Saturday, January 3, 2015

A new book on an old Irregular. And then some.

Yesterday, I had good things to say about an unexpected treat in the Sherlockian book department.

Today, I'm going to promote another Sherlockian book that's been brought to my attention, but don't run off yet, you charmingly insightful person, you, who actually reads this blog, 2015 isn't the start of a new hearts-and-flowers, sweetness-and-light Sherlock Peoria. Oh, no. Wheels have been set in motion that might make this the most brutally honest and painfully judgmental year of Sherlockian blogging on the planet, for better or worse.

But back to the book in question . . .

The Baker Street Irregulars publishing arm (don't ask me to explain how that whole business works, their "de-centralization" still not that long ago) has apparently started a new BSI Biography Series to complement their BSI Manuscript Series and BSI International Series. The first book in this new line is going to be Prince of the Realm: The Most Irregular James Bliss Austin by Sonia Fetherson, a Sherlockian who should be well-known to any follower of the pre-BBC-Sherlock Holmes fan web pathways. The book will debut January 10 during the Sherlock Holmes birthday weekend in New York, and will probably be available during the Saturday morning vendor time at whatever venue holds that these days. (And later from the BSJ book site.)

If you've got the spare cash and have any interest in the Sherlockians of earlier eras, I would encourage you to buy a copy, as it will probably be a great book. Haven't seen a copy, so I don't know much more than that. Go, buy the book, enjoy! Well, I guess you can't just yet, as its debut is still a week away. But when it gets here, it will have a bunch of new material on a Sherlockian most may not know. A bunch. But no spoilers here, so let me tell you what I know about Bliss Austin.

From 1953 to 1981, Austin printed up an annual collection of his considerations and discoveries upon the topic of Sherlock Holmes and entitled it "A Baker Street Christmas Stocking," which then was distributed among the table favors at the annual Baker Street Irregulars dinner. These were all gathered up and reprinted in a hardbound volume by Magico Magazine in 1986, a great service Magico was doing for the Sherlockian world with all sorts of old rarities in those days. That collection was called Austin's Sherlockian Studies: The Collected Annuals by Bliss Austin, B.S.I.

And that, sad to say, is all I have. So this new book is definitely going to fill a gap in our published records of Sherlockians of yester-year, and maybe gain him a few fans. (Keep your fandom around long enough, and fans of fans will always develop!)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled crankiness . . . .

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