“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” Or, I don’t know…something about a bicycle built for two?

All right, I’m giving myself until I finish this post to think of a hilarious bicycle-related subtitle and then I’m just going with the first thing that pops into my head.

“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” was first published in, huh. Wait a minute. According to Leslie, it was published in Collier’s on December 26, 1903 and then in the Strand in January 1904. Is this the first time that the States got him first?! I’m amazed. And, according to Baring-Gould, it took place, despite what Watson says, Saturday, April 13 to Saturday, April 20 1895.

The only interesting note I have from Leslie is in the essay on Victorians and bicycling which follows the short story. The Catalogue of an Exhibition on Sherlock Holmes Held at Abby House Baker Street, London NW1, May-September 1951 (I imagine this to be like the Holmesian version of the travelling Harry Potter exhibit that’s making the rounds) included a letter from the managing director of Raleigh Industries Limited, Nottingham which accompanied one of their bicycles included in the exhibition which read:

Dear Lord Donegall,

Referring to your letter of the 20th April, in which you inform me of your present researches into the whereabouts of the cycle belonging to Miss Violet Smith . . ., I am pleased to be able to tell you that on looking back through our files for 1895 and 1896 we have been able to trace a Humber bicycle which we delivered to Miss Smith’s father at Charlington Hall. As you recall in your letter, Miss Smith married and having no further use for the vehicle sold it back to us. Many years later when it became apparent that our earliest products would be of historical interest, it was placed among other examples of this firm’s craftsmanship. It was not, however, until your letter called attention to the fact, that Raleigh Industries Limited realised the very special value of this bicycle, in view of its association with the immortal detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

I know I’m kind of reaching here for anything at all to talk about (and Leslie points out some inaccuracies here, too), but I just love the extent to which the bicycle company played along with the Holmesians here in their contribution to the exhibit.

And the only thing I have to say regarding Baring-Gould is that he seems to be developing a new obsession – not that he’s letting go of his exhaustive efforts to pinpoint dates in the canon – and that is the inaccuracies of Watson’s train timetables. Twice he points out mentions of trains which never existed – even correcting him by two minutes (apparently there was a 9:15 train from Waterloo to Farnham, but not, as Watson says, a 9:13 one). And it only makes me love him the more.

And once again, that’s it! I’d say we’re working towards The Hound of the Baskervilles at this point – things ought to liven up a bit once we get there. Next week, however, it’s on to “The Adventure of the Priory School” – keep your fingers crossed that the Holmesians have some spectacular revelation waiting for us!

*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.

YA Fiction

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

It’s here – it’s finally, finally here! The third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. And I’m going to be good and talk about it under a cut tag so as not to inadvertently spoil anyone!

The short answer to whether or not I liked it is ‘Yes, but…’ The long, spoilery version is…

Continue reading

Nonfiction: Awesomeness

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

Okay, I probably should have labelled this Nonfiction: Pop Culture Essays because that would have been more specifically accurate, but when it comes to Chuck Klosterman, I can’t help myself. He’s amazing! I’m afraid I’ve let this review go for too long because I was too intimidated about gathering my thoughts into a coherent manner that would do this book justice, so I really have nothing clever or particularly relevant to say other than that he is a pop culture genius and that you should read the book.

Basically, he takes pop culture (e.g., Kurt Cobain, Alfred Hitchcock, and Abba) and somehow, SOMEHOW BECAUSE HE’S A GENIUS, uses it to make super-insightful inferences about people and society. The one about Hitchcock and voyeurism and reality television is my favorite, I think. That and the Abba one. Oh, and the laugh track one! That’s my favorite favorite one. I would try to explain them to you, but it will just devolve into complete and utter fangirling and, anyway, I’d never be as eloquent and yet concise as he is.

My rating: A

p.s. – Chuck, I totally read the football essay even though you said I could skip ahead to the one about Abba, but I stuck it out! And even though I didn’t understand a word of your supporting evidence for your theory that the NFL and football are actually forward-thinking sports in the guise of old-school conservativ…ism(Is that a word?), I completely bought it and thought it was very insightful. Which I have to admit is not a word I thought I’d ever type in the same sentence as the word football.

Gah!

So behind! I blame Suzanne Collins. I promise to catch up soon! I’ve got book reviews, movie reviews, and even a spider story that I need to share with you all.

Soon!

“The Adventure of the Dancing Men” Or, Get your acts together, Holmesians!

“The Adventure of the Dancing Men” was first published in December 1903 and, according to Baring-Gould who is up to his old tricks here, takes place Wednesday, July 27 to Wednesday, August 10 and Saturday, August 13, 1898 (I’m not sure why he didn’t just call it July 27-August 13, but that’s what he says…). I think he probably has one of those logic puzzle setups for each short story where he’s like ‘It was raining on this day, but it can’t have been a Monday; the moon had to be out for Hilton to see the note on the sundial, but it was overcast on that day.’

I also think we are probably soulmates.

But! I am shocked to see that Baring-Gould let a typographical error through! The title of the short story is correct, but in his running heads, it’s ‘The Adventure of the Dancing Man’! *gasp* I guess that’s what happens when you devote so much time to logic puzzles…

Frankly, I think the Holmesians are in a bit of withdrawal after the excitement of “The Final Problem” and “The Empty House” – the theories are less than sparkling and aren’t nearly as numerous as they were. I’m sure we’ll recover, it’s just making for a bit of a Holmesian doldrum at the moment.

I think this is usually one of the short stories that has the main citation of Watson’s gambling problem  – it’s certainly not the only one; there are hints of it in “Shoscombe Old Place” and I think there are also hints of it in “Silver Blaze,” too – Holmes mentions that he keeps Watson’s chequebook locked up in his desk for him. Most Holmesians think this is a sign of Holmes looking after Watson and keeping him from gambling away everything. Good old D. Martin Dakin, though, ‘suggests instead that the doctor may have temporarily broken the lock or mislaid his own desk key, or that his desk simply wasn’t the kind that locked’ (NA, 866). It makes sense, but I’m going to have to go with Watson’s a gambler – there’s too much evidence to the contrary, Martin.

Though he solves it, the question is whether or not it, like “The Five Orange Pips” counts as a success since he does lose his client. The Holmesians seem rather at a loss as to why Holmes didn’t hightail it out to Ridling Thorpe when Hilton Cubbitt first turned up at his door. He did it for what’s-her-name – not “The Crooked Man,” the one where she thinks her husband’s dead, but he just works as a beggar instead” – and that seemed to be a much less pressing issue. No one really seems to have an explanation for Holmes’ lackadaisical approach to this case – not even a crazy one, like I don’t know, that Holmes had travelled from the future and was busy trying to fix his time machine so he could go back in time to actually save Cubbitt. Or, you know, something like that.

I don’t even have any miscellaneous thoughts! See? The doldrums!

Oh, one last thing – ACD agrees with everyone else who loves this one – he ranked it #3 on his list of favorites! We’ve passed all my favorites, so I’m looking forward to see what he ranks as #1.

Tune in next week for “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” when hopefully the Holmesians will be back in form (and hopefully so will I – I’m SO hungry right now and not thinking straight!).

*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.

The movie poster, it does not lie!

I was just about to type that this movie was EPICALLY GOOD, when I noticed it’s tag line. AND IT’S TRUE! I’m just back from seeing Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and it was fantastic! Funny and sweet and frenetic but in a good way and surreal and full of charm and JUST PLAIN WONDERFUL. I mean, of course, there’s stuff they had to drop from the books, but somehow it still manages to have all the heart and, I know I just said it, charm that the books have!

Michael Cera seriously kicks ass and does it with his usual hangdog awkwardness, but I totally believe it when he drops into awesome kungfu mode. The girl playing Ramona comes off as sort of…dry and a little bland (impressive when you have color-changing hair), but Ramona is a kind of problematic character (even more so than Scott Pilgrim actually is), so I’ll forgive her – it was always going to be a bit of an uphill battle. But Knives Chau totally makes up for it – she’s pretty super! I do love Kieran Culkin who rocks as Scott’s roommate Wallace – even though he totally got left out of the final battle (one of the very few complaints I had about the books) – why isn’t he in more movies?

I know that this year’s summer blockbuster tally doesn’t need the help, but you know what? I’m going to do it – Scott Pilgrim has achieved +5,000! Level up!

Summer blockbuster tally: 5,008-1-0

“The Adventure of the Norwood Builder” Or, Stop him, Gromit!

“The Adventure of the Norwood Builder” was first published in November 1903 and took place, once again thanks to Baring-Gould and his beloved weather reports (ah, it’s good to be home again), Tuesday, August 20 to Wednesday, August 21, 1895 (and also once again going against many of his fellows most of whom date this case to 1894).

When discussing his return to Baker Street, an instance of Watson’s pawky sense of humor seems to have fallen to the ACD’s editing pen. According to Leslie, the sentence originally read ‘At the time of which I speak, Holmes had been back for some months, and I, at his request, had sold my practice and returned to share the old quarters in Baker Street as a Junior and insignificant member of the firm‘ (NA, 830). I think there’s something particularly charming in this sentence – Holmes, going so far as to finance the purchase of Watson’s practice, has obviously missed his Boswell and Watson is so quick to uproot his life at Holmes’ insistence. I guess old habits die hard.

Once again, I find myself nudging Paget further down the list of my favorite Holmes illustrators – Frederic Dorr Steele has pushed him down to #3 there (I think Gutschmidt’s still got the number one position, though) with this:

He looks a bit like Jon Hamm to me… Though Baring-Gould, in a rare fit of snark, points out that Holmes seems to have worn his dressing gown out to Deep Dene House (BG, 425).

Though Holmes laments the lack of interesting cases, Watson assures us this is far from true, mentioning the ‘shocking affair of the Dutch steamship Friesland, which so nearly cost us both our lives’ (NA, 831). Leslie points out that ‘in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, it was the S.S. Friesland, a Dutch-American liner, that sighted Professor George Edward Challenger’s pterodactyl when it escaped from the Queen’s Hall’ (NA, 831). Surely SOME Holmesian has put forth the theory that Holmes and Watson were off tracking dinosaurs here! And, sure enough, Baring-Gould doesn’t let us down. Ray Kierman steps up to the plate, suggestion that ‘Holmes and Watson, retained by Challenger, had chartered the steamship and “placed the vessel in the very path [Holmes’] matchless brain told him the beast would pursue [on its flight back to Maple White Land] . . . There seems no doubt that Holmes lured the monster to the very decks of the vessel, and there . . . fought it out . . . There seems little doubt, either, that Watson, in the nick of time, when the pterodactyl had Holmes down for the last prod of its vile and lethal beak, stepped forward and sent a bullet through the brainless [?!] skull of the creature . . .”‘ (BG, 415). Sounds very exciting, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately T.S. Blakeney steps in to ruin all the fun, pointing out that the year of The Lost World seems to be 1906 and, as the Norwood Builder takes place in 1894 (See? Baring-Gould’s playing the renegade again!), the dates simply don’t match up.

My miscellaneous thought [Let me show you it!]:

  • Ordinarily I wouldn’t explain my obscure subtitle here (I certainly haven’t before), but this one is so bizarre, I can’t help myself. In the BBC radio play version of “The Norwood Builder,” the voice actor who plays Oldacre sounds SO much like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit that the entire thing becomes an Aardman claymation episode  in my head. It’s impossible to take the ominous Oldacre seriously when I keep expecting him to say ‘Cracking cheese, Gromit!’ at any moment!

And that’s it! After the craziness of the previous two short stories, it’ll be an adjustment returning to the fairly normal theories. Also, I have to say that I don’t feel like I did “The Empty House” justice – I wrote it up too quickly and Baring-Gould was in the doghouse (I didn’t quote anything from him) because he organized his essays poorly. If I get around to it, I may attempt to rewrite that one eventually…

Anyway, tune in next week for “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” – a perennial favorite!

*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.

Why, oh, why am I unable to properly cook linguine?!

Soooo, I came home from work today, fully prepared to get back to my treadmilling (Attn: Murderers, now’s your chance.). What did I do instead? I ate a cupcake and took a nap.

And then I woke up, dragged myself into the kitchen, and made a dinner full of heavy cream and undercooked pasta, aka smoked salmon, vodka, and pea pasta (I’m not linking you to it because that kind of backfired last time I didn’t like a recipe…). (Seriously, murderers, I’m not going anywhere fast for long at this rate.)

I’m not entirely convinced that the smoked salmon I used worked as a cooked ingredient – it kind of dried out – but it’s possible that I chose the wrong/low quality kind because, frankly, it smelled a little bit of hot tires which I’m thinking is not the expected/desired result. Really not worth the fish guilt. But it looks pretty, right?

Right. And I’m totally getting back on the treadmill tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday – I was on it yesterday, I swear!)…

Happy New Year!

Er…I mean, happy random August day? I’m quite a few months early with these celebratory cupcakes, but I don’t care – they are delicious! And it doesn’t hurt that I now have about half a bottle of champagne that I’ll need to finish up either.

They don’t look their best because I think my frosting is every so slightly on the runny side – and I ran out of powdered sugar so I couldn’t just add more to thicken it up a bit. I know, I know, I could have run granulated sugar through my food processor to make powdered sugar, but frankly, I didn’t feel that motivated to do it.

Also, I’m hoping some time in the refrigerator will give them an opportunity to think about what they’ve done and pull their acts together.

Chin-chin!

I need a sparkler.

I seriously cannot tell them apart!

In addition to car blindness, I think I must have Granada!Watson blindness – I absolutely cannot tell the difference between David Burke and Edward Hardwicke. I just watched The Final Problem followed by The Musgrave Ritual and it wasn’t until the end credits ran that I realized we’d switched Watsons!

On the left, we have Watson #1 (David Burke). I think? And on the right, it's Watson #2 (Edward Hardwicke). I'm pretty sure...

When put next to each other like that, it’s quite clear that they’re two separate people, but watching them in the series, I have no idea which one I’m watching – or even that I’m watching a different one!

I just hope it tastes as good as it looks…

Well, like Rachel, I’m busy getting my contribution ready for tomorrow’s work potluck. I made a dessert (surprise, surprise!) – a Strawberries and Cream Tart, to be exact:

Apologies again, today it seems to be overly orange in my kitchen...

It looks good – I think it’s basically a panne cotta (Am I spelling that right?) in a crust with strawberries on top, so how bad can it be really? But it’s always a bit of a gamble to make something like that which has to be served because I can’t test it on myself first! Also, the gelatin seemed to take a long time to set up, so I hope it was sturdy enough when I put the strawberries on and that I won’t find it all mashed and sunken in the morning…

Keep your fingers crossed!

IR Fiction: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

ONLY ONE MORE?! Only one more. Granted, I thought the last one was the last one, so when someone mentioned they were reading the new Artemis Fowl, my response was ‘WHAT THE NEW WHAT?!’ and off I hastened to good old .co.uk and got myself a copy (I liked the UK cover better than the US, but only super-slightly – whatever happened to my design solution covers?!).

And, as always, my only complaint is that there wasn’t enough Artemis (and Holly)! This time we had quite a few other points of view – Butler and Juliet (who I’m not a huge fan of – and I miss Butler being Artemis’ Butler) and the bad guy as well as a Not!Artemis (who was hilarious for a little while, but I soon found myself missing the real Artemis).

It’s clear from this one that it’s meant to be a cliffhanger (I think, anyway) to the next, and final, Artemis book – all is not well in the mind of Artemis Fowl at the moment. And even though I’ll miss him after the next/last book, I thought the previous book was the final one, so it’s nice to have a bit of a reprieve. And in the meantime, I’ll have Skulduggery to keep me company!

My rating: B+

Very tasty! Also? Very messy.

Like I said, I’m back in the saddle again (Claire! We forgot to make Smitten Kitchen’s breakfast pizza!) – and now that I’m also restocking my freezer after an Incident, I’m thinking ahead. For instance, this evening, I made thyme pesto (Holy cow, that was tedious, pulling all those leaves off the little thyme sprigs – and yes, I know you slide your fingers down the sprig and the leaves just pop off, but you see how fast you can do 1/2-worth of that!):

Also very timely because I just did a clear-out of my fridge which included throwing away a jar of storebought pesto that I’m pretty sure moved with me from my last apartment. But what did I do with it tonight? I made this – Grilled (or toasted, in my case) Bread with Thyme Pesto, Lemon Cream (I used the Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream or creme fraiche because that’s what I had – for making Turkish eggs), and a Fried Egg (or poached, again in my case). I used the substitution of lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt for the preserved lemons because, hello! We don’t have those in central Illinois – and I haven’t been thinking quite that far ahead…

As you can probably guess, it’s very tasty, but also very messy. Seriously. This is not to be eaten in company – I ended up with yoghurt and egg all over me! But it was totally worth it.

ETA: Also. How have I made it this far without acquiring a set of pie weights? Or at least a bag of dried beans to USE as pie weights?! RAWR!

“The Adventure of the Empty House” Or, back in the saddle again!

For me and Holmes! After being on auto-post for a month, I’m having to get back into the swing of things – I forgot how long it takes me to do these! (No dinner for me tonight! Um, I may actually be turning into Holmes, after all…)

“The Adventure of the Empty House” was published on September 26, 1903 and takes place Thursday, April 5, 1894.

Some of the Holmesians aren’t buying Watson’s fainting at Holmes’ return, seeing as he is an ex-soldier who has actually seen battle. Walter P. Armstrong Jr., who obviously falls into the Holmes-really-did-die-at-Reichenbach camp, thinks that ‘Watson did not faint at all, but in fact invented his dramatic reaction in a burst of poetic license. “A Watson who in real life had never fainted,” he reasons, “might easily in composing an imaginative account of an emotional scene which never happened depict Watson as fainting”‘ (NA, 789). Others, thought, like S.C. Roberts, figures that Watson’s in an emotional state given the recent death of his wife along with Holmes and sees nothing exraordinary about his fainting when faced with a resurrected Holmes. I’m kind of surprised there hasn’t been a zombie!Holmes book written amongst all the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Android Karenina, etc. hype. Where are my zombie Holmesians at?! Hmm, maybe that’ll be my new theory to get myself into the journals….

There is some discussion here that will tie into one of the theories later – Holmes mentions that he read Watson’s account of his death at Reichenbach “some months later” referring, presumably, to a short period of time after the incident at the falls. But Reichenbach actually happened in 1891 – Watson didn’t publish it until 1893. Sure, maybe Holmes was just all coked up and lost track of time, or maybe he read an early draft written by Watson….which he got how?

And who here doesn’t buy Holmes’ hooey about faking his death so that the criminals of London would get lazy? You can’t see me, but my hand is up, along with Leslie, Stanley McComas, and June Thomson. First of all, Moran, the main guy that Holmes is after now that Moriarty is gone, saw him alive! Uh, Holmes, I think the jig (gig?) is up. According to McComas, ‘Moran saw him alive, so Moran will believe he is dead. Every underworld character in London must have known Holmes was alive. Watson’s acceptance of this incongruous tale can only be put down to his shock at seeing Holmes again’ (NA, 793).

June Thomson sees Holmes’ tale as an ‘attempt to excuse the unexcusable.’ She says that ‘”while Holmes excels at scrutinising objective, external situations, he is far less adept at analysing his own actions and motivations, and thus has chosen to shift the burden of fault onto Watson’s shoulders. […] His first instinct when faced with the need to explain his own unacceptable behaviour was to look for something or someone else to blame, in this case, Watson’s inability to dissemble. By doing this, he could justify his conduct not only to Watson but also to himself.” Thomson is unsympathetic toward Watson, labelling him “not given himself to subtle psychological inquiry and prone anyway to believe Holmes was usually right”–which, in fact, he does here’ (NA, 794). Wow, that was a lot of quote of quoted quotes, but I think I got it – at any rate, I thought it was a fascinating read of Holmes’ story because it totally doesn’t make sense.

Are you also wondering why Moran didn’t just shoot Holmes with his fancy-schmancy airgun? Because I always did. According to Noah Andre Trudeau, Moran was actually planning on shooting Moriarty so he could take over as leader of the criminal world. He did this, but then as he aimed to fire on Holmes, his gun jammed, leaving him to ineffectually hurl rocks at Holmes (NA, 793).

Okay. I know what we all want here. And I’m going to give it to you, so here we go! A list of all the wild and crazy things Holmes may or may not have been doing during The Hiatus (NA, 815-825):

1. The Fundamentalists (i.e., Holmes did pretty much what he told Watson he did)

  • Boring! Who cares if he did what he said he did?

2. The Hiatus Never Happened (i.e., What it says on the box)

  • Turns out I was wrong about Walter P. Armstrong, Jr. – he’s the leading proponent of this school of thought, arguing that ‘”Holmes did not return. He did not return because he had never been away… Not only was Holmes in London, but he was living in the same house with Watson all the time. Watson deceived us. But we cannot blame him, for the deception was necessary in order to trap the wily members of the Moriarty gang who remained.'”
  • Richard Lancelyn Green agrees, saying that ‘the only logical place where Holmes could have gone into hiding and, at the same time, maintain contact with the criminal world was in London. He returned to live at 221B, venturing forth in disguise, and only Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft, and Lestrade (What?! Lestrade but not Watson?!) were in his confidence.’
  • Then we have a couple of Holmesians who think it was a replacement Holmes who came back – Anthony Boucher chooses Holmes’ cousin Sherrinford while Stefan Ernston concludes that it’s Holmes’ sister instead. But Harry Halen gets his own bullet point for his version of the imposter theory.
  • He thinks that ‘In Tibet [Holmes] underwent a “tantric materialization ritual” that resulted in Sherlock Holmes II, a live copy of the detective–a phantom body with almost all the intellectual and physical faculties of the original. In the company of his newly-born identical brother, the real Holmes, in the guise of a tobacco merchant named Anaxagoras Gurr, arrived in Russia at the invitation of Anton Chekhov. The two Holmeses parted in Riga: the phantom Holmes returned to London and the real Holmes began working in Russia, first in the Baltic provinces.’ I…don’t even know what to say to that one.
  • Robert Keller goes the Scooby Doo route, proposing that Holmes did actually die at  Reichenbach and then returned to be “the world’s first consulting ghost.”‘

3. The Hiatus Was Spent Elsewhere (i.e., In useful ways, just…elsewhere)

  • Quite a few Holmesians think he went to the States and worked on the Lizzie Borden case. Jon Borden Sisson even concludes that Holmes committed the murders because he was having an affair with Lizzie.
  • There are also many Holmes the Spy theories, spying in Russia, spying in Egypt, and spying in Persia being the two main locales.
  • Alan Olding thinks that Holmes may have spent some time in Australia.
  • Bob Reyom, thinks Holmes spent the Hiatus studying the motets of Orlando di Lasso and Gordon R. Speck considers that Holmes spent some time in Cremona collecting samples from the Stradivari workshop and then headed to Montpel(l)ier to analyze them.

4. Ah, Here Come the Crazies (i.e., there was a Hiatus, just not what you’re expecting [seriously, no one could have come up with a couple of these])

  • Benjamin Grosbayne–Holmes married Irene Adler, became a distinguished operatic conductor, and toured the musical centres of the world with his wife.
  • Martin J. King–Holmes went to Hoboken, NJ, and shacked up with Irene, resulting in the birth of their son, Nero Wolfe.
  • Stanley McComas–Holmes and Irene got married in Florence and then spent the next three years travelling around Asia.
  • Alastair Martin–The way Leslie words it is a little confusing, so I’m just going to quote it directly. Moriarty is ‘the widow of Count Dracula whom Holmes encountered at the Reichenbach, wed, and spent three years with during the Great Hiatus.’ Now does that mean it’s Moriarty, widow of Count Dracula, that Holmes encountered and then wed or that it’s Moriarty, widow of Count Dracula that Holmes encountered at Reichenbach, and then wed. Either way, wow, Martin. But just when you think it can’t get any crazier, enter…
  • James Nelson–In Tibet, Holmes met and mated with THE ABOMINABLE SNOW-WOMAN. What the what?! I don’t even…

I actually do have some miscellaneous thoughts on this one [Let me show you them!]:

  • The book Watson notices when he’s helping Holmes the mysterious bookseller pick up his books is called The Origin of Tree Worship. Problem is, no such book exists. S. Tupper Bigelow, really coming through with the research here, notes that the closest match is James Ferguson’s 1868 book Tree and Serpent Worship: Illustrations of mythology and art in India in the first and fourth centuries after Christ from the sculptures of the Buddhist Topes at Sanchi and Amravati prepared under the authority of the Secretary of State for India in Council with Introductory Essays and descriptions of the plates which not only has a hell of a subtitle there, it also weighs over 11 pounds! (NA, 786) [Sounds like quite a book!]
  • Along similar lines, Leslie notes that ‘book collectors argue unendingly over the exact “five volumes” carried by Holmes’ (NA, 789). [Aw, Holmesians! You got me again!]

And I’m super-hungry, so I’m going to call it there. So he’s back! And we’ll be reading about what he’s up to next in “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.”

*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.

How could I forget the most exciting part of Chicago?!

I MIGHT HAVE KIND OF SEEN LADY GAGA WALK RIGHT BY MY CAR!

No, seriously. While I was waiting in the car for Claire to bring our bags out of the first hotel so we could repark and move into the second hotel, a blonde woman wearing big sunglasses and, literally, a garbage bag gown, walked past the car with two security guys, a photographer, and a couple of people carrying a variety of photography equipment.

‘Huh. I wonder if that was Lady GaGa,’ I thought.

Then little clusters of people with their phones out started hurrying past and I heard one guy on his phone say that it WAS Lady GaGa!

So, yeah, I may have kind of actually seen Lady GaGa randomly on the streets of Chicago on her way to a photo shoot.

It was pretty awesome.