Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Arch Enemies

With the announcement of the "Holmes in the Heartland" symposium returning to St. Louis in 2020 (July 24-26! Mark those calendars!), I can't help but dwell a little bit on their planned theme: "Arch Enemies."

For many a happy Sherlockians, Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty are apt to come immediately to mind. For some others, I'd wager, their first or second thought might be of a fellow Sherlockian. Because, despite the grand "Found my tribe!" aspect of our community, it's not that uncommon to encounter someone who, in a Holmes-Moriarty duality sort of way, becomes your mental arch-enemy.

They may not know they're your arch-enemy. (Probably for the best.) And the person they consider their arch nemesis might not be you. (How do I know they probably have an arch-enemy? Because if they were the kind of sweet and lovely person that doesn't, you wouldn't have chosen them, would you?)  Yet even if it goes unspoken on either side, you know it's there.

Is it bad to have an arch-enemy in your hobby?

Well, unless you're actually plotting criminal acts against them, I don't think so. Finding someone who epitomizes all of the things you feel the need to push back against can be a good way to focus your energies, as long as you don't make it personal and go after them as a fellow human. (Surest sign of going to far down that road: The ad hominem argument -- learn it, don't do it.) And, well, recognizing how someone else is an asshole can help you occasionally not do likewise.

Our Sherlockian culture is always going to make us look at our fellow folk and go, "Who are my Watsons? Who are my Mycrofts? Who are my Moriartys?" It can be a worthwhile exercise, especially in considering your Watsons and Mycrofts. Your Moriarty, however, usually won't have to be sought out . . . that person will make themselves known quick enough. And, unfortunately, probably haunt you for most of your Sherlockian career.

I'm sure a few of us will be considering this topic in depth, as we head for July of 2020. It's going to be a very interesting year. (As if they aren't all, of late!)


Monday, July 15, 2019

Size matters, but for ACD, not in the direction one might think.

There is a level of success in the current literary marketplace where word limits no longer exist. You can see it in many a novel series, as the first books are a fairly reasonable length, then later works meander on and on, giving fans more and editors less to do. Digital books have added an egalitarian aspect to the trend, and the massive novel is everywhere.

This isn't to say that the massive novel didn't exist before this century, but when you look at The Complete Sherlock Holmes filling one thick book with four novels and fifty-six short stories, one has to wonder if all those added pages are worth it. Conan Doyle, as we know, wasn't that fond of Sherlock Holmes and treated him a bit like a trip to the bank as time went on -- get in, do what's necessary to get the cash, get back out again. There was never any worry of Conan Doyle dying before he finished anything, as he finished Sherlock Holmes about four or five times.

And it makes you wonder: Would we treasure Sherlock Holmes so much if he had appeared in a sixty-novel series, with at least four of them being epics perhaps worthy of trilogies?

Conan Doyle packed a lot of depth into what he did write, with details and descriptions that Sherlockians have digested for a hundred years so far. (Almost like the fandom is a Sarlacc Pit, and Sherlock a poor Boba Fett.) It's a quality meal worth savoring, not a massive buffet that leaves you wondering what you just went through and why.

Would Conan Doyle be the same writer in the current marketplace? Would he go all J.K. Rowling as the Sherlock books became more popular, eventually giving us a massive-tome version of "Shoscombe Old Place" with tent camping and the actual trout fishing alluded to in the tale? Would The Hound of the Baskervilles had a second half all about Sir Hugo, just as A Study in Scarlet did about Jefferson Hope?

Doyle wasn't so thrilled with Sherlock, so it's hard to imagine him spending all that time writing an eight-hundred page novel when he could get away with a quarter of the length. He'd try screenplays, of course, just to get the cash-to-words ratio maximized as he did as little with Holmes as he could, perhaps, but we recall how well his ventures into theater went. Maybe movies wouldn't have been his thing. (Unless it turned out he had a talent for directing.)

Conan Doyle was such a master of doing more with less in his prose, that it's hard to imagine just where he'd wind up in the current market. Could he single-handedly bring back the short story? (Is it gone? It seems like it is, commercially.) Or would he pull a George R.R. Martin and let HBO finish out Sherlock for him until he got around to it?

It's an entirely different time than when the Sherlock Holmes stories were first published, and one does have to wonder.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Auto-erotic Asphyxiation in the Canon and other Saturday bits

Today was a good day for a drive down to St. Louis to see my friends in the Parallel Case of that same city.

The Saturday afternoon story discussions at their local library inspired me to help start our own Peoria library discussion group a couple of years back, and the Sherlock Holmes Story Society has been doing quite well. It's quite a different animal than our old scion society, the Hansoms of John Clayton, which often suffered from that malady that a few Sherlockian social clubs have passed through over the years . . . socializing overpowering the Sherlock, with members starting to complain that other things were discussed more than the topic we were nominally there to discuss.

The focus upon a story, without the distractions of wait-staff, guests just along for the ride (or to meet the one semi-celeb in the group), or drinking, is one of the most inspirational parts of the Sherlockian life, when a room full of people try to make sense of all those marvelous details that Watson has put to paper for us. This afternoon, for example, "The Resident Patient" --  normally one of the more slender reeds of the Canon -- brought out all sorts of layers I never considered as being in that story before. Missing time. Important letters with content unknown. Victorian cover-ups of the socially unacceptable parts of life, like death due to auto-erotic asphyxiation.

London criminals were up to all sorts of things, and sometimes Scotland Yard just goes with "Oh, they were on a boat that sunk. Cheers!" (I now have to wonder if  even "a curious newspaper cutting reached us from Buda-Pesth" in another tale was just Lestrade passing on another theory that justice was served, even though criminals escaped, and putting another "Case close" check mark in his file.)

I'll let you find the full write-up when it comes to the Parallelogram blog in the next few days, but suffice it to say that the Parallel Case of St. Louis has it pretty well figured out -- Saturday afternoon dedicated discussion followed by a trip across the street to a nearby whiskey house for drinks and an appetizer or two. (Most of us went for a "retired Sherlock" cocktail called "the Bee's Knees," which is the only drink I've ever encountered that just gets better as the ice melts, thanks to its honey-laced ice cubes.)

Good things coming out of St. Louis these days, and an event in one of our old stomping grounds next year. It made for a very pleasant Saturday.

Oh . . . and did I mention that the next Watsonian Weekly got most of its episode recorded there? Coming soon to a pod-player near you!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Are essay collections replacing journals?

After a deluge of notifications for the Kickstarter project of a book entitled Sherlock Holmes is Everywhere, I started to wonder: Is the book of essay collections replacing the journal as a prime place for Sherlockian non-fiction to be published? (I have to use the word "non-fiction" loosely here, because when one writes about how many times Watson gave someone brandy, it could fall into either camp.)

Once upon a time, a journal was the place to get your article published. It hasn't even been that long since The Baker Street Journal has advertised itself as "the journal of record," emphasizing its old role of being the place to get your work seen. The book collecting many articles by many hands, however, is trending pretty hard of late, however, and as I find myself in the role of journal editor for the John H. Watson Society's The Watsonian this summer, that trend's blip is definitely growing larger on my radar.

The article collection book has been an annual event with at least one publisher, at which point it could almost be defined as a "periodical." (Sherlock Holmes started life in an annual periodical, one may recall.) And yet there remains a few definite distinctions between the two that may give the article collection a definite advantage.

Themes, for one. Getting a listing on Amazon, for another. Fitting nicely on a bookshelf, for a third. (We do like our books.) Periodicals of all sorts have definitely suffered at the hands of the internet, where the latest info hits readers faster than paper-and-ink ever could. But a book is usually built with a more timeless goal in mind.

So where do we go with the journal at this point? Do we just depend upon the loyalty of Sherlockian traditionalists, who just like having things as they've always been? How do we make the not-insubstantial investment of a year's subscription worth a newer Sherlockian's money? And what writers do we serve in helping get there ideas in print? That last question might actually be the key.

The journal is still probably the best place for a new Sherlockian writer to see something published, because a.) You get to invite yourself, and b.) You can write the what you want to write. A good journal doesn't box itself in too tightly with expected content, it welcomes the thing that no one saw coming. A decent editor can help you improve your work, if there was some bit you might have overlooked. (Not saying I'm a decent editor, but I've had some good ones along the way.)

Any print publishing is still a waiting game, in a world where blogging and AO3 can put your stuff out there instantly . . . a luxury I've come to love far too much . . . but if you've got the patience to get your work placed in a printed collection that we know collectors and archives are going to hang on to for as long as they can, the Sherlockian journal is a great way to go.

All that said, here's the details on The Watsonian, a very fine journal that is looking for articles right now. The new editor might still be figuring some things out, so there might be a little patience required there as well, but as it's currently in its seventh year, there is some evidence that this thing has a little longevity going for it. Give it a try, with whatever your special Sherlockian talent might be!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

2019 wrapped in a pretty ribbon

Well, I finally managed to get the ribbons off the Baker Street Almanac 2019 without cutting them.


It was smaller in height and breadth than I'd imagined, after hearing the legends of such a thing existing, and taking a look online. And somehow that just made it all the more fantastical a thing.

The Baker Street Almanac series, if you have managed not to hear of it yet (and given that it's only in its second year, that's entirely possible), is a 296-page compilation of Sherlockian data for the previous year, as well as specific lists that extend beyond that. I could list all the wonders that lay inside, but even that hardly does it justice. Editor Ross Davies calls it a time capsule of the year, which it definitely is, but that seems a bit humble as well.

"Herculean labor of love" might come a bit closer. This is no mere amassing of material, an act by itself that would be worthy of praise. It's all of that amazing amount of material carefully curated and pleasantly formatted into a volume worth having. Material running from the mundane to the controversial, from all over the world, gives you a real feeling for just how big the world of Sherlockiana has become . . . and the Almanac is even staying mostly on the familiar main roads. When one looks at all that's in it, and then starts to consider all of that Sherlock stuff out there that isn't in it, the mind starts to boggle. Sherlock Holmes has indeed become like the stars in the night sky.

The Baker Street Almanac is one of those glorious books that one would like to see continue on indefinitely and grow to cover even more material, but unless Ross Davies is a timelord or immortal vampire with lackeys to do his bidding, the limits of being human cannot compete with what our minds envision. We have to enjoy such treats while they last, be it two years or twenty, so I'd definitely recommend diving into this one, either in paper form or its massive PDF edition. 

But if you can do the paper, having that physical object to remind you it's there, along with the beautiful wrapping job you'll puzzle at trying not to take a scissors to, it's well worth the thirty bucks.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Still puzzling over season four

"Give the people what they want." -- Season Four John
"Never do that, people are stupid." -- Season Four Sherlock

It probably goes without saying that there was some weird stuff going on in season four of BBC Sherlock at this point. This week, however, I read an unrelated tweet that a writer named Sam Sykes put out there while hammered. Don't know anything about the guy, but this sentence seemed to have a certain insight to it:

"The nerds who spend years writing about relationships with fictional people are in a WAY stronger position than the nerds who spend years writing about magic systems."

Sherlock Holmes had people saying "You are a wizard!" to him long before Harry Potter, so, for the sake of Sherlockian matters, let's take the phrase "magic systems" in the quote above and substitute "consulting detective methods." Sherlock's very own magic, as he pulled off his latest "trick."

Mystery writers have been trying to emulate Conan Doyle's skill at pulling off the Sherlock Holmes trick for more than a century. Now TV and movie writers are trying to get there as well . . . and in almost every attempt, attempts to repeat those tricks.

In the era following Sherlock Holmes, mysteries almost would up with a technical quality to them. Read a book like Murder Ink, and you can see them analyzed all sorts of ways. The legacy of the 1940s murder mystery scene is one of the nerdiest areas one can get into. So what does all this have to do with season four of BBC Sherlock?

I think someone was trying to have it all -- relationship stories AND the Sherlock Holmes magic. And trying way too hard at forcing the two together.

All of the original Sherlock Holmes stories had relationship stories in them -- about the clients. Holmes and Watson came in as the frame around those relationship stories. Sherlock didn't spend a whole story tracking down Mrs. Watson. He did set a "Dying Detective" trap using Watson, but it didn't involve a troubled, grieving Watson who had to fly into cathartic violence. And giving Sherlock Holmes an origin mystery that tears through his entire life . . . well, it's hard to be a "wizard" and amaze the client when you are the client and just unveiling your own personal trauma.

Relationship stories can be great. Mystery stories can be great. Something about trying to do Sherlock-level with both at the same time, however?

I have to wonder if that's a dangerous mix.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Elementary, Season Seven, Episode Seven: Dwy (ya gotta harass) 'er?

So, time to stop the Netflix Stranger Things binge to look in on Joan Watson and her Sherlock for this weekend's Elementary watch. SPOILER TIME!

Hey, we're starting with a speech from Captain Dwyer, as he pays tribute to the returning Captain Gregson is a precinct office ceremony with a giant badge for good old "Tommy" Gregson, handed over by Marcus Bell.

That giant badge thing is kinda weird, really.

And Tommy's officers are already starting to quit. Probably going to join the Odin Reichenbach secret conspiracy of justice. Cut to some obviously doomed lowlife, and his girfriend's homecoming money trail to his obvious corpse. Somebody has to die before the opening credits, right? It's like ritual sacrifice.

No Joan or Sherlock in the show yet. I'm going to miss Captain Dwyer, as ol' Tommy Gregson is just soooo sleepy.

Side thought: One would guess that the ratings on this episode, which ran Fourth of July night opposite all the fireworks everywhere, were probably in the toilet. As the only original programming besides televised fireworks, the episode pulled in 2.94 million viewers, with really wasn't that far behind the 3.09 million of the week before. One could theorize that demonstrates Elementary viewers care more about seeing their show than holiday fireworks.

Uh-oh. Gregson is questioning Joan Watson about Captain Dwyer's history of sexual harassment. WHAT THE HELL?!?! First Bill Cosby and now Captain Dwyer? Just goes to show, you can't have heroes anymore, unless they're fictional and their Canon has been sealed for nearly a hundred years.

Joan is questioning Sherlock about Dwyer's alleged harassment now. The main mystery is about drugs, at first, and now about cat allergies. That's our Elementary, jumping from thing to thing, but drugs and cat allergies are really kind of dull for the show's usual choices.

Since Gregson is blaming his officer quitting on potential sexual harassment by Captain Dwyer, without any actual accusation from the officer, I'm still thinking it's a red herring for her joining Odin Reichenbach's crew. Because Reichenbach isn't getting mentioned at all so far, and something in this episode has to tie to his over-arching season plot.

Drugs to cat-allegies to Russian spies to kindergarten class . . . oh, Sherlock, don't you stripper-shame that kindergarten teacher! That's pretty scummy. But Tommy's going to confront Dwyer about his potential sexual harassment, so moving on, Dwyer seems a little offended by the suggestion. I mean, he gave Tommy that giant badge and all.

Gregson and Marcus Bell and Sherlock and Joan have one of those low-voiced four-way conversations that make this a good nine o'clock show -- it won't disturb the neighbors. Kinda making me sleepy, though, like an episode of a certain low-voiced podcast I occasionally check in on. They do like to talk the quiet talk on this show.

But we have Watson working on a bulletin board of conspiracy photos, and Sherlock's explanation of his system. And I do like a tip on Holmesian method.

Holmes: "You've forgotten my new color coding system already: Red lines indicate ownership, blue is a familial relationship, green denotes a financial connection . . ."
Watson: "Pink is for kissing cousins, purple means two suspects same karaoke duets."
Holmes: "You mock me."

Back to our Russian spy lady and Sherlock at a nice coffee shop, where she has a guy blown up across the street by adjusting her scarf. That's pretty sweet.

Oh, but Tommy Gregson is back to chasing down Dwyer's sexual harassment. And the officer leaving is calling the whole department to task for the harassment. Apparently, Gregson was the only guy NOT harassing people, but at least we have an actual accusal now, instead of Gregson making that giant leap just from having someone quit ten minutes after he was back on the force. The writing of this plot thread has left a little to be desired. Not sure how they're going to bring this home.

And, Joan Watson just solve the case by paying attention to her surroundings while Sherlock wasn't. This is definitely not Rathbone and Bruce.

Oooo, cat hair DNA testing to prove a murder. Seems like a little bit of a reach when it actually comes to trial.

Well, Gregson at least got his departing officer to out Dwyer for sending swimsuit photos of her to other officers. She's quitting anyway, because she likes her new job better than hanging around Gregson's precinct.

With that, the show is over, and Odin Reichenbach is nowhere to be seen. Seemed like a bit of a snoozer this week, but with the fireworks going on outside, one could see why they tucked this episode into this particular week. On to next week.













Thursday, July 4, 2019

Acceptance

Looking over one's Sherlockian endeavors, past and present, one question always arises: "Why?"

Yes, yes, we love Sherlock Holmes, et al, but reading and watching Holmes would be enough, if that was all there was to it. Why do we have this need to do something more? Why write articles that a hundred people might read. Why give a talk to a room with a dozen people in it? Why throw things out on the internet with no guarantee of any audience at all?

Dreams of obtaining fame and fortune via Sherlock Holmes are only for the most naive among us, even though some glimmer of that mirage may still flicker in the back-brain of even an old hand. So why do we go that extra mile? Why do we work on bizarre niche projects like ultra-rare-pair fic, chronologies, or deep, deep trivia?  Love of Holmes, yes, but what else? How much of what we do would we do if we were on a desert island with no hope of human contact ever again?

Some of it, perhaps, if we have the time and resources. But a large part of what we do comes from the human connection, I suspect. Not fame, fortune, and the adoration of the masses, but simply to have one other human being go, "Yes! That makes perfect sense! I love that, too!"

It's about acceptance, really. No matter how strange an idea one puts out there regarding this oddball detective guy, you can usually find at least one Sherlockian to accept your thoughts on the matter. And why not? The core of the Canon itself is one regular-seeming British ex-army medico accepting a complete weirdo as not just a friend and companion, but a room-mate. It's all about acceptance.

I was really struck by this fact as we came to the end of Pride month, and the many, many LGBTQIA folk we see represented in Sherlockiana of late. But then, Sherlockiana has always been an accepting community of varied lifestyles of its members. Many of the first folks I met from each of the alphabetic list at the start of this paragraph have been Sherlockians, going far back before the last decade's wave. Sherlockiana accepts those outside the majority fence, because it's a part of the very identity John H. Watson gave us, whether he was gay or straight.

Which is why those little corners of our hobby where acceptance wasn't freely practiced have always irritated just a little more. The gender-specific clubs. The exclusive "right kind of folk" clubs. We don't have many of those, but the ones we do have stick out like a Big Mouth Billy Bass on the wall at 221B Baker Street. And a few folks do seem to get upset when you point that out.

Today, here in America, it isn't just "America Day." It's Independence Day. The day when a young nation stood up to tyranny and said, "Nope!" It was a day when the people of this part of this continent decided to part ways with a king and country that said acceptance was conditional. "You pay your taxes, you bend the knee, then we'll keep accepting you as a part of our empire." Acceptance, you see, is something that you can give yourself. It's the first step toward declaring independence, accepting that you yourself are worth the struggle.

I like where this hobby is headed, when I step back and look at the big picture. The ideas are growing wider, the diversity is getting more varied, and Sherlock Holmes isn't even always a British white dude all the time now. And I think I can accept that.

Happy Independence Day, fellow Sherlockians!  (Even if you're not American, it's still the day we beat those aliens that one time, right?)

Monday, July 1, 2019

An uncelebrated Sherlockian periodical

Last week I ordered the 2019 Baker Street Almanac, based on Rob Nunn's review in this week's episode of the Weekly Watsonian, which takes on the challenge of annually compiling a whole lot of Sherlockian data from each year in book form. It made me start to think about all of the great Sherlockian data sources out there that aren't in print, and, this being the first of the month, I quickly ran into one that definitely qualifies in that category:

The episode notes for the Three Patch Podcast.

Now, if you're not into podcast, you might not be familiar with episode notes. Most are just a summary of the current episode. A recent Pod Save America had two sentences for episode notes. Conan O'Brien has a similar paragraph about his podcast guest, along with contact info (stealing that idea) and links to his sponsors. My Favorite Murder gets by with a brief sentence or two.

The Watsonian Weekly for this week ran simply "We get a gathering of Watsons especially for Pride month, a Jezail bullet review, a review of the year review, a review of an Irene Adler review of Watson, and Watson behaving badly." The Baker Street Babes Podcast, with its return this week, did a better job, with a few more sentences and a link to the topic at hand. I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere has gotten very long of late, adding sponsor and Patreon info. Talk About Sherlock from Mattias Boström does a couple neat paragraphs. I Grok Sherlock does a single paragraph.

But Three Patch Podcast, with a whole month between episodes?

They use their time and numbers well. From the segment timestamps to their final APA citation "how to," it takes about seven scrolling swipes to go end-to-end of their episode notes. Comprehensive shownotes give credits to their many voices, editors, producers, and contributors, of course, but their also give you every possible link to the subjects referenced, the fics they recommend, anything and everything you could want.

If you were on a desert island that somehow allowed only one podcast, but still gave you full internet access, you could entertain yourself for the whole month with everything they give you in those episode notes. Trust me, as a person who attempted to read all of their fic recs in a single month, that is no exaggeration. And it's all formatted perfectly as well!

Ironically, the one piece of info I couldn't find as I went through this month's show notes was a credit to say who created the episode notes. It might fall under some larger set of duties, like the episode producer, and thus no one feels the need to call that person out for that job, but now that I'm producing a couple of podcasts myself, and always dropping in some last-minute bit of so-so copy for notes as I push it to the web, the document that comes out with each Three Patch has entranced me like it's most beautiful character of some fairy tale.

Take a look yourself sometime. It's really something that listeners might gloss over that should be given as much applause as a segment of the podcast itself.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A trip to see Ms. Adler

As bullpup "Calder," reporting for The Watsonian Weekly podcast, I naturally find that reporting their competes with my usual blogging for choice subjects and time. This week, for example you'll find one report on the subject I'm about to write about that is spoken on said podcast, and another which follows here. Here, of course, you get the benefit of links and photos as available.

Saturday, the good Carter and I drove up to Geneseo, Illinois, as we'd heard that Irene Adler was going to be making an appearance in that unlikely-seeming place. No Sherlockian societies up there that I had heard of, but apparently a regular stop for a local historical performer named Laura F. Keyes. Laura had been contributing a lot of good thoughts to our monthly Sherlock Holmes Story Society in recent months, so it seemed high time we made a trip to see a performance. And it was Irene Adler, this time, after all.

A nice drive through the country, a stop for lunch at a beautifully historic bar and grill (Cerno's in Kewanee), a small detour to look at one of my boyhood homes and the former F.U. White Elementary School (including the tiny street a third-grade me was voted crossing guard for), and we wound up at the Geneseo Public Library at the perfect time to get good seats for the show.


The librarian who came out to introduce Irene Adler set the scene as Irene's Paris home in July of 1891, and having all that Adlock shipping that's been programmed into many an elder Sherlockian's brain, I immediately thought, "Sherlock didn't go visit her after Reichenbach, did he?" But as soon as Irene Adler came center stage, I learned it was something that made a lot more sense: July 1891 was when Irene first got to read "A Scandal in Bohemia" in The Strand Magazine. And she was none too pleased with it.

Not that Irene was actually angry about it. She knew the true facts of the matter and had plainly enjoyed her little game with Sherlock Holmes. Her fondness for both the King of Bohemia and Godfrey Norton added many a smile to her memories of what led up to the tale we know, and just being investigated by the great Sherlock Holmes was a point of pride.

To learn about how "A Scandal in Bohemia" went down from Irene's point of view was a most enjoyable, and very fresh, take on a tale we knew so well. More than a few points along the way were new to me, including some bits about her wedding legalities, and there were a couple delightful twists and turns, as one would expect from Irene Adler.

Seeing Canonical characters re-enacted might be something more common for our big city Sherlockian cousins, but seeing an actress take up such a role here in middle Illinois for a one-woman-show is a rare treat. Laura's usual characters are those of a more normal historical nature, such as Mary Todd Lincoln or Laura Ingalls Wilder, and you can read more about her website, laurafkeyes.com .

It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

When fandoms run the world

Something fascinating happened this week that I don't think most folks realized has a bit of a link to our Sherlockian world's potential.

There was . . . and I hope I don't lose you the minute you read these words . . . a couple of presidential debates this week. And one of the candidates up there on that stage had one word under their name, describing their current job: Author.

No past in politics. No past in leadership. Just an author with a fan following.

And that fan following gave that person all that they needed to meet the requirements to be included as a viable candidate for President of the United States. Because, as we've seen very recently, in a large field, an unlikely candidate with a fan following can shove their way into the mainstream.

A fan following. As much as the old curmudgeon contingent likes to harrumph about how inconsequential fans are, we're seeing something exactly the opposite in the real world. Thinking about this for a moment . . . if Benedict Cumberbatch or Neil Gaiman wasn't British-born and had a whim to get on a presidential debate stage, we could have put them there.

Not saying they'd be viable candidates. Not saying that would be the best idea in the world.

But it legitimately could have happened. That's the world we're living in now.

More than a decade ago, I had some fun with a "Sherlock Holmes for President" campaign at local and Sherlockian weekend gatherings. Pure silliness. But we're reaching a point where that kind of silliness starts to seem like it has potential to affect our real lives. Sherlock Holmes, were he able to walk onto a stage, could work his way up to running a country, because he has fans.

People have long compared sports team fandom to political party fandom, and maybe individual politicians have had fandoms since politics was a thing. But it seems like we're seeing something new here. Or maybe just something very old that we didn't realize the power of.

Fandoms! Who knew?

Friday, June 28, 2019

Spin up that ol' Rotary Coffin!

Walp, the latest big name actor to be cast as Sherlock Holmes has the bullseye on his forehead for the naysayers, and once again it's time to wave the Doyle's Rotary Coffin flag and sing a few verses of our movement's anthem, "No Holmes Barred!"

You didn't know that was an anthem one could sing? Give me a minute.

In any case, it's Henry Cavill, the latest cinema Superman, following in the footsteps of Roger Moore, James D'Arcy, Ben Syder, Rupert Everett, and others (Will Ferrell!) who were just too good-looking in the eyes of many to play Sherlock Holmes. (Oh, fuss all you want about how handsome Jeremy Brett was or the beauty of Benedict, but they were those sort of fellows that won you over to their visage -- had they been in the office cube next to you doing accounting, you wouldn't have gave them a second thought, I'd wager.) But now that I've blasphemed in the parentheses, let's move on.

Are we surprised that a former Superman is going to play Sherlock in the upcoming Enola Holmes movie?

Well, we've had an Iron Man Sherlock and a Dr. Strange Sherlock, so our next one pretty much had to be a superhero. So why not have him be the superhero and just get it over with! And while Sherlockians of the sixties easily considered the headcanon of Holmes as a Vulcan, why couldn't he just have been from Krypton? DC Comics has famously done an "Elseworlds" tale where baby Kale-El's rocket landed in Russia and Superman was raised Soviet, so why couldn't that rocketship have landed in Victorian Sussex, England and seen the Superbaby raised by country squires?  (And why hasn't anyone written that fic yet, if they haven't?)  It would explain a whole lot of fireplace poker bending and wanting to fly across London with Watson!

Henry Cavill's upcoming part as Sherlock Holmes is just one more adventure in alternate Sherlocks for the members of Doyle's Rotary Coffin to enjoy. Hollywood hasn't nearly gotten a Sherlock Holmes unlikely enough to fully test our mettle yet, and I say, "Bring it on, Hollywood! We can take it! We're the Sherlockians of 2019! We cut our teeth on Robert Downey Jr.!"

Doyle's Rotary Coffin spins again. And I do love that beautiful, speed-born hum.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Shipping Peterick

One of the very noticeable differences between the way fans relate to BBC Sherlock and and the way they relate to Conan Doyle's original body of work, and that's in the area of shipping. Rare pairs from Sherlock abound. Rare pairs from ACD? Not so much.

And yet, tonight, as our local discussion group discussed "Black Peter," an unlikely couple practically came leaping off the pages at me, and one of those moments of "Why didn't I see that before?" occurred.

"I found out where he was through a sailor man that had met him in London, and down I went to squeeze him."

Awww, such a cute reason for wanting to see someone, isn't it?  Makes you just want to take a trip to squeeze somebody you haven't seen for a while, doesn't it? But it gets better.

Our hero goes down to Sussex to meet this fellow his hasn't seen in years, and they have a nice evening of drinks together. The object of his attentions, we are told, "was ready to give me what would make me free of the sea for life." Think about that phrase for a moment. That's not a dollar amount. That's a lifetime commitment. That's something special.

Now, let's get a little personal. Let's get a little "adult" for a moment.

The next night they're together, someone gets . . . well, let's just say it . . . penetrated.

"Heavens! What a yell he gave," we are told, "and his face gets between me and my sleep!"

Does that not sound like a man in love?

There's something going on behind "The Adventure of Black Peter" that's more than just what we see on the surface. Following the securities and the odd non-reason Sherlock Holmes wants to run off to Norway at the story's end in this account alone give it many a questions. So would it be so unusual to suggest that two men who met in that loneliest of environments, at sea, with that "meet cute" opportunity of the same initials, might not have grown close?

Peter Carey and Patrick Cairns aren't just a rare pair that one might wish could have been together. They are two people who actually were together. How together? Well, there does seem to have been a certain passion there. Eventually crimes of passion, maybe, but passion.

So I'm shipping Peterick now. I mean, just look at them.

The most romantic Paget illustration in the Canon.

Yeah, I think shipping Peterick is going to be part of my headcanon from now on.


Elementary, Season Seven, Episode Six: The name not said.

Odin Reichenbach is in the house, and the whole "previously" segment for this week is much of his scene from last week, a scene which continues for the start of this week's episode.

Here come the spoilers!

Odin Reichenbach is using his user data from Odker to predict future crime. And then making sure someone, not of any official capacity, stops those crimes in any way necessary. He's been doing it for a while, and he wants Sherlock and Joan on his team. He says he's been using a hammer, and he wants to use a scalpel. How Sherlock and Joan would actually work as a scalpel on potential criminals is a little unclear, but they just don't like him.

This makes Reichbach a sort of "reverse Moriarty," if you think about it. Moriarty planned crimes to help them occur so Scotland Yard never knows they exist. Reichenbach reverse-enginners potential criminal plans to stop them before anyone knows they exist. And Sherlock and Joan don't like it.

But, of course, as this is Elementary, Marcus Bell has a case for Holmes and Watson to solve before they can get back to dealing things they don't like.

Joan goes down the Marcus Bell path, and we learn that she can find the porn on your computer faster than anyone.

Sherlock sticks with the Reichenbach business and visits his NSA contact.

Joan and Marcus, however, interview a kink-porn producer. Good old Elementary!

Joan walks in on Sherlock wearing a goofy audio isolation helmet -- her walk-ins on Sherlock doing something off-kilter are the counterpart to Sherlock waking Joan up in weird ways. The show definitely has its comfy tropes.

Case with exotic details, more exotic details, more exotic details . . . Odin Reichenbach!!!

Sherlock has found the flaw in Odin Reichenbach's crime-predicting data-mining scheme, and find that Reichenbach is having innocents killed along with potential criminals: A bug in the master plan. But Sherlock says he and Joan want to join Reichenbach's scheme, if they get to make sure any potential criminal is actually going to do the horrible deed Reichenbach thinks that criminal is going to do. This is like the prequel to Minority Report, if you think about it.

HIPAA laws . . . oh, I do dislike when they bring HIPAA laws into my entertainments. They're not exotic or fun at all. And speaking of no fun, hey, where's Captain Dwyer this episode? Is Gregson still in the hospital? Is Clyde still in London? Odin Reichenbach needs to use his Odker data to predict when characters will come back to Elementary!

It's 9:51, this pregnant woman coming to the interrogation room must be the killer! She dated the heir to the wrestler-and-movie-star Bautista or something. Anyway, Joan Watson and Marcus Bell solve the case, which means Sherlock must be going to talk to Odin to cliff-hang the show.

Oh, no, it's Sherlock revealing the NSA guy is in Odin's pocket. He has a file of all Sherlock's friends and goes "Oh, wait, there's someone missing . . ." and for a moment, I think he's actually going to say "Jamie Moriarty."  But it's just Joan, and the dude is threatening Sherlock's friends.

And, ah, here's Odin Reichenbach, with the quote of the closing scenes: "I can handle Sherlock Holmes."  As much as I hate to use this phrase: Yeah, no.

They have to bring Moriarty back somehow before this is done. Let her get plastic surgery and be a new actress. But ol' Odin may be named Reichenbach, and he's just not the Reichenbach star we want.

Next week at the half hour mark, the final season of Elementary will be half done. On we go.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Two metal Holmes

Sometimes, you just get to sit and look at the things that fill your Sherlock spot.

Any gathering of Sherlock Holmes objects tends to represent a journey, as once your love of the detective and the doctor becomes an active and known pastime, the pair start coming at you from out of the woodwork. And, as a result, just like the cursed objects in Ed and Lorraine Warren's locked trophy room, there is a magic and a story behind every item. (Yes, I'm referring to the characters from the Annabelle movies. And I actually attended a lecture they gave in Peoria in the 1980s, so, like Sherlock Holmes, they do have a certain reality outside the movies.)

Wow, that's a lot of weird build-up just to talk about these two rather unique items.


Each of these was a gift from one of my brothers. 

The Sherlock is a neat piece from one's art-welding period, the Hound of the Baskervilles a special favor one had a friend with access to a computer-guided metal-cutting machine. There's a three and a half foot tall version of that hound that I'm dying to find a way to put on the peak of a roof like a reindeer for some Halloween.

I don't know what sort of image(s) my brother used to concoct his Sherlock Holmes, but it's a lovely little piece in that it's not like anything else. The Hound, however, has very specific origins.

When St. Louis Sherlockian societies were teaming up for an event called "Weekend at Baskerville Hall," a logo was needed and I fussed with a piece of panther artwork and turned a cat into a dog. The image appeared on tote bags, programs, and the podium, thanks to an ad agency friend who was creating some marvelous bits for us back then. (His sixty story "Wheel of Sherlock" was something I wish I had talked him into letting me hang onto -- it was a beautiful thing where spinning the sixty stories would bring one up in Basil Rathbone's magnifying glass, and would impressively grace any Sherlockian game show, as it did back in the day, even now. But I digress.

Which, I guess, is where I started this ramble, from just looking at my shelves a little too long. It's been quite a journey with friend Sherlock, with, hopefully a lot of goodness left to come.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Toward a larger Sherlockian faith

"No Holmes barred," states the motto of Doyle's Rotary Coffin. "All Sherlock Holmes is good Sherlock Holmes," say the Baker Street Babes. It's almost like there's a movement within Sherlockiana these days, foist upon us by our over-abundance of major media Sherlocks. So many Sherlocks well all know, so many Sherlocks for each of us to choose as our favorite. If our common bonds of Sherlockiana were to stay intact, acceptance of different screen Sherlocks was bound to develop.

Musing during mowing tonight, as I tend to do, I couldn't help but see a parallel to Universalism and the path that particular religious outlook. Universalism, if you've never run across it, is the idea that everybody goes to Heaven. Everybody. And once that thought entered the denomination, it was followed by the acceptance of other religions as just as valid faiths as well. If everybody went to Heaven, you could be a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Wiccan, or even an atheist, and that was okay.

So now that we're starting to accept other Sherlocks as valid Sherlockian choices, perhaps there's room to accept our other choices as Sherlockians as well.

More than one Sherlockian who's been around a bit has remarked that Sherlockiana lot a little fun when things became "important" at some point. The word "scholarship" said with tongue in cheek began to be occasionally replaced by a more serious pronunciation. Enough time past that Conan Doyle went from celebrity to historical figure, and attention to him went from paparazzi press to academic professionals.And as that transition slowly took place, the word "pastiche" took on uglier and uglier tones. And then came pastiche done for the sheer joy of it, not passing through publishing houses or editors, but just made available for reading to anyone who might find pleasure in it. And a few folks started to get uppity about fan fiction.

Is an essay accompanying a manuscript reproduction more important than a two-hundred-and-twenty-one chapter novel of a Sherlock Holmes in a world with three genders? Both are giving pleasure to someone. Both have a proud author behind each, happy to put their work out there. And important?

Let's be serious here: Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character. The only importance in anything to do with him is how much he means to each of us, in whatever way he brings us joy. Whether it's as a reason to explore history's fascinating little corners or to explore the relationship between two human beings who are so, so different. Both have value. Both have use.

Importance, value, significance. There are a lot of paths to finding objects that you could use those words to define using Sherlock Holmes as a tool. There are a lot of paths to finding things within ourselves that you could use those words to define using Sherlock Holmes as a tool.

Yes, I said Sherlock Holmes is a tool. Don't let your love of him turn you into one. We all have our moments, but there's no reason to commit to it as a lifestyle choice. Because, like the Universalists, I think we'd all like to believe that every Sherlockian can get into that Heaven we call 221B Baker Street, no matter who they are, no matter how they enjoy spending their time with Holmes.

All Sherlockiana is good Sherlockiana, I think. Even those hollow chocolate Easter bunnies, created by someone in the candy business whose only outlet for their love was holiday candy. Somebody should learn that person's story someday. I'd really like to hear it.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Enjoying the Hound's pup-ularity on stage again

Last night, Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery opened in Peoria, at our Corn Stock Theater, where plays have been performed in a tent in the park for sixty-six years as of this writing. A co-worker had asked me if it was a popular play, and I had to say "Yes, but not in the way you normally think."

Baskerville first played about a month before Hamilton's first performance in 2015. Hamilton went to Broadway, showed up quickly at the Tony Awards, and now plays in big cities like Chicago for nearly $200 a ticket. Baskerville opened in Washington, DC. soon went to San Diego, California and is now playing nearly everywhere for prices like the seventeen dollars a ticket that I paid last night.

So, popular? Maybe not in the big-ticket, Broadway sense, but on the community theater circuit, hitting every town with five talented actors and a bit of a budget? Yes, very popular. I suspect Ken Ludwig is doing all right.

Last night was my second time at Baskerville, as I had first seen it in St. Louis in October of 2017.  It's interesting to note that at it's Washington premiere, in St. Louis, and here in Peoria, all three performances had women directing, which makes a statement about who quietly does so much of the work in this country while another gender dominates award shows and puts their names in front of plays. Susan Hazzard, who directed in Peoria, let her actors off the chain a little more at Corn Stock Theater than we had seen in St. Louis. I noted then how that production kept it more Holmes than farce, where Peoria's performance went more broadly into comic bits, even adding some in points where St. Louis didn't go for it.

Baskerville is an interesting play in that even though Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are the main characters, the other three actors in the play wind up being the real stars as they roll through dozens of other characters to fill out a really true-to-the-original-novel adaptation. That's not to say Sherlock Holmes, played here by Nathan Apodaca, and John Watson, played here by Jerrod Barth, are not roles worth taking. I was very impressed by both American actors' ability to do something that conveyed a British accent without totally going into something that would sound cheesy or laughable it itself.

That was for the other actors, Zachary Robertson, Jacob V. Uhlman, and Anna Oxborrow, who each got to romp through accent after accent and voice after voice with a happy enthusiasm. Of particular note to Peoria, where our currently-on-hiatus Sherlockian society, the Hansoms of John Clayton, was Anna Oxborrow's part as a gender-swapped cabbie John Clayton (who I'm now calling "Joan Clayton" in tribute to Elementary, even though the character isn't named in the play, I think). Joan Clayton had an eye patch among the other bits in this version of the character, a first that I recall, having followed Clayton's appearances in illustrations and adaptations for decades.

It was a great opening night performance in the Corn Stock tent, and also great to note that The Hound of the Baskervilles is still finding a popular place in our culture after over a century, hitting local theater companies like Peoria's with something new and fun we don't have to go to Chicago and shell out a day's pay just to see. It was also great to get out to the tent for a summer crowd-pleaser, as the good Carter and I usually hit Corn Stock's smaller winter theater with its often more unusual choices. I might have to get out to see this one again.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Elementary, Season Seven, Episode Five: Who is Odin Reichenbach?

Odin Reichenbach is coming! Odin Reichenbach is coming!

At least that's what the episode guides are telling me about tonight's episode of CBS Elementary, "Into The Woods." This season has had a really good flow of ongoing over-plot, and Odin Reichenbach is the big bad foreshadowed since way back, and since his name is "Reichenbach," well, here we go! (RANDOM SPOILERS AHEAD!)

"Odker" is apparently Odin Reichenbach's company and he's here from the start, doing his Ted Talk sort of thing. "Simple solutions for complicated problems." It's James Frain, fresh from playing Sarek, Spock's father, on Star Trek: Discovery, so he's potentially got "Sherlock Holmes descendent" on his resume. (Hey, who's to say the Holmes blood had to come from the human mother? Maybe there were a few human-lovers in that bloodline!) I know him better as Theo Galavan on Fox's Gotham, and season that with Orphan Black and The Cape, and you've got a great villain-actor ready to fill the Moriarty void. Can he?

A jogger dies just like Gustav Klinger did in Holmes and Watson, so the plot is already off to a great Sherlockian start. "Copy an 'A,' get an 'A," as a favorite podcaster of mine likes to say.

Odin Reichenbach has summoned Joan Watson out to his archery range with a donation to her gun buyback foundation to see if she can find who wants to kidnap Reichenbach's niece. She wants to help, Sherlock doesn't, and Sherlock thinks Joan wants to have sex with Odin Reichenbach -- a throwback to earlier days in the partnership, when he was always making little remarks about her sex life. Though since she did sleep with his brother Mycroft, well . . . .

Anyway, a murdered hog enters the murdered jogger plot, aside from Odin's problem, but that's the filler case, in my book. O-DIN! O-DIN!

Detective Bell is smart, he's going to a bar to wait until this part of the plot is over and we get back to Odin . . . and we do! Odin Reichenbach tells us his secret to life: Eight hours sleep!

Holmes and Watson go through every computer of every worker in Odin's office, which seems like a task of ridiculous complicatedness, and Sherlock even looks at non-computer things too. And then jumps into bed with Joan to answer a phone call, with is one of his most hysterical wake-up shtick bits, mainly because of how well it's directed. Who directed this one? Missed it in the credits, and will have to check later.

Man, this episode is doing the pinball-from-one-colorful-crime-thing-to-another like mad. Wine thief shooting man in the mouth, secret poker game, ricin poisoner coming for a hedge fund manager, bing-bang-boom! Wine auction! Tuxedoes! Joan's blonde hair with a bright red dress with dual skirt layers! O-DIN! O-DIN!

Not being very Zen tonight, or maybe too Zen. Enjoying the moments so much I'm ignoring the plot. Bad Sherlockian! Bad!

Still loving Marcus Bell's haircut this season. Looks good with a tux. They're really having fun this season, I think.

And Captain Dwyer is still around. Rather than investigating along with Holmes and Watson like Gregson, his role seems to be as a much needed Watson, to ask questions in disbelief.

"Reichenback" . . . Sherlock Holmes actually just pronounced it "Reichenback!"

He is a little irritated with Odin, as Odin Reichenbach created a false case just to test Holmes and Watson's skills, apparently wanting to recruit them for his larger purposes, which seem to have to do with everything that's gone on in the over-arching season plot so far.

Curious to see how Reichenback falls. (C'mon, the whole season has to be leading up to that joke, right? Remember, you heard it here first!)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

"Disregarding my remonstrance"

"My dear Holmes!" Watson exclaims.

". . . he continued, disregarding my remonstrance," he then writes in his pubic journal.

But Sherlock Holmes is not the only person to disregard our good John Watson.

"Disregarding my presence, she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress."

Mary Holder, all pale and goth-looking as can be, also doesn't seem to see Watson as a factor, until he's specifically pointed out. Almost purposefully, one might think. It's interesting that we always try to lump the folk with last names beginning with "Mor" together, but leave the "Hol" folk out of it. Holmes, Holder, Holdernesse . . . what commonalities might those named have shared? An occasional disregard for Watson, perhaps?

At least Sherlock was just disregarding Watson's criticism of his behaviour and not any offers of social niceties like he does when villains try to shake his hand. Holmes disregards the offer of Silas Brown's trembling hand as he departs for King's Pyland. He disregards Charles Augustus Milverton's attempt at a handshake. But maybe they're just blusterers.

"I disregard the blusterer," Holmes stated, as he pointed out Baron Gruner is probably not one.

Still, a remonstrance is not a bluster, so Watson didn't fall under that category of disregard. Just that common disregard found in any long-term couple where, every now and then, protests of some disagreeable behavior gets ignored by the behavee.

It's interesting that Watson finds the offense that sparked Holmes's disregard of his remonstrance (a phrase I enjoy so thoroughly that I'm going on about it here) in Sherlock's deductions about Henry Baker from his hat. This isn't like the time when Holmes goes off about Watson's brother's watch -- no, Holmes is talking about a complete stranger, unknown to both himself and Watson.

Is is the stranger's decline in fortunes? The way Holmes suggests it was "probably drink" that was sending the fellow down a bad road? Or Holmes's very last comment, that the stranger's wife has obviously ceased to love him.

Since Watson isn't triggered any sooner, we have to believe it's that last bit. Watson is stung at the thought a man's wife doesn't love him any more, especially when that judgment is being made by Sherlock Holmes. Think about this for a moment: John Watson knows Sherlock Holmes as a man who can effectively read thoughts from trifles. The thought that Sherlock can tell that the stranger's wife doesn't love him, for certain, has to be disturbing to a man who harbors doubts of his wife's current affection. Holmes must surely know something about it!

In December of 1889, according to my own timeline of Watson's life, he volunteered to go off with Henry Baskerville to spend weeks in Dartmoor and away from London during September and October -- at a time when he would definitely seem to have been a married man. A sure sign of trouble in paradise, and something that would have Watson very sensitive about the alienated affections of a wife come December.

Holmes may have disregarded Watson's remonstrance, but I don't think we Watsonians can. What do you think?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Elementary, Season Seven, Episode Four: The patterns hold as the farewell tour continues.

What? A coffin?

Damn, Elementary just spoilers itself . . . oh, wait, it's a dream! Get ready for spoiler talk, it's about to get crazy here.

Sherlock is standing over Gregson's coffin at his gravesight, and the lovable Captain Dwyer is killed by a clown with an axe before Sherlock awakes in the steampunk-looking isolation tank that he apparently sleeps in. (Did I miss something along the six seasons? Probably.)

But in reality, Gregson is awaking from his coma, Sherlock is happy, Gregson is happy, happy music is playing, and Elementary has its happiest moment ever, before the woman who is playing the happy music in her panel van has a fatal crash in front of three girls having an evening out. Someone bolts from the panel van, and we have our mystery for the week laid out pre-credits. The van blows up.

This week's mystery rolls off last week's quite nicely -- and it's directed by Jonny Lee Miller -- Elementary's final season is just having all sorts of fun and tying itself back to past tales.

Captain Gregson has police files in his hospital bed and is helping with his own shooting with an oxygen tube under his nose.

Former gang member Halcon, who appeared in episodes in 2016 and 2017, is back, sans face tattoos and coaching kids soccer now, a subject Sherlock has definite ideas on player configurations for. Nice to see the show letting a recurring character go out on a happy note. And, speaking of happy notes, Captain Dwyer is still alive! And letting Sherlock and Joan know feds are filling the precinct conference room . . . which is very handy, because Sherlock wants to accuse them of setting up a fake terrorist incident to boost their budget! Shades of The Long Kiss Goodnight!

But Sherlock is only doing it to test their reactions, and Captain Dwyer gives them a good "What the hell were you thinking?" for it, and Sherlock says he hasn't ruled out the attorney general. These days, maybe not a bad thought on his part. But Sherlock's play eliminates the FBI task force down to a single agent to talk to, and she has some important info about hacked traffic lights.

I knew it! "Everyone" is coming back, because Sherlock is doing something ridiculous at their orders. They want him to fill his isolation tank, and Joan's toilet tank, with red jello. Never liked Everyone, the cheap copy of Anonymous, that seems to enjoy humiliating this Sherlock in ways that would make a Professor Moriarty feel like an also-ran. He just can't seem to deal with them other than bowing to their wishes.

Genital moles and a flame war help Anonymous lead Sherlock to the hacker involved, who helps Sherlock and the NSA check traffic lights for hacking . . . at this point, hacking traffic lights has become such a TV/movie trope that this part of the plot seems almost nostalgic. They must teach traffic lights in Hacker 101 if you're in a TV/movie universe.

With an ad for a series called Evil touted as coming in the fall, it looks like CBS is filling their Sherlock void with the dark side. Hmm.

Perhaps the biggest difference between ACD Canon Sherlock and CBS Elementary Sherlock is that in the Canon, Holmes usually seemed in control of everything, and holding his cards close until his lays it all out at the end. Jonny Lee Miller's character pinballs from one weirdness to another, one possible plot to another, with the other main characters doing as much investigating as he does, and contributing to that final explanation. Marcus Bell gets his bit in with a truckload of elevators and a construction company before passing the ball back to Sherlock for a twist.

Then the show hands off to Joan Watson to interview a shooter's wife as the season's ongoing mystery comes back into focus and Joan looks into the shooter's video game chat -- another Elementary habit, pulling in what the kids are up to these days for its viewers. They should get Everyone to follow up the video game chat connection (and maybe they will), but the show tosses back to Sherlock.

Marcus is calling Sherlock "Mr. Holmes" a lot during their interview with the true villain, whom we only meet during the show's finale. Mr. Holmes being the name of the Sherlock-in-retirement feature film, it's almost like a nod to the fact that it's the show's final season.

Joan Watson wheels Captain Gregson around the hospital while they discuss the ongoing plot, but the bad guys are having their own discussion about it in prison -- and are pointing their bosses at Joan. The show actually shows the bosses' phone number as 347-555-0189, but it's in the list of numbers reserved for fictional phone numbers, so don't bother trying to call them yourself.

And next week, Sherlock and Joan investigate a hog's murder, according to the teaser, and we're out!

Elementary continues to fire on all cylinders for what seems like its best season ever, and actually held my interest all episode, something it used to have a hard time doing, even with all the shiny objects it liked to throw out. Jonny Lee Miller has some talents as a director, as that is always the one magic element that makes or breaks any TV show of movie episode once the parts and pieces are all assembled, and this episode certainly played the hand it was dealt very well.

Nine episodes left.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Angels and demons of the Canon

With Neil Gaiman's Good Omens currently the strong contender for " non-Sherlockian characters getting the most attention at the next 221B Con," it seems like a good time to look back at the angels and demons inhabiting the original ACD Canon.

We have to first eliminate the angels-in-name-only, like the Avenging Angels and Hosmer Angel. And then we must eliminate those objects of male affection, Violet Smith and Brenda Tregennis of "Solitary Cyclist" and "Devil's Foot" respectively. It's more interesting when Sherlock Holmes refers to Violet DeMerville as an angel in "Illustrious Client, in comparing her to her "caveman" boyfriend, but still, doesn't seem too far from the woman-as-angels trope.

An even more interesting example of the trope comes in "Cardboard Box," as we get both an angel and a devil in one description: "There were three sisters altogether. The old one was a good woman, the second was a devil, and the third was an angel."

The one non-woman who gets called an angel by a potential love interest is Leonardo the strongman from "Veiled Lodger," whom Eugenia Ronder compares to the angel Gabriel.

And demons? You want demons?  Jephro Rucastle could have the face of a demon. ("Copper Beeches.")  Alec Cunningham was a "perfect demon" in "Reigate Squires." Josiah Amberley of "Retired Colourman" showed himself as "a misshapen demon with a soul as twisted as his body." No female demons in the Canon? Hmmm. Let's check one more spot.

Where we get our best Good Omens parallel for an actual angel and actual demon comes, of course, in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

John Watson wonders if the man seen silhouetted by the moon is a guardian angel when out on the moor with demon hound concerns. The convict on the moor was thought half animal and half demon by everyone but his sister, and given that there's supposed to be an actual demon hound roaming the moor, the possibility arises that the true hound of the Baskervilles was a female demon and that Selden the convict is actually a son-of-a-bitch.

The thought of an angel Sherlock and a human-transformed demon hound sitting on the moor and having a pleasant conversation about what is really going on around Dartmoor is the perfect Good Omens style scene. And kind of a nice one, at that, almost fitting the tale perfectly.

Man, if I was an artist, I'd totally draw that.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Watson towns

Odd that I've been to Watson, Oklahoma, but not Watson, Illinois.

The Oklahoma Watson was part of a grand tour organized by the energetic Don Hobbs, who was recognized in that village, even as we gazed upon the "Watson Tigers" team logo on the side of the local elementary school, closed for the summer at that point.

Watson, Illinois . . . well, thanks to Google's street view, I now know this much about it:


Watson, quite appropriately, is "NO place for DRUGS."  Brandy, however, is something they surely look more kindly upon, I would bet.

My friend John Holliday had started planning little jaunts to nearby towns with Canonical names to see what related Canonical details he could find in those towns. (And in a town this small, it can be pretty tricky.) And I'm pretty sure this one is in his sites, so I'll have to check with him on that soon.

As with Sherlock, Texas, the spot on the map that turned out to be just a railroad switching point on that previous Hobbs tour, Watson, Illinois finds its origins in the railroads as well: The town is named after a railroad official named George Watson.

All very tangential to the subject of Sherlock Holmes, I know, but as the Watsonian Weekly podcast continues along its merry course, I have a feeling I may be winding up in a few places I didn't expect.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Societies in our society of Sherlockians

I'm always pondering "Sherlockiana then" versus "Sherlockiana now," and yesterday I was remembering how I used to belong to a dozen Sherlock Holmes societies.

I didn't attend their meetings, of course, but back in the eighties, you joined clubs just to get their publications. Newsletters and journals were our main information exchange source, pre-internet, so you wanted those, even if you knew you could never get to one of the club's meetings. And the dues of most clubs were pretty affordable. You could pile up a dozen annual dues-bills without killing too much of a twenty-something's hourly wage.

But now we have this lovely free information exchange called the internet. Newsletters and journal seem almost as much an affectation as carrying a pocket-watch. Yes, physical media does still have value, not going to argue that, but we don't have to go the ink-on-paper route as our only recourse anymore. And doing so definitely raises the price of admission.

And now we have a lot of other interesting innovations available for Sherlockian enterprise, like tiered rewards. I don't think we've seen a Sherlockian group take a Patreon-style membership model yet: One buck a month gets you a membership card (remember those?) and online access, five bucks a month gets you a print journal, twenty bucks a month gets you into the annual symposium, something like that.

But what does membership mean, really? It's something to contemplate as we reach 2020, rather than following 1980 models out of habit. We're all Sherlockians, a specialty rare enough to give us a common bond. Being in a particular sub-group of that class, getting some abstract club identity and being able to utter the near-nonsensical "I'm a Hansom of John Clayton!" . . . well, it's a subject worth pondering the deeper meanings of now and then, especially now that our web connections have made us all a little less region-specific. A local club is still a local club, but when you move beyond local, what then?

We've seen podcasts form communities out of thin air in places where there weren't even fandoms before. We've seen friendships form without a face, a name, or a physical location. We've seen a lot of things that are worth considering in pondering what a modern association of Sherlock Holmes followers could be. But certain central considerations apply, like . . . .

Why are we connecting and what enhances those connections? How niche is "niche" and what "of the moment" trends are a part of the longer journey and what will pass? And what do we hold on to, and what can we actually let go at this point?

We live in a world of both challenge and opportunity, so much so that even saying that seems trite. But Sherlockiana is up for it, I think.

Elementary, Season Seven, Episode Three: The sassy captain!

Shave-headed white guys are easily swayed by Morland Holmes's evil son's blackmail.

WHOA! This week's Elementary starts off a little dark -- after turning himself into the FBI at the end of last episode, Sherlock Holmes apparently had no intention of letting the American justice system do its thing. But using blackmail to get the FBI off his back until he leaves the country? If a person didn't know he's supposed to be the good guy in this show, one might think he's the villain.

Get ready for spoilers and random reactions, it's an early morning Elementary watch.

Weird that Sherlock seems to be investigating for(?) Morland this week. I thought he was sticking around for the Captain Gregson business. Hopefully it'll connect, but that is always the one flaw with a procedural -- ongoing plots always get sidetracked by the story of the week. So this week we're seeing why a guy got squished by a statue.

Reference to "The Retired Colourman!" -- this season is Canon-reference crazy!

And Joan Watson shows up with those sort of big pants that look like they're part-skirt. And a bit circus-based. Sorry, Joan, I like the black top, though. Poor Joan has to spend her first five minutes just going "What are you doing now, Sherlock?" Furniture reappearing in the brownstone, taking the case of the squashed man, the FBI ploy.

Detective Bell and Joan go investigate a non-burglary burglary, but then he wants to print his date tickets in his own ploy to get into the brownstone and hug Sherlock. Not enough hugs on these shows, so it's nice. Did Bell really have a date? Doesn't matter, but good to see he's no dummy. This show really needs a dummy, or are we done using dummies for comic relief these days. (And I mean the human kind, not wax.)

Is Clyde still in London? Sorry, nothing to do with the episode, but I have to wonder. He's Clyde after all. And no dummy, either.

More possible blackmail, but this time it's not Sherlock, thank goodness.

Oh, wait, sassy old cop, giving Joan grief -- Captain Dwyer replacing comatose Captain Gregson. I like this guy. "I forget, you the one that murdered that guy, or was that your partner?" I love this guy!

"What the hell is all this?" Oh, I do love this guy. It's like he dropped into this show from another show and the characters don't quite know what to do with him. Forget having a dummy on this show, having a character who will call these characters on their quiet-talking, standard routines could be fun. More Captain Dwyer! More Captain Dwyer!

Aura Swenson looted antiquities. "They've agreed to give us full access to her unit." How did Bell utter that line with a straight face. Aura is played by Kate Middleton -- not that Kate Middleton. Bet that gives her a lot of grief. Ethiopia figures a lot in this . . . and the odor of methane gas is a big clue. [Insert flatulence joke here.]

Captain Dwyer, the new Gregson, is played by Rob Bartlett, who is apparently an old radio guy from "Imus in the Morning," something that probably means more to a particular city's radio listeners. He also portrayed Elvis on WWE Raw (a wrestling show). Hope he's not just one-appearance stunt casting.

The Ethiopian consul is doing a fun fake French accent with a lot of "zee" and "zat" usage.

Hmm, Joan's liking black and white outfits this episode. Somebody could do some real deep dives on her fashions in this series. Are there patterns? One wonders.

Morland Holmes, head of an international crime syndicate, gets some more mention. How this Sherlock just sits around going "Oh, yeah, my dad's a master criminal, but I'll just consult for NYPD and Scotland Yard," I don't know. Sherlock is going "bi-continental" though. Yeah. [Insert "bi" comment here.]

Hey, we're back to Sherlock waking Joan up in a weird way -- the Eritrean national anthem played on an old fashioned radio (which must not be the real thing as it has no power cord). 

Sherlock gets a confession by having an un-named friend pretend to try to kill the guy who hired the killer, bald-headed white guy shows up to threaten Sherlock with blackmail to keep him from blackmailing him, which leaves us . . . well, with several murders that aren't resolved.

The line between cliff-hanging a little tease and leaving the viewer satisfied at the end of an episode is a challenge all TV writers must deal with, and I'm not sure this one had a satisfying finish at all. 

We're about a quarter of the way through this final season, and we haven't seen "Odin Reichenbach" yet as pre-season new items predicted. (Unless he's hiding beneath an assumed name.) And no sign of Captain Dwyer in next week's preview. We could be entering procedural standalone episode mode for the mid-season, but only time will tell.

So on to next week!



Thursday, June 6, 2019

One of my new favorite forms of collecting

Every Sherlockian collection has mini-collections within it, and when a catalog came in the mail today from my badge ribbon supplier, it reminded me to take a minute to appreciate one of mine.

With all the hustle and bustle and rampant delights of 221B Con each year, I never really take the time to sing the praises of the Sherlockian collecting opportunity that only occurs that time of year for me. If it happens elsewhere, at the level it does there, I've yet to hear about it, so if I'm missing something, please let me know. And that collecting opportunity is this: Badge ribbon collecting!


I have to admit, I'm in the minor leagues when it comes to 221B Con badge collecting. The best collectors pay attention to Twitter, hit different con suites when new ribbon alerts come out, track down ribbons they've seen on someone else, etc. I've almost doubled my number collected with each passing year, and I still don't come close to the long, floor-trailing ribbon neck-ties I've seen on the true collectors. But there's still a lot of joy, even in a small collection. And memories.

Badge ribbons can remind you of who you saw at the con that year, what was the popular non-Holmes fandom that put in an appearance, what thing was being promoted, and what that odd little panel in the most curious corner of Sherlockian interest was. Sometimes it's just the happy moment of meeting the person who gave you the ribbon. In my little collection pictured above, I see all of that when I look at those ribbons, including the "What the hell was I thinking?" year of no ribbons.

Collecting has been a part of Sherlockiana as long as there has been Sherlockiana, and the opportunity to spend a weekend collecting the one thing you can only collect during that three-day period . . . well, it makes for a very special little collection within your Sherlockian collection. This year was my first year starting the con at the ribbon swap, which occurs almost as soon as we have badges to put ribbons on. (It's called a "swap" but a lot of folks are just happy to push ribbons at anyone who doesn't have one of theirs. Like me, 'cuz nobody was going without a Doyle's Rotary Coffin ribbon this year!)

Next year it might be fun to start learning the tricks of the true masters of ribbon collecting. But in any case, I'm just thrilled when something new turns up in our Sherlockian bag of tricks and this one is definitely a recent addition to the things we Sherlockians do to celebrate Sherlock.

I hope it goes on long enough that eventually someone is doing recreations of classic ribbons from those early Sherlockian cons of their youth.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Watson and the selfie

I just can't picture John Watson taking a selfie.

Sure, they had him pretty much inventing it in the movie Holmes and Watson, but that was a comedy, using the most ridiculous concepts they could come up with . . . like John Watson taking a selfie.

Looking through my social media feeds, one immediately notices that the bulk of selfies are done by the young and more female than male. Part of this is, of course, that the selfie came along as something one does fairly recently, so one would expect it to trend younger. John Watson, however, has typically trended older and male. He's quite the opposite demographic.

But it goes deeper than that.

As he writes about the cases of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, John Watson doesn't spend a lot of time on himself, how his own day went, how his breakfast tasted, what he had to do to get the rent together that month. He doesn't write of his new hat, or the vest he's particularly fond of. And even when he's really motivated by a potential romantic partner, he just seems to become more self-deprecating and give us the reasons he shouldn't date.

The more one considers Watson, the harder it is to imagine him taking a selfie.

And take it a step further: By 1894, John H. Watson was a celebrity.

His writings don't reflect that fact in the slightest. Sure, he talks about what a success Sherlock Holmes has become, and how well known he is. But as the vehicle with which Holmes became so popular, and the man portrayed as always at Holmes's side, Watson never seems to be any different than he was in the 1880s, when he was a poverty-sticken, ex-army doctor. While he didn't have social media, or a smart phone ready and waiting to take pics of himself and transmit them, John Watson did have a media platform, and a transmission route for self-display.

And yet, the person he put on display was Sherlock Holmes, and not himself. We even know he had written of his own life, due to that initial subtitle from A Study in Scarlet: "(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)" But we don't even get shown those.

Sherlock Holmes surely would have taken a selfie, for his own select purposes: "Look at me, I have a horrible head wound and am nearly dead! Guess I'm not detecting this week, villains!"  But John Watson?

Yeah, he'd be sticking to that blog. And still focusing on Sherlock.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Self-restraint and new worlds of podcasting

This week marks the third episode of our new podcast, The Watsonian Weekly, and when I say "our," I'm not using it in the sense of the royal "we." I'm using it in the sense of "we, the John H. Watson Society," the group . of which the podcast is the audio arm. I may be assembling it and putting it out there, but it's the group's podcast, which is something unique for me in terms of creative ventures.

Whether it was The Dangling Prussian Amateur Press Association, The Holmes & Watson Report, the "Sherlock Peoria" website and blog posts, or any of the little self-published monographs I've done in the past, I tend to choose creative venues where I don't have to answer to anyone but myself. Selling a committee on a vision that may be too unique for easy visualization is always a challenge, and, on occasion, I've worked around such barriers just to get something fun into place. At my job, I can be a great team player, but in my off time, well, a person wants to relax and go where they want to go.

But, hey, I'm of an age now where I've really begun to see the benefits of community, and when the urge came to do a more recent events podcast came along, the community of the John H. Watson Society seemed like a good place to give it a shot. And the society leadership liked the idea. So off we've gone.

The new part of this, though it may be hard to believe if you listen to the latest episode, is practicing a little restraint on the Keefauverian in favor of the Watsonian.  A friend expressed disbelief just this week that I practiced any self-censoring in my normal Sherlockian discourse, like this blog, and despite the fact that I can be very open about certain subjects many a Sherlockian holds back from speaking publicly on, I do keep myself on a very tight leash. Why?

A good many of you probably know, as you're doing it yourselves. We're fans, despite the ivory towers a few of us sit atop, and fan is short for fanatic. Fanatics, by definition, are folks who take their passion for a thing too far. We have a single-minded zeal for a thing that drives us to go further than any non-fan would go to accomplish our ends. We're given to extremes, and extremes can be a bit dangerous, especially when our full-bodied charge forward starts crashing through other unsuspecting folk following that same path at a lower speed.

We do get a little carried away sometimes, even the best of us. And the greater one knows one's passion for a subject is, the greater one must be careful to keeps those demons of fandom in check.

So, personally, I'm trying to practice a little restraint when it comes to The Watsonian Weekly, while still letting enough of those passions come out to make it worthwhile to the John H. Watson Society. It's getting to be interesting, and I hope I can find a good balance before disgusting and terrifying (or boring and disinteresting) all concerned. But it is the John H. Watson Society's podcast after all, so the more hands I can get on deck, the better off we're all apt to be.

Give the show a listen, see what you think, and let me know at podcast@johnhwatsonsociety.com if you'd like to try joining the party for an episode or forever. We're trying to be as open and inclusive as we can, but I can't write everyone individually and invite them -- because I don't really know everyone. And we'd all like more voices that don't sound like mine, more brains that don't think like mine, just to make the show as especially Watsonian as it can be.

On to next week! (Podcast-wise. Blog-wise, I'll be back well before.)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Insignificant John Watson

There's a very weird statement that begins one of the chapters of The Valley of Fear, written by the hand of John H. Watson, and it reads as follows:

"Now for a moment I will ask leave to remove my own insignificant personality and to describe events which occurred before we arrived upon the scene by the light of knowledge which came to us afterwards."

Now, maybe it's just because I recently watched HBO's Deadwood revival and final episode all in one, but this elaborately phrased bit of subservience reminded me of the toadying mayor of Deadwood, E.B. Farnum, played to perfection by William Sanderson. (Best remembered by old sitcom fans as Larry of brothers Larry, Darryl, and Darryl on Newhart.) Who it completely didn't remind me of was John H. Watson.

John Watson, of course, always focused more on Sherlock Holmes than himself, and gave us very meagre details of his own lift in the Canon of Holmes. But to have him come out and beg the reader's permission to "remove my own insignificant personality," well, that smacks of some severe self-esteem issues of the sort we would, perhaps optimistically, never associate with the good doctor.

Or is it just Victorian politeness?

The Valley of Fear started coming out in September 1914, a good decade after the Victorian era was done. It was also the year that World War One began, and a month after the events described in "His Last Bow" took place.  So when Watson began writing up the novel, his friend Sherlock Holmes had been on his second hiatus -- that two year stint undercover in America, and John was surely feeling completely deserted by his old friend. If he tried to reach out for word of Sherlock via brother Mycoft, whatever response he received was surely nothing to salve those wounds, either.

So for John Watson to be feeling pretty low about himself in early 1914? Not all that surprising. Trying to fight those feelings by writing a new novel of better times with Sherlock would not be all that surprising either, even if some reflections of his darker moments showed through in the text now and then, as in that "insignificant" line.

But by the time the novel was out, Sherlock Holmes was back, there was a war to deal with, and Watson had no time to be so insignificant. Because he had to be John H. Watson, after all.

Elementary, Season Seven, Episode 2: Back in the New York groove?

Oh, Elementary, did you think I'd forgotten you this week?

With the age of "appointment television" long gone, I punched up Elementary on my phone, found "Gutshot," the second episode of the final seventh season, and voila! It's on. (And the spoilers are, too!)

We knew Captain Gregson had been shot at the end of last week's episode, but this week's still starts with the graffiti artists finding his bleeding body after it apparently fell out of his crashed car. And as Detective Bell questions one of them in the familiar precinct office, Joan Watson arrives, fresh from London. And soon, back at the old New York brownstone, we discover that Sherlock has come with her, as he appears out of the shadows.

It's one of the best beginnings the show has ever done.

But in a typical Elementary move, Sherlock and Joan first have to discuss about where they're going to go to the bathroom in their now-empty, no-utilities home base before getting to the case. Sherlock pulls out a big red bucket.

Sherlock investigating a case in a city where he can't show his face in public, after confessing to a murder last season, is a novel idea, and when we see him next, posing as Gregson's body on the street as he works with the graffiti-artist witness. This episode was co-written by one of Elementary's best writers, Jason Tracey, and the show's creator Robert Doherty, and directed by an old hand at directing this series, Guy Ferland, and it seems like they're all in the zone this episode. Getting this bonus last season is starting to look like a labor of love.

Another dead body turns up, and the procession of interviews that Detective Bell has to gather facts about that victim is nicely done, distracting from the fact that Sherlock just messed up a crime scene in a country where he's a wanted man in the previous bit.

Holmes and Watson's cots-and-candles brownstone is a good setting for a talk about Gregson . . . the lighting guy for this episode needs kudos. Also really like the way they're rolling through supporting characters -- no obvious villains due to the fact they're the only available choice. And the stakes are rising.

Nobody looks good in a hospital bed, including comatose Gregson, and Sherlock's visit to said hospital bed to settle their last-season issues is nicely done. Meanwhile, their junior partners, Bell and Watson, are out in the world getting things done. Gregson's killer is caught, and it's time for Holmes and Watson to return to London . . . except maybe just not both.

There's an ongoing mystery about Gregson's killer that isn't ending with this episode, and instead of going back to London, Sherlock turns himself into the FBI, so it's looking a lot like we've got a full-season tale on our hands. Do we?

That, and the mystery of why Joan Watson can't just book a hotel room for her New York trip, both linger. But we'll see what next week brings.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Stresslock Holmes

How stressful was Sherlock Holmes's job?

The man loved his profession and the challenges it handed him . . . and that was probably the part of his job that did the most damage. Not the bruisers, the killers, the thugs, etc. The love of his job.

Who can ever forget, once read, that Maupertuis business, "an investigation which had extended over two months, during which period he had never worked less than fifteen hours a day, and had more than once, he assured me, kept to his task for five days at a stretch."

Staying awake for five days straight is, indeed, possible for a human to do, but their mental functions are sure to decrease over that time. After five days without sleep, Sherlock Holmes might have been almost . . . normal?

But even Sherlock Holmes can't work fifteen hour days for two months without collapsing when whatever motivation that was driving him so hard suddenly disappears when the case was solved, at which point all the stress and strain came back on him.

We know the downtimes of his career were more problematic than the busier times, but the Maupertuis case definitely falls at an extreme end of the spectrum. Were it not of his own choosing, and those fifteen hour days were done at the demand of an insistent boss, we should call such a taskmaster all sorts of horrible things, but as it was Sherlock Holmes pushing himself for a job he obviously felt was necessary to be done, we do tend to let his boss off the hook.

But, man, what end was worth all that stress, all that work? That couldn't have been one he was doing simply for the mental stimulation. Surely lives had to be at stake, and lives he cared about at that. Some of his family involved? Or was he pushing something else from his mind with that "work is the best antidote to sorry" motive he consoled Watson with in "Empty House?"

There are depths to a work-stressed Sherlock Holmes we have yet to plumb.

Monday, May 27, 2019

WWSHD?

WWSHD . . . what would Sherlock Holmes drive?

Yes, yes, there was that Model T Ford in "His Last Bow," but a.) Watson was driving, and b.) in 1914, the Model T Ford was the only Ford available in Britain. But it was an American car, not an Aston-Martin, a Rolls-Royce, a Vauxhall . . . or maybe something from his maternal ancestor's country, like a Renault or a Peugeot. But first, Sherlock Holmes would have to have a reason to have a car, like getting out of his usual major metropolis home. CBS's Elementary plopped him in New York City, as much as a non-personal-car metropolis as London . . . but what if he had been based in Los Angeles? Or Denver? Or any other one of the thousands of American cities that require a car?

Would he choose a car that blended in with traffic, for easy surveillance, tailing, that sort of thing? Or would he want a fast car, for racing to stop a crime or catch a fleeing criminal? Just how much would local law enforcement let him get away with?

When the idea of a modern Sherlock Holmes crossing over into the world of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise today, the idea did not seem all that strange. The crimes and plottings at the heart of most of those movies fits right into Holmes's area of expertise. But it definitely raises one question like a giant American flag over some retailer wanting attention -- Sherlock Holmes would then have to have a car, and a perfect car, with a racing engine that matched his racing engine of a mind.

When confronted with that problem in attempting the start of a little fan fiction, "The Fast and the Mysterious," I took the easy way out: I made up a car that doesn't exist. Sherlock was so original in every other aspect of his life, I saw him as driving something as unique and innovative as he was. Watson was the fellow who drove the Model T, and in disguise, at that. No, Sherlock Holmes would drive something both special and specifically chosen.

And I've no idea what that would be in the real world, chosen from existing cars. Not a car guy myself, driving the most non-descript common little sedan available, going for the "blending into traffic" option. As Sherlock Holmes moves out into the universe of stories beyond the Victorian era, however, writers are going to have to start giving him vehicle choices at some point. Or even motorcycle choices, if that's what his personality demands.

What would Sherlock Holmes drive? Well, I look forward to finding out.