Tonight, somewhere in Sussex, an oddly-young looking man, with his oddly-young-looking friends, is celebrating his 167th birthday. There will be good steaks, brandy, and cake–and whatever else Mrs. Hudson decides to prepare. Mycroft will grump about current affairs; Watson will administer vaccines. Lestrade will expound his latest Jack-the-Ripper theory, and Sherlock Holmes will call him (fondly) an idiot. There will be congratulatory phone calls and telegrams from far-off friends. And finally, in front of a roaring fire, they will toast the birthday boy–the man who, having never lived, will never die.
Some attribute Sherlock Holmes’ (and his friends’) longevity to royal jelly, carefully obtained from the bee hives at his Sussex cottage. But that seems a stretch; it even dishonors a man who would no doubt, if he had such a thing, share it with the world. No, the real answer lies in something much more wonderful. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson still live because of you–because of you, and every other person who, from 1887 until now, has read, watched, and believed in the reality of a man who can deduce the existence of Niagara from a single drop of water, and his best friend, a soldier-turned-author who chronicles their adventures.
I know that we’re all happy to see the back of 2020, and have high hopes for 2021’s possibilities, and there’s no question that last year was…a bit not good. But the fact is, that life is difficult–every year, and for every one, in many, many ways. Even–despite what the poem says–1895. Holmes and Watson did not hide away from the difficulties of life in 221B; they went out and did what they could to solve over 100 (counting the unrecorded cases). Given the number of writings still popping up in newly-found tin boxes every year, they’re still solving crimes today. But even the Great Detective and his Boswell took some down time–studying charters and playing billiards come to mind–and they would be gratified to know that following their adventures have helped so many deal with the problems and concerns of their own lives.
So if you find yourself in need of a distraction, something for the kids to do, or some way to bring that happy jolt of novelty into your life, here’s a Sherlockian Bingo Card to give you a few ideas. Pick one square, or fill them all. I know I have a pastiche sitting half-written on my computer; that will be mine.*
Have you learned anything new about Sherlock Holmes or his world–in any format this past year? What was it? Is there something you’d like to know?
The Grand Prize:
I love that you can find affordable bound Strands for sale; it is definitely my favorite prize to give! As you can see, this one has a nice cover. It’s from January to June, 1893, and contains six adventures: CARD, YELL, STOC, GLOR, MUSG, and REIG. The Paget illustrations are included, and are very nice. As you can see, the back hinge is damaged. If you decide to repair it, PLEASE use only the proper archival materials; DO NOT USE TAPE!!!!! I am also including a little scrap of paper on which a previous owner (possibly elderly, going by the handwriting) wrote several addresses on, just because it’s cool to find stuff like that in books.
As always, please send in your answers to the final problem (heh heh) via blog comment or message the FB Well-Read Sherlockian page. I am so very glad to see all of you old-timers, and several new faces. I hope to have the chance to provide some good content for you in the blog this year!
*Please make sure you attend virtual meetings (preferable) or wear a mask and social distance if you attend one in person!!!!!
Day 13 Winner!!!!!
Congratulations to Marie-Claire! She knew that we see Holmes and Watson (Rathbone and Bruce) fishing for salmon in Scotland in “The Spider Woman.” Which you can watch at the link….