Introducing: The Gregsonian Quiz

Ready for a new Canonical Challenge? Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”) gives us:

Inspector Gregson
(Olivier Maguire) in “The Greek Interpreter” (Granada, 1985)

The Gregsonian Quiz

For those who, while brave, are usually out of their depths

Please note that this is a different sort of challenge from the Annual Treasure Hunt – you won’t be searching wide range of reference materials to add up to a mysterious treasure. For this challenge, try to be like Holmes: sitting in your chair working out the answers from the information in your lumber-room. Give Google a rest and see what you can answer from your own specialized knowledge!

Send your answers by email to the JHWS Quizmaster by 30th September. Answers will be posted in two weeks, on the 1st of October.

  1. Sherlock Holmes is not the only great detective to reside at 221 Baker Street at the end of the 19th Century. Another simultaneously called 221 ½ Baker Street home. What was his name?
  2. In “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League”, Mr. Merryweather complains that he misses his rubber. What is it that he misses?
  3. Irene Adler had been prima donna of the Imperial Opera of Warsaw, where she became involved with the King of Bohemia, but from where did this adventuress originate?
  4. What are two good reasons to believe that there was never a blue carbuncle in the crop of Mr. Henry Baker’s goose?
  5. In “The Adventure of the Priory School”, Holmes claims to be familiar with the impressions of forty-two types of bicycle tires, and even to be able to tell the direction in which the bicycle was travelling. What brand of tire did Lord Saltire ride away upon?
  6. In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Elementary, my dear Data” a rogue hologram of Moriarty is accidentally created after Data frustrates his crewmates by instantly solving a Canonical story. Which story did Data recognize?
  7. What is the improbable first name of Professor Moriarty’s brother?
  8. In the original Canon, who is the only character to refer to Holmes as “Sherlock”?
  9. The UCLA Film Archive restored many of the Rathbone/Bruce films, but much of this work was funded by a private individual. In particular, the majority of the funding for The Scarlet Claw came from this one person. What was their name?
  10. Only three detectives have chapters named after them in the Canon: Sherlock Holmes, Birdy Edwards, and this Scotland Yard Inspector. Who?

“If the cycle of nine days holds good” [CREE]

Prepare your thinking cap and get out your favorite Sherlockian reference books. Nine days from today, we will begin the Sixth Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt.

Our “Mopsy” has designed this year’s Hunt as a special edition of 50 questions, the answers to all of which form a chain from one to the next.

Several teams have already let our Treasure Hunt Master know they’ll be competing, but individuals and teams around the world are welcome to jump in any time during the month of August!

‘It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.’

On July 3rd…

(Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn.)

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1904)

July 3, 1895: At 2 a.m., Patrick Cairns killed Peter Carey with a harpoon. [BLAC]

And there in the middle of it was the man himself, his face twisted like a lost soul in torment, and his great brindled beard stuck upwards in his agony. Right through his broad breast a steel harpoon had been driven, and it had sunk deep into the wood of the wall behind him. He was pinned like a beetle on a card. Of course, he was quite dead, and had been so from the instant that he uttered that last yell of agony.

Holmes in the Heartland

Later this summer, the very first Holmes in the Heartland conference will take place in St. Louis, IL. It promises to be a welcoming gathering for all sorts of Holmes fans and lots of fun. A number of Watsonians are planning to attend; I wish I could be there, too!

Rob Nunn (JHWS “Beacon”) shares the details:

Holmes in the Heartland will be happening on August 10-12, as we celebrate the installation of the new St. Louis Sherlockian Research Collection at the St. Louis Public Library and highlight the city of St. Louis. We will celebrate with a weekend full of BBQ, blues, tea, history and plenty of Sherlockian discussion! The weekend’s schedule includes:

Friday, August 10:

Welcome to St. Louis 221BBQ and Blues Carbuncle Night

Tour of the National Blues Museum and dinner at Sugarfire Smokehouse

Saturday, August 11:

A Curious Collection: The St. Louis Sherlockian Collection

We will be displaying the St. Louis Sherlockian Research Collection and have a full day of Sherlockian presentations at the central branch of the St. Louis Public Library. Speakers include:

  • Tim Johnson, Keynote Speaker, curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the University of Minnesota
  • Mary Schroeder, ASH, founder of the St. Louis Sherlockian Research Collection and longtime St. Louis Sherlockian
  • Bill Cochran, BSI, donor of a complete run of the Baker Street Journal to the Sherlockian Research Collection
  • Bill Mason, BSI, author of “Pursuing Sherlock Holmes” and former Head Light of The Beacon Society
  • Tassy Hayden, fan fiction writer and former co-host of the wildly popular The Three Patch Podcast
  • Brad Keefauver, BSI, ASH, blogger at Sherlock Peoria and author of “The Elementary Methods of Sherlock Holmes”
  • Don Hobbs, BSI, ASH, owner of the largest foreign language Sherlockian book collection
  • Black Knights Fighting Group, displaying Baritsu and recreating the fighting techniques of Victorian London
  • Plus a surprise guest speaker linking Sherlock Holmes to Missouri!

​Dinner Saturday night will be at historic Favazza’s on The Hill.

Sunday, August 12:

Medical History and Afternoon Tea

Tours of The Bernard Becker Medical Library with a focus on Victorian era medical treatments starting and 9:00 and an afternoon tea at The London Tea Room following.

You can register for one, two or all three days of Sherlockian fun! More information can be found at We would love to have you! Come at once if convenient!


If you’re anything like me, you’ve recently been flooded with notifications of privacy policy updates. Here at the Watson Society, we have also updated our Privacy Policy to be in compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Our Society is physically based in the United States, but we have members around the world, including a number in EU countries.

In order to comply with the GDPR, we must receive your permission (“opt-in”) to hold your postal and e-mail addresses, where made available, on our mailing lists so that the Society can send you copies of The Watsonian (physical or digital), as well as send membership/subscription renewal notices by e-mail.

Please “opt-in” under the new Regulation by confirming your name, address, e-mail address and telephone number electronically via our GDPR Confirmation Page.

Calling All Members

The Spring 2018 Watsonian is about to go to press. Print issues will be mailed directly from the printer, so now is the time to make sure your information is up to date! If you have changed mailing address since November, please let Selena Buttons know ASAP. (If you’ve already contacted us with your new address, thank you!)

If your membership expired at the end of 2017, you will not be on the mailing list for this new issue. We know you don’t want to miss out, so please take a moment to double-check your membership dates on the Members Page. If your membership ended in December 2017, pop over to the Shop to purchase a 2018 Membership. (If your membership is current through 6/18, there is a separate renewal available that lasts through the end of 2019. Please contact Selena Buttons for details.)

On May 4th…

Today is a day of great significance in the Canon. We give you these three events:


May 4, 1847: John Ferrier and Lucy were rescued by the Mormons. [STUD]

Illustration by D H Friston


The rescuing party were speedily able to convince the two castaways that their appearance was no delusion. One of them seized the little girl and hoisted her upon his shoulder, while two others supported her gaunt companion, and assisted him towards the wagons.
“My name is John Ferrier,” the wanderer explained; “me and that little un are all that’s left o’ twenty-one people. The rest is all dead o’ thirst and hunger away down in the south.”
“Is she your child?” asked someone.
“I guess she is now,” the other cried, defiantly; “she’s mine ’cause I saved her. No man will take her from me. She’s Lucy Ferrier from this day on. Who are you, though?”



May 4, 1882: An advertisement seeking Mary Morstan’s address appeared in The Times. [SIGN]

Ann Bell as Mary Morstan (1968)

“I have not yet described to you the most singular part. About six years ago – to be exact, upon the 4th of May, 1882 – an advertisement appeared in The Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan, and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward. There was no name and address appended. I had at the time just entered the family of Mrs. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess. By her advice I published my address in the advertisement column. The same day there arrived through the post a small cardboard box addressed to me, which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl. No word of writing was enclosed. Since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box, containing a similar pearl, without any clue as to the sender. They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value. You can see for yourselves that they are very handsome.”

And FINAlly…
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist. -Selena Buttons)

May 4, 1891: Moriarty died in a plunge over the Reichenbach Falls. [FINA]

An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other’s arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation.



Date provided by the volume A Day-by-Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn.

Membership Renewals for 2018

Renewal notices have been going out in email for memberships that expired at the end of December. If your membership has expired, though, you don’t have to wait for the email; you can head over to the shop to purchase a Membership for 2018.

Not sure when your membership expires? Take a peek at our Members Page! If it says you are a member through 12/17, it’s time to renew. (If it’s any other date, it’s not time yet. Memberships ending 6/18 will be notified about how to renew through the end of 2019 later in the year.) While you’re there, if you notice our information for you is incorrect or incomplete, please let me know!

Poison in Princeton (via Pop Goes the Page)

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1903)

Escape rooms are all the rage, and I’ve heard more than one person speculate on the possible fun to be had with a Holmes-themed room. Some very clever folks at Princeton did more than speculate: they created a Sherlock Holmes Escape Room challenge. Over the course of 5 hours, 180 kids worked in teams of 6 to solve the puzzles.

This sounds amazing. I appreciate the tips at the end of the post, since I just might have to try to put one of these together for a library program sometime!

Chat on the Society Members Slack Channel

We love to talk in the comments section here on the blog, but sometimes we’d like a bit more room to have conversations. Enter the John H Watson Society Slack Channel!

The channel provides a members-only space for chatting about a variety of topics. To get your invitation to join the channel, please complete the form below with your name, your Society moniker, and your preferred email address.

See you in the Slack!

Call for Submissions: Watsonian Deadline Approaching!

Calling all Writers and Illustrators!

This is a reminder that the deadline for the Spring 2017 issue of The Watsonian is February 15th, which is coming up soon.

The Society welcomes scholarly papers, articles, original fiction, miscellanea or other submissions. One need not be an experienced or academic writer; some of our most engaging articles come from individuals with a love for the writing and appreciation for the pleasures gained over the years.There is always room for your research, thoughts, ideas and creativity. The Society is an inclusive group; we desire interested Watsonians to take part and to approach the Society with innovative projects. Whether you are a first time author is not important; that you try is what counts.

Submissions should be up-to-date Word documents and sent via email attachment to:

Heading to New York

Next week, Sherlockians from across the country and around the world will gather in New York City to celebrate the Master’s birthday in grand style. Scheduled events include the BSI Annual Dinner, the Gaslight Gala, the Baker Street Babes Daintiest Scream on the Moor charity ball, a Distinguished Speaker Lecture presented by Martin Edwards, an informal brunch hosted by ASH, a vendor’s room, and more.

I’m very excited to be attending for the very first time. Will I see you there? Let me know in the comments! (If you’re following along from home, be sure to check our twitter feed during the Weekend!)

Watsonian badge ribbons
I’ll have some badge ribbons on hand, just for fun!

Gianni Bonagura 1925-2017

Michele Lopez (JHWS “Reggie”) posted yesterday in the comments of our Billiards with Uno Studio in Holmes post:

For those interested in this post, I wanted to report the passing of Gianni Bonagura, who played John Watson in the RAI Italian TV movie in 1968. Bonagura died on the 8th of October, 2017, at the age of 92. A witty and enjoyable Watson, he was courteous enough to talk to us of Uno Studio in Holmes about his experiences on the set of that Canonical production in a telephone interview in the early 2000s.

Gianni Bonagura was born Gianfelice Bonagura on October 27, 1925 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He played Dr Watson to Nando Gazzolo’s Sherlock Holmes for a six-episode television series in 1968. He died on October 8, 2017 in Milan.

Compliments of the Season

This is my copy of the edition of this story published by the Baker Street Irregulars in 1948. The volume has the wonderful preface to the story by the Christopher Morley. I hope that all the John H Watson Society and Sherlockians everywhere are reading this story today. I wish my column editor Selena/Beth all my best wishes for the most blessed and warm family Holiday for all the love and care she has put into working with me and so improving our column beyond any effect I could do. -Ron/Chips

[All the best to you and yours, dear Chips. And to each and every one of you out there. –Selena Buttons]



[Editing note: This was scheduled for the 27th, but did not actually post!]

Is Sherlockian Scholarship Scholarly?

Photo from Holmes Museum by Alberto Ghione [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]
Sherlockian scholarship has a long and fascinating history, going back more than a century now. From Msgr Knox’s “Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes” to our own Watsonian, students of the Canon have analyzed Dr Watson’s chronicles from nearly every conceivable angle.

But is Sherlockian scholarship… well, scholarly? Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”) is currently researching this very question, and you can help! This short survey aims to gather information on the current state of Sherlockian scholarship. As with any survey, more participants make for better data. Responses are anonymous; the aggregate data is intended for use in a paper for a Sherlockian journal.

Take the survey: Is Sherlockian Scholarship Scholarly?

Chronological Challenges

An eagle-eyed member pointed out that today’s entry for SIGN read “December 4, 1888”, when it should have been 1878. While there are a number of cases in which the source we use is an outlier (as also mentioned in the entries for today and yesterday), this was an typographical error on my part and has been corrected.