Sherlock Holmes is the great detective.
Around the world, women and men worship Holmes. They're obsessed with the Canon, the reports of his cases. They travel to his home, 221B Baker Street, in London, England, to pay homage. He has a staff, to answer mail, greet visitors and show them around, while he lives in Sussex.
Sherlock Holmes was the first superstar. Queen Victoria was a fan, and a googling, today, results in at least 2 million hits. He's one of three supposedly not factual superstars of all-time.
Worldwide, readers know Hamlet, Robinson Crusoe and Sherlock Holmes. Translations exist in most languages and dialects. Only in America, are Hamlet, Crusoe and Holmes less well-known than Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears or Justin Timberlake.
Holmes solved many cases, but reports of only 60 exist. He liked to work out of the public eye. His friend and co-sleuth, John Hamish Watson, MD, was gregarious, and enjoyed telling of the cases they solved.
Watson was every bit the equal of Holmes. He wasn't the bumbling fool portrayed in motion pictures. The difference was in style. Watson was bonhomous, whereas Holmes was an eremite.
Watson convinced a friend, Canon Doyle, to publish his tales. Doyle, a bored-physician, had an interest in journalism and writing. He was the ideal choice, a scientist who could write, to record the cases solved by Holmes and Watson.
The first case Doyle reported was, "The Gloria Scott," from the summer of 1874. Holmes was at university, but this wasn't his first case. Doyle alludes to earlier cases, such as "The Terai Planter," in "The Gloria Scott." Baring-Gould believes Holmes solved "The Musgrave Ritual" during this time, though Doyle dates it October 1879. Such is the quiddity of Sherlockianism.
Watson, according to Doyle, joined Holmes in "A Study in Scarlet," 1881. Here and there in the Canon, are allusions to Watson helping solve "The Adventure of the Blackmailer," early in 1881; by 4 March, "A Study in Scarlet" preoccupied them. The partnership ended in October 1903, with "The Adventure of the Creeping Man." Doyle reported 53 cases solved during the 22 years.
In retirement, Holmes continued to solve an occasional case on his own. A visiting Watson rejoined him for "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane." The last case reported by Doyle, "His Last Bow," took place on Sunday, 2 August 1914.
On 6 January 1954, a small group of friends joined Watson to celebrate the 100th birthday of the great detective, at his bee farm in Sussex, England.
Here are three adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both aired on BBC in 1954, and on the ABC radio in 1954 and 1955. Sir John Gielgud stars as Holmes. Sir Ralph Richardson is Watson. Both stories are true to the writing of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle. (Leader is about 17 seconds on each show.)
Click the play button, below, to hear "The Adventure of the Black Mailer," starring Sir John Geilgud, as Sherlock Holmes and Sir Ralph Richardson, as Dr John H Watson. Note: there's a brief silence before the show begins.
Click the play button, below, to hear "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," starring Sir John Geilgud, as Sherlock Holmes and Sir Ralph Richardson, as Dr John H Watson. Note: there's a brief silence before the show begins.
Click the play button, below, to hear "The Adventure of the Second Stain," starring Sir John Geilgud, as Sherlock Holmes and Sir Ralph Richardson, as Dr John H Watson. Note: there's a brief silence before the show begins.
William S. Baring-Gould (1967), "The Annotated Sherlock Holmes," was published by Potter. Pp. 130-140.
George B. Welch (1956), "The Terai Planter," appeared in The Baker Street Journal, volume 6, number 1, in January. Pp. 35-39.
Streeter Click is editor of GrubStreet.ca.
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