Saturday's rounds of the Miss "Sherlock Holmes Is Like" Pageant 2018 has started with a shocking scandal and a disqualification: One of the contestants had their paperwork filled out by their spouse. Most readers will not know the rules of the Miss "Sherlock Holmes Is Like" Pageant to the level of detail where that rule can be found, but trust me, it's there. After last year's "We're not making Sherlockians fight!" choice when the the book About Being A Sherlockian came out, this stricture has been a little more emphasized by the judges, and finding a spouse in the competition has been a shocking twist.
If you're curious as to those circumstances, you can buy, borrow, or steal a copy of Sherlock Holmes is Like edited by Christopher Redmond and published by Wildside Press. (Which might be kind of the point of this pageant.) Meanwhile, let's get to our latest contestants and on with the pageant . . . and hope the judges don't start disqualifying people wholesale.
Harry Houdini makes a magical appearance, and another competitor with Conan Doyle ties is not surprising. Doug Elliott has taken a different tactic in wardrobing and make-up for Houdini -- while others have actually been writing from an approach of "Houdini is like Sherlock Holmes," Doug actually follows the pageant's nominal direction and works the theory "Sherlock Holmes is like Houdini." Saturday's judges seem to have a keener eye that those of the last couple of days and are actually scoring Houdini higher for this angle.
Obviously, Sherlockians will want to focus on Sherlock as primary and say the contestants are like him, rather than Sherlock being like others, and that's a weakness Doug Elliott might have been able to exploit with these strict Saturday judges. We'll see how others fare.
Rule-breaker Robin Hood takes the stage, and astonishingly, Mark Hanson has not broken the "like" rule in his presentation. The very first words one "hears" are "Sherlock Holmes is like Robin Hood in so many ways." And Sherlock Holmes IS like Robin Hood. Perhaps it's the historical precedence of the earlier British hero that makes that statement ring so much more true than those contestants who came after Holmes on a timeline, but Robin Hood comes off as one of the most beautiful entries so far.
Oscar Wilde seems an unlikely entry in the "Sherlock Holmes Is Like" Pageant, even though Wilde was present for part of Holmes's birth . . . which is why it gets a little weird as Michael J. Quigley presents the writer and lecturer for Holmes-like beauty. "Thaddeus Sholto Is Like" is definitely a curious tactic, and citing a non-Canonical birth year as evidence almost smacks of fraud. The judges are seeing a lot more of Doyle than Holmes is this long-ish time on stage, and when they hear at the end that "A fuller version of this study has appeared in the BSJ," one can see them vigorously deducting points from Wilde. It's not looking good for him in this round.
A bright glow from backstage precedes the coming contestant of this preliminary, and I feel it bodes even more ill for the preceding entries. Could it be?
Yes, yes, it's Arthur! Arthur of Britain! The man, the myth, the transcender of Canons.
Margie Deck is the lucky promoter of King Arthur, and her case is simple: Sure, he doesn't look a thing like Sherlock Holmes on the surface, but he's freakin' King Arthur! When you think of England, you think of Sherlock Holmes and King Arthur! He's been studied as much, heck, I even have copies of King Arthur journals in my library that I can't bear to part with, just because they're so much like Sherlock Holmes journals, so I get her point. Because, hey, like I said England is Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, and . . . uh-oh . . .
Ah, Robin, you merry thief, you just came in and stole the chance at the finals from King Arthur, as you're nearly as legendary and Sherlock is actually kind of like you!
Congratulations to Robin Hood! On to the next round!