Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Holmes eternal:

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...

What Rough Beast H. R. Knight Book Review:

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.

The old-folk Holmes loses a step:

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.'

SHERLOCK HOLMES, REVISITED: Mitch Cullin imagines the fictional detective at 93, absorbing loss and protecting desire:

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.

Eeveyone's favorite sleuth - The Washington Times: Books - April 24, 2005:

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 at Box Office Prophets Shiny Things

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

Wrongly jailed man is honoured - Evening Times

"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

Watching the Detective
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 ĂȘtre 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..."