The Red Circle is Sherlock's home in Washington DC. Now in our seventh decade, we continue to celebrate his immortality and enjoy each other's company.
All are welcome to join us and share our interest in all things Sherlockian and Doylean.

Next Meeting

Saturday, June 6, 1:00pm
Virtual Meeting
with special guest Laurie R. King
See Inner Circle below
and Take the Survey!




Not-So-Great Britain  The British tourist board called “VisitBritain” is under fire for publishing a “literary heroes” map that excludes heroes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the otherwise clever cartography. On the colorful map, only England is populated with literary figures while Scotland and Wales seem to be limited to the occasional tree and bird. The map features a mixture of authors and characters, and while Sherlock Holmes appears prominently in the vicinity of London near Dickens and Roald Dahl, Brits in Scotland point out that Conan Doyle, who is missing from the map, belongs to them, and Brits in Wales quite properly claim Mr. Dahl as their native son. The tourist outfit has apologized and said that the map was intended to be published by its sister organization VisitEngland and not VisitBritain. People in the rest of Britain are not amused. Might this be yet another data point in support of a separatist movement? A .pdf file of the graphic is here if you’d like to take a closer look.


Sherlockian Wisdom for a Pandemic   “My mind rebels at stagnation” said Sherlock Holmes, and most of our minds do too. It’s important to try to keep both mind and body as active as we can during difficult times like this. So during a long, socially distanced Sunday walk your webmaster conjured some things Sherlock Holmes might be saying about our worldwide crisis. You’re invited to join the others who have added to the wisdom below, whether they are twists on the Master's own words or other Canonical citations. Send contributions to alan@redcircledc.org, and we’ll add them to the list--with proper credit. If Peter Blau is impressed with your submissions he may bestow prizes from the “I’ve got six of these” shelf in his sub-basement.
from Alan Rettig. . .
  • “It may be that you are not yourself symptomatic, but you are a conductor of COVID-19.” - S.H.
  • “Wash your hands if convenient--if inconvenient wash them all the same. - S.H.” 
  • “I am lost without my face mask.” - S.H. 
  • “There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, some from the need for social distancing, have no wish for the company of their fellows. . .It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started." - S.H. 

from Bob Katz. . .

  • "You have been in quarantine, I perceive." - S.H. 

from Larry Miller. . .

  • "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the toilet paper, whatever remains, however improbable, must be of use? - S.H.
  • "I know there are 6 feet, because I have both seen and distanced.” - S.H.
  • "I should be very much obliged if you would slip a roll of toilet paper into your pocket. A Charmin Ultra-soft is an excellent argument with gentlemen for whom empty shelves have tied bowels into knots. That and a tooth-brush are, I think, all that we need.” - S.H.
  • "You have a grand gift for flattening, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a distancer.” - S.H.
  • “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is mere hand sanitizer.” - S.H.
  • “Am dining at Goldini's Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington. Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a face mask, alcohol wipes, a six-foot measure, and a roll of toilet paper, S.H." "It was a nice equipment for a respectable distancer to carry through the dim, virus-draped streets.” - J.H.W.
  • "There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my hand sanitizer and let us try to forget for half an hour this miserable virus and the still more miserable ways of our legislators.” - S.H.

from Roger Johnson & Jean Upton. . .

  • "As you value your life or your reason keep away from crowded places." - Anonymous (?) 

from Bill Barnes. . .

  •  "She is the daintiest thing behind a face mask on this planet." - S.H.
  •  "Come, Watson, come!  The supermarket has toilet paper!  Not a word!  Into your clothes and come!" - S.H.
  •  "There's the scarlet thread of a virus running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, isolate it, and treat every inch of it." - S.H.
  •  "If you approach me, Watson, I shall order you out of the house." - S.H. (note, no change to canon quote)
  •  "Self-isolation is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph." - S.H.
  •  "My collection of face masks is a fine one." - S.H.
  •  "Have a cigarette, Mr McFarlane.  Beyond the obvious fact that you use hand sanitiser, I know nothing about you." - S.H.

from Monica Schmidt. . .

  • "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious cough." - S.H.
  • "The game is a face mask" - S.H.
  • "Crime is commonplace. Face masks are rare. Therefore it is upon the face masks rather than upon the crime that you should dwell." - S.H.

from Julie McKuras. . .

  • "Besides, it is the season of Coronavirus 19. Chance has put in our way a most singular and deadly problem, and its solution is its own reward." - S.H.
  • "I paid the man and hurried into the church. There was not a soul there save the two whom I had followed and a surpliced clergyman, who seemed to be expostulating with them. They were all three standing six feet apart from each other in front of the altar, practicing good social distancing." - S.H.
  • "A cardboard box was inside, filled with coarse salt. On emptying this, Miss Cushing was horrified to realize that she should have waited at least a day to open the box since COVID 19 can survive that long on cardboard." - Newspaper account
The Pawky Humorists. . .was a society for Sherlockian punsters, created once upon a time by Red Circle member Peter Ashman and reactivated by Red Circle member Norm Davis. Both of its leaders now are beyond the Reichenbach, and the society no longer is active, but its members would have enjoyed a letter to the editor of the  Daily Mail published on January 17 and kindly forwarded by Karen Murdock.  Written by Dave Cullen of Leeds, the letter is titled "Wordy Wise" and reads:
     Sherlock Homes -- ideal accommodation for private detectives.
     Doctor Whatson -- mess around with TV schedule.
     Mrs. Hadson -- Holmes's housekeeper is mother to a boy.
     221B Biker Street -- the address of Holmes' motorcycle assistants.
     Telementary -- transmitting pictures and sound is simple, my dear Watson. 
     The Sign of Pour -- dark, threatening sky.
     A Stud in Scarlet -- a charmer wearing bright red.
     The Round of the Baskervilles -- wealthy Dartmoor family buys the drinks.
While it may seem less than prudent to invite additions, your webmaster is an adventurous sort and will be happy to post same if they are sufficiently groanworthy and meet our high standards of taste and decorum. Send them along to alan@redcircledc.org. For starters, your webmaster proposes:
     Scuttlebutt from the Spermicidal Press -- a monthly broadside advocating birth control.
     The Bialy of Schmear -- unboiled onion bagel slathered heavily with cream cheese.
     Silver’s Blasé -- The Lone Ranger's horse is indifferent.
Two Red Circle members tapped for BSI  Congratulations to the two members of the Red Circle who received Irregular Shillings and Investitures at the annual dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars in New York on January 17: Ken Ludwig ("Jack Stapleton") and Dave Richards ("Colonel Warburton's Madness"). They now are among those who "can go everywhere, see everything, overhear everyone" (as noted by Holmes in The Sign of the Four). 
 Notes from the Red Circle's December 13 dinner meeting can be found here.
"X"mas Marks the Spot  At the Red Circle's December dinner, quiz maven and part-time Santa Dana Richards left his latest Sherlockian stumper under the tree. It's a quiz with 25 quotations from the canon, each of which has a missing word containing the letter "X." All you have to do is supply the missing words. Easy, right? Give it a try. The first two pages contain the questions, and the second two pages add the answers. No fair peeking at pages 3 and 4 until you've finished or thrown in the towel. Take the quiz here.
Each year we compile the items of more than passing interest from this column and store them in the Archive. As the new year begins we highlight the Inner Circle doings from 2014. The items range from information on "The Giant Rat of Sinatra" to a talking Holmes statue to some noteworthy rulings by Federal courts. There's also news of a large-scale wordle map of literary London that's still available in 2020. It's worth a look back for some memories and some smiles. You can find the Inner Circle highlights from 2014 here.
 Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age  Our own Peter Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for some four dozen years, and has a permanent home right here on our website. It's the most remarkable collection of Sherlockian news and notes anywhere, and your webmaster recommends a monthly visit. The very latest edition is available now, as are past numbers. It's just a click away--use the "Scuttlebutt" button at the top of the page.
  • Be an Inner Circle Contributor We welcome submissions from all quarters for this page. Please direct materials to the webmaster, alan@redcircledc.org
  • For earlier, archived items from The Inner Circle, click here.