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.

Weekly Forum 2015: #19

This week, let’s discuss the newest publications from the John H Watson Society!

Our Spring 2015 volume of The Watsonian was special to us for a number of reasons. Not only is it the largest volume to date (over 200 pages of content) but it was also one of the last great works from our dear Buttons before going beyond the terrace. I will always treasure this book for its literary and emotional significance to me.

The Adventure of the Duke’s Study by Luca Sartori “Victor” is the first in The Fiction Series and has received a good deal of praise from readers. I personally enjoyed it as it was not only a well-written story, but it also taught me about art and history in the process of reading. Wonderful work, “Victor”!

Some Observations Upon the Early Writing of John H Watson, MD, 1887-1894 by James C O’Leary “Pippin” is the second work to be featured in our Monograph Series and it is one of my favorite pieces of Watsonian scholarship. Pippin put a great deal of thought and effort in his endeavor, which makes it a lovely read. I hope this work will spark further conversations on Dr Watson’s early writings and what we can learn about the dear doctor in the process.

(Please note: Although the books were mailed out in late April and many of you received your books by now, a few of you may not have gotten them in the mail yet, particularly for some of you overseas. If you do not receive your package in the course of the next week or so, please contact me and I can look into this for you.)

“Chips” quotes “Pippin”

To All:

I have permission from the author of this Piece to reprint it here. He is James O’Leary, a fellow Watsonian and Sherlockian of the first order. He has a interesting comment that is to be found in full at that marvelously informative site, I HEAR OF SHERLOCK EVERYWHERE. The title of his piece is “Sherlock Boom . . . What Sherlock Boom?” I strongly suggest you read the whole piece. I want to share this part  as I wish I could put the thought into words as well as he has:

“For as much as we play The Game that Doyle was the literary agent to John H. Watson, there is no higher accolade than to say an author created a character that lives. We read the words Doyle wrote with care for the clues they tell us about those living, breathing fictional characters and, like all good literature, tell us about us. There is nothing wrong with re-inventing Holmes for the times. Each generation has its own Hamlet, its own Macbeth, its own Romeo and Juliet, but Shakespeare is ever-present. There are no venerated Shakespeare pastiches, no continuing adventures of Othello. His characters have not become myth and that is the fear that some see in the face of Benedict Cumberbatch cum Sherlock; a Sherlock with multiple births, an archetype to be molded into any shape by any sculptor — a Holmes without a Doyle.

It is the now the Cumberbatch/Sherlock Boom and the great detective who was published between 1887 and 1927 is along for the ride. He survived the Reichenbach, Gillette’s on-stage betrothal and Rathbone’s bizarre windswept hairdo. He is made of sterner stuff. Because Sherlock Holmes and John Watson live, and live only, in four novels and 56 short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

“Aye, there’s the genius and the wonder of the thing!” And don’t forget it.”



Weekly Quiz 2014: 28   Minor Characters of the Canon

RESULTS: The results this week have honours going to Ron Lies, “Chips” for being first in with 10/10 correct answers. Congratulations “Chips”!

Beth Gallego “Selena” also hounoured with a 10/10, as did James O’Leary “Pippin.” Congratulations to these Quiz Masters!

The team entry, as always, was ably mastered by Airiana Maher “Carla,” Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy,” and Margie Deck, “Gwen” of the Seattle SOBs. Congratulations to this trio also!

The answers are posted below. A number of alternative answers were provided by the Masters and, as it always does, this enriched the quiz experience.

This week’s quiz is about the minor characters of the Canon. Please submit solutions to by 7 pm Wednesday, 16 July 2014.


file_download.pngDownload Week 28 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz 2014-5

The Weekly Quiz is all about palindrome forms.  You’re going to love this one!

Results:  Excellent participation this week from Denny Dobry “Kirby,” with 25 points, James O’Leary “Pippin” and Elinor Hickey “Misty” coming next, and Team SOB with Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtdrieve “Daisy” with 25 points. Congratulations all!

Questions and answers can be downloaded below:

file_download.pngDownload Week 5 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz 2014-1 Results

Week 1 of 2014 was contested by 8 members and one team group. Those taking the honours with perfect scores and five bonus points are:

Member Individual: Denny Dobry “Kirby” of Reading PA. Placing next was Elinor Hickey “Misty” of Baltimore MD and James O’Leary “Pippin” of Natick MA.

Member Team: Margie Deck “Gwen;”  Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy;” of Sound of the Baskervilles, Seattle WA with 20/20 + 5 = 25 points.

Congratulations to these intrepid Quiz Masters!

Answers are posted below.

Weekly Quiz #9: 15-20 November 2013

Weekly Quiz #9
15 – 20 November 2013; 4 pm (Pacific)

RESULTS:  Weekly Quiz #9 produced the following Quiz Masters: Answers are posted below.

Member Individual Category:  Michele Lopez “Reggie” took the honours with a perfect score of 20/20 plus the 5 bonus points for 25 total. Michele was closely followed by a two-way tie between Denny Dobry “Kirby” and James O’Leary “Pippin” with 19/20.

Member Team Category:  Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” and Margie Deck “Gwen”
took the Team honours once again in a continuation of their unbroken run with 20/20 plus 5 bonus points for 25 total.

Congratulations to all!

This week’s quiz is a similar to the classic quizzes that were used in past years to qualify devotees as having the requisite knowledge of the Canon to be designated “Sherlockians.”  In this version, the questions are focused on Dr Watson, are worth 5 points each with an added 5 point bonus for accurate citations. Submit your answers by 4 pm Wednesday, 20 November to


  1. When and to whom did Dr Watson recommend large doses of a poison as a sedative? What was the poison? In which story? For whom?
  2. In what story was Dr Watson’s body in one chair and his legs upon another?
  3. In what story was Dr Watson settled into a well-worn, low armchair?
  4. To whom did Dr Watson ascend to a second time with a message?
  5. What time did Dr Watson sit down beside the fire to await Holmes’s return?
  6. Where was Dr Watson when asked to recall tracks?
  7. When was it sufficient for Dr Watson to share the sport and lend his humble help?
  8. What was the event that Dr Watson asked Holmes to give him the points about?
  9. What case was Dr Watson asked to add to his annals?
  10. When did Holmes and Watson ascend followed by a doctor?
  11. When Dr Watson turned up the time-table and found the last train gone, where had they wanted to go?
  12. When and where was the glare from the brickwork painful to Dr Watson?
  13. Holmes offers Dr Watson a cigar during a trip to where?
  14. What was the case that began with hot tea prior to the train on a winter morning?
  15. Whose father did Dr Watson have the pleasure of knowing?
  16. By what statement does Dr Watson paraphrase Descartes?
  17. What was another of Dr Watson’s bulls-eyes?
  18. To whom would the Dr’s bankers determine the worth of his guarantee?
  19. Dr Watson was with whom when he observed the faces in the diffused light from the shops?
  20. Dr Watson’s guest drank what at the first lunch where?


file_download.pngDownload Week 9 Questions



file_download.pngDownload Week 9 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz #8; Monthly Quiz #2: 8 – 13 November 2013

Weekly Quiz  #8
Monthly Quiz #2
8 November 2013 to 13 November  2013

RESULTS: Congratulations to our members who successfully participated in the weekly and monthly quiz: Denny Dobry “Kirby” scored 22/25 to take the Weekly Quiz Master Member Individual honours, followed by James O’Leary “Pippin” and Michele Lopez “Reggie”.

Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” retained the Member Team Category for the week with 25/25, as well as the Monthly Team Quiz Masters. They are invincible!

The Monthly Quiz Master goes to James O’Leary “Pippin” with 80/100 points. He was followed closely by Michele Lopez “Reggie” of Italy who is working without the benefit of most of the Sherlockian scholarship and reference books.

The answers are posted below.

The Weekly Quiz #8 is also our Monthly Quiz #2. The theme is Scholarship Easily Researched. One of the hallmarks of some Sherlockians and Watsonians is their knowledge of the scholarship of the past 80 years. The sources for the questions this week are from publications found in most enthusiasts’ libraries.

Each question (there are only five) is answered in a book of scholarship that is widely known or readily available. Identify the original scholarly writer, the book where the reference appears, the object where called for, and the story referenced. Each accurate answer is worth 5 points.


  1. Who wrote “As for us, gentlemen, we wish to have our intelligence insulted. How did Holmes know about the snuff?”
  2. Who wrote that Mendelssohn’s Auf Flugen des Gesanges “might well have been [another] favourite with” Watson?
  3. Who wrote in what book that [name it] is located about one and one-half miles to the south-west of [name where] and has on it a logan stone that can be rocked by means of a natural handle? (give the author, book name, the story, the object and location described, and the source of the scholarship).
  4. Who scoffed at Holmes’s conclusion about a single dumb-bell and suggested Watson knew better but let Holmes have his fun? (The writer, the story, and where the reference is given)
  5. Who wrote, “I myself have stood in Baker Street and surveyed a suppositious upper story, wondering whether Sherlock Holmes was standing beside the dark hangings in the windows, looking up and down for a hansom-cab with a suspicious driver”? (Name the writer and the publication or book in which it appears; no story required).




Download Week 8 Questions




Download Week 8 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz #7: 1 November to 6 November 2013

Weekly Quiz #7
1 November to 6 November 2013

RESULTS: Elinor Hickey “Misty” was second in with 16/20; Dean Turnbloom “Stoker” was third in and tied with 16/20; and James O’Leary “Pippin” was first in with 15/20. They go forward to the Monthly Quiz on 8 November 2013.

Watson used colour sparingly in his writing with only a few exceptions. Compared to imagist writers, however, he was not a “colourful” writer. “Colour in the Canon” would make a superb research paper for The Watsonian (any takers?).

This week’s quiz is concerned with those few colours. Identify the object being described by the colour and an associated word or two in the text, the story, and all the accurate page citations (5 point bonus) in the Doubleday one-volume edition of 1930 (the “W” edition).

Colour – – – – Object/Person – – – – Story – – – – Page

  1. Yellow (Nov. 1895)
  2. White (rustic)
  3. Amber (pile)
  4. White (curve)
  5. Red (bully)
  6. Green (mottled)
  7. Gray (jack-in-a-box)
  8. Gray (scraped)
  9. Green (dreaming)
  10. Brown (study)
  11. Black (insane)
  12. Glossy black (noble maybe)
  13. Purple (girt round)
  14. Red (wire)
  15. Brown (first usage)
  16. Black (smoke tree)
  17. Crimson (guilty)
  18. Gray (mist)
  19. Pink (curve)
  20. Lavender (aristocrat)

file_download.pngDownload Week 7 Questions and Answers

Results: Weekly Quiz #6

The fun has produced Weekly Quiz Masters! The Answers are posted below.

Taking the Individual Member Category this week is our intrepid Quiz Master James O’Leary “Pippin”, who once again was first in with 20/20 correct answers plus the 5 bonus points for a total of 25 points. Denny Dobry “Kirby” was in with 19/20, and our new member from Italy, Michele Lopez “Reggie” and Dean Turnbloom “Stoker” tied with 18/20, and Elinor Hickey “Misty” was next.

The Team Member Category once again was captured by Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy”, who maintain their Team honours for the sixth week in a row.

Congratulations to all these Quiz Masters on what was a more difficult quiz than it first appeared.  On to Week #7!

Download Week 6 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz #5 Quiz Masters

The honours for Weekly Quiz #5 go to: (answers posted below)

Member Individual Category:  The first to submit with 20/20 correct answers plus 5 bonus points for textual citations is James O’Leary “Pippin”, who claims the honours this week.  He was followed by Denny Dobry “Kirby”, Dean Turnbloom “Stoker”, and Elinor Hickey “Misty”, who all came within two questions.

Member Team Category: Again (for the fifth week) our intrepid team of members from Seattle, Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” took the team honours with 20/20, also plus the 5 bonus points.

Congratulations to these Quiz Masters and Quizzees who continue to be difficult to stump.  They will go forward to the Monthly Quiz #2.

Results: Weekly Quiz #4 and Monthly Quiz #1 with New Schedule (see below; also Answers below)

After grueling competition, the results are in!

Weekly Quiz #4:

Member Individual Category

Denny Dobry “Kirby” took the honors and James O’Leary “Pippin,” Elinor Hickey “Misty”, Ron Lies “Chips” were all close.

Team Member Category

Margie Deck  “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” of Seattle continued their near-perfect streak for team honors.

Non-Member Category

Dean Turnbloom, in his final appearance as a non-member (he has joined the Society) took the honors.

Congratulations to these Weekly Quizzers and Weekly Quiz Masters. This was a difficult Weekly Quiz and required determining the best case of logic, textual evidence, and association or relationship to arrive at a string of connected answers that satisfied the clue design in both inductive and deductive directions (working form the beginning or working from the end). There are several possible sets of answers to the clues, but only one has the highest quotient of logic, evidence and association; however, alternatives that were supportable were considered and accepted when the proofs could be presented.  The best score in all categories was 8/10.

Monthly Quiz #1
This week’s quiz also was Monthly Quiz #1 among those who were successful in the prior Weekly Quizzes, which partly explains the somewhat diabolical nature of the quiz structure. The Monthly Quiz honors go to:

Member Individual Category

Denny Dobry “Kirby” is our first Monthly Quiz Master with a combined score on all quizzes this month of 47/60.

Team Member Category
Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” are our first Monthly Quiz Masters with a combined score on all quizzes of 47/60.

Non-Member Individual Category

Dean Turnbloom is our first Monthly Quiz Master with a combined score on all quizzes of 47/60.

Congratulations to all of our Quiz Masters. You all now go forward to the Quarterly Quiz and on to the Annual Quiz.  As we all now see, participating in every quiz is how you boost your cumulative score towards the Annual Quiz Master honor, a reality shown by the equal scores of 47/60 by all three Quiz Masters. If one misses a week, it can mean a 10 to 20 point difference; of course, if one doesn’t miss a week, it can be a 10 to 20 point advantage . . . diabolique, n’est pas?

Responding to a participant’s excellent suggestion (Dean Turnbloom), Buttons will make it a bit easier for participants to have the time to work on the quizzes by changing the schedule a bit so that a weekend is available to you on every quiz. Therefore, the Weekly Quiz will now be posted on Friday by 4 pm (Pacific) and end on Wednesday at 4 pm (Pacific) when answers have to be received.  The next Weekly Quiz will be Friday, 17 October through Wednesday 23 October 2013.  Good luck to everyone, and for all of our members who have not participated, please join in the fun. A comment from one of our participants sums up what we gain when we work on the quizzes: ” . . . these [quizzes] are certainly broadening my Canonical knowledge.” Enjoy!

Here are the Weekly #4/Monthly #1 Quiz answers:

file_download.pngDownload Week 4 Questions and Answers

Weekly Quiz #3 Results

The results are in! The Quiz Master for Week #3 is Denny Dobry, “Kirby”. He was followed by James O’Leary, “Pippin” in second place.

There were no submissions in the Member Team Category, or Non-Member categories.

Buttons learned that our Quizzees are not too sanguine about Word Scrambles. Next week’s quiz returns to Canonical references that are readable; in fact, it consists of single word clues. You’ll love this one!

Weekly Quiz #4 is also Monthly Quiz #1 for those who are competing in the Monthly Quiz Master challenge. The Monthly Quiz Master will be eligible for the Quarterly challenge as well as the Annual challenge. Monthly quizzes are:

Member Individual Category
Denny Dobry, “Kirby”
James O’Leary, “Pippin”
Elinor Hickey, “Misty”
Ron Lies, “Chips”

Member Team Category
Margie Deck, “Gwen”
Sheila Holtgrieve, “Daisy”

Non-Member Individual Category
Dean Turnbloom

Good luck to you all.  Anyone may participate in Weekly Quiz #4 and we look forward to an expanded roster of members, teams and non-members who wish to match wits with the slow boy who mostly lunches. The questions will be posted by 12 noon (Pacific) on Monday 7 October 2013 and will end at 12 Noon (Pacific) on 12 October 2013.

Results: Weekly Quiz 2; September 23-28, 2013

The results are in and the answers are posted below.  We had good participation this week, and there is always room for more!

Individual Member Category: James O’Leary “Pippin” with all 20 correct answers.

Team Member Category: Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgreive “Daisy” with 20 correct answers.

Individual Non-Member Category: Dean Turnbloom with 19 correct answers.

Other members doing very well included Denny Dobry “Kirby”, Ron Lies “Chips”, and Elinor Hickey “Misty” who all tied for second place in the Individual Member Category.

Tomorrow’s Weekly Quiz 3 will be posted by noon (Pacific) and will consist of 10 questions, but they are diabolique!

Congratulations to our successful Quiz Masters!  Onward to the Monthly and Quarterly Quizzes!

Weekly Quiz Masters for 16-21 September 2013

The First Weekly Quiz was successfully completed by the following participants:

Team Category: Margie Deck, JHWS “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgreive, JHWS “Daisy”. These two intrepid quizzers and members of the successful Team Category of the First JHWS Annual Canonical Treasure Hunt, had all 20 correct answers.

Individual Member Category: First to answer within hours of the quiz posting was James O’Leary, JHWS “Pippin” who scored 19 correct answers in a three-way tie with Denny Dobry, JHWS “Kirby” and Elinor Hickey, JHWS “Misty” also with 19 correct answers each.

Individual Non-Member Category: Dean Turnbloom who answered all 20 questions correctly.

These Weekly Quiz Masters may now challenge for the Monthly Quiz Master designation in their quest for the Annual Quiz Master title.

Interesting that the participants with 19 correct answers missed the same question, #11 having to do with the circa 1683 ancestral home of the Roylotts, Stoke-Moran. The answers are posted at the bottom of the original quiz notice below and may be downloaded by clicking on the icon.

Next week’s Quiz will be posted by 12 noon (Pacific) on Monday, 23 September 2013 and will end on 12 noon (Pacific) Saturday, 28 September 2013. Please join in as the more challengers we have the greater the fun!

Good luck to all and congratulations to this week’s Quiz Masters.

A Warm Welcome to a New Charter Member: James C. O’Leary, JHWS “Pippin,” SBB, PSI

The Society is very pleased to welcome our first Praed Street Irregular (PSI) to Charter Membership, an individual who is a charming writer and an enthusiastic Sherlockian: Mr. James C. O’Leary, “Pippin.”Here is the engaging biography he sends along:

“Growing up I had seen Daffy Duck and Bullwinkle J. Moose wear the Holmes’ deerstalker and Porky Pig and Mr. Magoo wear Watson’s bowler, but my first introduction to the detective was in the sixth grade (then the last grade of elementary school) when the class had to read The Hound of the Baskervilles in Scholastic Books “Easy Eye” edition–dark green type on light green, glare-free paper. I will admit that there were a few things that went over my head, such as Holmes’ dry wit (“You saw me, perhaps, on the night of the convict hunt, when I was so imprudent as to allow the moon to rise behind me?”) and Watson’s wonderful word-pictures (“Again the agonized cry swept through the silent night, louder and much nearer than ever. And a new sound mingled with it, a deep, muttered rumble, musical and yet menacing, rising and falling like the low, constant murmur of the sea.”)

In junior high, I sought out Holmes for my own pleasure and the school library had a copy of The Adventures and The Memoirs bound in one volume. When I came to last page with Watson’s stirring epitaph of Holmes, I could believe that the stains on the old and well-worn paper were the tears of past generations of readers.

It wasn’t until high school that I discovered that the Canon didn’t end at “The Final Problem” and that there was a whole world of scholarship and pastiche to help slake an unquenchable thirst. That was the beginning of the Great Boom of the seventies and there always seem to be something new at the bookstore. I found Pinnacle Books paperback editions of the Solar Pons Canon and was made a member of the Praed Street Irregulars by Luther Norris; I subscribed to the Baker Street Miscellanea ($4.00 a year for four issues of incredible scholarship); The Sherlock Holmes Journal and then The Baker Street Journal.

For over thirty years I’ve considered myself a Sherlockian, but it has always been a solitary pursuit. It wasn’t until I went on to the internet in 2010 and discovered Scott Monty and Burt Wolder’s I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast that I was inspired to seek out others. I became a member of the Speckled Band of Boston in 2012 and corresponded electronically with wonderful and generous Sherlockians.”



And thank you, James, for this delightful, nostalgic and poignant recalling of our own similar first encounters with Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and the adventures that have filled our lives.

Please extend a welcoming and warm greeting to our new friend and fellow Watsonian, James C. O’Leary:

You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”