Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (March 23 - March 29, 2013)

BBC News announced that “volunteers are being sought to bring a rare collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle memorabilia to a wider audience…More than 40,000 items once belonging to the Sherlock Holmes writer lie in the city’s archives, with only a small amount on display at Portsmouth City Museum.” A short video clip interviews a senior archivist as well volunteers at Portsmouth and argues for the importance of making more of the collection available to scholars and the public. I can’t imagine anything cooler than taking a month off of work and volunteering my services at Portsmouth - living and breathing ACD/Sherlock day and night sounds like the best vacation ever! For more information about the collection check out the ACD Collection at Portsmouth Facebook page. (Thanks to Howard Ostrom for the tip!)   

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[Senior archivist at Porstmouth Michael Gunton explains how only a fraction of the 40,000 pieces from the ACD/Sherlock collection has been properly cataloged. Note the timeline in the background with that magic year of 1895 prominently in view.] 

Crew of the Barque Lone Star, a scion society of the BSI founded in 1973 and based out of the Greater Dallas and Fort Worth area, posted about the first meeting of the newly-constituted Crew of the Barque Lone Star. Legendary Sherlockian collector “Don Hobbs offered the toast to Queen Victoria and then gave a brief history of the Crew…Steve Mason led the discussion about our story of the month, MISS, and then updated all of us on Sherlockian happenings around the country, including 221B Con, A Gathering of Southern Sherlockians in Chattanooga, the Minnesota Conference in August, and Les Klinger’s lawsuit against the Conan Doyle estate. Joe Fay, (author of the blog) gave a brief photo essay on [his] recent trip to London and an even quicker overview of the rules of rugby. Stu Nelan offered the toast to Sherlock Holmes to end the proceedings, but not before he made sure to mention the recent publication of Steve Mason’s article titled, “What Would You Keep?" in the current issue of The Serpentine Muse." Sounds like a promising reboot for a group that seems inspired to make it’s mark in the Sherlockian scion world. You can also follow them on Twitter @BarqueLoneStar and Facebook as well.

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[Click for the website of the Crew of the Barque Lone Star.]

What Ho! commented on January 2013 marking the “150th Anniversary of the first of the London Underground lines – the Metropolitan opened in January 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon. The event was marked by the running – in passenger service – of steam-hauled trains through the tunnels over the original route, through Baker Street station.” Click to see a vintage photo of a steam-hauled train. For a nice intro to the history of London and trains, see the History of the London Underground.

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[A London tube station circa 1900.]

Radio Times announced that “Martin Freeman’s partner Amanda Abbington joins the cast of Sherlock…in a role that significantly impacts upon the lives of John and Sherlock.” Last year the Baker Street Babes interviewed Ms Abbington for Episode 27 after receiving a FB comment from Abbington that asked: “How do you officially become a Baker Street Babe? Can I apply? xx” You can check up and see what the Season 3 Sherlock starlet is up to via @amandaabbington. ** Note: As an aside, if you value your sanity, avoid the ridiculous Amanda Abbington/Mary Morstan ‘war’ (for lack of a better term) that tore through Tumblr (and Twitter) regarding ‘concerns’ a segment of the BBC Sherlock fandom had about the ramifications of introducing Mary Morstan onto the show. If you were wise enough to heed my warning about valuing your sanity you are no longer reading this paragraph and are safe - if you are prepared to question the value of the Internet, here’s a simplified summary of what all the insane hullabaloo is about: fans of BBC Sherlock who are Johnlock (John + Sherlock) shippers (ie. term used to denote one’s interest in specific TV show character pairings eg. Buffy & Spike vs. Buffy & Angel shippers from BtVS) are deeply terrified that introducing Mary Morstan (aka Mary Watson née Morstan, wife of Dr John H(amish?) Watson by canonical reckoning) into the show will somehow ruin the Johnlock dream - regardless of the fact that apart from fanfic and one’s so-called ‘headcanon' (*sigh* yes that is a word) there's been precisely zero evidence pointing toward the realization/instantiation of Johnlock - either as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb or whatever - that is of a romantic/sexual relationship between Watson and Holmes on the show. And when I say “deeply terrified” I mean pages and pages, and post after post, or tweet followed by tweet, etc of ranting diatribes against writing Mary Morstan into the show. I rarely dignify the (what I consider) utterly pointless Sherlockian internet memes/arguments with a mention on Always1895 but I think a lot of Sherlockians of all stripes and dedications have been bemused/alarmed by the #MaryMorstan overflow, hence the need for a short explanans in this Friday’s Links post. /end Fear for Sanity.

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[Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington and their dogs.]

Barefoot on Baker Street told a story about how when she was 16 she wrote a full-length Sherlock Holmes screen play and sent it to a producer at Granada, only to receive a very polite ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter from the producer: “Their series had ended for the final time and the producer explained that Holmes had been ‘done to death’. They had no plans for any further productions involving that character…Now, 19 years later, I’ve received a very similar letter mentioning BBC Sherlock. How ironic. I am in the process of submitting my novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, to production companies in the hope that someone will want to adapt it for television. I had a lovely email last week from the head of development at one of the companies I had contacted. She genuinely enjoyed my novel and wrote some wonderful comments but felt that it will be impossible to get it on TV as long as BBC Sherlock is running.” 

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[The BBC may have rejected Ms Walters Sherlockian pastiche, but I highly recommend picking up a copy to read one of the more inventive approaches to a Holmes pastiche.]

Doyleockian, partially in response to last week’s post featuring a photo of ACD in his sitting room at Windlesham, where it was temporarily misidentified as Undershaw, posted “Identifying Arthur Conan Doyle’s Homes" where Mr Duncan identifies the most iconic images of ACD’s domiciles with the name of the house and a short biography. I would love to see a project like this expanded into a full blown coffee table book.  

Markings in “The Other Dr. Watson - Conan Doyle’s Harrogate Friend & Colleague” finds Mr Ray Wilcockson researching ACD’s “connection with Harrogate. This post details what I have discovered thus far - some of which has rather taken me by surprise. I’ll present my findings under three sub-headings: Doyle’s Harrogate, The Other Dr. Watson and One Degree of Separation.” Interestingly, Mr Wilcockson’s father was 8 months old when ACD visited and also had a direct connection to the ‘Dr Bertram Watson’ uncovered during the course of this research - fascinating stuff!

Baker Street Journal noted the anniversary of Christopher Morley's death (March 28, 1957) by posting a letter Mr Morley wrote to The Sunday Times in 1950 titled The Baker Street Irregulars, of New York which contains one of my favorite commemorations of ACD: ”Myself, I do not wholly agree with the tradition that A.C.D. should never be formally mentioned. I loved him long before his heirs and assigns and agents were born, and I find in his writings the most delicious asymptotes to the Holmes-Watson codex. As I have often said, how ridiculous he was only Knighted - he should have been Sainted.”

Tookmyskull in “The Unsolved Case of the Garroted Sherlockian” remembers beloved Sherlockian and master collector Richard Lancelyn Green (July 10, 1953 - March 27, 2004) on the anniversary of RLG’s untimely and mysterious death, made famous in part by a New Yorker article written in rather dubious taste “Mysterious Circumstances”, later published in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession by David Grann - and then quasi-dramatized in The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I posted a remembrance of RLG on his birthday last year and received quite a bit of feedback from many Sherlockians who knew and missed RLG, many of whom feel that Moore’s novel and Grann’s New Yorker piece are tasteless at best and exploitative at worst. It’s a tough line to walk - respecting RLG’s memory and reporting on the undeniably ‘mysterious’ elements surrounding the case - but regardless I think RLG will ultimately be remembered for his incredible Sherlockian/ACD collection which he bequeathed to the Portsmouth Library. The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection ”brings together an unparalleled variety of books, documents and objects connected to Holmes and the life of his creator” - in fact it’s a dream of mine to one day visit the collection in Portsmouth. And as I mentioned above, the ACD Collection is looking for a few good Sherlockians to volunteer to finish cataloging and archiving the collection.

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[To Keep the Memory Green edited by Steve Rothman and Nicholas Utechin - listen to the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere (Ep 8) podcast to hear Rothman and Utechin discussing RLG’s legacy.]

The Well-Read Sherlockian reviewed one of my favorite releases of 2012, Mr Dan Andriacco's The 1895 Murder. Ms Leah Cummins Guinn, proprietress of the Well-Read Sherlockian, remarks that Andiacco’s third McCabe/Cody novel features “the same entertaining characters and (for Jeff) ridiculously uncomfortable situations, but we also have something new–an oddly bleak mystery…the most smoothly-plotted and written Cody/McCabe mystery yet. Mr. Andriacco plays fair with the reader, but his clues are deftly hidden, much as Sebastian McCabe hides the secrets to his magic tricks under an entertaining run of palaver. Jeff Cody’s stream-of-consciousness narration is amusing as always, and still more revealing than he might wish.” A well deserved 4 out of 5 rating - though personally I would have given it a 5 or at least a 4.5.

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[For another take, check out my review from last Winter.]

Sherlockian Calendar, one of the most useful Sherlockian sites in all of creation, announced that they have a new URL: www.SherlockianCalendar.com - congratulations to Ron Fish and Sue and Ben Vizoskie on the upgrade. Visit and visit often - and tell a friend!

The Game Is On is developing a ‘fan-art’ Sherlock video game which, judging from the screenshots and posted artwork, has some serious potential. It will be interesting to see where this project leads and if it does come to fruition how canonically accurate will the in-game story be. Click the screenshot below for more information. 

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[Thanks to Baker Street Babes for the tip.]

Lyndsay Faye shared a panel from a Sherlock Holmes comic she wrote a few years ago which is currently being shopped around to publishers. The comic is Ms Faye’s version of ‘Why Reichenbach Happened That Way’ - from the scripts I’ve read, there’s some real (and real awesome!) cause for excitement and burning hope that this project gets picked up by a publisher.  

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[Click for the full page of this scene.]

Sherlock Peoria laments the news we all knew was coming: CBS’s Elementary has been renewed for a second season. And though I suspect that a tiny piece of Mr Brad Keefauver’s soul may have died upon hearing the announcement, his blogging response is classic: “As the announcement of another season of Mr. Elementary, once it had time to fully sink in, did not elicit any wailing or gnashing of teeth in the subterranean lair where Sherlock Peoria houses it’s secret blog machineries…no…no…no. Just the gentle stroking of a cat, and the slight turn of what might be a smile. And if you pulled back, receding into the distance outside the walls of said lair, you might have heard the beginnings of a muffled “Bwah-ha-hah …”

Tea at 221B posted one of my favorite Jeremy Brett & Edward Hardwicke stills of all time - which also has always been a bit of a mystery as to it’s origins. Obviously, it’s from a scene that never actually appeared in a Granada episode and it clearly depicts Holmes during his retirement to the Sussex Downs - “I had given myself up entirely to that soothing life of Nature for which I had so often yearned during the long years spent amid the gloom of London” (LION) - but why did Granada never use it? At long last, Tea at 221B has the answer: “This was initially filmed for inclusion in “The Second Stain” (Sherlock reminiscing). Producers thought an entire episode could be created from it and shelved the scene for later use. No episode was ever made, the scenes were never made public and the film was destroyed.” 

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[At least we can dream of what could have been…]

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