- "The Red-Headed League"
MIKE is leading. REDH is always a fan favorite, whether because of the ridiculous premise or the gullible victim, Jabez Wilson. Even Holmes and Watson couldn't contain themselves and comported themselves most unprofessionally when they guffawed in Wilson's face. We do see Holmes in top form, especially in the set piece where he "deciphers" his client. And it is the story that gives us the "three-pipe problem". ACD placed the story on his 1927 list of twelve favorites. Thrifty Scot that he was, he re-used the basic plot just a year and a half later in "The Stockbroker's Clerk", collected in the Memoirs. REDH was the fourth Canonical story. It appeared in the Strand in August 1891, then was collected in the Adventures which was published in October 1892 in both the UK and the US, albeit by different publishing houses, but both used the Paget illustrations from the Strand. There have been six film adaptation and many radio versions. Granada filmed a good, fairly Canonical version in 1985, the second season, when David Burke was still playing Watson. They took the liberty of throwing Moriarty into the mix as the mastermind behind the crime perpetrated by his protégé, John Clay. It doesn't really hurt the production and set up "The Final Problem" nicely.
- "CluedUpp" team detective game played across the city
Let's solve a murder! Here's the event description. If we fill the team roster of six players, there's a wait list. Wait listers can decide whether they want to wait for another six people to sign up or to go with a smaller team (which would mean more $ per person). Someone from the wait list would have to be responsible for buying the team ticket and then collecting the cash from other team members. "CluedUpp is the British detective game that's just like a giant, outdoor version of the board game Clue - and it's happening in Phoenix, AZ on the 6th April 2019. The Phoenix version of the game is called "Sneaky Finders" and is set in the fictitious town of Millingham. Your team of detectives will be tasked with cracking the case as you stalk the streets, tracking down virtual witnesses and eliminating suspects. The Details What: A giant detective adventure played all across town! Where: Downtown Phoenix, AZ When: 6th April 2019 Start Time: Between 10am and 1pm - Finish before 5pm Cost: $46 per team of up to six adults [NOTE: if we have a team of six, that's just $7.67 per person!] "To play, you'll need: - A team of detectives (at least 2 but up to 6 players per team) - Access to a Smartphone (Android or iOS compatible) - A fantastically clever team name - Awesome Sneaky Finders / 1920’s inspired fancy dress (dressing up is optional but good fun!) "Depending on how good a detective team you are, the event will last anywhere between 1 and 4 hours - but the average squad of detectives take around 2 hours 20 minutes to solve the crime. "Prizes Awarded To: - Fastest team - Best fancy dress (Sneaky Finders / 1920’s inspired) - Best team picture - Best team name - Best little detective (kids prize) - Best K-9 detective (dogs prize) CluedUpp murder-mysteries unfold virtually, via an award-winning app and the game is entirely self-guided. Over 100 detective teams are expected to take part on the day." They don't announce the starting location until shortly before the event, but it will probably be downtown somewhere. https://www.cluedupp.com/phoenix.html
- "The Crooked Man"
Beth Cervantes is the leader. "The Crooked Man" was published in the Strand in July 1893 and collected in the Memoirs. Doyle put CROO 15th on his list of 19 favorite SH stories. It's a sad tale of long-lost loves, betrayal, and cruelty. It is fairly reliably dated to about August 1889, as events during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 are key plot points and Watson begins the tale "one summer night, a few months after my marriage". I was surprised to see that the story was filmed just twice. There is the 1984 Granada adaptation, quite faithful to the text, and a 1923 film starring Eille Norwood. The radiography is also sparse, with only four productions from 1930 to 1992, including the 1940 Rathbone version. As usual: to avoid duplication, please post what you're bringing for snacks.
- "The Hound of the Baskervilles"
[NOTE THE CHANGE IN VENUE! Please be prepared to order food at Panera, as they require it for us to reserve the back room.] For February and March, we will discuss the (arguably) most famous Canonical tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles. HOUN is one of the most famous mysteries ever written, but it is as much a gothic horror tale. In 2003, the book was listed as # 128 of 200 on the BBC's The Big Read poll of the UK's "best-loved novel." In 1999, it was listed as the top Holmes novel and given a perfect rating of 100 by various Sherlockian scholars. Not all have agreed that HOUN was Holmes' finest hour. Pierre Bayard's 2010 book, "Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of The Hound of the Baskervilles", is a dissenting opinion. As you can imagine, the Sherlockian world was in an uproar over his claims, but the book is quite entertaining. Since 1914, there have been 31 film or TV adaptations, including several in animation, from the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. Non-English versions have come from Japan, India (Bengali), Italy, and from several incarnations of Germany, from the Weimar Republic (1920) through Nazi Germany (1939) to West Germany (1955). There are also two Russian adaptations. The first was in 1971, and the later in 1981 starred the classic duo of Limanov as Holmes and Solomin as Watson. Then, of course, we are fortunate to have Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke in the 1988 Granada version.
- Sherlock's 164th Birthday and "The Naval Treaty"
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Our annual potluck lunch to celebrate The Great Detective's birth will feature a discussion of another of the four Mycroft tales, The Naval Treaty (led by James). As last year, we will exchange Secret Sherlock gifts, with the rule of no magnifying glasses or coffee mugs. Price range should be no more than $25. (Lots of fun things are on etsy and ebay, and check out theliterarygiftcompany.com.) You can also get creative, as Susan did last year with the honey. Please post what you'll be bringing on https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e054aa9a82cabf58-potluck. Gary, you're on coffee detail, of course. If you know you'll be running late, don't sign up for appetizers, please! (just sayin'). Note that with lunch and discussion, we tend to run long, so plan to be festive until at least 5 or 6 pm, and if anyone is up for a game of "Moriarty's Web", maybe longer!
- Holiday party/book signing at The Poisoned Pen
Historical Fiction Holiday Party with Egyptian Christmas Cookies and more! (And I must say, The Pen employees are excellent bakers.) Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger will sign "For the Sake of the Game, Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon". Release date Dec. 4. Dana Stabenow signs "Death of an Eye", the first book of The Eye of Isis, a series set in the reign of Cleopatra. Release date Dec. 6. Laurie King will also sign "Island of the Mad", in case you missed the pre-launch signing event for this latest installment in the Mary Russell - Sherlock Holmes series. Already released. Les Klinger will also sign "Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s", described as "a riveting collection of five of the most famous crime novels of the 1920s, presenting anew some of the most admired authors of the era―with insightful annotations by the Edgar-winning anthologist Leslie S. Klinger". Release date Oct. 3.
- The Blue Carbuncle
Mike is the leader. It is fortuitous that our schedule should put BLUE in December, yet here we are. BLUE is, of course, famous as the Sherlockian Christmas story, although Watson's first sentence begins the adventure on December 27th. Holmes gives a virtuoso performance in deduction with a battered old billycock as his subject. The hat was found with a magnificent goose, both having been dropped during a street fracas and brought round to Holmes by Peterson, the commissionaire. The latter's wife makes an astonishing discovery as she is preparing the goose for the oven, and off we go. BLUE was the 9th Canonical story. Its first UK appearance was in the January 1892 Strand; in the US, several newspapers published it, also in January. Which to me rather deflates the Christmas angle. Yet the spirit of the season moves Holmes to one of his fits of compassion, and God bless us, every one. The Granada adaptation is quite good. There are two other English film versions with Eille Norwood (1923) and Peter Cushing (1968), as well as a full dozen radio adaptations. Monica Schmidt notes in "About Sixty: Why Every Sherlock Holmes Story is the Best" that BLUE is "a nuanced mystery, with an increasingly complicated protagonist, that is fun and interesting at multiple levels of analysis". What more could one want for Christmas?