The Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Roger Johnson, Mole End, 41 Sandford Road, Chelmsford CM2 6DE


                                                        no. 196  13 June 2000

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 Sir John Gielgud died last month, in his 96th year. His contributions to the world of Sherlock Holmes were minor events in his mighty career, but his 16 radio outings as the detective, and his 1979 performance as Lord Salisbury in Murder by Decree can still be enjoyed, thanks to audio and video recordings. The Booker Prize winning novelist Penelope Fitzgerald died on 28 April; she was the daughter of E.V. Knox and niece of Ronald A. Knox, founder of the game of Holmesian ‘scholarship’. In 1977 she published The Knox Brothers, a biography of her father and three remarkable uncles.

 Cameron Hollyer (‘The Three Students’, BSI) died a couple of weeks ago. He was largely responsible for making the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at Toronto Reference Library the internationally respected resource that it is today. He was a nice guy as well. A memorial service will be held at 6.30 pm on 19 June at St John’s Norway, Kingston Road at Woodbine, Toronto

 Well done to all who entered our bicentennial competition. You came up with some wonderfully awful opening sentences for your (fortunately apocryphal) Sherlock Holmes stories. Try these:

 ‘Really, Holmes,’ I said to my friend after breakfast one morning, ‘how many times must I tell you that your nasty old pipe gives me such a headache, and it’s absolutely ruining Mrs Hudson’s lovely lace curtains.’ (Eric Monahan). Holmes, waving his egg spoon about, inveighed against the shocking new format adopted by his morning paper, for there was an advert for a sausage merchant on the first page, followed by the likeness of a nubile nude on the next page, and he was hardly mollified when I said, ‘It was the bust of Times, it was the wurst of Times.’ (Frank Darlington). It was a dark and stormy night, and Sherlock Holmes burst into our Baker Street sitting room shouting, ‘I do appreciate you, Watson, I do, I do, I do!’ (Marilyn MacGregor). I found Holmes in a brown study, for it and the sitting room had both been repainted a most unfortunate shade, and the paint in the sitting room was still wet and smelly; the tarps were lying limply over the furniture (truthful tarps being very unusual). (Wayne Swift).

 The joint winners are: ‘Please God, not another case, Watson,’ moaned Sherlock Holmes, shifting the ice bag on his forehead as I passed him the telegram which had just been handed in at the door of 221B Baker Street. (Donald A. Redmond). And: Since the recent death of Sherlock Holmes, I have decided to investigate all future cases myself.’ (Auberon Redfearn). They each win a copy of The Crime and Mystery Book by Ian Ousby.

 Volume 9 of The Shoso-in Bulletin, perhaps the world’s leading international Sherlockian periodical, contains 200 pages of fascinating material from the likes of Paul Smedegaard, Stu Schiffman, John Hall, Eric Monahan, Harada Kakuko, Alan Olding, Jean-Pierre Cagnat, Hirayama Yuichi, Aziz Bin Adam, Michael A. Meer, Rosemary Michaud and Philip Weller - between them covering Canonical exegesis, pastiche, parody, reports on activities in the Sherlockian societies and more beside. Highly recommended! Copies can be had at £7.25 from John Hall (20 Drury Avenue, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 4BR - cheques payable to John Hall), or at $12.00 plus postage from Classic Specialties (P.O. Box 19058, Cincinnati, OH 45219, USA).

 Disjecta Membra, a nice 260-page hardback collection of stories and essays by Eric Monahan, is published by George Vanderburgh’s Battered Silicon Dispatch Box (420 Owen Sound Street, P.O. Box 204, Shelburne, Ontario, Canada L0N 1S0), at US$37.00 post-paid. (*Murder One stocks it, and other dealers may do as well.*) Meanwhile, Eric has issued The Great Fires of London, and The Darlington Substitution Scandal a 36-page booklet containing two clever and entertaining new Holmes stories. Cost including postage is £5.00 or $9.00, direct from Eric (Highcliff, 14 Silver Bridge Close, Broadsands Park, Paignton, Devon TQ4 7NW). Also new from Eric is a Special Edition of The South Devon & Dartmoor Enquirer, a neat single sheet ‘newspaper’, reporting on the Baskerville case. Copies are £1.00 or $1.65 if ordered with the booklet, £1.20 or $2.40 if ordered alone.

 New from Calabash Press (P.O. Box 1360, Ashcroft, B.C., Canada V0K 1A0) is The Irregular Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Ron Weighell, containing the well-received ‘The Case of the Fiery Messengers’ and ‘The Shadow of the Wolf’, along with three new Holmes stories. The cost, excluding postage, is: (hardback) £19.00/ US$30.00/Cdn$40.00; (paperback) £12.50/US$19.50/Cdn$23.50.

 New catalogues are available from Janus Books (P.O. Box 40787, Tucson, AZ 85717, USA; website <>; e-mail <>); Nigel Williams Rare Books (22 & 25 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4HE; website <>; e-mail <>) and Postmortem Books (58 Stanford Avenue, Hassocks, Sussex BN6 8JH; e-mail <>.

 The sale on 15 June at Bloomsbury Book Auctions (3 & 4 Hardwick Street, London EC1R 4RY; phone 020 7833 2637; e-mail <>) will contain over 75 lots of Sherlock Holmes, the property of a private collector. Contact Roddy Newlands for details.

 Forbes and Marie Gibb are between houses at present. Forbes is still acquiring books but won’t issue another catalogue until they’re settled again. (*The temporary address is Flat 37, Chancellor House, 4 Parsonage Square, Glasgow G4 0TH.*)

 Thanks to the initiative of Nick Utechin, BBC Radio 4 will mark the 70th anniversary of Conan Doyle’s death with a series of programmes. Look out for: The Archive Hour: ‘Do What You Like With Him’, 8 - 9 pm, Saturday 1 July (Nick himself surveys Holmesian pastiche and parody); Book at Bedtime, 10.45 - 11 pm, Monday 3 - Friday 7 July (Simon Russell Beale reads five Brigadier Gerard stories); The Secret History of Conan Doyle, 11 - 11.30 am, Tuesday 4 July (Humphrey Carpenter looks at the man and his background; interviews with Charles Foley [ACD’s great-nephew], Owen Dudley Edwards, Richard Lancelyn Green, Catherine Cooke, Jon Lellenberg & Daniel Stashower); The Real Sherlock Holmes, 9 - 9.30 pm, Thursday 6 July (Ruth Dudley Edwards examines the impact of ACD and SH on forensic science; interviewees include Wladimir Bogomoletz). It’s good to see the Beeb paying proper attention to Sir Arthur himself.

 Phil Attwell, who first brought this grand venture to my attention, has also alerted me to a number of interesting websites. Check these out: <>, <www.sherlockbones. com/html/menu.html>, < html>, <>, <home.>, < msherman/holmes.html>, < 980623_holmes/>, <>, <>, <www.>.

 Our Society still has some of the bone china mugs produced for the unveiling of the statue of Holmes in Baker Street. They’re white, with statue silhouette in black, Society logo on the back, and gold trim on handle and rim. A snip at £10.00 ($19.50) each, or £15.00 ($29.00) a pair, including postage, from Lynne Godden, Apple Tree Cottage, Smarden, Ashford, Kent TN27 8QE.

 Over the weekend 14, 15 & 16 July, the National Film Theatre will host Crime Scene 2000, ‘a major festival of crime literature, films and television’. Bookings and information can be had from the NFT box office on 020 7928 3232, or check the website at <>.

 The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 239 Baker Street, in an attempt to rival the Tribute to Jeremy Brett exhibition at the Sherlock Holmes Memorabilia Company opposite, has installed ‘a unique waxworks exhibition of characters and scenes from the popular Sherlock Holmes stories’. (*But what of the unpopular ones, eh?*)

 Now that European Union copyright in Conan Doyle’s writings is due to expire (again), Andrea Plunket is trying desperate measures to continue making money out of other people’s work. She has applied to register the name and image of Sherlock Holmes (and, separately, the Hound of the Baskervilles) as trademarks in the EU, and having already failed once is attempting to register Sherlock Holmes as a trademark in the USA.

 From the Daily Express, 16 May: ‘New Holmes adventures and a big screen outing, I gather, are in the literary estate’s pipeline, along with a worldwide flood of memorabilia. Plunket ... continues: “Sherlock’s image will be updated but not significantly altered - he won’t have Gucci loafers or a Versace beret - he’ll still use English bootmakers and hatters. . . The favourite characters will also be resurrected, such as Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard and there will be a series of children’s books involving the puppies of the original Hound of the Baskervilles.”’  (*Dear God, no!*)

 Charles Hall sends good news from Edinburgh: on 23 May Historic Scotland listed Liberton Bank House as a building of special interest. It’s highly unlikely now that McDonald’s will get permission to demolish or alter this childhood home of Arthur Conan Doyle, though they ‘may try to claim compensation if the decision means their planning bid is turned down.’

 Charles has produced a new version of his handsome Conan Doyle medallion, in resin, with Conan Doyle’s face on one side and the profile of Sherlock Holmes on the other. It’s priced at £3.25, post-paid, from 12 Paisley Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 7JW.

 Douglas Johnstone notes that Orbit Media Ltd has released Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace on video as ORB 0044 at £9.99. Douglas got his copy from Mr Benson, 375 Harrow Road, London W9 3BR (postage £2.50). He says it’s a nice clear print, though still with ‘the dreadful dubbed soundtrack’. (*Orbit’s Screen Classics series includes several of the Rathbone Holmes movies.*)

 Francine Swift notes that the next (and possibly last) Dinner with Sherlock Holmes at the Culinary Institute of America (*the other CIA*) in Hyde Park, New York, will be on Saturday 12 May 2001. Interested parties should contact Albert M. Rosenblatt, BSI now at 300 Freedom Road, Pleasant Valley, NY 12569, USA.

 The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis plan a picnic for 17 June (details from Steven T. Doyle, 540 W. Sycamore Street, Zionsville, IN 46077, USA). That same weekend, The Phoenician Tin Traders and The Franco-Midland Hardware Company will investigate ‘The Devil’s Foot’ country, on and around the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall (Brian Knuckey, 1 Cross Street, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 2EY). Two weeks later (30 June - 2 July) The Poor Folk Upon The Moors will explore the same area in their first weekend expedition (Shirley Purves, Lea House, Couches Lane, Woodbury, Exeter EX5 1HL).

 On 15 July, The Stormy Petrels will hold Lawn Games and BBQ chez Martiné on the borders of Surrey, British Columbia (Fran Martin, 13020 - 104 Avenue, Surrey, B.C., Canada V3T 1T7). The Friends of Dr Watson will hold their Maiwand Luncheon at the Caravan Serai Afghan Restaurant off Baker Street, on 29 July (Richard Stacpoole-Ryding, 14 Western Close, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 4SZ). The same day will see the Film Meeting of The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis (Steven T. Doyle, as above).

 On 25-27 August The Northern Musgraves will visit Arthur Conan Doyle’s alma mater, Stonyhurst School in Lancashire; guests will include Douglas Wilmer, Grant Eustace and Bert Coules (Christine Fell, 13 Greavestown Lane, Lea, Preston, Lancs. PR2 1PD). The Sherlock Holmes Society of London will explore the Country of the Broads on its Sail & Steam excursion, 8 - 10 September; besides ‘The Gloria Scott’ and ‘The Dancing Men’, the weekend will examine Conan Doyle’s own activities in Norfolk (Pamela Bruxner, 2B Hiham Green, Winchelsea, East Sussex TN36 4HB).

 Periodicals received. 3 Pipe Problem Plugs and Dottles, May 2000 (The Nashville Scholars of the Three Pipe Problem, Gael Stahl, 1763 Needmore Road, Old Hickory, TN 37138, USA). The Camden House Journal, May 2000 (The Occupants of the Empty House, P.O. Box 21, Zeigler, IL 62999, USA). Sherlockiana, no. 1, 2000 (Sherlock Holmes Klubben i Danmark, Bjarne Nielsen, Sherlock Holmes Museet, Algade 3, 4500 Nykøbing Sjælland, Denmark). The Parallelogram, May 2000 (The Parallel Case of St Louis, Joseph J. Eckrich, 914 Oakmoor, Fenton, MO 63126, USA). The Formulary, June 2000 (The Friends of Dr Watson, Richard Stacpoole-Ryding, 14 Western Close, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 4SZ) (*includes as a bonus The Maiwand Dispatch, 18 March 2000 [The Watsonians, Susan Diamond, 16W603 3rd Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106-2327, USA]*).

 The School Report, Summer Term 2000 (The Priory Scholars, Horace Coates, 21 Butcombe Road, Leicester LE4 0FY). The Torr, Spring 2000 (The Poor Folk Upon The Moors, Eric Monahan, Highcliff, 14 Silver Bridge Close, Broadsands Park, Paignton, Devon TQ4 7NW). French Holmesian Studies, April-May 2000 (Société Sherlock Holmes de France, Thierry Saint-Joanis, 26 avenue de la République, 75011 Paris, France) (*the first issue of an English language journal from the enterprising French society; it’s stylish, full of interest and good value at 40 francs or 6.10 euros, including postage*). The Baker Street Journal, Spring 2000 (P.O. Box 465, Hanover, PA 17331, USA) (*the first issue under the editorship of Steven Rothman; as always, correspondence for The Baker Street Irregulars should go to Michael Whelan, 7938 Mill Stream Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46278, USA*).

 The Ritual, Spring 2000 (The Northern Musgraves, Paul M. Chapman, Alderley, Chapel Street, Easingwold, North Yorks. YO61 3AF). The Soft-Nosed Bullet-In, Herbst 1999, and The Striking (T)Rifles, Mai 2000 (Von Herder Airguns Ltd, Michael Ross, Postfach 42 06 70, D-50900 Köln, Germany). The Arthur Conan Doyle Research File, 2000 (The Conan Doyle [Crowborough] Establishment, Brian Pugh, Curator, 20 Clare Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1PN). Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, May 2000 (Peter E. Blau, 3900 Tunlaw Road NW #119, Washington, DC 20007-4830, USA).


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