" it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information." [SCAN]
The arrival of the Autumn 2013 issue of the Baker Street Journal, Lyndsay Faye's Seven For a Secret launch party, a new Moriarty comic series, Brad Keefauver on 'kids these days,' an update on Klinger vs. Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., Alistair Duncan on collecting Sherlockiana, a database of books appearing in the BBC's Sherlock, a new adaptation of Gillette's Sherlock Holmes play and more in this week's Friday Sherlock Links Compendium by Matt Laffey.
Meiringens posted a letter from my Sherlockian hero Vincent Starrett to mystery duo 'Ellery Queen' quoted in the wonderfully rare The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes 1944. For those unfamiliar with Queen's collection of Holmes pastiches (written up to 1944) that was for all intents and purposes removed from the shelves due to (legal) complaints from ACD's rapacious children Adrian and Dennis Doyle, I strongly suggest reading Jon Lellenberg's account of the affair in the essential BSI Archival History: Irregular Proceedings of the Mid 'Forties (1995). The book first appeared at the BSI’s March 1944 legendary "Trilogy" dinner "held at the Murray Hill Hotel to celebrate publication of three landmark books: Profile by Gaslight, Edgar W. Smith’s anthology of BSI Writings About the Writings; Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: A Textbook of Friendship, Christopher Morley’s groundbreaking version of an annotated Canon; and The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen’s collection of parodies and pastiches" (from Lellenberg's "March of Time"). Copies of The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes go for as high as $750 though you can download a copy for free in a variety of formats from Archive.org. Prior to Vincent Starrett's offering of "The Unique Hamlet", argued by some to be the greatest Holmes pastiche ever written, Queen writes the following: "But in your Editors' opinion one of the most provocative paragraphs Mr. Starrett ever wrote about Holmes has never appeared in print until now. Here it is a postscript from one of Mr. Starrett's letters to your Editors:"
|["I've always wanted to do a synthetic Sherlock. the beginning of one story, the middle of another, and the conclusion of a third; or perhaps six or eight of the adventures merged into a perfect Holmes tale..." Click Archive.org for the entire text of Queen's (eds) The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes and to see the Starrett/Queen exchange in context.]|
The Baker Street Journal arrived in my mailbox this week and the Autumn 2013 (Vol. 63, No. 3) issue is one of the all-around best issues I've read this year; they've all been good, but this spytastic, BRUC-centric issue is particularly terrific. Contributors include Sherlockian.net's Chris Redmond with a piece analyzing a deceptively simple line of text spoken by Violet Westbury, fiancee of the deceased Arthur Cadogen West, from BRUC, author Lyndsay Faye discussing Holmes' relationship with popular though morbid Victorian publication Newgate Calendar (subtitled "The Malefactors' Bloody Register") as well as narcotics, Fred Leise discussing Holmes' Indexing abilities, Leslie Klinger arguing for Watson as the true genius behind the Canon, Peter Calamai writes about a 10-bedroom manor house that had been home to a Baskerville family at one time, Nancy Holder with "Sherlock Holmes, My (Comic Book) Hero", Terence Faherty with "A Case of Paternity" and Albert Silverstein with "Reflections on the Holmesic Hero", along with a particularly engaging 'Letters To Baker Street' section. If you're not currently a subscriber, then I suggest borrowing $38.50 from a close friend and clicking here.
|[BRUC-centric cover for BSJ issue Autumn 2013 (Vol. 63, No. 3).]|
Lyndsay Faye, author of Dust and Shadows and The Gods of Gotham as well as numerous articles for publications like The Baker Street Journal as well as popular blogs such as Tor, will be reading from her latest novel Seven for a Secret, the second Timothy Wilde novel set in 1860s New York City at The Mysterious Bookshop on September 18th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The Mysterious Books launch party will also include a special drink made by Faye's extremely talented 'mixologist' husband Gabriel Lehner billed as 'Wilde's Secret' - and if it's anything like Gabe's Gods of Gotham-inspired cocktail, attendees are in for a 'spirited' evening (and semi-painful morning). Seven for a Secret was also chosen by IndieBound as their 'October read'. Also make sure to read Ms Faye's recent essay for Criminal Element entitled "Holmes 2.0: Life in the New Sherlockian Renaissance": "We are not quite normal, we Sherlock Holmes fanatics, supposing normalcy exists. Of late, however, there are a lot of us. There are a very, very great many, in all shapes and sizes and colors and ages, and we daily gain recruits to our geekish hordes. Brainy, you could argue, is the new sexy. Which leads me to ask two questions. Why now? And why Holmes?" Finally in LF-related news, Ms Faye recently announced: "I’m going to be writing multiple guest issues of the incredibly fierce comic Watson and Holmes."
|[The cover of Ms Faye's latest Wilde novel Seven For a Secret.]|
Digital Spy announced that this December 2013 Dynamite Comics has drafted writer David Liss and artist Daniel Indro to "tackle the classic Arthur Conan Doyle villain in a five-issue miniseries" Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives, which "will center around the detective's foe, with no appearance from Holmes." ComicsBeat reported Liss describing a bit more of what we can expect from the Napoleon of Crime: "No one is the villain of their own narrative, and no one is evil all the time, so I thought it be fun to tell a story about a very bad man who finds himself in a situation in which he chooses to be good - mostly. At least a little. This story is going to take place right after the Arthur Conan Doyle story, "The Final Problem,” in which both [Holmes and Moriarty] presumably die in Switzerland. What if Moriarty survived the fall? Where did he go?" And a third blog, ICv2, suggests that this post-Reichenbach Morarity will be using "his intellect and cunning to battle a villain far more evil and dangerous than the criminal mastermind himself." The cover art for Issue #1 is super epic (cf. below) and has me all pumped up to read about the 'good' Professor existing in a world free from Holmes' incommoding, hampering, inconveniencing and/or persecuting.
|[Professor James Moriarty just moments after getting Bartitsued down the Reichenbach Falls; other than getting really really wet, what other effects will Moriarty's 'fall' have on "the organizer of half that is evil" in London?]|
Sherlock Peoria in "Important classic literature or pop culture?" reflects on a recent Forbes article - written in a genre style which Keefauver declaims as "these kids today just aren't the people we were" - declaring that only 5% of college students know that the Sherlock Holmes tales were authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (or that Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World; Marie Curie discovered radium; Euclid is the father of geometry; Mozart wrote Don Giovanni) but: "knowing the name of the creator of a legend that has been passed along through the hands of storyteller after storyteller is special knowledge, reserved for those who care enough to look back into the past. Sure, you don't have to look hard to find Doyle, but you do have to make the effort to look. Should we be educating every child in America that Conan Doyle wrote the stories? Do we even want to force every child in America to read the stories to broaden their minds Sherlockianly?" I'm guessing that only 5% of hardcore Sherlockians would answer that ACD authored the Sherlock Holmes tales as well.
|[A rendering of the supposed author of the Sherlock Holmes tales, an author which supposedly only 5% of 'kids these days' would be able to name.]|
Free Sherlock! posted the latest update in the Klinger vs the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. legal battle vying for the hearts and minds of Canonical characters everywhere...or less dramatically: "On September 10, 2013, the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. filed opposition to our Motion for Summary Judgment, along with declarations from the Estate’s witnesses Jon Lellenberg, George Fletcher, Larry Woiwode, Valerie Sayers, and Loren Estleman. We have 14 days in which to respond, and upon filing with the Court, we will post our response on this website. Thereafter, it will be up to the Court to determine the outcome." (Click on the above names for the PDF of their 'Declarations' aka their affidavit, which are actually all rather interesting reading.)
|[I'll admit to being a tad disappointed by the lack of Canonical names to be found in the cast of legal characters involved in this case. Just imagine if there was a "Frankland" to be had or even a non-Canonical but equally amusing "Playfair". ]|
Doyleockian reflects on where to begin in the world of collecting Sherlockiana. To the novice Sherlockian the possibilities for collecting seem infinite but unless you plan on spending the rest of your life trying to be the second coming of John Bennett Shaw, the faster you figure out just exactly what your Sherlockiana niche is, the faster you can get out there and collect. Alistair Duncan advises: "Well the first thing you need to do is define your scope. You cannot hope to collect everything so you must focus. You could elect to focus purely on the canonical (i.e. written) Holmes and collect items relating to that. Or you could focus on one or more of the adaptations. Alternatively you could set your focus differently."
Sherlock's Danger Night put together a truly remarkable list which attempts to exhaustively enumerate every book and magazine used on BBC Sherlock. Proprietress mid0nz, with the help of a few volunteers, maintains both a Tumblr and a LiveJournal and appears to be updated as new information becomes available. Originally brought to my attention via the Baker Street Babes, I can't help but concur with their continual astonishment at the "amount of detail that members of the Sherlock fandom go into to uncover clues, decipher scenes, and explore the intricacies of the characters." Along with the list itself, there is a "key for which episodes the various tomes and weeklies appear in...[and] even goes further and lists the books found in other episodes that aren't necessarily at 221B" (eg. the C.O.'s office from Hounds of the Baskerville). Personally, my favorite book at BBC 221B is Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, where the concept of a meme was first coined, and then abused ad nauseum with the advent of the Internet.
|["Knowledge of Literature - nil??]|
Baker Street Babes announced that they are "starting to post guest articles here on the site and we are very happy to say that the very first shall be from the illustrious collector Howard Ostrom! His full essay...is a doozy and incredibly fun! Sherlock Holmes as a cowboy. Enjoy!" “The Case of The Vitagraph Holmes” (Or, Cowboy in a Deerstalker) is the essay of the week and highly recommended reading if you have a few moments.
Don Libey, Co-Director of the recently formed John H Watson Society, released The Biography & Autobiography of Sherlock Holmes: Being a two book, one volume edition of 'My Brother, Sherloc' by Mycroft Holmes and 'Montague Notations' by Sherlock Holmes (Campbell & Lewis, 2013), two fascinating though highly speculative accounts of the 'real' life of Sherlock Holmes. For starters, imagine if Holmes never actually lived on Baker Street but instead lived and worked out of Montague Street - and that's just the start. Even if you're not a fan of pastiches, Mr Libey's approach is scholarly and drenched in the Canon and should appeal to those with purist tendencies as well as pastiche lovers alike.
Dan Andriacco inspired by the recent flurry of discussion surrounding the news that Sir Ian McKellen has been cast in the role of the Great Detective for the film adaptation of Mitch Cullen's A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005), a pastiche that apparently many Sherlockians - including myself - are unfamiliar, recommends another book where we find Holmes in the Winter of his Life: Michael Chabon's excellent The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (2005): "To me this little book (131 pages) is a gem. It's about a nine-year-old boy, German and mute, and an 89-year-year-old beekeeper referred to only as "the old man." The boy is a refugee from Nazi Germany. He doesn't talk, but his bird does." Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon is one of my favorite contemporary authors, having written Wonder Boys (which was made into an excellent film featuring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Katie Holmes and, playing amorous book editor Terry Crabtree, one Robert Downey Jr!), The Yiddish Policeman's Ball, and his epic love letter to the Golden Age of comic books, the brilliantly entertaining The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000).
|[Chabon's amazing The Final Solution is one of the best Holmes pastiches out there.]|
The Consulting Detective explains why The Sign of Four is a masterpiece: "Of all of Doyle's novels, this one if perhaps the most original. The fact that it manages to cross a number of genre lines is excellent, making it perhaps the most entertaining of the four original Sherlock Holmes novels...[as well as] the most historically important Sherlock Holmes stories. For the first time in print, Sherlock Holmes is portrayed taking drugs..." It's refreshing to read a blog post that's strictly about the Canon, in this case the virtues of the second Holmes novel from an historic, aesthetic and cultural perspective.
|[One of my favorite SIGN covers.]|
CB Productions Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure adapted by Steven Dietz, based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle November 1-10, 2013: "The King of Bohemia is about to be blackmailed by a notorious photograph, and the woman at the heart of this crime is the famous opera singer, Irene Adler. With his trusted companion, Doctor Watson, at his side, Sherlock Holmes pursues first the case, and then the affections of Miss Adler - and in doing so, marches right into the lair of his longtime adversary, that malevolent genius of crime: Professor Moriarty." If you're in the St Paul/Minneapolis area, this sounds like a promising Sherlockian night at the theater.
Tea at 221B in "Canon Sherlock Holmes Comic Books" looks at a unique series of Canonically-inspired comics Cases of Sherlock Holmes created by Dan Day [something we've covered in these parts before - Ed.]: "The original run of fifteen was published bi-monthly in 1988 by Renegade Press. The remaining five issues were published by Northstar." Even if comics aren't your thing, these releases are about as good as it's going to get in terms of Canon-to-illustration reading. I own most of the Cases of Sherlock Holmes issues and compared to the majority of Holmes-inspired comics that have been released over the last 50 years, these are actually worth owning, or at least perusing, and some of the cover art is quality enough to out in a frame and hang on your wall. Check out the rest of the images posted by Tea at 221B and if you have a hankering to acquire a few issues of your own, eBay appears to have most of them for reasonable prices ranging from $3 to $10 an issue.
|[Just one of many wonderfully illustrated, Canonically-sensible covers from the Cases of Sherlock Holmes comic series from 1988.]|
Sherlockian Scion Links:
John H Watson Society recently added a section to their website titled "The Doctor's Bookshelf" consisting of reviews of books written by JHWS members. Volumes reviewed so far include: the sixth issue of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, two books by Kieran McMullen ("Raleigh") The Many Watsons and the three-in-one hardcover from MX Holmes & Watson: The War Years, Jon Lellenberg's ("Towser") exquisitely edited (and designed) ACD diary Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, Sherlock Holmes Society of London's Nicholas Utechin ("Rex") Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: Sherlock Holmes, the Wessex Press published pastiche by Ann Margaret Lewis ("Cameo") Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, Roger Johnson and Jean Upton's The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany, "Dutch" aka Mr Dan Andiacco's The Disappearance of Mr James Phillimore. As a certain old bookseller once remarked to a distracted doctor: "With five volumes you could just fill that gap on that second shelf. It looks untidy, does it not, sir?" (EMPT)
* To find a Sherlockian event in your area, check out The Sherlockian Calendar - maintained by Ron Fish with Sue and Ben Vizoskie of The Three Garridebs of Westchester Country, NY. If you are interested in posting an event to the calendar, please email the details to webmaster Ron Fish at RonF404 [at] aol.com.
** If you’d like to see your event mentioned here on Always1895, please email me the name of your group/event, the details, contact info & web address Twitter, Facebook, etc. and any other info that should accompany the above.