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

Friday, December 4, 2015
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Drinks at 6:00 -- Dinner at 7:00
The Red Circle's
Holiday Party



How very Victorian: New Sherlock special unlocks time machine  As the producers promised and as this photo confirms, the upcoming Sherlock special will take us back to the familiar setting of fog, gaslamps, hansoms and the Old Queen as Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reprise their roles in another adventure. And we can now see a delightful trailer to tantalize us. Even so, the BBC and PBS are still mum about air dates, and although the program has been informally called a "Christmas Special," there's no certainty that it will air over the holidays on either side of the pond. In addition to the trailer, there's a short scene from the program which you can watch here. When you do, notice that the musical underscore at the beginning of the clip is an homage to Patrick Gowers' main title theme for the Jeremy Brett Granada series. The degree to which the Sherlock producers honor what has gone before is persistently impressive and touching.

William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes on Blu-ray/DVD  Those who enjoyed The Red Circle's theatrical screening of William Gillette's classic 1916 film Sherlock Holmes will be glad to know that they can watch it again at home beginning November 3, when Flicker Alley releases the combination Blu-ray/DVD three-disc set. In addition to the beautifully restored film, the discs are packed with many attractive extras. You can pre-order now at the usual online outlets, and--at a nice discount--from the film's distributor, Flicker Alley. Note that the Flicker Alley pre-release discount is set to expire when the film is released on November 3.

Also availabe on cable  The film can also be seen on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on Sunday, October 18 at 9:30pm Eastern Time. Details are here.

But wait. . .there's more!  There's also an excellent book about the film, in French and English, prepared by Thierry Saint-Joanis for the Société Sherlock Holmes de France, full of excellent illustrations, and you can see thumb-nail images of its pages, and purchase the book, at the society's website  

Political allusions (or is it illusions?)  Proud of the society's location, members of The Red Circle have for decades enjoyed keeping watch for political allusions to the Canon, and we already have the first such discovery from the ongoing if not perpetual campaign for the presidency: In The Washington Post's Plum Line blog, Greg Sargent writes. . ."The internet is a fickle place. For weeks, it lavished attention on the storyline that Jeb Bush was destined to play the role of chief antagonist to Donald Trump — Jeb would be Sherlock Holmes to Trump’s Professor Moriarty, bravely calling out Trump’s vile demagoguery and basking in accolades from it. But Jeb’s efforts to challenge Trump failed to capture the imagination."

GridLOCK DC 2015, the annual Sherlock Holmes DC confab, concluded its second convention and its second success in August. Nea Dodson's excellent report on all the fun is posted in our Writings section, and you can jump directly to it by clicking here.

Meeting Notes 
from the Red Circle's June 26 dinner meeting are available

A New Sherlock Holmes play comes to Washington  The Sherlock Holmes pop culture juggernaut continues apace with the news that David Arquette (pictured) will star as Sherlock Holmes in an original adaptation by playwright Greg Kramer and scheduled to play Washington's Warner Theatre for a one-week engagement, November 17-22. This iteration of Sherlock Holmes premiered in Montreal in 2013 in a production directed by Andrew Shaver, who will remount the show for its North American tour. "I am beyond excited to play one of the most loved characters in all literature, stage and screen," said Arquette. "Some may think I'm an odd choice. I am. I'm odd, but thankfully so is he." Arquette is known for his roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Scream franchise. This Sherlock Holmes was the recipient of five prestigious Montreal English Theatre Awards, including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Director. Producer Corey Ross said, "This production's frequent laugh-out-loud moments, melodramatic mysteries and sometimes nightmarish moments proved irresistible, and I knew within ten minutes of the curtain going up that I wanted to produce the show for an extended life after Montreal." Tickets are available here. And deeply discounted seats (including top seats) for select performances are available from Goldstar here.


An Actor of Many Colors  For those who may need a Benedict Cumberbatch encounter before the next Sherlock film airs, we draw your attention to the Benedict Cumberbatch Unofficial Colouring Book, part of a series called "Colour Me Good." Grammatical problems aside, it may be just the thing to keep the BBC's star detective top-of-mind during the long hiatus between his Sherlockian turns. The book is available widely, including at amazon, where both new and used copies are offered. That said, your webmaster is constrained to point out that purchasing a used copy of a coloring book might be imprudent.  

Seeing Red: An Elementary Omission   On June 12 the Washington Post published a review of a new book by art critic Jacky Colliss Harvey entitled Red: A History of the Redhead. The book traces red hair throughout the ages and across multiple disciplines, including science, religion, politics, feminism and sexuality, literature, and art. But alert Red Circle member George Spencer noticed that there was no mention of a certain Mr. Jabez Wilson and his fellow applicants to The Red-Headed League. George's letter to the Post was published on June 26. It reads, "The June 14 Book World review of Red: A History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey, had many interesting tidbits, but it lacked a reference to the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League," published in 1891. The fact that one of the stories was so titled shows that late-19th-century Londoners were aware that redheads were something out of the ordinary." Good catch George! And if you'd like to read Ms. Harvey's review, you can find it here

The Silver Blaze: Sherlockians Cash In on a Breeder Named Watson  Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course played host to 29 Sherlockians attending the revival of the Silver Blaze (Southern Division) on  May 23. This 29th running and the first since 1998 brought with it a beautiful day. Attendees from a half dozen regional Sherlockian societies dined on crab cake sandwiches and scoured the Racing Form for Sherlockian clues to help them pick winners. The Silver Blaze was a mile and a sixteenth run on the turf track, and many put their money on horse number 6, I'm Da Big Man, whose breeder's last name is Watson. And a wise choice it was, because he won the race handily! The winner's trophy was presented by Joann Dobry, the lady who made the longest trip to join the fun. Afterward, many in the group repaired to the nearby Mount Washington Tavern to squander their winnings on dinner and continue their conversations and merriment. Organizer Greg Ruby tells us that plans are already underway for the 30th running at Pimlico on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

Getting "the dirt" on criminals  Many Red Circle members remember that four years ago FBI forensic geologist Maureen Bottrell joined us to share the ways in which modern crime solvers follow "in the footprints" of Sherlock Holmes by analyzing soil, rock and other geological clues. Now comes a new article in the journal Nature which details the adventures of one of Maureen's colleagues, Lorna Dawson, as geologists do more than scratch the surface in pursuit of evildoers. It's a fun read online here, with a pdf version also available here.

The original BBC Sherlock is back  is the delightful slogan devised by the British Film Institute for its new four-DVD set with all of the Douglas Wilmer television shows from 1964 and 1965, and his fans will welcome the chance to see the series again. Two of the shows have been reconstructed, since only some of the original footage has survived, and there are some nice added features. The set costs £39.99 at the BFI website  (it's less expensive, of course, at Amazon). Unfortunately, the set is region-2 only, and it's unlikely that there will be a region-1 or multi-region version, but there are convenient programs that will allow you to play region-2 DVDs on your computers.  Douglas Wilmer is alive and well, at 95 years old, and had a cameo role as a disgruntled member of the Diogenes Club in an episode of the BBC's Sherlock series.

  • Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age  Our own Peter Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for more than four decades, 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.