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, June 21, 2019
Joint meeting with Sub-Librarians--Location TBA
Drinks at 6:00 -- Dinner at 7:00
Our Speaker: Thomas Mann
"Collecting Photoplay Editions Tied to Old Mystery Films"



The Red Circle met for a delightful springtime luncheon and program on March 30. Our trusty Meeting Notes scribe Carla Coupe kept track of the proceedings as usual, and her report is here. And on this day Carla doubled as principal speaker, giving a fine paper entitled "Published When the Times Were Right." Her talk was received enthusiastically, and she has graciously provided the text for our Writings section. You can find it there where it will be archived, and directly through this link. Your time definitely will not be misspent!
Sherlock Goes Green   It's springtime, and our Red Circle crossword puzzle purveyor Verna Suit presents a Sherlock Goes Green puzzle for us to ponder as the good weather nears. The puzzle originally appeared in last year's Scintillation of Scions program, and Verna distributed it at the Red Circle's March 30 meeting to challenge us. If you didn't get a copy at that time, all you have to do is follow this link to the puzzle, print it, solve it, then submit it to Peter Blau per the instructions on the puzzle itself. The first correct solutions will win prizes that will make your fellow Sherlockians green with envy! We'll post the solution here once the dust settles. Watch this space!
In Memoriam: Julie Snell   The Red Circle is saddened to stand upon the terrace for Julie Snell, who died on March 22. Julie was born in 1923 and grew up in Schenectady, NY, graduated from Cornell University with a major in German Language and Literature, and went on to be a science writer in General Electric's research lab. She and her then fiancé Charlie Snell exchanged some 1,500 letters during World War II and referred to each other as the Beatrice and Benedick of the war. Together, they joined the Red Circle in 1972, making Julie our (almost) senior member. She was also a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and once attended their annual dinner. She enjoyed mystery novels, loved crosswords, quote-acrostics and bridge--and always was delighted when the bridge columns in the Washington Post mentioned Sherlock Holmes. Julie and Charlie are survived by three beautiful, brilliant, talented children (one daughter and two sons), three granddaughters, two grandsons and one great-granddaughter. Julie's daughter Nancy Anselm kindly donated the door prize for our meeting in March: a framed poster from Julie's collection with Sherlockian artwork composed of the entire text of The Hound of the Baskervilles in one and two point type. Nancy told us that Julie wanted someone in the Red Circle to have it.

Wounded at the Bar   If you’re like Watson, you never know where the after-effects of a wound from a Jezail bullet will show up. The same may also be true of the Jezail Bullet cocktail, an interesting concoction with a nicely Canonical name and a Sherlockian history. Four years ago our friend and author Lyndsay Faye commissioned her husband Gabriel Lehner (who does this sort of thing professionally) to create a specialty cocktail for the Baker Street Babes’ “Daintiest Bee Under Your Bonnet Ball.”  Laurie Fraser Manifold contributed attractive artwork, and the cocktail is reported to have met with universal approval, with relatively few needing to be carried away on a stretcher or requiring the ministrations of young Stamford. A readable, downloadable and printable .pdf version of Laurie Manifold’s art can be found here. Thanks to Mike Quigley for the tip.

The Queen's Prerogative  One of the funnier memes floating around the internet these days is bringing belly laughs to chess players, as the Bishop seems to be in imminent danger! But there's a clear Sherlockian connection too. It brings to mind Basil Rathbone's portrayal of Holmes in the 1943 film Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, based on "The Musgrave Ritual." Holmes says, "Look at it Watson! Look at it. Like a giant chessboard. This is no gibberish. These are chess terms and that's the chessboard. The key to the Musgrave murders is locked up in that floor. And by Jove, we've got the key to it!"
A Sherlockian Coin of the Realm   The new year brings a commemorative coin set from Great Britain's Royal Mint that includes a 50p coin with a tribute to Sherlock Holmes on the reverse. The coin is issued to mark the 160th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The handsome image was created by artist Stephen Raw, whose intials appear at the bottom of the design. The obverse carries the standard image of the Queen. Our UK friends tell us that the coin will go into standard circulation, but in very limited quantities. Collectors can buy it directly from the mint, but at this point it appears it must be purchased as part of the year's commemorative set at a price of 55 pounds plus shipping. See the information here. The Red Circle is making energetic enquiries into whether the Holmes coin may be purchased individually, and further information will be posted here.
The Red Circle's December 7 dinner meeting was all about fun, games and holiday cheer. Carla Coupe kept track of the doings and you can read her notes here.
Boxing Day Quiz   As Carla Coupe mentions in her Meeting Notes for December 7, one of the evening's brain teasers was a Boxing Day Quiz devised by Dana Richards. Dana has provided the quiz for us here. Note that it's a six-page file, with the first three pages devoted to the questions only. The answers are revealed on pages 4-6. You can read and/or download the quiz here.
Mueller Investigates  The New Yorker's year-end cover by artist Barry Blitt is a natural for Sherlockians in and around our captial city. Special Counsel Robert Mueller plays the part of Holmes as he "smokes out" his prey. Take a look at the cover story that goes with the image.
Our website has just passed it's eighth birthday, so it seems right to rummage back in the archive to find an article your webmaster wrote in November 2001, as we celebrated our first anniversary as the Red Circle's online home. We've reached a lot more people since then, and built a much more robust archive of people, places, events and passages. Thanks to all who've contributed. . .those who've written articles and reviews, supplied texts of their presentations, given us quizzes and puzzles, and responded to our meeting notices enthusiastically as The Red Circle proudly continues to keep the memory green. Read Alan's article about the early days of our website here.

Politics Watch: “My favorite line”   Always alert to mark the confluence of politics and Sherlock Holmes, The Red Circle notes the statement made to Fox News by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) concerning the disappearance of Washington Post columnist and US permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. Said Graham, “You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes (my favorite line) to figure this out.”

  The Red Circle welcomed Monica Schmidt to our luncheon on September 8. Monica is both a Sherlockian and a mental health counselor, and her presentation on Sherockian hoarding was very well received, as reported in Carla Coupe's Meeting Notes. Read them here. In addition, Monica has kindly provided a text version of her talk which you can read here and in the Writings section. Both are highly recommended.

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.


  • 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.