I think it’s time to show how Conan Doyle’s father, Charles Altamont Doyle, illustrated A Study in Scarlet. Yes, Sherlock Holmes is the bearded man to the right. And no, he’s not disguised. Charles Altamont Doyle liked to draw Sherlock Holmes with a beard. And he was a bearded man himself.
on all things Sherlockian, Holmesian and Doylean
As we all know Sherlock also wears a moustache.
Dr Watson’s moustaches
My non-fiction book - 514 pages! - about the 125 years of Sherlock Holmes. Published in Swedish on August 21, 2013. The title is “Från Holmes till Sherlock” (“From Holmes to Sherlock”).
"Across this bare space there was scrawled in blood-red letters a single word— STACHE." (sort of A Study in Scarlet)
Sherlock vs. Jaws
We are everywhere! Here is yet another Holmes fan!
The Norwood Builder has fearlessly plunged headfirst into that - to paraphrase Watson - great cesspool into which all the obsessives and pedants of Canonical Studies are irresistibly drained; that is he’s attempted to construct a chronology of ACD’s Canon, from scratch: “this is, naturally,…
An interview with me regarding my non-fiction book “Från Holmes till Sherlock” (From Holmes to Sherlock) which will be published in Swedish in August 2013.
Mattias Boström was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book Från Holmes till Sherlock (From Holmes to Sherlock) this past week and even though it’s in Swedish (with news of a Danish translation on the way), it’s lavishly produced and judging from the End Notes and Bibliography, one can see Mr Boström has created an exquisitely researched magnum opus synthesizing years of inquiry into ACD and Sherlock Holmes. You can follow Mr Mattias Bostrom on his English webpage here (or Swedish page here) Twitter in English @mattias221b (or @mattiasb in Swedish) and on Facebook. Let us hope that an English/American publisher recognizes the value of Bostrom’s contribution to Sherlockian studies and publishes an English translation posthaste! (Note: I strongly suggest using Google’s Translator to read the above Swedish links in English.)
[Swedish cover of Mattias Boström’s 500+ page magnum opus on ACD and Sherlock Holmes. Let’s hope and pray for an English translation soon because I have the feeling that Bostrom’s contribution to the published corpus of Holmes/ACD writings is top notch and a valuable resource.]
Barefoot on Baker Street considers “Has the Sherlock Holmes market reached saturation point?” (there’s even a poll!) and reiterates her response (She thinks there’s room for more) to a similar question during this past weekend’s Great Sherlock Holmes Debate 4, live at UCL in London, sponsored by prolific Sherlockian publishers MX. Ms Charlotte Anne Walters - author of the fascinating and daring pastiche Barefoot on Baker Street - explains: “I believe there is room for something which falls within the human-interest genre bracket but remains heavily rooted in the canon and in the Victorian period. This would appeal to this new section of viewers, as well as existing Sherlock Holmes fans. We need something which is a hybrid of modern tastes for emotional drama set in the past, but blended with the crime and ‘method’ in the canon.” Click to watch a GSHD 4 trailer as well as their Slideshare detailing the specifics of the debate. For another GSHD4 review see: Luke Benjamen Kuhns,
[Set of questions from the GSHD regarding the current state of Sherlock Holmes adaptations and whether or not the Sherlockian market has reached an untenable saturation point or if there is still room for more.]
A Case of Witchcraft “made a little Pinterest album of images of things and people that figure (or are referred to) in the novel. Here you may see not only Holmes and Crowley, but also (for example) their hotel, a mutoscope, the Battle of Abu Klea, the Prince of Wales, and an actress in a ‘breeches part’. Readers may like to have a look and see how their mental images match up to reality.” As a fan of Joe Revill’s Holmes pastiche involving a young Aleister Crowley - read my review of A Case of Witchcraft here - I’m delighted to see images relating to the story.
[From the album: “The great folklorist Sabine Baring-Gould, a model for the character of Melchior Tollemache” - not to be confused with William S Baring-Gould, author of the monumental Annotated Sherlock Holmes (1967), who it turns out the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould is WSB’s paternal grandfather.]
Sherlock Peoria continuing the recent trend of Sherlockian bloggers criticizing the ‘Irene Adler and/or Professor Moriarty’ tropes so prevalent in various Holmes adaptations offers some positive suggestions in “Ten Holmes adversaries I’d like to see” my personal favorite being Isadora Klein from 3GAB: “Please, please, please, Isadora Klein! Holmes may have called Irene Adler “the woman,” but really, as adversaries go, I think Isadora could probably have kicked Irene’s ass, just because she’s actually nasty. Very nasty. Beat-you-while-breaking-your-heart nasty. A great villain.” So it warms my heart to read: “When it comes to adversaries on film, on television, and in pastiches, a fan of either Irene Adler or Professor Moriarty should be one happy person. After considering “the Moriarty cliff” of the Holmes story cycle a few days ago, I’m now starting to wonder at how all of the recent adaptations are completely ignoring that rich stock of Sherlock Holmes adversaries they have available to them, many of them much better characterized than Irene or James.” Whether or not we have achieved total Holmes saturation, there certainly always has been an overuse of certain canonical villains/adversaries such as Moriarty and Adler in adaptations and pastiches. As an effective antidote to this situation, I highly recommend pastiches such as Samuel Williams‘ Anomalous - Sherlock Holmes, Jack Johnson and Alphonse Capone, where a relatively obscure character like Steve Dixie (also from 3GAB) is explored to great effect.
[Isadora Klein pleading with Holmes not to go to Scotland Yard.]
NY Post interviewed Rick Leonardi, the artist behind the new comic series Watson & Holmes from New Paradigm Studios, a re-imagining of the Holmes adventures placing the Great Detective and Watson in modern day Harlem as African American crime solvers. From the interview: “Q: Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan? A: “I’ve read and re-read the collected stories many times since being introduced to them in high school. I remember watching the Basil Rathbone movie versions on UHF broadcast TV back then too.” I haven’t had a chance to check out the very promising sounding Watson & Holmes, but I’ve been intrigued ever since hearing Leonardi and writer Karl Bollers interviewed on Episode 44 of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.
[Artwork from Watson & Holmes, Issue No. 1.]
Gamercast takes an in depth first look at the new Sherlock Holmes video game from Frogware Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments, available for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. “Throughout the game as Sherlock you’ll work on 8 different cases ranging from murders to disappearances across interiors and exteriors of some of the poorest and more affluent regions in London. With an expected runtime similar to the Sherlock Holmes games in the past, there will be a variety of puzzles on hand, however Sherlock Holmes’ new powers (eg. ‘Sherlock Holmes vision!) of deduction will take the front seat in your investigation over the usual locked door puzzles, which I for one am most definitely glad to hear.” It sounds like at least some of the action is straight out of the Canon since one segment involves “an investigation into the death of the whaling ship captain Peter Carey who was harpooned through the chest in his office”, of course the basic plot of “The Adventure of Black Peter” from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Personally I’m not much of a gamer, but I would love to spend a few hours flexing ‘Sherlock Vision’ and immersing myself in a virtual 1895. Expected release date is early 2014.
[The virtual London of Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments.]
Tea at 221B posted the following text from “The Adventure of the Dying Detective” along with a drawing by my favorite Holmes illustrator Frederic Dorr Steele: “The mention of my friend’s name had an extraordinary effect upon the little man. The look of anger passed in an instant from his face. His features became tense and alert. “Have you come from Holmes?” he asked. “I have just left him.” “What about Holmes? How is he?” “He is desperately ill. That is why I have come.”” And so Watson unwittingly sets in motion one of Holmes’ greatest displays of artistic duplicity.
[Frederic Dorr Steele illustration from DYIN.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Sherlock DC posted their Scintillation of Scions VI (on June 6, 2013) talk “All Roads Lead to Holmes: How New Media Builds Connections Across the Sherlockian Ages” (download PDF) which is a discussion of the “ways in which people learn about Sherlock Holmes and express their enthusiasm for The Great Detective. The presentation focuses on how fans use new media to make connections from canon to recent incarnations of Sherlock Holmes.” A fascinating and relevant read.
Baker Street Babes and friends Sherlock DC, Cara McGee, Being Geek Chic & The Nerdy Girlie are raising money for SherlockeDCC: The Sherlock Fan Party of San Diego Comic Con via IndieGoGo (like Kickstarter) where you receive specific Sherlockian prize packages based on how much you donate (eg $40 gets you the “221B t-shirt screen printed with the famous wallpaper design plus a button.”). You can purchase tickets for the SherlockeDCC party, but act fast before they sell out! Watch the SherlockeDCC video for information on all the prizes offered on IndieGoGo as well as reasons why you might want to contribute even if you don’t plan on trekking out to San Diego’s ComicCon.
The Well-Read Sherlockian posted a thorough review of Robert Veld’s highly anticipated The Strand Magazine & Sherlock Holmes: The Two Fixed Points in a Changing Age (2013) on Wessex Press. Among other aspects of the storied publication, “Veld traces the decades-long relationship between Sherlock Holmes and The Strand in great detail, as well as the complicated dealings Conan Doyle himself had with the detective.”
[“The list of authors featured during The Strand’s sixty years contains some of the most talented names of the time: Kipling, Wodehouse, Wells, Christie, Sayers, Allingham, Wallace, Simenon, and even Churchill.”]
Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine returns with its “July/August 2013 issue, presenting the best in modern and classic mystery fiction. Included this time are the usual columns by Lenny Picker and Mrs Hudson” along with eleven Holmes-related or inspired stories including “The Blackheath Collapse” purportedly told by Holmes himself, and for good measure ACD’s “The Five Orange Pips”.
[Vintage-style lurid artwork gracing the cover of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #9.]
Culture Beat, Houston, ran a lengthy and informative review ‘An Ode to Dr. Watson: Sherlock Holmes Sidekick Deserves Better - and More Stage Time in Suicide Club’ of the play recently viewed by Don Hobbs and fellow Texas Sherlockians as reported in Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page.The play Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club by Jeffrey Hatcher is loosely suggested by three Robert Louis Stevenson short stories published in 1878 under the title of The Suicide Club. Hatcher’s play is set on the eve of World War I, where in the heart of London, behind the impassive facade of a windowless house, some of Europe’s most powerful men gather to play a game. The game is murder and this is The Suicide Club. But the Club has a new member: Sherlock Holmes - brilliant, perceptive, the greatest detective in the English-speaking world. Does Holmes wish to die? Will he have to kill? Can his old friend Dr. Watson save him? Or doesn’t Holmes want to be saved?” (Synopsis from Broadway World.)
Boing Boing in “Edwardian Doing Bike Tricks” mentions the recent reissue of Isabel Marks’ cult classic (among everyone from fixed gear bike enthusiasts to fans of the steampunk aesthetic) Fancy Cycling: 1901: An Edwardian Guide. “This is a special cloth hardcover gift edition reproduction of the original 1901 book which was one of the first to promote daring tricks for weird and wonderful acrobatics on two wheels, such as handle bar riding, riding backward and standing on the seat riding, hands off! Illustrated with period photographs showing outlandish daredevil “fancy cycling” stunts that have to be seen to be believed, it wonderfully captures a bygone age when popular fads and crazes were met with wild enthusiasm and is a delightful keepsake for cycling or sports enthusiasts.” The Guardian posted a 17 image slideshow featuring some of the fanciest and trickiest of Edwardian bicycle fancy tricks.
[I keep on imagining an Edwardian remake of the 1980s cult classic Rad using Fancy Cycling as a guide.]
Criminal Element considers Rex Stout’s Archie Goodwin qua detective sex symbol: “Archie is every woman’s dream man. He’s tall. He’s dark. He’s handsome. He loves to dance. And he’s one heck of a detective, determined to protect any woman who needs protecting. By looking at him through female characters’ eyes, it’s easy to see why women, me included, consider him a hero.” There’s no doubt that the Goodwin of Stout’s novels is about as cool as they come, but for anyone that has watched the Nero Wolfe (2001-2002) adaptation, one experiences a vague cognitive dissidence watching Timothy Hutton play Archie Goodwin in Hutton’s signature over-the-top style.
[“Archie as imagined by Austin Briggs for the 6/21/1958 Saturday Evening Post.”]
Free Sherlock! posted a short update last week: “The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has failed to file a formal appearance or any other responsive pleading in the matter within the time granted to it. We are considering our next actions in the case and will keep you posted!” Recall that last February a civil action was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the ACD Estate by Leslie S. Klinger, who you’ll remember ”seeks to have the Court determine that the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson are no longer protected by federal copyright laws and that writers, filmmakers, and others are free to create new stories about Holmes, Watson, and others of their circle without paying license fees to the current owners of the remaining copyrights.” (Note: The Conan Doyle Estate Ltd (referenced above) is owned by the Arthur Conan Doyle family; not to be confused with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate administered by Andrea Plunket whose late former husband was Sheldon Reynolds, producer of two series of Holmes TV adaptations: 1954-1955 and 1979-1980. Read about Plunket v. Doyle, 2001 here. Thanks to Alistair Duncan for catching my mislinking of the competing Estates.)
Amazon is offering a special edition Kindle version of The Hound of the Baskervilles: The Peter Cushing Centenary Illustrated Edition (Illustrated Sherlock Holmes Inked) “with striking monochrome ink drawings depicting Cushing as Holmes. Many are studies from the classic 1959 Hammer version of the story starring Cushing with Andre Morell as Watson.” Peter Cushing was born in 1913 and even though he departed this mortal coil in 1994, he still exudes a powerful influence on the psyche of Holmes fans, particularly in relation to Holmes adaptations.
[Cover for The Peter Cushing Centenary Illustrated Edition of HOUN available only on Kindle for a 99 cents pittance.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit had their Spring meeting last Saturday (June 15, 2013) with an impressive turnout of 65 Sherlockian souls, with 8 first time attendees. Along with the obligatory toasts (The Woman, Watson’s Second Wife and Mrs Hudson), a quiz and lively discussion of “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet” was had - though the question of “Why banker Holder took the priceless crown home with him instead of leaving it in his bank vault” was discussed, no decisive resolution was achieved. Read on for all the details and thanks to AMS Commissionaire and archivist Chris Music for the link.
The Priory Scholars of NYC announced their ‘Summer Session 2013’ happening on July 28, 2013 in Manhattan. Please visit PSNYC on Facebook for updated announcements and catch them on Twitter @PrioryNYC for Priory Scholars and general scion news.
Amy Thomas reviewed 221B Con and going by posts from Ms Thomas and other attendees the first annual conference was an outrageous success. “As a first fan convention experience, I couldn’t have asked for anything better than 221B Con. I met hundreds of interesting people and enjoyed the special thrill of sharing like-minded interests. I also got to meet many actual, real-life listeners of the Baker Street Babes podcast, which helped me to see that what we do over Skype, sometimes into the night, really means something to people. Without a doubt, the greatest highlight of all was finally meeting four of my fellow Babes in person. They truly are as intelligent, beautiful, and hilarious as I’d always supposed.” Ms Thomas is the author of The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes on MX. On a related note, pull out your calendar and save the date for 221B Con 2014 happening in Atlanta, GA on April 4-6, 2014!
Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place (August 9-11, 2013) is drawing closer, and the excitement is almost palpable when talking to fellow Sherlockians who plan on attending. The Norwegian Explorers, founded in 1948, have a solid reputation for maintaining a rigorous, academic approach to all things Sherlockian and ‘Through Time and Place’ is said to be the apex of said pursuit.
[The Norwegian Explorers’ sponsored Sherlock Holmes conference which is sure to be the social event of the year.]
Nice to see you mention my book! I so much hope you will be able to read it one day. There is so much new information in it.