Weekly Forum: #51

From reading The Watsonian, I’ve learned new things about topics I’ve never considered before: the properties of honey, the city of Avignon, and 19th century homes, to name a few.

In the process of writing on Sherlockian topics, I’ve found myself knee-deep in research on radio dramas, Japanese author Natsume Soseki, and the history of early cinema.

What is the most interesting or unexpected topic you studied through the Sherlockian lens? What is a topic you may not have discovered if not for your enjoyment of the Canon?

Weekly Forum: #50

This week, our billiard friends from the Retired Beekeepers of Sussex released a free online copy of the latest volume of The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, which includes contributions from JHWS members “Pippin” and “Misty.” Bravo!

One of my favorite contributions to their volume is Basil’s illustrated essay, “Reading Holmes as a Trans Man.” I love it because the essay shares a view of the Canon that is not familiar to how I read the cases. In fact, seeing it through a different lens adds a new facet to my observations that I never considered before.

By reading through another Sherlockian’s perspective, we can encounter a fresh view of the Canon and observe new connections and ideas. I believe that is a big part of what makes The Watsonian such an exciting read.

So have you ever read a work related to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, or spoke to a fellow Sherlockian, and was surprised to see the Canon viewed and interpreted in a different way? What did you learn from the experience? Tell us about it!

Weekly Forum: #49

Although mischaracterized as unobservant, Dr Watson was an intelligent man who learned from Sherlock Holmes’ methods throughout the many years they worked together. In fact, there is an example of this in DEVI, where Dr Watson applies those methods of observation to keep pace his friend’s deductions:

“Mr. Holmes,” said the vicar in an agitated voice, “the most extraordinary and tragic affair has occurred during the night. It is the most unheard-of business. We can only regard it as a special Providence that you should chance to be here at the time, for in all England you are the one man we need.”

I glared at the intrusive vicar with no very friendly eyes; but Holmes took his pipe from his lips and sat up in his chair like an old hound who hears the view-halloa. He waved his hand to the sofa, and our palpitating visitor with his agitated companion sat side by side upon it. Mr. Mortimer Tregennis was more self-contained than the clergyman, but the twitching of his thin hands and the brightness of his dark eyes showed that they shared a common emotion.

“Shall I speak or you?” he asked of the vicar.

“Well, as you seem to have made the discovery, whatever it may be, and the vicar to have had it second-hand, perhaps you had better do the speaking,” said Holmes.

I glanced at the hastily clad clergyman, with the formally dressed lodger seated beside him, and was amused at the surprise which Holmes’s simple deduction had brought to their faces.

Can you find other moments in the Canon where Dr Watson uses Holmes’ methods of observation?

Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 4

Jim French Productions Presents Imagination Theater produces hundreds of contemporary radio dramas and mysteries, such as “The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” John Patrick Lowrie plays Sherlock Holmes and Larry Albert (JHWS “Bertie”) plays Dr John Watson in the popular radio series.

This part of the interview is the conclusion of our discussion. Please read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you haven’t yet.

Continue reading “Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 4”

Weekly Forum: #48

This week’s discussion topic is from our friend “Willow.” Thank you!

As the holiday season gets under way, are there any Sherlockian motifs that are part of your holiday traditions?

Fall 2015 Publications

Fall BooksI am very happy and relieved to announce that your Fall volumes of The Watsonian and The Fiction Series are traveling to your mailbox as we speak.

I sincerely apologize for the delay. I will speak with our printer/distributor to find how best to move the books out faster. If you do not receive your copy of the above volumes in two weeks, then please contact me so that I may help sort out the matter for you.

I hope you will enjoy them!

Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 3

Jim French Productions Presents Imagination Theater produces hundreds of contemporary radio dramas and mysteries, such as “The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” John Patrick Lowrie plays Sherlock Holmes and Larry Albert (JHWS “Bertie”) plays Dr John Watson in the popular radio series.

This interview is a continuation of our discussion in Part 1 and Part 2.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Continue reading “Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 3”

Weekly Forum #47

There’s a “new” book out titled Sherlock: The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures which collects 19 famous cases that the BBC Sherlock creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, view as essential reading.

If you’re like me, you’re not particularly interested in this book because you already own at least half a dozen different versions of the complete Sherlock Holmes canon (How did I end up with so many versions? How much is too much?). However, I did find their listing of 19 “essential” stories interesting. Here is the list of stories that they selected for the book:

A Study In Scarlet
The Sign of Four
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
Silver Blaze
The Yellow Face
The Musgrave Ritual
The Greek Interpreter
The Final Problem
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Empty House
Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
The Adventure of the Dying Detective

(This reminds me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s selection of 19 stories.)

So! If you were going to put together a collection of “essentials” or if you were about to offer a selection for a friend to read the Canon for the first time, would you agree with the above list?

If you don’t agree with the list, what ones would you replace and what have they overlooked?

In Memory of Tom Leahy, JHWS “Travis”

We announce with great sadness the passing Tom Leahy, JHWS “Travis” in September of this year. He was not only one of our own, but he was also an active and popular member of scion societies in the New Jersey area and was noted for his vast and wide-ranging knowledge of all sorts of subjects, including Sherlock Holmes. An excellent artist, he drew full color illustrations of stories from the Canon. As JHWS “Willow” added when he informed us of his passing, “He was also friendly, funny, and enthusiastic… Everyone liked and respected Tom.”

What follows is the obituary of Tom Leahy, as prepared by his brother Pat and sent to us. Our deepest sympathies to Pat and all of Tom’s family for their loss. We wish to stand upon the terrace one last time and reflect on the passing of a good man, a skilled artist, and a fellow Watsonian who will be greatly missed…

Thomas Francis Leahy

January 29, 1952- September 6, 2015

Born: Margaret Hague Hospital, Jersey City, NJ

Oldest son of Thomas & Nora Leahy, Brothers, Patrick, Timothy & Sister, Nora

Tom attended Epiphany School of Cliffside Park & Central Boulevard School of Palisades Park.

Graduated from Bergen Tech High School, Hackensack, NJ and after joined the Navy. Was honorably discharged due to Medical Reasons.

Worked in the United States Postal Service for 34 years and retired in 2006. Tom resided in Teaneck, NJ with his mother, who just recently passed away on March 9, 2015.

Tom had many interest and talents. He was a brilliant guitar player as well as the piano. All self-taught. A masterful artist, avid photographer and an expert on movies and film and a wiz at Jeopardy.

He was a collector of all kinds of memorabilia.

He was buried in his favorite Beatie shirt with a pin on the pillow that said the game is afoot.

Tom belonged to numerous clubs and organizations.

No one took better care of his Mom then he did. Now they are together again. He will be greatly missed.

Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 2

Jim French Productions Presents Imagination Theater produces hundreds of contemporary radio dramas and mysteries, such as “The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” John Patrick Lowrie plays Sherlock Holmes and Larry Albert (JHWS “Bertie”) plays Dr John Watson in the popular radio series.

This interview is a continuation of our discussion in Part 1.

Continue reading “Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 2”

Weekly Forum #46

I have plans to visit the London and Brighton area from January 18th to February 1st next year. I’ve never been to London before and do not know what to expect.

Have you ever been to (or lived in) London? Did you happen to meet any fellow Watsonians or have particularly Sherlockian experiences while you were there? Please share.

Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 1

Earlier this year, while attending Sherlock Seattle 2015, I had a rare and wonderful opportunity to meet two living legends of Sherlockian radio: John Patrick Lowrie and Larry Albert (JHWS “Bertie”), the voices of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson for Imagination Theater.

Jim French Productions Presents Imagination Theater produces hundreds of contemporary radio dramas and mysteries, such as the “Harry Nile” noir detective series, “Kerides, the Thinker”, and of course “The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”

When I met with John Patrick Lowrie (a well-known voice actor who plays Sherlock Holmes in the radio series and is the author of “Dancing with Eternity“) and Larry Albert (who plays Dr John Watson, produces for Jim French Productions, and also stars as Harry Nile in the eponymous radio series), we spoke for an hour about the nature of Holmes and Watson on the radio, the history of radio drama, and a great deal more.

I’ve transcribed our discussion for your to enjoy. But since it is a lengthy one, I will present it in four parts: one part every Thursday for the next four weeks. I hope it entertains you as much as speaking with these two fellows entertained me.

Continue reading “Interview Series: Imagination Theater Part 1”

Update on our dear “Chips”

I spoke with his spouse today and “Chips” seems to be recovering well, though it will likely take time. I’ve checked to confirm with her that it would be alright to share the following address with all of you if you wish to send him your warm regards and wish him well:

Ron Lies
Kindred Acute Care Hospital
1920 High St
Denver CO 80218

Chips, if you happen to visit and read this, please know that we all support you and hope you feel better soon.

Weekly Forum #45

The Baker Street Irregulars recently announced the details of their upcoming BSI Weekend to celebrate the 162nd birthday of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve never been before, but I actually plan to fly to NYC and attend a few of the surrounding events happening January 13-16, 2015, such as the ASH Dinner or the Christopher Morley Walk. Will anyone be attending? I’d love it if I could meet other Watsonians there as well.

So, have you ever attended the BSI Weekend? Please share your experiences with us.

Billiards With Thurston: The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex

On behalf of our Editor-in-Chief “Pippin” and myself, a new feature we are excited to announce for The Watsonian is “Billiards with Thurston” – wherein we reach out to other Sherlockian societies to learn more about them and share in their interests. By doing so, we gain the benefit of learning more about our fellow Sherlockians, deepening ties with the wider Sherlockian world, and encountering perspectives that would otherwise be unknown to us.

On this very first occasion, our visiting friends are one of the newest Sherlockian societies in existence (yes, even younger than us): The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex

The “Billiards with Thurston” feature will include an interview and a guest submission to The Watsonian, a short story titled “The Tenderness of Patient Minds,” as you will see once the Fall 2015 volume reaches your mailbox soon.

Only a portion of the interview appears in the volume, so I am presenting here the full interview between myself and one of the co-founders of The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex: Elinor Gray, JHWS “Misty.”

Who are the Retired Beekeepers of Sussex?

The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex are an all inclusive, queer-run, LGBTQIA+ Sherlock Holmes enthusiast group. Run by Basil (aka ghostbees), Elinor (JHWS “Misty”), and Michele (aka neverwhere), the group meets monthly on Sundays at a pub in Brighton, England, to discuss the Sherlock Holmes canon, favourite adaptations, various issues relevant to the stories, and current events in the Sherlockian world. Members have also started volunteering to give short talks on the monthly topic, which have been splendid so far, and can be read at our website (retiredbeekeepers.tumblr.com).

What inspired the creation of your society and how did it form?

The creation of the Beekeepers arose from a desire to have a local and queer-friendly Holmes group in Sussex: an appropriate place for a society because it is, of course, where Holmes is reported to have retired. We also wanted a group that met with more frequently than the SHSL, because we believe getting together often with fellow Sherlockians for a drink and a chat is beneficial to our collective health. We came up with the name last, which seems silly at this point, because what else could a Brighton-based group call itself? We are proud members of #teamsussex, ascribing to the notion that Holmes and Watson retired together to keep bees and bicker long into their golden years.

What sort of activities does your society engage in?

Alongside our monthly meetings, we have held a field trip to Beachy Head for a walk along the Sussex Downs, and we have also published the first issue of our hopefully-biannual journal, The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture. The topic of the first issue is “First Encounters;” the topic of the second issue, which is now accepting submissions, is “Queerness in Holmesiana.” Going forward, we are planning a Halloween Hound of the Baskervilles movie night, and a “Blue Carbuncle” themed holiday get-together.

The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex is one of the newest Sherlockian societies to form. Were there any unexpected challenges for you and your co-founders?

Finding a place to meet was our first biggest hurdle. We knew we’d have no trouble building an online presence, but with a budget of £0 we had to search for a place to meet that was both accessible from the train station (and therefore relatively easy to find) as well available for free. Societies are, of course, run by volunteer enthusiasm, so we have to be smart about where and how to spend our limited resources. Michele, one of our Head Bees, found us a lovely meeting spot in the private side of a local gay pub, and they let us have it for a few hours for the price of a few drinks.

After several gatherings and the first society publication, what you learned from the experience so far?

Running a society is a lot of work! We come up with a new poster design every month, and write several newsletter emails between meetings: one before to let everyone know the theme, and one after to recap the meeting. The latter is always more work than the former. But it’s also easier than expected, in that people actually show up and get involved, and we haven’t had to beg or wheedle anyone to give a talk, and submissions for the journal came in relatively smoothly. It’s also a lot of fun; organising topics, planning media, and getting together with Sherlockians is infinitely rewarding.

The ongoing discussion on Sherlock Holmes spans several decades and there is an immense variety of viewpoints that have taken part to discuss every conceivable element of the Canon and the many adaptations, considering how often we’ve speculated on the Great Hiatus and even the nature of Dr Watson’s bullpup. Is the queer point of view relatively new, to your knowledge? Or have there been notable Sherlockian discussions in the past from this perspective?

Discussions of a queer Holmes have certainly arisen before now, but they’re rarely taken seriously by “serious” Sherlock Holmes scholars, and “the gay question” has often been played for laughs. There are several published Holmes pastiches with queer elements, but they’re either not written by dedicated Holmesians, not written in earnest, or not taken seriously upon publication. Likewise, there have been articles in “classic” publications, such as the BSJ and the SHJ, that consider a queer interpretation, but they’ve never been written by an (openly) queer-identifying person, and they don’t often conclude that the reading is a valid one . We’re actually pretty confused that a deliberately queer Holmesian society hasn’t been formed before now (perhaps it has, but we haven’t found one, and if so we’d love to know about it), but we’re not particularly surprised.

Published pastiches:

  • The Sexual Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Larry Townsend, 1971 – this one is rubbish, don’t read it
  • My Dearest Holmes, Rohase Piercy, 1988 – cute and very repressed; we hope to interview Rohase for our “Queerness” journal issue
  • Kissing Sherlock Holmes, T. D. McKinney & Terry Wylis, 2011 – written by people who seemed to be jumping on the Holmes bandwagon without a lot of background experience in Holmes
  • A Study in Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes, anthology, 2011 – an interesting attempt, but seems to be centered around the shock value of queerness rather than presenting itself as a serious exploration of queer characters
  • Elementary Erotica, anthology, 2011 – mostly Holmes/Watson erotica, one Holmes/Irene piece at the very end, all done with affection for the source material
  • Compound a Felony: A Queer Affair of Sherlock Holmes, Elinor Gray, 2015 – written for an audience familiar with the Holmes stories and able to pick up on references and asides, but not at all focused on mysteries and cases

Other resources:

Does gathering as an LGBTQIA+ group open up new avenues of Sherlockian discourse, or are discussions similar to other Sherlockian gatherings that you’ve experienced?

The discussions, for the most part, follow similar patterns to those at other Sherlockian gatherings that I’ve attended. We argue about adaptations, talk about motivations, and listen to radio snippets or watch TV or movie clips. But we want to talk about queer issues, so we talk about queer issues. Because the door is already opened to queerness in the discussions, sexuality and identity do come up more often than they usually do at other formal Sherlockian dinners.

Does being a part of “Team Sussex” (i.e. maintaining that Holmes and Watson retired together) call into question Dr Watson’s credibility as a biographer?

I would say yes, but Watson himself admits to alterations, cover-ups, and name changes to protect the innocent (or not-so-). Our own “Pippin” wrote his monograph about Watson’s early publishing career, and in it discusses the way that because the stories were written during the Hiatus, Holmes would not have been actually bringing up Watson’s previous publications, but that Watson is putting words into his mouth to remind his reader that there are other stories to purchase and read. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d adjusted the truth to fit the story. He’s a professional liar and manipulator of facts, even if his intentions are good, and there’s no reason he couldn’t move to Sussex with Holmes and simply tell his audience they had drifted apart. In fact, that falsehood would have been the safest option to protect their reputation and their privacy.

As our first guest society to be featured in the Watsonian, your group selected “The Tenderness of Patient Minds.” How do you feel this chosen story will be of interest both to the Watsonians and to the Retired Beekeepers?

“The Tenderness of Patient Minds” is a story I (Elinor) wrote originally for submission to MX Publishing’s New Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories. I’d been in touch with the editor before I submitted it and he was initially excited about my participation, but then when he read what I’d produced he essentially deemed it too gay for the collection. He asked me to remove the references to Holmes and Watson living together in retirement and sharing a life, and I refused. I could understand why the story I’d written wouldn’t fit in among all the others, but there were two main reasons I didn’t want to make such deep cuts. Firstly, I believed those elements were what made the course of the story logical: Holmes and Watson’s relationship, explicitly a romantic one, contributes to Holmes’s reason in passing the case on to Watson, and Watson’s motivation to finish the job and come home. Secondly, my queer interpretation of the Holmes/Watson partnership isn’t something I care to compromise on, even to make an editor happy: to jettison it in the name of a “traditional” pastiche is inauthentic to my own queerness and my reading of the canon, and to equate “traditional” with “non-romantic” is problematic. I offered it then to The Watsonian because I knew the JHWS, being only slightly older a society than mine, was open to giving a platform to an interpretation that often goes ignored or belittled.

So, to get back on track, I feel this story represents what the Retired Beekeepers of Sussex are all about, both superficially and more deeply. On the surface, it’s a story about a South Downs beekeeper who refuses a case on the grounds that he is retired from detecting, and sends his trusted companion, conveniently his husband, in his stead. Underneath, the form of the story as a traditional pastiche with queer elements underscores the way the queer interpretation of the canon doesn’t require a great deal of squinting or hand-waving. The Holmes/Watson romance, while integral, is incidental: this is both a detective story and a story about a detective. It has a few noteworthy elements: it takes place after the Great War and deals with some of the new medical and social issues of that era; it gives Watson the stage to bring about the mystery’s solution; and it celebrates the core of the Holmes stories’ popularity, which is the unbreakable partnership of the detective and his biographer.


I hope you enjoyed the interview and that you will also enjoy their guest submission to The Watsonian: The Tenderness of Patient Minds. Due to an invitation from Don Libey “Buttons” from very early this year, “Misty” and fellow co-founder of the RBS, Basil, agreed to present a story for the Spring 2016  edition of The Fiction Series and we look forward to that as well.

For our next “Billiards with Thurston,” we have extended an invitation to Uno Studio in Holmes, the Sherlock Holmes Society of Italy,  to join us for a friendly game and a warm chat. You can look forward to learning more about them in our Spring 2016 volume of The Watsonian.

Our dear “Chips”

I am sad to report that our dear Chips is not feeling his best at the moment.

I last spoke with Ron Lies JHWS “Chips” about a month ago to help him prepare his regular “Chip’s Tid Bits” posts for the site. I anticipated hearing from him again soon to prepare for November, but when I didn’t, I did my best to contact him and I was able to speak with his very lovely wife, Mary.

His health took a poor turn recently, but she is hopeful that he is on the path to recovery. I’m very saddened to hear this news, as Chips’ enthusiasm for the Canon is inspiring and it hurts to know he is not feeling well. I relayed a message through her to Chips that we all hope for his safe recovery, that our prayers are with him, and that we shall be here when he feels better.

Until that time, the “Tid Bits” section of our site will be on hiatus so that he may rest without additional worry. I pray that our dear Chips will recover well.

Weekly Forum #44

Please note: Since those who submit to The Watsonian retain the ownership of their own works, if your work is going to appear in the Fall 2015 volume and you would like a pdf copy of your submission (for your portfolio, records, or simply to print out and give to friends), please e-mail me and I’ll send you a file of your work as how it appears in the actual printed volume.

Related to that topic… what is an essay or story in a Sherlockian publication that you’ve read that you would recommend as essential reading?



Weekly Forum #43

A surprise gift and a discussion topic today!

The upcoming volumes of the Watsonian and the Fiction Series are currently printing and getting ready for distribution. I’m looking forward to everyone receiving them in the mail!

One contribution I’m looking forward to is “Long-Lost Watson: Edward Fielding in William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes” by Jon Lellenberg, JHWS “Towser.” It is quite a nice write up in response to the Gillette film that was recovered and brought to theaters this year. I wrote a personal essay to accompany Towser’s piece and submitted it to The Watsonian to be featured with his.

However… on this occasion, we decided to be more strict on the page count and we had to make some difficult last minute decisions to move a few pieces to the Spring 2016 volume. In the process, I chose to cut out my essay. It won’t be featured in next year’s volumes, but Pippin suggested that we make it available for free. So I hope you enjoy a sample of our upcoming volume. Here’s the link:

“A Day at the Movies” – A free sample of The Watsonian for Fall 2015

On a related topic: This week’s forum was suggested by Willow. Thank you!

Have you seen the Gillette Film? What do you think of Edward Fielding as Dr Watson?

Interview Series: JHWS “Pippin”

It’s been a little while since my last interview, but I’ll see about increasing the rate of occurrence from now on. On this occasion, now that we can take a breath of relief that the Fall volume is going to the printers, I’ve spoken with our Editor-in-Chief of The Watsonian, as well as our other JHWS publications: James O’Leary “Pippin.”

Carla Buttons: Please tell us about yourself and how you became a Watsonian.

Pippin: As my personal biography is a bit less interesting than watching paint dry, I’ll concentrate on how I became a Watsonian. While Sherlock Holmes is, and has been, a cultural icon since first appearing in the Strand Magazine, and I do remember seeing Mr. Magoo’s Hound of the Baskervilles, Daffy Duck in Deduce, You Say on TV, and reading the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries—“America’s Sherlock Holmes in sneaker”—starting in the fourth grade, my first introduction to Holmes and Watson was reading Hound in the sixth grade—then still a part of elementary school. Some of the language was a bit over my head at the time. But in junior high the library had an old library-bound copy of The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

When I got to the coffee—or whatever—stained pages at the finish “The Final Problem”, I could believe that they were the tears of past generations of readers reacting to the death of Holmes. My high school library had a copy of the Baring-Gould Annotated and I discovered the complete Canon and Higher Criticism. I became something of a Sherlockian Fundamentalist. I refused to watch the Rathbone/Bruce movies because they were set in the 1940s, refused to see The Seven Per-Cent Solution because Watson was played by an American, refused to see Young Sherlock Holmes because the movie made them school chums, eschewed Granada series on PBS in the late 80’s after my first viewing because it was “The Greek Interpreter” and while the first half to the teleplay was very close to the story, the second half went very far afield, with action-hero Mycroft clapping a gun to a villain’s head and especially making Sophie Kratides a participant instead of a victim of Latimer and Kemp’s machinations. That was, I felt, such a violation of the character, all for the sake of a semi-Canonical crack from Brett about the untrustworthiness of woman, so that I stayed away from the show for years. I’ve mellowed since then and I now can watch and enjoy the cinematic Holmes and even find worth in some not-so-great offerings.

At the same time, high school coincided with the Great Boom of the ‘70s, so after finishing the Canon for the first time and hungering for more of Holmes’ adventures, I sought out pastiche and Higher Criticism. I read a lot of pastiche for about fifteen or so years and still very much enjoy August Derleth’s Solar Pons series, Robert L. Fish’s Schlock Holes parodies, Nicholas Meyer for capturing the Watson style so seemingly effortlessly, Richard Boyer’s The Giant Rat of Sumatra, Michael Hardwick’s Holmes and Watson “autobiographies” and a few others, but after a while the bad pastiches outnumbered the good and even Doyle on a bad day is better than 85 percent of the pastiches published.

Another factor that lead to a dramatic decrease in pastiche-reading for me is the fact that, no matter how well written or plotted or how fascinatingly they explore the personas of Holmes and Watson, they are not canon. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson exist in only 56 short stories and four novels and nowhere else. One may enjoy the Holmes and Watson of, say, BBC Sherlock or the Mary Russell series or the Granada series but they are simulacra. The Sherlockian world is a wide one and I would never deny anyone from the pleasures they find in any corner of it, and in fact you may see me in some obscure frontier from time to time, but a drawing of Benedict Cumberbatch is no more a picture of Sherlock Holmes that a drawing of William Gillette is, even if it is by Fredric Dorr Steele. There must be a definition of what is Sherlock Holmes and that can only be the 60 stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

My first subscription to a scholarly journal was the Baker Street Miscellanea, which in its 76 or so issues is, in my opinion, one of the greatest Sherlockian journals ever to be published. I also subscribed to the Sherlock Holmes Journal and the Baker Street Journal. Over the years, my subscription to the last two have lapsed at times due to financial fluctuations, but I’ve always maintained my interest in the Canon and Higher Criticism.

When I got on the internet in 2011, I encountered an area of Greater Sherlockiana I was only dimly aware of. As I explored and gradually participated in it, I came across a post in Brad Keefauver’s Sherlock Peoria about Don Libey and 221B Cellars and in exploring found out about the John H. Watson Society and decided to join. I only knew Don for a short time through emails but the mark he left on the Sherlockian world cannot be understated.

Earlier this year, you were invited to become our Editor-in-Chief. What were your thoughts at the time?

“My God, can they really be that desperate?”

(Carla Buttons: In response, my dear Pippin, I can only say, “The answer is obvious.”)

How do you feel about the position and its responsibilities now?

While it is work, I have such a great amount of help from such talented Sherlockians that I’m having a blast. I hope that comes through the Fall issue. At the same time the responsibilities are huge and I’m very aware of them and fortunately, I’m not alone. One of those responsibilities is to see the JHWS and The Watsonian survive and thrive after the passing of Buttons. The JHWS is a part of his legacy, but it is more. It is the spirit and camaraderie of diverse individuals coming together emulating the friendship of Holmes and Watson, and their many positive attributes, which are the best of what humanity has to offer, while acknowledging those flaws that make them human and three-dimensional.

What would you like to see in future John H Watson Society publications?

Before the tenth anniversary of the JHWS, I can see us putting out a hardcover volumes of scholarly works on John H. Watson that would rival anything put out by the BSI, SHSL or such past masters of editorship as Edgar W. Smith, Vincent Starrett or Michael Harrison and be of value to many generations of Sherlockians and Watsonians—the talent pool of the society is that great. But really, the immediate goal is to keep the JHWS going and goings strong and to make the Watsonian one of the top magazines of Sherlockiana out today. If the Fall 2015 issue gets even one lapsed Watsonian to renew their membership or one new Watsonian to join us, I would consider the issue a success. Please, we welcome input. It’s your society, let us know what you’d like to see.

What have you learned so far from putting together The Watsonian?

“Education, Gregson, education. Still seeking knowledge at the old university.” Sherlock Holmes has been my hobby for over thirty years and I still feel like a newbie. Not because I don’t know much, but that there is still so much more to learn. Sherlockiana encompasses the whole breathe of human knowledge and experience, science, medicine, history, politics, economics, music, the arts, psychology, forensics—things that are universal and still relevant today—and no matter how long someone been engaged in the hobby, they have something to teach us, something of value to impart, if only they would share it. I feel privileged working with everyone who helped with the magazine, no matter how small a part they think they played; it was in fact enormous.