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Vol.18      January 2018   Number 1

Click below to email editors of the various newsletters

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



Martin Arbagi has announced the dates for the 2018

Holmes, Doyle and Friends gathering in Dayton, Ohio i.e., 9 and 10 March at the Clarion Inn, Englewood [suburban Dayton], Ohio  45322.
Check Here for general information about the gathering


We are delighted to announce that our long-time Chicago friend, Patricia Izban, was named, by BSI, The Woman for 2018! Congratulations, Patricia!

And, we are further informed that the following were this year's newly invested BSIs:

Shannon Carlisle ("Beacons of the Future")
Dean Clark ("Watson's Journal")
Denny Dobry ("A Single, Large Airy Sitting-Room")
Maria Fleischhack ("Rache")
Jeffrey Hatcher ("The Five Orange Pips")
Anastasia Klimchynskaya ("The Old Russian Woman")
Candace Lewis ("A Little Art Jargon")
Nick Martorelli ("Seventeen Steps")
Rebecca Romney ("That Gap on that Second Shelf")
Al Shaw ("Sir Hugo Baskerville")

The Two-Shilling Award went to John Linsenmeyer

(For full particulars, go HERE)


For the past 30 years we have, with much pleasure, received a "Olmes 'N Watso" greeting card from Jim Vogelsang at Christmas time. This was his 2017 card
Card face
Inside card

This year Jim sent an "addendum" in the form of the card he sent 30 years ago.
This is his 1997 card.

Thanks a million, Jim. Can we keep doing this for another 30 years?!
Card face
Inside card


Barbara and Paul Herbert, both of whom were taken ill and hospitalized during the BSI weekend in New York, are now back in Cincinnati and recovering at home.


The Beacon Society announces that, once again, grants to U.S. and Canadian teachers, librarians, children’s museums, and Sherlockian literary societies are available. The grants, in honor of a wonderful late Sherlockian, Jan Stauber, will provide up to $500 to fund the development of projects that will introduce young people to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about his famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.

For details, visit the Society's web site HERE.


Baker Street Elementary
Steve Mason, Rusty Mason, Joe Fay from The Crew of the Barque Lone Star


Next meeting: Crew of the Barque Lone Star
Date:  Sunday, February 4th , 2017
5290 Belt Line Rd #112, just east of the Tollway, Addison
Time:  1:00 pm 


Karen and David Milner, both of whom were hospitalized after a serious auto accident in Florida, are back home in Greenville, SC. Karen is back at work and David has been discharged from the rehab facility but continues to receive in-home therapy for his injuries.


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Denny Dobry (newly invested BSI!) has, for many years, welcomed those who want to visit his splendid recreation of the sitting-room at 221B Baker Street in Reading, Pa. <>, and he will be holding an open house on May 20, 2018; one of the nicest things about his sitting-room is that it's hands-on, and full of interesting artifacts. You can contact him <> for more information about the event, and to enquire about alternative dates. (Thanks, Denny, for continuin

g to fly the old Classic Speciltes' flag - there aren't many of these left anymore.)


Baker Street Elementary
Steve Mason, Rusty Mason, Joe Fay from The Crew of the Barque Lone Star


“We pay the price, Watson, for being too up-to-date!” he cried. “We are before our time, and suffer the usual penalties. Being the seventh of January, we have very properly laid in the new almanac." (VALL)


We got a notice of a very interesting view of Nashville's'
Scholars of the Three-Pipe Problem
Take a look HERE.


I’ve Got the Feevah!
Liese Sherwood-Fabre

In five stories of the canon, “brain fever” strikes five different characters: Alice Rucastle in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches,” Nancy Barclay in “The Adventure of the Crooked Man,” Rachel Howells in “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual,” Sarah Cushing in “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box,” and Percy Phelps in “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty.” While the twenty-first century reader might consider this illness a quaint trope of Victorian literature (it appears in numerous novels and stories from the time), the medical establishment recognized it as a serious physical ailment and treated accordingly.

The contemporary concept of “fever” as an elevated body temperature does not correspond to the nineteenth century definition. Prior to the discovery of micro-organisms and their role in diseases, “fevers” could be contracted from the environment (“miasma” or bad air) or by the body creating its own poison. The term “fever” was used to describe the disease itself, rather than a symptom, and was used as the diagnosis for cholera, influenza, typhus, and smallpox, the result of injury, bad air, violent emotion, irregular bowels, and extremes of heat and cold.

The specific diagnosis of brain fever grew out of the classical concept of “phrensy,” used to describe a delirium brought on by fever and an inflammation of the brain. Even after the delirium subsided, mental confusion could remain and permanently affect the individual. A description of brain fever appeared in medical texts up to the late 1800s and was marked by “acute pain in the head with intolerance of light and sound; watchfulness, delirium; flushed countenance, and redness of the conjunctiva, or a heavy suffused state of the eyes; quick pulse, frequently spasmodic twitchings or convulsions, passing into somnolency, coma, and complete relaxation of the limbs.”

The most notable aspect of this particular disease, and very relevant to those affected in the canon, was its sudden onset in seemingly healthy people, often occurring after a particularly “severe shock to the nervous system.” The shock could occur from fear, anxiety, disappointment, intense study, lack of sleep, and, of particular concern, intense thought or study. For those in the canon, an intense shock is behind the five cases: Alice Rucastle is pestered by her father to sign over her inheritance to the point of her exhaustion; Percy Phelps suffers for more than two months following the theft of the treaty he had been copying; Nancy Barclay is rendered unable to testify in her own defense following her husband’s murder; Rachel Howells is a “black-eyed shadow” after she is involved in the death of her former lover; and Sarah Cushing takes to her bed after she understands her role in the death of her sister and former lover.

In some of these cases, the victim recovers once the mystery is solved and the trauma alleviated, but some are first treated as practice dictated at that time. For example, Alice Rucastle had her hair cut off to relieve the pressure on her brain. Other conventional treatments involved bleedings, purges and emetics, which are not specifically mentioned in the canon.

Victorian literature employed the concept of brain fever as a means of indicating the power of the emotional trauma or shock a character received, but for the medical community of the time, it was a true and identifiable condition requiring the same attention and treatment as a broken bone or laceration from physical trauma. For Holmes and Watson, an attack of brain fever served as an additional indication of the impact of the crime upon those around it.

Jane Wood, Passion and Pathology in Victorian Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2001), 121.

Dimitrios Adamis, Adrian Treloar, Finbarr C. Martin, Alastair J.D. Macdonald. A brief review
of the history of delirium as a mental disorder. History of Psychiatry, SAGE Publications,
2007, 18 (4), 463.

James Copland, A Dictionary of Practical Medicine. (London: Longman, 1858), I, 228.

Audrey C Peterson, “Brain Fever in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Fact and Fiction.” Victorian Studies, vol. 19, no. 4, 1976,, 448.

Peterson, 449.

Peterson, 459.




"221b in 360" is the title of the impressive photographic tour of the full-scale recreation of "the sitting-room" in Chuck Kovacik's home in Los Angeles <>.


1906. HMS Dreadnaught, Britain's latest Battleship lies in her moorings in a Portsmouth dockyard awaiting her Sea Trials. Her design and armament renders the current warships of other Nations obsolete. Secret items of novel yet vital radio detection equipment are stolen from her hold by agents of a foreign power. Holmes is requested by Military Intelligence to determine the perpetrators and trace the existence of the stolen items before they may successfully be removed out of the country. Click Here


Click the cover graphic,


Strand Magazine has a Sherlockian calendar for 2018. We don't know of anyone else's doing another such calendar for the coming year.


The new edition of Groans, Cries and Bleatings is available. E-mail Sally Sugarman and ask her to send you a copy. Go HERE.

door corner

Here is an interesting piece of Sherlockian ephemera that Carolyn whipped up on her scroll saw.
This is a "Grice-Paterson" production


There are current issues of many Sherlockian newsletters and Journals for which the world is quite prepared: Consider, the following, please:

"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



For January, what canonical character might have said:

"I didn't want to retire, but my health has made me an invalid, so I turned our company over to my senior partner."

From Paul Hartnett: Josiah Amberley (RETI) is indeed  the retired junior partner of his firm. Not sure about the invalid part though, his artificial limb notwithstanding.
He retired “having made his pile”, not for health reasons IMHO.
He seems to be able to travel about without difficulty, including the journey to Little Purlington.  And could an invalid have moved the bodies of his wife and the doctor from the strong room and then hidden them under the kennel?

From Anders Odensten: It might, perhaps, have been Mr Josiah Amberley, junior partner of Brickfall and Amberley, manufacturers of artistic materials. "A life of ceaseless grind", a curved back and an artificial limb had made him an invalid. At the age of sixty-one, he retired from business, and thus turned the company over to his senior partner (RETI).

(Good show, gentlemen. Not the one we were searching for, but a quite reasonable answer.)

From Steve Mason: Oh, I am going out on a limb for this one… In “The Red Circle,” Signora Lucca recounts her experience in America to Holmes and Watson.  Her husband, Gennaro,  had helped Tito Castalotte, who was the senior partner of Castalotte and Zamba, who were the chief fruit importers of New York.  Zamba had become an invalid, and thus all the power of the company had been bestowed on Castalotte.

(Thanks, Steve, This is what we had in mind and it was a really tough one.)

Now, for February
what canonical character might have said:
"Hello. Acme container company? OK, listen. I'm going to need just one small cardboard box. Can you help me?"

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


“I searched the Dundee records, and when I found that the barque Lone Star was there in January, ’85, my suspicion became a certainty. (FIVE)


Dan Andriacco has a new one. Click the cover graphic.


Important Sherlockian Events for January

1st, Dr Watson introduced to Mr. Sherlock Holmes by Young Stamford - 1881
2nd, Isaac Asimov Born - 1920
2nd, Dr Watson and Mr. Holmes inspect the "diggins" at 221B Baker St.
4th, Mr. Sherlock Holmes 'crossed the path' of Professor Moriarty - 1891
6th, Mr. Sherlock Holmes Born, 1854
9th, Edith Meiser becomes "The Woman" at BSI dinner, -1942
13th, First American broadcast of "The Gloria Scott," (Gordon and Lovell) - 1932
15th, Peter Crupe's Birthday
17th, Joseph Shannon's Birthday
18th, Recording of Art Schroeder's, "The Forgotten Victim" at the 28th annual Nobel Bachelors' Dinner, St Louis, 1997
21st, Release of the movie Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (Rathbone and Bruce) - 1944
22nd, Queen Victoria dies -1901
23rd, Professor Moriarty was "incommoded" by Mr. Sherlock Holmes
24th, Canonical Convocation and Caper incorporated as a not for profit organization in Illinois - 1989



Happy New Year
from our home
to yours,
Carolyn and Joel

"Front seldom tell truth. To know occupants of house, always look in back yard." (Charlie Chan)