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I was recently given a copy of Ladies, Ladies: The Women in the Life of Sherlock Holmes which was edited by Patricia Guy, ASH and Katherine Karlson, ASH, BSI ("The Evening Standard"). I'd like to share my impressions of the book with you here, as I think it's something worthy of note.

Far more than simply a rehashing of all of the women who made an appearance in the Canon - and there were some remarkable ones, from worthy foes such as Irene Adler and Isadora Klein, to the victimized Lady Brackenstall and Sophy Kratides, to strong independent women like Helen Stoner and Violets Smith, DeMerville and Hunter - it takes a look at society in Sherlockian times (1881 - 1914).

What we end up with is a number of excellent Sherlockian essays dotted with complementary factoids or entr'actes. You'll find a variety of authentic Victorian music hall songs ("The Ghost of Sherlock Holmes," "Daisy Bell," "When I Take my Morning Promenade") as well as some original songs such as "Out There in the Fair Countryside" by the BSI's own T. Michelle Fromkin ("The Missing Three-Quarter").

In addition to entertaining us, the interspersed pieces also inform, with well-researched background articles on period information, such as "Italians in the United States," "Sportswear," "From Corsets to Cherry Toothpaste," "Ladies Drinks," "Historic Perfumes" and "Fish and Chips: Working Class Health Food."

You'll find essays by such prominent Sherlockians (all Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes): as Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves, Katherine Karlson, Patricia Guy, Evelyn Herzog, BSI ("The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet"), Marilyn MacGregor, BSI ("V.V. 341") M.E. Rich ("Lady Frances Carfax"), and Catherine Cooke, BSI ("The Book of Life"). In addition to the distaff side of Baker Street, we also come across contributors such as Philip Shreffler, BSI ("Jefferson Hope") and Enrico Solito, BSI ("Gennaro Lucca"). There are many more - this is not a comprehensive list of contributors.

I highly recommend this book. It's simply a delight to read and full of wonderfully interesting information. What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Note: for the sake of clarity and consistency, I only note BSI investitures on this blog. I try to identify BSI & ASH members where appropriate. Please click here for a full listing of all BSI investitures and ASH members, as well as the Two-Shilling Award and *The* Woman.


Arachne Jericho said... January 4, 2008 at 12:42 AM

Ordered. Thanks for the recommendation!

Bones said... January 4, 2008 at 1:34 AM

Scott, I just wanted to thank you for all the effort you've put into the Master this year. The podcasts, the blog, and the social network have been absolutely delicious! I haven't been able to take as much advantage of them as I'd like (dissertation is killing me), but I hope to do so in the future.

I only recently immersed myself in the Holmesian community (sad I know, especially since I've been a fan for years) and it has been great to discover other folks with a similar interest.

The book looks fascinating. I've always believed that there are a number of very strong women in the canon, with Irene being the tip of the iceberg. ACD created some extraordinarily strong female characters. I think he was ahead of his time in that respect. I've often thought of publishing an academic article on Sherlock Holmes, gender, and the canon. I see that perhaps these lovely ladies have beat me to it! Thanks again for sharing.