Watson Goes To Mars

When NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars, it brought along Watson and Sherlock. Or WATSON and SHERLOC, anyway.

The Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals has a nickname: SHERLOC. Mounted on the rover’s robotic arm, SHERLOC uses cameras, spectrometers, and a laser to search for organics and minerals that have been altered by watery environments and may be signs of past microbial life. In addition to its black-and-white context camera, SHERLOC is assisted by WATSON, a color camera for taking close-up images of rock grains and surface textures.[…]

Dr. John H. Watson was Holmes’ partner in solving mysteries. WATSON the camera assists SHERLOC as it helps solve mysteries about life on Mars.

With its camera sidekick WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering), SHERLOC even has a modern version of the hand-lens magnifying glass used by the classic British detective!

NASA Science

A clarification: Royce Pierreson is not attending the next JHWS meeting

While he would be EXTREMELY WELCOME (hello Royce if you Google yourself) we have no expectations of Mr. Pierreson attending the next meeting. We are just excited to start talking about the latest, greatest Watson. If you would like to attend this meeting and start swooning over Mr. Pierreson with us, please contact podcast@johnhwatsonsociety.com to be put on the list to receive the Zoom link.

Everything you need to know about Netflix's The Irregulars

Time to care for our Bullpups and have an important discussion

Hello all, I am very happy to be the Buttons of JHWS, the fun Watsonian society. In that role I haven’t felt a need to address you formally as Sampson Buttons. Today one of our own, Chris Aa Bakkane, published this essay and I am asking you to read it, to give it serious consideration, and to join me in finding concrete ways we, as a Sherlockian community, can do better. Because we need to do better. Let’s begin doing the work.

https://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1srjpjn

A Dickensian Tidbit: The Answers

Last week, Chips asked:

In my readings, I have found two editors working together who came up with 3 possible connections between Dickens and Sherlock Holmes and/or Arthur Conan Doyle.

One connection involves a quote.

Of the other two, one requires some comparisons and the other requires a visit from the Afterlife. 

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand, 1904

The answers are:

The quote, from The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton (CHAS): “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, gold-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.”

The comparisons, from the entry for February 7 in A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes, by Leah Guinn and Jaime N. Mahoney: “Sherlockians can also thank Dickens for Bleak House‘s Inspector Bucket, the first police detective in English literature who, in his various investigations, provides the template for Inspector Lestrade and every policeman who consults the detective at 221B.”

The visit from the Afterlife, also mentioned in the same entry: During at least two seances Arthur Conan Doyle attended, Dickens’s spirit allegedly made contact and said that Drood (of his unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood) was not dead, but he still didn’t provide the answer to the mystery.

A Dickensian Tid Bit

From a photograph by Gurney, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

February 7th 1812: Charles Dickens was born.

In my readings, I have found two editors working together who came up with 3 possible connections between Dickens and Sherlock Holmes and/or Arthur Conan Doyle.

One connection involves a quote.

Of the other two, one requires some comparisons and the other requires a visit from the Afterlife.

Any one care to submit answers ?

Wonderful Watsonians: Teri White

Name: Teri White

Bull pup Moniker:  Piper

Who is your favourite Watson and Why?  I do love both Burke and Hardwicke, but in a way I see them as two halves of the same character. Burke was very much the soldier and Hardwick the doctor, in my view. Which is why my favourite is Martin Freeman, who seems to embody both the soldier and the physician in one man.

If Watson were writing a story about you what would It be titled? The Case of the Obsessed Fan. Because I have been fanatic about Holmes and Watson since I was about 10, which is nearly 65 years ago, I think the appellation fits.

Give us an improbable fact about yourself:  Many people I know do not realise that I actually won an Edgar A. Poe award from the Mystery Writers of America way back in 1983, for Best Original Paperback. Now I mainly write fan-fiction, in both the modern and the Victorian universes.

Why did you join the JHWS? Because I can never get enough of the good doctor and his detective. Although I am more of a lurker than anything else and I do not like to use Zoom, etc. I do enjoy reading everything from the society. And I hope that one day there might be some actual meeting up to be enjoyed.

Thank you, Teri! We love all of our wonderful Watsonians and we want to feature each and every one of you! Just respond to the questions above and send your answers to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com!

Happy Birthday Nigel Bruce!

Nigel Bruce was born on February 4, 1895 and his portrayal of Doctor Watson defined the character for generations. He starred in a long-running series of films alongside Basil Rathbone and recorded hundreds of radioplays as the good doctor.

MICHAELSPAPPY: Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson

Wonderful Watsonians: Maria Fleischhack

Name: Maria Fleischhack

Bullpup moniker: Ettie

Who is your favorite Watson and why?

That is such a hard question to answer. I think, in terms of affective engagement, it’s Martin Freeman’s Watson. I love how dangerous he is, and how he lets Sherlock know exactly what he thinks. A wonderful sounding board for Sherlock. I do really, really love Vitaly Solomin’s Watson, too. He gives the best side eye and is so human. I love his portrayal. Another Watson I love is Jude Law, for similar reasons. He keeps Sherlock in check when he goes off where he shouldn’t go. I really like the dynamic between a capable Watson who also has a life outside of the immediate relationship with Holmes and a Holmes who allows himself to depend on Watson in more than just a connection to work. It seems most canonical to me.


If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled?

“The Adventure of the Disoriented Lecturer” – Just, as a reflection of my general being. It would possibly involve the disappearance of a to-do list which would lead to utter and total chaos which then, as if by a miracle, is resolved again because I accidentally do, in fact, get all he things on the list done, but possibly in a slightly altered order with with a couple of glasses of wine in between.

Give us an improbable fact about yourself! 

I am dyslexic (though not severely) and hold a PhD in English Literature.


Why did you join the JHWS? 

Because I love John Watson so, so much! And what could be better than to be a member of a group of people who feel the same way?! Also, the Watsonian is a truly wonderful publication and I love to read it.

Thank you, Maria! We want to feature all of our Wonderful Watsonians! Especially you! Please respond to the questions above and send your reply to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com

The Fall 2020 Watsonian and Digital Back Issues

A man seated at a table, reading a letter and looking unhappy about its contents.
The Watsonian is a much better thing to find in one’s mailbox!

The Fall 2020 issue of the Watsonian is now making its way to 2020 Paper+ members. There was a bit of a delay, but we hope you’ll find it worth the wait.

The digital PDF edition of the Fall 2020 Watsonian and all previous issues are available for members to download now. Log in and visit the Member Resources page for the links.

Wonderful Watsonians: Madeline Quiñones

Name: Madeline Quiñones

Bullpup moniker: Maddie

Who is your favorite Watson and why? David Burke! The moment I first saw him in Granada’s “A Scandal in Bohemia” was pure magic: he WAS the Watson in my head. I had already been reading through the canon and I had a mental image of the good doctor and then David steps on screen and I’m just like, “Oh my gosh, that’s WATSON.” I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t mention my other favorite Watsons: Michael Williams, Howard Marion Crawford, and Edward Hardwicke, who are all magical in their own way!


If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled? “The Problem of the Beleaguered Sister”!

Give us an improbable fact about yourself! I am the oldest of seven and 20 years older than my baby sister. No, really! She was a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one! The funny thing is that I was getting into Sherlock Holmes right when she was born, so I have a lot of memories of reading the canon for the first time on my Palm Pilot (oh my gosh, remember THOSE??) while holding my sleeping newborn sister. Good times. …She’s ten now and I don’t know what to do about that.(If I’m allowed to self-promote, I also run a weekly comic called The Adventures of Professor Moriarty at https://theadventuresofprofessormoriarty.tumblr.com/. It’s VERY Watsonian because half the time Colonel Moran is trying to bully Professor Moriarty into a better life and if that isn’t Watsonian I don’t know what is. 😀 )


Why did you join the JHWS? Well, I was already thinking about it because of binging the Watsonian Weekly! I’d attended the Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium in its virtual setting and I had been feeling an ache ever since to just… fellowship, really, with other fans. The breakout room time I spent there was just some of the most fun I’d ever had. So a couple of months later, in December, I took to Twitter and asked my Sherlockian mutuals how to get into SH societies because I just had no idea. Several lovely people were very willing to help me out and it was suggested I could join the JHWS. And I’m so glad I did! I’ve been having a lot of fun so far. <3

Thanks so much, Madeline! We love all of our wonderful Watsonians and want to feature each and every one of them. Just answer the questions above (and send a picture if convenient) and send your replies to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com.

Wonderful Watsonians: Holly Turner

Name (or alias): Holly Turner

Bullpup moniker (Contact us if you don’t know): Noel

Who is your favorite Watson and why? I love David Burke and Edward Hardwicke equally. They both portrayed Watson as kind, loyal, and intelligent, just as he should be. And both were perfect for where they sat in the timeline. I read someone saying ‘David Burke and Jeremy Brett are newlyweds, Edward Hardwicke and Jeremy are an old married couple’. I think that sums it up perfectly!

If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled? The Adventure of the Tired Scientist.

Give us an improbable fact about yourself! I can’t remember things I need to do without writing them down, but I can remember really odd things from years ago. Thanks, dyspraxia!

Why did you join the JHWS? I was looking for a Holmesian society that isn’t only scholarly. I’m looking forward to being nerdy with fellow fans, and perhaps making some contributions.

Thanks, Holly! We love all of our wonderful Watsonians and want to feature each and every one! Just answer the questions above and send the answers (along with a photo if you like) to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com.

Wonderful Watsonians: Michele Lopez

Name (or alias): Michele Lopez

Bullpup moniker (Contact us if you don’t know):Reggie


Who is your favorite Watson and why? I have a soft spot for the good Watsons in bad adaptations, like the excellent Donald Pickering in the so-so Anglo/Polish series of the late 70s. He was a great actor who definitely deserved better. I especially like when Watson is quick and smart, as he should be, so I add David Burke from the Granada series, Vitaly Solomin from the 80s Russian series and Gianni Bonagura from the 1968 Italian adaptations.


If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled? The Curious Case of the Lazy Italian Gentleman

Give us an improbable fact about yourself! I ran my first marathon at the young age of 49.

Why did you join the JHWS? When I found out in 2013, through Internet browsing and word of mouth, that a John Watson society had been founded I immediately thought it was a great idea. Our Good Doctor sometimes does not receive all the attention he deserves. Furthermore, I saw the names of many friends among those who had already subscribed, so joining on the spot was a no-brainer.  

Thank you, Michele! We want to feature all of our Wonderful Watsonians! Just answer the questions above and send your reply to buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com!

Wonderful Watsonians: Gretchen Altabef

Name: Gretchen Altabef

Bullpup moniker: Hamish

Who is your favorite Watson and why?

The gentleman who wonderfully crafted the Sherlock Holmes canon.

As far as those who have portrayed Dr. Watson on stage and screen, Edward Hardwicke. When my son saw him for the first time (knowing of Jude Law), he said, “He is exactly how I see Watson.” Mr. Hardwicke shares the day I celebrate as Dr. Watson’s birthday, August 7. Not only did he play Watson superbly for the Granada Sherlock Holmes series, and in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, but his friendship with Mr. Brett on and off screen to me says quite a bit about the Watson-like gentleman he was. The fixed point in a changing age. Watson would most definitely collect Holmes from the Asylum. (Although if I were writing this story, I would have Watson spring Holmes much earlier.) Edward Hardwicke’s audiobook readings of some of the canon stories are wonderful and enlightening as to his range as an actor. I can go on…

As an author of Sherlock Holmes novels, I see both Holmes and Watson as ever-present and extremely helpful muses. And though Mr. Hardwicke is usually in my head when writing Dr. Watson’s character, others show up to lend aspects of the gentleman. David Burke, Andre Panin, Vitally Solomon, Jude Law. Even Nigel Bruce, occasionally, mostly to help me laugh at myself. Extremely necessary when writing a novel. I am incredibly grateful for John H. Watson in my life and his ability to present and explain the genius of Sherlock Holmes. It is not easy to express the inexpressible.

If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled?

“If Watson Was a Woman.”

Give us an improbable fact about yourself!

Here’s two:

Of an adventurous bent, I became one of the first women in local TV news to race through perilous New York City streets to get to the scene of the crime. For the best shots, preferably before the police and fire companies arrived. I write my novels from a visceral understanding of the dangerous underbelly of crime in the city.

Why is my hair blue? I figure when one’s hair goes white; one gets to pick. I am also an artist: photographer and sculptor. Colouring one’s hair for gallery or museum openings is de rigueur. My favourite reason is it’s a great conversation opener. As an elder, I was invisible to younger folk, now with Teal-coloured hair we talk all the time.

Why did you join the JHWS?

I met fellow JHWS members at the 2018 BSI Sherlock Holmes Birthday weekend, and it was love at first sight, we are such fun together! There are no local Scions around me, so I consider JHWS and SHSL as my Scions. As I share Holmes’ abhorrence for classism of any kind, I cherish the openness of our society. My first Sherlockian article was published in the Watsonian, also my most recent. Photo below.–
Gretchen AltabefMX Publishing Author: Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses Remarkable Power of Stimulus

Editor and Contributor of the history of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes: Jeremy BrettPlaying A Part & Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes by Maureen Whittaker.  

“Gretchen Altabef is a remarkably talented author. She eschews the formulas that so often appear in Holmes pastiches and sets about creating a new format.”  Harry DeMaio, author of the Casebooks of Octavius Bear

“Of the hundreds of Sherlock Holmes, pastiche mysteries available to the Sherlockian, very few can match this book for a depth of historical research and a heart-stopping thrill of a story. A great read.” Craig Stephen Copland, author of New Sherlock Holmes Mysteries.

“A previously untold adventure of the ‘Great Hiatus.’ A gripping and colourful adventure.” Sherlock Holmes Society of London.MX Author’s Page: https://bit.ly/gretchenaltabef
Author’s Blog: https://featuresofinterest.com/