"But which of these is correct can only be determined by the fresh information which we shall no doubt find waiting for us."
- "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"
A weekly roundup of links from across the web related to Sherlock Holmes, courtesy of Matt Laffey from Always1895.net. We welcome your comments and feedback, and if you have any material to include in the weekly roundup, please send to always1895 @ gmail.com.
Peter Blau's Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press - the main inspiration for Always1895's “Friday Sherlock Links Compendium” - "has been published monthly on ink-on-paper, with occasional illustrations and enclosures, for forty years.” Peter Blau, BSI (“Black Peter”), in his most recent list (July 13, 2013), mentions Norman Schatell's brilliant The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes (MX), the Titan CBS Elementary tie-in novels, the soon-to-be-released “28-page tribute to a man who was admired by more than one generation of Sherlockians” The Sage of Sante Fe: The Adventures and Public Life of John Bennett Shaw (Oceanside: Sherlock in L.A. Press, 2013) by Susan Rice and Vinnie Brosnan, and much much more. Make sure to check out the Spermaceti Press Archive of newsletters dating back to 1985; and let us hope that one day the entire run of newsletters dating back to 1971 is made available.
|[The above image is of Black Peter, Mr Blau’s titular investiture in the BSI and logo for Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press. For those of you rusty on your nautical/whaling terminology, “spermaceti" is a wax that is most often found in the head cavities of the sperm whale used to make candles and oils and ""scuttlebutt" is an appropriate pun, since it means gossip, and comes from the barrel (butt) of water used to provide drinking water for the crew of whalers and other ships." Learn more at the archive.]|
Sherlock Peoria tinged his post with just a hint of romanticism when relating the story of “perusing the Sherlock shelves tonight, I noticed a section where the dust was noticeably thicker than every other part of the library. I like a little dust in my library, a bit of a tribute to [Wilder’s] The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, as well as a nod to every library of arcane lore on film, where that particular tome you were looking for always requires having the dust blown off the top after you pull it down….” And what valuable though neglected treasure does Mr Keefauver refer? None-other-than the various adventures - some might call them the apex of all Sherlockian pastiches - of Solar Pons! ”Solar Pons might even be seen as the greatest fan of Sherlock Holmes who never existed, re-creating the detective more perfectly than anyone ever did, in fact or fiction.” Born from the rich and prolific pen of August Derleth (1909-1971) who among other accomplishments was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1938, founded Arkham House in 1939 and was an early champion of the then obscure American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and the now classic “Cthulhu Mythos”. "No other writer, of whatever background or training, knew and understood his particular ‘corner of the earth’ better than August Derleth” wrote professor of History William F. Thompson in his Forward to the 1985 reissue of Derleth’s non-fiction book The Wisconsin: River of a Thousand Isles (1942). Somehow between 1945 and his death in 1971 Derleth managed to write eleven Solar Pons story collections on his Arkham House imprint Mycroft & Moran, the first titled In Re: Sherlock Holmes – The Adventures of Solar Pons (1945) whose Introduction was written by no less a personage than uber Sherlockian Vincent Starrett. Later Solar Pons collections would contain Introductions by equally eminent writers/Sherlockians such as Ellery Queen, Edgar W Smith, Anthony Boucher, Michael Harrison and Peter Ruber.
|[The first edition cover for In Re: Sherlock Holmes – The Adventures of Solar Pons (1945) containing an Introduction by Vincent Starrett on Derleth’s own Mycroft & Moran imprint published to the collectible tune of 3,604 copies.]|
Doyleockian in “A 3 or 4 or 5 pipe problem?” reminds us that “two of the most iconic elements of Holmes were provided by people other than the author,” the iconic deerstalker and the equally iconic ‘curved pipe’ or Calabash. The deerstalker is derived from a reference in BOSC to a “close-fitting cloth cap” which illustrator Sidney Paget interpreted as the now classic deerstalker. Read the rest of Mr Alistair Duncan's post to learn more about Holmes' preferences regarding tobacco pipes, none of which were the 'curved pipe' first made famous by actor William Gillette. And don’t miss Mr Duncan’s piece “The Villain I Want To See" on why BBC Sherlock Season 3 should include Chinese pottery expert, master scrapbooker and multiple murderer Baron Gruner from “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client”. Mr Duncan even goes so far as to make a (rather controversial sounding) suggestion as to who should play the fiend: “my current idea, and I admit, it is a bit “out there”, would be to have David Tennant play Gruner. His ‘ladies man’ credentials are firmly established courtesy of Casanova and I think he would be an excellent Gruner.” Someone get Moffat on the line…
|[The Baron masterfully played by Anthony Valentine in Granada’s 1991 adaptation of The Illustrious Client.]|
MX Publishing is hosting a book launch party September 26, 2013 in London for the release ofDavid Marcum's latest collection of Sherlock pastiches The Papers of Sherlock Holmes Vol. 2 (MX, 2013) - and you can order Volume 1 here. Other MX authors such as Luke Kuhns, Ross K Foad and Tony Reynolds will be on hand to sign their books and talk Sherlock with attendees. Then on November 8, 2013 MX is hosting a BBC Sherlock and CBS Elementarybook launch for Matthew Elliott and Luke Kuhns's The Immortals: An Unauthorized Guide to Sherlock and Elementary, a “companion to both the UK and US hit series, analyzing each episode (including the un-filmed pilot for Elementary), identifying trivia, offering criticism and considering Canonical fidelity.” For more up-to-date information about MX releases and events, check out MX on Facebook.
|[Cover for The Papers of Sherlock Holmes Vol. 2 (MX, 2013).]|
The Huffington Post (originally composed by Nathan Rostron for Bookish.com) article that I’m linking to is begging for me to ask the following question: What do Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Sue Grafton, Lee Child, John Grisham, Michael Connely and Scott Turowhave in common with one of Always1895’s absolute favorite Sherlockians, historical mystery novelists and Baker Street Babes aka Ms Lyndsay Faye? They are all authors of books in the “11 Best Upcoming Mystery/Thriller Novels Of Fall 2013”! That’s some serious company - and this isn’t exactly an ‘off’ year for Stephen King considering his entry, Doctor Sleep, is an official sequel to the 1977 horror classic The Shining. “Lyndsay Faye caught the attention of thriller aficionados with her Edgar-nominated historical novel The Gods of Gotham, about down-on-his-luck Timothy Wilde, who joins the brand-new NYPD in the 1840s. In the second book in Faye’s Timothy Wilde trilogy, Seven for a Secret, Wilde has proved himself an able cop, and he’s horrified to learn of the powerful underground network of “blackbirders" who steal free black Northerners and sell them in the South as slaves." All I can say for now is that we’re quite proud of the "booming" of Ms Faye’s name and talents throughout the Mystery/Thriller world.
|[Note the giant poster for “New Yorks gudar” hanging up in the background…that’s how Gods of Gotham is translated into Swedish - and that’s some serious promotion. Booming indeed! An accommodation goes out to Mr Mattias Bostrom for taking and posting the above photo via his @mattias221b account.]|
Sherlock DC alerted me to the Sherlock Pajama Party Watch-a-Long, wherein participants 1) don their very best sartorial sleepwear, 2) tune in to WETA UK Wednesday, August 28 at 10:30pm for A Study in Pink (or synchronize their DVD players or AVI players on their computers), 3) drop-in at the Sherlock DC chat room where you can type chat or video chat (remember to make sure your PJs rivals the Master’s dressing gown, be they blue, purple or mouse) and 4) comment, critique, edify and/or amuse in the Sherlock DC chat room during the episode. Though this will be Sherlock DC’s first sleepwear-themed watch-a-long, the group hosts a weekly Granada Sherlock Holmes ‘tweet-a-long’ using the hash tag #GranadaHolmes. If you’re unfamiliar with what a twee-a-long is, instead of using a chat room, everyone gets together virtually and watches the Granada Holmes episode while simultaneously tweeting about the episode. And last but certainly not least, on August 31st, 2013 WETA UK will be showing a film extremely close to my Sherlockian heart and soul, The Private Life of Sherlock Homes (1970) and of course Sherlock DC is planning a tweet-a-long. I can’t wait to read the raw reactions of Sherlockian neophytes on Twitter as they watch Robert Stephens assume his nuanced and brilliantly ambiguous role as the Great Detective.
|[Holmes (Robert Stephens) searching for his 7% Solution which we learn Watson has been diluting to a mere 5% from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.]|
The Younger Stamfords via Monica Schmidt (also webmistress for Peter Blau’s The Red Circle) announced “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) film screening September 23, 2013 at the Iowa City Library at 7:00 pm…the first in a series of Sherlockian film screenings/moderated discussions” by the Younger Stamfords. Best of luck to the burgeoning scene of Sherlockians in Iowa City as they kickoff a moderated Sherlockian film series with what I consider to be the greatest Sherlock Holmes film in existence (not to be confused with the greatest Holmes adaptation, which is of course Jeremy Brett's Granada series), Billy Wilder’s 1970 classic film featuring the remarkable Robert Stephens in the role of the Master Detective alongside Mycroft as played by one time Sherlock actor Christopher Lee.
|[Watson (Colin Blakely) shows off his latest Strand publication to an unimpressed Holmes: Watson: “Here’s an advance copy of Strand Magazine. They’ve printed “The Red-Headed League!”” Holmes: “Very impressive…”Watson: “Would you like to see how I treated it?” Holmes: “I can hardly wait. I’m sure I’ll find out all sorts of fascinating things about the case that I never knew before…." (Click for PDF of full shooting script here.)]|
John H Watson Society announced that longtime New Jersey Sherlockian Al Gregory, BSI, (“The Grimpen Postmaster”) recently appeared on Classic Movies with Ron MacCloskey in an extensive and excellent interview about all things Sherlock Holmes. The format of MacCloskey’s Classic Movies program consists of a long form interview broken up occasionally by the movie of the week which the guest and interviewer then comment on and discuss. For the Al Gregory episode, a colorized version (!?) of the Rathbone/Bruce film The Woman in Green (1945) is shown and discussed making for an unique and edifying experience for viewers of all levels of Holmes expertise. Totaling 1 hour and 33 minutes, this is a video you’ll want to carve out a bit of Sherlockian-me-time for as you sit back and listen to an expert Sherlockian discuss the topic nearest and dearest to his heart and then share in a movie viewing experience. (Note: when clicking on the link to watch the video you may get an “opening an external application” warning - don’t worry the link is safe and it simply opens up a video player (eg. Windows Media Player) on your computer.)
|[Mr Al Gregory explains everything from Deerstalkers to ‘the Game’ as well as commenting on a colorized print ofThe Woman in Green (1945) starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.]|
Tea at 221B posted scans of a set of Sherlock Holmes Playing Cards produced in 1989 by The Gemaco Playing Card Company. I’ve never seen these before, but I absolutely must find a set of these. Not only is the artwork well done, but the range of characters extends well beyond the usual choice of Canonical personages used for projects like this. As seen on Tea at 221B,Sherlock Holmes is the Ace of Hearts, Dr John H Watson is the King of Hearts (appropriately enough), Mrs Hudson is the Queen of Diamonds, Prof. James Moriarty is the King of Spades, Col. Sebastian Moran is the Jack of Spades, Mycroft Holmes is the King of Diamonds and Inspector Lestrade is the King of Clubs. After a few quick image searches, I found scans for the entire 1989 Gemaco Sherlock Holmes playing card set - and here’s where it gets really interesting: Jabez Wilson from REDH is the Red Joker, poor little Tongafrom SIGN is the Black Joker. Aces: all four Aces are Sherlock Holmes though shown in different poses: Ace of Spades shows Holmes scowling with pipe and magnifying glass, Ace of Hearts shows Holmes playing his Strad, Ace of Diamonds has Holmes tinkering with his chemistry set and Ace of Clubs shows Holmes brandishing a pistol, presumably about to fire at the Black Joker card. Kings: all shown on Tea at 221B (though click for individual, hi-res images of each), the King of Spades is the fiendishly misshapen Napoleon of Crime Prof. Moriarty, the King of Hearts Dr John H. Watson, the King of Diamonds is Mycroft and theKing of Clubs is Lestrade. Queens: here’s where the cards get super awesome - who else could be the Queen of Spades other than the Woman Irene Adler (in drag no less), the Queen of Hearts is of course Mary Morstan, the Queen of Diamonds is the long-suffering Mrs Hudsonand the Queen of Clubs is Miss Hatty Doran (misspelled on the card as “Hattie Doran”) from “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" - no offense to Ms Doran, but I think Kitty Winters would have made a much better Queen of Clubs. Jacks: Col. Moran is the Jack of Spades, Jack Stapleton (aka Rodger Baskerville) is the Jack of Hearts, probably the coolest card in the deck is the Jack of Diamonds featuring Dr Grimesby Roylott with a ‘swamp adder' wrapped around his head ready to strike and last but certainly not least the Jack of Clubs, the most haunting card in the deck, features Col. Lysander Stark grasping a menacing looking cleaver. A framed set of all 18 of the illustrated cards would look glorious on my wall, but for now I’ll have to settle for these scans as supplied by one Albinas Borisevicius (credited on both Tea at 221B and the.EU site).
|[As this post goes to press, I’ll have already written the Gemaco Playing Card Company begging/pleading for a set of these 1989 Sherlock Holmes playing cards.]|
Midtown Comics posted this stunning illustration of Sherlock Holmes and Batman by Alex Maleev, known first and foremost for his work on Marvel’s Daredevil. The original piece currently resides in the legendary Sherlockian art collection of Jerry Margolin. At Comic Art Fans you can view 65 + extraordinary pieces from Mr Margolin’s collection, including Sherlock Holmes: Spiderman, Sherlock Holmes: Snoopy and a rather scandalous Cat in the Hat with 7% Solutiondrawing. If you want to learn more about Jerry Margolin and his history of collecting various Sherlockian objects, check out Episode 16: Collector’s Corner - Jerry Margolin of the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast.
|[The Caped Crusader versus the other Caped Crusader!]|
Sherlockian Scion Links:
Scintillation of Scions VII announced their first round of SOS VII speakers: Scott Monty, BSI ("Corporal Henry Wood"), Brad Keefauver, BSI ("Winwood Reade") and Ashley Polasek - and if this group is any indication of what the esteemed Jacquelynn Morris has in store for SOS VII, attendees should prepare for a weekend of legendary Sherlockian proportions.
Priory Scholars of NYC have just announced a date, October 6, 2013, for their ‘Back To School’ Fall Session of the PSNYC which will take place at a brand new Manhattan venue (for us) called The Churchill Tavern, replete with all the trappings one might suspect from a British-style pub plus a variety of distinct Churchillian touches like the playing of WSC speeches in the bathrooms and a gigantic portrait of the World War II English Prime Minister dominating the fireplace room (cf. photo below). I have yet to find a definitive list of connections between the Great Detective and Winston Churchill, but I do know that during World War II Churchill nicknamed the Special Operations Executive, the group tasked with espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance behind enemy lines, the Baker Street Irregulars for their presumed ability “to go everywhere, see everything and overhear everyone.” (SIGN, Ch. 8)
|[A small taste of the Churchill’s sumptuous decor rumored to rival that of the Amateur Mendicant Society’s luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse.]|