Sherlockian.Net: The 221Blog


Holmes ponders the evidence

during Cape May's Sherlock Holmes Weekend, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), this year being held November 6-8. In a weekend of murder and suspense aimed at tourists and would-be Watsons, the master detective is faced with one of his most baffling cases yet, the Case of Mistaken Identity by John K. Alvarez, featuring a medical investigation, an inadvertent victim, a case of mistaken identity, a notorious villain, a dark secret, a career policeman, a deep friendship and a daring detective. Participants will get in on the chase uring the Search for Clues Tour, vie for prizes, and enjoy performances, brunch and an optional theatrical production. Information about the weekend and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts is online. Photo by Joe Evangelista.

Watsonian image of a Sherlockian scholar

Pictured is Charles Prepolec of the Singular Society of the Baker Street Dozen, Calgary, Alberta. He explains: "The weekly Calgary Herald community supplement 'Neighbors' is doing a small article on our local Holmes group and wanted a photo to go along with it. What you are looking at is a picture of me in my living room with a quick display that I threw together for the photographer last Sunday. My wife Kristen took the profile picture shot before the photographer arrived."

Working back to Sherlock through Tarzan

"The single most influential book on me," writes Carl William Thiel, "remains The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. But I cannot name the 'most influential' book without mentioning the one that led me to seek out Sherlock Holmes in the first place. It was not the quaint Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce movies of the 1940s that motivated me to purchase the Berkley paperback edition (for sixty cents) of The Adventures in my local bookstore on that long-ago day in 1974. Before I discovered the literary Holmes, I was a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books. The catalyst that propelled me into the Holmesian camp was a thesis advanced by science-fiction author Philip José Farmer in a 'definitive' biography of the lord of the jungle called Tarzan Alive (1972)." Welcome to the Wold Newton universe! Thiel's essay has been made available to Sherlockian.Net, and it is, to say the least, worth reading.

Sherlockian duplicates for sale

See an updated list of books for sale by the editor of Sherlockian.Net. I can also make a few copies of my out-of-print Sherlock Holmes Handbook available at $35 including postage; e-mail to confirm.

Two important new books this fall

September 23, 2007: Andrew Lycett's hefty new biography, The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has been published in Britain, and will be out in North America in a few weeks. I haven't had the opportunity to read it yet, but a quick glance at a copy suggests that Lycett relies on some sources that have not been available to earlier biographers, with interesting results. A review in the Guardian observes that Lycett "knows just how far to take the imaginative extensions of fact necessary for good biography".

Meanwhile, coming soon in American and British editions is Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters, a collection of ACD's own hitherto unpublished correspondence. Jon Lellenberg, editor of the book along with Daniel Stashower and ACD great-nephew Charles Foley, says the book is expected to be 608 pages and "draws from over a thousand" of the letters ACD wrote to his mother, Mary Foley Doyle, between 1867 and 1920. Kate Hyde, editor of the book for HarperCollins, talks about it (audio clip).

The illustration pictured here is not from either biography, but from the BBC's distinguished series of radio dramatizations, starring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson, now available on CD.

On the newsstand

in Port-de-Bouc, France: La Malle de l'Ingénieur, a new Sherlock Holmes tale by Luc Zana, published by the Romanian firm Fides de Iasi.

The mind of the man who created Holmes

May 23, 2007: Coming soon in American and British editions — and already available for advance ordering on Amazon — is Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters, which will instantly become one of the most important books for an understanding of ACD's life and work. Jon Lellenberg, editor of the book along with Daniel Stashower and ACD great-nephew Charles Foley, says the book is expected to be 608 pages and "draws from over a thousand" of the letters ACD wrote to his mother, Mary Foley Doyle, between 1867 and 1920.

The letters, hitherto unpublished, will provide "a far more candid autobiography than the one Conan Doyle actually published in the 1920s, Memories and Adventures," Lellenberg says. "For the first time now, the reader may peer directly into the mind of the man who created Sherlock Holmes, and did so much more besides."

Kate Hyde, editor of the book for HarperCollins, talks about it (audio clip).

The case of the plagiarist playwright

May 23, 2007: It was Calgary Sherlockian Charles Prepolec who discovered the scandal of the season. The play "The Unexpected Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes", performed in California and Ohio under the name of Jack L. Herman, is actually "The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes" by Edmonton playwright David Belke. Herman, of Kent, Ohio, has admitted to plagiarism and paid an out-of-court settlement.

On a quiet day at 221B

March 16, 2007: Many thanks to users of Sherlockian.Net who have been generous and patient in recent months, as there's been very little updating and the suggestions and corrections have accumulated. Much like Holmes filling his scrapbooks on a rainy day at 221B, I've managed to find a little time for paperwork lately, and the improvements and corrections to the site have started. Not finished, but started at least. . . .

It's a celebrity culture

December 31, 2006: Every other web site seems to have a photo of Britney Spears, so why should Sherlockian.Net be any different? The pic comes from the British newspaper The Sun, which published an article several months ago suggesting that the pop tart was going to play "a modern-day female Sherlock Holmes" in a new film. What will be, will be.

The Sherlockian world mourns

. . . the death of Maureen Green, MBt, BSI, pictured doing one of the things she certainly loved best. Long-time treasurer of the Bootmakers of Toronto, she was a well-known figure at Sherlockian events worldwide, and the wife of Edwin Van der Flaes, MBt, BSI.

'A perfect scenario for chess'

March 20, 2006: It's not the first Sherlock Holmes chess set, but it's certainly one of the most striking, this offering from the British firm ChessBaron.

Also new on the growing web

March 20, 2006: Some new Sherlockian sites I haven't had time to examine and enjoy include Constabulary.Com from John B. Taylor, AudioVille with Sherlockian recordings for sale, Holmesian.Net with some lively forums, and Sherlockiana in Japan.

Sherlock Holmes at your throat

January 9, 2006: Pattie Tierney of St. Louis, Missouri, is offering four "photo transfer domino necklaces" as a new Sherlockian collectible this year. Available are vertical and horizontal formats picturing Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone (accompanied in one by Nigel Bruce). "Each one is individually handcrafated on a standard size domino game piece," she writes. Information: ptierney@umsl.edu.

Hungarian artist's new Holmes

December 10, 2005: The new portrait of Sherlock Holmes seen at left is by young Hungarian artist Marton Takats. It will appear on the cover of the first volume in a new series of "The Best of Crime Stories" being issue by a major Hungarian publishing house, Alexandra Publishing. The volume is to include The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Gillette treasures at Holmes festival

October 31, 2005: Holmes, Watson and a lady: that's the sort of thing that you'll see in the windows of Tryon, North Carolina, this month, as the community hosts its Sherlock Holmes Festival at and around the Thousand Pines estate, where classic Holmes actor William Gillette made one of his homes. Searching merchants' displays for Sherlockian clues is among the activities for the festival, November 11-13.

'If Watson Wrote for TV'

August 4, 2005: That's the 2006 calendar being produced by long-time Sherlockian cartoonist Gayle Puhl. "It has 14 of my very best cartoons printed on heavyweight paper," she says, explaining that most of them -- like the one at right -- connect an incident in Holmes's life with a well-known television show. The calendar is raising funds for Puhl's literary tour of England and Scotland next year. The price is $12 US plus postage -- information from puhlreader@yahoo.com.

Home of Holmes

The stage set for Ed. Lange's "Sherlock's Legacy", produced this spring by the New York State Theatre Institute in Troy, shows how Holmes apparently lived in retirement. Photo by Tim Raab/Northern Photo. (May 11, 2005)

The 'Handbook' is available again

May 11, 2005: I'm happy to announce that my book A Sherlock Holmes Handbook, issued in 1993, isn't quite out of print after all. The publisher has found a small supply of copies which I am able to offer for individual sale by mail, at $30 including postage. Please e-mail credmond@uwaterloo.ca for details.

Great detective vs. gentleman burglar

March 21, 2005: The Blonde Phantom is the second volume of the saga of French master-criminal Arsène Lupin and his duel with Sherlock Holmes -- retranslated for the first time since 1910 and published by Black Coat Press.

Also new in print is Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas, published by Touchstone Books.

A thank-you to Sherlockian friends

February 22, 2005: I've just paid the bill for the current year's web hosting for this site, a total of $267.46 (about $200 in US currency). It's a pleasure to be able to offer this service to the world of Holmes and Doyle enthusiasts. And I want to thank those who help make it possible by providing information (from updated links to entire web pages) that I could never manage by myself. I'm also grateful to the many individual Sherlockians and societies who show their appreciation by keeping me on mailing lists for newsletters and other varied, intriguing and very useful items.

What's new on Sherlockian.Net

January 31, 2005: Don Dillistone explains some puzzles in "The Red Circle". . . . 'Inspector Hopkins' elucidates a few of the cruxes and inconsistencies in the Sherlock Holmes tales. . . . A few updates have revived Karen Murdock's page on canonical companies. . . .

And new on February 3: Al Gregory's list of Baker Street Irregulars, alphabetically by Investiture

'European craftsmanship' for Study

January 21, 2005: Long-time users of this site will remember the magnificent drawing by Denmark's Nis Jessen that originally graced this home page. At last, Jessen writes with the news that his fully illustrated version of A Study in Scarlet is about to see print. The Danish firm of Hakon Holm Publishing "is working hard," he says, "to print a deluxe edition of 160 pages, each fully illustrated in old-style sepia brown, and with the original text. It will be published within two months, printed on high quality paper, bound in full-colour laminated hardcover -- all done to a high standard of European book craftmanship." More information is available on his web site.

ACD on stage in Australia

January 13, 2005: Arthur Conan Doyle (David Small) muses as his mother (Louise Whiteman) and his greatest creation, Sherlock Holmes (Kirk Alexander), stand by. The tableau is from the play "The Real Sherlock Holmes", by Cenarth Fox, which had its premiere in Melbourne last fall and will be produced in three communities in the Australian state of Victoria this spring. The script is published by Fox Plays.

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes

December 20, 2004: "What do Sherlock Holmes and Father Christmas have in common?" asks John Carey in The Times, reviewing Les Klinger's impressive new edition of the Holmes short stories, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. No dedicated reader of the tales can be without it.

Not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen

November 30, 2004: "We had been on the Moor all afternoon," writes Denise LeCroy. "It was late in the day and we were among a handful of people left at Hay Tor. The wind began to pick up and it started to drizzle. As we began to make a hasty retreat to the car before the sky opened up, we heard what can only be described as a hollow, thumping sound from behind. At the same time, we could feel a slight vibration beneath our feet. Those of you who have been on the Moor know what I'm talking about -- walking on the Moor reminds me of walking on tundra. (I used to live in Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands.) We turned around just in time to see a large, grey dog charging down the hill. I had the camera in my hand and was able to snap a photo as the dog ran towards me. When the film was developed it was so eerie because the dog's eyes were red. Now, of course, the eyes of all my photo subects usually end up red (grin) but this was one time when the effect was perfectly appropriate! ACD himself couldn't have staged a better photo op for this American's first time on the Moor."

Dark and edgy, an authentic Holmes

September 15, 2004: Holmes and Watson meet for the very first time, at St. Bartholomew's Hospital (see graphic) . The historic scene is brought dramatically to life in one of four limited edition prints by Doug Telford, commissioned by Fantastic Publishing and offered for sale on their web site.

Newest 'Hound' coming to video

Canadian actor Anthony D.P. Mann will be the newest Sherlock Holmes, as his web site explains: "After several false starts and some issues regarding the ownership of the Conan Doyle copyrights, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' has finally headed into production. An intriguing re-interpretation of the story, this short film will be released exclusively on DVD and VHS later this year, with several special features. It is the wish of the producers to create this piece as a pilot episode for a proposed series of Sherlock Holmes adventures."

Watson and Holmes in 1/32 scale

August 18, 2004: The lead figures of the tenants at 221B Baker Street (pictured) are a product of Soldierpac, which promises more than 2,000 such items in its catalogue: "toy soldiers, civilian figures, horses, vehicles, miniature gardens, circus, accessories and spare parts".

Cape May faces ransom demand

August 6, 2004: Mystery and intrigue will descend on Cape May, New Jersey, at its famous Sherlock Holmes Weekend, to be held this year November 5-7. Holmes and Watson (pictured above) will help participants in the weekend address the case of the Circle of Darkness, which demands ransom from the charming Victorian community.

Green's collection in public hands

August 6, 2004: The finest private collection of Arthur Conan Doyle documents and memorabilia will make its home in Portsmouth under the will of Richard Lancelyn Green, who died in April. | Obituary from the Independent

The Arthur Conan Doyle papers

May 21, 2004: The Christie's sale of a treasure trove of ACD papers and souvenirs took place on Wednesday, with items going to various private collectors and public institutions (including, I'm glad to hear, the ACD Collection at the Toronto Reference Library). Randall Stock has a comprehensive web page about this remarkable event. And the Independent newspaper has the clearest explanation yet of how the papers came to be on the market.

Remembering Richard Lancelyn Green

April 16, 2004: Obituary from the Independent

The Arthur Conan Doyle papers

March 30, 2004: A long-awaited treasure trove of ACD papers is coming up for sale by Christie's in New York. Randall Stock has a comprehensive web page about this remarkable event. May 14: The auction catalogue is now online. May 17: Online discussion and transcript of BBC report, from Scarlet Street.

Conan Doyle in Toulouse

March 30, 2004: Pictured is the cover of a new book from Black Coat Press, a collection of short stories by award-winning French author Jean-Claude Dunyach. In the title story, "The Night Orchid", Arthur Conan Doyle takes Professor Challenger to the south of France, where they encounter, among others, Irene Adler. . . .

Sherlock Holmes and . . . the Constitution

March 9, 2004: I'll be one of the speakers at a most unusual event scheduled for Saturday, May 8, in Philadelphia. Mycroft's League, the new Sherlockian society there, is sponsoring a symposium on "Sherlock Holmes and the United States Constitution", and if you don't think that's a promising topic, well, then you don't know Sherlockians. More information is available from the organizer, Gideon Hill, e-mail gideonhill221@earthlink.net.

Holmes in New Jersey, 1901

January 13, 2004: Cape May, New Jersey, is the backdrop for a weekend of intrigue March 7-9, with the mystery of the Circle of Darkness. Events are set in 1901. The community's mayor and his charming wife are hosts for an evening event, when a threatening note arrives. How fortunate that Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson are among the guests. Cape May's annual Sherlock Holmes weekend is sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Some recent web pages of note

December 28, 2003:
  • Bird's-eye drawing of the 221B sitting-room from Stutler Comics
  • The Strange Adventure of the Lady Arwen (Lord of the Rings)

    In the author's own hand

    October 24, 2003: Six major manuscripts by Arthur Conan Doyle are offered in the November 19 sale of "Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts" at Christie's in London -- a firm, incidentally, that's mentioned in two of the Sherlock Holmes tales. Pictured at right is the ms. of "The Adventure of the Forest Inn" and "The Adventure of the Nine Prussian Horsemen", two of ACD's Brigadier Gerard stories.

    That makes men's blood run cold

    October 6, 2003 Some very dark Sherlockian content indeed appears in the online comic anthology Nightmare World, written and created by Aaron Weisbrod. "This September," he writes, "we just wrapped up a Sherlock Holmes-based story titled 'While You Sleep, I Destroy Your World'. The drawing at right is an image from that online nightmare. (Weisbrod kindly writes that Sherlockian.Net "was a huge help to my research for this story".)

    Some Doylean books for sale

    August 3, 2003
    • The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr, 1972 Pocket Books edition.
    • Our African Winter, by Arthur Conan Doyle, 2001 Duckworth edition.
    • The Doyle Diary, Michael Baker's 1978 book based on the sketchbooks of Charles Doyle.
    Please e-mail credmond@uwaterloo.ca for information.

    What's new on Sherlockian.net

    June 26, 2003: Canonical Companies, compiled by Karen Murdock | In Memoriam Moriarty, verse by Alan Olding

    On stage near Chicago

    June 4, 2003: Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park, Illinois, presents "The Sign of the Four", adapted by Shanghai Low Theatricals, June 18 through July 20. Michael Grant stars as Holmes with Joe Forbrich as Watson and Kate Martin as Mary Morstan.

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

    May 2, 2003: There will be a few Sherlockian connections and a load of Sherlockian atmosphere in this film -- based on a brilliant comic book series -- scheduled for release this summer. Charles Prepolec of The Baker Street Dozen has been following developments on his web site.

    Your name here

    April 21, 2003: 'We print personalized versions of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, . . . The Hound of the Baskervilles,' and other canonical titles, says Customized Classics. 'The relevant characters in the text are replaced with your name in them.' Come, Veeblefester, come! The game is afoot!

    An authentic Holmesian pipe?

    April 21, 2003: The folks at the Meerschaum Store certainly think so, and they're using Holmes's image freely on their web site to sell various models of meerschaum calabash. "No two are exactly the same," the site says. "Pipes are made of 200% solid block meerschaum."

    Remembering Mary E. Campbell

    March 18, 2003: My good friend, and one of the mainstays of the Bootmakers of Toronto and the Sherlockian world, Mary Campbell, died yesterday at home in Toronto. Despite serious illness in recent years, she had continued to be active in Sherlockian affairs, not only attending Bootmaker meetings but eagerly going to New York for the January festivities. A retired librarian, Mary was a Master Bootmaker and a Baker Street Irregular.

    'Staged reading' of Gillette play

    February 21, 2003: The East Lynne Theater Company is producing a staged reading pictured) of William Gillette's 1899 classic "Sherlock Holmes" during the annual Holmes weekend at Cape May, New Jersey, March 8-9.

    For sale: The Copper Beeches

    February 21, 2003: Hardback, lightly used copy of this 1971 novel about a murder mystery set among Sherlockians. Price $30 US including postage. E-mail credmond@uwaterloo.ca.

    BBC gets 'hundreds of entries'

    February 17, 2003: This photo of the Sherlock Holmes statue in London's Marylebone Road was featured in the BBC's weekly caption competition. Read the results.

    On the main street of Thunder Bay

    February 17, 2003: Sherlock Holmes was far from my mind when I spotted this office machine repair shop in Thunder Bay, Ontario, during a personal trip several years ago. I jammed on the brakes and hauled out the camera. Anybody know whether it's still in business?

    The tales in Patrick Horgan's voice

    February 17, 2003: Let me recommend a new audio recording of the full collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, and a few extras, in the voice of actor Patrick Horgan. There are a total of nine CD-roms, and they're in MP3 format, playable on computers and many audio CD players. The distributor is Worldtainment.

    'It is all very Hound of the Baskervilles'

    February 17, 2003: Slinger of the Star sees something Sherlockian in Bush and Powell's scrutiny of Iraq

    A Sherlockian treasure for sale

    February 17, 2003: The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, the original volume by Ronald De Waal (Bramhall House first edition in original slipcase, excellent condition) . . . $125 (US) including postage. E-mail credmond@uwaterloo.ca for further information.
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