Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (June 23 - June 29, 2012)
Welcome to the 200th Always1895.net post!! The number 200 is a clean, round figure that is traditionally thought of as a significant milestone or marker (e.g. the United States celebrated it’s Bicentennial back in 1976 marking 200 years since we adopted the Declaration of Independence and got out from under the yolk of Britain), but to Sherlockians 200 means significantly less than that mystical cornerstone of all Holmesian numerology: two hundred and twenty-one. So I’m saving the fireworks and choice selections from Mr Vamberry’s private cellar until I reach the 221st post - a day on which I hope to have a canonical schmorgesborg of special giveaways and prizes - only 21 more posts to go!
Also, tomorrow Saturday June 30 2012 is the return of The Priory Scholars of NYC! It’s not too late to register; for more information, please see the Priory Scholars events page. Hope to see some of you there!!
Do You Have a Flag (via Sherlockian Connoisseur) published a wonderful piece about how “the Raffles Stories were born.” A. J. Raffles, a contemporary of Sherlock Holmes, was a gentleman thief from late 19th century London created by Ernest William Hornung - brother in law of our favorite literary agent - whose exploits were recorded by sidekick Harry “Bunny” Manders (Bunny was to Raffles as Watson was to Holmes). “The “Raffles” stories have two distinct phases. In the first phase, Raffles and Bunny are men-about-town who also commit burglaries. Raffles is a famous gentleman cricketer, a marvellous spin bowler who is often invited to social events that would be out of his reach otherwise…It ends when they are caught and exposed on an ocean voyage while attempting another theft; Raffles dives overboard and is presumed drowned. These stories were collected in The Amateur Cracksman. Other stories set in this period, written after Raffles had been “killed off,” were collected in A Thief in the Night. The second phase begins some time later when Bunny — having served a prison sentence — is summoned to the house of a rich invalid. This turns out to be Raffles himself, back in England in disguise. Then begins their “professional” period, exiled from Society, in which they are straightforward thieves trying to earn a living while keeping Raffles’s identity a secret. They finally volunteer for the Boer War, where Bunny is wounded and Raffles dies in battle after exposing an enemy spy. These stories were originally collected in The Black Mask, although they were subsequently published in one volume with the phase one stories.” The article focuses on the similarities between the Holmes and Raffles stories an is a primer on various Raffles adaptations. If you want to begin exploring the extended world of late Victorian detective/crime literature, and you’re already familiar with the so-called rivals of Sherlock Holmes, Bunny’s chronicles of Raffles is an excellent place to start.
[And so the Raffles Stories were born!]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere released their 43rd episode dedicated to ‘Fathers in the Canon’. Scott Monty and Burt Wolder’s explain their motivation for a father-centric IHOSE program: “Sunday, June 17 was Father’s Day in the United States, which made it a perfect opportunity to tackle the topic of fathers in the Canon. Imagine our chagrin and surprise then, when we discovered that there was no appreciable material that adequately chronicled fathers and father figures in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Not to be deterred, we decided to thumb through the stories and pick out not only fathers, but step-fathers, would-be fathers, father figures and others who espoused the characteristics that fathers do or should have. More than a laundry list of individuals, this episode turned into a fun reminiscence and analysis that we hope you enjoy listening to almost as much as we enjoyed creating it.” As always Team Wolder-Monty do a bang-up job edifying and amusing their listeners while chronicling the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to father-figures in the 60 adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
[Holmes’ ‘discussing’ parenting techniques with James Windibank/Hosmer Angel in “A Case of Identity.”]
Baker Street Babes - in more Sherlockian podcast news - dropped Ep. 28 featuring an interview with Louise Brealey, who plays Molly Hooper on BBC Sherlock. Unlike most BSB episodes, this one was conducted ‘in the field’, in this case the ‘field’ was Collectormania Milton Keynes, which is like a sci-fi/comic book convention all rolled into one. During the course of the interview/wanderings Darth Vader is also interviewed (and later it sounds as if Lord Vader might be stalking Brealey and the Babes) along with many other little surprises/encounters one could only have at a comic book convention. The BSB’s Tumblr (sister site of the main BSB Podcast website) posted an excellent photograph of Ms Brealey along with four of the Babes as well as an image of the actress who plays perennial underdog Molly Hooper alongside that other perennial underdog R2D2.
[‘Molly Hooper’ hanging with the Babes of Baker Street.]
Well-Read Sherlockian reviews Kathleen Kaska’s The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. By way of introduction, the author considers some of the general concerns when reviewing books, especially Sherlock Holmes pastiches: “I’m very aware, every time I pull up WordPress, that I owe you the information you need to make an informed decision. That way, if you don’t like Holmes/Dracula crossovers in which Holmes gets married, Watson is a puppy who dies in the end, no less than eighty Actual Historical Personages make cameos, and Mrs. Hudson is The Ripper, you’ll feel duly warned…or ecstatic. And still I worry that I’ll get it wrong.” Indeed, a caveat worthy of quoting in full. But for this review, we are told not to fear because Kaska’s quiz book is “that rare book which really delivers on the promise “something for everyone.” Unfortunately, Watson is not a puppy in this one.
[“….and don’t forget to keep score because, at the end of each chapter, you can use your tally to determine your rank, from “Deductive Genius” to “Moriarty’s Victim.”“]
Dan Andriacco recounts a recent long-distance car trip where he listened to 22 hours of old radio featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939 - 1947) and John Stanley & Alfred Shirley as Holmes & Watson (c. 1948). If you have the urge for a marathon of old-time radio Sherlock Holmes or simply want to hear a classic episode or two, check out Old Radio World (the link alone contains 103 shows as mp3s) for all the Sherlock Holmes radio you can handle. Also, make sure to check out Mr Andriacco’s latest post about his recent trip to Chicago and his sense of a lingering Sherlockian ‘presence’ of someone that is near and dear to my little Sherlockian heart. Can you guess who that famous personage might be?
[Rathbone on the radio.]
Alistair Duncan just announced that he has “started work on a new book. I’m not giving any details yet but it will mark a shift away from Arthur Conan Doyle and back towards Sherlock Holmes. Wish me luck.” As a huge fan of all of his previous titles (e.g. Close to Holmes, The Norwood Author, and the rest of his titles are available from the Baker Street Babes Bookshop), I wish him the greatest of luck and I know whatever the scope of the book, it will be worth reading. Also, as we ‘go to press’, word just came down that a recent talk given by Mr Duncan is available on the Baker Street Babe’s site: A Study In Bart’s: Holmes, Watson, and England’s Great Hospital (Recorded lecture by Alistair Duncan at St. Bartholomew’s Pathology Museum on June 27, 2012.) And finally, since I’m a sucker for photos of bookshelves, here’s a picture representing one-third of Alistair Duncan’s collection of books:
[One-third of Doylean author Alistair Duncan’s book collection.]
The Augusta Chronicle published a piece ‘Reel Releases: From history to mystery, some tales are worth telling again’ listing films that tell those stories which, unlike the majority of tripe that comes out of Hollywood, are worth telling over and over again: “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939): Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes 17 times. That leaves Robert Downey Jr. some catching up to do. In fact, it’s hard to separate the actor from the popular perception of the fictional detective. The image we conjure – the hat and pipe, the elongated features and tweed cloak – are all part of Rathbone’s classic characterization. While many hold up The Hound of the Baskervilles , Rathbone’s first Sherlock, as his best, I prefer the film that followed. Not only does it feature the actor in full Sherlock action, but it also introduces his most famous nemesis, the brilliant Dr. [sic] Moriarty.”
Monsters in Motion is offering for sale a very rare and collectible Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes 1:6 Scale Custom Figure - basically a Sherlock Holmes action figure based on Peter Cushing’s portrayal of the Great Detective from the 1959 Hammer Films production of The Hound of the Baskervilles adaptation (opposed to the BBC 1968 version, also featuring Mr Cushing). It’s pretty expensive, but would make a fine piece for one’s library/collection. If I had an unlimited budget for Sherlockiana collectibles I would order the Peter Cushing as Van Helsing figure and add a pipe/magnifying glass + close-fitting cloth cap + traveling cloak. (Thanks to Howard Ostrom for the tip!)
[Click image for more views of the Cushing/Holmes action figure.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
F—K Granada Holmes re-posted (from Previsualist) this little-seen Granada Sherlock Holmes promotional poster, originally from Paul Davis Studio (more of Davis’ work, including a variant Granada poster, can be seen here).
[One day I will own a print of this.]
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (is that really the name of the newspaper in Seattle??) published an interview with The Detective and the Woman (MX, 2012) author Amy Thomas, who also happens to be one of the Baker Street Babes.
Only Those Things The Heart Believes Are True, a blog I stumbled on because of my obvious affinity for its name, ran a short review of Lyndsay Faye’s excellent first novel Dust and Shadow: ”Just read it. I might post a more detailed review at some point, but for now I’m too busy checking to see if she’s written any more and really hoping she has or will.” The reviewer is of course in luck because Ms Faye recently published the brilliant The Gods of Gotham, and has a sequel set for publication in 2013.
The Guardian reviews - for their ‘Teen Books section - The Sign of Four. “The first thing that strikes me is the explicit use of cocaine by Holmes, and while it was such a done thing at the era of writing and setting it is hard for a modern reader to accept it.” Hmmm.
Special & Rare on a Stick’s Tim Johnson (aka the man with the greatest job in the Universe) delivers up his third and fourth post in his ‘30 Years as a Librarian’ series. Always an interesting read for aspiring librarians and Sherlockian collectors alike.
Historical Sherlock reconsiders the meaning of the infamous “V.R.” (almost universally assumed to stand for “Victoria Regina”): “My thinking is that the V.R. may stand for something else and that it isn’t what we have always believed it to be.”
Luke Benjamen Kuhns reviews The Real Sherlock Holmes (MX, 2012) by Joe Riggs - and aside from having “So won’t the real Sherlock Holmes please stand up, please stand up, please stand up…” running through my brain - it sounds like Mr Riggs’ book is going to be quite well received!
Markings plays The Game like it’s never been ‘played’ before: The ‘Reichenbach Challenge Cup’ where we find Team Britannia facing off against Team Tenebrae in a canonical football/soccer match reported on by none other than Mr. Horace Harker, of the Central Press Syndicate.
Meiringens posted a wonderful text shot of Vincent Starrett’s introduction to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from The Heritage Press - a reprint of the Limited Editions Club (1950) series edited by Edgar W. Smith.
[Click image for larger and more readable text of Vincent Starrett’s masterful introduction to the LEC/Heritage version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.]