Welcome

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 7, 2018
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Drinks at 6:00 -- Dinner at 7:00
A Red Circle Holiday Party
An evening of fun, games, laughter
Come join the festivities

Writings

 


 

Curious Incidents at the Reference Desk   One of the joys of living in the Washington area is knowing that one of our local libraries is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill. The Library of Congress has all sorts of resources, including a well-staffed reference desk, where for more than 30 years you could find Red Circle member Thomas Mann, who like all good Sherlockians seemed to know just where all the bodies were buried. Now retired, Tom has found time to write Doc at the Reference Desk (Washington: Alexandrina Press, 2017; 77 pp., $7.00). This collection of fictional but revealing "small stories in a large library" gives us an idea of some of the strange things that can happen at a reference desk. It’s non-Sherlockian (but obviously written by a fellow traveler), and great fun for all those who like real libraries.

 

Happy Days Are Here Again!  Because the Red Circle calls our nation’s capital home, we’ve always tried to keep tabs on the intersections of politics and Sherlock Holmes. Your webmaster’s son Matt is a Sherlockian and a member of the Red Circle, having attended a number of meetings in the 1990s and one in 2014. On August 12 Matt launched his candidacy for State Assemblyman in New York’s 99th Assembly District, covering a number of towns along the west side of the Hudson, including West Point. That’s Matt in the center of the photo. Peter Blau believes this is the first time a Red Circle member has run for office. His parents are very proud, and hope you'll check out Matt’s website here and his facebook page here.

 
It was in 2011 that Maureen Bottrell, a forensic geologist in the trace evidence unit of the FBI laboratory, brought us some down-to-earth information. If Sherlock Holmes was a practical but limited geologist, the Red Circle learned just how much the boundaries have expanded since his day. To cap off her talk, Maureen revealed the secrets to getting away with murder. This information, coming as it did directly from the FBI, is still talked about in Red Circle circles, and is carefully documented in the meeting notes of the evening. Read all about it here.
 
Dan Andriacco was the Red Circle's guest speaker on June 22, and all in attendance enjoyed his wonderful take on Rex Stout, who as Dan pointed out clearly, was a Sherlockian extraordinaire. Carla Coupe outlines all the highlights of the evening here, and you can find the full text of Dan's paper here and on the "Writings" page.
 

Swedish Anyone?  Ulla Trenter published a mystery novel in Sweden way back in in 1989 called De röda cirklarna—that’s The Red Circle to you and me. Peter Blau says that he was unaware of it until Swedish Sherlockian Lars Strand wrote about it in the journal of The Baskerville Club of Sweden, after which, of course, Peter found a copy and added it to his holdings. There’s a summary discussion of it here (it’s in Swedish, but Google Translate can give you a reasonable idea of what’s going on.). Peter would like to invite anyone who is comfortable with Swedish to borrow his copy of the book and give a report on it at an upcoming meeting of The Red Circle. You can contact Peter here.

 

Start Her Up, Watson   A head-turning white Porsche 911 sporting Sherlockian license plates has been spotted by Terry Rettig in a McLean parking lot. If the owner will kindly contact The Red Circle, we’d all like a ride!

 

 

 
It was a joy to welcome author, Sherlockian and Sherlockian author Lyndsay Faye to the Red Circle's March 22 dinner meeting. Lyndsay was the life of the party and her talk entitled "Murder by Career: The Life of the Imaginary Assassin" brought much discussion and many questions. Carla Coupe's Meeting Notes are available here, and contain a fine summary of Lyndsay's insights. Recommended.
 
Monkey Business Redux   As Carla Coupe mentions in her March Meeting Notes (above), your webmaster re-presented a short "golden oldie," which he first gave at the Red Circle on March 27, 1992. In a "Creeping Man" context, it treats of monkeys, mistaken identity and mirth. Good for a smile. Read it here, and enjoy. There's also a link to it in the Writings section.
 

Lifting a Sherlockian Glass  The small city of Staunton is a Victorian treasure chest in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The stately homes, the charming main street, the renowned Blackfriars Playhouse (where the game is often afoot) would all make Sherlock Holmes feel right at home. There’s a Victorian spring weekend every year, complete with top hats, four-wheelers and in one case a Sherlock Holmes lecture given by Peter Blau. A local restaurant offers Eggs Cumberbatch. And now a Staunton brewery presents a tempting flight of beers evoking the Master’s world. Fans of the BBC’s Sherlock know that Redbeard was the nickname of Holmes’s childhood companion, which was either another boy or an Irish Setter. The proprietors of Redbeard Brewing claim no hereditary link, but were simply attracted to Canonical names for their brews. They tell us that 221B Baker Brown is an English style brown ale; Moriarty is their flagship bourbon barrel aged English style Imperial stout; Watson is a barrel aged barleywine; Mycroft is an English style pale ale; and Adler is an English style extra special bitter. Alas, these brews are generally not bottled and flow mainly from the brewery’s taps in Staunton. Which means, of course, that a field trip is definitely in order. Staunton is a delightful destination, about a three-hour drive from Washington. Bottoms up!

 
Karen Kruse Anderson Dies   The Red Circle is saddened to learn of the passing of Karen Kruse Anderson on March 18. Karen was a teenager in Washington, DC when she and three fellow enthusiasts founded the Red Circle in 1950. After moving to California she met and married Poul Anderson and went on to write delightful science-fiction and fantasy, both with her husband and on her own. She was noted as the first person to use the term "filk music" in pring (1955), and was the author of the first published "scifaiku" (1962). Karen also wrote a draft verson of "Hatty, or St. Simon's Bride (A Filbert and Sullivan Chamber Operetta)" for performance in 1994; the work was completed as "A Filk Opera" and presented by the "Doyle a la Carte Opera Company" in 1995 (with Karen performing as Sherlock Holmes). She received her investiture from the Baker Street Irregulars ("Emilia Lucca") in 2000.
 

Russia compares British Government to Inspector Lestrade  “We could all benefit from having a Sherlock Holmes with us today.” That’s the word from Vasily Nebenzia, the Russian permanent representative to the UN. In a lengthy speech to the UN Security Council Nebenzia denied any Russian involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. He compared the British government to the “hapless” Inspector Lestrade. “Lestrade latches on to something that is on the surface of a crime and is in a hurry to prove banal conclusions only to be overturned by Sherlock Holmes, who always finds what is behind the crime and what is the motive for it.” Peter Blau reckons that this may be the first time Sherlock Holmes has been cited during a debate at the UN. You can watch the video of Nebenzia's oration here. Note that his Sherlockian riff starts at 14:38 of the recording.

 

I Hear of the Red Circle Everywhere. . .since it became an ice cream parlor! Unfortunately, you'll have to go to Houston to try the place out, but it looks like it might be worth the trip. Thanks to Samantha Wolov for the scoop!
 
 

Six Napoleons Welcomes Women   As the 21st century progresses, word comes that one of the few remaining stag Sherlockian societies, The Six Napoleons of Baltimore, has decided to go co-ed. The move advances the inclusive trend that welcomes Sherlockians to our worldwide clubhouses without regard to demographic distinctions or other qualifications, whether disclosed or not. Your webmaster applauds this expansion of Baker Street’s big tent, especially because he has occasionally pointed out that for more than seven decades The Six Napoleons denied membership to people with busts! Greg Ruby has provided the Napoleons’ very interesting newsletter, which you can read here.

  

  • Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age  Our own Peter Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for some 47 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.