Journal – Winter 2014

The Sherlock Holmes Journal is published twice a year, usually in July and December. It is the official voice of the Society and contains its Transactions, news and reviews, letters and editorial notes. It is also home to the most erudite scholarship, publishing learned articles from Holmesians world-wide who have something to say on any aspect of Sherlock Holmes and his world. It has been appearing without a break since the first issue in May 1952.

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Book reviews

The issue for Winter 2014 contains the following articles, as well as the usual reviews and letters:

GUEST EDITORIAL: "THE MAN WHO NEVER LIVED AND WILL NEVER DIE" by Valerie Schreiner

London’s first major exhibition devoted to the Great Detective in more than 60 years opened on 17th October. Many individuals and organisations provided assistance and advice, including (of course) the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and several of its members. Valerie Schreiner was privileged to be shown around by the Curators responsible for the exhibition, Dr Pat Hardy and Alex Werner. As Alex says, “Peeling back the layers of Sherlock Holmes, we will reveal the roots of the global icon who has continued to enthral audiences for over 125 years. It is fitting that it be hosted here, in the city which shaped the stories and created such a rich source for its success.”

EDITORIAL NOTES

Members of the Society’s Council joined Catherine Beggs, Richard Doyle, Charles Foley, Jon Lellenberg, Andrew Lycett, Bert Coules, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue, Louise Brealey, Anthony Horowitz and several hundred more at the launch party for the exhibition at the Museum of London.

Japan’s second statue of Sherlock Holmes was unveiled on 5th October, in the garden of the English House in Kobe, which features a fine reconstruction of the sitting-room at 221B Baker Street.

On 19th July at University College London, 113 people didn’t quite establish a Guinness World Record for the largest number dressed as Sherlock Holmes in one place – but they did raise a decent amount of money towards the restoration of Undershaw.

John Lockwood has discovered a possible inspiration for the curious name of “the Paradol Chamber”.

Recently established Holmesian societies of note include The John H Watson Society, The Fourth Garrideb, and The London Sherlockians.

Congratulations to our members Johanna Rieke and Bryan Stone, who met on the Society’s pilgrimage to Switzerland in 2012 and were married earlier this year!

Believed lost for many decades, a good copy of the 1916 film Sherlock Holmes, the only complete record of William Gillette’s performance in his own famous play, has been found in Paris, and restoration is under way.

Besides the Sherlock Holmes exhibition, the Museum of London is also temporarily home to Sherlock Bear, designed by Benedict Cumberbatch – one of fifty statues of Paddington Bear placed around London.

Plans are at last in hand for a British DVD release of the 1964-65 BBC TV series Sherlock Holmes, with Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?  by Bruce Harris

Probability, uncertainty, coincidence and sheer chance play as big a part as logic in the investigations of Sherlock Holmes. Bruce Harris considers the odds.

CONAN DOYLE, SHERLOCK AND INGLETON by Martyn Sutton

Conan Doyle said that he took the detective’s given name from a cricketer, but a village in North Yorkshire offers a more likely source.

THE WORST MAN AND THE WOMAN – 1:  HAMPSTEAD by Catherine Cooke

Back in May Catherine Cooke took a score of members (not forgetting the dog) around Hampstead and St John’s Wood, in search of Appledore Towers, residence of Charles Augustus Milverton, and Briony Lodge, Irene Adler’s bijou villa. In this paper she describes her research and the results. Part Two: St John’s Wood follows in the next issue.

“IT SEEMS TO ME…” – THAT AULD LANGHAM SIGN by Auberon Redfearn

What would have happened if our two famous authors at that Langham Hotel Dinner had written each other’s books?

A CAPITAL RETURN! by Roger Johnson

The London Mini-Festival Weekend began on Thursday the 15th May with a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Collection and the Society’s Archives at Westminster Reference Library. In the evening, the formal business of the AGM was followed by our own version of the BBC TV quiz show Only Connect. The winners of Only Deduce were The Street Arabs (Catherine Cooke, David Jones and their captain, Bert Coules.

The most popular event of the weekend was Friday’s afternoon tea on the Terrace at the House of Lords, kindly sponsored by Lord Horam, who also arranged a guided tour of that noble institution. For the evening’s diversion the Baker Street Babes had taken over the Function Room at the Punch Tavern for an entertaining unconventional production of Charles Augustus Milverton, presented as a radio play, but with the characters gender-swapped.

Saturday morning and afternoon were very profitably taken up with Catherine Cooke’s walking tour of Hampstead and St John’s Wood. In the evening a party went to the Criterion Theatre to see Patrick Barlow’s hugely successful comedy-thriller The 39 Steps.

The final event of the weekend was an exclusive booking of The Diplomatic Corpse, the latest game devised by London’s murder-mystery masters, A Door in a Wall.

THE STODDART DINNER by Alistair Duncan

In 2010 the Society arranged for a plaque to commemorate the dinner hosted at the Langham Hotel by J M Stoddart in 1889, at which he commissioned stories for Lippincott's Monthly Magazine from Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle. On 30 August 2014, the 125th anniversary of that event, Sherlock Holmes Society of London hosted The Stoddart Dinner – not in a little private room but in the Langham's Grand Ballroom. Guests included Sir Arthur's great-nephew Richard Doyle, Don Mead of the Oscar Wilde Society, Dr Tamaki Horie, Alexander Vlahos and Roger Llewellyn, who read telling passages from The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Sign of the Four respectively, and Sue Vertue and Steven Moffat of BBC TV's Sherlock.  Conan Doyle biographer Alistair Duncan was Master of Ceremonies,

RETURN TO DARTMOOR by Valerie Schreiner

In September the Society made its first expedition to Baskerville country in twelve years. From their base at beautiful Dartington Hall, the explorers visited Black Tor, the National Park Visitor Centre at Princetown, Postbridge, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Hound Tor and Buckfastleigh. At the Gala Dinner on Saturday, Paul Spiring spoke about Arthur Conan Doyle and his friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson. The weekend concluded with a trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway from Paignton to Kingswear and back.

TO KILL A CANARY reviewed by Antony Richards

“It's the third year of World War One. The Canary Girls, as Britain's women munitions workers are known, are as vital to the nation's survival as the forces at the Front. Three are found dead, their bodies mutilated in a similar way to Jack the Ripper's victims nearly thirty years ago. To prevent the collapse of the armaments industry's morale, the British government turns to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to investigate the grisly murders in complete secrecy…” Antony Richards was impressed by Keith Digby & John Clark’s new play, produced in September at the Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames.

POTTED SHERLOCK reviewed by Rakshita Patel

In the tradition of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, the creators of Potted Potter and Potted Panto aim to cover all sixty stories in eighty minutes. Raks Patel caught the show at the Edinburgh Fringe, when the three actors were somehow cramming it all into just seventy minutes! “In summary, this is a mainstream show with universal appeal. One big adventure, a non-stop rollercoaster ride from start to finish, and incredible fun. 5 stars!”

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES reviewed by David Jones

Bob Hamilton’s adaptation of this most famous of Holmes’s adventures was performed at the Green Room Theatre, Dorking, in October, as part of the Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival. His verdict? “…it was enthralling, entertaining and energetic. No wonder all five evenings were sold out!”

A RAT IN THE CEMETERY by Carrie Chandler

At West Norwood Cemetery, not far from the house where Conan Doyle wrote most of The Adventures and The Memoirs, are two neighbouring graves whose separate stories each curiously echo elements of “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”.  

OBITUARIES

Three of our members have recently “passed beyond the Reichenbach”:

Rudolf Čechura, who, as Aleš Kolodrubec says, brought the Grand Game into Bohemia and later helped found the Czech Society of Sherlock Holmes.

Donald A Redmond, author, librarian, indexer of The Baker Street Journal, one of the first to be made a Master Bootmaker by the Bootmakers of Toronto, and awarded the titular investiture of “Good Old Index” along with his Irregular Shilling by the Baker Street Irregulars.

Sir Sydney Chapman, politician, architect and environmentalist, who as an MP sponsored many of our Annual Dinners at the House of Commons.

SOME OBSERVATIONS by Nick Dunn Meynell

If it is always 1895, says Nick Dunn Meynell, then 1895 is now. He doubts that Jefferson Hope could ever have been a cabbie, explains why John Watson’s wife called her husband “James, and concludes that “The Man With the Twisted Lip” soon after “The Stock-broker’s Clerk”.

MATCH REPORT: THE SHERLOCK HOLMES SOCIETY OF LONDON VS THE GOLD BATS by Nicholas Utechin

This year’s Victorian Cricket Match against the Gentlemen of the P G Wodehouse Society, played as always on the picturesque ground at West Wycombe, on 22nd June, ended in an honourable draw, leaving the Gentlemen of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London still ahead over all.

TRANSACTIONS by Valerie Schreiner

On 10th October the Richard Lancelyn Green Memorial Lecture was Holmes and Chemistry: “Our chambers were always full of chemicals”, given by our German member, Dr Tobias Gruber. “Was Holmes a great detective because he was a chemist or vice versa? Perhaps a bit of both.”

At the Annual Film Evening, subtitled “Beginnings, Old and New”, Matthew J Elliot took us through an evolution of moving pictures with two parallel, yet very different Sherlock Holmes adaptations: the 1922 silent film Sherlock Holmes with John Barrymore as Holmes and Roland Young as Watson, and Baker Street 221B, the first episode of the recent Russian television series with Igor Petrenko and the late Andrei Panin as Holmes and Watson.

“I AM AN OMNIVOROUS READER”

Book reviews by David Jones, Nicholas Utechin and Roger Johnson.

WIGMORE STREET POSTBAG

Letters to The Sherlock Holmes Journal.

“THERE CAN BE NO QUESTION AS TO THE AUTHORSHIP”

Contributors to this issue of The Sherlock Holmes Journal.

“OVERRUN BY OYSTERS” by Julie Cohen

Our resident cartoonist strikes again!

Journal

For more information about the journal, contact:

The Sherlock Holmes Journal 
Roger Johnson
Mole End
41 Sandford Road
Chelmsford
CM2 6DE

e-mail: rojerjohnson@yahoo.co.uk

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