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