Vol.16        May 2016   Number 5
spring flower girl
Sherlockian Links
Would you like your link listed here?
Email us.



"He was last seen on the night of May 13 . . ." (PRIO)

If you have ever read “A Scandal in Bohemia” and wonderedredmond what Watson’s allusion to “Mr. John Hare” means… if you aren’t sure who was in charge in southeast Asia when Mycroft Holmes mentions “the present state of Siam”… if you’re wondering about Watson’s portrait of General Gordon or Holmes’s Vernet relatives or what Scottish expert on poisons Scotland Yard consulted when the Baker Street duo weren’t available… this is your book. It provides one-paragraph biographies of 800 real-life Victorians and Edwardians who strolled down Oxford Street near Holmes and Watson or figured in the newspapers they read. That mention of Blondin on the roof at Pondicherry Lodge? Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary friends? The King of Scandinavia? The British commander at Maiwand? Enquire within.
Baker Street Elementary
Steve Mason, Rusty Mason, Joe Fay



A World-Famous Address
Liese Sherwood-Fabre

Within a day of meeting, John Watson and Sherlock Holmes moved into 221B Baker Street. When Arthur Conan Doyle penned A Study in Scarlet, Baker Street existed, but the address did not. William Baker originally laid out the street bearing his name in the 18th century, and the numbers extended only into the 100s at the time of the story’s publication.

With such a street actually existing in London, reality finally caught up with fiction in the 1930s when Baker Street, York Place, and Upper Baker Street were renamed together as Baker Street and the buildings renumbered. At that point, a building housing the Abbey National Building Society, a financial firm, became 221 Baker Street, and almost immediately the Royal Mail began delivering letters addressed to the great detective to the organization.  The correspondence was great enough for their public relations office to employ a full-time secretary to respond to it all, most often noting Mr. Holmes had retired to raise bees in Sussex.

In 1990, the Sherlock Holmes Museum opened farther down at 239 Baker Street in a Georgian townhouse that resembled Doyle’s description of Holmes and Watson’s residence. John Aidiniantz purchased the house with funds his mother Grace raised by selling her own home. The museum and Abbey National fought for the next twelve years over who should receive the mail still arriving for Mr. Holmes. The firm argued they were more equipped to handle the letters. Only after the company moved to new quarters in 2002 and the City of Westminster approved the museum’s use of the address 221B did the Royal Mail agree to deliver correspondence there.

Unfortunately, the museum owner did not only have a contentious relationship with outside interests. Family members have accused each other of various wrong-doings and sued each other for a portion of the £20 million business. The in-fighting took a toll on Grace Aidianiantz, who died, the family reported, of a broken heart in December, 2015.

The museum provides its 700 annual visitors a recreation of the full flat, including Dr. Watson’s bedroom and a Victorian water closet on an upper floor. Other replicas exist, but do not necessarily offer as complete a vision of the men’s living quarters. While certain aspects of the apartment are described by Doyle, such as the number of rooms, the fireplace in the sitting room, Holmes’ chemical table, Watson’s desk, and the basket, or wicker, chair for guests, other features were less defined, such as wallpaper or other furnishings.

As a result, the various replicas reflect the tastes and interests of the designer. For example, the Sherlock Holmes Pub displays the first collection of Holmes memorabilia collected for the Festival of Britain in 1951, including Doyle’s desk and chair. Other depictions can be found at the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen, Switzerland near the Reichenbach Falls; another museum inside a hotel at Lucens, Switzerland; and the Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota.

In all, the rooms are arranged to appear as if its occupants just left and will return shortly. Fires burn in the fireplace, a jack-knife holds recent correspondence in place on the mantel, and papers are scattered about the room. The visitor is left the impression that at any moment, the two will enter, offer the basket chair to the guest, and settle back as a new mystery is liesepresented to them.

(The author, with Bobbie, at "221b" shown at right.)

Doyle, Arthur Conan; Ryan, Robert (2012-12-13). The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Kindle Locations 477-478).  . Kindle Edition.

Steven Doyle and David Crowder, Sherlock Holmes for Dummies (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2010), p. 160.


Fellow Tankervillian, Steve Winter, sent over this link to some very interesting footage of late 19th and early 20th century London. Click Here - it is worth a visit!!


A few months ago, we alerted you to the fact that our friend, Steve Mason, had begun a survey in an attempt shaw to see what "editorial additions" (subtractions) modern Sherlockians might have with respect to the original "Shaw 100: Basic Sherlockian Library" set forth by the late, great John Bennett Shaw back (to your right, Shaw at Holmes on the Range) around 1977 (with subsequent revisions). Steve told us that he now has his survey in and the results have been published in "The Serpentine Muse."; Steve has, however, let us in on the books which brought 50, or more, votes from Sherlockians in his survey; For the complete list, he recommended that interested folk refer to his article in "The Serpentine Muse."

Here's as much as Steve has revealed to us:

  • 1.       The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories and Novels; Leslie Klinger; November, 2004, and November, 2005.
  • 2.       Sherlock Holmes Reference Library; Leslie Klinger; 1998
  • 3.       Scuttlebutt from the Spermacetti Press; Peter E. Blau, 1985 to present
  • 4.       The Annotated Sherlock Holmes; William Baring-Gould; 1974.
  • 5.       The Ultimate Sherlock Holmes Encyclopedia; Jack Tracy, 1987 edition.

    The Baring-Gould and Tracy's Encyclopedia (1977 edition added in Shaw's 1978 list) were included in the original 100; each of the others listed here were new additions suggested for the basic library. We have not seen Steve's complete list, but he has told us that it does not contain Gary Heiselberg's Personae Dramatis in ludis Sherlociensibus, if we had been in his survey sample, we would certainly have added this one. In years past, we have referred to this work as "the second most useful Sherlockian reference book of all time," with Tracy's Encyclopedia being first, in our minds. However, in recent months we have reviewed the number of times we, personally, have consulted "Tracy". We count that number to have been, perhaps, three times over the past year, or so. We do, however, find ourselves referring to Heiselberg's remarkable volume certainly once a month and, sometimes, as often as once per week. Therefore, in our personal rating system, we are taking the liberty of promoting Personae Dramatis in ludis Sherlociensibus to the position of #1 most useful Sherlockian reference book of all time (demoting Tracy to #2, in our own estimation). If you know Heiselberg's book, we would enjoy hearing your opinion of this work. And, as we have said before, we wouldn't take $1000 for our copy of Personae Dramatis in ludis Sherlociensibus, if we couldn't replace it!


"OK, who poached my bottle of Scotch?"


This news from SOB Terri Haugen:

"Greetings from The SOBs!!!

We had a super successful and fun Masters' Dinner on Saturday, March 5 and now we're looking forward to our Club's 36th Anniversary celebration on April 2!!
"We recognized SOBs Ariana "Airy" Maher (Seattle) and Carl T. Wirth (Omaha) for outstanding performance this past year with our "Footprints of a Gigantic Hound Citations" presentation!!  Both are well-deserved!!!  Watch for the posting of the summary and pictures from this event at our website soon!!
"We delivered our 33rd Beaten's Christmas Annual at the Dinner to resounding applause...especially for the cover art, provided this year by long-term SOB Allen Nelson (Seattle).  We've got 70 pages of fun this year---our biggest ever---for readers of all ages!!  Single copies are available to non-Members for $13.00 postpaid in the U.S.; $18.00 postpaid elsewhere.  Just drop me a line!!
"And, we hope you find the attached March issue of our monthly Ineffable Twaddle informative and entertaining!!
"Contact me if you'd like to join or re-join The SOBs!!!  We've got LOTS to offer Members!!

Best regards,
Secretary & Editor


"Looking down on this very scene, there stood upon the fourth of May, eighteen hundred and forty-seven, a solitary traveller." (STUD)


Our friend, Ed Lear, sent over this photo of ADC at age 6.


zecherWe recently spoke to our old friend, Henry Zecher, and he mentioned that his volume, William Gillette: America's Sherlock Holmes is still available. We do recommend it to your attention. Click Here


We have been informed that the current edition of "Groans, Cries and Bleating's" is fresh "from press." Email Sally Sugarman to fetch your copy.

Also, David Milner tells us that "The Gaslight Gazette" is ready. Email David for your copy



A summary and report from the 2016
teddy tree
Intrepid hunters gather, with the safari director, for lunch to sustain them in the ordeal ahead!
Details of instruction are delivered to those assembled by safari leader, Izban, assisted by Beau Meskan. (Beau seems properly dressed for a hunt.).
Hunters take to field!!
Their quarry - Teddy the Mongoose
Teddy is flushed from his lair! The successful hunters return!
Bill Sweet, winner, displays Teddy's remains to the safari director, Izban.
Hunting party poses for the memorial photo which will be stored in the mongoose archive hall of fame photo gallery.
Hunters retire to the lodge and celebrate another successful hunt.
Safari director, Izban, flanked by Kathie Hedel and Phil Cunningham, prepares to distribute gifts. (At Izban events, everyone receives a gift.)
Terry Mc Gammon receives a pastiche for winning the Sherlockian alphabet contest.
Bill Sweet takes home the grand prize, Teddy the Mongoose, now subdued and tamed.
Janice Weiner, flanked by Judith Merck and
Deloris Patton, offers a toast to the successful hunt while those assembled mark their calendars so as not to miss the next hunt,
February 29, 2020.
Photos courtesy of Patricia Izban.


There are current issues of many Sherlockian newsletters and Journals for which the world is quite prepared: Consider, the following, please:
Scott Monty's "I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere"
"Canadian Holmes"; from the Toronto Bootmakers
"Groans, Cries and Bleatings," The Baker Street Breakfast Club
"South Downers Journal, " South Downers
"The Bilge Pump," Crew of the Barque Lone Star (The Crew's web site)
"Gaslight Gazette," Survivors of the Gloria Scott
"Ineffable Twaddle," The Sound of the Baskervilles (Check out the SOB's web site.)
The District Messenger," Sherlock Holmes Society of London (SHSofL web site)
"The PINK 'UN, the Hansom Wheels of Columbia, SC (now published on the internet)
"Scuttlebutt from the Spermacetti Press," Peter Blau (can now be read on line, Click Here)
(BTW: speaking of Peter Blau, you might find it interesting to check out The Red Circle's web site!
Sherlock Peoria
Willis Frick's inimitable web site, Sherlocktron
Chris Redmond's site: http://sherlockian.net/


May "Character" Answers
From last month, what canonical character might have said,
"Boy, I sure hope I paid the gas bill."

Well, we seem to have had some difficulty with this one. We got this response from Sandy Kozin:

" That would be Henry Baker.
Holmes was actually wrong.  Henry Baker did, indeed, have gas laid on
in his house -- but he didn't pay the bill!  As a result, the gas
service was turned off.
We have no evidence as to whether he was simply too fuddled by drink
to remember the bill or too short on shillings, but the gas was not
to be forthcoming until the payment was!
Esmerelda (aka Sandy Kozinn)"

(Not what we had in mind, but quite reasonable as well as being very creative! Thanks, Sandy!)

We also recieved:

Sherlock Holmes in DYIN ?
From Janice M. Eisen

Apparently, our minds were out of sync with yours this month. We had in mind Josiah Amberly from RETI. (Where did we go wrong?)

Thanks, again, for your interest and your scholarly responses!

Now, for June!

What canonical character might have said, "Wow! It's cold out here on this bloody moor! I would have been better off if I had stayed in prison!"

Click Here to respond.
Please put the word "Character" on your subject line. Thanks.


Important Sherlockian Events for May

2nd - William "Beau" Meskan born
4th - Professor Moriarty dies at Reichenbach - 1891
4th - Mary Morstan born - 1861
5th - Christopher Morley born - 1890
9th - Inaugural meeting of The Sidney Passengers Society - 1985
12th - Bob Mahle born
13th - Billy Fields born
14th - Devon County Chronicle published a short account of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville - 1888
15th - James Mason born - 1909
22nd - Arthur Conan Doyle born - 1859
23rd - The Naval Treaty went missing - 1889
24th - HRM Queen Victoria born - 1819
25th - David Burke born
28th - Basil Rathbone abandons his role as Sherlock Holmes on radio - 1946
30th - First Basil Rathbone as Holmes on TV in "Sherlock Holmes" NBC Showcase - 1950


It isn't Sherlockian. . .,

. . .but it was written by our son, so if supernaturial thrillers joeys bookhappens to be your cup of tea, we'd consider it a personal favor if you would take a look.

"Seven cryptic journeys into the unknown, unexpected and unfathomable.  And while our expedition may not require shiny crosses or vials of special water, packing a few of each probably wouldn't hurt!! And a keen eye to the nearest marked exit might also be wise.  Just in case . . ."



Here, for our personal use, we have a Kindle version of the complete Canon, which is searchable (text string searches), and we find it invaluable for doing canonical research. For those who don't want to go the Kindle route, but who might like a way to do a variety of canonical searches will find THIS LINK most useful, we think. If you try it, please let us know how it works out for you.

Last month we brought to your attention, that "Phil Dematteis, of Columbia, SC's Hansom Wheels, has shared with us some of his recent "posers." i.e., little Sherlockian puzzles which are, on occasion, distributed to members of their scion to entertain, amuse and encourage 'table talk" at meetings. Each of these describes a person, situation, or condition which should remind one of the name of one of the canonical cases. We invite all to take a shot."

1. It is a wonderful, beautiful, terrific portable folding bed!
2. I gave the guy who parked my car a $10.00 tip because I was afraid not to.
3. Remember how Elvis used to do that thing with his mouth? Kind of like a sneer?
4. Elvis has left the building. He has acknowledged the audience’s applause for the final time.

We received only two responses to this invitation, but both were correct! There are creative minds among us!

1. Glorious cot (The Gloria Scott)
2. Valet of fear (The Valley of Fear) (We missed this one and had to ask Phil fior the answer-shame on us!)
3. The Man with the Twisted Lip
4. His Last Bow
Jerry Riggs

Janice Eisen

Good work!


Illustrious Client (of Indianapolis), Steve Doyle, has assumed the responsibility of being the publisher of The Baker Street Journal, The Baker Street Irregular's Premier Publication of Sherlockian Scholarship.

BTW, BSJs are now available on a single DVD in PDF format. - We mean ALL the BSJs! Click Here


Thanks to all for your cards, good wishes and prayers re: my recent brush with the surgeon's knife. Joel


All the best from our home to yours.

Best to slip with foot than with tongue. Charlie Chan



Click below to email editors of the various newsletters

The Friends of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Toronto Reference Library
Would you like your publication listed here? Email us