Friend and Biographer Series: JHWS ‘Lucy’

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Today we add to our series of brief biographic interviews with some of the members of JHWS. Our members, like the good Dr. Watson, have some remarkable characteristics of their own, and we would like to give some small attention to them.

We were lucky to have Elise Elliot join our ranks this past year.  Her excellent book reviews are a welcome addition to our site.  I am delighted to share Elise’s interview; I think you will enjoy reading it.

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

————-

1. Name/with bull pup moniker—

Elise Elliot, ‘Lucy’

2. Current (city,state, country) location—

Columbus, OH

3. How long have you been a devotee of Dr. Watson?

I found the stories when I was twelve, during a bout of insomnia that lasted for almost a week.  I picked the biggest book I could find from the library to keep me company during the night, and that happened to be the complete collection of canon.  I’ve been a fan ever since.

As for Watson, I will admit that it took me a little longer to come around to the Good Doctor’s virtues.  That happened in the past seven years or so, when I was twenty-one.  We thank Bert Coules’ radio adaptations for that revelation.

4. Do you have a favorite canonical story?

Is it cheating to have a few?  Probably… REGI, ILLU, and DEVI.  There are great friendship moments in all of them, and in the latter two, wonderful depictions of compassion from Holmes and Watson, as well as a focus on what justice means to them.

5. What is your favorite quote from the canon?

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”

6. If you could speak directly to anyone in the canon, who would you choose and why?

Kitty Winter.  I confess an immense sympathy for her, a woman who found no justice in the justice system and so took her own revenge.  I’m endlessly fascinated by what made her finally break, and how Holmes and Watson treated and viewed her.  I think she would be an extremely interesting person to meet, and I’d like to hear her life story, from her.  The story also indicates that she received a relatively light sentence, and I want to know what she does afterwards.

7. Are you fond of any particular canon adaptations—pastiche, radio, film?

So many!  I love adaptations, and what they choose to keep, what they choose to discard, what they highlight, etc.  I love Elementary and would be thrilled if more Holmesians and Watsonians would watch it- they highlight different aspects of the characters that sometimes aren’t as obvious in other adaptations.  The radio dramas by Bert Coules, both the complete canon and the original stories; Merrison and Williams, and then Sachs, are as close to canon as it comes for me.  I also have thoroughly enjoyed both of Sheldon Reynolds’ takes on the characters, the 1954 series starring Ronald Howard as Holmes and H. Marion Crawford as Watson, and then the 1979 series starring Geoffrey Whitehead as Holmes and Donald Pickering as Watson.  Those series are a comfort watch for me; I like to watch them on stormy, gloomy days.

8. Do you have a local Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian group you meet with on a regular basis?

Unfortunately, no.  I work in theatre, and much of my spare time is eaten up by that.  I want to join one someday, but that won’t happen until I slow down a little!

9. Do you have any recent Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian projects/events you would like to tell us about?

I have been having a blast writing book reviews for the John H Watson Society website!  I love reading pastiches, and it’s been so great to take that passion and transform it into something potentially useful for others.

I am a freelance copy editor as well, and recently began working with some Holmesian authors, looking over their work before it goes to print.  It has been an honor to be trusted with their work, as well as a fun challenge.

10. If you had a magic wand, and could add, subtract, or change anything in your Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian world, what would it be?

You know all those adaptations that have been lost to time?  And all those adaptations that only available in certain countries because of Region differences in DVDs and the like?  I want ALL of those adaptations in my eyeballs.  I want them on my shelves.  I want to be able to see them all the time, and none to have ever been lost or made unavailable.

Friend & Biographer Series: JHWS ‘Jasper’

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Today we add to our series of brief biographic interviews with some of the members of JHWS. Our members, like the good Dr. Watson, have some remarkable characteristics of their own, and we would like to give some small attention to them.

I hope you enjoy our interview with Canadian author and editor Charles Prepolec.

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

  1. Name, with bull pup moniker—

Charles Prepolec / ‘Jasper’

2. Current location—

Calgary, AB, Canada

3.How long have you been a devotee of Dr. Watson?

Roughly 30 years.

4. Do you have a favorite canonical story?

The Sign of Four

5.What is your favorite quote from the canon?

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”

6. If you could speak directly to anyone in the canon, who would you choose and why?

Easy. JHW himself. I’d very much like to know why he felt the need to report the less than kind comments Holmes made about his observational failings. Surely some judicious self-editing would have been in order.

7. Are you fond of any particular canon adaptations—pastiche, radio, film?

The Granada television adaption of ‘The Sign of Four’ is to me the single best television/film adaptation of any of Watson’s stories. Period. Full stop. The only elements that could have improved it were if David Burke had played Watson and if Watson had ‘got the girl’ as he did in the Canon.

8. Do you have a local Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian group you meet with on a regular basis?

Since 1987 I’ve enjoyed attending meetings of our local Calgary scion society The Singular Society of the Baker Street Dozen, however the group has fallen into limbo within the last year and is now on indefinite hiatus.

9. Do you have any recent Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian projects/events you would like to tell us about?

In 2016 I was a guest speaker at The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes Triennial Conference in Minneapolis, contributed an essay on ‘The Sign of Four’ to Chris Redmond’s wonderful non-fiction ‘About Sixty’ anthology, as well as a foreword to the first US release of the ‘Sherlock Holmes: Dark Detective’ graphic novel for Caliber Comics.  As of November 2016, I’ve begun work on editing my 4th professional anthology of new Sherlock Holmes/horror stories – Gaslight Gothic: Eerie Tales of Sherlock Holmes – for Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing for release in 2018.  Last, but certainly not least, on January 6, 2017 I received the Investiture of “The Man with the Twisted Lip” in The Baker Street Irregulars.

10. If you could change one thing in the greater Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian world, what would it be?

Hmm, tough call, but I think I’d like to see less criticism or discussion of media adaptations, or new material, whether of screen, stage, radio or in pastiches, that leads anyone to use ‘…but that’s not the canonical Holmes…’ or ‘…that wasn’t the author’s original intent…’ as the basis of their argument. One is an invalid argument, as there is no objectively right or wrong interpretation of the characters or stories, since we each bring our own very subjective experiences to our reading of a text; and the second is simply irrelevant as it isn’t the writer or creator who determines the success or failure of a work, but the audience who interprets it on their own respective terms.  I suppose what I’m naively asking for, and it applies not just to the Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian world, is that we all strive for greater patience, respect and understanding when encountering viewpoints different from our own.

Friend & Biographer Series: JHWS ‘Chips’

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Today we add to our series of brief biographic interviews with some of the members of JHWS. Our members, like the good Dr. Watson, have some remarkable characteristics of their own, and we would like to give some small attention to them.

The interview today is with one of the best friends of the JHWS:  Ron Lies of Colorado.  Our society is certainly enriched by his On This Day feature, and by the warmth of his friendship.

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

  1. Name/with bull pup moniker—

Ron Lies, ‘Chips’

  1. Current (city,state, country) location—

Denver, Colorado, USA

  1. How long have you been a devotee of Dr. Watson?

About 56 years. I read my first story at 12 years old and was transported into the world of 1895. The cases, the characters, in particular Dr. Watson attracted me. Holmes was not comfortable to me: I saw but I did not observe. Dr. Watson was the example of who I thought I was.

  1.   Do you have a favorite canonical story?

Of the long stories, The Sign of Four. Of the short stories, The Veiled Lodger.

  1. What is your favorite quote from the canon?

The Game is Afoot. It became the signal to me to be able to leave where I was and go to where I could lose myself and be involved where I felt I belonged.

  1. If you could speak directly to anyone in the canon, who would you choose and why?

Dr. Watson. I want to try to find out how daily life was in the flat. The information that Watson left out the published cases and of course the unpublished cases.

  1. Are you fond of any particular canon adaptations—pastiche, radio, film?

No, The printed Cannon has never disappointed me.

  1. Do you have a local Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian group you meet with on a regular basis?

The Out Patients group of Doctor Watson’s Neglected Patients in Denver Colorado. We meet the first Sunday of the month to study for a quiz on one of the cases from the Canon. And to catch up with other members of our group  on matters both Sherlockian from books to movies to TV shows and everything in between and beyond in our “outside lives.”

  1. Do you have any recent Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian projects/events you would like to tell us about?

A paper on how many times Holmes complimented Watson to prove that Holmes really cared for Watson as his closest, intelligent friend and companion, not just a biographer or in Arthur Conan Doyle’s terrible description of Watson “As Holmes’s rather Stupid Friend”

  1. If you could change one thing in the greater Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian world, what would it be?

The attitude that everyone’s particular group or interest is the only one worth having. Allow every one’s view and interest the same respect you would like your opinion to be treated.

 

Friend & Biographer Series: JHWS ‘Lily’

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Today we add to our series of brief biographic interviews with some of the members of JHWS. Our members, like the good Dr. Watson, have some remarkable characteristics of their own, and we would like to give some small attention to them.

Please enjoy our chat with Wildside Press publishing director Carla Coupe of Maryland.

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mospy’

  1. Name/with bull pup moniker—

Carla Coupe/Lily

  1. Current (city,state, country) location—

New Market, Maryland

  1. How long have you been a devotee of Dr. Watson?

Since I was around ten and reading the Canon for the first time. The good doctor always impressed me with his kindness, readiness to provide a gun or other weapon (as necessary), and good-humored (on the whole) acceptance of Holmes’s peculiarities as well as his abilities.

  1. Do you have a favorite canonical story?

HOUN. It appeals to the wild, Gothic elements in my soul!

  1. What is your favorite quote from the canon?

There are so many, but first place always goes to “Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!” It still sends chills up my spine.

  1. If you could speak directly to anyone in the canon, who would you choose and why?

Mrs. Hudson. She would know all of Holmes and Watson’s little secrets!

  1. Are you fond of any particular canon adaptations—pastiche, radio, film?

Generally I can find something to admire about most adaptations, but my favorites are the Rathbone films, Jeremy Brett’s TV series, the Big Finish audio adaptations, and [Lyndsay] Faye’s pastiche “Dust and Shadow.”

  1. Do you have a local Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian group you meet with on a regular basis?

Yes, I’m a member of Watson’s Tin Box, The Red Circle of DC, the Diogenes Club of the District of Columbia, and the Sherlockians of Baltimore. I hope to add more soon.

  1. Do you have any recent Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian projects/events you would like to tell us about?

I’m on the ConCom for Scintillation of Scions, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this spring. We’re planning a riotous good time for all, and would love to have new attendees as well as our regulars. Personally, I have a pastiche, “The Case of the Missing Archaeologist,” in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #21, and will have another, “The Case of the Plummeting Painter” in a future volume edited by David Marcum.

  1. If you could change one thing in the greater Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian world, what would it be?

We need the invention of transporters so we can attend distant meetings and see our friends from all over the world without breaking our budgets!

Friend & Biographer Series: JHWS ‘Sampson’

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Today marks the second post in our series of brief biographic interviews with some of the members of JHWS. Our members, like the good Dr. Watson, have some remarkable characteristics of their own, and we would like to give some small attention to them.

Please say hello to Robert Perret in the great state of Idaho.  As he notes, he is currently the only JHWS member residing in Idaho.

Enjoy,

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

 

  1. Name/with bull pup moniker—

Robert Perret / ‘Sampson’

  1. Current (city,state,country) location—

Troy, Idaho, USA

  1. How long have you been a devotee of Dr. Watson?

The first memory I have of reading the good Doctor’s reminiscences was in high school back in the early 1990’s.  The school library had some sort of complete collection (Doubleday?) in that classic (to me, anyway) mid-century chocolate brown library binding.

  1. Do you have a favorite canonical story?

I have about 60, but if forced to pick I would say The Sign of the Four is the ultimate Holmes adventure for me.  It has mystery, detection, deduction, exoticism, elements of the grotesque and even a boat chase.

  1. What is your favorite quote from the canon?

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

  1. If you could speak directly to anyone in the canon, who would you choose and why?

I would like to speak with the majordomo of the Diogenes Club.  I’m sure he knows a few things even Mycroft is unaware of!

  1. Are you fond of any particular canon adaptations—pastiche, radio, film?

I love the Granada series, of course, and my mental Holmes is Basil Rathbone, but my personal favorites might just be the Robert Downey Jr. films.

  1. Do you have a local Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian group you meet with on a regular basis?

I wish I did.  My claim to fame is being the only known (to me) Sherlockian in Idaho.  I hope to be able to pop into someone else’s meeting someday when I am travelling.

  1. Do you have any recent Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian projects/events you would like to tell us about?

I have a few pastiches published that you can find out more about at robertperret.com.  I also recently read every issue of the Baker Street Journal that is on the CD-ROM as part of a citation analysis that will hopefully be published soon.

  1. If you could change one thing in the greater Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian world, what would it be?

I still see a divide between the old guard and new Sherlockians.  As someone who sits between them both age-wise and interest-wise I would like to see more harmony betwixt all Sherlockians everywhere.

 

Friend & Biographer Series: JHWS ‘Leo’

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Today marks the first post in a new series of brief biographic interviews with some of the members of JHWS. Our members, like the good Dr. Watson, have some remarkable characteristics of their own, and we would like to give some small attention to them.  The series will run on a varying schedule as time and participation permit.

Please see below for the interview with our Texas friend, Stu Nelan.

Enjoy!

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

  1. Name/with bull pup moniker—

Stuart Nelan, ‘Leo’

  1. Current (city, state, country) location—

Melissa, Texas, USA

  1. How long have you been a devotee of Dr. Watson?

Over 50 years.  I discovered the Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson stories before high school and read some of them, and then was delighted to find the Doubleday book of the complete adventures after graduating college and moving to Dallas.

Shortly thereafter, there was an article in the local newspaper about the BSI, giving contact information for John Bennet Shaw.  I mailed him a letter asking about joining, and he kindly replied suggesting that I join the local group and gave me the name.

I took me 15 years to follow up on that, but I eventually did and the rest is history.

  1. Do you have a favorite canonical story?

Without a doubt, The Blue Carbuncle is my favorite!  It is such a nice Christmas story, and as Christopher Morley put it “a Christmas story without slush”.

  1. What is your favorite quote from the canon?

“The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession”, from The Valley of Fear.   My career is in software development and support, and this quote reminds me of one of the big pitfalls in my work.

  1. If you could speak directly to anyone in the canon, who would you choose and why?

Dr. Watson, of course!  Holmes might be the more knowledgeable of the two, but as a dinner companion, for instance, Watson would be the obvious choice with his repertoire of stories and ability to tell them to entertain his audience.

  1. Are you fond of any particular canon adaptations—pastiche, radio, film?

Each one has its plusses and minuses, I guess, but overall I would have to go with the Basil Rathbone movies – they are the ones that I go to when I’m looking for a Sherlockian movie.

  1. Do you have a local Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian group you meet with on a regular basis?

The Crew of the Barque Lone Star meets on the first Sunday of each month in Addison (a suburb of Dallas).  All are welcome to join us!

  1. Do you have any recent Watsonian/Sherlockian/Holmesian projects/events you would like to tell us about?

BSI Weekend is coming up, and I am looking forward to going and seeing old (and young) Sherlockian friends again!