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 22, 2018
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Drinks at 6:00 -- Dinner at 7:00
Our Speaker: Dan Andriacco
Rex Stout:
Sherlockian Extraordinaire




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!

Red Circle meetings announced   Dan Andriacco will join us on Friday, June 22 with a talk entitled “Rex Stout: Sherlockian Extraordinaire.” And on September 8, we’ll defy the traditional with a Saturday luncheon meeting featuring Sherlockian Monica Schmidt. Mark your calendars now!

The Red Circle's December 8 meeting brought a delightful presentation by Nea Dodson, who made a compelling case for a Sherlockian "big tent" in her paper "Two Fandoms, Both Alike in Dignity." You can read Carla Coupe's meeting notes here, and you'll find the full text of Nea's paper here. You can also find the paper in our Writings section.
"A Scandal in Bohemia" Quiz   Our quiz maven Dana Richards set a new challenge at our December meeting with a quiz he calls O' a balancin' maid she, based on the adventure of the evening, "A Scandal in Bohemia." You're invited to take a stab at the quiz and send your solution to Peter Blau. The customary trivial but heartfelt prizes await you.

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.   

Sherlockians Abroad  David and Cindy Richards were two of the half-dozen Red Circle representatives at the "Reichenbach and Beyond" conference hosted in Switzerland by the Reichenbach Irregulars during the last days of summer (see "dreadful cauldron" note below). David has prepared a compelling report on the meeting, along with his thoughts on being "newcomers" to international events devoted to Holmes, and a few words about what makes Sherlockians and Holmesians special people. It's an excellent read, highly recommended. You can find it here, and there's also a link to it on the "Writings" page.

"That dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam" near the village of Meirengen and the hamlet of Rosenlaui in the Swiss Alps has always held a special allure for Sherlockians. The fall of Reichenbach inevitably finds its way to most of our bucket lists. Thanks to a delightful and well-attended conference produced in late summer by the Reichenbach Irregulars, the Swiss Sherlockian society, six pilgrims from the Red Circle gathered with some 70 others in a hotel overlooking the fabled cataract. The path leading to the edge was deemed too wet and dangerous to navigate, but the reliable red wagon of the Reichenbach funicular carried us to the complete safety of the overlook just across the chasm. Reichenbach Irregular Marcus Geisser is a regular visitor there, and he assured us that the rainy day brought with it the strongest flow he'd ever seen. Indeed, that half-human cry was unforgettable, as was the spray swirling up from the abyss. Your webmaster is not given to taking selfies, but this one, complete with my Red Circle pin, was a must. A new day brought clear weather and another dramatic view from our hotel room balcony.



A Challenger Challenge: The Lost Statuette   Fans of Professor George Edward Challenger tend to be unaware that there was a statuette that appeared in a photograph in the January 1913 issue of The Strand Magazine promoting the publication of The Poison Belt (which was serialized in the Strand beginning in the March 1913 issue.  The statuette was displayed "at the largest bookshops and bookstalls" where the public could buy The Lost World. Daniil Doubshin hopes to learn more about the statuette, which he believes was owned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Anyone who knows the name of the artist, or where the statuette is now, is invited to communicate with Daniil here. Wallace Beery starred as Challenger in the classic silent film The Lost World (1925) and Flicker Alley now offers the restored (and most complete) version of the film on DVD and Blu-ray here.  The website offers a short trailer that shows how spectacular the restoration was.  The dinosaurs filmed by Willis H. O'Brien using stop-motion photography of models, which was state-of-the-art at the time. O'Brien went on to bigger and better things for the film King Kong (1933). Click here to see a larger image of the statuette, along with The Strand Magazine's original caption.


The Hounds of the Internet is the longest established online internet group devoted to the Sherlock Holmes stories and to the world of Sherlockians and Doyleans. Alexander E. Braun, who presides over the Hounds, prepares interesting discussion notes for one of the stories each week. Click here to see what he had to say about The Adventure of the Red Circle, and click here to see more information about the Hounds.


Big Money Quiz Questions Now a Red Circle Challenge   As a follow-up to Alan Rettig's quiz show presentation, we're issuing our latest online quiz challenge here, based on Bobbye and Tom O'Rourke's (rigged) Sherlockian march to the big money on The $64,000 Question in 1956. We're providing all the questions asked of each O'Rourke here, from $64 to $16,000. Note that the document is two pages long. Take the test yourself, and submit your completed answers to Peter Blau for your chance at a trivial but heartfelt prize. We can't make the $32,000 questions part of the challenge, because the answers were revealed during Alan's talk. But for those interested in those questions, you can find them along with the answers here. Again, the document is two pages long.


Treasures Beneath the Surface   Your webmaster has been doing some housekeeping on our site lately, archiving older items and generally cleaning things up. The effort inspires a reminder that there's a lot here behind this front page. The best of what we've done since we "went live" almost seven years ago is available in our Writings and Archives sections, and our Sherlockian Links button takes you to an even wider world of Sherlockian doings. So here's your invitation to spend some time exploring beneath the surface. Happy clicking!


X Marks the Puzzle  Our own Verna Suit, who pens crossword puzzles for Mystery Scene Magazine (see below), presented her latest stumper at this year's Scintillation of Scions. Verna calls the puzzle "X", and she invites all of us to give it a try. You'll find the puzzle here, and the first correct solutions sent to Peter Blau will be rewarded with the customary trivial but heartfelt prizes. The solution will be provided here in due course.
Remember me in Leicester Square  London's Leicester Square, known to many of us as ground zero for discount theatre tickets, is now a Sherlockian hot spot as well. The Red Circle's Mary Burke spotted Sherlock in familiar plastic bricks at the Lego store in Swiss Court. Mary reports that this version of Mr. Holmes stands about four feet tall.
A Sherlockian Puzzle  One of the nice features of Mystery Scene Magazine is the crossword puzzle in each issue. The Red Circle's own Verna Suit has contributed a nicely crafted Sherlockian puzzle called "A Case of Identity." You can find it--and complete it--here.
Dana Cameron Goes Page to Screen  Mystery author and Red Circle member Dana Cameron has written a six-book series about archaeologist Emma Fielding, and there's a television film based on the first book in the series coming up on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries cable channel on June 4.  You can find her website here, where you'll learn much more about the Emma Fielding series and Dana's other books and short stories.
  • Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age  Our own Peter Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for some 45 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 casino. 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.