Tom Magliozzi, cohost of the long-running NPR show Car Talk, passed away yesterday at 77, from complications from Alzheimer's disease.
You may be wondering why we're bothering to mention on this site, and in Tom's own words, you'd be right! (And this is the juncture where you'd hear Tom's infectious laughter). But the fact is both Tom and Ray were both Sherlock Holmes fans. If you're a regular listener, you'll recall episodes on which there were occasional mentions of Sherlock Holmes and some of the stories.
For example, here's an old puzzler that they wrote in the style of Sherlock Holmes:
RAY: I'd like to give you this Puzzler in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
There had been a terrible accident in a suburb north of London, and Inspector Lestrade had been sent to investigate. Sir Richard Ashcroft was dead, and everyone agreed that it was an accident--although some suspected it was a suicide.
Sir Richard had been found on a rocky slope, his head dashed against one of the boulders and his mangled bicycle at his side. The facts seemed to speak for themselves.
He had lost control of his bike and had crashed. There had been no eyewitnesses, but finally an eyewitness emerged: Nigel--Sir Richard's trusted gardener of many years.
Haltingly, he told his story: "I was walking back from town up that long hill leading to Sir Richard's estate when I saw him riding toward me, sitting straight up in his seat the way he always rode. He was traveling at a high rate of speed. Suddenly, he jerked the handlebars to the left, and off the road he flew to his death."
Later that day, Lestrade is discussing the points of the case with his buddy, Sherlock Holmes, over cognac and a few Arturo Fuentes cigars. Holmes says, "Bring the gardener in for questioning. He's the perpetrator."
How DID Holmes know?
Here's another clue to their knowledge of the Canon: if you listen to the following story, around the 3-minute mark, you'll note that Tom declared, much like Sherlock Holmes, that he didn't know whether the earth went around the sun or vice versa:
And let's not forget that Tom and Ray - separated by 12 years - were a comic relief version of Sherlock and Mycroft, who themselves were separated by seven years. That means as the older brother, Tom must have been Mycroft!
Much like Holmes and Watson, Tom and Ray brought us technical information that was delivered in a friendly and approachable way. More importantly, they exhibited the traits of friendship as well as family, showing that they cared about each other and had fun doing what they did.
But more importantly than their friendly banter or knowledge of the Canon, Tom and Ray were the inspiration for the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast. We've often been called a cross between NPR's Fresh Air and Car Talk for Sherlockians. We couldn't be any more devastated about the death of our patron saint, Tom Magliozzi. We wish his family and friends our condolences. The world will be sadder – and quieter – for his loss.
And remember, don't read Sherlock Holmes like my brother.