Sunday, May 11, 2014

The coming summer of Sherlock Holmes.

There is so much to read in the world and so little time that my general policy is not to reread books if newer things are available. With one exception of course: as a Sherlockian, rereadings of the original Canon of Holmes are just part of the lifestyle. Here's the thing, though . . . .

You don't have to read them in the same order all of the time.

Sure, the first time out, you may pick up The Complete Sherlock Holmes and read them as presented, or maybe the individual collections and novels as you come upon them. And eventually Baring-Gould's Annotated makes for an interesting as-they-occurred read. Story themes for events make for random individual readings, and on and on it goes.

In looking at the summer ahead, however, I've decided to try a new sequence: Living summer alongside Sherlock Holmes.

About fifteen years ago, I worked out the order of Holmes's adventures to my own satisfaction, and have enjoyed using that base for a lot of things over the time that followed. And pondering my Sherlockian course for the summer, I turned once again to that list and thought, "What if I read all of Sherlock Holmes's cases that occurred between Memorial Day and Labor Day on the days they occurred?"

Sure, I'm not in England and won't be at the same settings as Holmes was, but letting the season line up with the stories at least this much should provide an interesting perspective. Doing "The Blue Carbuncle" on the second day after Christmas has become a staple of many a Sherlockian household, but summer and Sherlock Holmes is also a very atmospheric time. Hot days on Baker Street, flies on harpooned corpses, that sort of thing. Who knows what other acts besides just reading the stories might occur when one starts enjoying the cases as they occurred?

So I'll be putting out a blog on each of the days so those hardy folk that still read this blog can keep me honest. Here's the plan, starting with "Shoscombe Old Place" on Memorial Day and winding up with a big three-story finale on Labor Day weekend:

May 26, 1903, Tuesday -- "Shoscombe Old Place" (M)
June 1, 1889, Saturday -- "The Stock-broker’s Clerk" (M-Wd-S)
June 1, 1894, Friday -- "The Mazarin Stone" (S)
June 4, 1902, Wednesday -- "The Six Napoleons" 
June 8, 1889, Saturday -- "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (M-D-Wd)
June 19, 1902, Thursday -- "The Three Garridebs"(Y-M-Wd)
June 20, 1888, Wednesday -- "The Greek Interpreter" (Wd-S)
June 21, 1889, Friday -- "The Man with the Twisted Lip" (M-D-Y-Wd)
June 23, 1881, Thursday -- "The Musgrave Ritual"
June 30, 1889, Sunday -- "The Engineer’s Thumb" (Y-S)
July 3, 1880, Saturday -- "The Gloria Scott"
July 10, 1895, Wednesday -- "Black Peter" (Y-M-Wd)
July 16, 1881, Saturday -- Holmes meets Watson in Chapter One of A Study in Scarlet
July 19, 1887, Tuesday -- "The Second Stain" (Wd-S)
July 25, 1898, Monday -- "The Dancing Men" (M-Wd)
July 26, 1902, Saturday -- "The Disappearance of Lady Francis Carfax" 
July 29, 1887, Friday -- "The Naval Treaty" (M-D)
July 30, 1907, Tuesday -- "The Lion’s Mane" (M-Y-Wd)
August 1, 1894, Wednesday -- "The Norwood Builder" (M)
August 2, 1914, Sunday -- "His Last Bow" (M-D-Y)
August 20, 1898, Saturday -- "The Retired Colourman" (Y-S)
August 30, 1887, Tuesday -- "The Crooked Man" (Wd)
August 30, 1889, Friday -- "The Cardboard Box" (M-Wd)

I'm looking forward to it. Outside circumstances may limit one's ability for Sherlockian travel at any given time, but the original stories themselves always allow for a happy escape to Sherlock's side for a little literary vacationing.

And that makes a summer of Sherlock Holmes a very handy thing.


  1. Reblogged this on my tumblr:

    and found a few more friends to join in.

    1. Thanks, Silke! This could be a fun little experiment.