'Is that true? Are you really him?'
'I am afraid I still hold that distinction.'
'You are Sherlock Holmes? No, I don't believe it.'
'That is quite all right. I scarcely believe it myself.'
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Sunday, May 08, 2005
One hundred-and-fourteen years ago, the evil Professor James Moriarty pitched Sherlock Holmes over Reichenbach Falls in the Swiss Alps. Sherlockians the world 'round have neither forgotten nor forgiven.
That's why you might see as many as 50 ladies and gentlemen in Victorian frock coats, top hats and mourning crepe laboring up the path toward Multnomah Falls this morning, accompanied by a bagpiper. They're members of the Sherlock Holmes Society of Portland Oregon, aka the Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle, and this is their annual Reichenbach Day, which commemorates Holmes' final sad trajectory.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Very nice round-up of recent Sherlockian tomes...
At least a half dozen titles have come my way in the past year alone, the footprints of a gigantic horde. Michael Chabon's The Final Solution (4th Estate, 131 pages, $23.95) is an elegiac and elegant novella that finds an ancient and physically decrepit (never mentally so) Holmes facing the mystery of a mute boy, a talking parrot and the Nazi threat to England. Set just a few years later, in 1947, is U.S, writer Mitch Cullin's affecting A Slight Trick of the Mind (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, 253 pages, $33.95). It follows a 93-year-old Holmes, now sustained by royal jelly (a product of the bees he keeps in retirement) though a three-headed tale which takes him to Japan and back to Baker Street. Both Chabon and Cullin humanize Holmes considerably, while also exploring the effects of age and memory...
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the very popular Sherlock Holmes series, has killed Holmes at Reichenbach Falls and his public clamors for more. During Harry Houdini’s show, Conan Doyle agrees to bring back Holmes to distract the audience from a dangerous situation on stage that may very well kill Houdini. True to form, Houdini escapes and invites Conan Doyle to watch the unmasking of a fake medium. Instead, they unleash chaos.
Houdini, Conan Doyle and a group of acquaintances witness a bizarre and arcane ritual that ends in the release of a demon that possesses one of them and unleashes a siege of madness into staid Victorian London. Each feels first a creative fire and then violent madness. It could be any one of them, and time is running out.
Parodies or other-authored sequels rarely match their originals. That being the case, Cullin still had a unique opportunity to improve his odds. After all, 'A Slight Trick of the Mind' is being touted as the work of an author who, at age 15, explored one of the largest and best collections of Holmes memorabilia. Were not Conan Doyle's own writings on Holmes' personality among the documents? In a 1923 essay, 'The Truth About Sherlock Holmes,' Conan Doyle expresses gratitude to Holmes for being a 'good friend.' But he also insists, 'If I have sometimes been inclined to weary of him, it is because his character admits of no light or shade. He is a calculating machine, and anything you add to that weakens the effect.'
In 'A Slight Trick of the Mind,' Cullin imagines Holmes in 1947, which would make him 93. Holmes is living in the Sussex countryside, retiring to his study every night to deal with reams of correspondence from his admirers. Holmes tosses most letters aside; he has never suffered fools, and old age has made him even more impatient.
Instead, with Watson gone, he finds himself writing about a case from 1902, when he was at the top of his powers.
Review of the new "Annotated Holmes"...
'Mr. Holmes, they are the footprints of a horde of imitators,' one might say of traces left by the many dozens (probably hundreds) of acts of homage, pastiche, and parody that have emerged in the century since Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) finally bid farewell to his immortal creations Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson...
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Sherlock Holmes Mysteries
For a ten-year span - from 1984 to 1994 - the British TV production house Granada Television adapted a number of Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories and novels for the small screen. Starring Jeremy Brett as the master detective, and David Burke and later Edward Hardwicke as his Boswell, the stories were hailed by Sherlockians for being largely faithful adaptations of the Canon (the Universal film series having been updated to then-present-day England). These productions are currently being run by The Biography Channel, and what a delight they are...
Friday, April 08, 2005
"THE first victim of miscarriage of justice in Scotland has been given a tribute in his home city.
Oscar Slater, who with the help of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was pardoned after serving 19 years' hard labour for a murder he didn't commit, has finally been honoured in Glasgow.
A pub in the west end of the city has been re-named "Oscar Slater's" as an unofficial memorial to the man..."
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Sherlock Holmes lives on—in fan societies, annotated versions, and new adventures
From the Village Voice
"...In 1933, Christopher Morley started the Baker Street Irregulars, the first society devoted to the scholarly study of the canon. You may well be aware of it, but did you know that it's one of over 400 active Sherlockian associations? (Scion societies, they're called, and some of them seem to be narrow offshoots indeed. The Companions of Jefferson Hope, headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, is composed of Sherlockians who have had aortic aneurysms. Both the Blanched Soldiers of NOAH and the Sir James Saunders Society are made up of Sherlockian dermatologists. His Last Miaow brings together Sherlockians "who have lived with cats.")
One needn't search for a reason why enthusiasts of any stripe would band together to share their enthusiasm. That noted, it may be said of the Irregulars and its scion societies that their être is possessed of a singular raison. Members prioritize the voluntary suspension of disbelief upon which the enjoyment of fiction is predicated. As far as they're concerned, Holmes and Watson were real people, and the sacred canon consists of Watson's actual reports. Yes, Sir Arthur's name appears as a byline, but he was at once a trusted friend and literary agent, and may indeed have done some editorial tinkering. And either he or Watson has done some fictionalizing, changing names and addresses and disguising circumstances, but surely much of the truth can be ferreted out by painstaking scholarship..."
Thursday, March 24, 2005
"John Gardner, author of 14 original James Bond novels and 2 Bond novelizations, has announced via his official website that he has signed a contract to pen a third book in his series of novels chronicling the nefarious activities of Sherlock Holmes' arch nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, 'The Godfather of the gaslight era.'
Gardner wrote his first two Moriarty novels, The Return of Moriarty (1974) and The Revenge of Moriarty (1975) before he took on duties as Bond novelist in 1981."
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
- View of ‘distorted’ Andaman
No pygmy race has been accounted for in volumes of anthropology. The characteristics fit none of the living tribes. But by 1889, when the Sign of the Four was first published, the distant islands had already gained notoriety in England. They had been colonised in 1789 and abandoned in 1796 due to difficult climate, only to be re-established as a penal colony in 1858.
Holmes reads out this passage from a gazetteer to Watson: “The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth… They are a fierce, morose, and intractable people, though capable of forming most devoted friendships when their confidence has once been gained…”
This lively image fits none of the natives of the Andamans (there is no reference to the Nicobars).
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Mr Boyle said: "I think we should retake Sherlock Holmes. You look at the worldwide web and you will find that all the web businesses based round Sherlock Holmes are in London, they’re in Illinois, they are in Switzerland.
"Sherlock Holmes is a product of Scottish mind, born in Scotland, trained in Scotland.
"Why don’t we own him? It’s perfectly reasonable that you should have large businesses built round Sherlock Holmes in London, but if people want a whole range of things from academic thought to cheap souvenirs, we may as well do that.
Project Gutenberg offers audio book versions of select works in it's enormous collection of public domain texts. Some are available as computer generated readings but the following are the far preferable human read selections they have available.
Browse By Category: Audio Book, human-read - Project Gutenberg:
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (English)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (English)
The Last Bow (English)
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (English)
The Return of Sherlock Holmes (English)
The Sign of the Four (English)
A Study in Scarlet (English)
The Valley of Fear (English)
Thursday, March 17, 2005
It's finally here. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes takes up where the late, and heretofore definitive William Baring-Gould edition left off. Not only do the two volumes offer all the short stories — a volume to be published next year will encompass the four novels — there is an elegant and loving introduction by John Le Carre, of which the above quotes are a fair example, and a preface by editor Leslie Klinger that amounts to a sort of justification for the new edition.
Buy The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories
Sherlock Holmes And The Search For Excalibur
From Press Release...
Luke Steven Fullenkamp has recently published the third and final book in a trilogy continuing the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle left off, reinventing the classic crime solvers and adding enough adventure and romance to introduce Holmes and Watson as they’ve never been seen before...
Fullenkamp has re-imagined the detective characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while adding adventure and romance elements to the mystery core of the classic books. In each of his books, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are sent on daring adventures unlike anything they have ever experienced before.
“Holmes purists of today might very well despise this book because of its fork off of the ‘Doyle’ beaten path,” said William Fox, a reviewer from Los Angeles. “I believe that is what will make thousands more love it. It's a Holmes and Watson who people can relate to, and believe existed! ... Sherlock Holmes has gone from a living calculator to an actual human with emotions and an occasional humor to him.”
Buy Sherlock Holmes And The Search For Excalibur
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
By Laurance R. Doyle
posted: 10 March 2005
06:25 am ET
Author’s note: When I once read that Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes did not care about the Earth’s orbit I thought it might be a good idea to have him collaborate with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. So being in both the "Doyle" and the "Astronomy" Clans, I thought I’d give it a go. So here is the two-part "Case of the Vanishing Robbers" -- Laurance R. Doyle
"But how did the men escape without being noticed? Can they have retraced their footsteps? And the box? And the funny crisscross prints in the mud? And the hole with the metal bottles in it?"
"Now Watson, you know how I dislike to give away the answer before it is time. You have always, I assume, enjoyed, or at least tolerated, my flair for the dramatic up to now. Patience, and you will come to hear it all. But I will tell you this. By the way these men tried to cover their escape, we know that they will undoubtedly try another robbery soon." With that we flagged down a carriage.
"Coachman," said Holmes, "to the Royal Greenwich Observatory. They will certainly be up on such a clear night."
"What?" I said, more than mildly surprised. "I thought you had no interest in astronomy? You once said that it didn’t matter to you whether the Sun went around the Earth, or the Earth around the Sun."
"I may have been premature, Watson. At any rate, it is never too late to learn something new, eh?" he said with a grin. The complicated whims of this man never ceased to surprise me.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Film producer whose Georgy Girl helped to set the tone for Sixties Swinging London
OTTO PLASCHKES was an Austrian-born Jew who escaped the Nazis in the Thirties and helped to define the image of Swinging London in the Sixties when he produced the film Georgy Girl. He worked with such varied British talents as David Lean, Harold Pinter and Ewan McGregor, and it is believed that William Golding used him as the model for the bespectacled schoolboy Piggy in Lord of the Flies, a claim the author apparently never denied...
...Subsequent films include the military drama The Bofors Gun (1968); Butley (1976), which starred Bates as a homosexual teacher and was directed by Harold Pinter; Hopscotch (1980), an espionage comedy with Glenda Jackson and Walter Matthau; and The Holcroft Covenant (1985), a thriller with Michael Caine. There were TV adaptations of The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles (both 1983), with Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Q. You recently wrote that the literary Sherlock Holmes had never been to New York. But wasn't his great portrayer, Basil Rathbone, once arrested in New York
A. He certainly was, on an indecency charge, no less, along with his fellow cast members of "The Captive," when the police shut down that play in 1927.
It was the era of Prohibition, and the administration of the ethically dubious Mayor Jimmy Walker was eager to deflect complaints about bootlegging and bribery by showing it was cracking down on corruption. So the police took it out on Broadway, in a series of raids on "corrupt" productions...