Not-So-Great Britain The British tourist board called “VisitBritain” is under fire for publishing a “literary heroes” map that excludes heroes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the otherwise clever cartography. On the colorful map, only England is populated with literary figures while Scotland and Wales seem to be limited to the occasional tree and bird. The map features a mixture of authors and characters, and while Sherlock Holmes appears prominently in the vicinity of London near Dickens and Roald Dahl, Brits in Scotland point out that Conan Doyle, who is missing from the map, belongs to them, and Brits in Wales quite properly claim Mr. Dahl as their native son. The tourist outfit has apologized and said that the map was intended to be published by its sister organization VisitEngland and not VisitBritain. People in the rest of Britain are not amused. Might this be yet another data point in support of a separatist movement? A .pdf file of the graphic is here if you’d like to take a closer look.
- “It may be that you are not yourself symptomatic, but you are a conductor of COVID-19.” - S.H.
- “Wash your hands if convenient--if inconvenient wash them all the same. - S.H.”
- “I am lost without my face mask.” - S.H.
- “There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, some from the need for social distancing, have no wish for the company of their fellows. . .It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started." - S.H.
from Bob Katz. . .
- "You have been in quarantine, I perceive." - S.H.
from Larry Miller. . .
- "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the toilet paper, whatever remains, however improbable, must be of use? - S.H.
- "I know there are 6 feet, because I have both seen and distanced.” - S.H.
- "I should be very much obliged if you would slip a roll of toilet paper into your pocket. A Charmin Ultra-soft is an excellent argument with gentlemen for whom empty shelves have tied bowels into knots. That and a tooth-brush are, I think, all that we need.” - S.H.
- "You have a grand gift for flattening, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a distancer.” - S.H.
- “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is mere hand sanitizer.” - S.H.
- “Am dining at Goldini's Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington. Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a face mask, alcohol wipes, a six-foot measure, and a roll of toilet paper, S.H." "It was a nice equipment for a respectable distancer to carry through the dim, virus-draped streets.” - J.H.W.
- "There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my hand sanitizer and let us try to forget for half an hour this miserable virus and the still more miserable ways of our legislators.” - S.H.
from Roger Johnson & Jean Upton. . .
"As you value your life or your reason keep away from crowded places." - Anonymous (?)
from Bill Barnes. . .
"She is the daintiest thing behind a face mask on this planet." - S.H.
"Come, Watson, come! The supermarket has toilet paper! Not a word! Into your clothes and come!" - S.H.
"There's the scarlet thread of a virus running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, isolate it, and treat every inch of it." - S.H.
"If you approach me, Watson, I shall order you out of the house." - S.H. (note, no change to canon quote)
"Self-isolation is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph." - S.H.
"My collection of face masks is a fine one." - S.H.
"Have a cigarette, Mr McFarlane. Beyond the obvious fact that you use hand sanitiser, I know nothing about you." - S.H.
from Monica Schmidt. . .
- "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious cough." - S.H.
- "The game is a face mask" - S.H.
- "Crime is commonplace. Face masks are rare. Therefore it is upon the face masks rather than upon the crime that you should dwell." - S.H.
from Julie McKuras. . .
- "Besides, it is the season of Coronavirus 19. Chance has put in our way a most singular and deadly problem, and its solution is its own reward." - S.H.
- "I paid the man and hurried into the church. There was not a soul there save the two whom I had followed and a surpliced clergyman, who seemed to be expostulating with them. They were all three standing six feet apart from each other in front of the altar, practicing good social distancing." - S.H.
- "A cardboard box was inside, filled with coarse salt. On emptying this, Miss Cushing was horrified to realize that she should have waited at least a day to open the box since COVID 19 can survive that long on cardboard." - Newspaper account
Senter Essay Contest invites student writers to submit essays, win cash and prizes. The Beacon Society is the organization devoted to bringing the world of Sherlock Holmes to young folks. Steve Mason tells us that their second annual R. Joel Senter, Sr. Essay Contest is now open for entries. Students are invited to read a story from the Canon and write an essay. Contestants are grouped according to grade levels--4th through 6th grades; 7th through 9th grades; and 10th through 12th grades. First prize in each group is $300, with second and third place winners raking in $200 and $100 respectively, along with handsome plaques. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2021, so let's all get the word out to the young folks in our lives. It's a great way to introduce them to the Master! Details are here.
Tiny Murders Back in 2017 this page took note of a fascinating exhibit at Washington's Renwick Gallery called "Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death." As a forensics exercise in the service of detecting and solving crimes, Ms. Glessner Lee built miniature crime scenes in doll houses, and presented them as challenges for real detectives to ponder. Now, Les Klinger points us to a fine and detailed article in Atlas Obscura from the time of that exhibit. This photo of one of the miniature crime scenes contains a very Sherlockain clue, but you'll have to read the article to find the close-up image that reveals it.
The Red Circle had a wonderful time on Saturday, September 5, when more than 130 Sherlockians (and Holmesians) enjoyed hearing about "British Beginnings" with our guest Nick Utechin. You can read about Nick's talk and more in Carla Coupe's meeting notes. Plus, you can watch the video of the meeting by clicking on Nick's picture at the right.
Visitors from afar Many of us know Dr. Marina Stajic, one of New York's stalwart Sherlockians. For many years Marina was the toxicology expert in New York City's medical examiner's office, the perfect perch from which to survey all manner of poisonings in both the the Big Apple and the Canon. These days Marina is in Serbia, and it was from there that she joined us for our September 5 Red Circle meeting. At 4,670 miles from Washington, we reckon that Marina "came the farthest" to be with us, and it was great to have her along. She tells us she had a lot of fun at the meeting. Other international visitors came from Canada, Sweden, Argentina, Germany, France, Ireland and, of course, England.
Virtual Victorians Left coast Sherlockian Marc Kaufman sends along the wonderful image above from 1879. With so much of our Sherlockian world now holding forth in cyberspace, it’s remarkable to see this drawing from George duMaurier, published almost a decade before A Study in Scarlet. Maurier credits Thomas Edison for this incredible invention which he dubbed “The Telephonoscope,” but Edison invented no such thing. By 1879 Edison had come up with the carbon microphone, the phonograph and the light bulb, but even his motion picture “kinetoscope” was still years away. It’s a tribute to Maurier’s imagination that he conjured a world where “Every evening, before going to bed, Pater and Materfamilias set up an electric camera-obscura over their bedroom mantel-piece, and gladden their eyes with the sight of their children at the Antipodes, and converse gaily with them through the wire.” It was almost a century later that Bell Labs introduced the first “picturephone” at the New York World’s Fair. Your webmaster was on hand for one of the early demonstrations. It was a notorious failure commercially, even though the First Lady seemed entranced by the miniscule black-and-white image. But today, the educational, social, and Sherlockian worlds are being brought together by real-life Telephonoscopes. Just remember to unmute your microphone and shine a light on your face. You'll be gladdening your eyes and conversing gaily in a jiffy.
Red Circle's First Virtual Meeting Sets Record; Meeting Notes and Video available Unable to meet in person, The Red Circle shattered attendance records on June 6 when our first virtual meeting welcomed at least 113 Sherlockians and Holmesians from across the US and England too. Special guest Laurie R. King joined us on the eve of the publication of her next Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell adventure, Riviera Gold. Laurie's talk was not only interesting, but comfortable, humorous and warm--a welcome tonic in these troubled times. You can read Carla Kaessenger Coupe's Meeting Notes here. Not only was there a record number of Sherlockians with us for the live meeting, but those who couldn't make it can watch the meeting, including the question-and-answer period with Laurie King by clicking the image at the right.
What’s in a (collective) name? New York Sherlockian Christopher Zordan posed an interesting question recently on the facebook page called “The Stranger’s Room.” He asked us to come up with an appropriate collective noun to define a group of Sherlockians. Elephants have their herds; geese have their flocks. What shall we call a collection of. . .us? Christopher started the ball rolling by suggesting: A canon of Sherlockians, An urchin of Sherlockians and A Boswell of Sherlockians. Many others chimed in, including:
An irregularity of Sherlockians from Amanda Downs Champlin
A scintillation of Sherlockians from Jacquelynn Bost Morris (shameless plug)
A zoom of Sherlockians from George Vanderburgh
A strand of Sherlockians and A hansom of Sherlockians from Aaron Rubin
An argument of Sherlockians from Charles Prepolec
A kinsprit of Sherlockians from Harrison Terry Hunt
An obsession of Sherlockians from William Curatolo
An eccentricity of Sherlockians from Mike Whelan via Vincent W. Wright
A support group of Sherlockians from Greg Ruby
A speakeasy of Sherlockians from Susan Dahlinger
A pipeful of Sherlockians from Erik Decker
A derangement of Sherlockians from Your Webmaster
Can you think of some others? Send them along and we’ll add them to the list!
Here are items that have appeared on our front page feature section, "The Inner Circle," in 2020. We have included those items that may have some continuing interest; however, some of the links in the items may no longer function due to the removal from the internet of the underlying material.
To review the archives of other sections of our website, click here