Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (January 5 - January 11, 2013)

As I write this, BSI Weekend 2013 is in full swing. So far I’ve attended The ASH Wednesday Dinner, the Christopher Morley Memorial Walk, a BSJ Cocktail Reception, the Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Ball, the William Gillette Luncheon and the Mysterious Bookshop Open House - not to mention the innumerable small hangout sessions which are truly the glue that holds BSI Weekend together. Tomorrow morning is the hucksters/dealers room at the Roosevelt Hotel where I look forward to meeting many of my favorite Sherlockian authors and Sunday is Lyndsay Faye’s ASH Brunch…and then I’ll pass out for a while, dream about all the excellent Sherlockian fun I just had and then wake up and be inspired for the duration of 2013. Somehow in the middle of all this I managed to put together this Friday Sherlock Links post. Enjoy!

Markings: The Poetry of SH posted the snippet of verse I quoted in last week’s “39 Years Ago Today Vincent Starrett Departed This Mortal Coil” in ’The Poetry of Sherlock Holmes’, Ray Wilcockson’s special ongoing poetry subsection in Markings. First off, thanks to Mr Wilcockson for the quote. While reviewing the quote I re-read a comment I left on said blog in August of 2012 regarding the dramatic change in the presence of poetry in Sherlockian publications: “I’m always surprised at how much Sherlockian poetry (or poetry composed by Sherlockians about Sherlock Holmes, Victorian/Edwardian times, etc.) appeared in the early days of the BSI/BSJ (c.late-40s/50s). By way of example, the current BSJ issue (Summer 2012 - Vol.62, No.2) contains exactly zero (0) lines of poetry, and zero (0) lines of text about poetry. On the other hand, precisely 50 years ago in the BSJ (Vol.12, No.2), we find a page-length poem ‘What Doth the Bee’ by one Charles E. Lauterbach (cited as ”the Poet Laureate of The Baker Street Irregulars“ in his obituary!). Also in the same issue is an extensive piece on T.S. Eliot’s work by noted Eliot scholar Grover Smith.” Poetry isn’t exactly my forte, but I wonder what made Sherlockians (or society/intellectuals/etc.) more inclined to verse (the wonderful to the doggerel) in the days of yore? And speaking of poetry and poets…

[The above image is from Waffle Guppies which has an excellent series of shots featuring poor, opium addicted Victor Savage (Granada’s DYIN) engaged in his final game of 'rug-skatery’ before succumbing Sumatran River Fever. You’ll recall Mr Savage had aspirations to become a poet, contrary to his family's expectations.]

Sherlock Peoria wrote a touching remembrance of Bob Burr (BSI, The Rascally Lascar) who passed beyond the living earlier this week (Jan 9, 2013). Mr Keefauver was a Peorian Sherlockian colleague of the late Mr Burr and my condolences go out to him as well as everyone who had the opportunity to know Robert Burr. I didn’t know the rascally lascar personally but his web presence (on Hounds of the Internet, Sherlock Holmes Social Network, etc.) was much greater than the average Sherlockian, particularly of his generation. Just a few weeks ago I received a book from MX Publishing called The Punishment of Sherlock Holmes compiled by Bob Burr and Philip K Jones which is a hilarious collection of Sherlock Holmes-related puns from a variety of sources, many of which came from Burr himself. I look forward to reading more about The Rascally Lascar in the coming days.

[For Sherlockian punsters everywhere.]

The Final Problem scanned a short Sherlock Hemlock book entitled Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery or The Mystery of the Terrible Mess in My Friend’s Front Yard. Besides the fact that Sherlock Hemlock is one bad ass consulting detective from Sesame StreetThe Final Problem posted the scans because “today was my blog’s first birthday. I got you a present.” Congratulations to the slightly-obsessed-with-The-Reichenbach-Fall BBC Sherlock-inspired blog. Bonus: Check out her recently posted radio show from 1945 “The Notorious Canary Trainer” from The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (with Rathbone & Bruce). The case referred to as that of the Notorious Canary Trainer is an 1895 adventure mentioned in the introduction of “Black Peter” which involved someone named Wilson, a “notorious canary-trainer, [whose arrest] removed a plague-spot from the East End of London." 

[Cover for Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery. Learn more about Sherlock Hemlock at one of the most useful wikis on the entire Internet, the Muppet Wiki!]

Maria Konnikova has generated an unbelievable amount of press over the last week since her book on the links between Holmes and Psychology, Mastermind, was released. Here’s just a sampling (with headlines): Become a 'Mastermind’ with Sherlock Holmes’ help (CNN Living), Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Toronto Star), The Science of Sherlock Holmes (New Scientist), The Brain of Baker Street (WSJ) (the last two also review James O'Brien's The Scientific Sherlock Holmes (2013) from Oxford Press), Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes (A Review) (Big Think), How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Scientific American) and Mastermind (Boston Globe). If you’re still on the fence regarding whether to buy Mastermind or not, this article from Brain Pickings will give you an excellent sense of what you can expect. Also, if you’re sick of reviews read this interview from Psychology Today with Ms Konnikova. Two reviewers I would trust more than almost any one you’re going to find out there (including the illustrious outlets above) are: Jaime Mahoney of Better Holmes & Gardens. Ms Mahoney’s review also includes the UK cover art for Mastermind which is WAY cooler than the US version (cf. below). And also the Well-Read Sherlockian - happy one year blog anniversary! - who gave it a 5 out of 5 and added a bunch of great images and even used footnotes for their highly detailed review.

[UK cover of Mastermind.] 

Dan Andriacco attempts to piece out the reason(s) why Rex Stout did not include a single Sherlock Holmes story in Stout’s personal list of top 10 detective stories (as related by Vincent Starrett in one of his "Books Alive” columns. Mr Andriacco rejects Starrett’s attempt to address this question, though VS’s suggestion that “Holmes himself, the epic creation, is greater than any isolated story about him; the miracle is the entire Holmes saga considered as a unit” is admirable. Why would Rex Stout, an ardent Holmes fan and dyed-in-the-wool Sherlockian, leave the Master off this list? For more Vincent Starrett columns about Sherlock Holmes check out Karen Murdock’s Sherlock Alive from The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, a personal favorite. PS. I am one of the thirty-somethings reading Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels.

[Rex Stout, still a cool dude even if he forgot to put Sherlock Holmes on his Top 10 list.]

Doyleockian mines the Canon for reliable information about the Baker Street Irregulars - the band of street Arabs from the stories, not the organization of Holmes enthusiasts from the the USA - such as “how they were organised and how many of them there were. Were they a set force or were they recruited on an ad-hoc basis?” Mr Duncan’s textually-based conclusions leave us pretty much where we started regarding the number and make-up of the BSI: “Looked at in modern terms you could say that Wiggins was staff and the rest of the irregulars were temps/contractors" and that’s it. Still, Mr Alistair Duncan has inspired me to think a little harder about the place of Holmes’ 'street Arabs’ within the world of the Canon.

[Power shot from The Baker Street Irregulars (2007).]

Quick Sherlock Links:

Humanities in "Long Live Sherlock Holmes” considers the remarkable staying power of Sherlock Holmes who despite being despised and resented by his creator managed to endure in one guise or another the ever changing tastes of generation after generation, only to emerge just as fresh and robust as when we (and Dr Watson) first encounter him in a St Barts laboratory. “It is the paradoxical appeal of Holmes - heroic but repellent, remote but indomitable, machine-like yet persuasively human - that causes him to linger in hearts and minds.”

Baker Street Blog wished a happy birthday to The Great Detective and explained why we chose January 6, 1854 as the date of Sherlock Holmes’ birth. Sherlock. Everywhere. posted a great picture of a Sherlock cake. And the Well-Read Sherlockian wondered about the dangers of lighting 159 candles - also happy one year anniversary to the Well-Read Sherlockian!

[Happy Birthday to Holmes!]

Barefoot on Baker Street asks “Will Mrs Hudson’s Diaries be the next Holmes offering on screen?” Based on the book Mrs Hudson’s Diaries: A View From the Landing of 221B by English comedy writer Barry Cryer, it’s described as “a portrait of life below stairs at 221b Baker Street that is by turns silly, slapstick and sentimental.” As reported earlier here, Dame Judi Dench is supposedly “in line” to play Mrs Hudson. Hmmm…I can see the taglines now: “FUNementary!” “Sherlock HaHaHolmes” and “Dr Wocka-Wocka Watson!” Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be the joke that did nothing in the nighttime (and let’s hope that I’m not writing their copy).

Baker Street Babes hosted a fantastic BSI Weekend 2013 event called The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet which held an auction to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ll be reviewing the event elsewhere, but for now check out the amazing auction catalog. On a personal note, I went home with the painting ’Murray Saving Watson’ by Laurie F Manifold, which a friend won at the auction and presented to me as an early birthday gift. The next day Sherlockian art collector extraordinaire Jerry Margolin offered to buy it from me which I took as the highest compliment possible. 

[Laurie Manifold’s amazing painting of Murray saving Watson at the Battle of Maiwand - an act that not only prevented Watson falling into the hands of the murderous Ghazis, but set off a chain of events which eventually led to Watson “Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.” (STUD)]

io9 wonders “Why can’t any recent Sherlock Holmes adaptation get Irene Adler right?”, pitting Irene Adler of the Canon with various adaptations of The Woman which all seem to fall short somehow, argues the writer. Along with reading the article itself, this post generated at least 130 comments taking one side or the other regarding Ms Adler’s place in the world of Sherlock Holmes.

[Adler in drag pulling the wool over Sherlock Holmes.]

Flavorwire had an operative at the Baker Street Babes Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball who shares their impressions of the wacky world of Sherlockian meetings. As a bonus, they included a slue of quotes from the night presented in an 'overheard at..’ format. Hilarious stuff.

Quill & Quire announced a new Sherlock Holmes exhibit Adventures With Sherlock Holmes at the Toronto Reference Library featuring items from the collection. To celebrate the opening there will be screenings of Murder By Decree and The Real Sherlock Holmes - I assume they mean the 2012 Canadian History Channel documentary - and a lecture on ACD from Doug Wrigglesworth (BSI, The Retired Colourman). The exhibit runs until March 2013. There’s also a short but informative interview with library curator Peggy Purdue about the collection.

Everything Long Beach announced that The Long Beach Shakespeare Company will broadcast an old-time radio show double-feature of Sherlock Holmes mysteries live from the the Richard Goad Theater January 18-20. Audiences can watch as actors perform all sound effects and music for two of tales of intrigue based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.“ The stories are "The Musgrave Ritual” and “The Crooked Man”. It’s fine if you don’t live in Long Beach because “performances will also be available via live webcast.” I’ll remind everyone on next Friday’s Links to tune in.

Girl Meets Sherlock looks at the year in Sherlockian film/tv and applies her 'Three Principles of Adaptations’ when discussing/analyzing them. An insightful read, whether or not you loathe Elementary.

The Week published a short puff piece about the resurgence of Sherlock Holmes with quotes from Les Klinger and - in a shocking revelation - Christopher Morley and Scott Monty’s lovechild Scott Morley! 

[Next time they should talk to my friend Edgar Klinger.]