About Me

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I am currently working on a comedy mystery novel set in a world somewhat like ours. I can draw with either my right or my left hand, and I love to paint. I administer the blog for The Original Tree Worshippers of Rock County--rocksherlockotw.blogspot.com--a Sherlockian group I co-founded that meets in Janesville, Wisconsin, and am a founding member of The Cherry Street Irregulars, writers who gather (in groups of two or more) with laptops to create, critique, and support one another.
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2010/06/23

What is a Sherlockian?


  Artwork by Resa Haile
Based on a cover of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
which was clearly based on Basil Rathbone
 by Resa Haile

I am a Sherlockian. A Sherlockian is someone who studies the fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These stories are known to Sherlockians (who are called “Holmesians” in Britain) as the Canon.
Because Conan Doyle wrote these very quickly and didn’t really consider them serious literature, there are certain seeming contradictions in the stories. Sherlockians strive mightily to come up with copious theories to reconcile these contradictions. This is something fans of television series now do on the Internet every day. In fact, Sherlock Holmes was the subject of what might qualify as fanfiction before there officially was fanfiction.
Because Dr. Watson, who narrated most of the stories, did not tell the cases in order, another Sherlockian activity is the creation of a chronology, or timeline, for the tales. A Sherlockian might look for clues to the date of the case, such as Watson’s reference to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee (an anniversary of her reign), and then try to figure out which Jubilee it was.
There is also great debate over the number of times Watson was married, with some Sherlockians positing as many as six (which would lead one to wonder if Holmes’s old friend was Bluebeard) and some only one (with a separation for health reasons). The identity of Watson’s second wife (if there was one) is another subject for speculation.
The spaces between the stories allow writers to create their own Sherlock Holmes stories as well. Sherlock Holmes has met Dracula and Oscar Wilde, and faced off against Jack the Ripper (a few too many times). He has been frozen and revived in modern times (in two television pilots and a cartoon series). He has traveled through time. Every year, new novels and short stories appear featuring Sherlock Holmes, various other characters from the Conan Doyle tales, and relatives of Sherlock’s that we never knew existed, along with Sherlockian theory and criticism.
Groups of Sherlockians get together to discuss the Canon and put forth theories. The main organization is the Baker Street Irregulars in New York, and there are various scion societies across the country. One such scion society, The Notorious Canary Trainers, is located in Madison. I hope to eventually form a group in Janesville.
Sherlock Holmes lives, and Sherlockiana is one of my favorite pastimes.




This article was originally published in the December 2008 issue of Blackhawk Technical College's student newspaper, The BTC Flyer, under the title of Sherlockiana, along with the book list below. In early 2010, I met fellow Sherlockian Gayle Lange Puhl, and we co-founded The Original Tree Worshippers of Rock County, a Sherlock Holmes group based in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Original Tree Worshippers was a name I had carried in my head since the 'eighties for a possible scion, and I was very pleased that Gayle and the group agreed to use it. A modified version of this article appears on the OTW blog: http://rocksherlockotw.blogspot.com/, and you can find more information about our group there, as well as meeting minutes and other articles by members. Our Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Original-Tree-Worshippers-of-Rock-County/121545477857624 and Gayle's blog is http://www.cheeseheadintheuk.blogspot.com/




Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet
The Sign of Four
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
The Valley of Fear
His Last Bow
The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes

Some Sherlock Holmes Books by Other Authors
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
Exit Sherlock Holmes by Robert Lee Hall
Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D. Estleman
Prisoner of the Devil by Michael Hardwick
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Sabina Hall by L.B. Greenwood
Holmes and Watson by June Thomson
I, Sherlock Holmes by Michael Harrison
Ten Years Beyond Baker Street by Cay Van Ash
The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr
The Book of the Dead by Robert Richardson
A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin


2 comments:

  1. Superb post about Sherlockians :)

    Brett was a very masterly Holmes. The Granada series with Jeremy Brett is one of the best adaptations of Sherlock Holmes ever.

    Have you read the book "Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes" by David Stuart Davies. This book is a must read for fans of the Granada adaptation and/or Jeremy Brett.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. I have read *Bending the Willow* in its original incarnation but have not yet read the recent update (although it is on my wish list, definitely). A very interesting book.

    ReplyDelete

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