An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

Several people have addressed the question of who wrote “His Last Bow”, “The Mazarine Stone” and the second half of A Study in Scarlet because they are written from an unusual third person perspective. For many, the obvious fact is they were written by someone other than Watson, and, therefore, they are not to be trusted. But there is nothing so deceptive as an obvious fact.

These stores were all written by Watson. However, he makes it clear when he is not reporting from personal experience by turning to the third person. It is his way of letting us know that while the facts are accurate to the best of his knowledge, that knowledge is second hand and may be liable to error.

From Watson Does Not Lie, Paul Thomas Miller, Wildside Press, 2019, p. 12

The Bride of Watson, or Watson the Bride?

Time again to summon the Society of Watson to speak of the things of which no one else speaks. And this being October, as the darkness claims the land, and the spirits of the dead come closer to the veil, even matters Watsonian must turn to shadowed tales of . . . well, you’ll just have to come to the October meeting to find out! 

When is it happening? Saturday, October 23rd at 10 AM PDT, 11 AM MDT, 12 Noon CDT, 1 PM EDT, 6 PM BST, 7 PM CEST, etc. — and be sure to double check that time against your local time zone (especially if your name rhymes with “Doll Lomax Killer”).

If you’d like to get invited to the Zoom, and haven’t gotten the link already from some back-alley source, just email podcast@johnhwatsonsociety.com to get in on the event.

Happy Birthday David Buck!

Buck was born on October 17, 1936. He worked primarily in science fiction and fantasy films, including the 1978 Lord of the Rings and 1982’s The Dark Crystal. In 1978 he portrayed Doctor Watson in 13 episodes for BBC Radio 4.

NPG x135406; David Buck - Portrait - National Portrait Gallery


An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

From A Sherlock Holmes Commentary, D. Martin Dakin, Drake Publishers Inc., 1972, p. 306.


An occasional feature about the places in the John H Watson Canon

My friend had no breakfast himself, for it was one of his peculiarities that in his more intense moments he would permit himself no food, and I have known him presume upon his iron strength until he has fainted from pure inanition. ‘At present I cannot spare energy and nerve force for digestion,’ he would say, in answer to my medical remonstrances. I was not surprised, therefore, when this morning he left his untouched meal behind him and started with me for Norwood.

“The Adventure of the Norwood Builder”

The formerly wild and desolate area of Norwood, named after the extensive North Wood that once covered the area, is where two counties, Surrey and Kent, and five modern London boroughs meet–Croydon, Bromley, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark. Until the mid nineteenth century, when rapid development transformed the area, it contained not only extensive woods but also acres of open wasteland, and had a reputation of danger and mystery. For centuries it was famous for the Gypsies who lived there, and gave rise to numerous rumours and stories among the settled populations of the surrounding areas.

From London Lore: The Legends and Traditions of the World’s Most Vibrant City, Steve Roud, Arrow Books, 2010, p. 405


An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

From The Complete Guide to Sherlock Holmes, Michael Hardwick, St. Martin’s Press, 1986, p.237


An occasional feature about the places in the John H Watson Canon

It was upon the 3rd of May that we reached the little village of Meiringen, where we put up at the Englischer Hof, then kept by Peter Steiler the elder.  Our landlord was an intelligent man, and spoke excellent English, having served for three years as waiter at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.  At his advice, upon the afternoon of the 4th we set off together with the intention of crossing the hills and spending the night at the hamlet of Rosenlaui.  We had strict injunctions, however, on no account to pass the falls of Reichenbach, which are about half-way up the hill, without making a small detour to see them.
 It is, indeed, a fearful place.

Rosenlaui Bad, a hamlet in the central part of Switzerland, on the right bank of the River Reichenbach. While it is just three miles from Meiringen, it is more than two thousand feet higher in elevation and the walk from Meiringen requires at least three hours via the Reichenbach Falls. Holmes and Watson set off for here from Meiringen.

From The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana, Jack Tracey, editor, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977, p.308.

Rosenlaui itself rates no mention in SWITZERLAND [Karl Baedeker in 1887, in his Switzerland and the Adjacent Portions of Italy, Savoy and the Tyroil hereinafter “SWITZERLAND”]; however, the “Baths of Rosenlaui, located at 4363., is recommended.

From The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edited, with Annotations by Leslie S. Klinger, “The Final Problem”, note 69, p. 266.


An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

Yet Watson was not a stupid man. If I may mix my metaphors, Holmes, though he may have required a non-luminous conductor of light as a sounding board for his ideas, would never have tolerated an utter dolt as his companion. It is hard to conceive of a man such as Holmes conceiving a friendship (so eloquently expressed in 3GAR) with a man who was so far from being his intellectual equal, let alone maintaining such a close relationship for so long.

From “John H Watson–A Defense With Some Notes Concerning the ‘Blue Carbuncle'”, Hugh Ashton, The Watsonian, Vol 1, No 1, Fall 2013, p. 117


An occasional feature about the places in the John H Watson Canon

We had during this time been following the guidance of Toby down the half-rural villa-lined roads which lead to the Metropolis. Now, however, we were beginning to come among continuous streets, where labourers and dockmen were already astir, and slatternly women were taking down shutters and brushing door-steps. At the square-topped corner public-houses business was just beginning, and rough-looking men were emerging, rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet. Strange dogs sauntered up and stared wonderingly at us as we passed, but our inimitable Toby looked neither to the right nor to the left, but trotted onwards with his nose to the ground and an occasional eager whine which spoke of a hot scent. We had traversed Streatham, Brixton, Camberwell, and now found ourselves in Kennington Lane, having borne away through the side streets to the east of the Oval.– From The Sign of the Four

Streatham SW 16. Although there was believed to have been a small Roman settlement here during the construction of the road from London to the Sussex coast, the name Streatham is of Saxon origin, meaning ‘the dwellings by the street’. In the years preceding the Norman conquest, Streatham is mentioned in documents as being under the jurisdiction of the Abbey of Chertsey in Surrey. In Domesday Book the Saxon chapel was assessed at 8s.

After the Conquest, Streatham, together with Tooting, part of which lay within the former’s parish boundaries, was given to William’s cousin, Richard of Tonbridge, who later bestowed both estates on the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Mary of Bec in Normandy. Owners of Streatham land in following years included Eton College, Edward VI, Lord Thurlow, the Russells, Dukes of Bedford, and the Du Cane family.

From The London Ecyclopaedia, Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert, editors, Adler and Adler, 1983, p. 833


An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

From Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks, by Isaac Asimov, The Mysterious Press, 1978, p. 45.

The JHWS September Zoom

John H. Watson: Doctor, writer, detective agency partner, and. . . . documentary film-maker?

At the next meeting of the John H. Watson Society — Saturday, September 25th at 10 AM PDT, 11 AM MDT, 12 Noon CDT, 1 PM EDT, 6 PM BST, 7 PM CEST, etc. — we’re indulging a couple of conspiracy theorists and testing Watson’s documentary footage with a JHWS-meeting sized group of test subjects. You may have heard of this sort of experimentation being done before on janitors and robots in isolated space stations, but rest assured — no robots will be present at this meeting.

If you’d like to get invited to the Zoom, and haven’t gotten the link already from some back-alley source, just email podcast@johnhwatsonsociety.com to get in on the event.

And while you’re feeling in mood for being open to the great panorama of life that includes John H. Watson, M.D. take a listen the the latest episode of our society’s own podcast, the Watsonian Weekly at https://watsonianweekly.libsyn.com/september-20-2021-three-continents-of-watsonians and wherever fine podcasts are streamed. (Want to be on the Watsonian Weekly? Got ideas or just a hankering to do Watsonian audio content? Just write to podcast@johnhwatsonsociety.com and find out how. )

The 2021 Treasure Hunt Results Are In!

“These are the traces of the treasure-seekers.”

Rich Krisciunas, the 2021 JHWS Treasure Hunt master, has finished reviewing the entries for this year’s hunt, and is pleased to announce:

This year’s High Honors goes to Michael Ellis* of Plymouth, Michigan. He surpassed the other entrants with a total of 181 points and was the only hunter to earn the 15 bonus points by deciphering the coded message, “I am lost without my Boswell.”

Ellis, a member of the Amateur Mendicant Society in Detroit, Michigan and the Greek Interpreters of East Lansing, edged past Honors winning Sherlockian and Watsonian author, The Shingle of Southsea blogger, and past Treasure Hunt master, Paul Thomas Miller (159).

O.V.E. (Order of the Valiant Effort) for this year goes to David Merrell (154) and Enrico Solito (152). Honorable Mentions include returning hunters Mark Doyle (143), Brad Keefauver (132) and Carmen Savino (122). Shout Out this year to Mike Foy (40).

There were entries from the United States, England, Italy and Australia. Many thanks to all who participated. We applaud you for carrying on the John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt tradition. The answers, including any alternatives accepted, will be posted soon.

*Note: If I count correctly, this is Michael’s sixth time to earn High Honors. Bravo!- Mopsy


An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

Holmes is encouraging Watson to give his analysis of Mortimer’s stick. Let me slip this thing away from Dr. Watson and pass it around. There you are.

You may recall that this type of walking stick is called a “Penang lawyer.” The island of Penang, from which these beauties come, can be found off the coast of Malaysia, not all that far from Sumatra. As with so many other British colonies, Penang started out as a penal colony, and these bulbous-headed sticks were probably the closest things the prisoners had to a lawyer. You can see how they might settle a disagreement rather swiftly.

This particular specimen also has an engraved silver band near the top, which seems to be attracting most of Watson’s attention…or it will as soon as I give it back to him. There you go, Doctor.

“To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H., 1884” is what the engraving reads. From this and the stick’s condition in general, Watson has deduced that Mortimer is a successful, elderly fellow, a country doctor who does a lot of walking, and is especially well liked by members of the local hunt club. He must assume they have a lot of gun-cleaning accidents and Mortimer is extremely skilled at removing buckshot.

Watson has given it his best shot. After studying Holmes’s methods for years, he thinks that this time he’s really captured it, done the trick himself. At moments like these, you really have to feel sorry for the guy. It’s like watching that basketball team that always plays the Harlem Globetrotters. They do a decent job of it, but you always know they’re about to be used to mop the floor. It’s the same with Watson.

From The Armchair Baskerville Tour by Brad Keefauver, Magico Magazine, 1995, p. 8.

Watson’s saddest case on a cheery podcast!

Yes, it’s Watsonian Weekly time again — it does happen every week, remember? You may have listened once a long time ago, but that means you haven’t heard more recent features like “What’s on Watson,” “Roxie’s Bull Pup Poetry Corner,” “Want Them To Be Watson,” or the latest, “The Watson View of . . .” (Insert story name here.) It’s less than twenty minutes long, so not much commitment there at all.

You can find “The Watsonian Weekly” every week at:
or on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and all those places podcasts tend to show up.


An occasional feature about the places in the John H Watson Canon

‘But you, Watson,’ he stopped his work and took his old friend by the shoulders; ‘I’ve hardly seen you in the light yet. How have the years used you? You look the same blithe boy as ever.’
‘I feel twenty years younger, Holmes. I have seldom felt so happy as when I got your wire asking me to meet you at Harwich with the car. But you, Holmes – you have changed very little – save for that horrible goatee.’
‘These are the sacrifices one makes for one’s country, Watson,’ said Holmes, pulling at his little tuft. ‘To-morrow it will be but a dreadful memory. With my hair cut and a few other superficial changes I shall no doubt reappear at Claridge’s to-morrow as I was before this American stunt – I beg your pardon, Watson, my well of English seems to be permanently defiled – before this American job came my way.’

‘His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes’

The East coast ports are Dutch. Mellow brick houses have stepped battlements, the prevailing colours are from sand and brick. The old town of Harwich is the best of them, with its narrow streets on the peninsula between the Orwell and the Stour.

From “English Cities and Small Towns” by John Betjeman, A Panorama of Rural England, W.J. Turner, Ed., Chanticleer Press, 1944, p. 130.

Harwich is not just any port. Not only is it the UK’s second busiest passenger ferry port, its harbour, which is the largest between the Humber, in the north of England, and London, was created by a storm surge in the 1100s, a quirk of fate that gave rise to the area’s long and fascinating seafaring history.

From Harwich & Dovercourt, visitessex.com.

In 885 ce Alfred the Great defeated Danish ships in a battle that took place in the harbour. Harwich’s seaborne trade developed steadily, notably in the 14th century, and shipbuilding was a significant industry in the 17th century. The town’s major development, however, awaited the coming of the railway. Harwich became, as an outport of London, a terminus for passenger ferries across the North Sea.

From Harwich, England, United Kingdom, www.britannica.com

Note: I realize the last two quotes about the harbour at Harwich are odd in the contrast in their dates. That is why I chose them. The contradiction in dates and events seems serendipitous when talking about the writings of John H Watson.–Mopsy


An occasional feature of published pages about John Watson

The date of Watson’s death is unknown, and those who dream of an immortal Sherlock Holmes long for Watson to remain by his side. Without Holmes’s aid, however, the “old campaigner”, as he styled himself in 1891, must have passed over those Reichenbach Falls in the sky not long after his friend and colleague Arthur Conan Doyle. “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius,” Watson wrote of Inspector Macdonald in The Valley of Fear, but he might well have said the same of himself. Without the talents of John H. Watson, Holmes may well have laboured in obscurity.

From The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Vol I by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edited with a Foreword and Notes by Leslie S. Klinger, pg. lii.


An occasional feature about the places in the John H Watson Canon

“What say you, Watson? Can you rise superior to the heat, and run down to Croydon with me on the off chance of a case for your annals?’ ‘I was longing for something to do.’ ‘You shall have it, then. Ring for our boots, and tell them to order a cab. I’ll be back in a moment, when I have changed my dressing-gown and filled my cigar-case.’ A shower of rain fell while we were in the train, and the heat was far less oppressive in Croydon than in town.

The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

“Nevertheless, up and down the country, since at least the mid sixteenth century, hundreds of real wife-sales have been reported, and there must have been many hundreds more which went unrecorded. Not every sale realised fifteen pounds, however, as can be seen in this article than appeared in the Hereford Journal on 17 March 1894:


One of the few remaining common lodging-houses in Middle-Row, Croydon was on Sunday night the scene of a curious transaction, a labouring-man selling his wife for a pot of fourpenny-ale. The purchased adopted the precaution of taking a receipt for his money, and when the newly-mated couple adjourned to a neighbouring public house, the document was the object of much curiosity. It is said the husband and wife parted on very friendly terms.

From the extensive number of cases, it is clear that many of those involved genuinely believed that such transactions were a legal form of divorce, as long as certain rules were adhered to. The local market was the commonest place for the auction, and in some cases the wife was led in wearing a halter to emphasis the connection with a livestock sale. The husband would be careful to pay the toll he would normally pay for selling an animal, and be equally careful to get a receipt. The wife might be dressed on in her shift, which symbolised the fact that the purchaser took her as she stood, and could make no further claim on the husband. If all this sounds dreadful in our post-feminist age, it must be noted that in at least some of the cases we know that the wife had agreed to the proceedings and had, in fact, already arranged who was going to bid for her.”

From London Lore: The Legends and Traditions of the World’s Most Vibrant City by Steve Roud, p. 103.