Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Doyle and WW1

Prose & Poetry - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

When World War One broke out in 1914 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tried to enlist in the military stating, "I am fifty-five but I am very strong and hardy, and can make my voice audible at great distances, which is useful at drill."

His offer was refused but that didn't stop Sir Arthur from contributing to the war effort in every way possible.  In fact, he was active in defence of his country even before war broke out.
The Prince Henry Tour
Conan Doyle had a strong feeling that conflict was coming after a 1911 automobile event.  That year he took part in the International Road Competition organized by Prince Henry of Prussia.  Known as the Prince Henry Tour, this contest was designed to pit the quality of British automobiles against German automobiles.  The route took the participants from Hamburg, Germany to London.
Conan Doyle and his wife, Jean, were one of the British driving teams.  Each of the ninety cars involved in the contest carried a military observer from the opposite team.  Conan Doyle was surprised at the hostile attitudes of many of the German observers.  He also heard much talk about the inevitability of war.
The British won the competition, but most of the participants came away with the conviction that war was near.
Alarmed by what he'd seen in the Prince Henry Tour Conan Doyle began to study German war literature.  He saw that the submarine and the airplane were going to be important factors in the next war.  He was particularly concerned about the threat of submarines blockading food shipments to Britain.
Conan Doyle endorsed the Channel Tunnel proposal as a way of safeguarding Britain from this threat.  The tunnel would run between France and England.  Conan Doyle argued that the tunnel would ensure that Britain couldn't be cut off from the rest of Europe during wartime and would provide increased tourism revenues during peacetime.
Convinced that this was a vital precaution Conan Doyle eventually took his idea to the public in the form of a story.  Danger! Being the Log of Captain John Sirius appeared in the July 1914 edition of the Strand Magazine.  The story dealt with a conflict between Britain and a fictional country called Norland.  In the story, Norland is able to bring Britain to its knees by the use of a small submarine fleet.
Sadly Conan Doyle's warnings were ignored, at least by the British.  German officials were later quoted as saying that the idea of the submarine blockade came to them after hearing Conan Doyle's warnings against such an event.  How much of that statement was truth and how much was propaganda designed to cause conflict within Britain is not known.
Private Conan Doyle
When war finally did break out in 1914 Conan Doyle was fifty-five years old.  His age didn't stop him from trying to enlist in the military.
In a letter to the war office he stated, "I think I may say that my name is well known to the younger men of this country and that if I were to take a commission at my age it would set an example which might be of help."  He went on to list some of his qualifications, "I am fifty-five but I am very strong and hardy, and can make my voice audible at great distances, which is useful at drill."
Despite his generous offer and his loud voice Conan Doyle's application was denied.  However he was determined to help the war effort in any way possible.  He next set about to organize defence units comprised of civilian volunteers.  The War Office ordered those units to be disbanded and replaced them with units that were centrally administered through their office.
Conan Doyle's unit became the Crowborough Company of the Sixth Royal Sussex Volunteer Regiment.  He was offered the command position in the new battalion, but Conan Doyle refused.  He wanted to show his countrymen that all were equal in the defence of Britain.  He entered the group as Private Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Power of the Press
In the first few weeks of the war three British cruisers were lost.  The 1,400 men aboard the cruisers were lost as well.  Conan Doyle thought the loss of life was preventable.  He wrote to the War Office urging that each sailor be given an "inflatable rubber belt" to assist the sailors in case their ships went down.
Sir Arthur was never reluctant to use his personal popularity when fighting for a just cause.  Therefore he also sent letters to the press proposing these very same ideas.  He knew that while the War Office might ignore the voice of one man, it couldn't ignore the voice of public opinion.
His plan worked.  The government soon ordered inflatable rubber collars, the forerunner of today's lifejackets, for the country's sailors.
Conan Doyle would use this same tactic later when advocating that lifeboats be carried on military vessels.  He also urged that body armour be issued to frontline soldiers.
The British Campaign in France and Flanders
While World War One still raged on Conan Doyle began work on The British Campaign in France and Flanders.  It was an extremely detailed history of the war.  Conan Doyle was very proud of it and went to great pains to make it as accurate as possible.
He gathered material for the book from any sources including the British military.  However the book wasn't as balanced as it could be.  Conan Doyle totally trusted the material he received from some of his sources.  The bias of these sources made its way into the book.
The British Campaign in France and Flanders was initially published in six volumes.  The first volumes didn't sell well because they were published when the war was still being fought.  The public wanted to hear about the day's battles rather that read a history of the early days of the war.  After the war ended the public, possibly wanting a break from death and destruction, had little interest in reading about the conflict.  Conan Doyle said the book was, "an undeserved literary disappointment".
From One War to the Next
Sir Arthur's suggestions on warfare were thought of as intrusive by some members of the British government.  However he had some supporters as well.  One of those, the First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, would play an important role in World War Two.  The man's name was Winston Churchill.
Article contributed by Marsha Perry at The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Click here to read Conan Doyle's account of fighting at Antwerp in 1914; click here to read his summary of the November 1917 Battle of Cambrai.


A pdf copy of his book can be found Here

Arthur Conan Doyle's eerie vision of the future of war

Way don't we ever discuss Dr. Watsons retirement

As I sat last night around our pool, umbrellaed drink at hand, contemplating my own retirement I began to think about discussions of Watson's retirement or lack there of. . . . (screeching sound of a needle on a record)
Wait, I have a 9 year old. She is not about to let me sit around a pool and relax with an umbrellaed drink.
Actually it was on my way to work this morning, contemplating my own retirement, that I had the thought.
We know a little about Holmes' retirement at or around 1904 to study his beloved bees. And that on occasion he would come out of retirement to work on a case.
And we have always accepted that LAST (around 1914) was Holmes' last case, or at least the last published.
By 1917 we are told that Holmes was long retired, making him about 63 years old. (Hey, wait, that's about how old I will be when I retire!)
Around 1903 we learn that Watson is remarried, and we hope has a family. But we will never know if indeed he did have a family. I don't believe he ever did for I think it would have been mentioned.

Did he stay in practice and continue writing, much like the beloved vet, James Herriot.
Did he celebrate his writing career or was it never the main focus of his life?
Or when not at home or at work did he retire to his club?
Like Doyle did he take up golf?
Or did he die shortly after LAST?

It could be argued that the preface to that series of stories could have been written or reedited by someone other than Watson. We know LAST probably wasn't written by him.
And if Watson wasn't going to write the last story, why would he write the preface the way he did?

The last sentence of the preface could suggest that he had died before the edition of combined stories was complete, "Several previous experiences which have lain long in my portfolio have been added to His Last Bow so as to complete the volume."

Had Watson rejoined his old service? Although probably to old for front line service he may have found away to once again serve, and something could have happened to him.

What became of Watson after LAST?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I promise, after this one I will go get breakfast.

Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes - herb recipes

Today is Sherlock Holmes’ Birthday.  Everyone who has read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories has noticed that Holmes appreciated good food and drink. Holmes and Watson were often sitting down to a meal prepared by their excellent landlady Mrs. Hudson or dining in a country inn or joining Holmes' brother, the large and reclusive Mycroft, for a meal at the Diogenes Club.
I have been an avid reader of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation since I was about 12.  And I love adaptations that stick to the personalities of the characters, so I love both the Robert Downey Jr. version and the new PBS version.  As a result of reading these Victorian novels so early in life, there is really no tangled writing style I cannot translate - which came to good use in my museum career.  Now my focus is on herbs and tea and Holmes again seems an appropriate fit in my life.
I own several Holmes theme cookbooks, although the detective himself probably never cooked a meal himself, he did eat, and the books and stories are liberally peppered with descriptions of dishes and situations.  If you enjoy the idea of British Victorian cooking then any of the cookbooks will introduce you.  Here is a list of the ones I know about (I found it interesting that the first batch came out around the Bicentennial and the second batch or reprinting came out when Jeremy Brett became extremely popular as the Great Detective.)
 The Sherlock Holmes Cookbook or, Mrs. Hudson's Stoveside Companion formed upon principles of economy and adapted to the use of private families by Sean Wright and John Farrell - Published in 1976, the book features a sensible approach to preparing British food from the Victorian era, while connecting actual menus to specific stories. The title tells you they are adhering to those descriptive titles cookbooks seemed to have at the turn of the last century and the recipes included are just as authentic.
Dining with Sherlock Holmes: A Baker Street Cookbook by Julia Carlson Rosenblatt and Frederic H. Sonnenschmidt  - First printed in 1976 and reprinted again in 1990.  Recipes are divided into different eating occasions in Holmes life, such as “Breakfast at Baker Street,” “On the Chase,” and “The Horrors of a Country Inn," which breaks out meals by the name of the Inns where Watson and Sherlock dined.
 The Sherlock Holmes Victorian Cookbook: The Favorite Recipes of the Great Detective and Dr. Watson by William Bonnell - Published in 1977, this book is laid out by type of dish – soups, salads, meats, etc, Story quotes appear at the top of each recipe. Rather than support a notion that Holmes was interested in food, the quotes reinforce how focused he was on the case at hand.
The Sherlock Holmes Cookbook by Charles A. Mills – printed in 1990 pulls together recipes mentioned in the various stories.
Cooking for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: British Recipes for Two Persons by William S. Dorn – this self published book from 2004, was nicely researched and contained typical hearty fare and is divided by type of food like Bread, desserts, soups, etc.
For the purists, here is a very good Victorian Recipe that can be found in The Sherlock Holmes Victorian Cookbook, which for authenticity is my favorite.  The credited source for the dish is “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” (1861), which I think I have mentioned in posts before.  This one appealed to me because WGN was at ½ Acre Brewery in Lincoln Park yesterday and got me thinking about food and beer!
 Asparagus Soup with Pale Ale
Serves 4-6
2lb lean beef, diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
5 cups beef stock
1 cup pale ale or beer
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried marjoram
½ tsp dried mint
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 bunches asparagus stalks
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dust the beef with the flour. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the meat until it browns on all sides. Add the stock, ale, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.
Add the marjoram, mint, and spinach. Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat. Cut the top 3 inches from the asparagus stalks, and chop them into bite-sized pieces (the remainder of the stalks can be saved for vegetable stock). Add the asparagus tops to the soup and simmer until they are tender (4-5 minutes). Stir in the sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

For those who want an herb or tea related recipe to celebrate Sherlock’s Birthday, might I suggest these two:
From Cooking for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson  here is Mrs. Hudson’s SODA BREAD.  This is great for a quick ham sandwich or with jam and a cup of tea for breakfast.  Originally suggested to the author by a reference in The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, it makes two loaves of soda bread.
Mrs. Hudson’s Soda Bread
(makes 2 loaves)
4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tsp. Rosemary, broken
1 tsp. Thyme
2 1/2 cups of low fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium-size
Bowl.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the bowl. Gradually add the buttermilk while gently and quickly mixing the dough.  Shape the dough into two circular loaves; if the dough is too moist to shape, add a little more flour.  Place each loaf on a greased, 8 inch pie plate.  With a knife cut a deep cross on the top of each loaf. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes at 450F. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F.  Bake for another 25 minutes (If the crust appears to become too brown, cover each loaf with some aluminum foil.) If the bread is not lightly brown or does not sound hollow when tapped, bake longer.  Cool the bread loaves on a wire rack.

My second recipe is adapted from Dining with Sherlock Holmes.  It is a sweet English biscuit recipe I dressed up with a few lemon herbs to accent its gentle lemon flavor. This is perfect with a nice cup of Earl Grey.

Mrs. Hudson’s Biscuits
About 70 biscuits

½ cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp. vanilla sugar
     or 2 tsp sugar with 2-3 drops of vanilla extract
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. lemon balm, dried
1 cup flour
7 Tbls. corn starch
1 tsp. baking powder
butter to grease pan

¾ cup icing sugar
2 Tbls. lemon juice

Whip the butter until it is fluffy, then slowly add the powdered sugar; Add the vanilla sugar, egg, salt, lemon juice and peel and lemon balm; Add the flour, baking powder and corn starch slowly and mix well; Grease a baking tray with butter; Fill a pastry bag with the dough and press small biscuits onto the baking tray; Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 10-15 minutes. Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice. Brush biscuits with it, and let it dry.

I must have skipped breakfast - all my searches are food related.

The Kitchen Thinker: Sherlock Holmes's diet

Bee Wilson on the mysterious case of Sherlock Holmes's diet.

In preparation for the title role in Sherlock Holmes, the new film due for release on Boxing Day, Robert Downey Jr went on a diet.
His friend the rock star Chris Martin warned Downey Jr that he had to be 'skinny’ to play Holmes. 'So every time I’m reaching for a muffin I just think about Chris Martin and skip the snack. It’s been tough.’ Not half as tough, however, as it will be to sit through the film, if the trailer is anything to go by.
As any real Holmes fan would know, the great detective isn’t the kind of Hollywood 'skinny’ that comes from lounging around denying yourself muffins. His thinness results from his intense bouts of mental activity, when he subsists on little but coffee, drugs and nerves. In The Hound of the Baskervilles he tells Watson that his mind has been in Devon solving the case, while his body has 'remained in this armchair and has, I regret to observe, consumed in my absence two large pots of coffee and an incredible amount of tobacco’.
But when he is not in the thick of it Holmes is appreciative of good food, especially breakfast. Numerous stories begin with Holmes seated at the breakfast table, with a polished silver coffee pot in front of him ('He chuckled as he poured out the coffee’). The housekeeper at 221b Baker Street, Mrs Hudson, provides Holmes and Dr Watson with hearty breakfasts such as kidneys, kedgeree, ham and eggs and even chicken curry, covered under metal domes on the sideboard. In
The Adventure of Black Peter Holmes apologises to a policeman who joins them for breakfast. 'I fear the scrambled eggs are cold.’
Holmes is certainly no gourmet.
His 'wants’, he says, are 'simple: a loaf of bread and a clean collar’. Holmes’s occupation makes regular meals impossible and he sometimes falls back on 'some cold beef and a glass of beer’ or tinned tongue and peaches. Like all workaholics, he often relies on sandwiches. On the trail of a jewel thief 'he cut a slice of beef from the joint upon the sideboard, sandwiched it between two rounds of bread and thrusting this rude meal into his pocket, he started off upon his expedition’.
Occasionally, though, Holmes relaxes enough to savour his food, and these are some of the most comforting moments in all of the stories. In
The Sign of Four he complains that Watson has 'never yet recognised my merits as a housekeeper’. He invites Mr Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard to dine with them. 'It will be ready in half an hour. I have oysters and a brace of grouse, with something a little choice in white wines.’ Was ever a more inviting offer made?
Perhaps the best foodie story is The Blue Carbuncle, in which a precious jewel is hidden inside a Christmas goose. It gives a rich sense of households all over London sitting down to enjoy a good fat goose for the festive meal.
The whole story is rich with Christmas appetite: the cold air of London and the warmth of excellent birds roasted before the fire.
When you think of Sherlock Holmes you don’t want Chris Martin and muffins in your head. You want to think of fat geese, cold beef, brandy, strong coffee and the thrill of the chase.

Because I am hoping Brad will put something in his bottle. . . .

Sherlock & Watson
Recipe by Kenaniah Bystrom, bar manager of Essex
2 ounces American single-malt scotch or Highland scotch
1/2 ounce earl grey syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Scrappy’s cardamom bitters
1 lemon twist, for garnishing 
For earl grey syrup:
Boiling water
1 bag of earl grey tea
16 ounces honey  

What do you think?

I am only posting the conclusion here, hoping you will go read the rest;


In recent scholarship Sherlock Holmes appears more than merely a 'master detective'. His personality, behaviour, and addictions have become an interesting area of psychological and psychiatric research. Whether he was or not a drug addict is of little relevance today. However, Sherlock Holmes has become an epitome of a certain strand of masculine culture of late-Victorian England, which is characterised by physical power and hegemonic masculinity, male friendship (comradeship), as well as occasional strident misogyny.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

While not Sherlockain - I did not know this.

Agatha Christie, Crime Writer & Britain's First Female Surfer

Who would have thought that Agatha Christie, the famed murder mystery writer, would be the first female surfer in Britain?
In 1922, Christie and her husband Archie went on a trip to South Africa, where it’s thought the Devon-born writer took up the sport.
“It was occasionally painful as you took a nosedive down into the sand, but on the whole it was an easy sport and great fun,” she wrote.
Later that year, in Hawaii, Agatha took to her board once again.
“I learned to become expert – or at any rate expert from the European point of view – the moment of complete triumph on the day that I kept my balance and came right into shore standing upright on my board!”

Anyone know anything about any of these?

Four interlinked cases from the four decades of Sherlock Holmes’ long career…
One of the delights of dealing with a property such as Sherlock Holmes – compared with Doctor Whoor Blake’s 7 – must be the freedom to tell the stories you wish to tell, unhampered by constraints of licensors’ diktats (or “whims”, depending on who you listen to). As long as new stories respect what’s been set up by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, then they can pretty much go anywhere – as Big Finish’s series has already proved.
Guttering Candle, The coverThe Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes (and its companion piece The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner) experiments with the formula of the Holmes story. The Guttering Candle, the first tale, is set before Holmes and Watson meet, so of necessity can’t use the standard format: it chronicles Holmes’ first meeting with Inspector Lestrade with those bits related as ordinary drama, while Watson is kidnapped while serving in Afghanistan, and records the story in his journal. This way, Jonathan Barnes shows us how much the pairing of the two men altered both of them, sometimes in less than obvious ways. Listen to this one very carefully!
Adventure of the Gamekeeper's Folly, The coverThe Adventure of the Gamekeeper’s Folly is taken from the period when Holmes is apparently at the height of his powers, convinced of his own abilities, and prone to condescension. Barnes’ script addresses some of the complaints that have been levelled at the character over the years, and forces him to deal with the aftermath of his actions – and note the way in which Watson reacts to both Holmes’ original actions and their consequences. Watson is not an easy role to play, particularly when – as here – he is depicted in the way Doyle wrote him, rather than the “buffoon” of the Basil Rathbone era, and Richard Earl captures that blend of honesty, loyalty and deep affection which should characterise the doctor.
Adventure of the Bermondsey Cutthroats, The coverWe jump to the start of the twentieth century for The Adventure of the Bermondsey Cutthroats, and one of the most disturbing sequences that Big Finish has put on audio – the pre-credits scene rivals the psychological terrors of the best serial killer stories, and the rest of the story maintains the level. This story provides an explanation for Holmes’ retirement from the profession, and also the fates of some of the supporting characters. Barnes is unafraid to show the detective not operating at his best, and in so doing explains why some of the contemporary updatings of the character over the years haven’t worked (the taunts from the villain about the telephone, for example).
Sowers of Despair, The coverThe set concludes with The Sowers of Despair, which ties together threads from the previous three stories. It’s narrated by Holmes himself, for reasons which he explains quickly, and although you start to wonder if Barnes is paying tribute to Agatha Christie’s Curtain, it goes in a very different direction. Those unfamiliar with The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner are advised to listen to that before The Sowers, partly because it explains Holmes and Watson’s reunion following the events of The Bermondsey Cutthroats. To say too much more would spoil some great surprises.
The undoubted star of the set, though, is Briggs as Holmes, who moves from the brash young man of The Guttering Candle through the superbly confident consulting detective, to a man faced with the harsh consequences of his own actions – and finally to someone who, despite everything, still finds it hard to empathise properly with the rest of humanity (his diary entry about the discussions in the Watson household when he visits is ample proof of this), but is almost desperately needy for the company of his oldest friend. When you hear his explosion of “Enough!” in the third story (which I listened to shortly after hearing Briggs explaining that “The Doctor is regenerating” in his persona as the Voice of the Daleks™) you don’t need any visuals to know exactly how Holmes looks, and there are many other examples.
Ken Bentley maintains the pace throughout the stories, allowing them to breathe where they need to – contrast the account of the train journey to Norfolk with the dash to Bermondsey to prevent a tragedy – and has assembled a strong cast of actors who, where necessary, can age their voices as required by the scripts.
Verdict: A contrasting set of cases which will reward a second listen once the links have become clear, with Briggs and Earl now a definitive audio Holmes and Watson. 9/10
Paul Simpson

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I am awaiting Doyleokian's comments on this one.

Doyle's daddy issues were front and center onHoudini & Doyle this week

Houdini & Doyle just hinted at major family drama for Doyle — but did it happen in real life?

If you haven't been tuning into Fox's new series, Houdini & Doyle, well, you should be. But if you have and you're anything like me, you've likely been enjoying trying to decipher just how much of the historical crime drama is based on the real life narrative of the show's heroes.
If you're a history buff, this may be a simple task for you. For the rest of us, though, the truth can seem inextricable from the art — Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle both lived lives so extraordinary and peculiar that it isn't that far-fetched to thinkall of their arcs could have happened.
Thus far, we've already seen reference on numerous occasions to Houdini's deep and abiding love for his mother. Since this was a relatively well-known fact about the illusionist, that one wasn't too difficult to slide into the historical truth column.
But when this week's gripping episode delved into Doyle's obvious daddy issues, the reality of the relationship wasn't readily apparent. This was at least partially due to the fact that Doyle was in turn drinking heavily or hallucinating every time his father popped into the picture.
So, naturally, I decided to do a little digging.
In this episode, Doyle begins to come a bit unhinged when he gets notice that someone has submitted an offer to buy his childhood home. In a moment seemingly uncharacteristic for the gentlemanly character we've come to know on the show, he began binge-drinking to deal with his emotions. He even snapped at his beloved children, Mary and Kingsley.
As he, Houdini and Constable Adelaide Stratton investigate a string of cases tied to the local insane asylum, pieces of Doyle's past start to fall into place. His own father was institutionalized for apparent delusions, aggression and perceived mental instability.
On the show, Doyle stumbles across what he believes to be a conspiracy of abuse at the asylum — the same one that housed his father. When he confronts his father's doctor, he is subdued with drugs and constraints. They were about to give him a lobotomy when Houdini and Adelaide intervene.
Unfortunately, Doyle had already been poisoned (we later find out it was by a doctor he originally believed to be an ally). Due to this, he is suffering from hallucinations and, what's worse, his body is beginning to shut down.
Thus enters the main arc about his dad. Realizing he is dying, the rational side of Doyle's psyche knows he must shock his system to counteract the poison if he wants to survive. To do so, he must induce a state of extreme euphoria.
The only way to do so is to give himself the one thing that would heal the fractured heart that plagued him from a young age: peace over his father.
A visage of his father appears. At first, they bicker just like old times. Ultimately, though, Doyle's dad admits that he was jealous and foolish. He asks Doyle if he can do the one thing he did not have the courage to do when he was alive. With that, he leans in and embraces his now weeping son.
Shortly after, Doyle awakens in the hospital room surrounded by his kids and his crime-fighting partners. He immediately calls his children to his side and directly addresses them, saying, "I was never cross with you. I was cross with myself."
The sins of the father, as they say! But how much of that backstory is based in fact? As it turns out, a good deal of it.
Doyle's father, Charles, was born in 1832. In addition to one sister, he had three brothers who all grew to be splendid successes: a revered historian, a Punch cartoonist and an art-critic-slash-painter.
Charles, on the other hand, was not nearly as successful. Although he did bear some artistic inclination, he could never make a living from his paintings. He moved to Scotland at 17, got a clerk job as an architectural draftsman and married his landlord's daughter. They had 10 children, including Doyle, seven of whom actually survived infancy.
Like the Charles portrayed in this week's episode, the real Charles was a bitter and complicated man. He was an angry alcoholic (he also had epilepsy) who quit working in his 40s, after which time he largely drifted from institution to institution. And, like his onscreen counterpart, the real Charles did die in an asylum in 1893.
Also mirroring Doyle's real-life history? His alleged mercurial moods around his children. It is posited that the strain of caring for his ailing wife, Louise, sometimescaused him to be curt or sharp with Kingsley and Mary (although, by most accounts, he was still a loving and lovable father).
So, in a word, yes — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the esteemed author, did have daddy issues in real life. Kudos once more to Houdini & Doyle's brilliant writers for spinning history into an immensely enjoyable arc tinged with both truth and fiction.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What did Mrs. Watson have to say or Ode to Mary.

The world of Sherlock Holmes seems to be in rather a drought once again this time of year. TV episodes are either over or on hiatus for who really knows how long. And Sherlock Holmes 3 is or is not going into production this fall for a maybe release in 2017 or 2018. Pastiches are not getting my attention of late.
So what is a faithful Sherlockian to do but return to the Canon. 
I thought I would take a look at a case that takes place roughly around, well . . . . this time of year.

I have always had a crush on Mary Morstan (Watson) and have found it sad that usually screen Mary's get more time than the actual Mary did in the Canon. We learn of her personality in SIGN, and her background, but nothing, really, after that.

When Watson describes her this way; Miss Morstan entered the room with a firm step and an outward composure of manner. She was a blonde young lady, small, dainty, well gloved, and dressed in the most perfect taste. There was, however, a plainness and simplicity about her costume which bore with it a suggestion of limited means. The dress was a somber grayish beige, untrimmed and unbraided, and she wore a small turban of the same dull hue, relieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the side. Her face had neither regularity of feature nor beauty of complexion, but her expression was sweet and amiable, and her large blue eyes were singularly spiritual and sympathetic. In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents, I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature.

. .  how could we not hope this young woman would forever be in Watson's life?
We didn't care, yet, that it would upset the balance of the life at Baker St. (or did it?) and the recording of the cases, and leave us wondering what Holmes did without Watson. (I have yet to see any papers on what Watson did without Holmes. We knew Watson would be alright, while we worried about Holmes. )

But we really liked Mary. Mary was part of the everything British we loved about Watson.

But alas, it was not meant to be.

Sadly once Mary has married Watson she is only mentioned of three times and, sadly, actually makes only two appearances. And rather limited at that.
The Mary's of 'Sherlock' and the RDJ films get much more page time as spouse than the Canonical Mary. And in both of those cases Mary actually gets to participate in the adventures.

We know at some point Watson remarries, but she will not be Mary.

“What do you say, dear?” said my wife, looking across at me. “Will you go?’

“Oh, Anstruther would do your work for you. You have been looking a little pale
lately. I think that the change would do you good, and you are always so interested in Mr. Sherlock Holmes’s cases.”

And of course this exchange in TWIS;

One night—it was in June, ’89—there came a ring to my bell, about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock. I sat up in my chair, and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap and made a little face of disappointment.
“A patient!” said she. “You’ll have to go out.”
I groaned, for I was newly come back from a weary day. We heard the door open, a few hurried words, and then quick steps upon the linoleum. Our own door flew open, and a lady, clad in some dark coloured stuff, with a black veil, entered the room.
“You will excuse my calling so late,” she began, and then, suddenly losing her self-control, she ran forward, threw her arms about my wife’s neck, and sobbed upon her shoulder.
“Oh, I’m in such trouble!” she cried; “I do so want a little help.”
“Why,” said my wife, pulling up her veil, “it is Kate Whitney. How you startled me, Kate! I had not an idea who you were when you came in.”
“I didn’t know what to do, so I came straight to you.” That was always the way.
Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light-house.
“It was very sweet of you to come. Now, you must have some wine and water, and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?”

Yet, if we are to accept that Mary died while Holmes was on hiatus, she was around for 18 cases after her engagement. Surely she could have been given more Canonical ‘screen time’!

She only gets about five lines in four years.

But like I said, I have always had a crush on Mary.

To me, she will always be ‘The Woman’ to my Watson.

Watson is with Holmes in Baker St. for only 18years and those years were split with Watson being with Mary for four years.

But, like I said, I have always had a crush on Mary.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Well maybe it will finally be cleared up once and for all . . . . .

Just a snipit.  . . .

Important New Season
"Sherlock" Season 4 will become very pivotal for the entire franchise as a lot of previous characters will return along with a possible love interest for the main protagonist. Fans are curious as to who this love interest might be as Sherlock's last romantic partner, Irene Adler, appeared two seasons ago. They continue to question if Adler might also be part of the rumored characters to return this season.
While there has yet to be any official release date for the series, "Sherlock" Season 4 is expected to hit the small screens this January 2017.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The case of the rugged rogue? Benedict Cumberbatch sports some heavy stubble as Sherlock Holmes in a stark contrast to the character's usual clean shaven look

He's busy filming the much-anticipated fourth series of the BBC's hit-series, Sherlock.
But Benedict Cumberbatch's roguish detective appeared to have lost his razor during his latest escapade, as the cast and crew of the detective drama filmed scenes in South Wales.
Shooting scenes in Cardiff City Centre, the 39-year-old actor sported a heavy layer of stubble as he filmed scenes alongside two elder gents - presumably integral to the plot of the episode.

Whilst the actor's dark brown locks were styled into Sherlock's trademark tousled sweep, the famous detective's usually clean shaven features were coated in a heavy layer of stubble. 

Clad in full-costume, and sporting the character's well worn great coat, a navy shirt, dark trousers and black Oxford shoes, Holmes was instantly recognizable amide the hub-bub of cast and crew.
However, it seems that the latest shoot for the series sees Sherlock at his wit's end, as the appeared slightly weary and exhausted - something further emphasized by his loose stance and open-neck shirt.

Chatting away to the crew in-between takes, the actor looked to be searching for the right inspiration to take into the scene.
Clutching a bundle of pink papers in one hand, presumably his lines, it appeared that Benedict was intent on delivering a stellar performance on camera.
And it seems that the actor was facing off against one of Sherlock's numerous enemies, as he appeared to have a tense showdown with a man in a white suit.

Looking slightly insidious, the suited individual stood out from the crowd thanks to the lime green shirt and cravat that he teamed with the cream two piece.
The blonde actor was seen facing off against Benedict in Mount Stuart Square, with the two actors mirroring each other's stances perfectly.
And it seems that it was all hands on deck, as the actors were joined by numerous members of the cast and extras, as well as a heavy contingent of crew. 
Filming has continued at full-pace following Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Gatiss confirmation that the show was returning in April - following the New Year's special earlier in the year.

In a statement, Steven and Mark said: 'Sherlock series four - here we go again!
'Whatever else we do, wherever we all go, all roads lead back to Baker Street - and it always feels like coming home.
'Ghosts of the past are rising in the lives of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson bringing adventure, romance and terror in their wake.
'This is the story we've been telling from the beginning. A story about to reach its climax.'
Benedict said he was 'thrilled' to be back as the detective.
He said: 'I can't wait for everyone to see season four. But you will have to wait... though not for long... And it will be worth it.'
Series four will return to BBC later this year with three feature length episodes.