Sunday, January 16, 2022

Week-End Visitors [SOLI]

Wow.  What a weekend!

As I type this, I'm on my plane back to St. Louis.  The BSI Birthday Weekend is now over but I am still finding it hard to put everything into words.  But my big news from the weekend is I am now an invested member of the Baker Street Irregulars!  

I've heard many people tell the story of their night of being invested and not remembering what was said about them.  I can add my name to that list.  Michael Kean cited my profession as an elementary school teacher and my role on the Beacon Society, and things are blank after that.  I remember going on stage and thanking him and posing for a picture as he announced my investiture to the crowd, "Elementary."  Michael really seemed to know about each of the fourteen people invested this weekend and I have thirteen amazing classmates.  I mean, just look at these names!

Laurence Deloison - "Claridge's Hotel"

Jim Hawkins - "The Hans Sloane of My Age"

Heather Holloway - "Atlanta"

David Humphries - "Chicago Central"

Tim Johnson - "Theophilus Johnson"

Mark Jones - "Peter Jones"

Tiffany Knight - "Knight's Place"

Crystal Noll - "Crystal Palace"

Rob Nunn - "Elementary"

Aaron Rubin - TBD

Jonathan Tiemann - "The Bank of England"

Janice Weiner - "Scotland Yard"

Karen Wilson - "Bartholomew Wilson"

Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves - "Toby"

Although Scott Monty wasn't in attendance this year, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere did a great job getting the list of investitures out to everyone as well as the rest of the weekend's honors.

And if being invested wasn't enough, The Finest Assorted Collection: Essays on Collecting Sherlock Holmes was also released!  Seeing a book with my name on the cover in a bookshop is an unbelievable feeling.  The Mysterious Bookshop sold out of their stock of the book this weekend.  In fact, I had to ask someone if I could borrow their copy so I could take this picture.

The Finest Assorted Collection was moving very briskly at the Wessex Press dealer's table on Saturday morning as well and Peter Eckrich and I got to sign lots of books.  As far as I know it's not yet on their website for purchase, but I will be sure to update everyone once it's available.

But as we all know, the BSI weekend isn't about accolades or sales.  I got to spend time with so many wonderful people in New York.  I could list dozens of names here who were so much fun to be around and rattle so many topics we talked about that this blog post would go on forever.  Just know that if I got to spend any time with you this weekend, I really enjoyed it.  And if you weren't in New York, you were greatly missed.  

I'm absolutely exhausted from such a great few days so I will wrap this up with all of my pictures that I tweeted out over the weekend.  Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Interesting Interview: Peter Eckrich

It is a new year and I wanted to start off this new season of Interesting Interviews with a Sherlockian that not many folks will know, but are excited about his book.  Peter Eckrich is the sparking plug behind the new book from Wessex Press that I announced last month, The Finest Assorted Collection.  Working alongside him as we put together so many wonderful essays was a ton of fun.

Peter is someone who's been known around St. Louis and Illinois Sherlockian circles for a while.  His dad, Joe Eckrich, raised him up right, going to all kinds of Sherlockian activities.  Peter has carried that interest with him over the years and the fire is still burning.  It's all I can do to get him to focus on this book coming out next weekend before he wants to start corralling folks for a new project!  So, get to know a name that will probably be new to many folks, but one whose Holmes fires burn just as bright.

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”? 

I define the word Sherlockian as anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes in any form. 

How did you become a Sherlockian? 

The short answer is I was born into it. The longer answer is: My father was a Sherlockian from before I was born. There are early pictures of me as a baby with a deerstalker and a pipe. My brother enjoyed dressing me up. As a child I enjoyed going to different Sherlockian meetings and events with my Dad. 

I remember attending The Occupants of The Empty House where I met Gordon Speck and Bill Cochran. I also remember attending meetings of The Harpooners of The Sea Unicorn, and attending conferences in Dayton. I enjoyed the Basil Rathbone movies as a child. I drifted away from Sherlock Holmes for a long time. I rekindled my passion for it when I attended the Nerve and Knowledge event in Indianapolis. I have been going strong since. 

 What is your profession and does that affect how you enjoy being a Sherlockian? 

I am a 5th grade teacher and as such I love reading and I love helping students find a passion for reading. The greatest part of teaching reading is when you see a child finish a book and they close it for the last time. That sense of accomplishment that is on their faces and the excitement to start a new book is the best feeling as a teacher. 

What is your favorite canonical story? 

Man I am going to sound like such a noob, but I enjoy The Hound and the "Speckled Band." I also really like The Valley of Fear

 Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting? 

I have met so many fascinating people in this hobby. Someone I wish people could have met was Gordon Speck. Gordon was a kind man. I have to share a story. I was raising money to take my students to Washington DC.  One day I received a check in the mail from Gordon. That is just what kind of guy he was. 

Other Sherlockians I have to mention would be Gabriele Mazzoni and David Marcum. Gabriele is a collector from Italy. He has a tremendous collection and is an extremely passionate and kind individual. David has raised over $100,000 for Undershaw School with his MX Anthologies

 What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you? 

I am not a Sherlockian who gets caught up in the use of a word or how many times Watson was shot or where. I do find learning about the Victorian time period to be very interesting. I respect those that are so passionate about these other aspects, but the time period is fascinating. 

How did you come up with the idea for The Finest Assorted Collection

Being the child of a collector, I had an interesting childhood. I visited bookstores, antique malls, flea markets, and estate sales with my father. He was always in search of that missing item. I caught the collecting bug early. First it was baseball cards and then came autographs. I am still a huge autograph collector, but I have a nice book collection now as well. Anyway, I saw that my father was not unusual in the world of Sherlockians. I heard stories about John Bennett Shaw and others. So many Sherlockians were collectors. I was fascinated by these stories and I figured others would be too. 

As a second generation Sherlockian, what influence did your dad have on your interests in Sherlockiana? 

He has had a huge influence. His knowledge about Holmes and the history of the BSI has been invaluable.  He has recommended some great books that have helped me learn. That and the fact that he is always sending me home with more books. The hobby is more fun when you have someone to share it with.  

What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians? 

Even though they are well known, I have really enjoyed the BSI Manuscript series. They are extremely well done and full of information. 

Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now? 

In some ways it will not have changed. There will always be passionate people who want to share their passion with other like minded people. In other ways it will be different, as new members always bring new ideas. No matter what, Holmes and Watson will live on forever. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Bring Me The Books [BLUE]

I am beyond excited to announce two new books!  

While I've talked about these in bits and pieces, today is my first official public announcement of The Finest Assorted Collection: Essays on Collecting Sherlock Holmes and The Common Place Book: 2021.  I figured it would make sense to announce them both on the same day, so let's start announcing!

The Finest Assorted Collection is an anthology that I co-edited with Peter Eckrich.  It is a look at the collecting habit that we have in Sherlockiana.  Twenty-seven Sherlockians have contributed essays to this anthology about their specific Sherlockian collections.  From the hyper-specific to the all-encompassing, there are plenty of essays in here that will have you feel like a kindred spirit, make your mouth water, and make your spouse realize your collection isn't so bad after all!  

This anthology was such a delight to work on with Peter.  We got some great folks to work with and editing this project was a real highlight of my Sherlockian career.  So who is in this book?  How about I just show you the Table of Contents:

Introduction by Peter Eckrich & Rob Nunn
Colligo Ergo Sum by Barbara Rusch
A Three-Dimensional Collection by Denny Dobry
Stranded in The Strand: An 80 Step Program by Charles Prepolec
Hard and Charm Collecting: A Case from Italy by Gabriele Mazzoni
Collecting Books I Cannot Read by Don Hobbs
The Many Evolutions of a Collector by Howard Ostrom
From the Screen to My Library: Collecting Shelockian Cinema by Steven Doyle
The Signature is Very Suggestive by Joe Eckrich
Collecting for the Brain Attic by Ashley Polasek
The Intangible Things by Monica Schmidt
A Three Pipe Problem by Al Shaw
Mr. Holmes, They Were the Footprints of a Gigantic Hound! by Don Pollock
That’s Old News by Mattias Boström
A Case of Ancient Coins by Greg Ruby
“I trust that you don’t consider your collection closed.” – The Never-ending Quest for Traditional Pastiches by David Marcum
Confessions of a Chronology Collector by Mike McSwiggin
The Game’s Adult by Leslie Klinger
A Bohemian Collection by Lee Vann
Collecting the Art of Holmes by Amanda Downs
Art in the Blood by Jerry Margolin
Happy Mother’s Day, Sherlock! by Sonia Fetherston
For the Common Good: Libraries Collecting Sherlockiana by Tim Johnson
Delighted as a Child by Beth Gallego
Detective Pikachu, I Choose You!: Collecting Sherlockian Toys by Robert Perret
All the Selectivity of a Vacuum Cleaner by Paul Thomas Miller
The Collector’s Collector by Christian Monggaard
Living with Johnny Appleseed: Hijacked Planes, Couch Surfing, and the Search for the Holy Grail by Barbara Shaw

You can see why this project was such a fun one to work on!  Many of these authors have been Interesting Interviews over the past few years, and you can bet the ones that haven't been interviewed yet will be soon!

The Finest Assorted Collection: Essays on Collecting Sherlock Holmes will be available from Wessex Press on January 15.

But if you don't want to wait until next month, The Common-Place Book is available now!  This is a collection of 13 pieces of Sherlockian writings I've done over the years with twelve of the chapters covering canonical tales.  Some have appeared on this blog, others in journals, and some were presented at Sherlockian meetings.  

The idea behind this book is that so many of us have our writings scattered all over the place, it might be nice to have things collected under one cover.  This is a slim volume at a slim price.  My hope is to put one of these out each year.  Lord knows there's plenty of writing out there to collect!  

And for those of you who want a peek inside before pulling the trigger, here is the Table of Contents for this book:

My First Night Among the Sherlockians
A Lasting Image of Baker Street
And Now as to the Villains
A Pupil for the Scientific Methods
Each is Suggestive
Then I Will Go Back to Him with Some Faked Papers
A Very Pretty Hash You Have Made of It
Old Friends Overstatements 
The Starting Point of so Many Remarkable Adventures
A Study in Steadfast
There is Moriarty Himself
Somewhat Incoherent in Consequence
A Toast to Holmes and Watson

Two more books to add to our already stuffed bookshelves?  Yup.  Add them to your collection and enjoy!