Saturday, March 12, 2022

Holmes, Doyle & Friends 2022 -- Starting the Day

 Have you been to a Dayton Sherlock Holmes weekend before? A lot of folks have over the years, and the Agra Treasurers are good hosts, which you know immediately from the familiarity of most of the attendees at the sign-up table. Of course, first there was all the breakfast-room Sherlockian chat at the hotel, waiting for said sign-in table to open.

Once the event room opens, there's a hour to peruse the dealer's tables and chat up anyone you haven't talked to already. Steve Doyle and Mark Gagen have the Wessex Press table. Monica Schmidt has the BSI Press table. Dan Andriacco has his books table next to Carolyn Senter's table of non-book Sherlockian wonders, and then Lorraine Reibert's variety of books, marmalades, and breads. Of course, Regina Stinson's Sherlockian jewelry on the other side of the room is a must-shop stop. Joe Eckrich, Mike McSwiggins, and the Agra Treasurers themselves all have a good selection of Sherlockian books and other works to fill out holes in your collection.

Lorraine Reibert and Ann Siefker kick off the program with a welcome and a few notes with must applause for all those local folk who work to put this on.

The first speaker is Bill Mason, who has done so many very entertaining presentations at Sherlockian events over the years (and played my Watson in the very memorable "Hee Haw Holmes" show from a Chattanooga event long past). He's putting Conan Doyle on trial this time for the killing of Sherlock Holmes. Early on he's critiquing the choice of Reichenbach Falls for the murder site and getting everyone laughing, and quickly moving on to a John Kendrick Bangs piece from the time of the murder. Bill goes deep on Doyle's motivations, all the documented comments from Doyle and his peers, presented with a range of comment from the comic to the tragic. (Conan Doyle killing Holmes out of guilt for Holmes taking time away from Doyle's dying wife. Or revenge for same.) Some Sherlockian speakers just get better and better the more they present, and Bill is definitely in that category.

Dayton has always been a site for inspiring presentations, and I would rank this among them. We've been given ballots to give our own verdict, "Guilty of the Crime of Murder," "Guilty, but Insane/Otherwise not Responsible," or "Not Guilty/Justified in the Killing." There is also a list of Doyle's motives, all of which have come up in Bill Mason's talk, and our votes will be tallied and revealed later.  Me, I'm voting guilty but insane. (Your definition of insane may vary from mine.)

In the Q&A after, Bill promotes the non-Sherlock Conan Doyle work, which is particularly ironic as I brought a whole box of Conan Doyle non-Sherlock books to offload this weekend. 

Break time!

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