- 'The Stock-broker's Clerk'
Today we start a new tradition on the site. As we prepare to combine our work here with that of our audio work, we thought it was time to expand our editorial offerings. We still have a fine lineup of authors who occasionally pitch in with excellent contributions from the corners of the Sherlockian world that grab their attention.
Now we add Matt Laffey to that list. If you don't know Matt, he is a dedicated Sherlockian from Brooklyn with an eye toward the online world and an affability that makes him excellent company at gatherings in the offline one. In short: a classic Sherlockian. His web site Always1895.net is a treasure trove of material, with a weekly feature that he calls "Friday Sherlock Links Compendium."
To us, that means that he's somewhat of a modern-day weekly Peter Blau. And we're proud to welcome Matt and his weekly contributions here on our site, as we thought this comprehensive round-up would make an excellent addition here. In the future, Matt will be posting his work directly under his own byline. We welcome your comments and feedback, and if you have any material to include in the weekly roundup, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Norwood Builder has fearlessly plunged headfirst into that - to paraphrase Watson - great cesspool into which all the obsessives and pedants of Canonical Studies are irresistibly drained; that is he’s attempted to construct a chronology of ACD’s Canon, from scratch: “this is, naturally, only my personal timeline: I intentionally avoided going back to my Baring-Gould or other chronologies, compiled by other people, so as not to be influenced." Let us pause for a moment and remember those intrepid Sherlockianmadmen, scattered throughout the 20th century, who have attempted to piece together a coherent ‘linear’ timeline of events in the Canon: H.W. Bell in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson The Chronology of Their Adventures, Jay Finley Christ in An Irregular Chronology Of Sherlock Holmes Of Baker Street, Gavin Brend in My Dear Holmes: A Study in Sherlock, Ernest Bloomfield Zeisler in Baker Street Chronology: Commentaries on the Sacred Writings of Dr. John H. Watson, William Baring-Gould in The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and my personal favorite D. Martin Dakin in A Sherlock Holmes Commentary.Sherlockian scholar John McGowan put together an extremely useful online "Index of Internal Chronologies" which compares/lists each chronologists’ datings of the sixty stories from the Canon. I look forward to studying this intensely detailed chronology at length this weekend.
|[A small sampling of The Norwood Builder’s comprehensive and impressive chronology - where it’s always 1895! Click for the entire document.]|
BBC News (and The Evening Standard) announced an upcoming exhibit ‘Sherlock Holmes’ set to open in 2014 at The Museum of London exploring the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and London. The exhibit “will “look beyond the familiar deerstalker, pipe and cape" in search of the “real, complex and multi-faceted" Sherlock Holmes. It claims the show will “mirror the way he used his own remarkable observational powers and analytical mind to reveal the truth". The Great Detective is clearly ‘so hot right now’ with curators considering the epic sounding International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes opens this Fall at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry as well.
|[A Hansom Cab Stand by P. Stahl. Oil on canvas, 19.7 x 25 cm Collection: Museum of London.]|
Britain’s Secret Homes on ITV is a new British show “which reveals the stories of the people and houses that have changed the history of Britain and the world." In the very first episode Stonyhurst College, the Jesuit school which Arthur Conan Doyle attended, was featured. I haven’t had a chance to view it yet but Alistair Duncan posted a piece that was highly critical of the episode saying that “it was not exactly right to imply that the [Stonyhurstlibrary] and ACD’s memories of it led to the creation of The Hound of the Baskervilles." And even though Mr Duncan takes issue - rightly I think - with host Anthony Horowitz’s claim that “the practice of allowing dogs in the grounds fed the idea of the hound itself.," the picture (cf. below) of Elsa the Irish Bloodhound on Stonyhurst’s website is almost enough to change my mind.
|[Clearly, this was the inspiration for the “enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog." (HOUN)]|
Licensing.biz announced that Titan Publishing Group will release a series of original novels based on CBS’s Elementary: the “series of original novels, created in conjunction with the show’s production team, will allow fans to “immerse themselves in Sherlock Holmes’ eccentric life in contemporary New York City"." To date, Titan has released over 25 Holmes-related fiction and non-fiction books including David Stuart Davies‘ Starring Sherlock Holmes (Revised Hardcover Edition) and The Veiled Detective, DanielStashower’s The Ectoplasmic Man and The Scroll of the Dead and possibly the best Titan Holmes-related book available, Moriarty - The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman, who gave the BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecture at BSI Weekend 2013.
|[I couldn’t find any cover art for the Titan Elementary novels, so here’s the cover for Kim Newman’s awesome ‘biography’ of Professor Moriarty from the sinister - and dare I say at times hilarious - perspective of Col. Sebastian ‘Basher’ Moran.]|
Sussex Express published a piece by a former police constable who “later became the HOLMES liaison officer for the British Transport Police, although in this sense it is an acronym for the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System. I was such a fan of the sleuth that, on the night before my wedding, I arranged to stay in the Undershaw Hotel atHindhead, Surrey, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived between 1897 and 1907." The role ofSussex (this appearing in the Sussex Express after all) in the Great Detective’s adventures, primarily as the location of Holmes’ retirement in 1907, is explored via reference to thePreface from His Last Bow, "The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane”, "The Second Stain" ("he has definitely retired from London and betaken himself to study and bee-farming on the Sussex Downs") and "The Creeping Man" ("Now we have at last obtained permission to ventilate the facts which formed one of the very last cases handled by Holmes before his retirement from practice") reaching the conclusion that: “Sherlock Holmes retired to a building located between Eastbourne and Seaford (there are no cliffs east of Eastbourne). The location has to be inland as you can’t keep bees on a cliff edge, so five miles would make the location East Dean or maybe Friston."
|["The place was deserted and there was no sign of life save for two sea-birds circling and screaming overhead….For a long time I stood in deep meditation while the shadows grew darker around me. My mind was filled with racing thoughts. You have known what it was to be in a nightmare in which you feel that there is some all-important thing for which you search and which you know is there, though it remains forever just beyond your reach. That was how I felt that evening as I stood alone by that place of death. Then at last I turned and walked slowly homeward." (LION)]|
The Middletown Press announced that Gillette Castle will offer free outdoor performances this summer - in particular “on July 6 and running until Aug. 11, "Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band" takes the outdoor stage." For more information on this free adaptation of Gillette’s dramatized version of “The Speckled Band", see East Haddam Stage Company. For those unfamiliar, Gillette Castle, situated on the banks of the Connecticut River, was commissioned and designed by early 20th century actor William Gillette who of course played the role of the master sleuth in Sherlock Holmes (penned by Gillette himself) onstage starting in 1899 more than 1,300 times over a thirty year period. I’ve always felt that the power and influence of seeing Gillette don the role of Holmes was best articulated by Booth Tarkington (Pulitzer Prize-winning author) who told Gillette, “I would rather see you play Sherlock Holmes than be a child again on Christmas morning." The legendary actor and Holmes aficionado resided at Gillette Castle until his death in 1937.
|["In 1943, the Connecticut state government bought the property, renaming it Gillette’s Castle and Gillette Castle State Park. Located in 67 River Road, East Haddam, Connecticut, it was reopened in 2002. After a four years of restoration, costing $11 million, it now includes a museum, park, and many theatrical celebrations. It receives 100,000 annual visitors."]|
Doyleockian’s Alistair Duncan alerted us to an upcoming interview conducted by French newspaper Le Figaro on Mr Duncan’s views regarding BBC Sherlock and Sherlockianmatters in general. Though the interview will be published in French, Duncan assures us that he’ll publish his pre-translated answers in a few days time. Equally exciting for Mr Duncan is his pending debut in the Summer 2013 edition of the Baker Street Journal with an article titled “The Changing Face of the Sherlockian" comparing and contrasting long time Sherlockians with their neophyte counterparts. And speaking of the BSJ Summer 2013 edition, @BakerStJournal posted a photo of the cover art and it appears to be an illustration of Sherlock Holmes qua Altamont, as described in "His Last Bow" - and what a remarkable cover it is….
|["[Altamont] was a tall, gaunt man of sixty, with clear-cut features and a small goatee beard which gave him a general resemblance to the caricatures of Uncle Sam." (LAST)]|
Lyndsay Faye - author of The Gods of Gotham and Dust and Shadow - announced dates/locations for her upcoming U.S. book tour: 9/18: The Mysterious Bookshop, NYC. 9/19-9/22: Bouchercon, Albany, NY. 9/23: Once Upon a Crime, Minneapolis, MN. 9/24:Murder by the Book, Houston, TX. 9/25: Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ. 9/26: Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA. and 9/27: Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills, Portland, OR. If you reside in/near any of the cities so mentioned, I strongly encourage you to check out one of my favorite Sherlockian authors Ms Lyndsay Faye as she drops the sequel to The Gods of Gotham, Seven For a Secret, on an unsuspecting world. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy and I can confidently say that if you enjoyed the hair-raising, urban decaying, how-the-hell-did-people-even-survive-back-then, exploits of 1850s NYC ‘copper star’ Timothy Wilde and friends (and enemies), you’ll feel like you were thrown right back into the filth, pestilence and chaos of Five Points and Lower Manhattan from the moment you crack open Seven For a Secret.
|[Break out your copy of George W Matsell’s Vocabulum: Or, The Rogue’s Lexicon (1859), send the kinchinoff to bed and pour yourself a glass of something 180 proof because Seven For a Secret is another intense trip to mid-nineteenth century NYC.]|
|[Click to download a PDF of the original theater program.]|
The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, the play written by Jeremy Paul featuring Jeremy Brettand Edward Hardwicke (during a Granada filming break c. 1989), is one of the bestSherlockian pastiches in existence. You may recall that two years ago I posted about the discovery/release of a full audio recording of a Secret of Sherlock Holmes performancewhich was available as a free download. Now as an added bonus, David Somen (a fellow member of the Google+ Sherlock Holmes community) scanned the original theater program and put together a small website containing the scans plus the audio as well as his reminiscences of attending the play in 1989 at the Alexandra theater in Birmingham, UK. If you haven’t listened to this play yet, you’re in for a giant Sherlockian treat! On a related, though less cheerful note, Patrick Garland - director of The Secret of Sherlock Holmes -passed away this past April at the age of 78.
Sherlock Peoria commented at length on a recently sent-out BSI 2013 Mid-Year Letter from the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars (aka ‘Wiggins’) Michael Whelan. In particular, MrKeefauver points out Mr Whelan’s remarks concerning the ‘devotee vs. fans’ dust-up that occurred this past January as well as “lapsed Irregulars" in general, and wonders if it’s indeed possible for someone to be kicked out of the BSI. Most of what’s discussed resides solely in the confines of internal BSI politics, leaving Keefauver to conclude that “most Sherlock Holmes fans these days don’t care a whit about everything I just wrote;" only time will tell. [Note: I made a slight edit to the above for clarification: “devotees" (plural) is now “devotee" (singular) and the scope of “lapsed Irregulars" extends beyond any single issue/controversy. It is up to you to draw your own inferences: "Here is my lens. You know my methods. What can you gather yourself…" (BLUE)]
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London just announced: “Following our outstandingly successful pilgrimages to Switzerland, France and the Baltic Cruise, the Society is planning its most ambitious overseas trip so far - a 14 day trip to India." I highly recommend reading the trip itinerary and/or downloading the "To India With Sherlock Holmes" trip 2014 PDF. Also, don’t forget to read the SHSL’s always informative newsletter "The District Messenger”, edited by Roger Johnson, for the latest Holmesian news coming from the SHSL.
|[Entry gates of the Agra Fort, site of the events described in "Chapter 12: The Strange Story of Jonathan Small" in The Sign of Four.]|
|[The one fixed point in a changing age.]|
The John H. Watson Society, first mentioned two weeks ago on this blog, continues to expand and announce new ‘Watsonians’ into their rapidly swelling ranks. I’m proud to have been invited into this most promising of new ventures - as well as assigned the titular Bull Pup societal name of ‘Baron’! In the coming weeks I hope to post an in-depth interview with JHWS founders Prof. Donald A. Yates BSI, “The Greek Interpreter" and Don Libey along with fellow Watsonians regarding the purpose of the Society as well as their short and long term goals. For a taste of just what the JHWS stands for, consider this quote from their membership page: “The Society shall foster and encourage the introduction of youth to the writings of John H. Watson in The Sacred Canon with a goal of keeping the memory of 221B Baker Street and 1895 forever green through the recruitment of successive generations ofWatsonians and Sherlockians." What more could one ask from a society of one’s peers?
SherlockeDCC - the Sherlockian conglomerate multinational corporation made of the Baker Street Babes, Being Geek Chic, The Nerdy Girlie, SherlockDC, and Cara McGee - raised a grand total of $6,526 (!) for the upcoming Sherlock Fan Party happening during San Diego Comic Con. Congratulations to the Babes and friends - I have no doubt that theSherlockeDCC party will be an event the likes no Comic Con has ever seen.
The Baz posted a letter (originally discovered by The American Reader) from Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World) to Basil Rathbone describing various textual changes Huxley made to his play The Gioconda Smile in which Basil Rathbone was starring as Henry Hutton. This 1950 adaptation opened on October 7th at the Lyceum Theater in New York City, and would run for 41 performances before going on tour (click here for the playbill). Coincidentally, the role of Hutton, during an English theatrical run the year prior, was played by Clive Brook, who of course donned the role of the Great Detective three times previously in Sherlock Holmes (1932), a short titled “Murder Will Out" - alongside William Powell as Philo Vance - in the revue Paramount on Parade (1930) and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1929).
|[Rathbone in the role of Henry Hutton, whose performance Time magazine described unsympathetically as “hamming as the husband" (Time, October, 1950).]|
Symposion dug up this charming photo of David Burke and Jeremy Brett from Granada’s adaptation of "The Final Problem." As idyllic and calm as this picture seems, one has feels a definite sense of foreboding in the knowledge that Dr Watson is but moments away from losing his best friend to the unforgiving jaws of the Reichenbach, seemingly forever.
|[Granada’s FINA would be David Burke’s final appearance as Watson - and though his replacement byEdward Hardwicke was by no means a downgrade, Burke’s particular understanding and interpretation of Watson would be missed.]|
Baker Streets found a wonderful rendering of Holmes surveying the living room at 221B Baker Street by British cartoonist Ronald Searle. "The hard-copy Catalogue of the 1951 Festival of Britain Sherlock Holmes Exhibition contains a number of illustrations by RonaldSearle: Sherlock Holmes Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at Abbey House, Baker Street, London May - September 1951 (click for text). You can read all about the intriguing set of events that led to the creation of the Holmes Exhibition at JohnWatsonMD.com.
|[Judging from the state of 221B in this picture, we can sympathize with Watson’s "…constant bullying to tidy our room in Baker Street" as referenced in Granada’s "The Musgrave Ritual”.]|