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“Going for a swim, I see” [LION] 

♪ "Got a whale of a tale to tell ya lad..."♫

If you mention whaling to any student of the Sherlock Holmes stories, they'll easily point out the story "The Adventure of Black Peter," which concerned a former whaling captain who was found dead in his shack with a steel harpoon driven right through his chest to the wall, where he was "pinned like a beetle on a card." This of course follows Holmes's return to Baker Street with "a huge barbed-headed spear tucked like an umbrella under his arm."

Whaling is an odd choice of profession for a victim in a Sherlock Holmes story. Where did the inspiration come from? In fact, Conan Doyle had some first-hand experience with whaling.

For those interested in the whaling adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle, you should check out Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure, edited by Jon Lellenberg and Daniel Stashower. It's an annotated and illustrated version of Doyle's diary from his work on the Hope as a young medical student, including his many inadvertent swimming sessions. [Editor's note: check below for bonus content related to this.]

Meanwhile, at Baker Street Elementary, young Arthur's peers may know a thing or two about how the story turns out...

Bonus Content

We spoke with Jon Lellenberg and Dan Stashower in Episode 48: Dangerous Work. You can listen to it at that link, on your podcast listening service, or on the player below.

Baker Street Elementary follows the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they and their friends work through the issues of elementary school in Victorian London. An archive of all previous episodes can be viewed at www.bakerstreetelementary.org.