You are here:Home>The Sherlock Holmes Journal, Winter 2023
The Sherlock Holmes Journal, Winter 2023
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. If you’re missing back issues of the Journal, check what’s available from the Society’s shop at https://www.sherlock-holmes.org.uk/shop/archives/journal-archive/. There are issues back as far as 1972, for just £3.00 each!
The front cover background is an amazing view from the top of the Gemmi Pass overlooking Leukerbad and the Valais Alps (photo by Marcus Geisser)
Editorial: “Now These Are a Really Very Fine Series of Portraits” * The Society’s story is chronicled in pictures, from its foundation in 1951 to the present, in the online gallery athttps://www.flickr.com/photos/shsl/albums/. Enjoy!
Editorial Notes: * Back in May, while our distinguished Japanese member Masamichi Higurashi and his wife Mayumi were in London, Mitch received the news that he had won the Mystery Writers of Japan’s Criticism and Research award for his book The Sherlock Holmes Bible. Congratulations! * Among the books owned by the late Charlie Watts, drummer with the Rolling Stones, was a first edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles, inscribed by Arthur Conan Doyle. It sold at auction for £214,200… * We strongly recommend The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia, a wonderfully comprehensive online resource, compiled and curated by our admirable French member Alexis Barquin. Find it athttps://www.arthur-conan-doyle.com.
” ‘A Devil With Merely Local Powers’ – Superstitious Civilisation in The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Eric D Lehman * “The hope of many in the 19th century was that the reason and science championed by Sherlock Holmes would drive away human tendency toward superstition, weak reasoning, and unverified beliefs. Over a century later, the jury is still very much out.”
“Sherlock Noir” by Mike Ranieri * If the second Holmes novel had been written in San Francisco, and in turn had inspired the later classics by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, it might – just might – have turned out like the fragment from The Big Scandal, presented here by the head of the Bootmakers of Toronto.
“Singlesticks, Walking Sticks and Guns: Armed Combat in the Sherlock Holmes Stories” by Kelvin I Jones * A survey of canonical weapons and their uses – for attack, defence or otherwise…
“Seeing Paget in Colour” by Russell Merritt * Sadly, very little survives of Sidney Paget’s original artwork for the Sherlock Holmes stories, but his use of colour to highlight, add depth, volume, and nuance shows him to be a master of watercolour.
Transactions, by Rakshita Patel and Roger Johnson * At the AGM on the 18th May, Calvert Markham took over the role of Treasurer from Ashley Mayo, and Bob Ellis succeeded Jonathan McCafferty as President. Ex-President McCafferty and his wife Elaine were both awarded Honorary Membership of the Society, and Roger Johnson announced that the winner of this year’s Tony & Freda Howlett Literary Award is Glen Miranker, for his book Sherlock Holmes in 221 Objects. In the “Three-Minute Problems” debate that followed, fourteen members each argued that one canonical character was “The Best of the Worst”; the popular vote was for Dundas the denture-chucker, as nominated by Peter Horrocks. * On the 19th May, a score of members visited the Thames River Police Museum at Wapping Police Station, home of a constabulary founded nearly 30 years before the Metropolitan Police, which took it over in 1839. Seeing the real artefacts and learning how the River Police work, adds a new excitement to Dr Watson’s account of the pursuit of the Aurora. * The following day we headed west, to the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, where Holmes and Watson attended (or did they?) a recital by the mysterious “Carina”. Here too, on the 13th July 1930, a memorial service was held for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who had “passed to fuller life” on the 7th – and a seat was reserved for him. * On Sunday the 21st, members met for afternoon tea at the Wallace Collection, one of the world’s great art galleries, which is just a short walk from 221B Baker Street. Sherlock Holmes must have known it well, as it includes paintings by his French great-uncle Horace Vernet, and his great-grandfather Carle Vernet. * On the 3rd October, members visited Guy’s Hospital in Southwark – not because of any direct canonical connection, but to see the remarkable (and gruesome) Gordon Museum of Pathology: that is, the study of disease and injury. Forensic pathology is its application to criminal investigation, and an earlier Curator of the museum was Professor Keith Simpson, who is considered by many to be a greater forensic pathologist than Sir Bernard Spilsbury.
” ‘The Pure Dartmoor Air’ – Dartmoor and The Silver Blaze Wessex Cup, 1st to 3rd September 2023″ by Trish McPherson * The Society’s first excursion to the moor in nine years took members to some familiar sites, such as the National Park Visitor Centre in the former Duchy Hotel in Princetown, where Conan Doyle stayed in 1901, and some sites that were less familiar, such as H.M. Prison Dartmoor, also in Princetown – and Newton Abbot Racecourse, where the third running of the Silver Blaze Wessex Cup was held.
” ‘Musings on Amusements in the Canon’ – The Reichenbach Irregulars of Switzerland’s Alpine Exploits at the Foot of the Gemmi Pass” by Alexander Katz * From 1st to 4th June, the Reichenbach Irregulars‘ latest international conference brought fifty Sherlockians from Japan, France, Germany, the UK, Canada, the United States of America, and Switzerland to Leukerbad, where they explored the nearby “melancholy Daubensee” and Gemmi Pass, whilst also musing on the amusements in the Canon through a series of papers and performances delivered by outstanding Holmesian scholars.
“It Seems to Me…” by Auberon Redfearn * What sort of feedback would Holmes have received from his clients?
“The Sherlock Holmes Society of London v the ‘Gold Bats’ of the P.G. Wodehouse Society” by Paul Gillings * The weather on Sunday the 25th June promised well, and at West Wycombe Cricket Club’s picturesque ground the promise was fulfilled. As in 2022, the annual match between the Sherlock Holmes Society’s XI and the “Gold Bats” of the P.G. Wodehouse Society ended in an amicable draw.
“It Is With a Heavy Heart…” Obituaries by Jean Upton and Roger Johnson * Those we have lost include the actor Paxton Whitehead, who created the role of Sherlock Holmes in The Crucifer of Blood on Broadway; our friend Jerome Coopersmith, who wrote the book of the musical Baker Street, and two short plays that were performed by the Society’s occasional drama troupe; Inga Swenson, who was the bewitching Irene Adler in the Broadway production of Baker Street; Gayle Hunnicut, Irene Adler to Jeremy Brett’s Holmes in the classic Granada TV series; Joss Ackland, who was Jephro Rucastle in the same series; and three notable members of the Society: Roy W Simmons, John Baesch, and Desmond Tyler.
“I Am an Omnivorous Reader” * Book reviews by Alistair Duncan, Mark Mower, Sarah Obermuller-Bennett, John Sheppard and Roger Johnson
“Wigmore Street Postbag” * Letters to The Sherlock Holmes Journal.