Thursday, December 22, 2022

Keeping as warm as a carbuncle in a goose!

 It was negative four degrees outside in Peoria as the Sherlock Holmes Story Society gathered tonight. Due to some decent forethought on the good Carter's part, we got set up for a last minute Zoom gathering before the storm hit. Nine of our members, plus a special guest from our sister scion the Bovestrians of the Ragged Shaw -- Buncle the goose, avoided the snow and chill outside and settled in for some talk of that most classic of Christmas tales, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."

The conversation began with cubic capacity of skulls, wandering to cooking a goose and all the fat that has to cook off. (Carbuncle the goose was very offended by this.) The topic of geese having no crops came up, but I pointed out that it might have been a typo for "crap" as the stone made its way to the intestine of the goose.

The carbuncle being "smaller than a bean" came up -- what size of bean?  Given the popularity of baked beans, we decided that the blue carbuncle was much smaller than we usually imagine. (And a whole lot smaller than the carbuncles that Steve the goose was coughing up at 221B Con last April.) It's forty grain weight puts it at over twelve carats, which is definitely bigger than a bean.

The mystery of when the barred-tail goose actually died started to perplex us -- one expects Breckenridge delivered the Alpha Inn its goose club geese in a formerly alive condition. How did the goose meet its fate? A wringing of the neck? Did it put up a fight? Was there a Covent Garden goose massacre that night? There are matters here that do not make for pleasant close inspection.

Luckily we were distracted by a story of the blue carbuncle decorations on Baker Street this time of year.

The good Carter decided she wanted to sing the opening number from the Blue Carbuncle All-Caroling Musical that was performed at the last meeting of the John H. Watson Society. She did a good job, and we left it at that, song-wise, and continued with our discussion.

Commissionaires were discussed, and how Peterson returned the stone to Holmes even though the theft of the gem was big news in the papers. We did consider that if Peterson had taken it to the police instead of Holmes, the police might have been going, "So how did you get this stolen gem?" and a reply of "My wife found it in a goose's crop!" would lead to "Geese don't have crops!" and Peterson's arrest.

What was it about the cut of Breckenridge's whiskers that showed he was a betting man? We tend to focus on the Pink 'Un, but those whiskers seem to be key to Holmes's deduction as well. None of the annotateds have anything on those whiskers. It's a bit of a puzzler.

We wandered through the story, but eventually it came time to listen to Starrett's "221B" and be on our way. The arctic winds are literally howling outside, and I hope that all the furnaces in all the homes can keep up with the wind chill. But for a goodly hour or so, we got to wander London on a night that had to be warmer than this, to be sure.

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