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Everything posted by Hikari

  1. If we anoint thee Sir Herlock of Sholmes, will that make you feel better? I was surprised at the number of Americans who have received honors from Her Majesty. I can understand giving honorary titles to the American Presidents, but . . Ralph Lauren? If honors can be passed out like candy to American pop culture figures, then it was a grievous oversight that Mr. Brett, one of the finest stage and screen actors the UK has ever produced, not to mention, the definitive Holmes, a British icon if ever there was one, was never recognized for his contributions to the performing arts. Had he lived longer and continued in better health, he may have gotten his KBE--but if Kenneth Branagh could be made a KBE when he was only 50 . . . I'd say Jeremy Brett had done as much for British acting by that age as Ken had, and in the classical milieu as well. The theatre world is rife with homosexuality so it wasn't JB's sexuality that would have excluded him; do we suppose he might have been discriminated against due to his mental illness? That is not terribly rare in the theatrical world, either. Those same qualities which make performers so dynamic, charismatic and fearless in the pursuit of entertaining audiences are very often the flip side to bipolar disorder. A great many American child stars who grew up on Disney and Nickelodeon and went on to stratospheric fame as adult performers are in fact bipolar--Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Lovato, Amanda Bynes--to name just a few that have had highly public mental breakdowns in recent years. Jeremy was not alone in suffering from this disease in his profession. Show business attracts a disproportionate number of the mentally afflicted, I think, because of the nature of it: Performers have to be tight-rope walkers, performing without a net for audiences, and chameleons, becoming different characters, sometimes within the same production. Those who love the thrill of danger and of being the center of attention gravitate to performing, but the same qualities that make them gifted and exciting to watch are facets of their illness and not conducive to a calm and measured approach to life that promotes good mental health and well-being. The erratic hours, too many parties, too much indulgence of things that are not good for one just make any underlying mental conditions worse. Somebody with mental health challenges needs a steady routine, healthy diet, regular hours, exercise, low stress, calm. Supportive friends who advocate for healthy living and who aren't always in constant professional competition with one. In short, the opposite of how an actor or other show business type lives--particularly if he or she is famous. Wiki has a really exhaustive list of persons who have refused a Royal honor of any sort. Surprised to find Rudyard Kipling on this list. Has there been a British author who championed British Empire more? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_who_have_declined_a_British_honour The most high-profile refusal of a knighthood from the Queen would have to be Peter O'Toole, who was protesting on political grounds, being from Northern Ireland. I think it is pretty well de rigueur to do so. But here's a list of 11 others who have done the same. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/29904/10-famous-people-who-turned-down-knighthood Mysecond favorite knighthood story is probably apocryphal and is more like a cosplay knighthood. It was several years ago now that singer Ed Sheeran appeared doing the rounds of talk shows with a visible cut on his face. He had an entertaining anecdote about how he got the injury. While attending a raucous party with Princess Beatrice of York in attendance, the duo were horsing around with a decorative ceremonial sword that got taken down off the wall and used by Princess Bea in a mock knighting ceremony of Sir Edward, Lord of Sheeran. Everyone concerned was well-lit and Ed claims that the sword slipped and Bea accidentally cut his face. There actually is a photo of a giggling PB holding a sword and Ed kneeling on the ground in front of her. Fellow party guest, singer James Blunt, being a more mature (and sober) man saw what happened and refutes this version of events. Yes, there was a mock knighting, apparently but Ed actually got the cut on his face when he fell face first drunk into a coffee table and cut himself on an object on the table, whether bottle opener, bottle cap, ashtray or other. James didn't seem terribly impressed with Ed's state of inebriation and probably didn't care to have Princess Beatrice unfairly blamed for nearly putting Ed's eye out. First place favorite knighthood was seeing Sir Rod of the Stewart receive his KBE from Prince William. Both gentlemen were absolutely tickled to be there. Hard to tell who was fan-boying more. Pretty large moment for William, too, I imagine. This was probably one of the first times he was deployed to stand in for Granny in this manner.
  2. Got my second dose of Pfizer on Thursday. Had yesterday off from work, which was just as well. I had no major side effects, but I definitely felt this one more. The first jab was nearly undetectable, but the second one was a real Ow. Felt like a bee sting. I had the same nurse as before, so I don't think it was her technique. Other people reported the same thing. Immediately after I got back from the observation period, I put a cold pack on my arm for 2 hours and took three Tylenol. My arm still got sore, but doing this bought me about three additional hours before that happened. It wasn't more painful than before, but it has definitely lasted longer. First time was 24 hours almost to the dot. I'm in hour 47 now and I can still feel a little pain when I lift my arm. I switched up arms so this time was in my dominant one (the right). I developed a headache between my eyes around 9 or 10 pm that night that lasted for a couple of hours; I took 3 more Tylenol before I went to sleep. No problems sleeping; no night sweats, chills or fever. At worst, I felt tired, heavy and stiff. Kind of like you do when you've got a cold, except there wasn't any congestion or coughing. I had a stuffy head for a little while when I first lay down, but that went away. That might have also been from dust mites or the seasonal change in temps. All in all, not bad. I'm glad I didn't have to work the next day but I think I could have, if required--though pushing it may have made me feel worse than I did at home. It was a great excuse to lay in bed for most of the day watching movies, in between bouts of making food. My appetite seemed normal, but I tried to eat fairly light over the two days because I didn't want a lot in my stomach in case I felt pukey. I didn't. I would advise, if feasible, that anyone getting the second shot (or the first, in the case of J&J) schedule a sick day for the following day. My employer was generous in allowing us an hour each time on the clock to get the shots without having to take time. I was prepared to get more ill, so I would have taken a sick day if I hadn't been off already. You most likely will feel pretty OK, though you might not feel up to your usual activities and will just want to sleep or relax. If you do have to work, at least try to take a half-day or do lighter activities if you can. If your job involves being on your feet a lot or heavy lifting, probably best to avoid that first day after. I'm at work today and I feel fine now.
  3. Seems very likely, Herl. Though Moffat may not have been referencing TLSHS in particular that time. Isn't there a passage (or more than one) in a story/stories in which other characters (I'm thinking Lestrade and Watson), and even SH himself muse on what Holmes might have done if he'd opted to turn his prodigious mind to committing crimes instead of solving them? I'm sure there is, but I couldn't tell you where it appears just now. The Reichenbach Fall presents us with a scenario where Moriarty, posing as 'Rich Brook' convincingly casts doubt upon Sherlock's sanity and makes himself into a figment of SH's imagination as far as others are concerned. Watson & Molly are the only ones who have actually met 'Jim' to know any different. The scene on the roof of Barts could be read as the two sides of Sherlock's nature dueling it out for supremacy "Just because I'm on the side of the angels, don't think for a moment that I AM one of them". There's a very similar handling of the character of Moriarty and an eerily similar visceral shock ending to this episode as in Dibdin's story, wherein one of the main characters makes a shocking choice to self-annihilate for an ultimate goal. Sherlock Holmes always redeems himself in the end; even Mr. Dibdin put that in. Sally may be a good policewoman; Lestrade certainly relies on her, and she's his right-hand officer, so she's got skills, apparently. But they are hard to discern owing to her really unprofessional behavior toward Sherlock. It may be human to think of him as Freak, because, let's be honest--his personality and methods are completely his own, openly defiant of proper police procedure and equally antisocial in presentation. But Donovan and Anderson fan the flames with their snarky insults and open hostility and jealousy toward their boss's civilian consultant. They behave in an unprofessional, childish manner toward him and that only succeeds in bringing out the worst in SH. If they would have been polite in their dealings with him, one supposes that he might have given more politeness back to them. Sherlock is fully aware of social norms; when he ignores them and insults people, that is a conscious choice. I actually think he secretly relishes being called Freak and knowing that he gets under their skin that much. But you are correct that such verbal bullying is unacceptable behavior from law enforcement officers, and it's a failing of Lestrade's leadership as their boss that he didn't nip that in the bud earlier. He could have made it plain that Donovan & Anderson, as the two senior members of his team, could either be professional toward the consultant or be assigned to another division after a disciplinary leave and obligatory seminar on appropriate language in the workplace. That said, Donovan was right to force her boss to confront the valid possibility that his pet consultant might actually be responsible for the very crimes he was purportedly investigating. Donovan is a good officer in other respects, but she's always been such a b--- to Sherlock that it's hard to accept her criticisms of him as anything less than sour grapes. Lestrade is too indulgent of SH because he likes him, and he's far more likely to excuse SH's flaws. Sherlock gets results but at a great cost to Lestrade personally and to his division with the unconventional behavior and the animosity he sows among Lestrade's official subordinates. Greg gives the unpaid civilian a LOT of leeway, probably harming his own advancement in the process, and displays pretty blatant favoritism toward him. He calls in SH at the drop of a hat, undermining the morale of his actual team who are all sworn officers and can't get away with most of the cr*p that SH pulls--like B&E--because they are obliged to uphold the law. There is definitely legitimate cause for resentment among Greg's staff, but they all like him, apart from this one blind spot, so it's easier to target the source of their anger directly and call him names. Then there's the matter of Donovan and Anderson conducting an illicit workplace sexual affair. The married Anderson is guilty of adultery and it just displays how rather desperate Donovan is for attention . . or maybe she just wants to destabilize Anderson's marriage and hurt his wife. Sally seems like a pretty miserable cow. Kudos to Vinette Robinson because it's not easy to play such an unlikeable character. She really made us hate Sally, so, well done. Donovan of course has a significant role in The Reichenbach Fall, but we never see her again after that that I can recall. I don't remember exactly, either, but she is not in the first two episodes of S2. I do not recall her presence in the last two episodes of S1 specifically. She may have been in as little as two episodes then. She certainly made an impression as SH's primary antagonist on Lestrade's squad, until the focus shifted to Anderson for subsequent episodes in S3. S4 is honestly a blank to me vis. Anderson's involvement, but I think Vinette Robinson had left for other pastures. She turned up subsequently in an episode of Vera as a murder victim, which would represent KARMA! to a lot of Donovan haters. In my mind palace, Donovan transferred to another division/jurisdiction in the wake of the Fall to take a Detective Inspector opening. Lestrade will have recommended her highly for a promotion, if only to get her out of his sights. I don't think he would have wanted to work with her after events of that episode. Anderson had his own problems and was off the squad, too. A lot of people may not realize this but the role of Sally Donovan was played by another black actress in the unaired pilot episode. Zawe Ashton was the original Donovan, but was replaced by Vinette Robinson subsequently. The two actresses look remarkably similar. Ms. Ashton went on to a much beefier supporting role on Case Histories as Jackson Brodie's (Jason Isaacs) sassy secretary, Deborah over two seasons. I have a feeling that Ms. Ashton was no longer available for Donovan, having accepted the Case Histories job, when shooting commenced on the Study in Pink episode that actually aired. Moffat had to go back to the drawing board and produce a 90-minute script and completely redo the sets and wardrobe and everything. Ashton made a good call, I think, since Sally Donovan was such a tiny supporting part. P.S. Displaying the 'It's a Small World' theme in British television, the second lead in Case Histories (in the Lestrade role) was none other than Amanda Abbington, playing Brodie's DI contact on the Lothian & Borders police force. The two were former partners in the major case squad, until Brodie got fitted up by some fellow officers he testified against and was forced to leave the force and become a private detective. So there are definite Sherlockian characteristics to Brodie--a pissed-off loner who is working outside of the official police structure and who can therefore take creative shortcuts in his investigations that may not be strictly legal. Brodie and DI Louise Monroe appear to have a past history of being romantic partners or wanting to be, but Brodie has an ex-wife and a daughter, and the timing is always off for them. Amanda A. does a bang-on Scots accent and looks really good with red hair--better than the blonde, IMO.
  4. Well, yes. It is just a comparison for literary purposes. I was trying to describe a feeling in reaction to a story, not trying to equate both central figures as being equal in humanity, ie. 'realness'. I would hope that would be understood. Though when it comes to a certain breed of diehard Sherlockian, such as the type that becomes inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars Society, one must never discount that for those people, Sherlock Holmes is absolutely real. Certain individuals have been known to become unhinged if it is suggested in their hearing that Sherlock Holmes is not currently alive and hale and tending bees on the Sussex Downs. I am serious. Membership in the secular Church of the Great Detective is a religion a number of people hold dear; for them Sherlock Holmes goes way beyond a hobby or an admirable character from literature. For some really diehard Sherlock believers, he is real and has become real in the same way the Velveteen Rabbit became real: by being loved that much by enough of his readers. Sherlock Holmes cannot give one eternal life . . but many of his followers believe that he possesses it, or at least, give the appearance of it through their devotion to The Great Game. (in which disciples of Sherlock Holmes conduct their meetings and all their discourse, both oral and written as though the person they are discussing and writing adventures for not only lived for real on Baker Street during Victoria's reign and had a great pal called Watson, but is in fact, alive now and still working on behalf of Her Majesty's government in between bouts of beekeeping. ) Like Santa Claus, he is steadfastly real to those who believe in him and to those that don't . . well, it just looks like imagination or insanity, depending on the age of the believer. The lines get blurry. Because the chief tenet of the Great Game is never admitting, to outsiders or even within the circle that one is playing a game at all. Michael Dibdin was absolutely a Sherlockian, but his actions had a similar effect on his brotherhood of believers as Judas's did. An insider who went renegade and cast himself irredeemably into exile. Let's just say I don't think Michael was welcomed into any Sherlock scion society meetings after 1978.
  5. The following post does not contain any overt spoilers about The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, but certain plot points can be deduced by armchair detectives. I will leave it to the moderators to determine whether the entire thing belongs in a spoiler box, but I think we are all adults here and can determine for ourselves how much opinion about a book we have not read we are willing to accommodate. If you haven't read it and think you would like to, and you really, really want to go in absolutely blind, I suggest you go read it first and then come back to my comment. ************************************************** Michael Dibdin (RIP) was barely past 30 when that book--his first--was published. I don't know if the subsequent furore over this book was the cause of him leaving England to live in Italy for four years . . Italia is a lovely place, much favored as a holiday/retirement spot by Britons, but this was a young, first-time author making this move. Was he hiding out from enraged Sherlockians, one wonders . . ? Italy would prove to be fertile ground for inspiration because Dibdin is not remembered for his notorious freshman effort (except among dedicated Sherlockians); he is famous for his original detective character, Det. Aurelio Zen, a Venetian native working for the Carabinieri di Roma. Zen has some Sherlockian characteristics: he's a loner, very fond of deduction and resolutely incorruptible, which is blasted inconvenient for an Italian policeman. I read Michael's book very early on in my renewed Sherlockian period. I recognized Dibdin's name from the Aurelio Zen books (the most famous trilogy of which have been turned into films starring Rufus Sewell as Zen. That set is worth every penny) . . and it's a very slim book--200 pages or thereabouts. I figured it would be an easy breezy read before I dove back into Leslie Klinger's Annotated Sherlock Holmes. I was very wrong. It is neither easy nor breezy, though one can certainly read it in its entirety in under two hours. I was so gutted by it I had to reread the entire thing again immediately, just to be sure I hadn't hallucinated certain outcomes. I revisit the horrors of that book periodically just because I have a temperamental disposition to the Romanticism of making myself suffer. I think as I told Herlock Sholmes at the time, I have never both loved and hated a book so much simultaneously. Michael Dibdin may have succeeded in writing Dr. Watson better than Conan Doyle himself. It really is an outstanding piece of literary craftsmanship--pastiche done at a supremely high level that may have been equaled but never bettered, by anyone before or since. It is astounding that a first-time author, only in his 20s when composing it, would have blown onto the scene with such a masterful work. Or to have had the cojones at the very start of his career to publish a manuscript that was not going to be anything less than controversial. In the genre of Sherlockian lore, Michael Dibdin is both genius and heretic. His book is an apocryphal Gospel of Sherlock Holmes--as written by a Judas. I hate the nihilism of it but can't help but admire the sheer guts it would have taken to defiantly carry out his vision to its singular conclusion. His publisher was pretty ballsy, too, taking this on from a new author who was an untested commodity. There's a bit of cosmic irony--some might say karma--in Dibdin dying young, at only 60 (incidentally, SH's age in the last published canonical case His Last Bow) while Sherlock Holmes continues to 'live' on and go from strength to strength across pieces of three centuries. As for the reasons why such an obviously well-versed Sherlockian disciple would have engineered that level of betrayal toward his Master, those Mr. Dibdin has taken to his grave. It was a bravura turn--into Hell. The book, I mean . .not Mr. Dibdin's life, though some really hardcore Sherlockians might say he deserved nothing less than to be consigned there. I am not that angry, because Sherlock Lives . . he's bounced back a treat from the paces MD put him through. I would very much like to hear from MD himself over a pint about his process of creating this story and and even more . . .Why? . . .but mostly I admire the confidence it would have taken to pull it off, and then go on to a distinguished career creating his own signature detective. In my library, DIBDIN is shelved right alongside DEXTER, creator of Inspector Morse, which is a bit of serendipity. It occurs to me that the writers of Sherlock BBC, Sherlockians which they are, must have been aware of this story, and might have even derived elements from it for their take on The Reichenbach Fall. Steve Thompson was listed as the primary writer on that episode, which narrowly missed being my favorite episode of the series. (In the end, A Scandal in Belgravia edged it out for its greater humor and more positive ending . . I really hate seeing Watson cry) . .but he certainly consulted with the showrunners on the direction the episode would take. The similarities are there. We can rejoice that like Jesus busting out of the tomb on Easter Sunday, Sherlock Holmes did not stay dead. We like him much better that way.
  6. That seems to reflect the results of my informal poll, too. Perhaps the people who have a bad reaction but have never officially been diagnosed with Covid actually had an asymptomatic case earlier or at any rate, enough viral exposure for the body to ramp up. The Johnson & Johnson shot is appearing attractive to a lot of people who are wary of getting sick on two shots . . maybe people who know for sure they've had Covid would be sufficiently covered by the one dose, since for them, the first shot functions like the second shot for people who haven't been exposed. A nurse friend of mine had Covid in May or June of last year; she was working on the Covid unit in a nursing home, so that is hardly surprising. As a health care front liner, she was in the first round of vaccinations. After the second shot, she had to take a week off work because it felt like Covid all over again. Another friend had quite a Covid year . . She was expecting her first baby when her library was closed due to the pandemic. Initially this seemed like good timing, as she was set to go on maternity leave soon after, though she would have worked another couple of months. It took weeks and weeks for her to get anywhere with the unemployment benefits office--if she ever did. I hope she got some of that money because just before her baby was due, she was told that her job had been eliminated--bye! She gave birth in July and her husband was able to be with her. Their daughter is adorable. Then she and her husband both got Covid, despite barely leaving the house. Daddy works from home. Everybody got better, but then all three got Covid again within a few months--a variant version. Lord knows how because they still weren't going out much. Then, while still recuperating, they decided to sell their home and were on a time crunch. She's only 30 so hasn't queued up for any shots yet, but she's got antibodies for at least two strains! It's an irony that many of the people who are being *soo* careful, germophobic even, are still getting this thing despite taking every precaution while legions more who deny the whole thing exists are absolutely fine. A colleague's immuno-compromised 80-year mother was infected at family Thanksgiving which she adamantly insisted on attending. She passed away a month later, coming down with symptoms within 48 hours of that gathering. She didn't live to see the vaccine that might have given her several more good years with her family, so I think the vaccine is definitely worth getting. If not for yourself, to protect vulnerable loved ones. The colleague that went home sick yesterday the day after her shot is back today, feeling much better. Another reported a bad headache last night but it was gone by morning.
  7. I remembered that I have indeed read Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow, and in fact Herl and I have conversed about it right here. That's a Sherlock vs. Jack the Ripper story, and I've read a number of those and got my details mixed up. Around the same time, I also read Laura Joh Rowland's The Ripper's Shadow, which was the first book in a series dedicated to female photographer Sarah Bain's adventures in late Victorian London. Photography was in its infancy and not only was the equipment extremely expensive, unwieldy and rare, but photographers (all male) were considered disreputable. In many quarters, they still are. https://www.laurajohrowland.com/ripper.php SH vs. Saucy Jack has become irresistible to writers and filmmakers, since Jack's bloody reign of terror corresponds precisely to SH's best and most active years in London. It seems inconceivable that Holmes wouldn't have inserted himself into the Scotland Yard investigation. But I understand Conan Doyle's reasons for staying far away from such a topical matter. He wasn't a tabloid journalist but a creator of escapist fiction, and the Jack murders were too raw and recent, and the crimes too sordid. Conan Doyle didn't want to have his fastidious and resolutely celibate detective embroiled in sadosexual murders of prostitutes and be tainted by association as a muckraker. That hasn't stopped generations of imitators from making a buck by having Sherlock gamely get on the tail of Saucy Jack. Conan Doyle's other glaring issue was--The Great Detective always gets his man (or woman). Had he taken on Jack the Ripper the public would have expected to see Holmes unmask the Ripper and bring him to justice, even though only one of those contemporaries was, strictly speaking, real. In our time, that would be like having Sherlock catch the killer of JonBenet Ramsey. Though maybe someone has actually penned such a fan fiction someplace. Author Stephen Hunter identifies the Ripper as a real Victorian esteemed personage and that's definitely a surprise you don't see coming. Blows the mind a little bit. Michael Dibdin's Ripper suspect is even more astounding in The Last Sherlock Holmes Story.
  8. Dropping in on Speedy's Cafe in the first time in forevah . . . @Carol, I discovered Laurence Brown (Lost in the Pond) during the pandemic year or maybe just slightly before. He is very entertaining and still, quintessentially British despite all the things he has discovered that he loves about America. The video where he sampled the Girl Scout cookies was hilarious. He didn't really care for most of them as I recall, but a lot of the packaged 'biscuits' sold in Britain seem similar. I guess maybe mint and peanut butter (particularly the latter) are more of an American obsession. So another funny vid is Laurence attempting to make a PB&J sandwich, and his wife Tarah, showing him how it's done properly (ie, the way she makes it! :)) Tarah is an Indiana girl, so regionally, I 'get' her. Laurence is one of those people who is a lot taller than one is led to expect from his onscreen presence. At 6'1" I think he's quite a bit above the norm for his countrymen and even above the norm for Americans. ****** Re. the Shot I got my first jab of the Pfizer two weeks ago today; April 1st is my second round. My arm was initially fine for four hours and then from about 3pm through to the next day it was quite painful, like I'd been walloped with a baseball bat. Then, at about the 24 hour mark from my injection, the pain disappeared like magic. I felt a little hot and lightheaded immediately after the shot, while I was waiting, but it passed in half a minute or less. I think it was psychosomatic, honestly. A colleague just had her first round of the Pfizer yesterday from the same clinic and she had to go home sick this morning after a couple of hours. But she's had Covid already, along with her whole family, and says the side effects feel just like her Covid symptoms. (backache, chills, tiredness) All of the people I have spoken to who experienced more than a sore arm and actually felt sick are ones who previously tested positive for Covid, and of those, the Moderna seemed to have more of an impact. We shall see what we shall see. Fortunately I have the next day off work if it gets bad. My sister sailed through both of hers with nothing.
  9. Found this article today: https://www.thecuriousreader.in/bookrack/sherlock-holmes-pastiches/ The 8 top Holmes pastiches as rated by one reader. I have read most, though not all of these. I can vouch for Lyndsay Faye (BSI), though I do not recall reading Dust and Shadow. If you do not already own a copy of The Whole Art of Detection, I recommend that one highly. It's a collection of short stories comprising the further adventures of SH, including many that are passing references in Canon stories, like the man who went back into his house after an umbrella and never came out and Col. Warburton's madness. I confess to being underwhelmed by Anthony Horowitz's House of Silk. It wasn't awful, but I didn't think it rated quite as much buzz as it received. His follow-up, though--Moriarty--is a must-read. Bonnie MacBird is an avid Sherlockian with a flat on Baker Street and the hostess of the Sherlock Breakfast Club of London that meets every Saturday, or did, pre-pandemic. Maybe the breakfast meetings are carrying on via Zoom. Her essay on The Naval Treaty in the About Sixty anthology is one of the standouts of that volume. The cover art was fantastic. How sad was I to be more disappointed in Art in the Blood than I have in any Sherlockian pastiche effort apart from the more egregious efforts of Laurie King. Promising set up but it really and truly was bad. Nothing on this list by Donald Thomas or Michael Kurland--an oversight, for sure. Both are wonderful authors who really get into the esprit of Sherlock, and in Kurland's case, Moriarty. Michael Kurland has also edited the fine short story collections: Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years and Sherlock Holmes: The American Years.
  10. I guess you haven't seen any of the bonus features for Sherlock, then? Beryl was heavily featured in some of the interview segments, along with daughter Sue (Mrs. Moffat), who was more involved in the day-to-day on set as a producer. Their son Louis, a personable young man who seems to have inherited the paternal hair gene starred in some of the bonus features, too. The term beryl is not commonly used in the States, to my knowledge, and I studied gemstones for a Christmas temp job selling fine jewelry at Macy's. So I googled it. https://geology.com/minerals/beryl.shtml My impression, from the SH story description was that 'beryl' was 'aquamarine', but there seem to be variety of colors. November's (Scorpio) birthstone that I'm familiar with is the topaz (tiger eye), or alternatively, citrine. Maybe citrine is a variant of beryl? Mine is the opal (moonstone) or tourmaline. It's pretty, I guess, but I've never cared for it much. They are very soft stones, which makes them a poor choice for a ring, and they need special care. Since you're a guy, you may not really know the answer to this but it seems to me like in England and other countries (Japan), it is a common custom to give a bride her birthstone as an engagement ring rather than strictly diamonds. We've got Queen Victoria to thank for the tradition of white wedding gowns. She wore white at her wedding and ever since, it has been copied as the color for brides. But her birthday was in May (emerald), not June (diamond). So I wonder where the diamond custom came from. Diamonds are incredibly hard, expressing durability of marriage, I suppose, and also being the most valuable, money-wise, became the most desirable for engagement rings. Your stone is the blue topaz or turquoise. Nice! In my family we've got a topaz, amethyst, opal, 2 blue topaz and an aquamarine.
  11. Carol, I just discovered over the weekend that Jekyll is free on YouTube. I couldn't find a full episode listing so you have to enter 'Jekyll Episode #' to find them individually. They are 53 minutes long. This was a Moffat solo project, executive produced by Beryl Vertue.
  12. Aha. Though I always associated Anderson's role/personality in the show as that of 'Athelney Jones'--the Scotland Yarder who was a rival of SH's. David Marcum would disagree with Mofftiss . . or would phrase it as 'canon is everything'. He's a lot choosier about what he will allow as true to canon. Blowing up Baker Street and blasting Holmes and Watson out of the second storey windows absolutely unscathed probably wouldn't rate. He's very fond of the Rathbone movies, though he has likely become more discerning than he was as a 10-year-old. I do not know his feelings about The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I don't think he objects to the Holmes and Watson, but he probably wouldn't care for a lot of that plot, including the hints of romance between SH and an insidious female.
  13. Well done, Herl! I revisited Watson's first encounter with SH in Barts' lab to refresh my memory. This exchange with (Young) Stamford is nearly verbatim: “That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion; “you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me.” “And who was the first?” I asked. When the two guys walk in on Sherlock Holmes, he is busy doing a chemical test at the microscope in both versions. The corpse flogging is not mentioned in the story, but I suppose Mofftiss got that idea from somewhere. FYI, Prince Philip had his heart procedure at 'Barts' earlier this month. ******* Dr. Watson in the story has a more favorable impression of his new flatmate at the start; Benedict played Sherl as significantly more irritating to his new acquaintance. But he is perhaps more honestly himself in the early days so that Watson knows exactly what he's in for. In Chapter II, John makes this droll observation which demonstrates that the full extent of his new roommate's challenging habits has not been fully disclosed. Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live with. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular. It was rare for him to be up after ten at night, and he had invariably breakfasted and gone out before I rose in the morning. ROFL!!! ******* Your list was very thorough. I would add the accoutrements of 221B, including 'Skully' and the knife holding down the letters on the mantelpiece. I can't remember a Persian slipper, but I feel certain that Mofftiss would have included it. I think it's Hounds of Baskerville that features SH walking into the sitting room while stuffing some cigarettes into the toe of a white sneaker (as we Americans call a trainer) and hiding it under the couch. I thought that was droll.
  14. Haven't seen it. Dracula as a character, and vampires in general feel absolutely done to death (pun intended). I had my Anne Rice period in the 1990s--loved Interview with the Vampire (book, not movie), and the next several in that series. Tale of the Body Thief (#4) was the last one I liked. #4 seems to be the magic number for me. ( 10/4 is my birthday, incidentally shared by Anne Rice. Cultural diversion: I have called '4' my lucky number for 30 years, after finding out that 4 (in Japanese, 'shi') is considered a very unlucky number--'shi' written with another kanji character means 'death'. So Japanese people avoid saying '4' unnecessarily. Crockery and silverware are even sold in sets of 5, not 4, even though the typical Japanese family size is 4. Since my birthday signified 'death', I thought there was nothing I could do but embrace it. On the flip side '10' is considered an extra-lucky number so I got balanced out.) That was probably the first and last time I really enjoyed a vampire story. I've read the original Dracula and seen the Francis Ford Coppola version with Gary Oldman. He was seductive and repulsive in equal measure. I was Team Jacob in the Twilight series. An eternity spent with the undead feels like it'd be quite boring. Can't eat or drink anything but blood; avoiding sunlight, sleeping in a coffin . . sure, you never age, but where's the fun? Jekyll was made in 2007 (6 episodes of 60 minutes each.) Apart from one guest role in Touching Evil, I had not seen anything else from Mr. Nesbitt (more recently made famous as Bofur of the funny hat in the dwarfish band). James is fantastic at creating two entirely different personas with only the tiniest of makeup/hair changes to suggest Hyde. Highly recommended. It goes off the rails a bit at the end as Moffat turns on the Doctor Who-ish tap and the final episode ends very abruptly. Not sure if a second series was planned for but it kind of felt like it was left unfinished and unresolved. 8 episodes might have been an ideal length to wrap up loose ends. I miss the nice guys, too. But I think it's precisely because Martin actually didn't enjoy being shoehorned into those mild nice-guy parts (himself being neither mild nor particularly nice. His interviews are so full of expletives it's amazing they get much usable footage and we have all seen how very much MF enjoys a double-barreled bird flip) that he will not be enticed to reprise Dr. Watson. He got to plumb Watson's dark side in S4 and he really pulled all the stops out. I don't think it would appeal to him to take Watson back to that mild-mannered, long-suffering best friend who was so tolerant of and overshadowed by his more flamboyant flatmate's antics. If he agrees to return for even one reunion movie in the vein of Abominable Bride, I'd certainly watch it.
  15. Well, they can try. The schedules of our principals might have opened up again by then. Sherlock made international stars of them, rocketing Benedict in particular from near-obscurity as a supporting player to A-list overnight. Martin had been around for 10+ years as a jobbing actor and thanks to The Office was already a 'name' when he signed on to Sherlock. During the first season, I assumed Ben was a recent drama school grad and it surprised the heck out of me that he was nearly a decade older than I thought. I find both of our leads are looking their ages these days, and then some. Postponing a reunion for 10 or 15 years past the last episode is risky. This isn't Midsomer Murders, after all. Most franchises can't string viewers along for two decades, but Moftiss is willing to try. More Sherlock is a dream that's hard to let go of, but I don't think it's going to happen. If it does, it will catch all of our team on their way down rather than up, methinks, as they will all be getting long in the tooth by then. TV is a very precarious and capricious business. Not to mention such an extended break is gambling that everyone concerned will remain healthy and able to work so far into the future. Again, my opinion, but I don't find that either Ben nor Martin is wearing well, post-Sherlock. They are still famous and in-demand, I guess, but I am profoundly under-impressed by their respective more recent projects. It pays the bills but no matter what else they do, they are going to be defined by their Sherlock personas, and for Martin, The Hobbit. Ben was really outstanding in some stuff like The Imitation Game and Patrick Melrose . . other stuff like Doctor Strange is strictly commercial. Martin was fantastic in his one season of Fargo, but he's fallen entirely off my radar since the Baker Street partnership broke up. They have both been busily employed, I realize . . .just in nothing that I care to see. Circa 2012, I was an ultimate fan girl and completely obsessed. The show singlehandedly reignited my long-dormant thirst for Conan Doyle's original stories and the whole alternative world of pastiche. After S3 and 4, and the long, long Hiatus . .I feel rather like the jaded survivor of a love affair turned sour and I just honestly don't care that much any more. It stopped being fun for me when it became so glaringly obvious that it was no longer a labor of love and joy for the creative team involved. Sherlock's world turned very, very dark and I feel like the original spirit which had made the early going such a joy had been violated and corrupted into something else, much more nihilistic and cynical. Even though SH is a crime fighter who deals with the worst of humanity sometimes, he was never nihilistic, save once, maybe--The Adventure of the Cardboard Box--but that was very much an anomoly.
  16. Of course we here in this community are probably more invested than the general public in seeing more Sherlock. I think we've got to be realistic, though. The last episode aired in January 2017, which means that the script and production were completed nearly 5 years ago, or more, if we allow 6 months for pre- and post-production before anything reaches our screens. The show was the hottest commodity in television for a few years there, but 5 years is a lifetime in show business. It's true that nobody involved has definitively slammed the door on more Sherlock, which is probably a wise move . . . Who knows, all the stars might align and it might happen. Everyone might agree to come back and Mofftiss might come up with a decent few scripts of the quality of the first two seasons, and the timing might work perfectly to allow everyone to participate. I rate this possibility as somewhat greater than an asteroid hitting the Earth, but light years away from being 'a sure thing'. Everybody is being somewhat diplomatic in saying that they haven't ruled out the possibility--with the proviso that there'd have to be outstanding inspiration to strike and quality scripts. Based on the final efforts in S4, I think the probability of that kind of quality happening at this juncture, 5 years on from the spectacularly disappointing last season is remote. Hope springs eternal, and miracles can happen, but . . in the absence of a miracle, I think The Final Problem was the final word on the series. In my opinion, the writers peaked far too early by putting 'The Big Three' as they put it all in the second season. They shot themselves in the foot by staging Sherlock's Death so soon, because trying to top that for Wow factor while having to fill out two more seasons plus a full-length Christmas feature led to their worst narrative excesses . . .Assassin Mary & Euros took the show from a crackerjack affectionate homage to Conan Doyle into a bizarro Dr. Who/Spooks/Shutter Island/James Bond hybrid. Feh. They should have done a few more of the 'SH and JW investigate crimes' thing prior to The Reichenbach Fall. I'd have written more of those cases for S2 and established the bachelor partnership more prior to introducing Mary and 'killing' Sherlock. In The Sign of Three, which is my top episode of S3, there is that entertaining montage of snippets from 'past cases' during Sherlock's wedding speech. What a treat that would have been if we had seen some of those cases fleshed out into full episodes . . not least of all the case where Dr. Watson meets his Mary. Surprised Mofftiss let that one go by. Somehow jamming in one scene with a dog and a midget feels like a gyp. And we never do actually get the full backstory of how John and Mary met. Ostensibly at his NHS clinic where she was a nurse. Except now we know she's not a nurse. So--how did she turn up there, at John's surgery? Not random, surely. Were they intending John to be a target, post-Reichenbach? Moffat's largest failing as a writer is the number of threads he is content to let drop in favor of his big splashy Bangs! Me, I prefer the smaller threads that display the humanity of these characters rather than the superpowers. Now Mofftiss is saying that after the spectacular denouement of "the early years", they propose to embark on the 'sedate middle aged years' of the duo with smaller cases of 'crime investigation' and think that those will captivate the audience whom they have now accustomed to massive explosions and devious supervillain psychopaths in every episode? Highly doubtful. They shot their bolt too early and I think we've seen all the inspiration we are going to get. I'd be happy to be wrong, but only if subsequent efforts are more like S2 and not like S4. If all concerned know inside that the time for 'exceptional scripts' has long gone, they have elegantly side-stepped actually committing themselves to doing any more while at the same time keeping that spark of hope alive in the fans. I think it's time to read between the lines and admit that the project had come to its natural conclusion in 2017. I really don't get the vibe that anyone is keen on doing more, but of course, if there's potentially money to be made in another series, it'd be foolhardy to slam that door closed publicly. This is only my opinion, but the more time passes without a firm plan for a reunion, the less likely it gets. They struck while that iron was hot, but it's been cool for some time. Nature of the business. I figured if we didn't hear something definite within 2 years, we weren't likely to. Then of course, Covid. Will we see Benedict and Martin as men of 60 reconvening for a riff on 'His Last Bow', notwithstanding that they'd have to call it something else as they've already used that title? It's charming to hope so but I'm not holding my breath.
  17. Moffat is a showman, and likes to keep all his potential slices of bread buttered . . so he's been very canny, along with his writing partner to avoid stating outright that there won't be any more Sherlock. The cast is no doubt contractually obligated by NDA to tread carefully around the topic. I feel like this is just stringing along the fans and it would be more merciful just to rip the plaster off in one go and admit that they are done. The show was incredibly logistically challenging, but it would come together if the team *REALLY* wanted it. Schedules would be cleared. The BBC is rather capricious and has been known to often cancel hit shows mid-stream without good reason . . but Sherlock was such a phenomenon and ratings monster for the network, I don't think the holdup in on the BBC side. Even during production, it was pretty clear, except to obsessive stans crafting 'FreeBatch' fan videos, that the two men had widely divergent personal lives off-set and weren't in each others' pockets outside of work. But they spent SO much intensive time together during production . . 12-14 hour days, on location in a drafty airplane hanger in Wales . . that has to create a bond. And they seemed genuinely matey and in synch as a working team . . Much like Holmes and Watson, in fact. They had fine-tuned their double act on the press junket and genuinely seemed to enjoy each others' company. It felt like a relationship based on solid professional respect and mutual compatibility. I'm sure the experience was very draining and stressful, and it's natural to get snappy and irritated even with our close associates with too much familiarity, too much pressure, not enough breaks to relax. Because when they weren't on the Sherlock set, they both were burning the candle at both ends due to insane busyness on other projects. I think overwork got the best of their friendship in the end . . that and personal differences in how they approached their fame. I still feel really bad about the Martin - Amanda split, and that may have played into the interpersonal distance that seemed to exist between the co-stars after that. It had to have been incredibly difficult for Martin and Amanda to carry on working together as if nothing had happened, but what was happening to John and Mary onscreen eerily echoed the disintegration of the real couple's relationship. As friend and colleague to both parties, Benedict had to have felt caught in the middle somewhat. I hope everyone has moved on to a better place since then, but Martin Freeman strikes me now as a quite jumped-up, spiky, angry personality who comes across as not an easy person to live with. The John Watson of S4 is closer to the real Martin Freeman than we'd seen previously, I reckon. It also seems quite plausible that while the duo were playing Sherlock and John, they were also playing a version of 'Benedict' and 'Martin' for publicity purposes. Actors act; that's what they do. Lion's Mane and Blanched Soldier are decidedly second-tier Conan Doyle, but if they were put together, they could make a movie. Moftiss got an entire feature out of one reference to 'Rigoletti and his abominable wife', so these two stories would have enough to work from. Both are written after Sherlock's retirement to the Downs, so Ben is a bit young yet . . though not by much. He'll be 45 on his next birthday and SH moved to Sussex when he was only 50. The absence of Dr. Watson in these stories is easily explained away by Sherl's retirement to the seaside. In the second tale, Sherl references Watson's second marriage (in crabby terms). The best thing about both stories isn't the plots as such--it's the novelty of hearing Sherlock's voice on the page, speaking for himself. He's a better story teller than the reader might have expected, being primed for a dry monograph on criminal investigation. After having spent 20 years ridiculing Watson for pandering to the ignorant public with his romanticized fictions of their cases together, SH admits that writing a case account for an audience of non-scientists is a lot harder than Watson made it look . . a rare burst of self-deprecation from our hero. Benedict could provide very entertaining voiceovers for Sherlock's inner thoughts on these cases. A resurrection of the partnership is profoundly to be wished, but I don't think Martin Freeman would be amenable to that. So the only alternative for a Christmas special is to have Sherlock by himself. But it could be an entertaining reunion if some of the London circle--Molly, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson--all converged on Sherl's cottage for 'the holidays'. Even Anderson would show up, drawn to the Sussex coast by reports of a giant murderous jellyfish.
  18. Herl, Do you remember the title of the last one you read? I skipped a couple early on (O Jerusalem and Kingdom Hall) because try as I might, I could not force myself to get through those. I really tried, on multiple occasions, but I gave up and went on to the next books. I have read them all except for the most recent one, and some were a real trial. The two that concerned Sherlock's druggie son 'bout did my head in, but I went grimly to the last page in both cases. I liked Dreaming Spies, on account of its setting in Japan, and The Pirate King, (the Gilbert and Sullivan one). Russell is a trial of endurance .. at her grating worst in Island of the Mad. Like most of these, an intriguing premise full of potential is ruined by lackluster execution and Russell being so full of herself and perfect in every way. I have not wholeheartedly enjoyed her as a character since #4, The Moor. If she'd knocked off after that book, I would have called the quartet an unqualified success.
  19. @Herl, Are you coping all right with the disappointment? I was pretty convinced at the end of the final episode of S4 that we had reached the end of the road with this iteration of Holmes and Watson. It seems that all the principals had become quite bored, irritated even, by the project by series' end, and at least in the case of Cumberbatch and Freeman, global fame and its attendant demands was the end of their professional and personal friendship. Presumably Mssrs. Moffat and Gatiss are still as tight as ever, and contining to crank out other projects (Dracula) that I have absolutely no interest in seeing. I did enjoy Jekyll with James Nesbitt, though. Not having been a Doctor Who fan before or since, Jekyll was actually my first introduction to Moffat World. I met Mr. Gatiss first as an actor . . Marple and Midsomer Murders jump to mind. Interestingly, in both programs he portrayed a tormented vicar with a secret. It seems that Mr. Freeman and Mr. Cumberbatch are not keen to work together again in any capacity. Both have gone on to some post-Sherlock success individually, though it's safe to say that for me at least, the fairy dust that was sprinkled over their collaboration as the flatmates of Baker Street has eluded them both on their solo projects. I just really would struggle to care less about their respective Marvel Universe projects, for example. I wonder if, in years to come, after whatever animosity or disillusionment they are feeling over that era in their working lives passes, they will realize just how very special that show, particularly the first six episodes, were. Lightning in a bottle, really. At the time, it may have just felt like a grinding, exhausting pressure-filled job that they were glad to see the back of, but through it they both have achieved small-screen immortality. None of their other pop-culture transient projects will ever compare, and though each man was appealing in separate projects before global fame came calling, and inhabited Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes like they were bespoke suits of clothes . . I can't really say in all honesty that I have found either of them very appealing since, either as other characters or themselves. What's happened is, the fairy dust has all blown away and I have fallen out of love with the both of them. It's too bad, but that's what's happened. What might perk me up a bit is if we could have a Christmas special featuring Benedict on his own in the two Sherlock narrated adventures . . The Lion's Mane and The Blanched Soldier. Given that we are only likely to pin him down for one outing every 5 years or so, I'm thinking that these two stories could be combined into one 90-minute teleplay. On their own, neither is particularly strong enough for a stand-alone treatment of that length, but each might rate 30 minutes of screen time. Frankly, it took Sherlock far too long to determine that a jellyfish was the culprit in the first story. The other 30 minutes could be filled out by some domestic comedy chez Sussex as Sherl commences with his study of bee husbandry and tries to evade encounters with Janine, who has the cottage adjacent to his near Beachy Head. She only comes down at the weekend, so it's manageable.
  20. I noticed that immediately, too. Shall we surmise that Mr. Fry is also a huge fan of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes? It's quite a cosy little mutual Holmes admiration society they've got going. When he was inducted into the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Mr. Fry was still a teenager and the youngest-ever inductee into that august body. Here's Simon Callow reviewing SF's audible version of the Sherlock Holmes canon. This one might be one I've got to have. Listening to Mr. Fry read Sherlock Holmes has got to be preferable to wading through the approximately 50-pound hardcover annotated version assembled by Leslie Klinger, a handsome item that continues to collect dust on my shelf owing to its gargantuan weight. I'm saving it to swing at some future intruder's head as a weapon, provided I can actually lift the thing when it's required. Normally I am not an audiobook fan, but for the right voice reading material perfectly matched to it, I make exceptions. If I could get Charleton Heston, the voice of Moses, reading me the Bible, that'd be another win. https://www.johnhwatsonsociety.com/stephen-fry-sherlock-holmes/
  21. Hi, Herl, David M. has made it his life's work (when he isn't civil engineering) to assemble all the threads of what he calls The Great Holmes Tapestry, in which every 'new'/extra-canonical adventure of Holmes & Watson, and the related characters is integrated into the chronological timeline of Holmes's life (1854 - 1957). He does not entertain any stories that have Sherlock Holmes battling aliens from Mars or time-traveling, etc. but tries to, insofar as one can with a fictional character, keep it real, and in the spirit of Conan Doyle. He is on record as preferring Basil Rathbone's Holmes to all others, and so many of Rathbone's Holmes movies are set during the WWII years and other alternative settings. According to Mr. W.S. Baring Gould, Holmes was alive during the Second War years, albeit in greatly advanced years. One of my very favorite Holmes pastiches ever is John Lescroart's Dunkirk (found In the Company of Sherlock Holmes), in which a mysterious, superannuated yet very vigorous gentleman, name of Sigerson, pitches in with the evacuation efforts of Operation Dynamo on the Sussex coast in May 1940. Young Sherlock Holmes presented a thorny obstacle, having Holmes & Watson meet as schoolboys in the 1870s. The jarring anomaly threatened the time-space continuum and led to several sleepless nights of dorm-pacing in his residence hall before David decided that young Watson, played by Alan Cox, son of Scots acting great Brian, 14 years old here, was actually Holmes's younger cousin, Verner, who would one day purchase Dr. Watson's medical practice in Kensington. The integrity of the tapestry must be preserved. For myself, I could enjoy YSH as an alternative scenario depicting what might have happened, had our famous duo met 10 years earlier than commonly accepted, not that they *did*, necessarily. He told me that he is in fact working on his bibliography of the Tapestry, possibly for a future book; however this is a lifelong labor that will never be finished, and it will be outdated as soon as it's published because of all the hundreds of Sherlock stories and novels and film treatments that come out annually. He gets contacted all the time by fellow enthusiasts who beg him to release what he's got, but he always demurs. If he can ever get away from the civil service with the Tennessee Department of Transportation or whatever, he is poised to be the Baring-Gould of our generation. He has, as you know, vehemently rejected Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series as fraudulent and having no place in the Tapestry, apart from the first book, which he liked . . even though King's insistence on getting her dates wrong angers him. She took a decade away from Holmes's age to make him slightly less implausible as husband material for a 21 year old, but when the two meet, Holmes is in fact 64 years old to Russell's 15. So that makes him nearly 70 at 'the wedding'. King says SH was 50 at the first meeting and seems to be frozen in time to no more than 60 subsequently, while Russell keeps having birthdays. We can all agree that where SH is concerned, age is immaterial, but having Russell be Sherlock's wife was always an inherently flawed premise.
  22. I can recommend Lyndsay Faye, who has written several stories on your list. "The Whole Art of Detection" is a great short-story collection. Ms. Faye was inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars on the strength of it. https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-whole-art-of-detection-lost-mysteries-of-sherlock-holmes_lyndsay-faye/11637886/#edition=15625545&idiq=31812674
  23. I liked Monstrous Regiment (ie, 'the University years'), and it was pretty interesting to read about the suffragette movement in Britain. Some people didn't like A Letter of Mary, but I thought it was pretty good. #4 is 'The Moor', in which the Hound case is revisited 30 years later. SH is still fondly remembered as a legend amongst the moorfolk as 'Snoop Sherlock'. Numbers 5 and 6 were virtually unreadable to me owing to the obsessive deep dive into esoteric medieval Jewish theology and general desert-ratness. I honestly honestly tried, and gave up. #7 'Locked Rooms' was the weakest one yet. With 'The Game', #8, she rallied a bit . . .we went to India and met Rudyard Kipling's Kim. Liked that bit; unfortunately, this book became the pinnacle of Russell's Mary Sue-ness as she singlehandedly busts Sherlock out of a fortified medieval prison after mastering three esoteric dialects on the boat ride over. Oh, and sword-throwing . . with flames. Seriously, 5-10 lessons and she's a professional carny-of-all-trades. The author's militant feminist agenda to replace Sherlock Holmes with his 23-year-old wife was no longer disguised at all. Then the series started to get seriously flabby, meandering and perfunctory as to character development or participation of Holmes. King's version of SH's child by Irene Adler is introduced . . a tragic drug addict/artiste named Damien. Russell basically teaches herself how to fly a biplane so she can do some daring aerial rescue missions. The events of these two books were verging on laughable but I plowed through them. Great titles; sucky plots, and our heroine is morphing into a Marvel superhero/Jason Bourne, femme version in Edwardian clothing with every passing chapter. SH nominal. A bright spot in this later batch for me was 'The Pirate King', which finds our intrepid heroine for once doing something which isn't outlandishly Mary Sue for a 24-year-old young woman with some clerical skills--working as a PA for a film company going on location to exotic climes to shoot a movie of 'The Pirates of Penzance'. Sherlock is largely absent again but Russell is more human-sized and tolerable. King should have become a travelogue writer because her research into locations, cultures and historical context is first-rate. It's characters, plotting and dialog that comes harder for her. Most of the later books are completely forgettable. 'The Murder of Mary Russell' (#17, I think) features an extended backstory of the good landlady of Baker Street. I strenuously disagree with Laurie's alternative version of Mrs. Hudson and how she became Sherlock's landlady, but it was innovative. If you accept that Mrs. Hudson grew up like one of Sherlock's street urchins and was groomed for a life of crime. Or that her name was 'Clarissa'. (I stick with convention and call her 'Martha'.) The newest installment is almost a year old and I've had no interest in looking it up. I can recommend the two short stories, 'Beekeeping for Beginners' ('The Beekeeper's Apprentice' from SH's point of view. Very illuminating. A rather surprising and poignant reason that he was on the Downs that day to be tripped over by an androgynous young person with her face in a book) and 'The Marriage of Mary Russell' (King provides us with the madcap story of the nuptials, which occurred between Books 2 and 3 and which she had entirely skipped over before.) If Mary Russell had been confined to a series of short-story adventures, I'm sure I would have liked her a lot more. She is at her best in small doses. Good humor rather than deadly earnestness is a big point . . also, I think, is Enola's heritage. She is a Holmes, so if she *were* a bit bad-tempered, autocratic or know-it-all, she'd come by it honestly, in her DNA. We forgive Sherlock a lot of interpersonal failures and arrogance because of who he is, and who he is is, and was always intended to be, a very singular person, the only one of his kind in the world. We can extend the same goodwill towards his siblings and accept that the Holmeses are just that exceptional of a family. They have been blessed by the gods with exceptional intellects and skills. Lightning may not strike the same place twice usually, but in the case of the Holmeses, we can accept that it has struck into one exceptional family. Nature/nurture was both in their favor. Then along comes Russell, who is an orphan (who, in echoes of Jean Grey, actually herself caused the automobile accident that killed her parents and her younger brother and who to my mind does not exhibit sufficient humbling guilt about this) whose parents were academics and above-average bright but not to the the savantic level of the Holmes boys. They were loving and encouraging, and a culturally and religiously mixed marriage . . not a 'typical' childhood exactly, but much more normal of a family life than the Holmeses. King wants us to accept without a thought that the universe conspired to create a mind equal and even superior to, the Holmes boys across barriers of time, nationality, religion and gender, and 60 years after Sherlock was born, another would appear, as a pseudo Messianic/Arthurian figure to take over, and do better that role which Sherlock Holmes has been filling so singularly since 1887? I don't think so. My objection to Russell has never been that she's a teenage girl/young 20something, or that she takes center stage from Sherlock Holmes even--my objection is that the way her author writes her, she renders Sherlock Holmes completely surplus to requirements. Watsons are not as inherently as interesting or dynamic as Sherlocks, but the reason we love Dr. Watson is that he is our stand-in in these stories--he's our eyes and ears and feet; the stories are told in his voice and it is through him that we experience Sherlock Holmes. SH by himself unadulterated is not always so audience-friendly, but Dr. Watson not only humanizes his friend, but through his eyes we come to love and admire Sherlock the same way that his biographer does. We see the attraction of two opposites into a lifelong bond. Russell barely seems to acknowledge half the time that Sherlock is in her life, and when he is, it's like they mutually tolerate each other rather than anything more substantial. I do not object in principle to the idea of SH marrying and having a companion for his last years, but Russell is not the right person. For me, as for ACD's SH, there was only ever one Woman who fired his jets, and her name was Irene. If *I* were writing this series, I would not have made Russell Sherlock's romantic interest. I would have written her as Sherlock's daughter by Irene Adler, who comes to live with her father after the death of her mother. Russell was born in 1900, which is 8 or 9 years later than the proposed liaison that produced Nero Wolfe circa 1891, but I can roll with it. Isn't the idea of Russell as Sherlock's flesh and blood vastly more appealing? That would make her a much more natural outlet for all of Sherlock's mentor energy and would certainly excuse many of Russell's less winning interpersonal characteristics if she is a chip off the old block. Her prodigiousness would then have an organic explanation, which King's more 'Random Big Bang just accept that the universe created someone even more brilliant than Sherlock Holmes because I said so' gambit. There were a lot of comedic opportunities wasted by not having Sherlock take on raising a teenage daughter at his age whilst trying to teach her 'the family business'.
  24. I remember you suggesting Mr. Hyde as a perfect mature Sherlock for the still-tabled Mary Russell TV series. I concur. The problem of who would be a Russell that didn't make me want to hurl things at the TV continues, however. I don't know what happened to that project. It was getting quite a bit of buzz 4-5 years ago and seems to have died on the vine. The time window is closing for Mr. Hyde to play the still-vigorous young(ish) senior of the books. We can accept a Holmes as a vigorous mid-60s . .70 at a push. Any much longer and it might feel more like Sir Ian McKellen's take on the character. This is a good article from an L.A. Times writer who wonders why Enola Holmes got a big-budget movie before Mary Russell did. She's more of a fangirl for Russell than I am. I really liked the first four novels in the series, and a few of the later ones, but for the most part, Laurie King did not sustain the promise she displayed earlier on and Russell became a thoroughly grating unlikeable character, full of herself to an unbelievable degree. The most recent installment was published last summer. Once again, King takes her narcissistic alter ego thorough the playgrounds of the wealthy elite of the Jazz Age. Last time around, it was Capri; this time, Monaco, so that Russell can hobnob with the Fitzgeralds. Sherlock Holmes has become entirely coincidental, and that's what's wrong with King's series. SH has become more and more tangential to proceedings since Book #5, but she's not even bothering to hide that anymore. SH is about as often seen in this series as Mycroft is, which is to say--not bloody much. King can easily go on for 200 pages before SH even makes an appearance, and has. A movie of 'Beekeeper's Apprentice' would tap into the Enola Holmes audience, but it seems like they won't be striking while that iron is hot. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-07-24/sherlock-holmes-enola-movie-mary-russell-covid Hardcore purists like David Marcum squawked that SH could never on any account be *married*, especially to someone not Adler. The problem, which later became unsupportable from my point of view is that LRK was never very interested in Sherlock Holmes. He was a useful prop for her premise but she has always felt that she could do ACD one better and create a more superior Holmes . . this one a young female half Jewish/half American bluestocking who knows everything there is to know at 25 years of age (was well on her way to it at 15) and while the old boy can still pick a lock quicker than she can, in all other things, the disciple has overtaken the master. If King had made Russell more of a Watson, more humble and admiring, not such an insufferable know-it-all, she certainly would have worn better on me. Who knows how many more of these King proposes to crank out, but if she'd made Russell a cleverer Watson without the bum leg, perhaps the time would have come in the last book when SH would pass off the baton and tell his protege that having absorbed everything he could teach, she was now ready to take over as 'the' consulting detective. Russell's arrogance tanked the character and makes me think that such a superior attitude is shared by her creator. Puts me right off. I guess Laurie's old enough to be so arrogant in her own knowledge, but Russell isn't.
  25. Just watched Silver Blaze on YouTube. Christopher Plummer and Thorley Walters made a good team, though Walters is decidedly a bit in the Nigel Bruce school of slowness. ("By Jove!") Here we see CP doing a more traditional take on SH than we got in Murder by Degree some 7 years later. Watching CP crawl around on his knees in the mud using his stick to propel himself along was great fun. I am wondering how they got a star of CP's stature to agree to appear in a 30-minute short film. He'd been the Captain 11 years earlier, after all and should have been on the A-list. I wonder if he thought at this time that he wanted to do more Sherlock movies after this.
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