Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Vaguely Minor Hiatus: Admin Note

Awww, now, don't worry, it's not that bad! Save those tears for Mofftiss and the Season 3 Finale!

Awww, now, don’t worry, it’s not that bad! Save those tears for Mofftiss and the Season 3 Finale!

Well, now that the Giveaway is complete, there is another pressing matter to attend to. You may remember that, in the spring of last year, I mentioned that this blog would be slowing down a bit, due to a long-term project that would be taking a great deal of my time. As it turns out, that project–a reference book co-authored with Jaime Mahoney, blogger at Better Holmes and Gardens–was accepted for publication with Wessex Press. And I have found, over the past few months, that it truly requires all  of my time.

Not far off the mark.

Not far off the mark. I am looking into disposable clothing for the children.

Just about everything not necessary to sustaining life has had to give, this blog being one of them. Books are still coming out, however, and I have had several review requests from authors. So, until circumstances permit, this will be blog policy….

For Authors:

With the exception of a review I have already promised, I will not be able to review any books until sometime in the Fall. However, I would be happy to feature you in an interview. This would consist of about ten e-mailed questions centered around your book, your experiences with Sherlock Holmes, and your writing process. Your responses will be edited for mechanics and (if necessary) profanity or adult content, but other than that, the content will be unaltered.* Publishing an interview will not constitute an endorsement of your book, nor is it a promise of a future review. As I won’t be able to give books the attention they deserve, I also won’t be able to provide a star rating. That being said, I really do hope to go back and review any book whose author does a review–I just can’t make any promises as to when. If you would like to do an interview, just contact me via the blog comments and leave your email address!

For Readers:

When I review a book, it’s typically a lengthy, in-depth process involving lots of note-taking, canon-researching and fact-checking, as well as the usual attention to story, characterization, and style. I like to try to give you enough information to know whether or not the featured book is something you would want to spend time and money on. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that for awhile. If I interview an author, I will not have read his or her book with my typical thoroughness. I will try, in the interview questions, to give you an idea of what type of book it is–strictly Canon or alternative universe, for example–and a basic sketch of the plot, but I won’t be able to tell you whether or not I think you will enjoy it, although I hope to do so eventually.

So–thanks for reading, commenting and following!  I hope to post interviews every once in awhile, and look forward to getting back to reviewing sometime in the fall!

It will be here sooner than we think.

It will be here sooner than we think.


*Yeah, I know, I can’t imagine it, either, but bases must be covered.


Filed under Administrative

12th Night Giveaway: Finale

Well, it’s been an eventful few days. First, there was a lot of this:

So exciting.

So exciting.

And, coincidentally, a lot of this:

Ok, the sick ones were on the couch watching endless Harry Potter, but still....

Ok, the sick ones were on the couch watching endless Harry Potter, but still….

And, not so coincidentally, a whole lot of this:

Mrs. Hudson!!!!!!!!!!!

Mrs. Hudson!!!!!!!!!!!

Add to that only intermittent internet, and, well, this final drawing is a bit later than planned….

However, I am happy to announce that the winners of the year’s subscription to the Baker Street Journal are:

Magdalena Poplonska

Paul Hayes

Kristin Franseen

Everyone who entered knew that Stamford called Holmes a “walking calendar of crime,” and then told him, “You might start a paper on those lines. Call it the ‘Police News of the Past.'”

Thanks so much to all of you–for reading, commenting, and playing. Your enthusiasm made this year’s Giveaway a great deal of fun!

new years card

Comments Off on 12th Night Giveaway: Finale

Filed under Giveaway, Trivia contest, Twelfth Night Giveaway

12th Night Giveaway: January 6th


I was a Sherlockian for a little over a year before I had the nerve to “go public” and connect with others. When I finally did, one of the first things I noticed was just how darned smart everyone was! And not just when it came to Sherlock Holmes. They knew lots of things about lots of things–all sorts of topics and specialties. It had nothing to do with education. Some of the most knowledgeable Sherlockians I know never went to college; there may be some who didn’t graduate from high school. Other have many, many letters after their names. What they all have in common, however, is a continuing curiosity–a desire to keep learning about something–and maybe everything. And they also like to share it, as is evidenced by the thousands of books and articles dealing with every aspect of the Great Detective and his Boswell. Some enjoy imagining new adventures for the pair, or filling in the blanks Watson so thoughtfully supplies. Others like investigating the history behind the stories, be it social, military, political, scientific, or cultural. A substantial number enjoy playing “The Game,” that is, thinking of Doyle’s world as if it were complete fact, and working out the details, either in a deadly serious, whimsical, or frankly crazy fashion.

There's a wealth of Sherlockian knowledge on these shelves. Along with some outright crazy.

There’s a wealth of Sherlockian knowledge on these shelves. Along with some outright crazy.


You can find an example of just about every sort of Sherlockian writing in the Baker Street Journal, published quarterly by the BSI (Baker Street Irregulars) almost consistently since 1946. Every issue is like attending a little scion gathering–in your living room, the car, at the beach…wherever you happen to be.

It's eminently portable!

It’s eminently portable!


So I’m very excited to celebrate the end of this year’s 12th Night Giveaway–and the 160th birthday of Sherlock Holmes–by offering a year’s subscription to the BSJ as grand prize.To enter the drawing, just answer this question:

In A Study in Scarlet, Stamford suggests that Holmes take up publishing. What would be the medium, topic, and title?


Day 12 Winner!!!!

When I did my student teaching, ages and ages ago, I absolutely loved it when a student had a grat idea or knew something I didn’t. It made the classroom collaborative, for one thing, and for another–it just made me happy. So as I went through today’s answers as they came in, I was really amused to see how  I have been totally schooled!  Seriously!  I had 2 women in mind: Sarah Cushing, who manipulated the man she loved into killing his wife (her sister) and a friend (supposedly her sister’s lover) in the remarkably graphic “Adventure of the Cardboard Box.” The other was Catherine Cusack, the maid who had no problem making James Ryder into a jewel thief and setting up innocent John Horner to take the blame. Yes, very nasty, both of them.  But I had completely and inexcusably forgotten the other women whose names you submitted: Isadora Klein, who would rather her ex-lover, Douglas Maberly, die than have the details of their affair published in his roman à clef; and Mary Holder, who helped Sir George Burnwell steal the Beryl Coronet and let her cousin become suspect. Other villainesses named were Mrs. Schlessinger, one half of a fraudulent missionary team who took advantage of Lady Frances Carfax, Violet deMerville, whose devotion to Baron von Gruner made her cold-hearted as well; Rachel Howells, who killed the Musgrave butler Brunton in a jealous rage; and, of course, the most “winning woman” Holmes ever knew of, who killed her own children for the insurance money.

And with that–Congratulations to Curtis Shideler, who named Isadora Klein, and Sheila Elder, who mentioned Sarah Cushing, Isadora Klein, and threw in Sophy Kratides for good measure; although she is not exactly a villainess in the Canon, Holmes definitely sees her as one in the Granada version.


Filed under Uncategorized

12th Night Giveaway: Day 12

Well, if you live in the north eastern quarter of the U.S., you probably know that we are going to get snow. A lot of snow. Which means I have spent quite a bit of time in places that look like this:

50 minutes. No lie. Fortunately the popsicles didn't melt.

50 minutes. No lie. Fortunately the popsicles didn’t melt.

After last night’s adventure, you’d think I would stay in today and await the Flakes of Doom. But noooo, because even though I spent nearly three hours foraging with everyone else in town, I forgot stuff. Important stuff. Good thing there was plenty left.

Why were these not sold out? Don't people know what Monday is?

Why were these not sold out? Don’t people know what Monday is?

Last year, my kids really liked baking a cake and bringing out the Sherlock Holmes action figure, then snuggling on the couch and watching a Granada episode with Mom. I didn’t want to break that nascent tradition just because of a few inches of snow.*

The Sherlockian world is full of traditions. Some are big–like the BSI weekend coming up in New York City. Others revolve around popular conferences or the airing of new episodes of a favorite show. Some are local–the Illustrious Clients’ Victorian Dinner, for instance. And others belong only to the individuals who cherish them. It’s good, I think, to have a little bit of all of these. If you’ve been feeling isolated out there with your copy of the Canon, or certain that no one around you understands your love of a particular film version of Lestrade, let me assure you that you are most definitely not alone. It make take a little searching (probably not as much as you think) but trust me when I say that there is a Sherlockian community out there waiting to meet you and include you in its own traditions. Let this be the year you make some new friends.**

"Are there going to be people there?" "Well, it is a party, Holmes." "Not going, then."

“Are there going to be people there?”
“Well, it is a party, Holmes.”
“Not going, then.”

And speaking of friends…and meditations on friendship mixed in with crime and archenemies and stuff….

As we are getting to the end of the 12th Night Giveaway, there are only two prizes left–and as they are the big ones (metaphorically speaking) everyone is eligible to enter again, whether or not you have already won. Today’s prize is the Season 3 DVD (or Blu-Ray) of Sherlock, Season 3. It has not yet been released, but I will pre-order it for you, via Amazon US or Amazon UK. As such, it will be either Region 1 or Region 2, so please be sure your player can accommodate either of these.

Oh, yes. The photo. (via Sherlockology)

Oh, yes. The photo.
(via Sherlockology)

To enter the drawing, just answer this question:

Sir Arthur was a very chivalrous man, and while he seems to have respected women, he also shies away from making them truly wicked in the Holmes stories. Even if they do wrong, Holmes and Watson generally excuse them in some way. Except for (at least) two. Name one, tell us what she did, and give the name of the story!

Remember to send your answer in via Facebook PM, Twitter DM, or the blog comments! I will draw the winning name 24 hours from this posting. Good luck!


Day 11 Winners!!

For the first time, we actually have dual winners of the dual prizes! Normally everyone goes for one prize! Both Regina Stinson and Emma Stanovska knew that Jabez Wilson of “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” and Hall Pycroft of “The Stockbroker’s Clerk” fell for the trap of earning decent sums of money for simply copying things (the encyclopedia and names from “The Directory of Paris). They were not the only clients Holmes encountered who were drawn into dangerous situations for the promise of a high salary, however: other names submitted included Violet Hunter, Victor Hatherly, Neville St Clair, and the unhappy John Hector McFarlane. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true….

*Ok. Projected 8-12 with high winds and drifting, blizzard conditions.

**You don’t have to even be all that social. I promise.


Filed under Uncategorized

12th Night Giveaway: Day 11

Ah, yes. Winter.

Ah, yes. Winter.


Well, I hope it’s warm where you are today, because here it’s cold…but about to get a good deal colder! In fact, although the kids have been out of school for two weeks already, and our county superintendent abhors using those snow days, I expect they’ll stay out until the middle of next week, at least. And, while I assure you they have plenty of books, toys, games and chore to keep them occupied, it won’t be long before we hear that plaintive cry, “I’m boooooored!”

Good thing there are no firearms in the house.

Good thing there are no firearms in the house.


No matter what your version, Sherlock Holmes gets bored. But Sherlock Holmes is never boring. One of the things I love about being a Sherlockian is that between us, we manage to take every topic in the known universe and somehow connect it to 221B.  It doesn’t matter what (else) you’re into–and if you add Sir Arthur himself, it gets even easier. People who have spent decades in the company of Mr. Holmes often say they go through more dormant phases, but they always end up coming back, because Sherlock Holmes is the friend who makes life just a little more interesting. Today’s prizes reflect his wide-ranging diversity.

Prize #1:

My copy is so beat up, I had to find a jpeg to share with you.

My copy is so beat up, I had to find a jpeg to share with you.


The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany is a small book with a remarkable amount of information on every page. No matter what your Holmesian interest, you’re likely to find it inside. It’s as close to one of the detective’s commonplace books as anything I’ve seen–and it’s so small, you can carry it around with you for doctor visits, checkout lines, traffic lights….* Husband and wife team Roger Johnson and Jean Upton (both Sherlock Holmes Society of London members with remarkable connections) do a fantastic job of covering the past, present, and future of Sherlock Holmes.

Prize #2:

Perhaps, however, you’re more in the mood for a DVD.** In these next few weeks quite of few of us will be obsessed with the return of BBC’s Sherlock. However, as most of you know, there is another 21st-century version of the detective on television right now. If you’re a fan, or haven’t had a chance to watch CBS’s Elementary, here’s your chance to get caught up.***



Going from Amazon UK, it looks as if I can make this available in either Region 1 or Region 2; if this is your choice of prize, please let me know which one you need.

To enter the drawing for either prize, you must, of course, answer this question:

Although Sherlock Holmes often takes on interesting work for little or nothing, two of his clients took jobs doing practically nothing for very handsome wages. Who were they, and in which stories do they appear?

As always, send your answers in via blog comments, Twitter DM or Facebook PM. Good luck, and stay warm!


Day 10 Winner!

Congratulations to Claire Daines, who knew that “The Great Game” historically refers to the struggle between Great Britain and Russia over who would prevail in the Middle East and Central Asia. Britain, as we know, had colonies, military outposts, and spheres of influence in that region, and was very concerned about Russia’s expansionist ambitions.



*Not at church or similar occasions, however. Unless you’re discreet. 😉

**I keep wanting to say “video,” because I am old.

***Full disclosure: this version didn’t work for me, but quite a few friends like it. To counterbalance this, I must be the only person in the world who sees nothing wrong with Matt Frewer’s version.



Filed under Uncategorized

Twelfth Night Giveaway: Day 10

Alas, Watson, your matchmaking hopes will not be realised.

Alas, Watson, your matchmaking hopes will not be realised.


In the Canon, crime-fighting is a man’s game. Although I think that Arthur Conan Doyle did a fairly good job portraying the female clients, victims, and, (rarely)villains–the fact is, with the exception of Mrs. Hudson and the seemingly short-lived Mary Morstan, women don’t have recurring roles in the world of 221B, and those who do spend a great deal of time currying fowl and visiting relatives.

In the world of pastiche, it’s often a different story. Carole Nelson Douglas has written a series of mysteries featuring Irene Adler; Nancy Springer gives Mycroft and Sherlock a sleuthing younger sister; Margaret Park Bridges even goes so far as to imagine Sherlock Holmes as a woman herself! Many other writers give Holmes strong female characters with whom to interact, and on television, both 21st-century re-imaginings have Holmes working with or against women with presence and depth.

And then there’s Mary Russell.

As far as I know (and please correct me if I’m wrong), Mary Russell, of the series written by Laurie R. King, is the only women outside of fan fiction who actually marries Sherlock Holmes. Ok, there’s Alice Faulkner from the Gillette play, but we don’t actually see them at the altar. The books which chronicle their adventures together has a strong following, even among non-Sherlockians, and Ms. King is now working on the 13th volume of that particular series. Miss Russell was born on the 2nd of January, 1900, and in recognition of this, we have today’s prize:


It looks like an older copy of the second book in the series, A Monstrous Regiment of Women. And it is. But it also features….


An autograph. Now, bear in mind, this is a second-hand book, purchased from an eBay merchant, whom I assume was honest about the signature’s authenticity. The book itself is in decent shape, although the dust jacket has some wear. If you would like to have this book on your Sherlockian shelf, just answer this question and I’ll put your name in the hat:

Many Sherlockians play “The Game,” in which they operate on the assumption that the Canon stories actually occurred. BBC Sherlock has an episode entitled “The Great Game,” in which Moriarty sends Sherlock and John a series of dangerous puzzles. When historians discuss “The Great Game,” to what are they referring?

Got the answer? Send it to me via the blog comments, Twitter DM or Facebook PM!

Day 9 Winner!

Congratulations to Carlina de la Cova, winner of the 2 BSJs!  She knew that  Conan Doyle decided to set The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1889, before Holmes actually returned from the dead in the spring of 1894. I was, quite frankly, amazed at the number of responses for this question–apparently there is quite a demand for old Baker Street Journals!  Actually, they are not very expensive. In my hunt for prizes this past fall, I found them listed for, on average and dependent on age and condition, $15 to $45. The only issue that was prohibitively expensive was, of course, Volume 1, Issue 1, and those sellers seemed determined to price themselves out of the general market.


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

12th Night Giveaway: Day 9

I never get tired of seeing this.

I never get tired of seeing this.


Well, the countdown is over, and it’s finally here. Not 2014, of course, but the much-anticipated return of BBC’s Sherlock, which will be airing in UK homes in about…oh, thirteen or fourteen hours.* It has been exactly two years since A Scandal in Belgravia ushered in Season 2, and come 10:30 or so on January 12th (February 2nd here in the US), we’ll begin hanging from a cliff again, but at least we have the assurance of a Season 4. The same is true when Granada’s The Final Problem shows up halfway through the DVD set, or we reach Reichenbach in the Canon with a stack of books left to go.  We know our hero comes back. Our Sherlockian ancestors (and the poor editors of The Strand) were not so fortunate.

That's what people do, don't they? Leave a note.

That’s what people do, don’t they? Leave a note.

Then, as now, people did things to fill the gaps. There were parodies and pastiches and other detectives. There was even a Conan Doyle-approved play, starring William Gillette. Still, there were no real Sherlock Holmes stories forthcoming…until one day, serendipitously, a doctor and a journalist met on a ship sailing home from the battlefields of the Boer War, and talked about–of all things–Devonshire.

It's a scary place, Devonshire.

It’s a scary place, Devonshire.

And just like that, Sherlock Holmes was back. Or was he? And so, today’s question:

The Hound of the Baskervilles began running in The Strand in August of 1901. However, Sherlock Holmes wasn’t really back from the dead until “The Adventure of the Empty House” was published in 1903. Why?

In keeping with today’s juxtaposition of old and new, this is another dual prize day. First, for those in a traditional mood, we have two editions of the Baker Street Journal, one from the first year of publication, 1946, and the other from 1982 (the latter has been signed by “Al,” but I am not exactly sure if this is an autograph, or simply a gift inscription).


For those of you in a BBC state of mind, there is a copy of Guy Adams’ The Sherlock Files. This is the US version of the Sherlock: The Casebook, which came out in the UK in the fall of 2012. As far as I can tell, they are identical, except for the cover and the mention of PBS.



As always, send your answer via blog comment, FaceBook PM or Twitter DM, and please include the prize you’re trying for!

Day 8 Winner!

Congratulations to Jacquelyn Applegate!!!  She knew that Watson, fooled by Miles McLaren’s rude behavior, believed him to be the student guilty of cheating on the Fortescue Examination. The culprit, however, was the quietest of the three, Gilchrist.


*Please bear in mind that I am bad at math.


Filed under Uncategorized