping by to wish Holmes the compliments of the season just prior to the main events of BLUE. As much as I love Jeremy Brett in Granada’s version of BLUE, the Cushing adaptation runs a close second and I highly recommend back-to-back viewings - if you don’t have access to Cushing’s version, you can watch the entire episode in parts on YouTube (Part 1 of Cushing’s BLUE).
[Click the above image for a larger version of a Xmas scene with just a little bit of slush.]
Markings in “Christmas Day Post -The Blue Carbuncle - (2) “A Gem of a Short Story" treats his readers to his proprietary blend of Sherlockian textual analysis, humorous digressions, links to video clips and relevant images and all around Holmesian enthusiasm of a kind that only a retired English teacher can muster. Compliments, etc. to Mr Ray Wilcockson on his always entertainingly erudite Markings blog, which has been a blast to read in 2012 - and is sure not to disappoint in 2013!
[Intro to Peter Cushing’s BLUE (1968) for the BBC.]
Utah Theater Bloggers brought our attention to a “2012 installment of Radio Hour, entitled “Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle”, played one night only on December 18, 2012. However, you can listen to the radio play at KUER’s web site.” I’m not sure how many different audio versions of BLUE I have, but this multi-person rendition is a welcome addition to the ‘Blue Carbuncle Audio Club’.
[Click the above image to listen to a brand new adaptation of “The Blue Carbuncle" from Radio West KUER originally aired on Dec 18, 2012.]
Lyndsay Faye posted a video of her recent performance of a very special reading of “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” (December 2012) at Singularity & Co. Bookshop in Brooklyn, NY as part of the I, Reader series. Ms Faye tackles the Xmas story sans slush with accents a’blazing making BLUE as fresh and relevant as ever.
Sherlock Peoria takes a break from his valiant, 24-7 assault on CBS’s Elementary and reflects on “the compliments of the season” qua “sonic screwdriver of holiday wishes”; that is, the “all-purpose Xmas greeting” particular to our little Sherlockian world.
Strictly Sherlock - a blog written by Professor Tracy Revels - shares her recent ‘Blue Carbuncle Moment’ where, after catching a student cheating, she could “have brought down the wrath of the academy. But this student pulled a James Ryder, complete with weeping and wringing of hands. I couldn’t bring myself to extract the big penalty and instead let the young person off with a lower grade and a stern warning.” Read Prof Revels entire article to find out her reasoning behind the decision and how one could do worse in using Sherlock Holmes as a guide to life.
/End Digression: Links Re: “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”
Fear Net published a review of Titan Book’s re-release (in their ‘Further Adventures of’ series) of the 1978 title Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D Estleman. Assuaging any fears that this pastiche is a poor attempt at merging the world of the great detective with that of Stoker’s Dracula, we are assured that Estleman’s tale is “a rousing adventure story that does both Bram Stoker and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle proud. Estleman’s book chronicles Count Dracula’s time in London, beginning at the point where a mysterious schooner arrives in Whitby Harbour in the midst of some decidedly unnerving weather.”
[Find out what happens when the Great Detective meets the Prince of Darkness.]
BookCourt is hosting a reading by Maria Konnikova from her about-to-be-released Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking, 2013). The reading is happening at Brooklyn bookstore BookCourt on Monday, January 7, 2013. For more information check out this Facebook event page; to see if Ms Konnikova will be giving a reading near you, check out her Events page at her website www.mariakonnikova.com. I just started reading Mastermind and am enjoying the unique and thoroughly engaging synthesis of information running the spectrum from Sherlockianology to Cognitive Psychology (my major in college).
[The author Ms Konnikova along with a small shot of the cover of Mastermind.]
Huff Post Books employed the talented Ms Maria Konnikova - whose soon to be published Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking, 2013) will hopefully be on everyone’s to-read list - to compose a list of “10 Mysteries Worthy of Sherlock Holmes’s Time” - ten real-life mysteries that is. Examples include purely vicious cases such as “The case of the Tylenol murders" and "The disappearance of Suzanne Jovin" as well intellectual-historical cases such as "The mystery of the Aleppo Codex" and "The case of the Somerton Man”. As always, Ms Konnikova delivers up a perfect blend of fact and Sherlockian-theorizing that is great fun.
Baker Street Babes posted Episode 35 “Watson & Holmes" (hosted by Babes Lyndsay, Curly, & Amy) which features two of the creators behind recently released comic Watson & Holmes, which is “a modern urban take on the tales of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Re-envisioning Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as African Americans and taking place in New York City’s famous Harlem district, the stories can go in fresh and new directions never traveled before.” You may recall I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere (Ep. 44) producing a similar show though the Babe’s tackle it from a fresh direction and both podcasts compliment each other nicely. I have yet to check this comic out but I suppose it’s time to lay down my hard earned 99 cents and see what all the hype is about! Below is some art from the book:
[Watson & Holmes hanging out on Baker Street…Harlem, NYC.]
Baker Street Beat posted about his recent visit to the Reform Club (notable for, among other things, rejecting Winston Churchill's application for membership), which he also argues might be the original inspiration for Brother Mycroft's beloved Diogenes Club. For more information about The Reform Club as well as other storied London clubs, I thoroughly recommend to you the utterly fascinating Gentlemen’s Clubs of London - now available in an updated 2012 third edition.
[The real Diogenes Club?]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Best of Sherlock posted a round-up of various ‘best of’ 2012 items of particular interest to Sherlockians: Sherlock Holmes pastiches; Holmes-related movies on DVDs; books about Holmes & Conan Doyle; and various items for collectors and researchers. Xmas/holiday gift giving may be over, but there’s always excellent reasons to give a gift to the Sherlockians in your life. I highly recommend Randall Stock's Best of Sherlock website to both Sherlockian neophytes as well as deeply committed Holmesians.
Collider posted an intriguing interview with producer Dan Lin about Warner Bros Sherlock Holmes 3. The quick answer to exactly when we can expect SH3: “It’s still in development. Drew Pearce is working on the script and Downey, as you know, is still finishing Iron Man 3 so we’re waiting for Downey to finish that movie and to get a script from Drew.” Personally Game of Shadows has really grown on me so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll cook up for the third, and presumably final, chapter in the Warner Bros/Guy Ritchie/Downey Sherlock Holmes series.
Portsmouth News ”He’s the internationally recognized fictional detective created by former Portsmouth resident Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Now an exhibition celebrating the life of Sherlock Holmes has been given a huge boost. A total of £80,000 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to bring the collection at Portsmouth City Museum to a wider audience. A total of £10,000 was also donated by the council towards the ‘Sharing Sherlock – The story of a Pompey lad’ project. The cash will fund a new online exhibition and study packs for schools.”
The Batteredbox’s Weblog - blog of George A. Vanderburgh and the Sacred Six - posted this utterly fascinating piece from The World (1907, New York) authored by Bram Stoker in which Conan Doyle is interviewed about Undershaw, ‘motoring’, and other aspects of his life, from the literary to the gossipy. Take a moment, pour a drink of something naughty or nice and give this a thorough reading, letting your mind pretend that it’s actually 1907 and only half of the Canon has been written, though Holmes has (six years hence) miraculously returned from the deadly cauldron of the Reichenbach.
Sherlockology posted a beginner guide to Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek and the intersections thereof. An intriguing project worth book marking for future perusal. While looking for an appropriate image to accompany this link I found an entry for “Sherlock Holmes" on Memory-Alpha, a Star Trek wiki.
Sherlock. Everywhere. found this delicious image (taken from here) of what can only be thought of as a Canonical cake. From the cake baker: “The book is chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream covered in fondant and hand painted. The text is from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, it is from the 3rd adventure. The pipe and magnifying glass are made from sugar paste and the only non-edible component is the disc of perspex set in the magnifying glass.”
[Truly an item fit for ‘Baker’ Street!]
Doyleockian points out that Undershaw is apparently for sale (again). Whether or not this is a good or bad thing, time will only tell - and thanks to the eternal vigilance of Save Undershaw, no surreptitious action will/can be taken by whoever ends up purchasing the storied and controversial property.
[My only complaint: this isn’t an animated GIF.]
Sherlock Quotes put out a call for someone to take over the blog: “Is anybody interested in running this blog? It looks like undivided self is AWOL and I’d still like to see the blog active even though I don’t want to run it myself. Just message sherlock-quotes or breadraptor and let me know. Make sure you have a good source of quotes, especially if you plan to post daily!” Sounds like a good opportunity if someone wants to enter the world of Sherlockian blogging without starting from scratch.
F—k Yeah Granada Holmes re-posted a series of classic Granada Sherlock Holmes poses and scenes loosely connected via one of Holmes’ most provocative and definitive statements: “My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know" (BLUE).
And to conclude the final Friday Sherlock Links Compendium post of 2012, I’d like to share a picture of the most Sherlockian-centric Xmas present I received this year: a small, hand painted portrait of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson rendered as cats!
[Seriously, this is what you get a person whose two favorite things are Sherlock Holmes and cats.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (December 15 - December 21, 2012)
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, just in time for the holidays, released Episode 49 “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas” where Mr Monty and Mr Wolder discuss “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" and "how this classic fits in the pantheon of Holmes stories in its own right as a tale of friendship, crime, discovery and what we’ve come to realize as some of the typical Baker Street scenes." Various adaptations of BLUE are analysed as well as the 1948 Baker Street Irregulars special publication (cf. picture below) of “Blue Carbuncle” that includes the timeless introduction by Sherlockian legend Christopher Morley titled “A Christmas Story Without Slush.” Finally, the IHOSE hosts list a number of potential Sherlockian gift items, both interesting and eclectic. Compliments of the season from Always1895.net to Scott Monty and Burt Wolder of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere and congratulations on yet another excellent year of Sherlockian-centric podcasts! Plus: As an added bonus, Mr Scott Monty posted his poem inspired by BLUE “Compliments of the Season" on Sherlock. Everywhere.
[Cover for the BSI publication of “The Blue Carbuncle”.]
Baker Street Blog guest blogger James O’Leary submitted a very lengthy ‘apology’ (in the Ancient Greek sense of the word) of CBS’s Elementary. My only serious gripe is Mr O’Leary’s insistence that opponents/detractors of Elementary (for whatever reason) are wholly in the wrong (eg. “I do not understand the vitriol aimed at Elementary, lighting up the message boards like so many Kitty Winters with jars of acid” - I do give him points for the creative imagery). Though his defense of the show is exhaustive and grounded in textual evidence, there are still a plethora of difficulties one might suggest: for the bulk of them, cf. Brad Keefauver of Sherlock Peoria, particularly his post from earlier this week “Another Week of Mr Elementary" as well as his latest, amusing diatribe "The Eve of Destruction”. Another excellent and succinct counter argument (from across the pond) can be found in “This is Amusing, Though Rather Elementary”, the lead editorial in the Winter 2012 (Vol. 31 No.1 #120) issue of The Sherlock Holmes Journal.
Bauman Rare Books of NYC is selling The Hound of the Baskervilles (London: George Newnes), 1902. Octavo, original pictorial black - and gilt-stamped red cloth. “Housed in a custom clamshell box” for the paltry sum of $10,000. As a one of a kind added bonus, impress your friends with an “Armorial bookplate [ie. book name tag with one’s coat of arms] of English stately house Stapleford Park in Leicester, England, once home to the Earls of Harborough and, at the time of publication, the residence of the first Baron Gretton.” Want to score some major points with the Sherlockian in your life? Recover the reward for a missing blue carbuncle and put this under their holiday tree!
[Cover of The Hound of the Baskervilles (London: George Newnes), 1902.]
The Final Problem delights with this clever recreation of the infamous package from “The Cardboard Box”: “a small packet, wrapped in brown paper…a cardboard box was inside, which was filled with coarse salt. On emptying this, Miss Cushing was horrified to find two human ears, apparently quite freshly severed.” The box is further described as being a yellow honeydew tobacco box with two thumbprints. This recreation possesses just the correct ratio of duplication to parody one might hope to find in the main ‘prop’ from CARD.
[What do you get the Sherlockian who already owns a Naval Treaty, a cataract knife, a blue carbuncle (replica), a Napoleonic bust and a picture of Irene Adler? A cardboard box containing two ears of course!!]
Meiringens - paraphrasing Christoper Morley - in “A Christmas Story Without Slush: Three radio dramatizations of "The Blue Carbuncle" and one even more Christmassy story” supplies a download containing three different BLUEs from over over the years: a 1954 BBC version, 1961 dramatized by Michael Hardwick w/Carleton Hobbs & Norman Shelley and 1991 dramatized by Burt Coules w/Clive Merrison & Michael Williams. I haven’t heard the 1954 version yet but both Hobbs and Merrison play an excellent Holmes and I’ve listened to both show’s version of BLUE numerous times. The fourth and “even more Christmassy story” is called “The Night Before Christmas” and was written by Denis Green and Anthony Boucher for MBS, with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr Watson (first broadcast Dec 24, 1945). This will be my first time hearing Green & Boucher’s radio play, but according to the synopsis: “Watson plays Santa Claus for Mrs Hudson’s nephews, mysterious presents are wrapped in £20 notes, Holmes sings some carols and of course Moriarty is behind everything.” Nigel Bruce really pulls off an excellent ‘frustrated failed Santa’ and heartwarming Xmas babysitter to a crew of little kids.
[Amazing quote from Dr Watson/Nigel Bruce: “I still don’t understand what’s going on Holmes but I must say it has all the earmarks of a happy Christmas.”]
New York Times published an opinion piece by Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and a Psychology PhD candidate, about the importance of concentration and mindfulness - applied unitasking if you will - when problem solving. Ms Konnikova uses the methods of the great detective to illustrate her thesis: “More often than not, when a new case is presented, Holmes does nothing more than sit back in his leather chair, close his eyes and put together his long-fingered hands in an attitude that begs silence….His approach to thought captures the very thing that cognitive psychologists mean when they say mindfulness.” A benefit of this ability is improved “connectivity inside our brain’s attentional networks”, which supplies the resources needed to speed up thinking, which in Holmes’ case allows for the realization that Hugh Boone is actually Mr. Neville St. Clair (TWIS) or helps bring into focus the nefarious plans of Vincent Spaulding aka John Clay as he attempts to tunnel secretly into a bank vault (REDH). (Thanks to Brenda for first pointing this out to me.) Note: My review copy of Mastermind just arrived so expect a review soon! Jon Lellenberg posted a short response to Ms Konnikova’s NY Times piece on concentration on his Editor’s Gas-Bag blog.
[Holmes spends all night unitasking in “The Man With the Twisted Lip" before solving the case.]
Library Journal - since we’re on the subject of Maria Konnikova - posted an essay “Maria Konnikova, Sherlock Holmes, and Savoring the World Around Us - Not Dead Yet” where the author explains how she plans on integrating the findings of Ms Konnikova into her plans for the coming year; and though they don’t involve adding a 7% solution to the menu, they do include mindfulness and speaking out against (needless) multi-tasking.
[Pick up a copy of one of the most talked about Sherlock books of 2012 (and 2013 to be sure): Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.]
Baker Street Babes helped to disseminate (originally posted by B0rn to bl0som as far as I can tell) some rather insane news/imagery: based on the below images, it appears that Doctor Who “The Snowmen” (7x06) will be appearing as or referencing or in some way associating with the Great Detective. Now whenever someone mentions the possibility of or desire for a Sherlock/Who crossover, there is a small contingent that reflexively points out that Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor appeared in a mulit-part episode called the “The Talons of Weng-Chiang" which very loosely references Sherlock Holmes by placing the Doctor in late Victorian London dressed in an Inverness cape and deerstalker who says to his companion once "…elementary my dear Litefoot". Unfortunately that’s about it, so I think it’s fair to say that even technically speaking, there’s never been a proper Sherlock Holmes-themed or Sherlock crossover, etc Doctor Who episode. Based on the below images, the time may have finally come!
[Wow! Click the above image for a larger, animated version of Matt Smith dressed in Inverness cape and deerstalker with Calabash pipe for the upcoming Doctor Who episode “The Snowmen” - looking at other promo photos from this episode though has The Doctor dressed in a variety of Victorian and Dickensonian outfits which leads me to believe the above animated GIF is a sick, sick Moffat act of skulduggery and duplicity. I can’t wait to find out either way!]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Coventry Telegraph interviews Benedict Cumberbatch regarding his thoughts on playing an enemy of the Federation and intergalactic terrorist in the upcoming (May 17 2013) Star Trek: Into Darkness.
@MollieBaggins posted this rather hilarious set of Sherlock Holmes ‘bread puns’ - what are bread puns? Read it and weep…or should I saw “wheat”?! “Bakery Street and the Adventures of Sherloaf Holmes" is just the beginning. Along with being amusing the poster also uses this as definitive evidence that "The Sherlock fandom are insane."
Markings in his typically un-blog like blogging style, tells the a tale of “The Parable of the Good Sherlockian" - as related by Mr Isa Whitney in the Testament of Isa Whitney, from The Book of Isa. [Apocryphal Canon.] ch. XVII vv. 212-227. Mr Ray Wilcockson waxes poetic in his re-telling of the opening of “The Man With the Twisted Lip”.
Sherlock Holmes Society of London is offering “The perfect gift for the Christmas stocking - A pair of black socks with the Society logo (in colour) on the side - Mens size 7-11” along with the perfect pun: “The Game is a Foot and we have it covered!" Indeed. In non-footwear related SHSL news, the latest issue of the venerable Sherlock Holmes Journal just arrived in my mailbox (Vol. 31, No. 1 - Issue # 120 Winter 2012) and contains articles by: Nicholas Utechin (on one of my favorite Sherlockian Jay Finley Christ), Alistair Duncan, Roger Johnson, Carrie Chandler and more!
[I’ll repeat: ”The Game is a Foot and we have it covered!” ]
MX Publishing are celebrating their recent success on Kickstarter Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House by announcing that ”41 Translators Started Work on 6 New Language Versions”. As many of you are aware this book is a collection of short Sherlock Holmes stories and poems written by fans from around the world in support of the Save Undershaw campaign - and the Kickstarter project succeeded in obtaining funding to have Sherlock’s Home translated into at least 6 more languages.
Sherlock Holmes & Young Winston: The Deadwood Stage, from a new series of novels on MX by Mike Hogan, has just been published and is available from Amazon, soon to be followed by Vols. 2 and 3 to be released in early 2013. I’m halfway through Vol. 1 and loving every second. The “Young Winston” in the title of course refers to Winston Churchill who Mr Hogan has, through a set of chance encounters, introduced to Holmes and Watson (and Wiggins and Billy) circa 1887. As can be imagined, Young Churchill is precocious and insightful with a healthy streak of impertinence, who looks up to Holmes and Watson as role models while simultaneously learning all he can from their (soon to be “our”) methods. I don’t know much about Mr Mike Hogan (yet!) but I’m very much looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. Expect to see a long-form review of The Deadwood Stage here soon!
[Cover for the first book in a series by Mike Hogan called Sherlock Holmes & Young Winston.]
Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit announced their Winter 2013 meeting happening on Saturday January 19th at 7pm British Commonwealth Club in Michigan. “The evening’s presenter will be Dennis Ward on “The Enigma of Sherlock Holmes,” which considers the life, travels, and writing of Arthur Conan Doyle, Dr. Watson’s literary agent.” Sounds like a good time to be a Sherlockian from Michigan!
50Watts - the original location where Sagatrope found the above T-Rex image - also contained this super cool poster of John Barrymore in Sherlock Holmes (1922) with the accompanying text “A solitary figure on London Bridge at Midnight.” Note: Ray Wilcockson, Alistair Duncan and Kristina of the Baker Street Babes all tell me that this image is not London Bridge but in fact is The Embankment - Mr Wilcockson sent me this excellent picture of “Sherlock Holmes on the alert - a scene on the Thames Embankment with the House of Parliment in the background" which he used in a Markings post about Barrymore’s Sherlock Holmes. Kristina and Mr Duncan both mention the South Bank of the Thames, citing Big Ben and recognizable features of lampposts. Note2: This is why I love my little Twitter community of Sherlockians - check out who I follow on Twitter.
[John Barrymore in Sherlock Holmes (1922) movie poster. I would love to have an original of this on my wall.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (December 8 - December 14, 2012)
Quick note: Lyndsay Faye will be reading “The Blue Carbuncle" TODAY (Friday, December 14, 2012 at 6pm) in Brooklyn NY at Singularity & Co. - sorry for the late notice but I just found out myself. The reading is part of a series called I, Reader and will feature free wine and plenty of SciFi nerdiness/awesomeness. If you can make it, come out and support one of my favorite Sherlockians Lyndsay Faye as well as the recently opened brick and mortar bookshop Singularity & Co. profiled here on Tor.com, a co-sponsor of the I, Reader series. Coolness all around on this one.
[Click for more information on the newly opened (August 2012) SciFi bookshop in Brooklyn, NY, Singularity & Co.]
Norwegian Explorers of MN have posted more information about their 2013 conference: “On August 9-11, 2013, The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota and the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota will hold a conference to explore aspects of Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place. The conference will take place at the Elmer L. Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota, home of the Sherlock Holmes Collections, the world’s largest collection of Sherlock Holmes-related material. The conference will feature presentations by a stellar group of international Sherlockians, vendor tables, a silent auction of selected duplicate items from the Collections, an exhibit of rare and unique materials from the Collections, a dramatic performance by the Red-Throated League of the Norwegian Explorers, and the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections. Confirmed Speakers Include: Mattias Boström, B.S.I. Michael Eckman, Marcus Geisser, B.S.I. Roger Johnson, B.S.I. Leslie Klinger, B.S.I. Bill Mason, Marsha Pollak, A.S.H., B.S.I. Chris Redmond, M.Bt., B.S.I. Marina Stajic, A.S.H., B.S.I. Jean Upton, A.S.H., B.S.I.”
[I know where I’ll be on August 9th, 2013!]
Witterstaetter Writes posted about Matt Triano's Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #1 is hitting the stands this week. Here’s a basic synopsis to wet your appetite: “Sherlock Holmes is busy doing what he does best, solving a case of far-reaching international notoriety. It has landed him at the Port of Liverpool, a bustling hub of commerce both legitimate and illicit. As that chapter closes, ours begins. They head to Lime Street Station, to catch a fast steam locomotive home to London and Baker Street, when violent weather keeps The Great Detective and Watson in Britain’s second city a while longer. Long enough to encounter a monster, discover the Liverpool underworld, and to become embroiled in one of his strangest cases yet.”
[Example art from Issue #1 of Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon. Click the image for four more pages of example art.]
Douglas Wilmer - one of my favorite actors to play Sherlock Holmes of all time - published an autobiography a few years ago called Stage Whispers (available in Kindle and hardback formats). Now nearing his 92nd birthday (!), Mr Wilmer recently made one of the all time most satisfying cameos ever when appearing as a disgruntled member of The Diogenes Club in BBC Sherlock, Season 2, Episode 3 “The Reichenbach Fall" (cf. screenshot below). Just take a glance at Douglas Wilmer’s IMDB page if you’re at all unsure why reading his autobiography might be an edifying experience.
[Douglas Wilmer at the Diogenes Club from “The Reichenbach Fall” episode, Season 2, Episode 3 of BBC Sherlock.]
Tea at 221B dug up this fascinating “silent film of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his family, aboard the RMS Adriatic, waving to the crowds and posing for cameras on June 24th, 1922 (trip home from America). From left to right: Adrian, Lena Jean, Lady Jean, and Denis.” The original film is housed at the Fox Movietone News Collection at the University of South Carolina. (FYI: You’ll need a Quicktime plugin to play this video.) Quite an unique piece of ACD history.
[Click on the above image to check out Tea at 221B’s most excellent find.]
Sherlock Peoria, in a non-Elementary post titled “Sherlock and Spock 2012”, considers various connections between denizens of 221B Baker Street and the crew of the Starship USS Enterprise (NCC 1701): “Tying Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek together goes back as far as Star Trek itself. Mr. Spock's Vulcan logic found its natural predecessor in Sherlock Holmes's powers of deduction, and fans of one have long been, quite naturally, fans of the other. Even Spock's attempted Star Trek: The Next Generation replacement character, Mr. Data, went so far as to don deerstalker and Invernesse cloak at least once.” Note: Actually, Data played the Great Detective twice in “Elementary Dear Data" (S2, Ep3) and "Ship In a Bottle" (S6, Ep11).
Quick Sherlock Links:
Dan Andriacco in ‘A Sherlock Holmes Christmas’ reviews a few Holmes/Xmas pastiches as well as a number of other recent Sherlock books that would make great stocking stuffers. Also, it looks like we get one last post regarding Mr Andraicco’s recent trip to England: the Dogs of Dartmoor!
[Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman.]
Doyleockian explores the idea of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ as brand. Also this week Mr Duncan considers how ACD lives on, posted a review of Nick Utechin's new book Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: Sherlock Holmes and discusses writer’s block.
Filmwell published a piece by blogger Nathaniel Booth - whose blog More Man Than Philosopher gets mentioned on Always1895 often - titled ‘Ten Notes on Elementary: Or Why I Can’t Love It?’ Mr Booth’s posts generally consist of lengthy reviews of various Holmes-adaptions as well as the Nero Wolfe TV show and other examples of decent television, so his take on Elementary should definitely be worth reading.
221B Con is looking for a few good volunteers to help run the machine that will be 221B Con happening in 2013. And FYI: “Anyone who volunteers 8 hours or more over the weekend will receive a free membership.”
Sherlock Holmes Plays interviewed MX author, blogger and twitterer Luke Benjamen Kuhns regarding his newest publication The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I like question 12: Q: What are you doing for Christmas this year? LBK: “Well I hear a Blue Carbuncle has gone missing…I might investigate!”
Radio Times announced Benedict Cumberbatch's nomination for a 2013 Golden Globe. While congratulations are in order for Mr Cumberbatch, I think it’s an absolute travesty that BBC Sherlock itself was not nominated at all. Click here for a full list of Golden Globe nominees.
Sherlock. Everywhere. posted information about a free deal where you can acquire The Complete Sherlock Holmes for your Kindle. This particular edition “is accompanied by an exciting new introduction from Robert Ryan, a writer who’s own book has been fully endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate.” The book referred to is called Dead Man’s Land (2012) - read a synopsis of it here - and features Dr Watson in a murder mystery set in the trenches of WWI. Sounds interesting, but I also mention this because I truly wonder what “fully endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate” actually means. Anyway, if you have a Kindle definitely take advantage of this offer and let me know how Mr Ryan’s introduction reads.
Sherlock Cares posted an amusing video that takes various scenes from BBC Sherlock and layers over Benedict Cumberbatch's voice from the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness film (where BC apparently plays the Big Bad bent on destroying Earth or The Federation, etc. as evidenced from these publicity posters). To quote Sherlock Cares: “Is this the Sherlock Season 3 Teaser?”
Finnemores posted this excellent scene from Granada’s Sherlock Holmes (four animated GIF series) featuring David Burke and Jeremy Brett, near the end of an episode, discussing Watson’s choice of titles for “The Copper Beeches" (1985) - and also features the one and only time (that I can think of) where we see the breaking of the fourth wall (seen below) in the Granada series.
[JB breaks the fourth wall and connects with the viewers regarding Watson’s ‘admirable account’. One of my favorite Granada moments of all time.]
Behind My Iris wins the animated GIF award this week with a few Russian Sherlock Holmes images. If you have yet to get hip to this most awesome of adaptations, spend some time during Xmas becoming acquainted with Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin's approach to interpreting the Canon.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (December 1 - December 7, 2012)
A quick note regarding the upcoming (and first annual) Baker Street Babes’ Charity Ball The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet (happening on the Thursday evening of BSI Weekend): I’m honored to announce that I’ve been asked to give a toast to Mrs. Stoner, the young widow of Major-General Stoner, of the Bengal Artillery (SPEC). I’m doubly excited to be giving my toast alongside Sherlockian luminaries Scott Monty (of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere) and David Stuart Davies (author of ‘the last word’ on Jeremy Brett Bending the Willow) as well as Melinda Caric (whose prior toast to ACD had an ASH luncheon in stitches a few times over) and Ashley Polasek (who if you follow on Twitter you know is earning a PhD in Sherlock Holmes adaptations); Dr John H. Watson, the Jezail Bullet(s), Altamont, and Henry Wood (respectively) are the other toasting topics.
[Click to find out how to win a ticket to the charity ball.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere's 48th episode marked the return of Jon Lellenberg and Daniel Stashower to the show, this time to discuss their recent role as editors of the just published Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure. A visually stunning tour de force that should be a part of every Sherlockian/Doyleian library, Dangerous Work is one of the top (if not the best) Sherlockiana releases of 2012. If you’re new to ACD manuscripts, I can’t think of a better introduction to reading Doyle’s writing in his own hand than the facsimile of 21 year old Doyle’s diary composed while serving on a whaling vessel as ship’s surgeon - a job description that would extend well beyond the traditional role of ‘medical doctor’ as you’ll read once you’ve done your brain and library a favor by purchasing this. Embellished with lovely illustrations (which ACD later filled in using water colors), Dangerous Work takes on the feel of a medieval illuminated manuscript. Along with having produced a highly readable objets d’art, Team Stashower & Lellenberg adroitly bring a few mind-blowing passages to the reader’s attention regarding the origins of the good Dr Watson. For more sample pages check out IHOSE’s Sherlock. Everywhere. on Tumblr - for example this illustration (below) of a dog aboard a whaling vessel. I recently had the opportunity to hear this editorial team give a talk on Dangerous Work at the Fall 2012 Sons of the Copper Beeches meeting in Philadelphia - if you have a chance to attend one of Lellenberg/Stashower’s talks, don’t pass it up!
[Just one of a myriad of illustrated pages from Dangerous Work; this one featuring a dog doing something in the nighttime (to a whale’s tail).]
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies - Facebook page of Steve Doyle - recently posted about this very cool Sherlockian find: “I recently had the great pleasure to get an autographed copy of Basil Rathbone's autobiography In and Out of Character. It had been in the possession of a Sherlockian collector who has retired and is downsizing. Being the Sherlockian cinephile that I am, this was just wonderful. But along with it, tucked inside, was an item that may be the only one of its kind in existence…a ticket to Rathbone’s radio show The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This particular episode was broadcast on April 1, 1946. The episode was “The April Fool’s Adventure,” written by Anthony Boucher and Denis Green. Here’s the ticket!” It’s these seemingly minor moments of Sherlockian collector serendipity that makes a collector’s day/week/month/year. Congratulations to Mr Doyle on his one-of-a-kind find!
The Kim Newman Website announced the status of Johnny Alucard, the long-awaited fourth book in the Anno Dracula series from the BSI Weekend 2013 Distinguished Speaker, Kim Newman. My personal favorite Newman work is the 2011 release Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, which is also available from Titan Books. I have yet to dive into the Anno Dracula series, but everyone I know who has recommends it highly. And judging just from the following brief synopsis, Johnny Alucard sounds like it could be amazing: “It’s 1976 and vampire reporter Kate Reed is on the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. She helps a young vampire boy, Ion Popescu, who then leaves Transylvania for America. In the States, Popescu becomes Johnny Pop and attaches himself to Andy Warhol, inventing a new drug which confers vampire powers on its users…” Wow.
[Cover for Newman’s fourth novel in the Anno Dracula series, Johnny Alucard.]
Sherlock Peoria muses on the recent Star Trek: Into Darkness teaser poster (cf. below) featuring a “single well-coated figure standing amidst [sic] devastation with all London laid out before him is Benedict Cumberbatch's character in the movie” as well as other Sherlockian actors in the news (ie. Martin Freeman starring in the upcoming three part The Hobbit). Click here for the first trailer (1 minutes) for Star Trek: Into Darkness which affirms in the strongest possible way that BC will be playing a bad ass of the strongest possible type. ALSO, what would a week on the Sherlockian blogosphere be without Mr Brad Keefauver leading the ongoing frontal assault against the Elementary Apocalypse? Make sure to read his ‘Zombies, Zombies, Everywhere' post: “A shabby, hobo-fashionista who dogged moves through a shabby and grim metropolis, letting Pop-up Video facts fall endlessly from his scruffy mouth, providing weekly entertainment to mindless masses whose numbers provoke horror in those with the light of sentience left in their eyes….” Can you deduce just whom Mr Keefauver refers?
[Click on the above image for a larger view of, presumably, Mr Benedict Cumberbatch in his most nefarious looking role ever.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Baker Street Babes, in what is quickly becoming one of my favorite ‘sub-series’ in the Sherlockian podcast world, uploaded Special Episode #7 ‘Lyndsay’s Intro to Canon - Part 3' which is a recording of Ms Faye's “class on the Sherlock Holmes stories at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan. This time: Hounds, Points, and Baker Street Irregulars.” Ms Faye does a tremendous job conveying and elucidating the multitude of themes, interpretations, context, origins, etc surounding HOUN in 95 edifying minutes. And speaking of Lyndsay Faye…
Criminal Elements published an essay by Ms Lyndsay Faye ’Upon the Clear Distinction Between Fandom and the Baker Street Irregulars’. Both a ruthless reductio ad absurdum (insider) take down as well as an expression of the highest virtues of satirists such as Jonathan Swift, Ms Faye’s somewhat modest proposal is sure to ruffle a few feathers. Though I personally have some misgivings about equating any group that shares properties of some fandoms as fandoms themselves, Ms Faye’s wit certainly makes this readable and amusing.
TV Guide published an interview with executive producer of Elementary Rob Doherty which should be of interest to those Sherlockians who are also fans of the CBS show. Admittedly, even for non-fans of Elementary, the interview is rather intriguing and probing.
Doyleockian asks ’How do people encounter Sherlock Homes and what is the enduring appeal?’ Mr Duncan suggests everything from Holmes as the UK’s answer to a super hero to the attractiveness of various actors who have portrayed Holmes to the everyman-ness of Watson himself. It’s always fun to read a Sherlockian’s thought-out response to a question many of us face on a regular basis.
Dan Andriacco reflects on “The Man on the Tor” both as visual and literary paragon as well as a very personal take on a certain man standing on a certain Tor. ‘The Man on the Tor' is of course Chapter 11 in The Hound of the Baskervilles and is not only one of the most known and loved images from the Canon but perhaps one of the more famous visuals throughout Western literature.
[Click image to see a different man on the Tor.]
Markings begins ‘“For All That Love Them Well” - Mycroft & Sherlock Holmes’ with the tantalizing ‘fact’: “Well into their second centuries by now (and happy as sandboys) they occupy a penthouse suite added atop the Diogenes Club upon the cessation of hostilities in 1945.” After you’ve finished, switch gears up and let Ray Wilcockson lead you through his essay on ACD and Divorce.
Bradenton published a piece called ‘Celebrating the Real Sherlock Holmes’ drawing their reader’s attention to Dr Joseph Bell as the original inspirations for Holmes. They also point out a few choice bits of Sherlockian or Sherlock-inspired material: The Sherlock Holmes Scrapbook by Peter Haining (a personal favorite of mine), the 1968 BBC TV adaptation featuring Peter Cushing as Holmes contained on ‘The Sherlock Holmes Collection’, Laurie King's newest novel Garment of Shadows as well as The Pirate King, a contemporary series called Midsomer Murders, based on the novels by Caroline Graham, featuring the unflappable detective Tom Barnaby and his assistant - all of which are available through the Manatee County libraries.
[Apparently I acquired Mr Haining’s very large, very awesome book back in February 2011.]
Baker Street Blog reminds their readers of the new Google+ Sherlock Holmes Community which aims “to share what you know and what you see about Sherlock Holmes - on the web, in books, on the screen - and create content and lively discussions. The Google+ platform is open to anyone with a Gmail account, and if you don’t have one, it’s free to create.” Personally, I have yet to use any Google+ social features, but I might have to drop by the Google+Sherlock Holmes community and have a gander.
University of St Thomas announced that Larry Millett, “a Twin Cities author who turned his love of history and Victorian literature into the Sherlock Holmes in Minnesota series, will discuss his mystery novels at a 7 p.m. lecture Wednesday, Dec. 12 on the St Thomas campus….Millett will discuss his contribution to Victorian studies, the six-volume series that began in 1996 with his novel Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon. He will detail the processes of research, writing and editing involved in book publication and will discuss one of his current projects, a fictionalized account of a real-life murder mystery from the early 20th century.” Sounds like a worthwhile event.
[Cover for Larry Millett’s Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon.]
Sherlock. Everywhere. “We had some positive reaction to our Oppan Grimpen Style post a few weeks back, so we thought we’d follow up with this pair of amazing discoveries. We all know Jeremy Brett sang and danced in My Fair Lady (1964), but this puts him at another level entirely….” and since everyone loves Benedict Cumberbatch, strap on your ‘sense-of-humor hat’ and prepare for ‘Oppan Gaslamp Style’!
The Well-Read Sherlockian reviewed (5 out of 5) Howard Markel's An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine (Pantheon, 2011), presumably for those interested in the cultural context of Holmes’ infamous 7% solution. Markel’s ‘highly stimulating’ sounding book has been in my to-read pile for a while but once again Leah Guinn has forced me to modulate my temple of about-to-be-read books.
[William Stewart Halsted.]
The Baz - a site new to me dedicated solely to images and bits of info about the one and only Basil Rathbone - posted this photo of ‘the Baz' looking debonair in the extreme. A special thanks goes out to Tumblr user Basil As Sherlock for bringing TheBaz to my attention.
[You would be well advised to click on the above photo and gaze at Mr Rathbone in full-sized ‘baz’ glory.]
The Norwood Builder posted an illustration from The Hound of the Baskervilles depicting Holmes and Watson meeting Lestrade at the train station: “The London express came roaring into the station, and a small, wiry bulldog of a man had sprung from a first-class carriage. We all three shook hands, and I saw at once from the reverential way in which Lestrade gazed at my companion that he had learned a good deal since the days when they had first worked together” (HOUN).
[“We all three shook hands.” Click on the above image for SP’s illustration in all it’s Baskervillian glory.]
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (November 24 - November 30, 2012)
One month to go until BSI Weekend! Along with attending all the awesome usual events, I’m very excited for The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball (which is sold out but you can win a ticket here, or if you have a ticket check out some of the swag here) which, along with encouraging various Sherlockian shenanigans, is raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that aims to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history”. A lofty sounding goal that, if we were honest with ourselves, should simply be a baseline goal set for the men and women serving in our armed forces who are returning from conflict regions. Remember, not all returning soldiers will have the good fortune of bumping into Young Stamford who happens to know just the man to share diggings and other amenities. And speaking of BSI Weekend, check out this two-part interview (Eps. 14 & 15) on I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere with the leader of the BSI Michael Whelan aka ‘Wiggins’ aka a direct lineal descendant of Edgar Smith and Julian Wolff.
[Young Stamford introducing a diggings-seeking Watson to a hemoglobin-precipitating Holmes. This representation is by artist George Hutchinson (illustrator of the 2nd Edition of STUD - D. H. Friston created the illustrations for the Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887 ‘first’ edition) and is preserved in the Kent State University Library Special Collections and Archives.]
Archive.org is one of the great promises of the Web realized: an enormous repository of information in a variety of mediums (books, video, audio, etc.) all available for free. One of the many gems contained in the digital vaults of Archive.org is a semi-complete run of The Strand Magazine: issues from 1891 to 1922 are available as scanned PDFs (and ePubs, Kindle, etc.). It is of course nice to read the facsimile editions of stories from the canon with all the original illustrations (Castle in the US and Murray in the UK have both put out fine and affordable editions), but it’s an extra special sensation to locate a favorite Holmes story in it’s original form in The Strand Magazine. Here’s an excellent game for a rainy day: find your favorite story at the Publication Order of Sherlock Holmes Stories by ACD and then head over to The Strand Magazine at Archive.org and locate the issue said story was first published. Download the entire issue to the device or your choosing (or read it as a PDF online) and then explore the rich context (ie. the advertisements, other stories, letters to the editor, etc.) in which your favorite Holmes story first appeared. For more information about The Strand issues containing ACD stories, check out ”The Collected Sherlock Holmes: Beyond Elementary" in Studium Magazine for a well-researched, time-line style essay exploring various aspects of STUD.
Tea at 221B spent the week posting and re-posting a number of classic and unknown photographs of various Holmes actors. My favorite of the bunch is this haunting and majestic image of Jeremy Brett (cf. click below for full-sized image) for Granada’s Sherlock Holmes. Other notable posts: this Swedish movie poster for Faces of Death (1943), Nigel Bruce posing as a dignified Watson in a publicity still from 1945, one of my favorite ‘old timey’ Holmes Clive Brooks from a 1932 version of Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes, the perennially underrated Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes and David Healy as Dr Watson from The Sign of Four (1983), a rather exquisite treat in the form of an unpublished photograph of great literary agent himself Arthur Conan Doyle in Chicago c. 1922 and last but certainly never least, that immortal paragon of Holmesian simulacrum, William Gillette in two elegantly designed ‘publicity photo cards’ for an 1899 showing of his play Sherlock Holmes.
[JB doing his best Dark Knight impression? Click on the above image to view in glorious triple magnification.]
Steven Doyle re-posted an interview he participated in way back in 1987 - the year that marked the 100th anniversary of Holmes & Watson meeting in print - when he was but a lad of 27. Today we know Mr Doyle as the publisher for the Baker Street Journal, editor of the Wessex Press and writer of Sherlock Holmes For Dummies (an excellent introduction to the Sherlockian world as well as a useful reference tool for the seasoned pro), but back in the Me-Decade he was editing a journal called The Sherlock Holmes Review and “extolling the virtues of the world’s greatest consulting detective”. Speaking of The Sherlock Holmes Review, I had the chance this week to peruse the entire run (1986 - 1996, sixteen issues total) and was terribly impressed by everything from the intelligence of the essays and interviews to the quality of the layout and design. In my humble opinion, the contemporary Sherlockian world would benefit greatly from the release of a complete digital set of all 16 issues (similar to the BSJ and other electronic Sherlockian journal archives).
[Steven Doyle interviewed in 1987 about Sherlock Holmes for “Duffy’s World,” a regular light news segment of WRTV Channel 6 News in Indianapolis, Indiana.]
Film International announced a conference being organized on June 21-22, 2013 in London entitled: Sherlock Holmes: Past & Present. The organizers ask that those interested should “submit proposals of 350 words and biographies of 150 words by email to both Jonathan at J.L.Cranfield@ljmu.ac.uk AND Tom at email@example.com by 15 January 2013.” So what’s it all about? “This 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. The Strand Magazine and the Sherlock Holmes stories contribute one of the most enduring paradigms for the production and consumption of popular culture in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries….Our aims are to celebrate Conan Doyle’s achievement, to explore the reasons behind Holmes’ enduring popularity across different cultures and geographical spaces, and to investigate new directions in Holmes’ afterlife.” I have enormous respect for any attempt to bring together academics, enthusiasts, Sherlockians, etc, all under one roof in order to foster a multi-disciplinary dialogue that would ideally co-educate as well as push the boundaries of what it means to take the Canon and Sherlockian culture, in it’s many forms, seriously. I’ll be looking forward to watching this develop.
[Sherlock Holmes: Past & Present - June 21 - 22, 2013 in London.]
Epic Rap Battles of History - bear with me here - features an epic rap battle between Batman and Sherlock Holmes (ignore the annoying 5 second intro). This video is probably one of the most hilarious, well thought out parodies involving the Great Detective (Holmes not the Dark Knight) I’ve seen/heard in a while. The ‘rapping’ might move a little fast for those of you that didn’t grow up in the 80s and 90s, but thankfully the lyrics are captioned and well worth reading - whoever composed the Holmes rap lyrics is more than just passingly familiar with the Canon. Irene Adler gets dissed; Mary Watson, Mycroft, Scotland Yard, the needle, “Holy Conan Doyle”, are all referenced; in case you were unaware Watson’s “flows are so ill”; as well as the single best use of "Elementary my dear Watson" of all time. Brad Keefauver of Sherlock Peoria posted an in-depth analysis in “Make That a Bat-Stalker Cap!"
[Just one of the amazing scenes from Batman vs. Sherlock Holmes’ Epic Rap Battle.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Lyndsay Faye deserves a BOOMING nod of recognition in regards to The Gods of Gotham being named, by the esteemed Kirkus Review, one of the Top 10 crime novels of 2012!! If you’re looking to fill a stocking or two this holiday season, think about dropping in this fascinating tale of one man’s struggle to inject a modicum of compassion and humanity into the lawless NYC of the 1840s.
[On of my favorite books of 2012.]
Doyleockian asks: Is parallel Sherlocks a good or bad thing? “Right now we are living through a period where we have three parallel Sherlocks. We have the RDJ incarnation, that of Mr Cumberbatch and, most recently, that of Mr Miller. The question I want to ask is what influence do they have on each other and is it good or bad?” Read on to find out exactly where/what Mr Duncan feels Elementary's place is in the grand scheme of contemporary Sherlock Holmes adaptations.
Dan Andriacco, on his recent trip to London, visited the most famous “third pillar from the left” in the history of all Corinthian columns. For Sherlockians familiar with The Sign of Four, the third pillar from the left at the Lyceum Theatre is where Thaddeus Sholto asked Mary Morstan to meet his coachman so that she could be escorted to Upper Norwood where they could discuss the sad fate of her father Captain Morstan as well as a certain Agora Treasure. I wonder if Mr Andriacco was accosted by this man:
[“At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side-entrances….We had hardly reached the third pillar, which was our rendezvous, before a small, dark, brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us.” (SIGN, Chapter 3)]
Bartitsu Club of NYC is holding their next training session on Sunday, December 9 at 11:30 am at The Society for Martial Arts Instruction (SFMAI), 4 West 18th St. (3rd Floor) NYC. Learn to defeat slogging ruffians and survive fights on dangerous precipices today!
Tea at 221B posted the following illustration by Danish artist V Setoft from Chapter 1 of A Study in Scarlet showing the legendary chemistry laboratory of St Barts where we see Holmes and Watson meeting for the first time (Holmes: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”) with Young Stamford looking on at what he’d wrought. The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit commissioned a plaque commemorating this most fortuitous of meetings where it hung on the chemistry lab wall up until six years ago when it was moved to a museum at St Barts where visitors are able to more easily view it.
[“Why, man, it is the most practical medico-legal discovery for years. Don’t you see that it gives us an infallible test for blood stains. Come over here now!” He seized me by the coat-sleeve in his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at which he had been working. “Let us have some fresh blood,” he said, digging a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of blood in a chemical pipette.” - A Study in Scarlet, by ACD, illustrated by V. Setoft (from a 1944 edition)]
Pondicherry Lodge a Sherlock Holmes group based out of Springfield and the west central Illinois area, will meet on Saturday morning, Jan. 19, 2013 at 9 am in the Cafe at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. There will be a discussion of Chapters VIIII - XII of The Sign of Four. Support your local scion!
Well-Read Sherlockian reviewed the David Stuart Davies pastiche The Veiled Detective (2004), which was recently re-released by Titan Books. Unlike the majority of pastiches (good and bad) that simply describe events of an unknown ‘tin box’ case, Davies’ book is an irreverent reinterpretation of key events in the Canon based on cleverly inserted, ‘hitherto unknown’ motivations and agendas forcing the reader to see familiar characters, relationships and happenings in an entirely new light.
Sherlock Peoria drops the proverbial gauntlet and announces: “Elementary fans, I dare you. Show me, real time, what I’m missing about the most awful Sherlock Holmes of the modern era. (And yes, I’m including that guy that fought robots and dinosaurs. Don’t know if even I believe Miller is worse than that, but I’m taunting here!)” Whether or not you agree with Mr Keefauver and his opinions (and his quixotic quest to bring down the CBS Sherlockian-Industrial complex), you should at least respect his sincerity and Inspector Peter Jones quality (from REDH): “as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone” - and in this case that “anyone” is of course Elementary.
[One minor quibble with Keefauver: there aren’t any actual living dinosaurs (or sea monsters) in Asylum’s Sherlock Holmes (2010), they are robotic dinosaurs (or robotic sea monsters); which somehow makes it better because, heh, living dinosaurs are so ridiculous compared to steam punk robotic dinosaurs.]
Entertainment Weekly announced (AKA attempted to ruin the lives of millions of BBC Sherlock fans) much to the pain and agony of fans that “the start of production on the third cycle of [BBC Sherlock] has been moved from January to March . Sources say the shift was necessary to accommodate the busy schedules of the show’s breakout stars, Benedict Cumberbatch (who’s filming Star Trek 2) and Martin Freeman (starring in The Hobbit)” - which means that BBC Sherlock may not air until 2014. Not surprisingly, a collective cry of pain emanated from the Internet (localized on Tumblr) in a variety of forms. Mr Joe Riggs gives us “Sherlock Season 3 summary in one tweet" and perhaps the best reaction to the news that Season 3 has been pushed back was from Mycroft, though this ‘teaser’ poster from Reichenbatch may hold the secret to season three (with over 12,000 Tumblr notes identifying with the pain this news has caused). OMG UPDATE: Sue Vertue (executive producer of BBC Sherlock and better-half of Steven Moffat), in a valiant attempt to stave-off the inevitable wave of mass suicides due to the “No BBC Sherlock unti 2014” rumor, announced via Twitter that: “To stop further speculation, #sherlock filming has pushed to Mrch for availability reasons. It’s not expected to affect any likely tx dates.” Phew! I feel like Ben Affleck (AJ) and Liv Tyler (Grace) must have felt at the end of Armageddon - which means Sue Vertue is sort of like Bruce Willis. *Sigh.*
Better Holmes & Gardens posted this “rare photo of a kilted Basil Rathbone in World War I. He joined the London Scottish Regiment, eventually reaching the rank of captain in the Liverpool Scottish, 2nd Battalion. He was an intelligence officer and was very good with disguises. Rathbone won the Military Cross in 1918.” I didn’t realize that 1) Mr Rathbone was so similar to the Great Detective he would one day adapt to the screen and 2) one could look so manly in a kilt!
[Shared by a member of Watson’s Tin Box.]
Finnemores wins the animated GIF of the week with one of my favorite scenes from Granada’s The Red Headed League: Watson’s attempt at translating “Omne ignotum pro magnifico" only to be met with scorn and derision from the short tempered Holmes.
[Click on the above image to see the two-part animated GIF sequence.]
'A Study in Scarlet' (1888) Sells for £27,000 at Auction
According to the November 10, 2012 print issue of Antiques Trade Gazette, a first edition of A Study in Scarlet (1888) “shattered” auction price records: “the copy in this Essex sale more than doubled any previous auction price for the first edition in bookform at £27,000” which is approximately $43,219 (USD). The sale occurred at Sworders and was part of the W. F. M. Hopkins Collection of the works of ACD (who I can only assume is a direct descend of Inspector Stanley Hopkins).
This sale is rather remarkable partly because the 1888 book edition is not a ‘true’ first edition of A Study in Scarlet - that honor of course belongs to the so-called “most expensive magazine in the world” Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887 (rarer than Shakespeare First Folio) which recently sold at auction for $156,000 (Sotheby’s in 2007). For an excellent and definitive introduction to Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887, Randall Stock's Annotated Checklist and Census on his website The Best of Sherlock Holmes is a must. For a more general history and critical analysis of STUD, see: ‘A Study in Scarlet: The Quiet Creation of an Archetype’.
[Cover of the “most expensive magazine in the world”.]
The following is from Antiques Trade Gazette (Nov 10, 2012, p.46) and includes a considerable amount of information I was unable to find online, either at ATG’s website or on the usual ACD/Sherlock Holmes auction sites and should be of interest to various Sherlock Holmes and ACD collectors/bibliophiles/antiquarians:
"[T]he bookform edition [of A Study in Scarlet], issued in 1888 by Ward Lock with six full-page, wood-engraved illustrations by Charles Doyle is itself extremely rare and the first issue copy in this Essex sale more than doubled any previous auction price for the first edition in bookform at £27,000. A modest estimate of £3000-5000 may have been inspired by the fact that this copy, showing a little light foxing, had been rebound, with the title written in ink on the spine, but the original front wrappers were pasted to the covers. The Hopkins copy, bought at Sotheby’s in 1952 for £25, was lotted with another, undated copy, featuring the illustrations by George Hutchinson first seen in 1891.
[Lot #202 - A Study in Scarlet.]
"An 1890 first of the second Holmes story, The Sign of Four, in a first issue binding of red cloth gilt, with “Spencer Blackett’s Standard Library’ at the foot of the spine, that had been bought from the London bookseller Frank Hollings for £25, again in 1952, sold at £4100. It was lotted with a bright copy of the 1892, Newnes second edition [of SIGN] in the original pictorial covers.”
[Lot #211 - The Sign of Four.]
Other rare ACD items from the Hopkins collection included: a first edition (in original wrappers) of ACD’s The Crime of the Congo, with a related letter sent by ACD to a Mr Carnegie, which sold for £440; a 1916 first of ACD’s A Visit to Three Fronts inscribed on the front wrapper “From A. Conan Doyle, Aug. 16.” Also sold for £3000 was an archive of documents relating ACD’s involvement in the Oscar Slater affair: “this archive comprised 16 documents written by or to Conan Doyle in 1927, concerning the publication of The Truth About Oscar Slater, which influenced his release that same year.”
[Lot #200 - various ACD books relating to the Oscar Slater case.]
Quick Links to Auction and Items:
W. F. M. Hopkins Collection auction at Sworders.
A Study in Scarlet (1888) first bookform edition.
The Sign of Four - first and second editions.
Interview with Dan Andriacco (The 1895 Murder)
Dan Andriacco is a Sherlockian/author/blogger who I mention quite a bit on Always1895, and for good reason: his posts on Baker Street Beat are always worth reading, the fictional universe of the McCabe/Cody novels is rich and entertaining and his Sherlockian talks have all the hallmarks of a scholar deeply committed to the Canon. My review of his latest novel The 1895 Murder (2012) also happens to be the 221st Always1895 post (What better way to celebrate?!) and I enjoyed it so much that I thought an extended chat/interview with Mr Andriacco was in order. As an added bonus, I have a signed copy of The 1895 Murder to giveaway to one lucky reader (see details at the end of this interview). So without further ado, let’s hear what the man has to say…
Part 1: The 1895 Murder and Other Novels.
Matt Laffey: When you started writing the first McCabe/Cody novel No Police Like Holmes did you have any inkling that it would turn into a multi-novel series?
Dan Andriacco: I’ve always loved series characters, so I’m sure I planned this as a series from the beginning.
ML: What gave you the idea to have McCabe write a play called The 1895 Murder within this novel? On a related note, in the novel there’s a description of the poster for the play The 1895 Murder; any chance this really exists or that you might have someone design one for you?
DA: I started with the idea of a murder on the opening night of a play, and then moved to the idea of a Sherlock Holmes play, and then I figured that Mac should write his plan and star in it, and then I decided that 1895 would be a great title for it. The poster doesn’t exist, but I think I could arrange it if there was enough demand. I know artists!
ML: Jeff Cody, the main protagonist of the series, is an aspiring mystery writer in his spare time but not a Sherlockian whereas his best friend Sebastian McCabe is what we might call a hardcore (yet typical) Sherlockian - what were your original intentions for setting-up this specific dynamic? Why not just make Jeff Cody the hardcore Sherlockian?
DA: Originally, I thought McCabe was the protagonist. That’s why he’s the Sherlockian. Jeff was his Watson or Archie Goodwin. That’s why NPLH is subtitled “Introducing Sebastian McCabe.” But when it quickly became obvious that the readers loved Jeff, I realized that I did too. So from the second book on, they are subtitled “A Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody Mystery.”
ML: Do you, Dan Andriacco, identify with Jeff Cody or Sebastian McCabe more?
DA: Sebastian McCabe is in many ways what I wish I was. He’s successful at everything, including writing mystery novels, performing magic, and speaking many languages. He’s what I would be if I could wave a magic wand. And yet, he’s not all that likeable. Jeff is, I hope. When I told my wife that Jeff was a humorous exaggeration of all my foibles, she said, ‘Oh, no, he’s just like you.” I guess she would know!
ML: As a Sherlockian myself, I have the sense that McCabe is based, at least in part, on an actual person or persons. Whether or not you want to give us a name, is there a real life McCabe walking around out there?
DA: There certainly is – in my books. Mac is as real as Santa Claus. I’ve never based any major character on a real person. Of course there are various elements of characters that are suggested by real people, but not the whole package. Jeff’s psychological resemblance to me (not physical) may be the closest I come, but I am truly not that neurotic. I hope. There are other differences: Jeff likes baseball, hard-boiled detective stories, and soft drinks. I’m not into any of those things.
ML: Since the release of these three novels have you received any complaints or negative feedback from people who took issue with your portrayal of Sherlockians, college presidents, academics, magicians, actors, police chiefs, etc. in your novels?
DA: Not at all. In fact, I received a wonderful fan letter from a reader who said she loved the way I so accurately I captured the feel of a small town college. Her husband is a retired college administrator. This really pleased me because I’ve never lived in a small town or worked at a college (except as an adjunct professor). Apparently my research has paid off.
ML: In No Police Like Holmes we were introduced to a number of interesting/colorful Sherlockian characters who were in town for a Sherlockian Symposium - is there a chance we’ll ever get to encounter one or more of those characters again in future McCabe/Cody stories? (I very much enjoyed the scene where one of the characters in The 1895 Murder makes a visit to University library to check out something in the Chalmers Collection, first referenced in NPLH.)
DA: I don’t have any specific plans, but it’s quite likely. One of my goals with the series is to create a consistent world in it, so bringing back characters would be a natural. I’ve already done this to a degree in a novella that won’t be published for a while. And I’m sure we’ll see Lynda’s parents and defense attorney Erica Slade from The 1895 Murder again. I knew when I put Sister Mary Margaret Malone (Triple M) in Holmes Sweet Holmes that she would become a major character in the next book. I loved the way you referred in one of your posts to my “Benignusverse.” That’s how I think of it now.
ML: I get the impression that you enjoy inserting ‘Easter eggs’ or little references to ‘real life’, eg. a certain bourbon whiskey brand (which I know you’re a connoisseur), a certain ‘1895’ bumper sticker I’ve seen being given out at Sherlockian events, etc etc. Is this something you started off doing consciously or did these sorts of references accidentally creep in?
DA: The Benignusverse is deliberately populated with a combination of real products that readers know and ones that exist only in my books, such as Cleopatra VII and Birth of Venus perfumes.
ML: Any chance one of these books will be optioned for a film? I particularly think No Police Like Holmes and The 1895 Murder would make great films.
DA: From your lips to God’s ears! I quite agree.
ML: I know a lot of Sherlockians are fans of the McCabe/Cody series - have you received much attention from the mystery community outside of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts?
DA: Not as much as I would like. I was delighted to appear on a panel at Bouchercon, but it was a Holmes-themed panel with some big-name Sherlockians. A couple of non-Holmes mystery writers have told me they enjoy the books.
ML: Rumor has it that you’re working on a fourth novel which almost finished - can you confirm or deny this? Can you tell us anything about it, for example it’s title, premise, Sherlockian reference, general release date, etc.?
DA: The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore is finished in first-draft form and should be published sometime next year. In a way, it’s my most Sherlockian story of all. Mac, Kate, Jeff, and Lynda are all involved, but the story takes place in London. As the title indicates, it’s very closely connected to an untold tale of Dr. Watson – the disappearance and then the murder of Mr. James Phillimore. Mac solves it with the help of a Sherlock Holmes pastiche short story that is embedded in the novel. Another unique factor is that this story includes a master villain – Mac’s Moriarty! As a bonus, the volume will include at the end a story written by Lynda Teal about a mystery she solves on her honeymoon in Rome – “The Adventure of the Vatican Cameos.”
ML: And looking even further afield, any chance of a fifth McCabe/Cody novel?
DA: More than a chance! The next McCabe-Cody title will be a collection of novellas and short stories, the first of which is already written. But first, Kieran McMullen and I are collaborating on The Amateur Executioner, a mystery novel set in London in 1920. Holmes is a character, but not the main protagonist. The next two McCabe/Cody books will involve murder at a bookstore in Erin and murder at a mystery conference in Cincinnati.
Part 2: Dan Andriacco, the Man, the Myth, the Sherlockian.
ML: Aside from the Cody/McCabe series you also published a non-fiction book called Baker Street Beat, which collected a number of essays, plays and thought pieces on Sherlock Holmes - can we expect any non-fiction Sherlockian projects in the near future?
DA: Someday, if there’s enough demand, I’d like to publish a book of my talks on Sherlock Holmes and some of my better blog posts.
ML: How did you first get hooked-up with MX Publishing, the company that has published all three McCabe/Cody novels and Baker Street Beat?
DA: I originally planned to self-publish Baker Street Beat but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Joel and Carolyn Senter, the proprietors of the Classic Specialties online store, suggested MX. Steve Emecz [of MX] agreed very quickly to publish it. It’s been a great relationship.
ML: How long have you been into Sherlock Holmes and at what point did you decide that the Sherlockian lifestyle was for you - opposed to simply being a fan of the 60 stories?
DA: I’ve been strongly into Holmes since I was about nine. Admittedly, my interest has waxed and waned, but I have been a member of the Tankerville Club in Cincinnati without break since 1981.
ML: Which Sherlockian scions are you involved?
DA: In addition to the Tankerville Club, I recently joined the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis.
ML: Have you had a chance to watch CBS’s Elementary and what do you think about it? On a related note, what do you think Sebastian McCabe would think about Elementary?
DA: I’ve only seen one episode, the first. I thought it was reasonably entertaining and almost totally unrelated to the Sherlock Holmes that I know. Mac is more into popular culture than I am, and so probably would like it more. He’s just a big kid.
ML: Whether or not you’ve seen Elementary, what do you think of the current/contemporary state of both Sherlockian culture and Sherlock Holmes in popular culture? Again, any thoughts on what Sebastian McCabe might think of the contemporary Sherlockian scene?
DA: That’s a complex question. I think that Mac would agree with me that anything that brings more fans to Sherlock Holmes is good to a point. The point where it’s not good is where the very name “Sherlock Holmes” starts to be meaningless because we don’t know whether we’re talking about a 19th-20th century man, or a 21st century man in London, or a 21st century man in New York – or a 19th century man in 22nd century New London with an android Watson.
ML: Who are some of your biggest Sherlockian influences, particularly in reference to the fiction you write? [Note: A few months back Mr Andriacco and I (via Baker Street Beat and Always1895.net, respectively) collaborated on a small project where we named and discussed our favorite posthumous Sherlockians.]
DA: I’m not conscious of any Sherlockian who influences my fiction, unless it would be Rex Stout. My prose reminds some people of his, although that’s not conscious on my part and I think there are significant differences in our approach.
ML: Other than being a terrific novelist and a dedicated Sherlockian, what else would you like my readers to know about Dan Andriacco?
DA: I’m available to talk to groups and I love doing it. I can be contacted through my blog at www.danandriacco.com.
As promised, I have a copy of The 1895 Murder to giveaway to one lucky Sherlockian who can answer the following question: What song does Jeff Cody have his ringtone set? (two possible answers, sending one is fine) Please send your answer (along with your name and email address) to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 2nd 2012. The winner will be picked by an extremely advanced robot randomizer and alerted by email. Also, if you are interested in being added to the Always1895 weekly new post alert, please mention “add to 1895 mailing list" in an email to the same address. Thanks for reading!
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (November 17 - November 23, 2012)
Huffington Post UK posted a great piece about Stephen Fry (who played Mycroft clothed and unclothed in A Game of Shadows (2011)) and his remarks on the 125th anniversary of Sherlock Holmes “So raise a glass to the greatness of Doyle and the eternal glory of Sherlock Holmes, ushered into this world 125 years ago" as well as Portsmouth’s Lancelyn Green Collection displaying a beautiful first edition copy of A Study in Scarlet. “Due to its fragile condition, A Study in Scarlet is not on permanent display but will feature in the exhibition along with other items from the collection as well as activities based on Holmes’ first outing.” The RLG Collection has approximately 55,000 items. For more information about Mr Richard Lancelyn Green (1953 - 2004) and his bequeathed collection to the Portsmouth Library, read a short yet succinct profile of him here and a description of the collection here. Short pieces about the exhibition were published by BBC News as well as the London Evening Standard. For a comprehensive, exhaustive and fascinating annotated checklist and census of all known copies of the first edition of STUD, check out Best of Sherlock's extremely helpful 'Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887’. Finally, watch this short Stephen Fry video discussing ACD, Sherlock Holmes, Richard Lancelyn Green and the venerable Portsmouth collection.
[Cover for Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887 which featured the very first appearance of ACD’s Sherlock Holmes in A Study on Scarlet.]
MX Publishing announced that Dan Andriacco's (author of Baker Street Beat and The 1895 Murder) short story "Sherlock Holmes: The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden" has been translated into Persian, which is of course the native tongue of the poet Hafez referenced by Holmes in “The Case of Identity" (ie. Sherlock Holmes: "If I tell her she will not believe me. You may remember the old Persian saying, "There is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub, and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman." There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace, and as much knowledge of the world."). John Vincent Harden is of course “the well known tobacco millionaire” referenced by Holmes in “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist" as one of the important cases he was working on in April of 1895. It must be an excellent feeling to see your name adorning a published book but even more exciting to see the cover of a book you’ve published yet in language whose script you can’t even read let alone the language. Congratulations to Mr Andriacco for being published in both the West and the East!
[Translated cover of the pastiche ”Sherlock Holmes: The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden” by Dan Andriacco on MX.]
FreemanWeb posted the text of an extremely long and interesting interview with Martin Freeman from the Sunday Times Magazine discussing Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit film (the Sunday Times is behind a pay-wall but FreemanWeb has pasted the text on their blog). As most of you know, Mr Freeman was cast in the lead role of Bilbo Baggins (of the Shire) based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Apparently, according to The Sun, “Freeman almost lost the lead role in the new movie The Hobbit because he was contracted to play Dr Watson for the BBC.” No word whether Benedict Cumberbatch almost lost his chance to play fire breathing dragon Smaug because of his BBC Sherlock obligations. From the Sunday Times interview: Freeman on looming mega-fame: “he’s found an even wider audience playing Watson, the morally centered sidekick to Benedict Cumberbatch’s eccentrically brilliant Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock. He’s aware that his next film is about to jettison him into previously uncharted territory: global stardom. It’s not something he’s particularly comfortable about. “You have to police yourself not to become an idiot about it. Because it’s not normal and it doesn’t happen to people with normal jobs,” he says, having clearly agonized over the subject before. “If you’re a doctor — and what’s more important than that? — they don’t stop you in the street and say ‘loved the way you took that pulse!’ So it’s skewed and it’s silly. I know that. But I think I’ve been pretty rigorous and self-flagellating about it.” Good ol’ Freeman, a fixed point in a changing age.
[Dr Watson stabbing the corpse of Jim Moriarty on the roof of St Barts in a BBC Sherlock deleted scene.]
Sherlock Peoria in this week’s valiant attempt at defending the honor of the Canon against the debasing forces of Elementary suggests a thought experiment, originally devised by Ellery Queen in Challenge to the Reader (1938), where “within a single volume, gathered twenty-five of the greatest fictional detectives of the day, from Sherlock Holmes to Sam Spade, from Father Brown to Craig Kennedy. And then Ellery Queen changed the names of all of the detectives in all of the stories. The challenge to the reader was to figure out which story featured which detective.” Mr Brad Keefauver suggests that when this challenge is taken up by either Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes or Moffat's BBC Sherlock, the reader will have no difficulty “recognizing the result as Sherlock Holmes” - but of course when applied to CBS’s Elementary "suddenly you’re in with a host of other CBS procedural shows [such as] The Mentalist, not to mention Monk, House M.D., Psych, Perception, Person of Interest, C.S.I. and all those other Sherlock-ish shows that came before.” As much as I’ve personally enjoyed Mr Keefauver’s myriad earlier attempts at condemning Elementary (eg. his Aquaman comparison is rather astute), I think he’s completely and compellingly hit the nail on the head with everything that’s wrong with the show. But before you swear a blood oath to assassinate Keefauver and/or permanently unsubscribe Always1895.net from your RSS feeds (please abstain from at least doing the latter), remember he’s not (necessarily) saying Sherlockians should never watch Elementary or that one can’t be entertained by Elementary; he’s attempting to show via a creative and effective intuition pump (philosopher Daniel Dennett's term for thought experiment) that Elementary doesn’t have very much to do with Sherlock Holmes, with the further implication that equating Elementary with real Sherlock Holmes ‘stuff’ could be potentially detrimental to the Sherlockian legacy (roughly speaking). Note: If you’re interested in reading Challenge to the Reader, you can ‘borrow’ it form Open Library (just signup for a free account and learn about eBook borrowing here).
[Cover of Challenge to the Reader (1938) edited by Ellery Queen.]
The Wolfe Pack - what scions are to Sherlockian culture, the Wolfe Pack is to Nero Wolfe and Rex Stout aficionados - is hosting their annual Black Orchid Weekend (Nov 30 - Dec 2). Similar to BSI Weekend, there are dinners, lectures, meetings, etc. I’ve recently began reading Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books (33 novels, 39 short stories) systematically so maybe next year I’ll be prepared to check out the doings of the wonderfully named Wolfe Pack. Rex Stout, aside from being a mystery novelist of major renown, was an early Sherlockian and BSI member who is perhaps most famous/infamous in the Sherlockian world for his “Watson Was a Woman" talk at a BSI dinner in 1941 ("his tongue-in-cheek humour did not fare well in that venue") and later that year published in The Saturday Review of Literature, Vol 23, No. 19 (the March 1, 1941 issue). Mr Stout also reviewed Vincent Starrett’s classic work of Sherlockian scholarship The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes in an essay, oft reprinted, “Genesis of a Detective”. Note: Expect to read considerably more about Rex Stout in the coming months as I delve deeper into his Nero Wolfe novels as well as I re-read various bits of information I have on him, mainly from Jon Lellenberg's BSI Archival History series (the red, muliti-volume history of the BSI).
[Rex Stout with a few fellow BSI Sherlockians you definitely should recognize. Photograph and information from page about Rex Stout and his Sherlockian/BSI connection on NeroWolfe.org.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Baker Street Babes posted audio and video from a Q&A moderated by Baker Street Babes Curly, Kafers, Maria, & Ardy with BBC Sherlock composer Michael Price and blog writer Joe Lidsterand (and by “blog writer” they mean the guy that writes the ‘in-show’ blogs for Sherlock Holmes: the Science of Deduction, John Watson MD, Molly Hooper and of course Connie Prince) from their recent and, by all accounts, wildly successful event Sherlopalooza. I just finished listening to this and it’s really interesting; Mr Price and Mr Lidsterand contribute a novel and refreshing take on BBC Sherlock from the perspective of ‘the guy who writes the music for the show’ and ‘the guy who maintains actual blogs of fictional characters’, respectively. One suggestion: if I was in the audience I would have asked whose totally brilliant and awesome idea it was to have John Watsons blog’s hit counter to ‘always’ be stuck on that magical number “1895” - a terrific example of the show’s creators/producers/writer’s explicit respect for the canon and Sherlockian history, specifically Vincent Starrett and his famous 221B Sonnet as well his pioneering work of Sherlockian studies The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. On a related Baker Street Babes note, check out this picture of Curly’s laptop - what excellent taste in stickers!
[The guy that designed the above banner was one-half of the Sherlopalooza Q&A Joe Lidsterand.]
Laurie R King announced - via @Mary_Russell on Twitter - on her blog Mutterings that she, along with Holmes/Sandman/Lovecraft/Dracula annotator Leslie S Klinger, will releases a new collection of Holmes stories/pastiches titled In the Company of Sherlock Holmes due out in the Fall of 2013. Contributors include: “Sara Paretsky, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Meagan Abbott, Denise Hamilton, Lisa Lutz, Denise Mina, Val McDermid, Andrew Grant; and from outside the mystery world: Cornelia Funke, Lev Grossman, Larry Niven, Michael Dirda, Michael Sims, Gahan Wilson, John Reppion & Leah Moore, Michael Scott and Diamond Dagger.” Having previously collaborated on the excellent A Study in Sherlock, Mr Klinger was recently featured on I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere talking about his annotation of Dracula and Ms King just released her 12th Mary Russell novel Garment of Shadows.
Digital Spy posted a “celebration of the men who came before [Jonny Lee] Miller - the five greatest actors to bring Conan Doyle’s detective to life on the small screen…” A fairly predictable list except for #4 Tom Baker (of Fourth Doctor fame) in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1982) - a Holmes TV version you don’t see ‘favorited’ that often.
Markings titled this week’s piece ‘Sherlock’s Motto in “The Creeping Man”’ though Mr Ray Wilcockson could have just as easily called it ‘Makings glorious connections between disparate elements of the Canon, the life of ACD and Sherlockiana not to mention the Great Seal of Utah and the motto of New York State, et cetera’. An entertaining romp through the uncharted territory of a mind dedicated to the Great Detective.
Aeon published an essay by Sherlockian psychologist Maria Konnikova titled: ‘The Empathy Machine: Sherlock Was Right – New Research Shows That Seeing Through Another’s Eyes Takes a Detached Mind Not Just a Warm Heart’. Enlightening reading to be sure, of interest to the Sherlockian and literary fan with a penchant for the cognitive sciences alike. You can also listen to an audio version of ‘The Empathy Machine’ via SoundCloud. Ms Konnikova has a book due out in January 2013 on Viking entitled Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes and there’s no doubt every Sherlockian will want to absorb Ms Konnikova’s unique and scientifically rigorous Sherlockian perspective. Sherlockology recently posted a review: “Moving through principles of logic and deduction, creativity and imagination, Mastermind puts 21st century neuroscience and psychology in service of understanding Holmes’ methods.”
[Maria Konnikova’s new book Mastermind is set to be released in January 2013.]
Gods of Gotham is a video walking tour led by Lyndsay Faye, author of the tremendous historical fiction novel of the same name set in New York in the 1840s about the first official NYC police force. Even if you have yet to read Gods of Gotham (though you must!), this virtual tour of lower Manhattan is fascinating.
Rosenlaui scanned this very cool Vasily Livanov (from the Russian Sherlock) autographed photograph from the essential though ridiculously oversized The Pictorial History of Sherlock Holmes (1991) by Michael Pointer.
[Vasily Livanov (1935 - present) is currently 77 years old, in Anno Domini Two-Thousand and Twelve.]
Joe Riggs reviews the intriguingly titled Holmes and Watson End Peace by David Ruffle on MX: “This book is well worth its weight in gold. It is fun, mysterious, emotionally captivating, full of twists and did I mention it’s 100% dialogue!” Another add for the ‘to read’ pile recommended by a Sherlockian that knows his business and his books.
Barefoot on Baker Street appears to be changing her mind about whether or not Elementary is rubbish, though Ms Charlotte Anne Walters - much to the disappointment of Sherlock Peoria (cf. above) - appears to be taking a significantly more positive view of the CBS procedural show. In the interest of kind of fair and sort of balanced blog-reporting, peruse “Is It Third Time Lucky For Elementary?” and find out exactly why Ms Walters is having a change of heart. If I was going to have a change of heart, it would be because of fan-art like this: really sad Jonny Lee Miller.(click on image below for a much larger, much sadder version):
[Fan-art of either Sherlock Peoria’s Brad Keefauver after watching the latest Elementary or Jonny Lee Miller as “Mr Elementary” waiting for his prostitute to show up.]
Alistair Duncan posted a fantastic shot of The Strand magazine from the issue which contains the obituary of it’s most famous (and lucrative) author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Also, Mr Duncan recently weighed in on Elementary: “My only observation to date seems to be that people either seem to think the show is awful (because they simply don’t like it or they don’t believe it should be allowed to exist alongside Sherlock) or they think it is an okay show in itself but not really canonical.”
The Stormy Petrels posted “Fandom ‘Friday’ #20- November 17th, 2012” with links to comics, Pinterest fan art, various conceptions of the layout of 221B, ‘ghostbees’ (?) and a leaf from “The Final Problem" (click image below for full-sized version).
[A page from the manuscript of “The Final Problem” currently in the collection of the University of Indiana’s Lilly Library.]
The Game’s Afoot, blog of Molly Carr - author of The Sign of Fear on MX - posts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's letter to the War Office, 1914: “I have been told that there may be some difficulty in finding offficers for the New Army. I think I may say that my name is well-known to the younger men of this country and that if I were to take a commission at my age it might be of help….” Click to read on.
The Wrap announced that “Paramount is in talks with “The Lion King 1 1/2” writer Evan Spiliotopoulos to write the script for the remake of Young Sherlock Holmes”. Chris Columbus, who is producing for Paramount “wrote the original Young Sherlock Holmes, which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall, and directed by Barry Levinson. Released in 1985, the story centered on Holmes and Watson after they meet at a British boarding school and stumble upon a series of murders.” Den of Geek regurgitates the above news, but with an air of pessimism where as The Movies hits a more optimistic tone. If you are unfamiliar with the movie, check out a trailer for the original Young Sherlock Holmes.
Meiringens posted a still from Granada’s Sherlock Holmes, which actually borrows Holmes’ line about Watson’s particular brand of humour from The Valley of Fear Part 1, Chapter 1: The Warning. Personally, I can never ignore a good reference to Watson and his pawky humor.
[“A touch! A distinct touch!” cried Holmes. “You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself.” (VALL)]
Tea at 221B does it again - and I can’t help myself from re-posting every lovely and magnificent Frederic Dorr Steel illustration I come across - with a haunting illustration of a once-and-for-all defeated Colonel Sebastian Moran being lead away in darbies by Lestrade and company following the events of “The Empty House”.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (November 10 - November 16, 2012)
NPR in ‘From Ship To Sherlock: Doyle’s ‘Arctic’ Diary’ interviews Jon Lellenberg, co-editor with Dan Stashower of ACD’s Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure. I’ve had my copy of Dangerous Work for a few weeks now and I can’t recommend this gorgeously produced book enough. Not only does it look quite handsome on a shelf or coffee table, but I find myself picking it up again and again, choosing a page at random, and letting ACD’s observations and handwriting dance through my brain while imaging what it must have been like for the young doctor-cum-author to be partaking in such an adventure. Make sure to listen to Mr Lellenberg’s NPR interview for a remarkable insight regarding a comment made by ACD and a certain biographical element of Dr Watson’s. Best of Sherlock has posted the most thorough review to date, but a few short though glowing reviews of Dangerous Work can be found on Amazon, while The New Yorker named ACD’s journal one of it’s ‘October books to look out for’ and a blog that reviews nothing but books about the arctic had the following to say: “This visually very pleasing volume is sturdily bound, beautifully printed, and very reasonably priced. And although, in terms of life on the Arctic seas, its contribution is quite modest, it gives us a truly singular and delightful insight into the mind and habits of a man who would, not long after, bring to life two of the most enduring characters in the history of literature” (Russell Potter in The Arctic Book Review blog).
[On Thursday, July 29, 1880, Doyle wrote, “Came across a most extraordinary natural snow house, about 12 feet high, shaped like a beehive with a door and a fine room inside in which I sat. Traveled a considerable distance, and would have gone to the Pole, but my matches ran short and I couldn’t get a smoke.”]
Lyndsay Faye, who you may remember winning the quote of the year award last week, recently re-published an essay she wrote for the 2011 Edgar Awards program entitled ‘The Hound Isn’t the Point' wherein she argues quite elegantly that it is the elusive, the terrifying, the great Unknown in Sherlock Holmes adventures which draws us like moths to a flame (or like semi-fictional Swamp Adders to a whistle). “The high-wire moments before the monster is exposed are invariably more compelling that those when all the bells and whistles are shrieking, the chainsaw is deep in the ribcage, and the hound is bounding over the moor, jowls glowing and eyes blazing with hellfire. And for a very specific reason: we think we know such horrors either do not or rarely exist. But we aren’t sure.” Citing a myriad of canonical examples, Ms Faye nails quite succinctly just why it is that the good doctor’s adventures can be read over and over regardless of the fact that we already know what’s going to happen. If you haven’t already, make sure to listen to Ms Faye’s two (so far) lectures on Sherlock Holmes from a class she’s teaching at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan.
[Click to read why the idea of The Hound is more terrifying than any spectral, or otherwise, hound could ever be.]
Doylelockian considers various film portrayals of (ex-) Professor James Moriarty from the 1930s to the 1980s and makes an observation that had never really crossed my mind: “The Holmes actors Ronald Howard (1954-55), Douglas Wilmer (1964-65), Peter Cushing (1968), Christopher Plummer (Murder By Decree, 1979), Robert Stephens (The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970) and Ian Richardson (and no doubt many others) did not (to my knowledge) enjoy the pleasure of the company of the Napoleon of Crime.” We always think of Moriarty being the antithesis to Holmes thesis (at least the more dialectically inclined Sherlockians) but the vast majority of Holmes adaptations/series are devoid of any of the three Moriarty’s. And though I strongly agree with Mr Duncan that “[Eric] Porter is borderline definitive in terms of both his physical appearance and malevolence” there’s sadly no mention of my second favorite Professor Moriarty: Viktor Yevgrafov from the 1980s Russian Sherlock Holmes adaptation - possibly the single most sinister Moriarty adaptation around whose main henchman also happened to look a bit like Lon Cheney Jr from The Wolfman (1949).
[For another animated Russian Morarity - this time at Reichenbach - click here.]
New York Times reviews The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a revival of the 1985 Broadway musical, which of course is adapted from Charles Dickens' much lauded final though enticingly unfinished mystery novel. Rupert Holmes, who wrote the book, music and lyrics “refashioned the novel into a live parlor game for theatergoers, tossing the crucial question - who slew Edwin Drood? - into the lap of the audience in the show’s finale.” Honestly, I can’t tell if the Times reviewer liked or disliked the show; on the one hand: (con) “at times the plot of the mystery itself is obscured by the restless antics of the framing device”; but on the other (pro) “Mr. Holmes’s rich pudding of a score contains plenty of nuggets redolent with period charm” (and so on). If you need further help deciding, there’s a video clip here and a stills slideshow here. For another perspective (and a “Holmes Sweet Home” pun that doesn’t refer to Sherlock but instead Rupert), here’s Playbill’s review. I don’t know that much about musical theater (though I am amped for the musical adaptation of Lyndsay Faye's Holmes/Ripper pastiche Dust and Shadow) but Drood sounds kind of fun and I might just try to get tickets. (Also, I recently picked up the Heritage Press edition which features an introduction by Vincent Starrett and am saving it for a dark and stormy winter evening.)
[The Mystery of Edwin Drood. (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)]
Dan Andriacco indirectly reminds us that, opposed to the current Elementary dispute (cf. below), there are significantly more enjoyable things within the Sherlockian world to argue about, eg. the ‘real’ location of 221B. Debating where exactly Mrs Hudson’s domicile was located is almost as old as the canon itself, which is why it was such a pleasure to read Mr Andriacco’s account of his recent visit to the famed street of Baker: “Vincent Starrett and H.W. Bell, after walking up and down Baker Street together in 1937, concluded that the house at 111 Baker Street was the “real” 221B. We stood outside that building with some reverence on our recent trip to London. This was after our visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum down the street, which has been renumbered 221B for commercial purposes.” To paraphrase, never has so much been written by so many about the possible location of someone’s apartment for so few. Also make sure to read about Mr Andriacco’s visit to Simpson’s, the canonical restaurant mentioned in ”The Adventure of the Illustrious Client”.
[Where do you think the home of Sherlock Holmes is/was located?]
Quick Sherlock Links:
AFI Silver, as mentioned in last week’s links post, has put together a mind-blowing film program called Sherlock Holmes and the Cinema which runs from November 21 to December 18, 2012 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. I posted a screen capture of the program last week, but now you can link to the full online schedule here. The Washington Post recommends seeing John Barrymore’s Sherlock Holmes (1922).
[George C. Scott plays Justin Playfair, a New York City psychiatric patient who believes he’s Sherlock Holmes in the charming They Might Be Giants (1971), which is of course one of the many films playing at Sherlock Holmes and the Cinema at AFI.]
Luke Benjamin Kuhns discusses the contemporary evolution of various portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, in particular Holmes’ descent into ‘darkness’. I very much enjoyed Mr Kuhns article though my only minor quibble is that the “darkness” of the CBS character is entirely superficial and one-dimensional, almost desperately so (and I mean desperation on the writer’s part in attempting to create a novel Holmes). An interesting and thought provoking article none-the-less.
Markings, blog of Ray Wilcockson, in ‘“His Last Bow” - An Ode of Remembrance’, discusses the war service of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as Sherlock Holmes and his participation in various wartime activities. As always, Mr Wilcockson’s posts are an eclectic and edifying read.
[Von Bork never saw it coming!! Sparking plugs and all.]
The American Culture posted a parody - ‘The Adventure of the Illusory Client - or, The Land Down Under’: “It was a dark and stormy night when I banged the door knocker of my good friend, Mr. Shorleck Humes, the world-renowned detective…..” And we’re off to the burlesques!
Life Hacker explains ‘How to Develop Sherlock Holmes-Like Powers of Observation and Deduction’. Most of these are common sense-esque tips (eg. “Increase Your Knowledge Base’), but enumerating and formalizing them does lend an air of applicability.
The World of Joe Riggs - speaking of someone who has developed Sherlock-like powers - published a glowing review of The Secret Journal of Dr. Watson by Phil Growick: “This is an epic journey that spans the time frame of nearly a century.”
[The Secret Journal of Dr. Watson by Phil Growick.]
Mini-Elementary Reviews Section:
Film School Rejects posted a very typical yet dead-on review/criticism of Elementary: Aside from the past substance abuse, Holmes does have a few other recognizable or canonical traits: he plays the violin; he’s arrogant; and, of course, he’s English. Notwithstanding these details, Elementary—a title that is, naturally, a reference to a line sometimes dickishly uttered by the original character whenever he’d figured something out—really could be called "some young guy solves difficult cases with sharp powers of deduction.”
New York Post, in a rather odd article, belabours the point that in the universe that Elementary takes place, ACD never existed hence there is no ‘Homes & Watson’, hence “Sherlock” is a strange name, or something like that. “Our show exists in a universe in which there was, tragically, no Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,” says “Elementary” creator/executive producer Rob Doherty. “The idea that there was a Sherlock Holmes in the Victorian Era, who was created by Conan Doyle and who’s now someone in New York … was specifically an element of the show that was never really in our heads.”
Girl Meets Sherlock offers another take on CBS’s Elementary, or at least attempts to inject some neutrality into the debate on whether or not Elementary is “good” or “bad”. Please read the entire piece but it concludes with: “Are we ever going to agree on who is “right” about what is and isn’t “Sherlock Holmesy” enough? No, we’re not, because the black line on my mental map that demarcates the land called “Sherlock Holmes” is no doubt different from yours. And that’s ok.” But is it OK? Under that reasoning everything is essentially “all relative” which means no one, whether they are Leslie Klinger or a 13 year old kid who just watched their first episode of BBC Sherlock, can have a ‘more correct’ argument/thesis than anyone else, which of course leads to “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!’ etc.
Sherlock Peoria's Brad Keefauver on the other hand gives us ‘Justice for Elementary, Part One' which is not a reversal on his past statements regarding Elementary, but an even more systematized and thorough crushing of ‘Mr Elementary’ and friends: “And by “justice,” I mean carefully scrutinizing the evidence and setting out the Sherlockian state’s case for the charges of fraud that have been so rightfully laid against it. We fans of the true Sherlock really should pay attention to Elementary, as counter-intuitive as that may seem, just to prepare ourselves.” Can’t wait for Part Two.
Back to Quick Sherlock Links:
London Evening Standard reports on some extra good news for those following the Save Undershaw movement: “The company that owns the Victorian house where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Hound Of The Baskervilles [ie. Undershaw] has suffered a fresh setback in its legal battle to redevelop the historic property.” Please read author of The Norwood Author Mr Alistair Duncan's piece 'Undershaw My Latest Thoughts' for a reaction to this and related Undershaw news.
[The battle continues…]
Kickstarter is hosting a project which “aims to translate Sherlock’s Home - The Empty House, into five languages - French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch to enable fans all over the world to experience this very special book.” MX Publishing has more information about the project here as well as information about how this project is helping Save Undershaw.
Kirkus Review takes a look at Sherlock Holmes at 125. “It was an inspired but utterly accidental moment when Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish doctor struggling to establish himself both as a physician and as a writer in late Victorian London, drew upon the habits of an irascible medical school mentor to concoct a character that he pegged as a “consulting detective,” an utterly newfangled job description.”
The Quark in the Road posted this short essay entitled ‘What Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham Can Learn from Sherlock Holmes’.
Sherlock. Everywhere. alerted their readers to a fairly hard to find (though not impossible) monograph called Sherlock Holmes: Rare Book Collector: A Study in Book Detection (1953) by Madeleine B Stern. This sounds like a delightful tome that I’m adding to my master Sherlockian wish list as I type. UPDATE: A version of this essay can be found in Philip A. Shreffler's essential Sherlock Holmes By Gas-Lamp: Highlights From Four Decades of the Baker Street Journal (Fordham).
[Ms. Stern was the 2001 BSI Weekend Distinguished Speaker.]
Better Holmes & Gardens reviewed Granada’s “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” and it’s a review that is very much worth reading. I disagree with a lot of it but it really got me thinking about a few aspects of Granada’s adaptations of HOUN and SILV and DEVI that I never considered before. Nice job!
221B Con posted a reminder that until November 13th, 2012, registration is only $25 - at which point it goes up to $35. Also, they are “currently accepting applications for panelists. Pop over to our Programming page, check out the updated list of tentative panels and fill out an application. Panelists will be contacted on March 01, 2013 via email.”
Sherlockology and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang both published reviews of a recent Q&A with Mark Gatiss and Friends (ie. Rupert Graves, Martin Freeman and more) at The Criterion Theatre in London. Proceeds from the event went to the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard. A recording of the Q&A is rumored to exist but I don’t think it’s available yet. I’ll post a link to it when it is. Apparently, it’s “hilarious” - can’t wait!
Tea Rose wins the animated GIF of the week with this unforgettable closing scene from Granada’s “The Six Napoleons”:
[Holmes’ winds down the Napoleon bust business for an extremely impressed Lestrade and Watson.]
Tea at 221B has been mining the digital archives of the University of Minnesota to great effect, their latest find being this marvelous illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele from “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”:
Toast to Sir Reginald Musgrave
Toast by Matt Laffey of Always1895.net to Sir Reginald Musgrave delivered at the Montague Street Lodgers of Brooklyn on November 10, 2012 at Armando’s Restaurant (143 Montague Street, Brooklyn NY). Thanks to Peter Crupe for hosting yet another excellent MSLBK event and for the chance to deliver the following toast.
Greetings all - and welcome to the 454th annual Musgrave Family Reunion taking place on - as I’m sure you can tell from the towering oaks surrounding us and that rambling pile of gray stone behind - the grounds of charming Hurlstone Manner.
I will attempt to keep these introductory remarks brief for I realize many of you are keen to begin the pheasant hunt, which is North by 20 and by 20, West by 10 and by 10, Northeast by 3 and by 3 and so Under….Oh, I mean under the elm. The always, er, inviting Ms Janet Tregellis will be dispensing helpings of Na Na Musgrave’s famous pickled blood fruit cake along with piping hot cafe noir (which Reggie knows to avoid unless he wants to be up all night…).
I want to thank the Northern Musgraves for making the considerable trip down to Western Sussex this year. For those of you unfamiliar with our Northern kin, at some point in the 16th century Great Great Great, etc. Grandpappy Musgrave, after having had a serious row with his brother regarding the place of the Monarchy in modern, enlightened feudal society, began walking South by a lot and by a lot until he ended up here, noting the extreme beauty of the lake…which FYI was considerably more attractive than it’s current state due to the recent and unfortunate string of lake draggings…
But let us not dwell on tragedy during this joyous occasion - or as joyous an occasion as damp grey archways and a freezing understaffed house will allow - and instead introduce our gracious host…
Now where is that pale, keen faced dandy of a parliamentary official?? Oh, what’s that? He’s chastising the footman again for having the gall to use his private umbrella during last night’s thunder shower? Ha! When will that boy ever learn to stop hiring these passionate Celtic men and excitable Welsh women?
I’d like to take advantage of Reggie’s absence to beg your understanding during this time of transition at Hurlstone. As you are well aware of the recent unpleasantness, I thank you for soldiering on in the absence of the always entertaining and infinitely knowledgeable Brunston the butler. I mean honestly, Brunton was the only reason any of us ever had any fun at these things - am I right? During Reggie’s four years at *cough**cough* University, it was no secret that he was generally not very popular among the undergraduates. But I digress…
So try your best to enjoy yourselves this weekend and be sure to check out the crown of ol’ Charlie the first which was recently and inexplicably unearthed in the basement. Sorry, one last thing: I’ve just been handed a note and I regret to inform you that tonight’s lecture on the origin of the piccolo has been canceled.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (November 3 - November 9, 2012)
Before I get started with this week’s links I just wanted to wish the late, great Jeremy Brett a belated happy birthday (November 3, 1933). The master of being The Master would have been 79 last Saturday. To celebrate I revisited some of my favorite Granada episodes (eg. “The Devil’s Foot”) and re-read some of my favorite passages from Bending the Willow by David Stuart Davies, an intimate yet respectful biography of Mr Brett that pays particular attention to his time playing the role of Sherlock Holmes for Granada from 1984 through 1994.
[Happy birthday JB!]
The Best of Sherlock Holmes reported on a fascinating bit of ACD/Sherlock Holmes original manuscript news: “Christie’s will offer one of the few existing pages from the original autograph manuscript for The Hound of the Baskervilles at auction on 7 December 2012. Conan Doyle’s classic tale of Gothic horror and suspense became one of the first bestselling novels of the 20th century. This leaf from Sherlock Holmes’s most famous case names both Holmes and Watson and includes an exciting scene on the moor.” As many fans of original ACD manuscripts know, the “handwritten manuscript [of HOUN] was broken up as part of a publicity campaign for the American publication of the book in 1902. Estimated to comprise approximately 185 pages originally, most of the manuscript is almost certainly lost, with only 36 leaves reported to still exist and the majority of those held by institutions.” The Best of Sherlock Holmes maintains an extremely useful HOUN manuscript census which catalogs which HOUN manuscript leafs exist and where along with information on past auctions. Click on the image below for a much larger look at leaf H36, the HOUN manuscript page up for auction:
[Text of the MS which begins: “”Where is it?” Holmes whispered; and I knew from the thrill of his voice that he, the man of iron, was shaken to the soul. “Where is it, Watson?” “There, I think.” I pointed into the darkness. “No, there!” Again the agonized cry swept through the silent night, louder and much nearer than ever. And a new sound mingled with it, a deep, muttered rumble, musical and yet menacing, rising and falling like the low, constant murmur of the sea. “The hound!” cried Holmes. “Come, Watson, come! Great heavens, if we are too late!”” (HOUN)]
Being Geek Chic interviewed Lyndsay Faye, Ardy and Amy in conjunction with the Baker Street Babes having been named Lady Geeks of the Week! One of my favorite Q&A bits during the interview: the Babes are asked what they would tell their 13-year old selves and Ms Faye responds: “I’d tell myself at that age, you know what, Lyndsay, you’re going to stay this geeky, and get even geekier - but it’s going to get so much less lonely later on, so just trust that you’re going to meet more of your peculiar kind. And many other peculiar kinds you’ll get on with like a forest fire.” Here here! Don’t forget to register for the Baker Street Babes’ first annual charity ball during BSI Weekend The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet as well as consider submitting a piece to The One Fixed Point in a Changing Age, the upcoming book project with Wessex Press/Gasogene Books which will feature Sherlockian essays by up-and-coming bloggers who are also Holmes-enthusiasts. A giant congratulations to the Babes - and I’ll also be looking forward to the second part of the Being Geek Chic interview which promises even more Baker Street Babetitude!
[“The Baker Street Babes are our Lady Geeks of the Week! The Babes are a group of Sherlock Holmes fans who produce a witty, charming, and highly successful podcast in which they discuss “everything from canon [sic] to Cumberbatch, Charles Augustus Milverton to Jude Law, and dancing men to Jeremy Brett.”]
BBC Mid Wales interviews Roy Upton-Holder, the founder of a Holmes group in Welshpool, about his plans to translate The Canon into Welsh. My favorite part of the article is the following: Mr Upton-Holder had been toying with the idea of a Welsh translation until he received: “an email from a Sherlock Holmes fan in Texas who is a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, the largest Holmes society in the USA,” he said. ”He asked if we were thinking about translating a book into Welsh and why didn’t we do something about it. “He said he’d give us $100 towards it.”” Ha! I wonder who this mysterious BSI member interested in canonical translations from the Lone Star State (the 28th state admitted to the Union and not the ill-fated sailing vessel, of course!) could be? While you ponder that ‘mystery’ I was surprised by the relative difficulty in mounting a canonical translation into Welsh: basically “high cost and low demand…It would be feasible to translate a book, but the costs would be very high. It might even be in the thousands of pounds, depending on the number of pages.” K-International discusses the pros and cons of translating the Canon as well as a low-cost solution: crowd sourcing the translation to students (ie. free labour!). An interesting solution none-the-less. Make sure to read both the BBC article as well as the K-International follow-up. And check out this fantastic photo of Mr Upton-Holder; I want my garden shed to look that cool!
[“Roy Upton-Holder outside his garden shed, named after Holmes’s London address, 221B Baker Street.” This guy seems really awesome!]
The Bartitsu Club of New York City announced an exciting opportunity on their Facebook: “London’s Bartitsu Club was all the rage in 1899, but only recently has this lost martial art been rediscovered. Learn the “gentlemanly art of self-defense” at this workshop taught by Professor Mark P. Donnelly, a world-renowned expert on historical combat. Learn to use a walking stick, parasol, jacket, fan, and other accessories for protection. No martial arts experience required. A study in self-defense and in history…” The seminar is scheduled for Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm through 7:00 pm on 18 West 18th Street. Check out the Facebook page for further information about a Bartitsu social as well.
[Learn to fight like Sherlock Holmes from the Bartitsu Club of NYC!]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Lyndsay Faye just posted the second installment of her “Sherlock Holmes class at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan! This time: Death! Below is Lyndsay’s course description for you to follow along. Session 2: The Fall.” Even if you’re familiar with the Canon backwards-and-forwards, you’re going to love listening to Professor Faye and her very unique presentation of matters both canonical and ACD/Gillette/etc. Also, if you’re afraid these lectures might be just another dry description and analysis of various themes and events from the Canon, consider Prof. Faye’s paraphrasing of ACD’s thinking in regards to giving William Gillette permission to do whatever he’d like with/to Holmes: ”I killed that dude. I threw his ass off a waterfall."
[Click the above image for a much larger, much more inspirational version.]
AFI Silver Theater & Cultural Center is a “a state-of-the-art moving image exhibition, education and cultural center” located in Silver Spring, Maryland. ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Cinema' - a jam packed two month long Holmes film-festival - features over 20 Sherlock-centric films including Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, every Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock adaptation, Peter Cushing's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), Arthur Wontner’s The Sign of Four (1932), Clive Brook’s Sherlock Holmes (1932) and, perhaps most exciting, John Barrymore's Sherlock Holmes (1922) which, clocking in at just under 110 minutes, features a live musical accompaniment and is a must see for every and all Sherlockian. Considered lost for decades, Sherlock Holmes (adapted from Gillette’s play of the same title) was meticulously restored (and rebuilt) by George Eastman House out of a hodgepodge of salvaged material.
Doyleockian considers the question of whether or not ACD was ungrateful towards Sherlock Holmes? We all know that ACD essentially murdered Mr Holmes (“You brute!”), but how much actual resentment did Doyle feel toward the Great Detective? Read Alistair Duncan's post for a thoughtful, well-reasoned approach to this perennial issue often debated within Holmesian circles.
Deadline reports that CBS has decided to give Elementary - that detective show featuring characters named “Sherlock Holmes” (Jonny Lee Miller) and his sidekick “Joan Watson” (Lucy Lui) - the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot. At the moment “Elementary is averaging 14.2 million viewers and 3.5/10 in adults 18-49 in its most current ratings, which include sizable Live+7 boosts for the first four weeks of the season”, numbers that could increase dramatically due to a post-Super Bowl. By way of comparison, “CBS last aired the Super Bowl in 2010 and picked Undercover Boss for the post-game slot. That episode drew 38 million viewers. In 2007, Criminal Minds had 26.3 million after the game.”
Jezebel - on a totally useless yet vaguely related note - delivered up some hard hitting investigative journalism (originally reported in the National Enquirer) alerting the world to a bit of alleged tension in the household of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (aka “Brangelina”) due to Ms Jolie having secretly recorded CBS’s Elementary in order to watch her former husband Jonny Lee Miller in his role as a guy who solves mysteries and whose name happens to be “Sherlock Holmes”. Here’s a quote from the article that I couldn’t have made up if I had tried: “Brad’s allegedly pissed at Angelina for secretly recording episodes of her ex Jonny Lee Miller’s detective series Elementary; she initially said she was curious to see Miller’s acting and how he had aged (and told Brad the show was so bad she couldn’t get through the first episode), but continued to tape the show behind his back. And the kids think Jonny is cool. Tough break.” Totally unconfirmed reports (that I made up) suggest that Mr Pitt will take on the role of Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief, in a desperate attempt to win back the ardour and respect of his kids. Best of luck to ‘Brangelina’ during this difficult time - our thoughts are with you.
[First rule of Brangelina’s Tivo: don’t record Elementary!]
Dan Andriacco reflects on that classic Holmes Christmas (sans slush!) story “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" in light of his recent trip to London, in particular his visit to The Museum Tavern: “Most scholars believe that the Alpha Inn was in fact the Museum Tavern. On our trip to England last month we spent some time in the British Museum. Ann took dozens of pictures of mummies and Egyptian statues. But she didn’t forget to take this shot of the Museum Tavern across the street.” I hope to visit the ‘Alpha Inn’ one day myself and of course inquire about joining the (vegetarian) Goose Club. Also, check out Mr Andriacco’s post about a recent talk he gave for The Illustrious Clients of Indiana (one of the oldest scions currently led by Don Curtis, BSI) on the subject of golden age Sherlockian Rex Stout (author of the Nero Wolfe novels as well as the forever controversial article “Watson Was a Woman”). I hope Mr Andriacco recorded his talk and/or posts the text - Rex Stout is a fascinating subject.
Baker Street Journal reminded us on Twitter that William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes opened in NYC on November 6th, 1899 and had an initial run of 235 performances. Mr Gillette would continue to reprise the role of the Great Detective for the next 30 years appearing over 1,300 times on stage while donning his deerstalker, wearing his robe and smoking his signature (though non-Canonical) Calabash pipe.
[William Gillette in his most famous role as Sherlock Holmes.]
Barefoot on Baker Street gains a new appreciation for Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in light of CBS’s Elementary: “after watching Elementary and struggling so much with accepting a Holmes who is so very far removed from the original, I actually found myself enjoying Game of Shadows. It was strangely comforting to find Holmes back in Victorian England with a male Watson by his side, brother Mycroft at hand and Moriarty up to his old tricks.”
Sherlock. Everywhere. posted a Top Ten List of Suggestive Lines from the Sherlock Homes Canon. My favorite is #8: “I remember nothing until I found myself lying on my bed trembling all over. Then I thought of you, Mr. Holmes.” (“The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”) And of course the most suggestive drawing in the Canon: Howard Elcock's illustration of Holmes and Watson seemingly waking up in bed together (with a very satisfied looking “old campaigner” to boot) from “The Illustrious Client”:
[“Sherlock Holmes shot his long, thin, nervous arm out of the sheets and drew an envelope from the inside of the coat which hung beside him.” (ILLU)]
Sherlock Peoria on “Loving Things That Suck" or why it’s OK to disagree sometimes regarding what’s good and what’s not so good. Also, it’s imperative that you read Mr Brad Keefauver's piece on CBS's decision to slot Elementary immediately after the Super Bowl: The Hour of Standing Up For Sherlock Is At Hand: “The “give it a chance” period for CBS’s Elementary is over, and the “we’ll watch whatever murder show is on CBS” crowd seems to be accepting it. And regardless of what Sherlock Holmes know to be true of this so very wrong re-creation of Holmes, we’re stuck with it for the moment. No big deal, right….? Wrong." I strongly encourage you to read on.
Scintillation of Scions is offering discounted, early registration for SOS VI until December 31, 2012 for the cut rate price of $40 - and make sure to follow Scintillation_Scions on Twitter and A Scintillation of Scions on Facebook for updates and news leading up to June 7 - 9, 2013.
Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (October 27 - November 2, 2012)
The One Fixed Point In A Changing Age is a recently created site designed to support and disseminate information about the upcoming book of the same name. Spearheaded by the Baker Street Babes, “Essays on Sherlockiana By Online Fandom is, not surprisingly, a collection of essays written exclusively by members of the tumblr and internet fandom of Sherlock Holmes. These essays will be compiled into a book and will be published, giving a voice and the beginnings of a body of work for the younger generation of Holmes fans. The idea was conceived by The Baker Street Babes and it will be published by Wessex Press.” For those unfamiliar with Wessex Press and it’s Sherlockian imprint Gasogene Books, it’s one of the premiere Sherlockian-centric publishing companies in existence. They are responsible for publishing Leslie Klinger’s Sherlock Holmes Reference Library (10 vols) as well as a myriad of other important tomes of Holmesian scholarship. I predict fantastic things from this project and look forward to seeing the finished product next summer.
[Read the Submission Rules for further information about submitting a piece for consideration for The One Fixed Point In A Changing Age: Essays on Sherlockiana By Online Fandom.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, just in time for Halloween, delivers up a very spooky Episode 47: Re: Vampires (of course a reference to “The Sussex Vampire”) which clocks in at just over an hour and is packed with so much Sherlockian goodness it’s almost scary. Where to begin: first off, Mr Wolder and Mr Monty are at their radio personality best. There’s plenty of hilarious banter about canonical Halloween costumes when who should ‘drop by’ the studio but Leslie Klinger (see article on Mr Klinger below in The Daily Bruin), all set to discuss his The New Annotated Dracula as well as a variety of interesting connections between Holmes and vampires in a variety of mediums. Then it’s off to the mailbags as IHOSE reads various reader comments regarding their previous show on CBS’s Elementary, which were kind of hilarious in their bluntness even though our fearless hosts attempted to keep things fair and balanced. Do yourself a favor and give yourself an hour to sit back and listen and enjoy this episode. One of their best to date, and that’s saying a lot (considering I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of their past episodes).
[Holmes and Watson looking up “vampires” in the good ol’ index.]
Dan Andriacco recently returned from a trip to London and his blog Baker Street Beat has been overflowing with posts about his various Sherlockian doings in “that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained”. Since returning, Mr Andriacco writes about: a London walking tour called ‘Sherlock in the City: Tracking the Red-Headed League’, a stop off at Speedy’s Cafe, everyone’s favorite ‘Baker Street’ eatery (from BBC Sherlock), a comparison between (the real) Baker Street of 1948 versus 2012 (Vincent Starrett reference included!), his visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street and a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Pub with MX Publisher Steve Emecz, who of course published Andriacco’s latest and greatest The 1895 Murder - whose review I will be attending to after I finish with this post. I suspect we’ll be seeing even more posts about London in the near future and I wholeheartedly welcome them all - it’s an absolute pleasure to read the adventures of any Sherlockian who recently found themselves in London.
[Roger Johnson (of the SHSL), Dan Andriacco, Barbara Winter, and Steve Winter at Speedy’s in London.]
Baker Street Blog, in some of the finest Sherlockian Weather reporting of all time, pays tribute (“tribute” in the Ancient Greek ‘we’re scared of the gods’ way, not a ‘hurricanes are cool’ way) to Hurricane Sandy via an exploration of powerful weather events and descriptions from the Canon. Beginning with an extremely thorough survey of Sherlock Holmes stories involving weather with pertinent quotes followed by a listing of instances where weather was integral to the plot and ending with a discussion of how many of the key Sherlockian chronologists (eg. Baring-Gould, Bell, Zeisler, Christ, Bend) used records of weather reports in their valiant attempts to pin specific days/dates on specific stories.
Baker Street Babes announced some exciting news: on Thursday the 10th of January 8:00 pm, following the Distinguished Speaker’s Lecture, at Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue (taking place on the Thursday of BSI Weekend 2013), the Babes of Baker Street will be hosting an event called The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball. First off, the charity to which profits will be donated is the Wounded Warriors Project, an organization dedicated to fostering “the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history”; essentially, an organization that gives significantly more than lip service to the concept of honoring our veterans, particularly those whose tremendous sacrifice took the form of severe mental and/or physical injury. So that’s the charity portion of this event…what’s the ball? The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet will feature a buffet dinner, “an auction of Sherlockian swag, a quiz, a raffle, a costume competition, and many more activities to be announced!” It sounds like the perfect place to meet your very own Hosmer Angel or to at least waltz, foxtrot, tango, disco, or whatever-it-up with your fellow Sherlockians in this first time BSI Weekend event.
[Click for larger version of The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball poster.]
Polygon dishes about a soon-to-be-released Sherlock Holmes game for the iPad called The Awakened from a company called Frogwares due in late 2012. I’m not much of a gamer, but it’s nice to hear about a new Sherlock-themed video game that’s something other than The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. “Get your fingertips ready for a story that melds Holmes’ rationalism with H.P. Lovecraft’s supernaturalism. You’ll travel to the undergrounds of London, to the isolated summits of Switzerland, to the sweltering bayou of New Orleans and to the dense Scottish fog… Guaranteed thrills await!” If you look closely at the image supplied on Frogwares site, it appears that Holmes and Watson are standing in front of a Lovecraftian-inspired Cthulhu guy! Now all I need is for someone to send me an iPad so I can properly review this game.You can watch a very detailed trailer for The Awakened here.
[Knock knock. Who’s there? Cthulhu. Cthulhu who…? (but Cthulhu’s answer only drives you completely mad causing you to spend the rest of your life at Arkham Insane Asylum drawing doodles of things that cannot be named).]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Sherlock Peoria - while contemplating his mortality via the lens of an upcoming birthday - ruminates on recent technological developments employed by (younger) denizens of the Sherlockian world, primarily the concept of microblogging (eg. Tumblr, Twitter). Pay particularly close attention to Mr Keefauver’s comments on ‘fandom’, ie. the notion that Sherlockian culture is simply another fandom, similar in kind to the fandoms surrounding TV shows like Community or Big Bang, books like the Harry Potter cycle, etc. Should Sherlockian culture be automatically subsumed by ‘fandom’ qua rigid social category for defining just exactly what/how we are to relate to the thing(s) we are apparently fans of? I wonder how many readers agree or disagree (or sincerely do not have an opinion or do not actually care). This notion of whether or not Sherlockian culture is just another ‘fandom’ may seem trivial or arcane or just plain silly, but it has important implications - and it’s a notion/argument that I think will present itself more and more as the push from the purveyor’s of traditional fandom (along with their codes and accepted forms of expression) is felt more and more in the Sherlockian world.
Markings by Ray Wilcockson in his two recent posts "Eille Norwood, My Dear Conan Doyle!" - Silent Sherlocks in Strand Magazine (1) and "The Youth of Sherlock Holmes" - John Barrymore. Part 2 of Silent Sherlocks in The Strand considers two of the more prominent silent film actors to play Holmes, Ellie Norwood and John Barrymore, and their relationships to the original texts used to write their respective scripts, the sets, their makeup as well as the entire moving making process as it stood in the Silent Era. Peppered throughout both articles are some excellent YouTube links featuring both actors at the height of their powers.
BBC America announced a new show Ripper Street which is an “eight-part series is set in and around Whitechapel in London’s East End in 1889, during the aftermath of the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.” You can follow the show’s Twitter at @RipperStreet and check out the first Ripper Street trailer here.
Well-Read Sherlockian reviews Greenberg, Lellenberg and Stashower’s Ghosts in Baker Street: New Tales of Sherlock Holmes NY: Carroll and Graf, (2006) just in time for Halloween. Actually, this post is more than just a simple review: there’s thrills, chills, analogies made with candy, Venn Diagrams explaining the intersection of Mystery and Ghost story fans and so much more. Give it a whirl!
Tellyspotting attempts to wrap their head around the recent Sherlock Holmes Society of London pilgrimage of 70+ Holmesians to Switzerland to visit the famed Reichenbach Falls. Mentioning the recent BBC coverage, the article never turns patronizing and is a pleasant take on the obsessions which drive the average Sherlockian. I also liked this quote: “For Moriarty character Peter Horrocks, it’s a dream holiday. “This holiday has everything,” he says. “It has the beauty of the Swiss mountains and, it has the background of the Sherlock Holmes stories.”” Seriously, my idea of “everything” as well!
Daily Bruin, newspaper of UCLA, published an interesting piece about Sherlockian annotator extraordinaire Leslie S Klinger: “A walk around [Leslie Klinger’s] office includes only part of his extensive collection and publications. Movie posters and a Sherlock Holmes bust adorn the walls and desk of the office. He said he’s proof that fans can take out time from their work schedule to pursue their personal interests, just as he has. All fans need to do is find the time, he said.”
Doyleockian has some festive gift suggestions for the Doylean in your life: four volumes of Alistair Duncan books on ACD, the Canon, and points between. I’ve been a fan of Mr Duncan’s Holmesian books since first reading his survey of the Canon Eliminate the Impossible and can in good conscience recommend any of these books.
NME reports on Matt Smith's (the 11th Doctor) recent comment at London Comic-Con (October 27, 2012) that he's “not averse to it” - not averse to what you ask? Well, a Doctor Who + Sherlock (BBC) crossover! Now watch as 50 trillion Whovian/Cumberbatchians go crazy and riot for joy in the streets, that is until we’re reminded that Supreme Buzzkills Moffatt & Gatiss totally hate the idea of a Timelord vs Baker Street Lord crossover. Cue: sound of the losing horn.