The Sherlock Holmes Journal, Winter 2019


The Sherlock Holmes Journal is published twice a year, usually in June 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.

The Winter 2019 issue is now out!

You can download the book reviews here: I Am an Omnivorous Reader

And here is a summary of this issue’s contents:

    Sherlock Holmes played an unexpected part in the defence of Mafeking.

Editorial Notes
*  There are hundreds of Sherlock Holmes Societies, but – astonishingly – there is no literary society anywhere dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
*  Get the latest news from the Baker Street Irregulars by e-mail. It’s free!
*  Pictorial proof that Brian Pugh, this year’s winner of the Tony & Freda Howlett Literary Award, has received his certificate and cheque.
Doyle’s Rotary Coffin is described by its founder Paul Thomas Miller as “a society formed for the sole purpose of whole-heartedly and contrarily enjoying stupid Holmesiana regardless of how canonical others consider it to be.”
Searching for Sherlock: The Game’s Afoot. The UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Baker Street Irregulars are mounting a world-wide search for missing Sherlock Holmes films.
*  During the summer, Edinburgh University exhibited a statue of “Oor Sherlock” – the great detective impersonated by the popular cartoon character Oor Wullie. 
*  Unique Christmas lights have been installed at the junction of Baker Street and Marylebone Road, depicting Mr Henry Baker’s Goose, complete with Blue Carbuncle.
*  We remember with admiration and affection our late Honorary Member, the actor Douglas Wilmer, who would have celebrated his hundredth birthday on the 8th January.
*  Sadly, Julie Cohen‘s cartoon series comes to an end with this issue’s “Overrun With Oysters”. We shall miss her surreal humour!

“The Mystery of Dr Watson’s Club” by Seth Alexander Thévoz
    The Honorary Librarian of the National Liberal Club develops the theory he described in his talk to the Society at the March meeting.

“Did Sherlock Holmes Have Asperger’s?” by Tom Cutler
    The evidence is pretty strong, says Mr Cutler, who was himself identified in 2016 as being on the autistic spectrum.

“Good and Faithful Servant: Hindoo [sic] Meets Sikh” by Chris Redmond
    Who and what, exactly, was Major Sholto’s servant Lal Chowdar?

“The Origins of Sherlock Holmes and the Road Hill Murder” by Barry Langston
    The investigation of a notorious crime in 1860 inspired The Moonstone, and its influence can be traced in the Holmes stories.

“It Seems to Me…” by Auberon Redfearn 
    “Hosmer Angel” wasn’t what he appeared to be, but what about “James Windibank”?

“Summer of Sherlock 2019” by Paul Thomas Miller 
    The founder of Doyle’s Rotary Coffin and The Shingle of Southsea reports on this year’s celebration of the great detective in Portsmouth.

A Scandal in Bohemia by Struts and Frets Theatre, reviewed by Roger Johnson
    Francesca De Sica’s feminist take on the classic story is highly entertaining, thought-provoking and very funny.

“The Adventure of the First Broadcast” by Nicholas Utechin
    BBC listeners in the northern England were able to hear a dramatisation of “The Blue Carbuncle” in September 1933 – five years before what was long believed to be the first Sherlock Holmes play on British radio.

A Capital Return! The London Mini-Festival Weekend, 16th-19th May 2019
*  The Annual General Meeting on Thursday was followed by David Houle’s talk on “The Transmutation of Isadora Persano”: a compelling story of murder, madness and revenge, superbly presented.
*  On Friday, Marcus Geisser led us in the Footsteps of Mycroft Holmes, from Pall Mall to the Foreign Office, where we were given a private tour. Afterwards, we were Helen Dorey’s guests for tea at the Athenaeum Club, of which Arthur Conan Doyle was a member.
*  On Saturday a party visited the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Besides the plants mentioned in the canon, a high point was The Hive, a striking contemporary art installation in the heart of a wildflower meadow that recreates life inside a beehive.
*  Sunday began with a visit to the Old Operating Theatre in Southwark, the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe, which gives an excellent impression of the sort of training that Arthur Conan Doyle and John H Watson received. In the afternoon we went north to The Charterhouse, a former Carthusian monastery, which since the dissolution has been a private house, a ducal palace, a school, and an almshouse – which it still is.

“Oh! I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside!” A Weekend on the Kent Coast, 20th – 22nd September 2019
    This year’s Summer excursion took us to the Pegwell Bay Hotel, just south of Ramsgate on the Kent Coast.
*  Before dinner on Friday, Marcus Geisser reminded us of the cases that brought Holmes and Watson to Kent. After the meal, Catherine Cooke explained that, although the first half of The Valley of Fear is set in Sussex, we have Conan Doyle’s word that the real “Birlstone Manor” is Groombridge Place, in Kent.
*  On Saturday morning we travelled to Whitstable, a charming town,  famous as the home of Peter Cushing, who portrayed Sherlock Holmes so authentically on screen. After examining the important display of Cushing material at the town’s Museum, we walked over to the actor’s long-time home, Seaway Cottage, which now bears a blue plaque commemorating his residence. 
*  After lunch, we were taken to Quex Park, home of the extraordinary Powell-Cotton Museum of Natural History and Ethnography.
*  Our guest speaker that evening was Dr Kathryn Ferry, who gave us a fascinating survey of the Victorian seaside holiday.
*  Left to our own devices on Sunday morning, some strolled along the clifftop path above Pegwell Bay, some chose to explore  Ramsgate, and some played croquet!

“It Is With a Heavy Heart…” Obituaries by Jean Upton and Roger Johnson
    Those who have passed beyond the Reichenbach this year include the crime historian Martin Fido; our Dutch member Jacques (Sjaak) Zonneveld, President of the Sherlock Holmes Society of the Hague; actors Stephen ThornePaul Darrow, Freddie Jones and Jeremy KempH Vosper Arthur, long-time member of the Society and founder-member of the Poor Folk Upon the Moors; our members Theo Skeat, Ivy Warren, June Lancelyn Green, and George Cleve Haynes; novelist and scriptwriter Terrance Dicks; and Hal Prince, director of the Broadway musical Baker Street.

“I Am an Omnivorous Reader”
    Book reviews by Lisa Burscheidt, Guy Marriott, Mark Mower, John Sheppard, Jean Upton, Nicholas Utechin and Roger Johnson

Wigmore Street Postbag
  Letters to The Sherlock Holmes Journal

“Overrun by Oysters” by Julie Cohen
    Our resident cartoonist’s last hurrah. (Thank you, Julie!)







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