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Vol.17      April 2017    Number 4

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The Friends of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Toronto Reference Library
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"Such was the remarkable narrative to which I listened on that April evening–a narrative which would have been utterly incredible to me had it not been confirmed by the actual sight of the tall, spare figure and the keen, eager face, which I had never thought to see again." (EMPT)


We received this note from Toni-Lynn Miles:
"I have a handful of duplicate Holmes items that I would prefer to sell to my friends in the Sherlock community rather than through eBay.  I've made many purchases from you and others here, so
my first thoughts were to see if  someone here would like any of the items.  People can contact me directly for the list/pictures." Email Toni-Lynn HERE.


timeMarrilyTaylor has shown us a source for this unusual Life publication. It is on Amazon and can be seen by clicking HERE.
Brenda Rossini had the following comments re: this unusual "Life" publication,
"I have two copies of the SH "Life Magazine" for a prize give away at the Criterion Bar upcoming.  It is filled with color photos and ephemera in "The Story Behind the World's Greatest Detective," including Conan Doyle, Victorian London, 1944 BSI, and movie and stage representations. It ends with a little-seen photo of Doyle's plein air funeral service"

Roger Riccard complained: "FYI the "Life" magazine issue was interesting but glaringly lacking in that they did not even mention the BEST Holmes-Watson team ever -  Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke !  Someone didn’t do their homework !"



We got a note from Michael McClure in which he told us: "My Sherlock Holmes and the Cryptic Clues book is actually in the top 4% of sales at Lulu! If you visit my website you will see that my 125th Anniversary Annotated Speckled Band is also now available. It can be purchased on my website by clicking the Url below, but in a few more weeks it will also be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the entire Ingram network of booksellers. For now, the direct link is

Michael has featured many prominent Sherlockians in his "Cryptic Clues" book. He is having difficulty contacting some of them to make them aware of their having been featured. Here are some of the names he mentioned to us:
John and Amy Ambrose, Paula Cohen, Philip Dematteis, Ron DeWaal, Jim Ferreria, Ted Friedman, Len Haffenden, David Hammer, Hugh Harrington, Don Izban, Andrew Joffe, Bob Katz, Bill Nadel, Dan Posnansky, Dana Richards, Anthony Richards, Michael Ross, Constantine Rossakis, Ed VanDer Flaes, and Phillip Weller. 

If anyone can give Michael guidance in communicating with any of these folks, please email him HERE (


And, speaking of matters of the crypt, Brenda Rossini's new book also comes to mind!

Brenda has also made us aware of a most interesting "literary" map of London - we are sure that it will both interest and entertain you - Visit the map by CLICKING HERE. Brenda has also sent some information of particular interest to those of you in the Chicago area:


Sat. May 20, 6 pm Cri Bar Association, at Great Escape Restaurant, Schiller Park

And for Chicago and beyond:
May 13, ASH, at the Club Quarters Hotel at 40 West 45th Street, NYC

Interested folk are invited to contact us and we will put you in touch with the appropriate "Sherlockian in Charge."


The following is taken from Phil Dematteis's announcement of the April meeting of The Hansom Wheels

Now, as to what you can look forward to in addition to food and drink: The photograph at the right is of Ronald Howard playing the violin in the title role of the 1954-1955 TV series Sherlock Holmes. I thought we would watch an episode from that show (it's only twenty-four minutes long, since there are no commercials). I will make a few BRIEF* remarks about the background of the series, which has some fascinating aspects (among other things, it involves Claus von Bülow!). The episode, titled "The Pennsylvania Gun," is one of the very few of the thirty-nine that is actually based (albeit loosely) on an original story from the Canon: The Valley of Fear. So that will be the Assigned Story for the meeting. As you know, it is one of the four long adventures (people who don't know better call it a "novel," which connotes a work of fiction; but, of course, we all know that, like the fifty-nine other cases, it is a true account), so you might want to get started on it early. Or you could skip the Vermissa Valley stuff in the middle, like many of us do with the Mormon business in A Study in Scarlet, and just read the parts with Holmes and Watson in them. Of course, without Vermissa Valley the title makes no sense. Well, let your conscience be your guide.


Here's a sort of a non-Sherlockian aside for folks in the Seattle area - the old time radio fan group, Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound, will be having their annual Showcase April 21 - 22. This year's guest celebrity will be none other than MARGARET O'BRIEN. (Some old timers might remember her!) CLICK HERE (Those of you who know us well are aware that Golden Age Radio is another of our passions.)


Our old friend, Jeff Falkingham (right in photo as Watson), has published a most interesting blog at and web page at
We do encourage you to take a look at each.

While we were searching our records associated with Jeff, we came across this picture, cakewhich, frankly, we had forgotten about. We asked Jeff about it and he told us this, "It was a CAKE, in the shape of an open book, baked and decorated for me by Janelle Kelly, school librarian at the middle school in Big Stone City, SD, after a program that I helped her put together won a Jan Stauber Award (in 2011) from The Beacon Society."

Well, Jeff, congratulations, again! (We apologize for our faulty memory)
(BTW, Jeff tells us that he may have a new book in the works. Keep tuned in and we will advise you.


Posers from March!
1. A trio of young ladies is introduced to society at a ball in Indiana.
2. The Budweiser child Xeroxed her American Girl.
3. Huge Indonesian fink.
4. Thomebody thtruck me on the upper part of my nothe and now it hurtth. 

Answers offered:
From Michael McClure:
1: 3 Gary Debs
2: Scan Doll in Bohemia (Budweis, or Budejovice, is the capital of South Bohemia)
3: Giant Rat of Sumatra
4: The Problem of Thor Bridge ("These were fun!")

From Jerry 'B-P' Riggs:

1 The Three Gary Debs
2 A Scanned Doll in Bohemia
3 Giant Rat of Sumatra
4 Thor Bridge

From Bill Mason:

1. The Three Garridebs
2. A Scandal in Bohemia
3. The Giant Rat of Sumatra
4. The Problem of Thor Bridge

From Stuart Appleton
       The Adventure of the Three Garridebs
  A Scandal in Bohemia  (this one took the most time to solve)(for us, too, Stuart!)   
The Giant Rat of Sumatra
The Problem of Thor Bridge

From Kathy O'Shaughnessy

1. The Three Garridebs
2. A Scandal in Bohemia
3. The Giant Rat of Sumatra
4. The Problem of Thor Bridge
(the second one took me the longest)

From Matt Swoap:
1.  "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" - The 3 Gary Debs
2.  "A Scandal in Bohemia"  - A Scanned Doll in Bohemia -  
3.  "The Giant Rat of Sumatra"
4.  "The Problem of Thor Bridge" 

GOOD SHOW, ALL! : These weren't easy ones (especially #2!). Thanks for your interest in Posers and your Sherlockian scholarship!


From Peter Blau's " Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press"

Real Wood Crafts <> offers some interesting and attractive Sherlockian items such as bookmarks and name signs.  Albert Baggetta is the craftsman, and he does custom work as well.

"Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery" (the interactive exhibit with much Victorian flavor, and a mystery that visitors can solve) opened at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego, Calif., on Feb. 11, and will run through June 4 <>.

William R. Cochran's "THE BREND CODE AND "THE SECOND STAIN" (2015) is now in a revised second edition; the 60-page monograph costs $20.00 postpaid, and Bill is having great fun with Sherlockian scholarship.(Interested parties contact us and we will put you in touch with Bill.)

The model of the Arctic Whale Ship Hope (on which Conan Doyle sailed as the ship's surgeon), at auction on Jan. 11 (Dec 16 #1) sold for $5,312 (including the buyer's premium); a model of a Peterhead whaleboat sold for $1,375.

The Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State (which commemorates the life and work of Christopher Morley) will hold its annual Morley Birthday Lunch at Arthur's Restaurant in the Sacred City of Hoboken on Apr. 30, and more information about the event is available from Terry and Linda Hunt <>.

And speaking of Christopher Morley (who founded The Baker Street Irregulars) loved Sherlock Holmes, of course, and many other things, including journalism, travel, and (especially) trains; he wrote about trains in an era when they were magic carpets for travelers, and you can read some of the best of what he had to say about them in MR. MORLEY TAKES THE TRAIN, edited by Jon Lellenberg and Donald Pollock (Mainline Press, 2016; 171 pp., $14.95).

(Peter Blau's newsletter may be accessed through The Red Circle's website at As we have repeatedly said, "If you can subscribe to only one Sherlockian newsletter, we'd recommend "Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press.")



Joe Fay and Steve Mason

"Editor’s note… Rusty and I are very proud to be part of something created by Joe.  His inspiration for the comic strip, as well as his guidance at the beginning, has kept us producing a product that we can look at with pride.   During the BSI weekend, as well as other conferences, it has become apparent how many readers enjoy the antics of the young Holmes and Watson, as well as their classmates.  Joe, you should bask in the knowledge that your creation has brought a smile, chuckle, and hardy laugh to so many across the country.  Keep up the great work and collaboration.

   Deep into the night, on a Thursday morning about 4:00AM, during the Baker Street Irregulars Weekend 2014, the grade school world of Holmes and Watson came to life inside a cramped room at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Joe was slightly inebriated.  OK, he was feeling no pain. He had just thrown down about a dozen pints at O’Lunney’s with Don Hobbs and that crew.  Steve was impressed Joe was still functioning and alert.  For those who’ve been there, we salute you. 
   And we had just inhaled two outsized slices of corner-shop pizza (open 24 hours).We were rooming together because New York City is expensive for two regular ole Texas boys.  Joe had been thinking about a certain concept for a while.  He knew Holmes and Watson could present well as a three-panel comic strip arranged basically like this: intro / punchline / smartass remark.  Growing up, both of us had an unusual attachment to Young Sherlock Holmes.  The idea of the boy-genius-becomes-eccentric-genius-detective was always intriguing.  He also knew the bully had to be Moriarty. And Mrs. Hudson to be the lunch lady.  But Joe was stuck.  That’s really all he had. Joe had played around on Strip Creator for years, and had much more fun with creating comic strips than he ever thought possible before.  Joe had also always wanted to explore the lives of Holmes and Watson as kids.  
   'I wanted to start a simple comic strip with Holmes and Watson in elementary school. Elementary school,' I thought. 'Holmes, Watson, ELEMENTARY school! It was just too good to be true, right?' So Joe gave the idea the moniker,  'Elementary Elementary.' I thought it was clever at the time. But it turned out to be one of those titles that seemed like a good idea at the time, and ultimately just wasn’t.  But as far as we knew, and still know, there hadn’t been a comic strip to explore the Deductive Duo in grade school (and if we’re wrong, we expect to hear about it any minute now).  Joe decided to bring the idea up to Steve that night while we lay in separate beds (just thought that should be clarified, not that there is anything wrong…)  And as soon as the words were out of Joe’s mouth, Steve, jumped on the idea like Holmes on a coke vial.   Steve suggested characters, scenarios, compositions, and so on. Lestrade and Gregson would be the hall monitors.  Irene would be the red-headed girl on the playground with whom the great boy detective was smitten, Conan Doyle would be included, and of course, Stamford would be the loveable character that never quite gets it straight.  And so on.  Steve suggested 'It’s Elementary, Sherlock,' as a working title, but once Joe came up with 'Baker Street Elementary,' we both agreed that was the perfect title.  We quickly realized neither of us could draw, though. And drawing is kind of important for a comic strip.
    'Not to fear,' Steve said, 'I have a son for that. His name is Rusty.' And Rusty Mason became the artist, and now creative partner in the strip. We all decided against detailed backgrounds and long narratives.   Instead, we would focus on the dialogue and expressions of the characters, following the example set by the great Charles Schultz. So Steve and Joe volleyed ideas back and forth (almost all of the strips would be set at an outdoor stone wall overlooking the playground, or in the classroom), until we both passed out that night, and Baker Street Elementary was born.  Now, we’re 100 installments into the game, with Rusty doing the illustrations, and all of us writing the scripts.  So many good ideas come to lubricated Sherlockians during BSI Weekend.
    Thank goodness Joe had the wonderful original idea, Steve is a teetotaler, that Joe mentioned the little idea to Steve, and that Baker Street Elementary made it home."

Baker Street Elementary
100th Anniversary edition!!
Steve Mason, Rusty Mason, Joe Fay




The latest edition of Groans, Cries and Bleatings is hot off the presses. If you'd email Sally Sugarman, we are sure that she will send you a PDF.
And speaking of G, C and B, please see the article below taken from that august publication!


Notes regarding the question of geese and crops
by Francine Ryan

   What is a crop? A crop is part of many birds' alimentary canal, a food processing system that includes a wide variety of organs depending upon the species. The food animals eat has to be broken down in size as well as chemically to be of use. The first line of attack in a food processing system is at the mouth using beak, teeth etc. For animals without teeth, or animals with teeth, but no molars, like carnivores, much more help is needed for successful digestion to occur.
   The most common and helpful part of this alimentary system for many animals is the gizzard. All birds, crocodiles, alligators, earthworms, snails, slugs, some fish, and, even some crustaceans have gizzards! You may have seen this muscular organ containing grit or sand among the giblets of a farm prepared chicken. The gizzard resides between the stomach and the mouth; its function is to grind up stuff, especially useful for grain.
   On to the crop: Most birds, in addition to a gizzard, also have a crop. The crop is basically a widening or pouching out of the alimentary canal between the mouth and the gizzard and serves to store raw food. In most cases the crop produces no digestive juices and thus serves no digestive function. Why have a crop? Most birds are prey for other animals. The crop enables the bird to load up fast at a good food source and then flee to a safer location for leisurely digestion, an obvious evolutionary advantage.
   Do geese have crops? If one goes to the really general web sites, one is told, NO! but if one digs deeper to veterinary and wildlife care sites, it becomes more complicated and interesting!
Geese and songbirds have a "small fustore dilation of their esophagus" called a
proventriculus. The proventriculus looks like a crop and stores food like a crop but, unlike most crops, produces enzymes. This enzyme production supposedly technically distinguishes the proventriculus from the crop only if one wants to split quills as pigeons and doves do make some enzymes and "milk" in their crops. Some birds have both a crop and a proventriculus with the crop coming first in line in the system. As you can see, there is apparently a LOT of variation among species as to who has what and how it is defined. Most veterinary sites say geese have proventriculi and not a crop; one site said they have both.
Questions and conclusions resulting from my research: Is it possible that 19th century geese had both a crop and a proventriculus? or a bigger and more prominent proventriculus than modern geese? Are the critics of the crop in this Adventure talking about modern geese, wild geese or what? The carbuncle is described as "smaller than a bean". It could have plausibly gotten stuck in a crop, proventriculus, or, even a gizzard!
   The word crop is certainly easier to spell and to remember than proventriculus or gizzard. Using the word "crop" as a generic term for a storage sac in the alimentary canal of a goose ought to be allowed re artistic license in this case. It seems to me the question of the word crop's legitimacy in The Adventure of The Blue Carbuncle is not worth grinding any grain over!

This delightful and informative article was published in Groans, Cries and Bleatings Volume 20, No. 1.
Editor: Sally Sugarman, BSI, and is a publication of The Baker Street Breakfast Club. We reprint it here with Francine and Sally's kind permission. Thanks to Sally Sugarman and Francine Ryan.


This comes to us from Howard Ostrom via our old friend, Carl Heifetz of The Pleasant Places of Florida. It is an account of a visit by members of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London to Switzerland.
Go here:

We think that you will find this to be one of the most enjoyable eight-Sherlockian-minutes one could imagine

Please don't miss this one!


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:


Put up Your Dukes
Liese Sherwood-Fabre

When Dr. Watson first lists Holmes’ traits in A Study in Scarlet, he notes he is an expert boxer, among other athletic aptitudes. (1)  The first reference to an actual demonstration of this skill appears in The Sign of the Four when he mentions his three rounds with the prizefighter McMurdo at a charity event. (2) His expertise was not to be taken lightly. In “The Solitary Cyclist,” his sends Mr. Woodley, an opponent in a bar-room brawl, home in a cart. (3) By the time the great detective was solving cases, however, boxing’s popularity in Britain was already waning.

The first recorded boxing match in England occurred in 1681, and by 1698, bouts were regularly scheduled at the Royal Theater of London. These early matches involved no gloves and few, if any, rules. Opponents were allowed to wrestle the other to the ground and hit him when he was down.

In 1719, the prizefighter James Figg captured the nation’s interest and was named the world champion—a title he held for fifteen years. One of his pupils, Jack Broughton, introduced the sport’s first regulations, and for his contributions, is considered the father of boxing. In addition to prohibiting most wrestling throws, he also introduced “mufflers,” the forerunner of boxing gloves.

The sport attracted the aristocracy in the late 1700s when Gentleman John Jackson became the most renowned prizefighter after defeating Daniel Mendoza. (4) Once involved, those in the upper classes financed various fighters and arranged and ran the matches—preferring the bare-knuckle style to the “muffled” one. (5) New rules were introduced in 1838, designating the size and shape of the ring, setting out the length of the rounds, and outlawing practices like eye-gouging. Betting on the outcome had been and continued to be a major draw for fans, with the fighters’ prize money hung from one of the stakes forming the ring (hence, the term “stake” to designate one’s winnings.) (6) Some matches attracted as many as twenty-thousand spectators. (7)

Despite the prohibition of some practices, many still considered the sport too brutal, and in 1867, new rules were introduced, supported by John Sholto Douglas, the ninth Marquess of Queensberry. These regulations specified a new length for the rounds with resting periods in between, the use of gloves, prohibited all wrestling, and required a fighter knocked down to stand up again within ten seconds or else the match went to his opponent.

Shifts in mainstream culture, particularly the evangelical movement and the rise of the middle class, as well as a shift to American boxers dominating the sport, led to a decline in British interest. John L. Sullivan, an Irish-American, claimed the world championship in heavyweight bare-knuckle boxing in 1882 and 1889, and a third time under the Marquess of Queensbury rules in 1892. Following these victories, many states in the US reconsidered the sport’s legality. Over the years, various states had outlawed the practice because of its perceived violence.  The economic appeal as well as national pride, however, led the former colonies to relax such restrictions. In England, boxing had been illegal since the 1700s, but the laws had simply not been enforced due to the sport’s popularity.

Despite opinions concerning boxing’s unrefined elements, Victorians still considered it, under appropriate circumstances, a good means of building skill, courage, and character. (8) Thus, Holmes’ own ability in this arena reflects an upper-class temperament toward the gentlemanly display of fisticuffs whether in a ring with a professional fighter or a bar with a suspected criminal.
(1) Doyle, Arthur Conan; Ryan, Robert. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Kindle Location 556). 
(2) Doyle, Arthur Conan; Ryan, Robert. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Kindle Location 2835).
(3) Doyle, Arthur Conan; Ryan, Robert. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Kindle Location 20831). 
(5) Kristine Hughes, The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England. (Cincinnati, OH: Writers Digest Books, 1998) 141.
(7) Hughes, op. cit., 141.


“It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27, 1890. Just two months ago.” (REDH)


In March, we asked
"Sorry, Elsie, but the post seems to have brought another of those silly letters from America."

From Sandy Kozinn: That would have been Hilton Cubitt. I've often wondered if he didn't support that ancient lineage of which he was so proud by his investment in hotels.

From Sheila Holtgrieve:  How about Hilton Cubitt from The Dancing Men?

From Ed Lear:
That sounds like Hilton Cubitt chastising his wife for ordering those cheap mail order jitterbug lessons from Arthur Murray.  (DANC)

From Michael McClure: Elsie (nee: Patrick) Cubitt, widow of Hilton Cubitt, a Norfolk squire in The Adventure of the Dancing Men

From Jerry 'B-P' Riggs: Hilton Cubit

From Brenda Rossini: Would the canonical character uttering the mail call to Elsie have been her husband Hilton?

Thanks for your interest and your Sherlockian scholarship!!

Now, for May
Who might have said, "Gorot, you clown, did you take some papers out of my desk!?"

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

Thanks, all, for your interest and outstanding Sherlockian scholarship!


Important Sherlockian Events for April
1st: Stuart Gill Born (1935)
1st: The Hon. Ronald Adair murdered by Col. Moran (1894)
2nd: Elliott Black Born
(Our friend passed over Reichenbach April 24, 2015)
2nd: Radio Broadcast of "The Amateur Mendicant Society," Rathbone and Bruce (1945)
5th: Sherlock Holmes returns from The Great Hiatus! (1894)
8th: Cathy Gill Born
13th: The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist begins (1895)
15th: "The Gloria Scott" published, Harper's Weekly (1893)
17th: Sherlock Holmes thrashes Mr. Woodley in the pub near Farnham (1895, SOLI)
22nd: Rondo Hatton Born (1894 - see Pearl of Death)
27th: Morning Chronicle announces vacancy in The League of Red-headed Men (1890)
29th: William Gillette dies (1937)
Release of movie, Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)


A bit of early spring from our home to yours,
Carolyn and Joel

"Ancient ancestor once say, 'Words cannot cook rice.'"Charlie Chan