The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
 

Issue 261

04 April 2006

I give such addresses and prices as I have; if I don’t provide details of importers or agents, it’s because I don’t have those details.

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Further to the brief obit of John Woodnutt in DM 260, Peter Blau reminds me that he also appeared with Clive Merrison and Michael Williams, playing Mr Frankland in The Hound of the Baskervilles on Radio 4.

Alan Fitzpayne, who died on 4 March aged fifty-seven, was a formidable bowler for the PG Wodehouse Society, playing a notable part in the first Victorian Cricket Match in 2001. In 1962, at the age of thirteen, he drove Scotland’s last tram on its final journey from Clydebank to Dalmarnock. [*Thanks to Dennis Collins for the obit from The Scotsman.*] John Junkin (d. 7 March, aged seventy-six) was a prolific comedy scriptwriter, responsible with Denis King for some of my favourite comic songs (‘Moon Over Romford’ and the like). As an actor, he played both comedy and drama; in 1961 he was in the original production of They Might Be Giants with Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop. Bernard Davies has alerted me to the death on 13 March of our member Charlotte Regester, aged eighty-nine. Charlotte was one of the seven participants in the 1978 Swiss Pilgrimage who were also members of the Dracula Society.
To set the record straight about the award made to Vassily Livanov: Alan Tuomey of the Ceremonial Secretariat at the Cabinet Office has confirmed that in February Mr Livanov received an honorary MBE. ‘Because honorary awards are not published in the twice-yearly Honours Lists no citations in respect of them are published... I can tell you, however, that Mr Livanov was honoured for his portrayal of the character Sherlock Holmes in a series of television films made in the former USSR during the period 1979-86.’ Philip Weller reports that Vassily Livanov was nominated by the British Ambassador, who presented the award. (Mr Livanov is an honorary member of The Franco-Midland Hardware Company.)

A couple of other honours got overlooked in the last DM. On 9 February, along with the England cricket team, there were Sherlockians at Buckingham Palace. John Barker, attended by Heather Owen and Shirley Purves, received the OBE, and Nancie Ross, attended by her husband Ken, received the MBE. Belated congratulations!

Sherlock Holmes: The Way of All Flesh by Daniel Ward (Classic Mysteries) is a commendably exciting thriller. In 1886, the murder and mutilation of an Italian diplomat suggests political skulduggery, but when a young solicitor dies a similarly horrible death Holmes suspects something much darker. What he and Watson uncover, at great danger to the doctor, is more reminiscent of Dennis Wheatley than of Conan Doyle, but it is all very well handled. The style is acceptable, and the narrative carries the reader giddily forward. The person behind the outrages proves to be one of the less likely candidates for the Whitechapel murder of 1888, and I’m glad that Mr Ward doesn’t follow that path. You can buy Sherlock Holmes: The Way of All Flesh direct from the author at 78 Byron Gardens, Tilbury, Essex RM18 8BD; send a cheque for £5.00 payable to D Ward. For more information contact Mr Ward at scarlet1881@sherlockholmes.org.uk. The book is also available in large print in the Linford Mystery Series.

Also from Classic Mysteries (www.classicmysteries.co.uk or www.lulu.com/classicmysteries) is Rafe McGregor’s second contemporary thriller The Secret Service. There is a link to his first, The Secret Policeman, though I didn’t grasp the fact until Chapter 9, as this one is set largely in England, with excursions to Ireland and Barbados. Jackson, retired from the South African Secret Service, reluctantly agrees to help thwart Operation Condor, a plan set up by East German security police before the fall of communism and now set in motion by al-Qaeda.He soon discovers that Stasi-trained agents aren’t his only enemies, and that to survive he must out-think his employers. It was a special pleasure for me that Jackson’s mission takes him to a couple of pubs I know, the Red Lion in Colchester and the Sherlock Holmes in London. That’s the only Sherlockian connection, but there’s a better reason for reading the book: Rafe McGregor is a damn’ good storyteller. My only adverse criticism is that The Secret Service is a novella rather than a novel, but made to appear longer by spacing the lines widely.
The Baker Street Boys: The Case of the Captive Clairvoyant (Walker Books Ltd, 87 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5HJ; £4.99) is the second in Anthony Read’s new series based on the television series that he created in 1983. The Irregulars — Wiggins, Queenie, Shiner, Beaver, Sparrow, Rosie and Gertie (yes, the Boys do include three girls, and no, Gertie wasn’t in the TV series) — are as resourceful, independent and likeable as ever in this ingenious tale of a crooked hypnotist and his unwilling accomplice. Lestrade is as supercilious, Holmes as encouraging, and the influence of Moriarty as malign. The atmosphere of the 1890s is as satisfyingly thick as pea soup. A particular appeal of The Baker Street Boys is that their adventures give a refreshingly different view of the great detective and his world.

David Stuart Davies’s second ‘Johnny One-Eye’ novel continues the gripping exploits of the private detective in wartime London, introduced in the pages of Sherlock magazine. Comes the Dark is out now from Robert Hale (Clerkenwell House, Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0HT; £16.99). Its predecessor Forests of the Night will be published in America by St Martin’s Press towards the end of the year, but with a different title. Keep an eye on DSD’s website at www.davidstuartdavies.com.

And from Wordsworth Editions Ltd (8B East Street, Ware, Herts. SG12 9HJ) comes Vintage Mystery & Detective Stories, a huge anthology, nearly 1300 pages, edited by David Stuart Davies. The fifty stories cover the familiar (‘Silver Blaze’, ‘The Problem of Cell 13’), the unfamiliar (‘The Sapient Monkey’, ‘The Gylston Slander’) and even the new (three of DSD’s own tales of Luther Darke). The book concludes with The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume, a novel both praised and panned over the years; I’m with H R F Keating, who ranks it among the best of the pre-Holmes detective stories. Vintage Mystery & Detective Stories is a remarkable bargain at £5.99. The book is dedicated to David’s friends and colleagues on Sherlock magazine.

Hertfordshire A-Z by Pamela Shields (Sutton Publishing Ltd, Phoenix Mill, Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucs. GL5 2BU; £12.99) contains an entry for Sherlock Holmes, but not for Sidney Paget, though it was the latter who actually lived at Chipperfield, near Hemel Hempstead. Peter Sellers was a later resident, and ex-President Carter’s family came from there. The book is a fascinating quirky guide to a frequently overlooked county.

Dr Francis O’Gorman of Leeds University has edited a new annotated edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles, published by Broadview Press at £5.99. It sounds very interesting, but I’m having some difficulty in tracking down the publishers!

E J Wagner’s book The Science of Sherlock Holmes is due this month from John Wiley & Sons (The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester PO19 8SQ) at £13.95. The first chapter is on Wiley’s website at www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471648795.html.

Reviewing Arthur & George, I said that there was no full authoritative account of the Edalji case. It looks as if that situation may have been rectified with Conan Doyle and the Parson’s Son: The Edalji Case by Gordon Weaver (Vanguard Press [Pegasus Elliott MacKenzie], Sheraton House, Castle Park, Cambridge CB3 0AX; £9.99), which draws on newspaper reports, Public Record Office information and other sources.

The Times reports that www.bedbooks.net offers a selection of books with the text printed sideways for bedtime reading. Titles include Pride and Prejudice, The War of the Worlds and ‘two Sherlock Holmes mysteries’.

I D Edrich (17 Selsdon Road, London E11 2QF; phone 020 8989 9541; e-mail idedrich@sherlockholmes.org.uk has many issues of The Strand Magazine for sale at good prices.

Catalogue 133 is available from Nigel Williams Rare Books (25 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4HE;  nwrarebook@sherlockholmes.org.uk). Janus Books (PO Box 40787, Tucson, AZ 85717, USA) aren’t sending out lists now, as the catalogue is on-line at www.biblio.com/bookstores/janus100.html.
From 20 to 22 April Roger Llewellyn will appear in David Stuart Davies’s play Sherlock Holmes — The Last Act! at the Mill Studio at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford; on 28 April he’ll be at The Beaufort, Ebbw Vale.

Teddy Hayes’ musical The Baskerville Beast will be staged on 28 and 29 May at Baskerville Hall Hotel (Clyro Court) during the Hay-on-Wye Festival. See www.thebaskervillebeast.co.uk for details.

Cenarth Fox’s play The Real Sherlock Holmes will begin its third tour of Victoria, Australia in July. The CD of the play (recommended in DM 256) is available in Europe from Fox Plays UK at foxplays@sherlockholmes.org.uk and in America from Classic Specialties at www.sherlock-holmes.com/audio.html.
Tim Evers tells me that in the autumn he and John Patrick Bray will play Holmes and Moriarty in A Problem Presents Itself..., a short silent film in the German expressionist style based on ‘The Final Problem.’. Tim expects to resume touring with his play The Demons of Sherlock Holmes in the autumn as well.
Matthew Booth’s latest Sherlock Holmes play, The Adventure of the Invisible Hand, will be aired by Imagination Theatre on 23 April. See www.harrynile.com.
At www.ourmedia.org/user/27817 you should be able to download Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Garfunkel, an episode in the podcast series The Naked World of Psycho Dave.

Peter Calamai (‘The Leeds Mercury’, BSI) wants to buy a late Victorian issue of, er, The Leeds Mercury. If you can help, please contact Peter at pcalamai@sherlockholmes.org.uk or write to him at 33 Orrin Avenue, Ottawa, Canada K1Y 3X5. He says he’ll make ‘a handsome offer’ to anyone who can provide him with the paper.

Take a look at www.victoriana.com. This is ‘The Victorian Era Online’ covering all sorts of aspects of the nineteenth century (advertising, ceramics, etiquette, photography, and much more) mainly from an American angle.

Rodger Garrick-Steele still hasn’t gone away. In the face of all the evidence against his accusation of plagiarism, adultery and murder against Arthur Conan Doyle, he now claims that Fletcher Robinson’s death certificate is a forgery (Western Morning News, 20 February 2006).

I have a job lot of shirt collars available to whoever would like them, for the cost of postage. They’re all fold-down collars, mostly white, and mostly size 15½. Those that aren’t — a dozen or more — are size 18. If there are no takers I’ll give them to a charity shop.

Country singer, satirist and novelist Kinky Friedman — his books include a series about a detective named Kinky Friedman — is running for governor of Texas with the slogan ‘Why the Hell Not?’ One of his mysteries is entitled Spanking Watson.

Holmes was never known to write when a telegram would serve. The British Post Office abolished its telegram service several years ago. Now Western Union has done the same. I suppose Holmes would use e-mail today — or (horrors!) txt mssgs.

On 29 July The Baker Street Irregulars will sponsor a running of the Silver Blaze at the Saratoga Racetrack in Saratoga, New York. Fuller details are available from Lou Lewis, Chairman of the Silver Blaze Race Committee, at llewis@sherlockholmes.org.uk, or on the website at www.silverblazeny.homestead.com.
The Saratogian for 20 March reports that Dale Easter is looking to sell Professor Moriarty’s restaurant in Saratoga Springs.

Smokers, beleaguered as they are, may like to take note of The Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club of Boston — that’s Boston, Mass, not Boston, Lincs. See the website at www.shpcboston.org.

The Baker Street Gaslighters is (are?) a new group based in Petoskey, MI, founded by Duane Pajak. The first meeting will be on 20 April in the Staffordshire Room at Stafford’s Bay View in Petoskey. E-mail for more information at dpajak@sherlockholmes.org.uk.

Periodicals received: The Baker Street Bugle, 1 January 2006 and 1 March 2006 (The Deerstalkers of Welshpool, Joan & Roy Upton-Holder, Baskerville, 146 Little Henfaes Drive, Welshpool, Powys SY21 7BA). The Baker Street Picayune, vol. II no. 1, 2006 (Le Cercle de Sherlock Holmes (Jens Byskov Jensen, 4324 Loveland Street, Metairie, LA 70006, USA). Bohemian Newsletter, no. 62 (eská spolenost Sherlocka Holmese, Aleš Kolodrubec, Milešovská 1, 130 00 Praha 3, Czech Republic). The Camden House Journal, March 2006 (The Occupants of the Empty House, Debbie Tinsley, PO Box 21, Zeigler, IL 62999, USA). Communication, no. 261 (Special Issue) (The Pleasant Places of Florida, Wanda & Jeff Dow, 1737 Santa Anna Drive, Dunedin, FL 34698, USA). The Formulary, March 2006 (The Friends of Dr Watson, Nino Cirone, 31 Muswell Avenue, Flat 2, London N10 2EB). The Illustrious Clients News, March 2006 (The Illustrious Clients, Steven T Doyle, 9 Calumet Court, Zionsville, IN 46077, USA). Ineffable Twaddle, March 2006 and April 2006 (The Sound of the Baskervilles, Terri Haugen, 3606 Harborcrest Court NW, Gig Harbor, WA 9832-8981, USA).
Mayday Mayday, Chroniclerand Chronicler 2, March 2006  (The Crew of the SS May Day, Oscar Ross, 19 Ardcarn Way, Belfast BT5 7RP). The Petrel Flyer, Spring 2006 (The Stormy Petrels of British Columbia, Len Haffenden, 1026 West Keith Road, North Vancouver, B.C., Canada V7P 3C6). Prescott’s Press, June and March 2006 (The Three Garridebs, Warren Randall, 15 Fawn Lane West, South Setauket, NY 11720-1346, USA). Quivers on the Web, February 2006 (221B, Philip Weller, 6 Bramham Moor, Hill Head, Fareham, Hants. PO14 6RU). The School Report, Spring Term 2006 (The Priory Scholars, Horace L Coates, 21 Butcombe Road, Leicester LE4 0FY). The Serpentine Muse, Spring 2006 (The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, Evelyn Herzog, 301 Warren Ave, #203, Baltimore, MD 21203, USA). 3 Pipe Problem Plugs and Dottles, January - March 2006 (The Nashville Scholars of the Three Pipe Problem, Kay Blocker, 5017 Maywood Drive, Nashville, TN 37211, USA pkblocker@sherlockholmes.org.uk). The Whaling News, January 2006 and February 2006 (The Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn, Michael E Bragg, PO Box 256, St Charles, MO 63302-0256, USA).
And of course Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, February 2006 (Peter E Blau, 7103 Endicott Court, Bethesda, MD 20817-4401, USA; blau7103@sherlockholmes.org.uk).