Certain Qualities Essential to an Investigating Officer–Hans Gross, 1883

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Hans Gross, 1847-1915


Most Sherlockians, whether they know it or not, are acquainted with the work of Austrian Examiner Justice Hans Gross. In his influential Manual for the Examining Justice (1882), he details the case of a man who committed suicide using a method similar to that employed by Maria Gibson in “The Problem of Thor Bridge.” As Holmes realized quite early in his career that there is (in the words of Solomon) “nothing new under the sun,” (quoted in STUD), it is quite likely that he not only read Gross’ book (we can infer from his quotes from Goethe that Holmes was fluent in German), but that it stuck with him enough that his suspicions were aroused the day he stood on the bridge with Watson and saw that small chip.

This makes me wonder if the young Sherlock Holmes drew inspiration from Gross’ writing in other ways, too. Read this selection from the latter’s Manual and see if it doesn’t sound….familiar.

“It goes without saying that an Investigating Officer should be endowed with all those qualities which every man would desire to possess–indefatigable zeal and application, self-denial and perseverance, swiftness to read men and a thorough knowledge of human nature, education and an agreeable manner, an iron constitution, and encyclopedic knowledge. Still, there are some special qualities whose importance is frequently overlooked to which attention may be peculiarly and forcibly directed.

“First and above all an Investigating Officer must possess an abundant store of energy; nothing is more deplorable than a crawling, lazy, and sleepy Investigating Officer. Such a man is more fit to be a gentleman-at-large than an Investigating Officer. He who recognizes that he is wanting in energy can but turn to another branch of the legal profession, for he will never make a good investigator. Again the Investigating Officer must be energetic not only in special circumstances, as when, for example, he finds himself face to face with an accused person who is hotheaded, refractory, and aggressive, or when the work takes him away from office and he proceeds to record a deposition or make an arrest without having his staff or office to aid him but energy must always be displayed when he tackles a difficult, complicated, or obscure case. It is truly painful to examine a report which shows the Investigating Officer has only fallen to his work with timidity, hesitation and nervousness, just touching it, so to speak, with the tips of his fingers; but there is satisfaction in observing that a case has been attacked energetically and grasped with animation and vigour. The want of special cleverness and long practice can often be compensating by getting a good grip on the case, but want of energy can be compensated by nothing. Those incomparable words of Goethe, true for all men, are above all true for the criminal expert,

“Strike not thoughtlessly a nest of wasps,

But if you strike, strike hard.”

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The eminently quotable Goethe (Encyclopedia Britannica)


The Investigating Officer must have a high grace of real self-denying power. It is not enough that he is a clever reckoner, a fine speculator, a careful weigher of facts, and possesses a good business head, he must be self-denying, unostentatious, and perfectly honest, resigning at the outset all thoughts of magnificent public success. The happy-go-lucky apprehension of the policeman, the effective summing up of the judge, the clever conduct of the case by a counsel, all meet with acknowledgement, astonishment, and admiration from the public, but such triumphs are not for the Investigative Officer. If the latter be working well, those few people who have had an opportunity of really studying the case as it goes along will discover his unceasing and untiring work from the documents on record and will form some correct idea of the brain work, power of combination, and extensive knowledge which the Investigative Officer has employed. The Investigative Officer will be held responsible for the smallest and most pardonable mistake, while his care and his merits are seldom acknowledged. Let him be conscious of having done his duty in the only possible way. Beyond this we can only say, “Virtue is its own reward.”


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STUD, Richard Gutschmidt


“But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession–or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

“The only unofficial detective?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.

“The only unofficial consulting detective,” he answered. “I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney Jones are out of their depths–which, by the way, is their normal state–the matter is laid before me. I examine the data, as an expert and pronounce a specialist’s opinion. I claim no credit in such cases. My name figures in no newspaper. The work itself, the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers, is my highest reward.”  (STUD)

Back to Herr Gross:

“Another quality demanded at any price from the Investigating Officer is absolute accuracy. We do not mean by this that he must set out details in the official records exactly as they have been seen or said, for it goes without saying that this will be so done. The quality indicated consists in not being content with mere evidence of third parties of hear-say when it is possible for him to ascertain the truth with his own eyes or by more minute investigation. This is to say no more than that the Investigating Officer should be accurate in his work, in the sense of being ‘exact,’ as that word is used in its highest scientific signification. Indeed the high degree of perfection to which all science have to-day attained is entirely due to ‘exact’ work; and if we compare a recent scientific work, whatever the subject, with an analogous book written some decades ago, we will notice a great difference between them arising almost wholly from the fact that the work of to-day is more exact than that of yesterday. Naturally in all inquiries a certain amount of imagination is necessary; but a comparison between two scientists of our time will always be to the advantage of one whose work is the most exact: the brilliant and fruitful ideas of the scientist which astonish the world being often far from sudden and happy inspirations but the outcome of exact research. In close observation of facts, in searching for their remotest causes, in making unwearied comparisons, in instituting disagreeable experiments, in short, in attempting to elucidate a problem, the Investigating Officer will observe it under so many aspects and passing through so many phases that new ideas will spontaneously come to him which, if found to be accurate and skillfully utilised, will certainly give positive results. Since ‘exactness,’ or accuracy of work, is of so much important in all branches of research, this accuracy must also be applied to the work of the Investigating Officer. But what is to be understood by accurate work? It consists in not trusting to others but attending to the business oneself, and even in mistrusting oneself and going through the case again and again. By so proceeding, one will certainly bring about an accurate piece of work. A thousand mistakes of every description would be avoided if people did not base their conclusions upon premises furnished by others, take as established fact what is only possibility, or as a constantly recurring incident what has been observed only once. True it is that in his work the Investigating Officer can see but a trifling portion of the facts nor can he repeat his observations. He is obliged largely to trust to what others tell him and it is just here that the difficulty and insufficiency of his work lie. But this inconvenience can to a certain extent be remedied,; on the one hand by wherever possible making sure of things for himself instead of accepting what others tell him; and on the other hand by trying to give a more exact form to the statements of others, by comparison, experiment, and demonstration, for the purpose of testing the veracity of the deponent’s observation and obtaining from him something exact, or at least more exact than before. In endeavouring to verify the facts for himself, the Investigating Officer must personally examine localities, make measurements and comparisons, and so form his own opinion. If a small matter which can only be established by accurate investigation is in question, data furnished accidentally must not be relied upon but only ascertained facts and investigations specially carried out.”

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Sidney Paget, DEVI



“One experiment served to show me the line of his investigation. He had bought a lamp which was the duplicate of the one which had burned in the room of Mortimer Tregennis on the morning of the tragedy. This he filled with the same oil as that used at the vicarage, and he carefully timed the period which it would take to be exhausted. Another experiment which he made was of a more unpleasant nature, and one which I am not likely ever to forget.”  (DEVI)


However, as Gross points out, no matter how closely you investigate a case, it’s still possible to find yourself on the wrong track:

“…it is mankind’s nature to cling to points of support which have but little solidity; one hears of a circumstance (often but incidentally referred to by a witness) and it is easily disposed on its verification to base an argument upon it. Perhaps this argument is not without merit and, giving satisfaction, another and yet another argument is made to cling to it. The case grows interesting and a successful result is in sight. All the points yet gathered together are most minutely and carefully gone into, but meanwhile the re-verification of the primary fact on which the whole structure is based has been neglected. Carried away by zeal and the desire to bring the case to some conclusion, the Investigating Officer has proceeded too fast and without the calm and prudence requisite to such inquiries, and so all his work has been in vain. There is but one way to avoid this, to proceed ‘steadily,’ be it at a walk, at a trot, or at the charge; but in such inquiries a halt must from time to time be made and instead of going forward he must look back. He will then examine one by one the different points of the inquiry, taking them up in order from the beginning, he will analyse each acquired result even of the smallest factor of those apparently of the least importance, and when this analysis is carried to its furthest limits, will carefully verify each of these factors from the point of view of its source, genuineness, and corroboration. If the accuracy of the elements be established, they may then be carefully placed one with another and the result obtained examined as if viewed for the first time. The case will then generally assume quite another complexion, for at the outset the sequence was not so well known; and if it has a different aspect from the first each matter is so revised, the question has to be asked whether it is in proper adjustment with the whole argument which has been formulated and whether there is any mistake to rectify. If the whole result is defective, the Investigating Officer must have sufficient self-denial to confess, ‘my calculation is false, I must begin all over again.'”

While Holmes did not exactly solve the mystery behind “The Adventure of the Yellow Face,” he did at least keep Gross’ principles in mind. After a fashion.

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Sidney Paget, YELL

“What do you think of my theory?”

“It is all surmise.”

“But at least it covers the facts. When new facts come to our knowledge which cannot be covered by it, it will be time enough to reconsider it. We can do nothing more until we have a message from our friend at Norbury.”  (YELL)

In our next Hans Gross feature, we’ll see what the brilliant man of 221B might have read about an Investigative Officer’s interpersonal skills……





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Growing Pains

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Back in the 1970’s, George Ainsworth-Land admonished the business world to “grow or die.” I am hardly an entrepreneurial sort, but this makes sense to me. If you don’t constantly develop your product, your customer base, or redecorate your bathrooms, eventually you’ll start to lose customers–and your own sense of joy in your work. I started this blog as a place to review pastiche (and other books), and while I still want to do this on occasion, the fact is, I’ve moved into some other areas of the Sherlockian world, and I’ve neglected this blog to pursue them. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be the blog that shrivels down to a couple of posts a year, then dies. I like it. I like the people I meet through it. But I only have so much time and, frankly, the kind of book review I do is very labor-intensive.

So, what to do?

I decided a few months ago that the best solution would be to expand the meaning of “Well-Read Sherlockian.” I’ve tried (over a period of maturing, let’s be honest) to show you books you might find useful and enjoyable. I’ve also featured authors who are using their talents to explore the world of Sherlock Holmes (still doing that, by the way). But there are other things you might want to read about–that would enhance your understanding and enjoyment of all things Holmes. I find so many things in my work that fit that description. Sometimes I post them on Facebook. Many times I just take notes and keep moving, because I have a client, or a deadline, or the dog just messed on the rug.

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She’s a good dog, but she is getting old.

No more. Even though I keep shooing my kids out of the room while I write this, the fact is, most discoveries are more fun when you share them. So, as the cliché goes, “Watch this space!” The Tin Dispatch Box apparently has compartments, and it’s time to explore!

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“I’m not sure I like this, Holmes.” “Nor I, Watson, but let’s humor the woman.”


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6th Annual 12th Night Giveaway: Final

Well, here we are again. The end of the 12th Night Giveaway. It dawned on me last night that yesterday, as well as being the Birthday of Sherlock Holmes, also marked the 6th anniversary of the first Well-Read Sherlockian blog. I still remember how nervous I was, hitting “publish” for that first time. How excited I was to see when someone actually read it. Blogging has taught me a great deal about reviewing, writing, and Sherlock Holmes. It has also provided me with so many opportunities–perhaps the most valuable one being making connections with other Sherlockians. There have been some changes to the blog, and there will be more this year. But one thing will remain a fixed point: my affection and gratitude for all of you. I hope that any changes you experience in 2018 will be good ones!

Well, my daughter just pulled a name out of the red polar bear tote bag that has been this season’s drawing container. The winner of the Gillette autograph is:

Resa Haile

The quote, of course, was from The Sign of Four (The Sign of the Four was ok, too!).  Now, on with the business of packing things up, trekking out to the post office, filling out customs forms…and looking for new treasures.  After all, it’s only 351 days until December 24th!


Twelfth Night





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6th Annual 12th Night Giveaway: Happy 164th Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!


Ok, let’s just stop for a minute and think about how cool it is to have our own special holiday. All over social media this morning, I see people doing little (or not so little) things in celebration of the 164th anniversary of the birth of the World’s First and Greatest Consulting Detective. At our house, I typically bake a cake (or buy one), and bring out the little Sherlock Holmes action figure (a gift from my great friend, co-author, and fellow Holmesian blogger, Jaime N. Mahoney) so that he can supervise. Note that he is still in his packaging. I just can’t bear to open it.




Others are hanging out special flags, drawing awesome birthday cartoons, binge-watching favorite film versions, adding to their Sherlockian collections, and, of course re-reading their favorite Canon stories. Last year, I actually had the privilege of being able to celebrate THE  Birthday at my very first Baker Street Irregulars Dinner during BSI Weekend in New York City. The dinner is by invitation only, and I was utterly thrilled. My family went to NYC with me, and we had a wonderful weekend, so much so that, although I was not invited to the dinner this year, we’re still going for the Weekend itself (next week)–if you can ever do this yourself, you should, and I would love to meet you.


Before the Dinner last year with my best friends.  My hair is even grayer now!


Because we always end this Giveaway on such a special day, I try to make the final, “Grand Prize” as special as I possibly can. I try to imagine what someone might consider a high point of their Sherlockian collection, or what might deepen their knowledge or attachment to the Canon and Sherlockian life in general. So far, I think, this prize has been subscriptions to the Baker Street Journal and, at least twice, nice bound copies of The Strand Magazine. I have, for a few years, considered the possibility of putting up an autograph, but have been prevented each time by a couple of considerations. First, cost:  the market for the most universally desirable autographs is crazy! Second, and most important, is authenticity. I actually have a few Sherlockian autographs, and while I am fairly sure they are genuine, I cannot be sure. For example, I accidentally bought two Benedict Cumberbatch autographs on eBay several years back. I bid on two, thinking I’d be lucky to get one. I won the first, and then, since you can’t rescind your bids, watched the second auction, hoping someone would jump in and “save” me. Nope. I now have two. Let’s be honest here. I’ve seen a lot of Cumberbatch signatures online, and while I am fairly certain one is definitely genuine, I have some slight doubts about the other. I am also fairly certain about my “Herbert Kelcey,” simply because I don’t know why anyone would be faking his signature in 2014 (the year I bought it). But I cannot be sure. I wasn’t there for any of them. It’s one thing for me to buy a potential forgery and hang it on my wall. It’s quite another for me to send one out to people who trust me, accidentally or not. Case in point: two years ago, I saw a Basil Rathbone autograph listed on eBay for $77.00  GUYS. YOU NEVER SEE A BASIL RATHBONE AUTOGRAPH FOR LESS THAN $300-$400, AND THAT’S CHEAP.  (This is why I don’t have one). I was so excited. I nearly pulled the trigger on it for the Grand Prize that year. But I kept looking at it, and comparing it to known Basil signatures, and something was off. You can often tell when it’s the same person writing quickly, or writing at different times in life, so I thought about that, but something still didn’t look right. And the price was dodgy. Really, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that you can make true bank on a Basil autograph, so why would someone sell it so cheaply? On the advice of friends, I sent a link to a Rathbone aficionado, who advised me to pass. To this day, I am grateful for his help.


*loud sobs*

I’m sure you know what is coming. It’s not Basil, though. And, sorry, it’s not Jeremy Brett (also pricey). It is, however, someone almost as good…

I am so thrilled to be able to present:



I’m sending it in this frame, but you might want something more archival.


William Gillette autograph prices vary widely, and his very distinctive writing and autograph style makes its easier to be sure when it’s him, and when it’s not. He also had the habit of adding dates and places to his autographs, which makes him a bit of an autograph-hunter’s dream.

And was William Gillette in Syracuse on November 7, 1903?

Why yes, yes he was…..

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Screenshot, New York World, November 7, 1907, via Newspapers.com


We live in an amazing time, people. And while I may never be able to offer something like this again, I’m happy to be able to do it now.

Unfortunately, the rules declare that you need to work for it, so here’s the quote:

“The only official consulting detective,” he answered. “I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney Jones are out of their depths–which, by the way, is their normal state–the matter is laid before me. I examine the data, as an expert, and pronounce a specialist’s opinion. I claim no credit in such cases. My name figures in no newspaper. The work itself, the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers, is my highest reward.”

As always, to enter the drawing, please send your answers via blog comment or message on the Well-Read Sherlockian FaceBook page.  Please note– BECAUSE TOMORROW IS SUNDAY AND MY SUNDAYS ARE CRAZY, THE DRAWING WON’T TAKE PLACE UNTIL LATE TOMORROW EVENING. THIS ALSO GIVES PEOPLE PLENTY OF TIME TO ENTER.


1 Good Luck

Day 13 Winner!!!!

Congratulations to our second 2-time winner, Shalom Bresticker!  The quote came from “A Study in Scarlet.”


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6th Annual 12th Night Giveaway: Day 13

So, our garage is a mess. I actually had everything pretty much sorted out earlier this past summer, but apparently I overloaded the shelves I’d assembled, and eventually, with a loud noise, everything fell down in a heap. I didn’t leave it that way, obviously, but one of my projects this year will be to implement a better storage method for things that are obviously heavier than I thought.

And what was this stuff? Fishing tackle boxes, cases of fishing flies, containers of baby clothes, boxes of old school papers, letters, all of my old (and generally horrible) writing, some toys, trophies, record albums, and quite a few comic books. We are not really an outdoor family; all of the yard stuff and tools fit nicely in a corner. Everything else is, essentially, memorabilia.


Who could forget ABBA?

So. Did Sherlock Holmes have such souvenirs tucked away among the clutter of 221B?  Did Dr Watson? The Turkish slipper had to come from somewhere, as did the portraits of Beecher and Gordon. Do the indexes count as memory books? Are the scrapbooks used for more than just reference? We do know that both Holmes and Watson keep records of cases stored away in boxes, tin or otherwise, and Holmes has a ring, a tie pin, a snuff box, and a certain cabinet photograph.

Sometimes I look at this stuff, and realize that, one day, it will pass on to those for whom it will have little meaning. Within one or two generations (or even before), my school themes, the ticket stubs from our honeymoon, and my husband’s astronomy notebook from his summer at Harvard (where he went instead of continuing to date me in 1985) will either be in our descendants’ garages, in a flea market somewhere, or they may have ceased to exist altogether. I know this, but still I  hold on to them.

But…occasionally…some ephemera take on value apart from what they held for the people who first owned them. It dawned on me, one day, as I bought a magazine featuring Jeremy Brett for a friend’s birthday, that the only reason it was there for me to shell out five times its original value for was because someone once bought it new–and kept it.  I took this lesson to  heart, and guys, this is how I know that, one, day, my massive Benedict Cumberbatch magazine collection (not stored in the garage, thank you) will send someone to college.


Yeah, it’s gratuitous. (from Elle UK)

Today’s prize is just such a piece of ephemera. It recalls one special moment in time for, I think, the seller’s mother. She attended a play on Broadway one day in 1965. Baker Street starred Fitz Weaver as Sherlock Holmes, and Peter Sallis as Dr. Watson. Inga Swenson played Irene Adler. She saw Tommy Tune as a criminal, and Christopher Walken in one of his earliest roles as one  of his confederates. On the day she attended, Bert Michaels replaced Teddy Green as Wiggins. During the intermission, she could look at the Holmes memorabilia in the lobby, and perhaps buy a souvenir other than the Playbill she definitely took home with her. If she was (Heaven forbid!) bored, she could read the filler articles about theatre in India, and peruse ads for Sammy Davis Jr’s new album, “Golden Boy,” or decide she wanted to see Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof  instead. Ads for higher-end cars, cigarettes, perfume, and liquor added to the glamour of the occasion.

Well, obviously, the Playbill is the prize. Unfortunately, it is not autographed, but it is complete and in good condition.









If you’d like to take your turn as Curator of the Playbill, then tell me where in the Canon one can find the following quote:

“It’s the Baker Street division of the police force,” said my companion, gravely; and as he spoke there rushed into the room half a dozen of the dirtiest and most ragged street Arabs that ever I clapped eyes on.

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A sketchy lot.

Just send you answer in to me via blog comment or message me on the Well-Read Sherlockian FB page!  Happy 12th Night!  You know what comes next!!


Day 12 Winner!

Congratulations to Gary Henderson, winner of the Holmes & Watson game. The answer was “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman,” one of the darker stories in the Canon. After reading it, you might want to go back and re-read REDH, just to cleanse the palate, so to speak.


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6th Annual 12th Night Giveaway: Day 12

Today, January 4, marks the 2nd anniversary of our move to our new city. I am not a highway driver, and I knew the drive would take awhile, so while my husband supervised the loading of the moving van, I took the kids and the cat and started north. It wasn’t long (10 minutes) before we made a food stop.


Then a bathroom stop–but not for us. For the cat. During an hour and a half of piteous meowing, he had found time to pee in his carrier. So we had to stop at Meijer to find another other.

Then we had to put it together.

Then we had to take him out of the old one.

Then we had to catch him in the parking lot.

Then we had to stuff him into the new carrier.

Then we had to dispose of the old, extremely smelly carrier in such a way as to not make people think we were abandoning some poor animal.

Then I got stuck in traffic.

Then I thought I was lost.

Then I really was lost.

Emergency bathroom stop.

Food stop.

Another bathroom stop that ended up being a snack stop, because that’s what kids do.

Finally, 7-8 hours after we left, we were in our new home. My husband, the movers, and the dog had already been there for awhile. In fact, the movers had already left. This is what I saw when I first walked in:


Yes, the hubs had already started unpacking. Obviously, he went with the most important stuff first.

If you love games as much as he does, then this is your last chance this Giveaway to win a Sherlock Holmes game–there are a lot of them out there! This one is…



If you would like to see it on your game shelf,  just tell me where you can find the following Canon quote:


“Amberley excelled at chess–one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind.”

I wonder what Holmes makes of Magic: The Gathering?

Just send your answer to me via blog post or FB message at the Well-Read Sherlockian FB page. We are in the home stretch!


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Day 11 Winner!!!!!

Congratulations to Claudia, who correctly identified our quote as coming from “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.” Poor Watson!  That had to be difficult!



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6th Annual 12th Night Giveaway: Day 11

Well, this is it. The end of our Winter Break. Tomorrow, the kids go back to school–that is, if the weather permits, which is by no means a sure thing.



And of course, after about two weeks of being occasionally confined to the house, the younger natives are restless. They want to go out and “do something,” even when the temps are negative, they just had Christmas, went to the movies, and will, God willing, be in New York City in about a week. Since they are teens, they couple this desire to “do something” with also wanting to sleep in until noon (or after). Sorry, guys. I have no desire to go out when it’s dark and snowy and cold. I like just staying in, mingling household chores, reading, and writing. Now that I have a real workspace that’s not the kitchen or the bedroom, it’s wonderful.


Still, as much as I love my little corner of the living room, it’s not a patch on the parlor of 221 B. There’s no fireplace, for one thing. The cat permits no one else on “his” settee. I’m the one who has to clean it. And my husband plays the saxophone, and not the violin. He’s not bad, but boy, is it loud.

Let’s have a look at 221B’s through history, shall we?


Sidney Paget and one version of the “basket chair.”

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Frederic Dorr Steele gives us  a bit of a “craftsman” feel.


Gillette’s 221B is as opulent as his dressing-gown


Eille Norwood’s is rather plain.


Many 221B sets seem too have far fewer books than one would expect. Not so with Arthur Wontner’s version.


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Even the Victorian Rathbone/Bruce films have a 30’s-40’s feel.


From the colorized version of “Dressed to Kill”–that green and brown scream  40’s to me (via Basil Rathbone: Master of Stage and Screen)


Ronald Howard and Marion Crawford, Victorian style. See General Gordon over there?


Peter Cushing with a microscope and a preview of some future funky wallpaper.

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Douglas Wilmer and another Victorian mantel.


We’ll just go for a larger view of this, possibly the most famous television 221B

Sherlock Holmes

RDJ’s 221B has a nice, dusty, cluttered feel, and funky wallpaper.


BBC Sherlock does Victorian in the Abominable Bride. Lovely room, love the fender, but all-plaid suits are not okay.

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BBC Sherlock’s 21st century flat. Funky wallpaper and not enough books, but lots of pretty.


The most famous recreation, however, is probably this one, at the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London:



Before this, however, came the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition, part of the Festival of Britain. Opening on May 21, 1951, and continuing through August, the Exhibition was hosted by Abbey House (which had the actual address 221 Baker Street), and funded by the Borough of Marylebone. It featured a recreation of Holmes and Watson’s sitting room (accompanied by sound effects such as an organ grinder’s tune), and displays devoted to Holmes in cinema, the Baker Street Irregulars, and Sidney Paget’s illustrations. Both Jean and Denis Conan Doyle gave speeches at the opening ceremony, and the Times declared that the presentation was: “rich enough in detail for the keenest disciple and–here one can only hope–expertly arranged for the most critical.”  Sherlockians being who we are, however, within days the Telegraph was printing letters debating whether or not the exhibit should have given Watson a monaural or binaural stethoscope.

Today’s winner will receive two magazines from that time: a Life magazine which features a double-paged spread photograph, and a New Yorker which, in New Yorker  fashion, doesn’t really have photos, but has pages and pages of erudite description and commentary. Both issues are in decent shape, with all pages intact, so you get to see some interesting ads and 1950’s-style New Yorker  cartoons. In my opinion, they are lovely examples of Sherlockian ephemera.




I kept the photo large so you could read the first page.




And yes, that is the exact same basket chair Paget used.


To enter the drawing, just tell me where in the Canon you can find the following quote:

Finally, in my aimless perambulation, I came to the mantelpiece. A little of pipes, tobacco pouches, syringes, penknives, revolver-cartridges, and other debris was scattered over it. In the midst of these was a small black and white ivory box with a sliding lid. It was a neat little thing, and I had stretched out my hand to examine it more closely when….

Just send your answer via blog comment or PM at the Well-read Sherlockian FaceBook page!

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Day 10 Winner!!!!!!!


Congratulations to T. Rick Jones, winner of his own personal (3-month) book club! Everyone knew that the Day 10 quote came from “The Adventure of the Empty House”-the one where the doctor/war hero faints, and the housekeeper braves a bullet to save her resurrected lodger.


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