On March 5th…

Illustration by Richard Gutschmidt (1902)

March 5, 1881: Stangerson found stabbed to death at Halliday’s Private Hotel. [STUD]

He stood in the centre of the room, fumbling nervously with his hat and uncertain what to do.

“This is a most extraordinary case,” he said at last – “a most incomprehensible affair.”

“Ah, you find it so, Mr. Lestrade!” cried Gregson, triumphantly. “I thought you would come to that conclusion. Have you managed to find the secretary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson?”

“The secretary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson,” said Lestrade gravely, “was murdered at Halliday’s Private Hotel about six o’clock this morning.”

Illustration by Richard Gutschmidt (1906)

March 5, 1881: An old “crone” retrieved the woman’s wedding ring advertised as “found” in the ad placed by Holmes. [STUD]

At my summons, instead of the man of violence whom we expected, a very old and wrinkled woman hobbled into the apartment. She appeared to be dazzled by the sudden blaze of light, and after dropping a curtsy, she stood blinking at us with her bleared eyes and fumbling in her pocket with nervous shaky fingers. I glanced at my companion, and his face had assumed such a disconsolate expression that it was all I could do to keep my countenance.

By Hope’s own admission, this person was not Jefferson Hope, so who was she or he? Hope took the secret with him to the hereafter. Any ideas out there?

A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI

On March 4th… Meet the Irregulars

Sherlock Holmes approached the body, and, kneeling down, examined it intently.

As he spoke, his nimble fingers were flying here, there, and everywhere, feeling, pressing, unbuttoning, examining, while his eyes wore the same far-away expression which I have already remarked upon. So swiftly was the examination made, that one would hardly have guessed the minuteness with which it was conducted. Finally, he sniffed the dead man’s lips, and then glanced at the soles of his patent leather boots. [STUD]

[Illustration by George Wylie Hutchinson for the Ward, Lock, Bowden, & Co 1891 edition of A Study in Scarlet]

March 4, 1881: Drebber was poisoned and died. The body was found in an abandoned flat. A woman’s wedding ring was found there. A German word written in BLOOD was found on a wall. What happened?

Illustration by Richard Gutschmidt (1902)

March 4, 1881: Watson met the Baker Street Irregulars

“What on earth is this?” I cried, for at this moment there came the pattering of many steps in the hall and on the stairs, accompanied by audible expressions of disgust upon the part of our landlady.

“It’s the Baker Street division of the detective police force,” said my companion gravely; and as he spoke there rushed into the room half a dozen of the dirtiest and most ragged street arabs that ever I clapped eyes on.

A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI


On March 3rd… The Americans Take Their Leave

“Poor Alice was so frightened that she shrunk away from him, but he caught her by the wrist and endeavoured to draw her towards the door.”

March 3, 1881: Businessmen Drebber and Stangerson bid adieu to Madame Charpentier. [STUD]
This according to one version.

The illustration at right is by George Wylie Hutchinson from the Ward, Lock, Bowden, & Co 1891 edition of A Study in Scarlet.

Intriguing way to say good-bye. If the reader does not remember the details, It could be a good time to reread the story.

A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI

Posted by Chips aka Ron for whom the Game is always Afoot and Selena Buttons, Co-Columnists

Mixed Teams in the Canon, or Crime Is an Equal Opportunity Employer

[After last week’s Forum topic of “Villainesses, Adventuresses, and Other Canonical Women“, Ron Lies (JHWS “Chips”) sent this paper he wrote a couple of years ago for further consideration. Please do add your thoughts in the comments! –Selena Buttons]

Morton Lowry and Wendy Barrie as the Stapletons in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

A question posted on the Welcome Holmes discussion site started it all. “Isn’t it rare in the Canon to have a male and female act jointly for a criminal purpose?”

I came up with the following list and added some of my thoughts about the pairings. What is a team? The first definition I come to is a group of people banded together to accomplish a common goal. But can a group of people with different reasons for being in that group be called a team? Can someone be forced by fear or blackmail to be in that group be a member of such a team? I say yes, how about you dear reader? Let me know what you think? I would welcome your thoughts along with any pairing I missed.

Teams Consisting of One Male and One Female

1. My first pairing is Barney and Susan Stockdale in 3GAB. From the words of their employer in this case “They are good hounds who run silent.”—- “They will take what comes to them. “That is what they are paid for.”, All 3 of the above quotes are from Isadora Klein, their current employer. I shudder to have be the target of their services or have crossed their Employer.

2. Next is Mr. Jethro Rucastle and his second wife in COPP. This odious couple is working for the same purpose and result. A father and a stepmother working against the father’s own daughter. What will their son turn to be with such parental figures to look up to?

3. Our third team is the butler Brunton and Rachel Howells in MUSG. This duo could be proof of the old adage “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned”. Or was the outcome of the case a tragic accident? I find it hard to feel sympathy for Brunton. Yet Brunton feeling his life dying with each breath he takes, so horrible!

4. Anna Sergius (wife of Sergius/Professor Corum) and the unnamed second secretary of Professor Corum, in GOLD. He was an agent of a private detective firm who provided Anna with what she needed to break into the Professor’s. Then the unnamed agent quit before he was involved any further in Anna’s plot. So she is forced to go into the Professor’s on her own. Blind so to speak.

5. There is Anna Sergius and Professor Corum, in GOLD. They acted together to hide Anna from discovery by Holmes and The authorities. They hated each other and wanted the other dead but they acted together for a common purpose, I wonder what would have happened if they would deceived Holmes and Authorities who have left Professor and Anna alone to their own devices.
Anna Sergius is one for which it can be said that she was in the wrong places at the wrong times. She strikes me as a female Joe Btfsplk: The world’s worst Jinx (Check out the Cartoon strip Li’l Abner by Al Capp for background)

6. In the HOUN, we have Beryl Garcia, aka Vandeleur, aka Stapleton. In addition, there is Jack Baskerville aka, Vandeleur aka Stapleton.
Beryl composed and sent the letter warning Sir Henry not to go to Baskerville Hall. She tries to warn who she thought was Sir Henry on the moor. Beryl seems not to be a willing participant yet she is willing to risk her life to warn a stranger?

7. Sir George Burnwell and Mary Holder are next, in the Beryl Coronet. Here are a combination of the wolf and the sheep. They are one of the best examples I know of love being blind.

8. A mean team is James Ryder and Catherine Cusack, in BLUE. To do the crime and try to pin it on an innocent party and at Christmas time! They are my candidates for The Marley Scrooge, Snidely Whiplash award for the nastiest at Christmas Time. (For background, if needed on Whiplash see the Adventures of Dudley Do Right on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.) If background needed on Marley and Scrooge, you have to be kidding!

9. Next up is Jonas Oldacre and his housekeeper Mrs. Lexington, in the Norwood Builder. Talk about there being a fine line between love and hate. His housekeeper could fill in for Mrs. Danvers at Manderley. (See the novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier if background is required)

10. James Windibank aka Hosmer and Mrs. Windibank, in IDEN. What a pair! I have heard of evil stepparents but an evil stepfather and the victims own mother. That is a new one on me.

11. Then there is Mrs. Eugenia Ronder and Leonardo the strong man, in VEIL. Mrs. Ronder is one for whom I have sympathy for. Holmes was extremely kind and sympathetic to her. To me, this is an example of what Holmes had learned about people over the years and how he changed.

12. We have The Lady Trelawney Hope and Eduardo Lucas, in SECO. The expression of “being caught between a rock and a hard place” fits this Lady Hope to a T. I have my suspicions about the lady herself. She showed a clever mind later on in the story. Yet for her to believe that she was being forced to steal only minor papers at the start?

13. We have Holy Peters and Annie Frasier aka Peters, aka Schlesinger, in SOLI. They are another pair of really, really, nasty people. I wonder if there has ever been a pastiche written about these two.

14. Next come the Butler Barrymore and his wife Elisa in HOUN. I imagine Barrymore as a man in a difficult situation. On one hand, he has an obligation to turn in a viscous killer, on the other destroying his wife and possibly his marriage.

15. We have Von Bork and his wife, in LAST. His wife acted as a funnel for minor papers while protected by her diplomatic immunity. Von Bork had one very bad evening.

16. Then we have Reuben Hayes and his wife in PRIO. This unnamed wife had a reputation in the neighborhood as a good person. Yet she could not do anything and would not do anything without her husband’s permission for fear of her husband.

17 We have the unnamed Man, who acted as carriage driver and his equally unnamed wife in GREE. Surely, that must be a pastiche written involving these two characters. On the other hand, maybe posting this will give someone the idea to write one.

Teams Consisting of One Female and Two Males

18. We come to a trio who very little is known about. We have Elsie, Stark and Ferguson from ENGR. Elsie is opposed to Stark using violence again so she has been with the team at least a year. If so why does she stay? Family love, Romantic Love, Fear, or another reason? She warns our Engineer, helps him escape. So why leave our maimed and bleeding helpless Engineer laying in the garden? Short of a confession from one of the three we will never know.

19. Here are Carrie Evans and her husband, who practiced his trade as an actor, and Sir Robert Norberton from SHOS. The old saying that money is the root of all-evil applies in this case. That must have been quite a brother sister relationship in the Norberton family.

20. Next we have Ivy Douglas, her husband John Douglas aka Bertie Edwards and Cecil Barker in VALL. Mrs. Douglas was trying to protect her husband. I have wondered, based on my reading the story, were Cecil Barker’s motives really, what they seemed to be on the surface?

Teams Consisting of Two Females and One Male

21. Lady Eva Brackenstall, her personal maid Theresa Wright and Captain Jack Crocker in ABBE.A plot device that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used so well in this and the next case on this list.

22. Hatty Doran/Mouton, her personal maid Alice, and Frank Mouton in NOBL. To marry another man while seeing her first husband in attendance. Wow! What a lady who can think so fast on her feet.

Teams Consisting of a Female as Leader of a Group of Males

23. Signora Victor Durando/Miss Bernet and the society who conspired against Don Murillo in WIST: Revenge in this case is one I can sympathize with and hope she was able to find peace.

24. Isadora Klein and The Spencer John gang in 3GAB. This Villainess reminds of Cruella De Ville of The original Disney cartoon movie “One Hundred and One Dalmatians.” To paraphrase the song about Ms. De Ville:
“At first you think Isadora is a devil, but after time has worn away the shock, you come to realize you’ve seen those kinds of eyes watching you from underneath a rock. A vampire bat, an inhuman beast! She ought to be locked up and never released. She’s like a spider waiting for the kill,” look out for Isadora Klein!

Finally, There is my Favorite One of All

25. A female or is it a male impersonating an old woman and Jefferson Hope in STUD? Did this person give Jefferson Hope help in other ways that Watson and Holmes were not aware? How about the ideas that the fellow actor helping Hope was John Clay or a member of the Moriarty organization helped Hope in return for a promise to help the Professor when the Professor called the favor in.

The opportunities for Sherlockian research theories will continue for as long people can read and think “what if?” May the Canon always be with us!

By Ron Lies, “Chips” 5-19-15

On February 27th… This Watson was a Woman

The actress Joanne Woodward was born Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward on February 27th, 1930, in Thomasville, Georgia. This famous actress – one of Chips’ favorites – played the role of Dr Mildred Watson in the underrated Sherlockian movie “THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS“.  As a Watson-like character, if not a traditional version of the good doctor, Woodward manages to capture the essential elements of Watson. Her role is neither canonical nor pastiche, but instead occupies some delightful middle-ground.

Information came from the volume A Curious Collection of Dates, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”). [Additional biographical information from IMDB –Selena Buttons]

Posted by The Dynamic Duo Co-columnists (JHWS “Chips”) aka Ron and (JHWS “Selena Buttons”) aka Beth. [You are far too kind, Chips! –Selena Buttons]

The Great Shelby Holmes (Book Review)

[The recent review of The Great Shelby Holmes posted by Elise Elliot (JHWS “Lucy”) piqued Chips’s interest. He read the book and shares his thoughts here. -Selena Buttons]

Cover image of The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth EulbergI love to read books that capture my attention and bring me into the book’s world. This book did that. I have friends who believe my world is the world of nine-year-old Shelby Holmes and her 11-year-old companion-to-be, John Watson. And they are right.

I was at the point of wanting a story to remember in, and this is one. My growing up years were not in New York. I come from a totally different background.

This book drew me in just like in the adult Canon. I became 11 year old John Watson and had a great time. I experienced how to accept and be a friend.

The mystery does resemble one from the Canon and is done well. I felt refreshed and ready to read the next one that I hope will follow.

So, to all 11-year-olds and 9-year-olds, you will like this story. Be prepared to explain it to all the adults who ask you to read this story to them. I hope you find the ones who are half Men and Women and still half Boys and Girls. The rest do not count.


On February 21st… It’s a Special Day!

If you live in a country in which this numerical date is typically entered with month first, Then you have a chance by adding a B to have a very special day:

Happy 221B Day!!!!

If you live in a country that lists the day first, well, you had your 221B Day last month!


[Thanks to the Sherlock Food Tumblr for featuring that nifty cake! –Selena Buttons]

On February 20th… Return of the Beryl Coronet

February 20, 1886: Holmes returned the missing part of the beryl coronet to Alexander Holder. [BERY]

Illustration of a Coronet of a Prince or Princess
Coronet of a British Prince or Princess. Probably not the Coronet entrusted to Holder.

With a dazed face the banker made out the required cheque. Holmes walked over to his desk, took out a little triangular piece of gold with three gems in it, and threw it down upon the table. With a shriek of joy our client clutched it up. “You have it!” he gasped. “I am saved! I am saved!” The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been, and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom. [BERY]

Information supplied by the volume A Day by Day Chronology by William S Dorn, BSI.

On February 19th…

Paget illustratrion of Watson, Holmes, and Holder
“WITH A LOOK OF GRIEF AND DESPAIR” – illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand, May 1892
February 19, 1886: Alexander Holder asked Holmes to find the missing part of the Beryl Coronet. [BERY]





Paget illustration for the Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
“there was a struggle between them” [BERY]




February 19, 1886: Holmes followed the footprints that Arthur Holder and Sir George Burnwell made in the snow. [BERY]






February 19, 1886: Mary Holder eloped with Sir George Burnwell. [BERY]




Information provided from the volume A Day by Day Sherlockian Chronology by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

On February 18th… “The Beryl Coronet”

Richard Carpenter as Arthur Holder

February 18, 1886: Arthur Holder asked his father for money for the third time. [BERY]

Richard Carpenter (left) played Arthur Holder in the 1965 BBC television adaptation of “The Beryl Coronet“. It was the eighth episode of the series starring Douglas Wilmer (as Holmes) and Nigel Stock (as Watson). [Carpenter has another Sherlockian credit, as writer for four episodes of The Baker Street Boys (BBC, 1983) –Selena Buttons]

Bridal Coronet Headpiece by Elnara Niall (Adi Mileva-Thigpen)

February 18, 1886: Part of the beryl coronet was stolen. [BERY]

Could the coronet have looked something like this beautiful bridal coronet by Elnara Niall?


Chronological information provided from the volume A Day by Day Sherlockian Chronology by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI. [Additional information about the BBC productions from IMDB –Selena Buttons]

On February 16th… A Future Dr Watson?

I am a fan of the Star Trek: The Next Generation television show. So, for this date we go back to the sixth season episode entitled “Ship in a Bottle“. The episode is a call-back to a second season episode, “Elementary, Dear Data“.

LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge as Dr Watson in “Elementary, Dear Data

Elementary, Dear Data

In that episode, Data (Brent Spiner), and Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) play Holmes and Watson on the Holodeck. Data, however, knows all the stories and solves them too quickly to be any fun at all for Geordi! Unable to explain to Data that the fun is in the process of figuring out the answer, Geordi issues the computer a challenge: create a new mystery with an opponent able to confound Data. It turns out that a Professor Moriarty who can outwit an android Holmes is capable of some nefarious business indeed! Data Holmes and Geordi Watson must thwart the Professor’s plot and rescue the ship’s doctor.

Ship in a Bottle
Four years later, Geordi and Data return to the program with another engineer to look into some anomalies. In the time since he was last seen, Professor Moriarty has somehow continued to exist and believes that he is a real person. He is also desperate to bring his love, Countess Regina, out of the digital realm and into real life, through any means necessary. With the Enterprise on a collision course with two gaseous planets and thoroughly under Moriarty’s control, it appears that the ship’s crew has no choice but to meet his demands. It is a problem thoroughly worthy of a twenty-fourth century Holmes and his Watson!

LeVar Burton played Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge for 176 episodes between 1987 and 1994. He was born Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr., on February 16, 1957 in Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.


My source for this information comes from A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (“Tressa”). [With additional information from StarTrek.com and IMDB -Selena Buttons]

On February 15th… An Early Screen Holmes is Born

“Even a master detective may lose his heart.” [Lobby card for Sherlock Holmes (1922)]
Future famous screen Holmes John Barrymore was born John Sydney Blyth (or possibly Blythe, spellings vary) in Philadelphia, PA, on February 15, 1882. His parents, Maurice and Georgiana Blyth(e), were well-known actors under the stage name of Maurice and Georgiana Barrymore. John and his two older siblings, Lionel and Ethel, also took their parents’ stage name as they began their own theater careers. Generations of Barrymores have been famous actors, including John’s son, John Drew Barrymore, and grandaughter, Drew Barrymore.

The senior John Barrymore became famous for us in 1922, when he starred in the silent movie SHERLOCK HOLMES. (The film was released in the UK under the title MORIARTY.) John Barrymore said that his film, based on the William Gillette play would bring out the more romantic side of Holmes. (Alice Faulkner, the love interest introduced in Gillette’s play, was portrayed by silent film star Carol Dempster.) Any of our readers out there feel that is so?

In 1920, Barrymore starred in DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE. Reportedly, in comparing his roles in the two films, he said:

“Holmes is a purely static person: by that I mean a character with practically no emotions. It is naturally more difficult to play a man with no emotions than to play a man with emotions, and one must continually vary the character to make it interesting.”

[I can’t find any source for this other than a list of Barrymore quotations on IMDB; if you know where it’s from, please let me know in the comments! –Selena Buttons]

What do you think?

My source for this information comes from A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime N. Mahoney (“Tressa”). [Additional biographical and film history information from IMDB –Selena Buttons]

On February 14th… An Inconvenient Valentine


Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Sherlockians around the world. A chronologically-relevant quote from the nefarious evil Professor Moriarty to Holmes for today comes from the story “The Final Problem”:

`You crossed my path on the 4th of January,’ said he. ‘By the middle of February I was seriously inconvenienced by you’ [FINA]

My source for this thought is A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (“Tressa”). They feel as I do that the middle of February should at least be the 15th of February, though.

On February 13th… Train Robbery!

Here, in the words of Sherlock Holmes, is what the evil criminal Count Negretto Sylvius was up to on this day, according to the “squat notebook” in Holmes’s table drawer:

“It’s all here, Count. The real facts as to the death of old Mrs. Harold, who left you the Blymer estate, which you so rapidly gambled away.”
“You are dreaming!”
“And the complete life history of Miss Minnie Warrender.”
“Tut! You will make nothing of that!”
“Plenty more here, Count. Here is the robbery in the train-de-luxe to the Riviera on February 13th, 1892. Here is the forged cheque in the same year on the Crédit Lyonnais.” [MAZA]

Could this 68-carat yellow diamond be the famous Mazarin Stone the Count was after? It was sold at a Christie’s auction in 2012 for $3.16 million.

Information from A Curious Collection of Dates by Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (“Tressa”). [With additional information from Forbes and Jewelry News Network. –Selena Buttons]

On February 12th…

According to William S Baring Gould, in his biography of Sherlock Holmes, today is Mycroft’s birthday. As with all facts in the Canon, you are welcome to believe or not. One can deny, accept, or create one of your own.

Fact from A Curious Collection of Dates, a great book by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”).


On February 10th…

February 10, 1932: Barrie Ingham was born in Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Who is that, you say? He was the voice of the character Basil the Great Mouse Detective in the Disney animated feature movie, THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, adapted from Eve Titus’s novel, Basil of Baker Street. I loved this movie.

Information from the book A CURIOUS COLLECTION OF DATES by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”)


On February 9th…

February 9, 1979: The Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper movie titled MURDER BY DECREE premiered in the United States.

This movie starred Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes and James Mason as Dr Watson. It was quite a difference in ages between Plummer and Mason, but I think their acting skills carried it off quite well.


On February 8th…

This note is not Sherlockian, but is a note about the best non-Sherlockian tale written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That is, in my opinion, THE LOST WORLD. The silent film of the book premiered on February 8, 1925 for an industry audience at the Astor Theatre. Though silent, the dinosaur models were filmed in stop action motion and were fantastic, and still are to me.

Again kudos to A CURIOUS COLLECTION OF DATES by Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime Mahoney (“Tressa”) for the information.


On February 7th…

Pickwick by Kyd 1889

Charles Augustus Milverton was a man of fifty, with a large, intellectual head, a round, plump, hairless face, a perpetual frozen smile, and two keen gray eyes, which gleamed brightly from behind broad, golden-rimmed glasses. There was something of Mr. Pickwick’s benevolence in his appearance, marred only by the insincerity of the fixed smile and by the hard glitter of those restless and penetrating eyes. [CHAS]

This use of the name Mr Pickwick in “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” brings the Canon and Charles Dickens together. Mr Charles Dickens, who created the jolly Mr Pickwick, was born on February 7, 1812.

Thanks, Leah Guinn (“Amber”) and Jaime Mahoney (“Tressa”) for the information found in your book, A Curious Collection of Dates.

Posted by Chips