Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

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And now we come to the end. Or the beginning. At any rate, it’s Sherlock Holme’s 161st birthday, and cause for celebration if there ever was one!

Sherlock Holmes was, and is, an intensely private man who does not bandy about his biographical information. You will not see him chattering on social media–unless he’s setting a trap for some unsuspecting evildoer, much as he manipulated the Agony columns in his early days. But thanks to his Boswell, we do know a little bit about his life outside of the Work, and so, today’s question:

Name two facts about Sherlock Holmes’ family, friends, or early life, and tell us where you found them.

Because the Great Detective is so reticent, and because Watson seems more interested in the details of women’s clothing and loving descriptions of landscapes than in discussing his own family matters, we are duty-bound to uncover their personal information ourselves. Some might call this “stalking.” We prefer to call it “Scholarship,” and much of the best of it can be found between the covers of the Baker Street Journal. So, once again, this year’s Grand Prize is a subscription to the venerable BSJ, for two winners. Just take a quick break from your birthday parties and send your answers via blog comment, FaceBook PM, or Twitter DM.

It's eminently portable!

It’s eminently portable!

As always, thanks so much for playing this year’s Giveaway, whether you played for the prizes or just loved to display you brilliance–and you are all very, very brilliant. Today is also the third anniversary of this blog. I’ve learned a lot, both about reviewing and about Sherlock Holmes through keeping it–from reading, writing, and conversations we’ve shared. I value so very much those connections, and I hope I’ve been helpful and occasionally entertaining. God willing, this year will be our best yet–but not the best ever. The best, one always hopes, is still to come.

And now, in the immortal words of Mycroft Holmes, at least according to Tumblr…..

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Twelfth Night Giveaway: Day 13

Yeah, I know, this is where it gets weird. But to me, Christmas Eve is the best part of the holiday season, and we have to include January 6th…plus, I got too many prizes this year, so we still have a few more to go.

As we all know from the comment fiasco on Day 11, I can be technologically challenged. For example, I managed to upload a research-related calendar into my phone contacts, so when I go to find a phone number, I am reminded of the date of the Siege of Sherpur, Sir Charles Halle’s birthday, or all of the days when Roy the dog attacked Professor Presbury in CREE.

It kind of happened a lot...

It kind of happened a lot…

This would be annoying if I ever called anyone besides my husband and Chinese take-out, but I don’t, so I haven’t really taken the time to erase everything. Which finally turned out to be a good thing, as it’s provided today’s question.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are both highly educated men, both for their time period, and in general, making the Canon replete with scientific, artistic, literary, and historical allusions. So, able scholars, where can you find the references to the following: Jonathan Wilde, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and Charles Darwin?

Today’s prize is an example of the wonderful treasures you can find when you explore the Sherlockian offerings on eBay. I’ve never seen anything quite like it: a German movie program for the Hammer version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” starring Peter Cushing, Andre Morrell and Christopher Lee. It’s printed on thin paper and very fragile; I only took it out of its slip cover to photograph it. Images are large so you can see the detail.

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Front

Interior

Interior

Back

Back

One of the best things about being a Sherlockian is knowing how Holmes and Watson bring together people from all over the world–both now, and for the last 128 years. This program is evidence of that connection. As always, to enter the drawing, just send your answers in via blog comment, FB PM or Twitter DM. For full rules, see the entry for 20 December.

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Ok, I figured out the comment problem…..

So sorry, everyone. I am a technological moron, but I have figured out how to enable comments on today’s post. I am sorry for any inconvenience.

And no, as far as I know, I am not related to anyone named Anderson.

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Twelfth Night Giveaway: Day 12

I would be good with this look coming back. Also, cravats. And tails for everyday.

I would be good with this look coming back. Also, cravats. And tails for everyday.

Arthur Conan Doyle completed his first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, in the spring of 1886; his last, The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place, was published in 1927. In that span of just over four decades, the world saw a tremendous amount of change, particularly in the areas of science and technology, but also in the arts, fashion, and politics.* A read-through of the Canon highlights these developments–sometimes over time, and occasionally in the same story. You don’t need to be a brilliant detective to deduce the topic of today’s question, then:

Give one example of change we can find in the Canon, either in one story, or over the course of the entire oeuvre. Your answer can be from any field: science, technology, crime, the arts, fashion, politics, transportation, communication–use your imagination! The only restriction is that you back up your answers using the original stories and novels.

So no Robot Watsons.

So no Robot Watsons.

Now, if you notice, we are now on Day 12 of the Twelfth Night Giveaway, and I find myself in an interesting situation. Basically, I have too many prizes. Way too many. I know what I will be offering tomorrow, and as it’s unique and exciting, I would like to feature it on its own. I also know what the grand prize will be on January 6th. Therefore, today I will be doing, basically, a “prize dump,” with several items up for grabs. When you send in your answers, be sure and include which prizes you would like to try for, and PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO INCLUDE MORE THAN ONE!  Also, if you are not a fan of BBC’s Sherlock, I apologize in advance for…well…keep scrolling and you’ll see….

(via Tumblr)

(via Tumblr)

Prize 1:

Elementary, Season 2

I must admit, I haven’t seen this season, but if you’re a fan, this is your chance. Right now, I can only offer a Region 1 DVD set, so make sure you have a Region 1 or all-region player. It may be possible to send you an iTunes or Kindle version as well.
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Prize 2:

If you’re a Rathbone fan, you might be interested in this 3-photo set, including a nice family group of Basil, his wife Ouida, and his son, John Rodion. All are 8×10 prints.

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If you are not a fan of BBC Sherlock, look away now. You were warned.  ;)

Prize 3:

If you are a fan of BBC Sherlock, and of Mr. Cumberbatch, then you know we had an embarrassment of riches this year. So much press!  So many photoshoots! So many interviews!!!  Because of this, I ended up with a tremendous number of magazines which I realized it would be impossible to use as one prize, as originally intended. There are too many of them–and they’re too heavy–to ship without incurring some damage, both to my pocketbook, and to the mags themselves. I’ve therefore divided them into 7 lots of 3-4 each. Note that some of these, particularly Empire and EW will have other Sherlockian actors in them as well–I saw Martin Freeman, Mark Gattiss, RDJ, Jude Law, and Sir Ian McKellan. I also have some strays, so don’t be suprised if you end up with a small magazine stowaway. Because our mail deliverer has a predilection for stuffing envelopes of every size in the mailbox, conveniently disregarding the “Do Not Bend” stamp, some of these–particularly the GQs–are not in pristine condition, but I tried. If you have any questions about the content, feel free to contact me via PM or in the comments–and feel free to put your name in for more than one if you like. Here they are:

Lot 1:

Empire Set

Empire Set

Lot 2:

2 GQs and The Big Issue

2 GQs and The Big Issue

Lot 3: 

People, Entertainment Weekly, The Big Issue, and Elle UK (still in wrapper)

People, Entertainment Weekly, The Big Issue, and Elle UK (still in wrapper)

Lot 4: 

Elle UK (still in wrapper); Entertainment Weekly, and US Vogue

Elle UK (still in wrapper); Entertainment Weekly, and US Vogue

Lot 5:

People, Vanity Fair, The Big Issue, High Life

People, Vanity Fair, The Big Issue, High Life

Lot 6:

New York Times Magazine, Out, Entertainment Weekly, Odeon

New York Times Magazine, Out, Entertainment Weekly, Odeon

Lot 7:

Telegraph. Time Out London, Vogue, The Big Issue

Telegraph. Time Out London, Vogue, The Big Issue

And there you are!  To enter the drawings, just send your answer and prize choices to me via blog comment, FaceBook PM, or Twitter DM. For full rules, see the blog post for 20 December. Thanks for playing!

Footnotes:

*Watson, Holmes, and Sir Arthur were all born in the 1850’s; Mycroft Holmes in 1847. Obviously 3 of those individuals are still alive, but give everyone a natural lifespan of 70-85, and you have men who were born in the age of the crinoline and died just before the Second World War and the atom bomb. In a similar vein, imagine the experiences of men and women who were born in the 1870s and survived into the 1950’s and 60’s. Even if I get 40 more years, I can’t imagine that I’ll see change on nearly that level; it must have been incredible.

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 11

In my day, we had to shovel our way to school!

In my day, we had to shovel our way to school!

Well, kids, this is it! The last weekend of Christmas Break! In just two short days, we’ll be back to our regular routines, and the sound of moaning and groaning over homework will be heard throughout the land! Doubtless many kids will find that they’ve forgotten just a little bit of what they learned this fall–or perhaps it’s just buried in their brain attics under visions of fading sugarplums. They’ll need a little review before they’re back up to speed.

It can be that way in the Sherlockian world as well. Some stories (particularly those with Granada episodes attached) are heavily imprinted in our minds, to the point that we can recall minute details, and quote passages to fit any situation. Others, however, are not as well known or frequently read. For me, one of those is “The Adventure of the Three Students.” It’s a quieter story, with (relatively) smaller stakes. To refresh my knowledge, I thought I’d give it a re-read, hence today’s question:

In “The Adventure of the Three Students,” lecturer and tutor Hilton Soames gives Holmes and Watson the names of the, well, three students he believes most likely to have tampered with the examination. Who are they? Who does Watson suspect? And who, ultimately, proves to be the culprit?

Today we have another dual prize, each chosen to help you supplement your Sherlockian education. First:

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Nicholas Utechin’s Amazing and Extraordinary Facts: Sherlock Holmes

Nicholas Utechin is a well-known Holmesian scholar, a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, the BSI, and other organizations. I didn’t use this book in coming up with this year’s questions, but that’s not saying I might not in the future….

And speaking of the future, if you’re a fan of BBC Sherlock, then you know that Season 4 (plus the special) begins filming on 6 January. Today’s alternate prize is a great way to bring yourself up to speed before they air…whenever…they air…..

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It’s a fantastic book, so if it wasn’t one of your holiday gifts–now’s your chance!

As always, send your answers along with your choice of prize via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment. For full rules, see the entry for 20 December.

SPECIAL NOTE:  APPARENTLY THIS ENTRY IS NOT ACCEPTING COMMENTS! WHEN I WENT TO SCHEDULE THE POST, I ACCIDENTALLY SET IT FOR 2014, AND THIS HAS MESSED UP THE COMMENT SETTINGS!  PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST YOU ANSWER TO THE ERROR ENTRY (JUST AFTER THIS ONE), OR TO ANY OTHER ENTRY–I WILL SEE IT. YOU CAN ALSO SEND IT TO ME VIA FACEBOOK PM OR TWITTER DM!  I APOLOGIZE FOR THE CONFUSION!

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 10

 

There'd better be some good treats in their pockets by the time this is over.....

There’d better be some good treats in their pockets when this is over…..

 

So, probably like many of you, we spent some time over the holidays visiting out-of-town relatives. Whenever we go away like that, we have to make some arrangements for pet care–making sure the guinea pig and the cat have ample food and water, and boarding the dog. When we come back, even after a short trip, they are all very excited to see us (and the cat is particularly clingy). Both my husband and I grew up with scads of pets, and it’s nice to be able to do the same for our kids. Animals provide companionship, a way to learn responsibility, and an impetus to keep your laundry picked up, lest the cat use it as a toilet when he’s too lazy to go downstairs.

Who, me?

Who, me?

 

There are several mentions of animals in the Canon. It’s possible, at least according to some interpretations, that Watson had a dog when he first moved in with Holmes (although the “bull pup” he mentions could have just been a reference to a quick temper). Holmes met his good friend Victor Trevor when the latter’s terrier bit his ankle when they were at university. And of course there’s Toby, the “queer mongrel, with a most amazing power of scent” from The Sign of Four.

Toby, Granada version

Toby, Granada version

 

Not all animals in the Canon are more useful than “the whole detective force of London,” however. Many of them are not even friendly, which leads us to today’s question:

In the Canon, Holmes and Watson face danger from the animal, as well as the human, world. Name two instances in which this was the case, as well as the story in which each can be found.

And today’s prize?

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Starring Sherlock Holmes is a lavishly illustrated coffee table style book covering the many film (and some radio) versions of the Great Detective from the silent era to 2007. Unfortunately, this means that the new Holmeses, from Warner Brothers to CBS are not mentioned, but that really doesn’t take away from Davies’ presentation. To enter, of course, just send in your answers via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment, and if you would like the full rules, check the blog entry for 20 December.

Wishing a very Happy New Year to you and yours!

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12th Night Giveaway, Day 9

NewYearsGreeting

 

And now it’s 2015!  Hopefully you get to lounge around a bit today, before flinging yourself into the new year in earnest tomorrow. For many of us, with the new year comes a feeling of possibility–the urge to change something in ourselves for the better, or to set a goal we’ve always wanted to achieve, and to–finally!–make it happen. Whatever your dreams and desires for this year–even if they’re just that it’s better than the last one–I hope that they come true.

Which leads us to today’s question:

We don’t have any record of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson making New Year’s resolutions, but they both have some bad habits that they may have wanted to change (or, more likely that they wished others to change) and goals they wished to achieve. For today’s question, give one or the other (one of each if you’re feeling ambitious!), as well as the story in which it can be found.

 

The first prize of the New Year is, I think, slightly appropriate. It is the Canon novel in which we find Sherlock Holmes in a new phase of life…

 

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This is a first American edition, published by George H. Doran & Co., New York. It was a gift to “George” from “The Family” in 1917 “With Best Wishes,” going from the pencilled message on the fly-leaf. It has had at least one other owner, whose name is written in ink on the same page. It’s not in perfect condition. As far as booksellers’ ratings go, it is in the “poor” range, which is the only way I was able to afford it!  There is some rippling on the spine, where the cloth has loosened, although it didn’t affect either cover. The binding is a bit loose and the hinges are damaged; there is noticeable shelf wear, and some staining inside the covers. There may be a little bit of “foxing,”  or brown spotting in some areas. That being said, it may not fetch a great price online, but I think it’s a nice book for any collection.

This is the rippling on the spine.

This is the rippling on the spine.

 

 

Title page

Title page

 

As always, to enter the drawing, send your answers in via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment! For full rules, see the post for 20 December.

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