Sunday, June 30, 2019

Each is Suggestive [DEVI]

Reading "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" this morning gave me a couple different thoughts about this story.  So this week, I'm just going to ramble through my thoughts on one of the less popular stories in the Canon.

I feel like the stories from 'His Last Bow' get a short shrift.  We often dismiss the last two collections of stories either purposely or subconsciously.  And while there can be a good debate about 'The Case-Book', I think 'His Last Bow' isn't in the forefront of our minds because they weren't the packaged deal of 'Adventures,' 'Memoirs,' and 'Return.'

DEVI gives us this great Sherlockismus:
"I followed you."
"I saw no one."
"That is what you may expect to see when I follow you."

If you had asked me what story that quote came from, I wouldn't have been able to tell you.  Admittedly, I'm not as great at quotes as I'd like to be, but that's another story.

Dr. Leon Sterndale seems like a character that would be rife for a spin off full of his own adventures.  I can just see him meeting up with Professor Challenger or Sebastian Moran in his travels.

Do you think Holmes showed more emotion towards Watson in this story or when he was shot in 3GAR?  Either way, it's one of those rare moments when Holmes shows us just how important the good doctor is to him.

DEVI reminded me of a lot of other stories, too.  Mainly REIG and ABBE.  In REIG, Holmes is ordered to recuperate and finds himself investigating a local problem instead.  The end of ABBE shows Holmes weighing the justification of a criminal and allowing him to go.  Although the motive and murder weapon of DEVI are new to us, the beginning and the end can give the reader deja vu.

But what really got me thinking today were the following lines: 

"The ancient Cornish language had also arrested his attention, and he had, I remember, conceived the idea that it was akin to the Chaldean, and had been largely derived from the Phoenician traders in tin. He had received a consignment of books upon philology and was settling down to develop this thesis..."

There are just enough buzzwords in here to pique my interest, but I also immediately recognize them as words I don't fully understand.  Chaldean.  Phoenician.  Philology.

These have always struck me as vaguely theological words.  At least 'Phoenician.'  You hear of them in relation to the Israelites in the Bible.  A quick Google search shows me that 'philology' is the study of languages.  'Chaldean' comes up quite a bit in the Old Testament.

Like someone else once said, "My biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty,"  but those few sentences always spark something in the back of my brain.  There's something there related to my interest in the overlap of Sherlock Holmes and theology, I just don't have the knowledge to make it make sense.  Perhaps I need to do some more reading.  After all, "to let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine.  It racks itself to pieces."

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Game is Afoot [ABBE]

This week, the new game "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" took the gaming world by storm.  I'm going to admit right up front that I don't know much about this game, but it seems a lot like "Pokemon Go," an Augmented Reality game for your phone.  I remember when Pokemon Go was big, you'd see people wandering around neighborhoods trying to catch Pokemon and interacting with other game players. But what does this have to do with Sherlock Holmes?

Everything!  Because it's time to reveal the next big AR game: "Sherlock Holmes: Detectives Unite"  (Or we could go with "Sherlock Holmes Stop (the Criminals) if you prefer a play on the Pokemon title.)

First things first.  What is Augmented Reality?  I don't really know.

But my cousin does!  Jeremy Monken works for Trigger, a Mixed Reality company.  So he knows what he's talking about:

"Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go are mobile games that use a combination of GPS location data and augmented reality gameplay to let players interact with a virtual world superimposed over the real world.  Using real-time data, users can interact with each other and the world."

So, now that we know what AR is, how would a Sherlock Holmes AR game work?

60 Cases, 60 levels.  To pass each level, you would have to collect clues that would be superimposed on your screen as you move through a neighborhood.  Let's take A Scandal in Bohemia as Level 1.

Here are some things you'd have to accomplish to solve Case 1:

  • Meet with Count Von Kramm and convince him to take his mask off, revealing that he is the King of Bohemia
  • Listen to the King's story, collect information and payment
  • Select a disguise and then travel to Serpentine Mews to find out about Irene Adler
  • Follow two carriages to the Church of St. Monica
  • Participate in a wedding ceremony and collect a sovereign
  • Return to Baker Street and plan the next step with Watson.  Do you...
    • Break in to Irene Adler's house and try to locate the missing picture
    • Interrogate Godfrey Norton
    • Trick Irene Adler into showing you where the picture is hidden
  • We all know that choice 3 is the correct answer.  If you pick choices 1 or 2, you'll run though whatever steps that would be included, but ultimately fail.  You would have to do the mission over again starting from the beginning
  • After you've chosen option 3, select a disguise and head to Irene Adler's house
  • Get in a fake fight when her carriage pulls up
  • Convince her to take you in to her house
  • Call out "Fire! Fire!" when Watson throws a smoke bomb through the window
  • After Irene has shown you where the picture is hidden and the false alarm is realized, make another choice
    • Try and grab the hidden picture while she is out of the room
    • Return to Baker Street and try to burgle Irene Adler's house later that night
    • Return to Baker Street and tell the King to meet you in the morning
  • If the mission is completed correctly, you are awarded a photograph of Irene Adler and you move on to Case 2

Obviously, most of the cases are short stories and can be played as individual levels, but what about the 4 novels?  Well, I guess those would have to be boss levels and have to take a little more time.  We can cut out the backstory stuff in A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, and The Valley of Fear, but they will still obviously take a little longer.

So, 14 standard cases followed by one boss level.  These 15 cases could be grouped as "The Adventures," "The Memoirs," "The Return," and "The Case-Book."  We'd have to make some slight changes to some of the stories (no introduction of Watson and Holmes in STUD, Holmes isn't retired in LION or LAST, etc.) and the order that they appear, but off the top of my head the first batch of levels could look like this:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

  • A Scandal in Bohemia: See above
  • The Red-headed League 
    • Turn your street into Jabez Wilson's neighborhood, looking for clues on the street and question Vincent Spaulding
    • Will you stake out Wilson's shop, hunt down Duncan Ross, or convince the bank manager to let you into his vault? 
  • A Case of Identity
    • Find the cab that Hosmer Angel slipped out of
    • Confront James Windibank and make him confess
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery
    • Turn over rocks on your phone to find the murder weapon
    • Race against Lestrade before he can collect enough evidence to convict McCarthy
  • The Five Orange Pips
    • Visit John Openshaw at his estate.  How are the orange seeds and locked box connected?
    • Track down information on American sailing vessels.  Can you make it back to Openshaw before the KKK gets to him?
  • The Man with the Twisted Lip
    • Turn your neighborhood into The Bar of Gold and the Thames River to collect evidence
    • What items will you take with you to the jail to unmask Hugh Boone?
  • The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
    • What can you deduce from Henry Baker's hat?
    • Follow the trail to the Alpha Inn
    • Make James Ryder confess; do you let him go or not?
  • The Adventure of the Speckled Band
    • Face off against Grimesby Roylott as he bends steel pokers with his bare hands
    • Avoid the cheetah and baboon as you make your way to Stoke Moran
    • Can you stop the snake in time before it makes it down the rope?
  • The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
    • Investigate voodoo items at Wisteria Lodge and question John Eccles
    • Search nearby houses for people who could be connected to the case
  • The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
    • You've just missed Victor Hatherly, so follow him to a country house
    • Help him escape from the hydraulic press!
    • The house is on fire!  You can stop the counterfeiters from escaping or rescue Hatherly as he hangs from the window, which will you choose?
  • The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
    • Find the missing wedding dress and veil
    • Will you question the lady who interrupted the reception or track down the mysterious man from the front pew?
  • The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
    • Follow the tracks in the snow 
    • Fight George Burnwell to find out what you need to know
    • Use your clues to track down the lost crown
  • The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
    • Travel with Lestrade and hear his story about the severed ears
    • Track down Jim Browner before he escapes on a boat
  • The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
    • Investigate in The Copper Beeches but don't let Carlo catch your scent!
    • Can you make it to Alice Rucastle before her father does?
  • Boss Level: A Study in Scarlet
    • Collect evidence at Lauriston Gardens
    • Set a trap and chase the old lady through London's streets
    • Follow the clues to Madame Charpentier's Boarding House
    • How will you test the poison found at the boarding house?
    • Dispatch the Baker Street Irregulars and travel with them through London's cab yards
    • Fight Jefferson Hope to keep him from escaping through a window!
And this is just the first 15 cases!  Meet brother Mycroft in "The Memoirs," stop The Hound of the Baskervilles in "The Return," and go face-to-face with Moriarty in "The Case-Book!"  Can't you just see all of the folks wandering around staring at their phones when this game comes out?  

Well, they already are, but this time it will be for Sherlock Holmes!  And come on, you already know the ads will end with "The Game's Afoot"!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Now We Have the Sherlock Holmes Test [STUD]

This week, I was reading "The Late Mr. Sherlock Holmes" by Trevor Hall.  This one isn't as widely known as his first book, but just as delightful if not more so!  But I'm not here to write a book review.  Nope.  I'm here to talk about footnotes.

Footnotes, the earmark of Sherlockian research.  Hall's essays have plenty of them!  And I started playing a game with myself.  Every time a canonical quote was marked, I would try and see if I could tell which story it was from.  Now, I'm fairly adept at scion society quizzes, so I expected to do pretty well at this game.

It's one thing to recall information from one story, but from all sixty?  And some of these stories I haven't read in a few years?  It was bad.

So, to make myself feel better about my lack of quotational knowledge, I'm going to share quotes from just one of the essays in the book.  This is from an essay on Sherlock Holmes and books.  This wasn't one of the hardest ones in the book, but still more challenging than I had expected.  (The essay that quotes all of the times that Watson commented on an attractive woman?  Hoo boy...)

The answers will be at the end of the post.  How many can you cite correctly?  Keep track of your score and post it in the comments below.  Bragging rights for whomever gets the most correct!

1. A small but select library, taken over, as I understand, from a former occupant.

2. We heard of you living the life of a hermit among your bees and your books in a small form upon the South Downs

3. [Holmes] Raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened.

4. [Holmes] Remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books.

5. No, I don't think I have anything rarer than a Crown Derby tea-set.

6. Ha!  And the flap has been gummed, if I am not very much in error, by a person who had been chewing tobacco.

7. They consisted of a couple of comfortable bedrooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows.

8. His cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe-end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece.

9. A row of formidable scrap-books and books of reference which many of our fellow-citizens would have been so glad to burn.

10. Holmes in one of his queer humours would sit in an arm-chair, with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges, and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V.R. done in bullet-pocks.

11. He had at least five small refuges in different parts of London in which he was able to change his personality.

12. The most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen.

13. That true cold reason which I place above all things.

14. With a nod he vanished into the bedroom, whence he emerged in five minutes tweed-suited and respectable, as of old.

15. With his collar turned up, his shiny seedy coat, his red cravat, and his worn boots, he was a perfect sample of the class.

16. He's following someone.  Yesterday he was out as a workman looking for a job.  Today he was an old woman.

17. A little later a rakish young workman with a goatee beard and a swagger lit his clay pipe at the lamp before descending into the street. "I'll be back some time, Watson', said he, and vanished into the night.

18. If instead o' standin' there so quiet you had just stepped up and given me that cross-hit of yours under the jaw, I'd ha' known you without question.

19. [Holmes] had a good practical knowledge of British law.

20. Phillpe de Croy, whoever he may have been.  On the fly-leaf, in very faded ink, is written 'Ex Libris Guliemi Whyte.'  I wonder who William Whyte was.  Some pragmatical seventeenth century lawyer, I suppose.

21. For the first and last time in my life.

22. A little bookshop at the corner of Church Street.

23. It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume.  His expression, his manner, his very sould seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed.

24. How he had purchased his own Stradivarius, which was worth at least five hundred guineas, at a Jew broker's in Tottenham Court Road for fifty-five shillings.

25. A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

26. There is a great garret in my little house which is stuffed with books.  It was into this that I plunged a rummaged for an hour.

Okay, time to count your correct answers!

5. 3GAB
10. MUSG
11. BLAC
12. SCAN
13. SIGN
14. SCAN
15. BERY
16. MAZA
17. CHAS
18. SIGN
19. STUD
20. STUD
21. EMPT
22. EMPT
23. SCAN
24. CARD
25. FIVE
26. LION

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Interesting Interview: Mattias Bostrom

Every generation has "that" Sherlockian.  The one who poured so much of their lifeblood into our hobby that they have become a cornerstone of Sherlockiana.   William Baring-Gould, Richard Lancelyn Green, Leslie Klinger.  For those of us who have come into Sherlockiana in the past ten years, Mattias Bostrom is that cornerstone. 

If you're reading this blog, you probably already own his Agatha Award winning, Edgar Award and Anthony Award nominated tome, "From Holmes to Sherlock."  As far as I am concerned, it is the best Sherlockian book that has come out since I've been a Sherlockian.  Mattias could easily rest on his laurels and know that he has made a major contribution to Sherlockiana, but the man immediately jumped into another large project, "Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle in the Newspapers," an exhaustive collection of any and all mentions of Sherlock Holmes or Arthur Conan Doyle from the newspapers of their day.  The series currently has 4 volumes, covering 1881-1884, with many more in the works.

And if reading Mattias' work isn't enough, you can also hear him!  This year, he started his own Sherlockian podcast, Talk About Sherlock, where he does a deep dive into a different and under-reported Sherlockian topic each month.  He is also a regular contributor to I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere with his segment "As We Go To Press," which gives the news of Holmes and ACD from a random date in history.  And I hear tell that we can hope to hear him popping up on The Watsonian Weekly sometime soon.

But until then, here is Mattias Bostrom with his opinions on Sherlockiana!

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?

I prefer not to do that. Defining it may remove all the magic and atmosphere that surrounds it. The closest I have come to a definition of the word is in "From Holmes to Sherlock" – and I literally mean the whole more-than-500-page book. I just can't define it in fewer words. And what's interesting is really not the definition, but what you put into the word.

Nothing in the definition of the adjective or the noun "Sherlockian" tells about the feelings connected with the word. It's like the iceberg – you can only define 10% of the word, the rest is hidden in your own emotions. Those emotions differ, depending on who you are and when and why you think about it, but those emotions are the true meaning of the word, not any static definition.

How did you become a Sherlockian?

It's the classic boy-or-girl-meets-Sherlock-story, but with an encyclopedic twist. I had been reading Holmes stories since I was ten years old, over and over again. But when I was sixteen I happened to read about the Sherlockian world in a book, and I totally fell in love with the quasi-academic side of it.

As long as I could remember, I had been eating knowledge for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Always when I was out walking with my grandfather, I said to him, "Ask me something". I wanted him to test all my knowledge in history, geography, science, etc. When Sherlock Holmes took over my life, it evolved slightly – my grandfather didn't have to ask me anything, I told him everything about Holmes anyway. This was my new knowledge.

What is your favorite canonical story?

I have answered The Red-Headed League so often on this question, so I hope it's true. But if I ask my emotions, it is definitely my favorite. It's got that combination of weird humor and a great plot. Humor means so enormously much to me, and when absurd humor can be spotted in a Holmes story, I can only love it.

Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?
Definitely Paul Thomas Miller. He is bringing so much clever and unexpected humor into the Sherlockian world, and we really needed him when he turned up in our lives a year or two ago. Sherlock Holmes can be serious business sometimes, but Paul always makes us remember the fun of it.

This is how he presents himself on one of his blogs: "Paul Thomas Miller is a long-time Sherlock Holmes devotee and contributor to The Baker Street Journal and other Holmesian publications. He lives in Portsmouth not far from where Arthur Conan Doyle wrote “A Study in Scarlet”. He spends most of his free time reading or writing about Holmes in The Sherloft at the top of his house. Surrounded by Holmesiana, this is where his Holmesian obsession is allowed to play out without testing the patience of his wife and two boys. Paul has formed his own Holmesian society; The Shingle of Southsea. So far the society has one member, who did very well at the society’s 2018 awards ceremony. The society has no plans to expand its membership but does publish its monthly meeting’s minutes online ( Paul can be found on Twitter under the name @baronvonbork."

His monthly meeting's minutes are hilarious, and his many theories on Canonical things are intelligent and fun. Paul is also the founder of Doyle's Rotary Coffin, "a society formed for the sole purpose of whole-heartedly and contrarily enjoying stupid Holmesiana regardless of how canonical others consider it to be."

Every generation of Sherlockians needs a few really fine humorists. Paul Thomas Miller is one of the best we have.
What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?

The real life part of it. I want to know how everything is interconnected. How people repeatedly influenced each other in the Sherlock Holmes history, and how that turned Holmes into a continuing success. I want to know more about the historical connections between actors, producers, writers, Conan Doyle estate people, and fans. For me that is the best way to explain why Holmes is still such a success. It's all about people.

What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?

Haha, is there anything I'm not researching? When reading nonfiction books I always start with the list of sources at the end of the book, checking what interesting and unusual sources have been used – and I can get REALLY excited from that! 

I would say that some 80% of my Sherlockian activities consists of researching. A lot of my research is in newspapers from the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, but I also search in other online archives. And I spend a lot of money asking archives to scan correspondence or whatever for me.

Often, when I see a Sherlockian friend asking for information on Facebook or Twitter about some historical matter, I check some of the best archives to see if I can help in any way, and I normally find some useful newspaper articles, etc.

What was the hardest part of putting together "From Holmes to Sherlock"?
Believe it or not, it was actually quite easy, mainly because of luck. When I started the project I made a long list of things I wanted to include in the book, and when looking at that list today, it is very obvious how little I knew about the Sherlock Holmes history at the time. I knew the headlines, but I had very vague knowledge about the facts. So I just started researching things. 

e.g. Where could I find information about H. Greenhough Smith, editor of the Strand Magazine? Because I knew nothing, but I really wanted to write about his personality and life. I searched the newspaper archives. And, through Google Books, or in De Waal, or thanks to friends recommending sources, I found a book or magazine issue that included the information I needed. Either I could find it scanned online, or I ordered the book. I spent some $3,000 to buy this kind of literature – often totally non-Sherlockian – about important persons in the Holmes history. I then had an enormous amount of research material, which I just had to structure in a sort of chronological order. 

But there was a huge hole in this construction – and that was the part Conan Doyle's children were playing in all of this, after the death of their father. And here comes the luck: the Conan Doyle archive in Portsmouth, consisting of the late Richard Lancelyn Green's gigantic collection, included thousands of documents (letters, business reports, etc.) from Adrian, Denis, and Jean Conan Doyle. Those documents had at that time (2012) just been organized and made available for researchers, and I think I was the first writer or researcher to be interested in looking at much of that material. 

It was there that I found the core of my book, and it turned into a thriller about copyright, and also explained pretty much all the important decisions made from 1930 to the 1970s – why certain films, TV series, and plays were made, why Adrian and John Dickson Carr wrote the Exploits, and much more. This was the story that explained why Sherlock Holmes was kept alive and became big business after the death of his creator, instead of maybe slowly disappearing from the minds of the readers.

How do you decide on your monthly topics for "Talk About Sherlock"?

Sometimes it's an old idea that I've never turned into an article. And sometimes I just happen to find an interesting matter while researching something else. The closer I get to the deadline, the more creative I get. I try to present something that many of the listeners haven't heard about before, but I realize that such an approach will be impossible in the long run. We'll see how the podcast develops, it's too early to say.

What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians?
The two I use the most are Brian W Pugh's "A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" and "Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters", edited by Lellenberg, Stashower and Foley. I constantly find new details in them, both about Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes success.

But the book I would like to recommend is one that easily might be missed by newer Sherlockians, "The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, compiled by Richard Lancelyn Green, a Penguin paperback from 1983. It's a compilation of parodies, plays, poems, speeches and reminiscences. But what's really important is its more than 140 pages long introduction, written by Richard Lancelyn Green. That introduction is one of the cornerstone works in Sherlockian literature, explaining in detail how Conan Doyle started writing about Holmes, and how the detective became a success. Much of what we know about this history comes from Lancelyn Green's research and this introduction.

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

It's impossible to say anything about ten years from now. I mean, ten years ago, the Sherlock Holmes world was basically the same as it had been since the 1990s, post-Granada. But then came the TV series Sherlock and changed absolutely everything. It also changed me and my Sherlockian interests, and gave me the incitement to write "From Holmes to Sherlock". Who knows what will come and change the world for me and others again? When it comes to traditional Sherlockiana, I think it will live on as long as there still are traditional Sherlockians.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

If Only as a Check to My Own Memory [NOBL]

It's the beginning of June, and the start of summer!  Last week I talked about how I've started reviewing books for The Watsonian Weekly podcast, and that made me remember just how long it took to post my year-end round up of books last year.  So I'm going to do a mid-year check in this week.  I've read 105 books, stories and journals so far this year, and by my count 40 of those items have been Sherlockian texts.  I won't go into detail on each one, just give a quick snapshot of things and hopefully you'll find something that piques your interest.

I will start off with journals, as they have been a major part of my reading this year.

The Baker Street Journal:
V25, 3; V36, 2; V25, 1; V68, 4; V8, 3; Christmas Annual 2018; V3, 4; V4, 1; V24, 4; V35, 1; V10, 1; V12, 1; V69, 1; V13, 2 
Yup, that's 14 issues of the BSJ that I've read so far this year.  And it's all over the place.  I've read issues edited by Julian Wolff, Phillip Shreffler, Edgar Smith, and Steven Rothman.  It's interesting to see how the BSJ has changed over the decades.  If you have old copies lying around your house, pick one up.  I'd wager that it will be a nice trip down memory lane.

The Serpentine Muse:
Volume 35 Numbers 1 & 2
When I won The Beacon Award last year (humble brag, I know), I was awarded a subscription to The Serpentine Muse.  I wasn't sure what it was when I received my first issue.  Was it a collection of toasts?  Activity reports?  Scholarship?  Other stuff?  The answer to all of this is yes.  Once I knew what to expect when I opened up the cover of a new issue, I was quick to renew my subscription when the notice came in the mail last week.

The Holmes and Watson Report:
May 2000 , July 2000, September 2000, October 2000, January 2001 
The out of print journal is like opening up a Sherlockian time capsule to the beginning of the century.  These issues had Holmes running for president of the United States until Moriarty and Moran took over the publishing offices.  Imagine if Sherlock Peoria had a full time staff and they put out a journal and you have an idea of what this entails.

The Watsonian: Volume 7, Number 1
I love The Watsonian.  In fact, I reviewed it on the latest episode of The Watsonian Weekly.

The Canon:
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Adventure of The Red-Headed League, The Crooked Man
My goal is to read 20 canonical stories by the end of the year, so having only read 4 by this point in the year tells me I need to pick up the stories more this summer!

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars – Anthony Boucher
This had been on my TBR for a long while, but a friend raved about how much they loved it so I bumped it up.  And I'm glad I did!  Not specifically Sherlockian, but a fun 40's murder mystery that kept me turning the pages.

Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson – Jack Tracy
I know Holmes' cocaine use is a big deal for some folks, but I'm not that type of Sherlockian.  It was a fine book, just not for me.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Told by Sherlock Holmes – Holy Ghost Writer
Stick with me here.  This is the story of Huckleberry Finn told to Dr. Watson by Sherlock Holmes, written by someone named The Holy Ghost Writer.  Apparently, this is part of a larger series where Sherlock Holmes tells Watson about other literary characters that he has worked with, and then tells their famous tales to Watson.  Except the actual Huckleberry Finn story here is just the Mark Twain text that has been copy and pasted in between snippets of conversation between Holmes and Watson.  This book is so nuts that I actually live-tweeted it the night I read it.  It's been months since I read this book, and I'm still not sure exactly what was going on.

Sherlockian Ruminations from a Stormy Petrel – Brenda Rossini
And now for something completely different!  A nice collection of essays by a true blue Sherlockian.  I always enjoy these types of books as the essays can be all over the map and still give you an idea of the Sherlockian that wrote them.

The Bedside Companion to Sherlock Holmes – Dick Riley 
A list of the stories, a biography on Doyle, information about Victorian London.  I'm sure we all have one or two of these in our own libraries.

The Sherlock Holmes Companion – Kenneth Harris
If you enjoy Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes you need this book.  A gorgeous photo layout with nice information about the episodes of the Granada series and the source material.

Lock & Key: The Initiation – Ridley Pearson
Every now and then I will pick up a YA re-imagining of the Canon and I always end up feeling "meh" about them.  I am definitely not the target audience for these types of books, but if they engage new readers and get them to check out Doyle's original stories, keep 'em coming!

A Holmes by Any Other Name – Bill Mason
Bill has collected every known parody of the name "Sherlock Holmes" and given background on each.  But this isn't just a book of lists.  There's also stories about contests to come up with new parodies and a look at how other characters in the Canon have been treated by parodists.

The Strand Magazine and Sherlock Holmes: Two Fixed Points in a Changing Age – Robert Veld
I am admittedly not very interested in Arthur Conan Doyle.  But man, did this book keep me into a story where he obviously plays a large role.  This is a must have history for any Sherlockian who is interested in Holmes' impact on the wider world.

Baker Street and Beyond: Essays on Sherlock Holmes – Lord Donnegal
Much like Brenda Rossini's book above, another great collection of essays.  I read this book in one sitting and would recommend it to anyone out there.

Sherlock Holmes in America – Bill Blackbeard
An interesting history of how Sherlock Holmes has been received and depicted in America.  With pastiches, scholarship, scripts and LOTS of pictures, it was a fun read.

A Sherlock Holmes Compendium – Peter Haining
Much like Sherlock Holmes in America, this is an overview of Holmes in popular culture, but it doesn't limit itself to the US.

Sherlock Holmes and Music – Guy Warrack
I picked this up because it was on the Shaw 100.  I'm not a musicologist, so a lot of this went over my head.  But this slim volume is a quick read and you can tell that Warrack was very knowledgeable about his topic.

Scandinavia and Sherlock Holmes – Bjarne Nielsen
Oh Lord, I loved this book.  I bought a set of the BSI International Series earlier this year, and Scandinavia is the first one that I've read.  This sets the bar pretty high for great scholarship and I can't wait to get to the others in the set!