I hereby declare the 2017 Treasure Hunt… open!

Gooooood morning, Hunters!

It is now 9 a.m., August 1st, (CET) here in Italy, corresponding to midnight, July 31st, PST. I have chosen the hour as an homage to our previous Hunt Master, Margie Deck a.k.a. “Mopsy”, who lives on the Pacific coast. You can submit your answers until midnight, August 31st, PST. For further details, please check the Rules page.

A forum has been opened on the Quiz page for questions, clarifications, complaints, etc.  I will try to respond to any postings as quickly as possible, but please remember that I’m living in a Central Europe time zone.
You will certainly find some error in the document, especially considering my sometimes poor English. Any needed clarifications will be posted to the forum.  Please check it for updates every now and then.

The hunt is scored on a very simple point system. I’ve tried to avoid complications since I’m not as good as our previous Hunt Master. Therefore, 1 correct answer = 1 point, for a maximum of 100 points available. However, many questions are composed of multiple parts, so if you know part of a question (e.g. Who?), but not the other part (e.g. When?), please add the part you do know to your document.  You will receive credit for each individual part of the question that is answered correctly, so 0.5 points will be awarded for partly answered questions.

I have uploaded the Treasure Hunt both in Microsoft Word (.doc) and in .pdf.
Please see the rules page for instructions for submitting your finished hunt.

The game, ladies and gentlemen, is now officially afoot.


JHWS Treasure Hunt 2017 questions

JHWS Treasure Hunt 2017 questions

“Quite Remarkable Talent In Planning” [COPP]*

“‘Come, Watson, come!’ he cried. ‘The game is afoot.'” [ABBE] (Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine, 1904)

Now that we are closer to the end of 2017 than the beginning, we are looking ahead to 2018 (and beyond). Calendar Year 2018 Memberships are now available in the Shop in Paperless, Domestic PDF+Paper, and International PDF+Paper options. Current members with subscription expiry dates in mid-2018 who would like to continue receiving paper copies of The Watsonian without interruption may opt for the Renewal for Memberships Ending Mid-2018. (That’s some forward planning!)

If you are unsure when your membership ends, please see our Member Page.

Looking forward to more Watsonian adventures with all of you!

*Yes, I know I’ve wrenched that quote way out of context.

A Note from Chips

In the comments on Sunday’s entry, Chips wrote:

Margie, Beth and all my other loved friends in the John H Watson Society. My health does not allow me to continue my column Tid Bits.
I will try to publish some things as I can. I hate to be so abrupt but I have to do what I can when I can. Thank you my dear,dear, friends, Ron, One for whom the game always has been, always is now always will be, the Lord permitting, Afoot

Our Chips has been dealing with health issues for some time, and he had planned to share a bit about them tomorrow (July 26th), because it is also the date in his much-referenced chronology for Percy Phelps’s recovery from Brain Fever [NAVA].

This is so strangely appropriate to what I have to inform you all of. I waited to inform you because of my off-beat sense of humor coupled with a fanatical love of the Canon. I wanted to tie it in with this occurrence in the Canon.  A few months ago I went in to hospital for some neurological programs. They tell me I  have a small tumor that is causing some problems that could be called an attack of Brain Fever. We are huddling to figure out where to proceed next with treatment.

Our thoughts are with Chips and his loved ones. Ron, please know you have our love, our support, and all our best wishes.

On July 24th…

“It is too little to say William Gillette resembled Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes looks exactly like William Gillette.” (Orson Welles, Mercury Theatre on the Air, 25 September 1938)

William Hooker Gillette was born on July 24, 1853, in Hartford, Connecticut. He played Sherlock Holmes on stage for the first time in 1899, and is inextricably linked to the role in the minds of many fans, having performed it more than 1300 times. He appeared in a 1916 film based on the play he wrote – a film thought long-lost until a copy was discovered in the Cinémathèque Française archive in 2014. The restored film was featured at film festivals and released on DVD in 2015.

(Ariana Maher (JHWS “Carla”) recounts her trip to see it at the Seattle International Film Festival in “A Day at the Movies“.)

The four-act play took elements from “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Final Problem”, as well as A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”, and “The Greek Interpreter”. Other than Holmes, Watson, and Moriarty, the characters were Gillette’s inventions. Those include Alice Faulkner – Holmes’s client and eventual romantic interest – and Billy the Pageboy, before his appearance in “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone”.

Cover illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele for Collier’s (1904)

Gillette’s portrayal of Holmes shaped the American image of the Great Detective. The curved pipe (which was better for being understood on stage) and the deerstalker cap (taken from Paget’s illustrations) became permanent accessories. Frederic Dorr Steele’s illustrations of Holmes for Collier’s Weekly seem to take Gillette as a model.

Between 1914 and 1919, Gillette designed and had constructed an elaborate home in East Haddam, CT. Upon his death in 1937, his will instructed that his home should not be allowed to go to  “some blithering saphead who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The property was purchased by the State of Connecticut in 1943 and is now known as Gillette Castle State Park.


Sources: A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”); The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany, by Roger Johnson (JHWS “Count”) and Jean Upton (JHWS “Countess”); Kevin Noonan, “Lost ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Film Discovered After Almost a Century” (Variety.com); and IMDb.

The Flat at 221B by Jody Baker (AKA Inspector Baynes)

Jody was a good friend, again one I never met, but we exchanged e-mails and grew to be friends. I was a long-distance member of his society, Friends of the Soldier Named Murray. The group had the distinction of being the only active Scion in a Retirement Home recognized by Wiggins of the Baker Street Irregulars. When Jody and his wife decided it was time to move to a facility where his wife and he had the care they needed , they brought their love of All Things Sherlock with them. Their society was a hit with other residents and members all over the world with whom he had communicated. Their monthly meetings and their gazette, The Alpha Gazette, were lively and entertaining and full of a love of his passionate desire of the World of 1895. This is one article of many he and I exchanged. He informed me I could pass them along to keep the word of the Master forever Green.


The pleasure of seeing a mystery unveiled or a puzzle revealed might be the major attraction of the canonical tales. But these are found in most mystery stories that follow the plot formula of Poe. As we search for the distinguishing characteristic of the Holmes tales, perhaps, we might look at the “snuggery” factor If there ever was a cozy retreat, it was 221B Baker Street.

Though large enough to be “airy,” the flat was a self-contained unit where every necessity and every comfort were on hand for Holmes and Watson. Mrs. Hudson was always there to send up “beef, bread and beer” for the sideboard, or a hearty breakfast in the mornings, tea in the afternoons and other repast as needed, at any time. (How fortunate this fraternity of two to have Mrs. Hudson for a housemother.)

The tantalus, we know, was endowed with an endless supply of whisky. The nearby gasogene was never once known to run out of gas. Tobacco in the Persian slipper and cigars in the coal scuttle were there for the satisfaction of smokers. There was no shortage here of chemical contentment.

Resources to be consulted were always within reach. No need to go out on a stormy night to review records at the public library or the CID files at the Yard. Everything was right here. There were commonplace books for data, the agony columns, notes on old cases and techniques of past investigations and a supply of name directories for all manner of identifications. With everything on hand, Holmes rarely had to leave the fireside to research his cases.

Then, too, there was the warmth of the hearth fire to which our characters were drawn for their camaraderie and conversations. Nothing could be more comfortable than to walk from the blazing coal grate over to the nearby bow window and gaze out into the winter night. (Giant snowflakes float from a dark sky and land on wet cobblestones glistening with the reflected light of gas lamps.)

As an element of security, 221B was a second floor flat which commanded a full view of both the street below and the front door to the residence. Inside, the sound from the treads of 17 steps told Holmes much about a visitor even before the knock at the sitting room door, giving him the advantage over all who called upon him. By the strength of his personality, the clarity of his perception and his innate mental superiority, Holmes could dominate anyone who ventured to enter this sanctum sanctorum. (The mother-bird protects the nest by exercising control over it.)

Finally and most important, there was the fast, warm, manly friendship between two individuals, each of whom could accept the shortcomings of the other and appreciate the strengths of the other. Their personalities, though different, were complementary and not conflictive. Each was supremely confident of his own abilities in his own field. Holmes had his crimes to solve, and Watson had his romances (with the women of many nations on three continents) to pursue. Neither suffered from the insecurity which sometimes forces men to compete where competition serves no useful purpose.

These are a few of the factors of the friendship and of the snuggery in which that friendship prospered. In looking for the attraction of the Holmes tales, these should not be overlooked.

Josiah “Jody” Baker

A Sherlock Holmes Society,
at The Terrace On Mountain Creek

The Treasure Hunt, Second Appetizer: Answer

Dear All,

I have received many ingenious replies, but only one team gave the correct one.
The SOB Team (Margie and Sheila) hit the mark perfectly and the best I can do is to quote their answer literally:
–Place & Name of the ‘Ghost’: British Museum /  British Museum Underground Station, no longer in use
–Stories, where it is noted Holmes went to the British Museum: HOUN, WIST
“I learned at the British Museum that he was a recognized authority upon the subject, and that the name of Vandeleur has been permanently attached to a certain moth which he had, in his Yorkshire days, been the first to describe.”
“One morning he spent in town, and I learned from a casual reference that he had visited the British Museum. Save for this one excursion, he spent his days in long, and often solitary, walks, or in chatting with a number of village gossips whose acquaintance he had cultivated.”
“I spent a morning in the British Museum reading up that and other points. Here is a quotation from Eckermann’s `Voodooism and the Negroid Religions’: – ”  
–British Museum was a station on the London Underground, located in Holborn, central London. It was latterly served by the Central line and took its name from the nearby British Museum in Great Russell Street.
The station was opened by the Central London Railway in 1900. In 1933, with the expansion of Holborn station, less than 100 yards away, British Museum station was permanently closed. It was subsequently utilised as a military office and command post, but in 1989 the surface building was demolished and the remainder of the station is wholly disused.
–Ghost stations is the usual English translation for the German word Geisterbahnhöfe. This term was used to describe certain stations on Berlin’s U-Bahn and S-Bahn metro networks that were closed during the period of Berlin’s division during the Cold War. Since then, the term has come to be used to describe any disused underground station actively passed through by passenger trains, especially those on an underground railway line.

So, just a little clarification: I decided to cut this question out of the Hunt because the use of the term “ghost station” is not as familiar in English as is Geisterbahnhöfe to the Germans or “stazione fantasma” to the Italians. If you search the internet for a list of former London Underground stations you will probably find them described as “abandoned stations” or “disused stations”, not as “ghost stations”. This made the question very difficult indeed.
I must congratulate my fellow members of Uno Studio in Holmes who sent incredibly elaborate answers, digging deeply in the lore and tradition of English and German ghosts, in literature and otherwise. I kept telling them that it was easier than that… 🙂
Other valiant efforts were made by Robert Perret and Richard Olken. Thanks everybody for your answers.
We’re just about one week from the start of the Hunt. Keep your wits sharpened!

Michele, JHWS “Reggie”

On July 21st…

For generations of Sherlockian devotees around the world, Basil Rathbone was known as Sherlock Holmes. He portrayed the detective in two movies produced by Twentieth Century Fox and set in the Victorian era: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939).

These movies pulled out all the stops; Twentieth Century Fox made what Chips considers one of the top versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles. As usual, they made some puzzling minor changes and one major change in the script to attract audiences, but otherwise it is a great movie. They converted more than one sound stage to make a wonderful moor and the chase of Sir Henry Baskerville by the hound had no music sound track underneath. It was more terrifying because of that.

Rathbone and his Watson from both films, Nigel Bruce, went on to feature in twelve films produced by Universal Studios that brought the characters forward in time to fight Nazis during World War II, among other adventures. With those films, fans of a generation learned of Sherlock Holmes. The films have morphed into a television event that can still be seen today. Thank Goodness for the chance to watch and re-watch these films.

The popularity of the films was a mixed blessing for Rathbone, who felt he had become typecast by the role.

“I was so badly typed,” he once said, “that when I went back to New York I lost my own identity. On the street no one ever said ‘Good morning, Basil,’ or ‘Good morning, Mr. Rathbone.’

“They said ‘Good morning, Sherlock.’”

He continued to work in film, television, and radio in a variety of roles through the 1960s. In 1956, he published an autobiography, In and Out of Character. He passed after an apparent heart attack on July 21, 1967, survived by his wife, Ouida, their daughter, Cynthia, and his son from his previous marriage, Rodion.

Sources: A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”); Los Angeles Times; and IMDb.

On July 19th…

(Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn.)

July 19, 1889: Holmes returned the missing letter to Trelawney Hope’s dispatch box. [SECO]

Patricia Hodge as Lady Hilda Trelawney Hope
(Granada, 1986)

Holmes raised the lady. “I am thankful, madam, that you have come to your senses even at this last moment! There is not an instant to lose. Where is the letter?”

She darted across to a writing-desk, unlocked it, and drew out a long blue envelope.

“Here it is, Mr. Holmes. Would to heaven I had never seen it!”

“How can we return it?’ Holmes muttered. “Quick, quick, we must think of some way! Where is the despatch-box?”

“Still in his bedroom.”

“What a stroke of luck! Quick, madam, bring it here.”

A moment later she had appeared with a red flat box in her hand.

“How did you open it before? You have a duplicate key? Yes, of course you have. Open it!”

From out of her bosom Lady Hilda had drawn a small key. The box flew open. It was stuffed with papers. Holmes thrust the blue envelope deep down into the heart of them, between the leaves of some other document. The box was shut, locked, and returned to his bedroom.

July 19, 1898: The first Dancing Men appeared. [DANC]

Holmes held up the paper so that the sunlight shone full upon it. It was a page torn from a notebook. The markings were done in pencil, and ran in this way: –

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1903)

On July 18th…

(Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn.)

July 18, 1889: Lady Hilda retrieved the missing letter from beneath Eduardo Lucas’s floor. [SECO]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1904)

The lady sprang to her feet, with the colour all dashed in an instant from her beautiful face. Her eyes glazed – she tottered – I thought that she would faint. Then with a grand effort she rallied from the shock, and a supreme astonishment and indignation chased every other expression from her features.

“You – you insult me, Mr. Holmes.”

“Come, come, madam, it is useless. Give up the letter.”

She darted to the bell.

“The butler shall show you out.”

“Do not ring, Lady Hilda. If you do, then all my earnest efforts to avoid a scandal will be frustrated. Give up the letter, and all will be set right. If you will work with me, I can arrange everything. If you work against me, I must expose you.”

She stood grandly defiant, a queenly figure, her eyes fixed upon his as if she would read his very soul. Her hand was on the bell, but she had forborne to ring it.

“You are trying to frighten me. It is not a very manly thing, Mr. Holmes, to come here and browbeat a woman. You say that you know something. What is it that you know?”

“Pray sit down, madam. You will hurt yourself there if you fall. I will not speak until you sit down. Thank you.”

“I give you five minutes, Mr. Holmes.”

“One is enough, Lady Hilda. I know of your visit to Eduardo Lucas, and of your giving him this document, of your ingenious return to the room last night, and of the manner in which you took the letter from the hiding-place under the carpet.”