Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 26 - February 1, 2013)

Daily Record published an interview with one Dr. Robert Katz (BSI), retired vice chairman of pathology at Morristown Medical Center, and most recently co-editor of The Wrong PassageA Facsimile of the Original Manuscript of “The Golden Pince-Nez” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle along with Commentary on the Story (BSI Manuscript Series #8) along with Andrew Solberg (BSI). Dr Katz, on being asked whether or not Sherlock Holmes qua detective influenced him personally in any way responded quite elegantly: “So much of medicine is really solving a mystery, and making a diagnosis is a process of using clues and evidence, which is very much like Sherlock Holmes did in the stories,” Katz said. “I definitely was influenced by him - the personality of Sherlock Holmes. And we have to remember his partner, Dr. Watson, who was a physician. I think it’s the influence of those two characters that really played a large role in my own life.”” And don’t forget about Katz & Solberg’s 1.5 hour interview on IHOSE!

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[Dr Katz at his microscope, presumably waiting to see if his sample turns blue or red: ““You come at a crisis, Watson,” said he.“If this paper remains blue, all is well. If it turns red, it means a man’s life.” He dipped it into the test-tube, and it flushed at once into a dull, dirty crimson.” (NAVA)]

The Wrong Passage, as mentioned above, is the eighth title in the venerable BSI Manuscript Series and is currently available via the Baker Street Journal website (as well as a few select book stores such as Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan) in hardback with plans for a super deluxe Limited Edition version in the works for early 2014. In addition to a facsimile and transcription of “The Golden Pince-Nez”, a number of prominent Sherlockian scholars made contributions such as Beth Austin, John Baesch, Phillip Bergem, John Bergquist, Denny Dobry, Andrew G. Fusco, William Hyder, C. Paul Martin, Jacquelynn Morris, Peggy Purdue, Donald Pollock, Albert Silverstein, Randall Stock, Richard J. Sveum and William G. Wagner. For a comprehensive list of contributors and Table of Contents, click here. For a free online excerpt and taste of what you can expect, I highly recommend Mr John Baesch's (BSI, ”State and Merton Railway”) contribution: “From Russia with Love: Siberia to Yoxley Old Place”.   

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[The Wrong Passage.]

The Guardian posted a detective-centric crossword puzzle from their Cryptic Crossword Puzzles series (which I guess is a thing). I’m going to give it a try this weekend and test my mettle - I’m horrible at crossword puzzles though. I never would have solved Frank Morley's 1934 Sherlockian crossword puzzle published in the Saturday Review of Literature - where Christopher Morley had his famous “Bowling Green” column - the winners of which were invited to the very first BSI dinner. Notable winners included: Elmer Davis, Malcolm Johnson, Basil Davenport, Harvey Officer and Vincent Starrett. If you want to try Morley’s 1934 Sherlock crossword for yourself, there’s an interactive web version here. (Thanks to Mr Chris Redmond for the Guardian crossword puzzle tip!)

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[Seven down: “Hesitation among group of constables, mostly — three-pipe problems? (6)”]

Scintillation of Scions - hosted by the indomitable Jacquelynn Morris - is the Sherlockian event to attend in June (June 8th, 2013 in Hanover, Maryland at the Hilton Garden Inn to be exact) but you’ll need to act fast because it was just announced that capacity is set at 100 and so far 59 proactive Sherlockians have already registered!! This year’s speakers include: Daniel Stashower (recently co-edited the amazingly gorgeous Dangerous Work), Lyndsay Faye (The Gods of Gotham), Matt Laffey (proprietor of the very blog you are reading), Dan Andriacco (Baker Street Beat), Dana Cameron, Sherlock_DC, Sherlock_NYC, Donna Andrews and Regina Stinson. If you attended last year’s SoS you know how incredible an event this is sure to be! I encourage everyone in the strongest possible terms to follow @Scint_of_Scions on Twitter for updated info and announcements on SoS VI.  

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[Sciontastical!]

BSI Archival History's Jon Lellenberg in “The Mystery of the Two Irregular Plates” reported on one of the most interesting items to appear in the Dealer’s Room (aka The Saturday morning Huckster’s Room at the Roosevelt Hotel) during this BSI Weekend past, or any birthday weekend in the last decade or so: two large brass plates (the kind used for printing) featuring Frederic Dorr Steele's classic Sherlock Holmes profile along with the title of Vincent Starrett's 1940 book 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes (Macmillan) and various other U.S. and U.K. symbols of note. Right now you might be saying to yourself, “Um what? What is so great about these?’ Well for starters, it’s a mystery just where exactly these came from and what exactly they are for; and they’re rather gorgeous objects (the picture doesn’t begin to do the pieces justice). Lellenberg writes of the experience: “two brass plates displayed at Saturday morning’s hucksters room by Madrid antiques dealer Javier Doria…they honored the Baker Street Irregulars, 1940’s annual dinner at the Murray Hill Hotel, and Vincent Starrett’s anthology of BSI writings 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes, for which that January 30th, 1940 dinner - first in four years - was a publication party, with everyone present receiving a copy of the book hot off the press.” But the real mystery is ‘the why’: “Nothing in contemporary Irregular correspondence I’ve read has as much as hinted at the existence of these extraordinary plates” - which is really saying a lot since Lellenberg (literally) wrote the book(s) on BSI history (BSI Archival History Vols. 1 - 8). 

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[Lellenberg: “But for us, the principal mystery is how and when the brass plates came to be in the first place. All information gratefully received!”]

The Daily Beast published a lengthy and insightful piece on P.G Wodehouse in relation to the recent release of P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters. “In the final pages of this splendid narrative hybrid of letters and biography, Wodehouse himself seems not entirely unaware of his future durability. One letter contains a lovely rumination on the subject of “the knut.” What on earth, you ask, is a “knut”? Well, Bertie Wooster was a knut, par excellence: a second son of an earl or other nobleman, equipped with a monthly allowance providing a perfectly happy, if somewhat pointless existence. “Like the lilies of the field,” Wodehouse writes here of the knut and his ilk, “they toiled not neither did they spin, they just existed beautifully…Then the economic factor reared its ugly head. Income tax and super tax shot up like rocketing pheasants, and … Algy had to go to work.” And so ended a nifty, golden era. “It is sad to reflect,” he adds, “that a generation has arisen which does not know what spats were.” For a more formal review of A Life In Letters, here’s a piece from the NY Times.

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[P.G. Wodehouse: A Life In Letters edited by Sophie Ratcliffe on Norton.]

Dan Andriacco in “The Unpopular Opinions of Dorothy L. Sayers”  wonders if people still read Ms Sayers and points out various themes and topics one might expect to encounter after cracking open her Unpopular Opinions: theological, political, and critical - with four essays concerning Sherlock Holmes in particular, the most famous of course being ”Dr. Watson’s Christian Name" wherein Ms Sayers deftly posits that the "H" in John H. Watson stands for "Hamish" which is the Scottish form of James, the name Mrs Watson inexplicably calls her husband in "The Man With the Twisted Lip”: "Now, you must have some wine and water, and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?”" - inexplicably that is until Ms Sayers dropped said article on the reading public!

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[Though not super easy to find, Ms Sayers’ Unpopular Opinions is and an essential volume for every serious Sherlockian library.]

Chicago Reader covered the recent re-release of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution on DVD, which ends on a fantastically damning note: “Whatever its flaws, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is still more satisfying than the recent slam-bang franchise with Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. Like Billy Wilder's more impressive The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), it comes from an era when people were rediscovering the Sherlock Holmes mysteries but also digging into some of their buried themes, rather than turning them into modern, globally homogenized entertainment. The people shepherding Holmes to the screen now clearly have no clue.” Ouch. More reviews can be found at Pop Matters and The New York Times.

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[The Seven-Per-Cent Solution re-release double DVD set.]

Quick Sherlock Links:

The Baker Street Xmas Annual arrived in the mailboxes of all BSJ subscribers this week and it’s another high quality, well-researched, super informative, erudite journey into a specific and relevant Sherlockian topic.The 2012 Xmas Annual is dedicated to actor John Barrymore and his role as the Great Detective in Sherlock Holmes (1922) and is written by Sonia Fetherston (BSI). To celebrate, here’s a great post from Tea 221B that features an original print advertisement for Barrymore in Sherlock Holmes.

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[Awesome theater flyer for John Barrymore’s Sherlock Holmes (1922).]

Sherlock Peoria in “Validation” reflects on potential insecurities a newish Sherlockian may experience as they begin to ‘rise’ in the ranks but assures readers: “That’s the thing any new Sherlock Holmes fan needs to consider as they enter the larger world of Holmes fandom: The previous generations need you as much as you need them. Because one day, you’re going to be the surviving face of Sherlock Holmes fandom”. Another provocative essay by Mr Keefauver that should rattle a few chains (productively) as well as motivate some discussion in regard to both how new Sherlockians are received as well as how new Sherlockians tread in a world/culture that’s existed for decades prior to their arrival. And speaking of making your mark in the Sherlockian world…

Doyleockian in “Getting On the Radar” considers the various paths/approaches to achieving recognition in the Sherlockian world. Mr Alistair Duncan describes two basic routes one might take on the path to Sherlockian super-stardom: the ‘Internet route’ (via blogs, twitter, etc.) and the ‘traditional route’ (via attending/participating in scion meetings, publishing in journals, etc.). Make sure to read Mr Duncan’s entire post because his conclusions regarding ‘what it takes’ not only act as a road map for personal growth and development in the Sherlockian world, but also describe the priorities and values of (to borrow a phrase from C.P. Snow) The Two (Sherlockian) Cultures: “many Sherlockians walk only one path. Ideally you should try and walk both if you want to really get yourself noticed and you need to discover and understand the expectations of the two routes. It is not the case that one has higher standards/expectations than the other, but it is the case that there are different expectations and different ways to approach each.” I’ll be watching Duncan’s comment section with interest to see how this post is received.

Asbury Pulp did a feature on the Baker Street Babes and their podcast: “It’s a demographic within the Sherlock Holmes fandom that is new and growing and doesn’t yet have a voice. We hope to become that voice and we want to prove that we’re not just going to coo over Robert Downey, Jr, and Benedict Cumberbatch, as lovely as they are, but that we know the canon and want to have discussions about it as well.” After you finish reading the article, head over to BSB HQ and check out the Babe’s latest podcast (episode 36) featuring Maria Konnikova as well as the just announced BSB tea!

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[Newest Baker Street Babe item for purchase, BSB Tea!]

The Chattanoogan published a piece on the first designated scion to emerge out of Chattanooga, The Friends of the Soldier Named Murray (a scion name after my own heart) - of course referencing Watson’s orderly Murray who lifted the injured doctor to safety during The Battle of Maiwand in the Second Afghan War. 

Lyndsay Faye - novelist, Baker Street Babe and ‘apologist' will be reading from The Gods of Gotham on February 9th, 2013 at KGB Bar in the East Village: “You want to hear me patter flash? Come on down!” Support!

The One Fixed Point, the joint book project between Wessex Press and the Baker Street Babes, submissions are due March 1, 2013. I hope to submit a contribution to The One Fixed Point In A Changing Age: Essays on Sherlockiana By Online Fandom, and I look forward to reading my fellow internet-based Sherlockian compatriots’ views and perspectives.

Londonist, in celebration of Benedict Cumberbatch's role in the upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness looks at various examples of Sherlock Holmes In Sci-Fi And Fantasy: Sherlock Holmes’s War of The Worlds (1975), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999-2001), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (2010, ie. the robot dinosaur one), 

Special & Rare on a Stick - blog of librarian and Sherlockian Tim Johnson - announced the imminent release of newly scanned material from the Howard Haycraft collection on the UMedia Archive including “Christmas cards from President and Mrs. Roosevelt; a telegram, letters, and short notes written by Eleanor Roosevelt to Haycraft; and a holiday card from the former head of the Baker Street Irregulars, Edgar W. Smith.”

Better Holmes & Gardens posted “Some Thoughts on Character: Colonel Sebastian Moran" analyzing everyone’s favorite shikari - which Ms Jaime Mahoney goes on to explain “is a Persian word in two parts: the main “Shikar,” meaning “of hunting” and the suffix “i” denoting possession.”

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[Colonel Sebastian Moran outwitted by Holmes and arrested for the murder of the Honourable Ronald Adair in “The Empty House”.]

Journal of Victorian Culture Online has had a field day posting about and criticizing the new BBC show Ripper Street - though this week they vowed to take a more positive stance and compare this Jack the Ripper ‘procedural’ (for lack of a better term) with the long-running and ridiculously successful CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Sherlock DC announced an upcoming lecture “The Game is Always Afoot” on February 27, 2013 taking place at George Washington University by Michael Dirda, author of On Conan Doyle and book critic and blogger for the Washington Post.

The Well-Read Sherlockian tackled one of my favorite Holmes pastiches Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman (author of Anno Dracula) concluding that “No novel is perfect but as far as I’m concerned, The Hound of the D’Urbervilles comes close” (!).  

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[Great cover art for a great novel length pastiche which includes a delightfully insane parade of Victorian literary characters of the villain persuasion from a variety of sources teaming-up to wreak havoc and mayhem in the London of Sherlock Holmes.]

Meiringens posted the following image of Holmes’ Stradivarius from The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London.

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[I hope to one day come across a Stradivarius for 55 Shillings/Dollars in a pawn or thrift shop.]

The Norwood Builder (via scaredywolf) found a great “every fairy tale needs a good old-fashioned villain” animated GIF of BBC Sherlock's Jim Moriarty. 

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[Click for animated version of the above image of Moriarty from BBC’s “The Reichenbach Fall”.]

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