The Red Circle is Sherlock's home in Washington DC. Now in our eighth 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

Sunday, September 8, 2024
The Folger Shakespeare Library

The Stuart and Mimi Rose Collection
Including the original Manuscript of

The Valley of Fear


Inner Circle Meeting Notes Wrinting and Videos Quezzes and Puzzles



  The Red Circle’s June 22 meeting featured Burt Wolder’s fine presentation, “Arthur Conan Doyle: Adventurous Life, Enduring Memories.” Read Carla Coupe’s Meeting Notes here.


The end of an era approaches  The Red Circle's own Denny Dobry has for many years welcomed fellow Sherlockians to visit his splendid recreation of the sitting-room at 221B Baker Street in his home in Reading, PA. Now, as Denny prepares to move his amazing room to a place of safekeeping, he has invited his Red Circle friends to an open house on Saturday, August 10, beginning at 11:00 am. When you visit, you'll be able to purchase books and other Sherlockiana that have been donated to the BSI Trust. Plan now to take advantage of what may be your last chance to enjoy this remarkable homage to The Great Detective. Contact Denny directly to rsvp and get directions to Reading. 7/1/24 AR


Holmes manuscript brings record price at auction  June 26 saw five Sherlockian lots go under the hammer at Sotheby’s. The star of the show was the manuscript of the second Holmes novel, The Sign of the Four, which sold for $960,000, making it the most valuable Sherlockian item ever sold at auction. Next up was the breathtaking original Sidney Paget illustration called “The Death of Sherlock Holmes,” which was an accurate title for the work when it was created. It shows Holmes and Moriarty grappling on the path above the Falls of Reichenbach just before the tumble into the abyss. Perhaps the most well known of Paget’s Sherlockian illustrations, it sold for $384,000, about 10% above the top end of the pre-auction estimate. Two of the other items brought more “down-to-earth” prices, and bidding on one didn’t reach the reserve. Detailed information about the auction is in Peter Blau's Scuttlebutt here. Our friend Randall Stock, who keeps careful track of the whereabouts and provenance of manuscripts and other significant Sherlockiana, confirms that the highest price ever paid for a copy of Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887—the pulp magazine that first carried the first Holmes adventure written, A Study in Scarlet—was $156,000. That sale was back in 2007. Considered by many the brass ring of Sherlockian collectibles, your webmaster’s mind boggles at what one of the few surviving copies of “The Beeton’s” might fetch today. 7/8/24 AR


It ain’t just for Shakespeare anymore  Washingtonians are delighted that the glorious Folger Shakespeare Library has just re-opened. Folger docent and Red Circle stalwart Sarah Rosenbaum reports that the celebration features a look at some treasures from the Stuart and Mimi Rose collection, including works by Jonathan Swift, Charles Darwin, Voltaire, James Joyce, L. Frank Baum, and—oh yes—the manuscript of The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle. Not to be missed, the exhibition will be open until January 5. The library is on East Capitol Street, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, SE. Be sure to say hi to Sarah if she's there when you visit.  6/25/24 AR

Video now available of Curtis Armstrong's presentation of "The "B" List"  The Red Circle's March 16 meeting featured a delightful presentation by the BSI's "actor and a rare one," aka Curtis Armstrong. Curtis guided us on a tour of the Canon's lesser villains, punctuated by irony, smiles and guffaws. Thanks to Matt Hall, it was all recorded, and you can watch it just by clicking the screen at the right.
And you can read Carla Coupe's Meeting Notes here
Crimes and their Times  Did The Red Circle's namesake adventure take place in 1885 or in 1903? Or sometime in between? There's no subject in the world of Sherlock Holmes that generates more spirited debate than the chronology of the Canon. Timeline detectives have spent decades mining the fine details of each story for clues to their dates, yet consensus has proven chronically elusive. Brad Keefauver presides over the Sherlockian Chronologist Guild, an on-line society that publishes a monthly journal, Timeline. Two articles in the June 2022 issue examine "The Red Circle," where you can see just how complicated Sherlockian chronology can be. You're invited to read the issue for yourself here. And if you'd like to receive the journal regularly, just email Brad here3/2/24 AR
Can it possibly be 40 years?  It seems like yesterday that Jeremy Brett burst onto our TV screens as a Sherlock Holmes for the ages. . .a fine actor appearing in scripts that are notoriously faithful to the Canon. May 25 marked the date for a one-day 40th anniversary celebration of Brett's turn in Granada's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Dubbed Brettcon, it happened in Guildford, Surry, and is the brainchild of Gus and Luke Holwerda, proprietors of the 40+ episode podcast called--what else?--Sherlock Podcast. Whether or not you listen to the podcasts, and whether or not you made it across the pond for the doings in May, you'll want to spend two minutes with the lovely trailer Gus and Luke have put together for the event. Watch it here. 2/27/24 AR

The Thing’s a Play!  What really happened when Holmes returned from The Great Hiatus and greeted Mrs. Hudson at 221B? Sherlockian Ray Betzner has penned a seven minute solution to that question in the form of a suitably irreverant drama, performed at the 2024 William Gillette Luncheon in New York. Carrying on Gillette’s pioneering work as Sherlock Holmes was Curtis Armstrong, himself a celebrated actor (Revenge of the Nerds, Risky Business). Opposite Curtis as Mrs. Hudson was Dr. Ashley Polasek, possibly the only Sherlockian who holds a Ph.D. in Holmes adaptations. Rounding out the cast in the role of the dummy (OK, the bust) was multi-award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig, who proved conclusively that there really are such things as small roles. Thanks to the recording made by the Red Circle’s Matt Hall, and permission to use the “intellectual” property from all involved, you’re invited to enjoy Mrs. Hudson and the Return of Sherlock Holmes here. Have fun! 1/31/24 AR

Red Circle Pins Available  The pin has been proudly worn all over the Sherlockian world, from Rockville to the Reichenbach, so Red Circle members (which includes everyone who's ever been to a meeting) will treasure having their own. The price is $14.95 each, which includes shipping anywhere. Send an email to Tom Fahres to order.
Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age  Our own Peter E. Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for more than 50 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.
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  • For earlier, archived items from The Inner Circle, click here.