Saturday, September 11, 2021

A quick report on September's Parallel Case Meeting

 Yes, you can always get the full scoop on the latest Parallel Case meeting from their own blog in a few days, but as I enjoy live-blogging an event, oh, what the heck. Here's some early notes.

The Zoom meetings of St. Louis's Parallel Case always start with a round of self-introductions, so it's fun to hear where everyone is from as well as what their Sherlockian pleasure points are. Twenty-six folks, from coast-to-coast America, along with an across-the-seas Sherlockian or two, which is about the right number for everyone getting a word or two in. Societies from the Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle to Doyle's Rotary Coffin are represented, as well as many Parallel Case, Harpooners, Occupants, and Hansoms . . . the near-St.-Louis Sherlockians, of course.

Rob Nunn, the meeting's host, always allows a little time for promotion of attendees' various Sherlockian pursuits, and we get:

A film discussion group:

A Moriary podcast:

A great publication with a deadline in four days:

A Sherlockian specialty club:

A chance to recognize a teacher:

The discussion of the story for the meeting "The Missing Three-Quarter" always starts with Rob summarizing the events of the story, but this time he barely gets into the client showing up when the attendees go off on the mystifications of rugby to the American mind. A point gets made using the phrase "those who play the game that Watson actually wrote the stories," and I write and delete a few comments out of the chat before I hit "enter." One has to be diplomatic with those Sherlockians who enjoy that whimsical study of Watson's literary agent as somehow important, and quippery can often be misconstrued. But the rugby talk continues. And continues. But there's a baby in one frame of the zoom screen, so that entertains the chat sidebar a bit.

When things move on, I'm surprised that Lord Mount-James offering Holmes "a fiver, or even a tenner" was actually the rough equivalent of eight hundred to a thousand bucks in modern money -- over the century, the old miser has become much more miserly in a modern reader's eyes. I always looked at it as "five or ten pounds" in modern pocket change.

The personality clash between Holmes and Dr. Armstrong comes up. Watson's lax knowledge of the medical community comes up.  And with those, the story places itself in a very different sort of period in Holmes and Watson's partnership, one that I'm going to have to follow up further -- and perhaps throw something together for the next issue of The Watsonian. One thing that bears remark is the balanced conversation of the Parallel Case -- it seems like everyone is getting a chance to contribute. 

Not going to get too far in detail, as you'll want to read the full Parallel Case report for that when it comes out. Holmes's use of "Sleepy Hollows" brings up a question of whether or not that was a reference to Washington Irving's classic story or just a general rustic town. (Or slang that arose from that much-earlier stories.)  Mark Twain enters the conversation, and since this is a St. Louis based group, not that far from Twain's Hannibal, Missouri, that's to be expected.

It was a good meeting. I almost got so distracted by an e-mail on Sherlockian chronology that I forgot to post this, but such is my curse. Looking forward to the full Case recap.

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