Monday, October 24, 2011

Do you think it's possible?

Warner Bros Ready For ‘Sherlock Holmes 3′

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Drew Pearce to write Sherlock Holmes 3, continuing the Guy Ritchie-directed series that stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The deal will soon be sealed with Pearce, who is currently writing Iron Man 3, which will also star Downey.
This development comes even before the opening of the second installment of the franchise, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which bows December 16. The film focuses on the battle between Holmes, Watson, and their nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Jared Harris plays that role, and Noomi Rapace joins Rachel McAdams in the sequel. Pearce also did some writing on Pacific Rim, the big alien invasion film that Guillermo del Toro is about to begin shooting in Toronto for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pearce is repped by WME and Warren Dern.

Along the same lines. . .

EXCLUSIVE: Just the other day, Mike Fleming reported on DreamWorks acquiring Voices from the Dead, an original script by Changeling and Thor scribe J. Michael Straczynski. Based on the real-life friendship between magician Harry Houdini and mystery author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it is a fictional account of how they teamed up with a psychic to solve bizarre murders in 1920s New York.
Independently, Syfy had been negotiating for Among the Spirits, a drama series project about Houdini and Doyle solving mysteries in 1920s, with the deal closing at the very time the feature announcement was coming out. “I guess there is something in the air about that whole time period and that very interesting relationship between Houdini and Doyle,” said Syfy’s president of original programming Mark Stern. (Both Syfy brass and the producers of Among the Spirits first heard about Voices from the Dead from reading our story.) Among the Spirits, named after Houdini’s book A Magician Among the Spirits published in 1924, is based on self-published graphic novel Among the Spirits by writers Steve Valentine and Paul Chart. Stern describes the project, which is being put in development, as “a turn-of-the-century Fringe.” It will be in the vein of steampunk TV classic The Wild Wild West and Guy Ritchie’s 2009 movie Sherlock Homes which put the steampunk  genre back into the zeitgeist. It will center on Houdini and Doyle who, with the help of a female cop, try to solve bizarre murders and strange occurrences that look like hauntings and other supernatural events using steampunk technology. “We have Houdini, who was the ultimate illusionist and was all about creating illusions, and Dolyle, who was all about getting to the truth underneath – the pragmatist and the dreamer – set against that 1920s world of America where technology is just starting to grow.” Entertainment One, which produces Haven for Syfy, is behind Among the Spirits, with Chart and Valentine writing as well as producing with Daniel J. Frey.
Among the Spirits is not the only period mystery series project in the works involving real historic figures. ABC gave a pilot order to Poe, a crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe, the world’s very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.

Conan Doyle and Houdini. . .

Another interesting book . . . .

From 'Wild about Harry".

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ladies, any thoughts?

The Best Sherlock Holmes Stories - 1999 Poll
Women versus Men

(sorted by Women's score)

Women RankingWomMenMen
1. "A Scandal in Bohemia" (9)10.27.43
2. "The Blue Carbuncle" (6)8.56.55
3. "The Speckled Band" (5)
4. "Silver Blaze" (4)6.97.04
5.1. "The Red-Headed League" (2)
5.1. "The Dancing Men" (1)5.53.811
7. "The Musgrave Ritual" (0)5.15.46
8. "The Empty House" (0)4.44.18
9. "The Final Problem" (0)4.14.77
10.1. "Charles Augustus Milverton" (0)2.91.818
10.1. "The Copper Beeches" (0)2.91.619
12. "The Solitary Cyclist" (0)2.91.223
13. "The Devil's Foot" (2)2.61.915
14. "The Second Stain" (0)2.31.916.1
15.1. "The Naval Treaty" (1)2.12.014
15.1. "The Six Napoleons" (0)2.14.09
17. "The Man with the Twisted Lip" (0)2.02.512
18. "The Norwood Builder" (0)2.00.926
19. "The Priory School" (0)1.81.916.1
20. "The Dying Detective" (0)1.81.125
21. "The Bruce-Partington Plans" (0)1.54.010
22. "The Greek Interpreter" (0)1.51.124
23. "The Illustrious Client" (0)1.50.729
24. "His Last Bow" (0)1.41.322
25.1. "The Cardboard Box" (0)1.00.632
25.1. "The Problem of Thor Bridge" (0)1.02.313
27. "The Abbey Grange" (0)0.91.420
28.1. "The Five Orange Pips" (0)0.91.321
28.1. "A Case of Identity" (0)0.90.436.1
28.1. "The Noble Bachelor" (0)
31. "The Reigate Squires" (0)0.80.341
32. "The Three Garridebs" (0)0.70.436.1
33. "The Engineer's Thumb" (0)0.60.533.1
34. "The Crooked Man" (0)0.50.533.1
35.1. "Black Peter" (0)0.50.827
35.1. "The Red Circle" (0)0.50.439
37.1. "Shoscombe Old Place" (0)0.40.435
37.1. "The Yellow Face" (0)0.40.343
39. "The Lion's Mane" (0)0.30.731
40. "The Resident Patient" (0)0.30.345
41. "The Beryl Coronet" (0)0.20.247
42. "The Sussex Vampire" (0)0.20.346
43. "The Gloria Scott" (0)0.10.730
44.1. "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (0)0.10.828
44.1. "The Creeping Man" (0)0.10.438
44.1. "The Mazarin Stone" (0)0.10.154
47. "Wisteria Lodge" (0)0.00.342
48.1. "The Three Gables" (0)0.00.056
48.1. "The Three Students" (0)
48.1. "The Blanched Soldier" (0)0.00.151
48.1. "The Golden Pince-Nez" (0)0.00.250
48.1. "The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax" (0)0.00.340
48.1. "The Missing Three-Quarter" (0)0.00.152
48.1. "The Retired Colourman" (0)0.00.344
48.1. "The Stockbroker's Clerk" (0)0.00.153
48.1. "The Veiled Lodger" (0)0.00.055

From HERE!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

History of Undershaw. . . .

Undershaw .. . .

You may find this interesting . . . .

It comes from here. . .  clic

 The British Library Publishes the Narrative of John Smith

It was quite an honour to be invited to the British Library at the end of September in celebration of the publication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's new book: 'The Narrative of John Smith. There were several highlights to the evening, one being meeting the charming actor Robert Lindsay, and the other to view for the first time the original manuscript of the said book that Doyle wrote when he was in his early twenties.

It was a 'lost' first novel by Arthur Conan Doyle which the British Library published on 26th September 128 years after it was written.

The book's manuscript written in 4 black notebooks along with other documents was bought by the British Library for £1M. The 130 page work has now be transcribed and typeset for worldwide release to accompany an exhibition of Conan Doyle-abilia at the British Library.

Many years after writing the Narrative, Conan Doyle said he would be horrified if the book ever appeared in print.

Conan Doyle was living and working as a doctor in Portsmouth when he embarked on the novel in 1883. His father had been ill due to alcholism, and the 23 year old had to fund his mother and fund eduction for his 10 year old brother.

Doyle was frustrated by the Victorian practice of omitting the author's name especially when one of his works 'The Cornhill' was hailed as being by Robert Louis Stevenson's. For this reason, he attempted a novel, which would have his name on the front cover. Then came a major blow when the Narrative was lost in the post, never to be found again. Doyle then wrote the entire story again from memory the results being with the British Library today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An evening with the Occupants . . .

On Friday evening, October 7th, Sophia and I drove to Du Quoin to visit The Occupants of the Empty House.  We received a true Sherlockian welcome from the Occupants.  The evening started with excellent Sherlockian conversation before and during dinner.   Our evening started in the courtyard at Alongi’s, which serves a fine dinner.  The first mystery of the evening was what to choose from the menu.  Our fellow Sherlockians provided so many recommendations it was difficult to choose one dish.

The evening’s story was Silver Blaze.  After dinner we moved to the meeting room for a paper concerning horse doping. Can you imagine that people would actually cheat and use foreign substances to win a game or a race?  A very interesting paper with numerous examples highlighting the extremes horse owners were willing to go to in order to win. After discussing several highlights from paper the night continued with more Sherlockian discussion.

Next month will see Sophia and I heading back to Du Quoin for another meeting of the Occupants of the Empty House.  We truly felt welcome and felt the camaraderie of the group.  We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Occupants for making us feel so welcome and for a fantastic Sherlockian evening.

And, to add to the evening’s highlights, Bill Cochran autographed my copy of his recent book.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I case you didn't know.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
He's a "consulting detective", the only one in the world - he invented the job. When the police are out of their depth, which is often, they call Sherlock. Then he is introduced to Dr John Watson.
"The original novels reached a wide, diverse audience and many people still hold up Sherlock Holmes as the greatest detective of all time," says Benedict, speaking about the prospect of playing Sherlock Holmes in this contemporary dramatisation of Sherlock.
"He's a cultural phenomenon that has been translated into over 160 languages – it's a truly international thing."
"Whilst this "contemporary setting" is what makes this adaptation unique, we have gone back to the original novels as our source. We're telling the story from the very beginning, from its inception. The first episode, A Study In Pink, replicates a lot of what happens in The Study Of Scarlet, including one of the only times Sherlock and John's meeting has been dramatised."
Benedict speaks of the original Sherlock Holmes novels with affinity and admiration: "They're so gripping, really interesting, well thought-out, beautifully-drawn characters and a fantastic insight into playing very extraordinary people".
He is quick to point out that it's the talents of the co-creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, that will ensure audiences will be drawn in – Conan Doyle fans and newcomers alike.
"We have two people in Mark and Steven that are brilliant at their craft," Benedict reassures Sherlock Holmes fans. "We're not trying to be clever or convoluted, but rather have a really exciting and gripping story at its heart.
"I'd be thrilled if part of the effect we have is that viewers wanted to go out and read the original books – that would be fantastic."
Playing Sherlock Holmes carries a responsibility and one that Benedict is aware of, particularly after receiving letters from fans of the Sherlock Holmes Society.
"They have let me know that I have huge shoes to fill." Even so, he remains confident about playing Holmes: "I am probably the 71st Sherlock. We have a few things on our side, so as far as rendering their perfect Holmes, part of it is a blank canvas - part of it is being something totally new."
As well as having read a number of the books, Benedict was a fan of the earlier TV and film adaptations: "I saw quite a few when I was growing up. Jeremy Brett was wonderful, he was a big influence on my childhood but that doesn't put me off at all – we're moving away from a Victorian period so it's a great scope for freedom and interpretation."
He goes so far as to say that the new setting for the drama is what attracted him to the part: "I have to say it wouldn't have appealed to me as much to play an original Holmes because, I feel, in so many ways it's been done superlatively well by Rathbone in black and white and Jeremy Brett in colour. The new time period and engaging writing have created a unique drama. It's a page turner – the first script we read, was fantastic."
Benedict explains a little of the type of action that viewers can expect: "There are some great chase scenes – the odd explosion, some kung fu sequences, a fight with a Chinese war lord. I shoot a human giant who strangles people with his bare hands, chase a taxi cab through the streets of London – so it's definitely a rollercoaster ride."
The dynamic between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson is essential, as Benedict explains: "It's a team effort, I couldn't do it without him – I need him."
As to the close bond between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Benedict explains further:
"In the books, Watson gets married fairly early on, so I wasn't aware that it was an issue. However, we do allude to the idea that there may be a 'misunderstanding' from other people who think we're a couple! We've just moved into a flat-share, we might not be sure what our relationship is at one point, in the same way, when two people meet it takes a while to suss each other out."
Benedict describes the setting of Sherlock: "London still remains at the heart of the drama. This includes using iconic locations such as Soho, China Town, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Bridge and everything that modern London life involves – London cabs, the River Thames, traffic jams, mobile phones and computers."
In terms of the contemporary nature of this adaptation, Sherlock is aided by technology including his very own website, The Science of Deduction.
"Definitely, Sherlock's modus operandi is aided by technology, his speciality is deducing the facts, pulling together a vast amount of information so that he can understand what he sees and experiences.
"He uses technology and forensic science but there is still a huge amount of human instinct needed. He still has a capacity to make a wrong choice and that is not hidden just because technology is present. He is fallible but he completely fits in with the modern mode of policing."

Revealed; Sherlock love interest?

Fans of True Blood and the BBC’s Robin Hood will recognize this lady, it’s Lara Pulver. And according to the website Den of Geek, she’s going to be in the new series of Sherlock, playing Irene Adler in the story called A Scandal In Belgravia, which has been written by Steven Moffat.

Anyone who’s read the original story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knows that Irene Adler is often used as a sort of American love interest for Sherlock Holmes. She’s reported to be as clever as he is, and far more charming.
As the King of Bohemia himself puts it (albeit in rather sexist terms), she has “the face of the most beautiful of women and the mind of the most resolute of men.”
Lara is also set to appear in the next series of the spy drama Spooks, by which time she’ll clearly be as common a household name as Benedict Cumberbatch himself.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"To Sherlock Holmes she was always, 'The Woman'."

Gather around the radio. . . .

The Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn do a different story from the Canon each month.
Andy B. has been doing a series of stories as they appeared in an old radio program.
What follows is his first one. They are always fun and interesting. So enjoy.

Radio Reminiscences
How One Dual Platter LP Led a Little Boy to Sherlock Holmes
Vol. 1: “The Woman”

In the late 1970s, my mother and I lived in O’Fallon, Missouri .  Having been frequent patrons of the library back in St. Louis County , we got connected with the local library in O’Fallon as well.  It was a little hole-in-the-wall operation in a strip mall between Highway M and Sonderen Street , not too far from I-70, but it did have a pretty good selection of materials to choose from.

            One summer night, as I was trying to go to sleep, I heard some strange, spooky sounds coming from my mother’s bedroom.  We had borrowed some old radio broadcast records that included some scary stuff from “Inner Sanctum” and I was hoping that wasn’t what she was listening to.  When I finally got the courage to investigate, I discovered she was listening to another old radio show featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as the great detective/biographer team Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson (strangely enough, I had never heard of them prior to this point; I was only familiar with one of Holmes’ many parody characters: a Sesame Street Muppet named Sherlock Hemlock!).

The name of the album to which she was listening was Sherlock Holmes Adventures, published by Murray Hill Records (Picture courtesy of “Traders of the Lost Art,” New Hampshire, found at  The album contains four adventures: “The Woman,” originally broadcast December 10, 1945, based on “A Scandal in Bohemia;” “The Night Before Christmas,” originally broadcast December 24, 1945, suggested by an incident in “The Blue Carbuncle” (this was the adventure I was listening to that sounded so spooky from the next room); “The Bruce Partington Plans,” originally broadcast November 6, 1939, based on its namesake; and “The Accidental Murderess,” originally broadcast November 26, 1945, suggested by an incident in “The Adventure of Black Peter.”

The next day I began listening to some of the adventures on my own, starting with the first adventure, “The Woman,” and found them to be rather fascinating.  As time went on, I was introduced to the written works of Dr. Watson.  I remember borrowing one book from a library (I can’t remember whether it was from St Louis County or O’Fallon) that featured some stories, edited for juvenile reading, including “The Speckled Band” and “The Red Headed League.”  One Christmas shortly after we had moved back to St Louis County, my grandparents gave me a copy of a Sherlock Holmes collection; it was not a complete cannon, since it only had stories from The Adventures- and The Memoirs- of Sherlock Holmes and also featured The Hounds of the Baskervilles complete with original artwork from the Strand magazine publications.

It was through this book that I could reminisce about the old adventure, “The Woman,” and became better acquainted with the short story, “A Scandal in Bohemia .”  As I no longer had access to the O’Fallon library (and the album was not available in the St. Louis County system), I had to base all my recollections from having listened to “The Woman” several times (perhaps several hundred times [?]) in my youth.  You see, what astounded me so much about “A Scandal in Bohemia” was how closely it resembled the radio broadcast I had listened to a couple of years earlier (obviously a backwards view of everything, since the book pre-dated the radio broadcast by more than 50 years!).

Through this thesis, I will attempt to give A) a brief synopsis and history of both “A Scandal in Bohemia,” as told by Watson, as well as the 1945 radio broadcast “The Woman” as adapted by Denis Green and Anthony Boucher, B) a brief comparison of the two, and C) introduce the sequel to this story as it was broadcast a week later (17Dec1945).

To briefly recap, in “A Scandal in Bohemia” (and also “The Woman”, for the most part), Watson sits in on a case with his old flat mate Sherlock Holmes where the Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein and hereditary King of Bohemia, Herr Willhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, recounts his story of how his past romantic indiscretions with Miss Irene Adler would jeopardize his pending wedding to the daughter of the King of Scandinavia.  Apparently, among some of his other passionate indiscretions with her, he had been photographed five years previously with Miss Adler and she intended to use that photographic evidence to blackmail the Grand Duke and ruin his chances of marrying the young lady of Scandinavia, a woman whose family’s principles were so strict that “[any] shadow of doubt as to [his] conduct would bring the [engagement] to an end.”

So Mr. Holmes is charged with finding this photograph, a task that the Grand Duke’s own men have been quite unsuccessful at accomplishing.  Between his covert escapades as an out-of-work groomsman where he becomes a make-shift best man for Mr. Godfrey Norton (a barrister who is discovered to secretly be Miss Adler’s fiancé as they try to wed before noon so as to keep everything legal under English marriage law) and his teamwork with the good Doctor staging the alleged “incendiary incident” at Brionny Lodge (where Watson throws a plumber’s smoke rocket into the house and yells “Fire!”), he discovers where Miss Adler (now Mrs. Norton) has stashed the incriminating photograph.  They quietly and inconspicuously make their return to Baker Street where, as Holmes fumbles for his keys (still in costume as a Nonconformist clergyman), he is greeted from the streets with a “Good-night, Mister Sherlock Holmes,” apparently from some slim youth in an overcoat.

They wire the Grand Duke and, the next morning, the three of them go to Brionny Lodge to clandestinely procure the photograph.  However, upon reaching the lady’s home, they discover that she and her husband have left England for the Continent, permanently!  Quickly they rush to where the photograph was to have been hidden before, hoping that the evidence may have been inadvertently left behind.  They find, on the other hand, a new photograph of the lady alone, with a note to Holmes, complimenting him on his good job at fooling her… at first.  Later on, as she realized she had betrayed herself by revealing where the photograph was, she also remembered being warned that the Grand Duke would be most likely to employ the services of Mr. Holmes.  Both she and her husband thought that flight was the most prudent course of action, being pursued by so formidable an antagonist.  However she keeps the evidence (in case it is ever needed again to secure her safety) and leaves His Majesty with the souvenir that was left in place of the original photograph.  Holmes requests the new photograph as final payment for his services to the Grand Duke, as a reminder (as Holmes explains in the radio show) that he was once tricked by a woman… “a woman that I shall never forget.”

“A Scandal in Bohemia ” was published in the Strand magazine in July of 1891, with the New York edition being published the next month.  Interestingly enough (as you may remember from reading in the Klinger edition), this story was also sold by a syndicate to newspapers across the United States, appearing in at least seven of them before being published in the New York Strand.  It was also published under different titles by different papers, including “Woman’s Wit,” and “The King’s Sweetheart.”  Apparently this was a common practice, since other stories from Dr. Watson fared similar fates (“The Strange Tale of a Beggar” and “The Christmas Goose that Swallowed a Diamond” being the variant titles for the stories we know today as “The Man with the Twisted Lip” and “The Blue Carbuncle,” respectively).

“The Woman” was originally broadcast under the program name The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by the Mutual Broadcasting System on December 10, 1945, sponsored by Petri Wine (ugh!).  It was adapted by Denis Green and Anthony Boucher from “A Scandal in Bohemia ”.  In my opinion, they did an admirable job staying very close to the original story.  Even in places where they did not stay completely true to the original tale, their embellishment is worthy of praise.

For example, in the original “Scandal,” Holmes went alone on his quest for information about Miss Adler in his guise as an out-of-work groomsman.  In “The Woman,” both Holmes and Watson go to the pub to gather their data, and both observe Mr. Norton and Miss Adler hopping into their separate cabs to go to the church of St. Monica .  Both take a Hansom as well to get there in twenty minutes or less, but when they arrive, the good doctor is left to guard the outside while Holmes goes in to see what’s going on, thus returning somewhat to the original story.

Also in “Scandal,” during the incendiary incident as I referred to it earlier, Holmes makes arrangements with Watson to meet again inconspicuously at the corner where they will make their way back to Baker Street .  As they make it home and are ready to enter their lodgings at 221B, someone passes by with a simple “Good-night, Mister Sherlock Holmes.”  The person who makes that call is lost in the group of people already milling about the street.  In “The Woman,” however, they appear to rendezvous at Baker Street immediately after their escapades at Briony Lodge.  No mention is made of contact with any other person from the time they leave Mrs. Norton’s house till they make their return with the Grand Duke of Bohemia.

But everywhere else in “The Woman”, the adaptation remains very true to the original story by Watson.  Take, for example, the introduction by Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.  Compare it to the reading in the original story [from the Klinger edition, page 6, final paragraph; or the third complete paragraph into the story]:

Doctor Watson: One night – it was the twentieth of May in 1888 to be exact  
[in “Scandal” it occurred in March]– I was returning home from a visit to a patient when my steps led me through Baker Street .  Since my marriage I hadn’t seen much of Sherlock Holmes….

Announcer: And you couldn’t resist stopping by at 221B, I’m sure, Doctor.

Doctor Watson: Of course, I couldn’t.  As I stood outside the well remembered
door, I looked up at the lighted windows and saw the tall spare figure of my old friend pass twice in dark silhouette against the blind.  He was pacing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head sunk on his chest and his hands clasped behind him.  To me who knew every mood of his and habit of his, his attitude and manner told their own story.  He was hot on the scent of some new problem.  I rang the bell, and a few moments later, found myself standing before him.”

            There are many other instances throughout the broadcast where dialog is almost in word-for-word agreement with the canon.  Most variations could very well simply be used to either keep the story understandable to the public at large (for example, the Grand Duke describing the photograph as being “quite large and… in a heavy frame” as opposed to how it is briefly described in the canon as a cabinet), or perhaps to allow for their being short for time, having only 29 minutes to recount the story (the enigmatic “Good Night, Mr. Sherlock Holmes” greeting at 221B is omitted, as an example).  For that matter, there’s also the sensibilities of the public to be kept in mind.  Nothing is mentioned of Holmes’ alleged drug habit in the broadcast, for instance (something Watson alludes to in the same paragraph compared earlier with the radio broadcast).  Since this was broadcast during prime time, I’m certain they didn’t want the kiddies catching on to something as malevolent as that!

            In today’s world, with regards to television shows and movies, we are constantly subjected to barrages of spin-offs and sequels, everything from Friday the 13th, Part 13: Another New Beginning to Torchwood, an actual spin-off program of the ever popular British science fiction series Doctor Who.  This practice was quite rare in the 1940’s, and it was especially rare for a single episode of a radio show to produce a follow up story of any kind.  But this is precisely what happened when the writing team of Green and Boucher decided to take “Scandal” and create a story that extends beyond the writings of Dr. Watson.  “What would happen,” they asked, “if Holmes was to meet the daughter of Irene Adler some twenty years later?”

            Unfortunately, “The Second Generation” falls into the trap that many spin-offs do.  What Home Alone 2 is to Home Alone, “The Second Generation” is to “The Woman.”  It is almost a rewrite of the original “Scandal” story with barely enough changes to meet the needs of the relatively new line of characters.  In fact, some of the characters are the only things that could be completely new, even if they simply do the same things as characters in the previous story did. 

Holmes, in 1908, having retired to his bee farm in Sussex , asks Dr. Watson to visit him to talk about old times.  The good doctor tells Holmes about a young woman, named Irene Norton, whom he met on the train on his way there and claims to have a problem that perhaps only Holmes could solve.  She asks him to make arrangements for her to see him and mentions that Holmes knew her mother quite well.  When Holmes puts the pieces together and realizes that this is the daughter of the former Miss Irene Adler, he accepts at once.

Miss Norton tells Holmes that a certain Mr. Litton Stanley has possession of some letters she had written to an old boyfriend back when she was seventeen.  As she is engaged to be married, these letters (almost “Scandal”-ous by 1908 standards) can be bought back from him for £5,000, otherwise they will be revealed to the fiancé (remind one of a certain Grand Duke we know?).  She asks Holmes to get them back from Mr. Stanley who keeps them in his desk in a filigree box.  Since Holmes has a score to settle with Mr. Stanley (who keeps posting letters to him complaining about the bees, even threatening to call the police), he agrees to take the case.

Holmes and Watson then go over to the Stanley home disguised as Dr. Hamish and Reverend Appleby (right down to the Nonconformist clergy from last time) under the ruse of seeking donations for a charity hospital.  When they convince him to make a contribution, he opens his desk to get the checkbook out, whereupon they shove some chloroform into his face and knock him out.  However, as they find the box for which they are looking, they are held at gunpoint by Mr. Stanley’s servant, Mr. Deevers, who has been waiting for his master to open the desk and give him access to the filigree box, which houses the Kitmanjar Emerald.  He thanks them for giving him the access to the jewel for which he has been waiting for months and kindly informs them that he will have to kill them.  They have given him the perfect alibi, so when his master comes to, he will simply tell him that three men burgled the house, he shot and killed two of them and the third one got away “with the loot.”  This gives him the opportunity to make off with the emerald and anything else he can get his hands on.

Holmes, not to be outsmarted by a coward who would shoot them in the back if he hadn’t requested that they “face the firing squad,” tricks Deevers into shaking his hand, whereupon he uses his skill in Bari Tzu to take him out.  They leave Deevers unconscious with his master at the desk and take the filigree box back to Miss Norton.

As he hands the box over to Miss Norton, Holmes asks her to open it now.  It may not have love letters in it, but there is a note that will be of interest to her and she should read it aloud: “Let this be a warning, Miss Norton: crime does not pay.  If you don’t believe me, ask your mother.  Sincerely, Sherlock Holmes.”  It is then that she realizes that she has been duped and that Holmes will not be played for a sucker to help her possess the Kitmanjar Emerald illegally.  Holmes tells her that he will not call the police to arrest her (although he should) for two reasons: 1) She’s young and impressionable and may still learn from this experience (reminiscent of “The Blue Carbuncle”), and 2) because he has such a healthy respect for her mother.  She sees that she is beaten and asks, as a final request, that she be allowed to take the filigree box with the note inside of it: to remind her all her life of how she met Mr. Sherlock Holmes (aw!).  Mr. Holmes allows it and she is on her merry way.

Some time later, Holmes’ door is accosted by the knocking of Mr. Litton Stanley.  He knows they haven’t been friends, but he really does need his help.  Apparently, someone had stolen his Cellini.  As Holmes listens to the story, Stanley tells him how he was knocked out with chloroform by two thugs and, when he came to, he found his servant out cold and bloody.  But to top it all off, one of the thugs went into his desk and removed the Kitmanjar Emerald, and left it in the desk, but made off with the filigree box, a genuine Cellini filigree box, worth several thousand pounds!

[Author’s note: Apparently this refers to Benvenuto Cellini, an Italian goldsmith, painter, sculptor, soldier and musician of the Renaissance, who also wrote a famous autobiography.  Special thanks to Wikipedia for this information.]

As Holmes realizes he has been again tricked by a woman (and that investigating this larceny would likely expose him as the culprit), he declines the case, stating that he has retired and intends to remain in retirement (a variant on “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” or “The Master Blackmailer”).  As Stanley storms off back to his lodgings, Holmes and Watson discuss how they might be able to use Deevers to help in steeling the box back in return for their mutual silence about each others’ parts in the crime.

All in all, “The Second Generation” is not a bad story, per se.  However, so much of the dialog is rife with obvious and clichéd allusions to the previous episode that it is hard not to classify this story as a good candidate for a game I call “Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Recycled-Plot-Device.”

Works Cited

  • “A Scandal in Bohemia ,” Doyle, A. Conan.  Strand, New York .  August 1891.

  • The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1, Klinger, Leslie.  W. W. Norton & Company, New York .  2005.

  • “The Second Generation,” from The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, D. Boucher and A. Green. Mutual Broadcasting System.  December 17, 1945.

  • “The Woman,” from The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, D. Boucher and A. Green. Mutual Broadcasting System.  December 10, 1945.