Weekly Forum #3

In New York last week, there was a series of special events known as BSI Weekend!

This was my first opportunity to attend events such as the William Gillette Luncheon and the Gaslight Gala. Did you attend this year’s BSI Weekend? Any interesting stories to share?

If not this year, have you made the trip in the past? Or do you plan to go one day?

Weekly Forum #2

I would like to present a proposed design for a symbol of the John H Watson Society:

JHWS SymbolThe pen for Dr Watson the biographer, the scalpel for Dr Watson the man of medicine, and the tree roots that extend above and below to form a growing connection between the past and present, the established generation reaching out to connect with the recent wave of newcomers interested in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and our good friend, Dr Watson.

So the questions for this week’s forum is simply… hey, so, what do you think of the design?

Weekly Forum #1


The BBC Sherlock Holmes Special “The Abominable Bride” aired on Jan 1st in the UK and the US and screenings of the episode will be at select theaters this week.

If you’ve seen the episode, what are your thoughts on it?

(Yes, the comments section will likely have spoilers.)

Weekly Forum: #51

From reading The Watsonian, I’ve learned new things about topics I’ve never considered before: the properties of honey, the city of Avignon, and 19th century homes, to name a few.

In the process of writing on Sherlockian topics, I’ve found myself knee-deep in research on radio dramas, Japanese author Natsume Soseki, and the history of early cinema.

What is the most interesting or unexpected topic you studied through the Sherlockian lens? What is a topic you may not have discovered if not for your enjoyment of the Canon?

Weekly Forum: #50

This week, our billiard friends from the Retired Beekeepers of Sussex released a free online copy of the latest volume of The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, which includes contributions from JHWS members “Pippin” and “Misty.” Bravo!

One of my favorite contributions to their volume is Basil’s illustrated essay, “Reading Holmes as a Trans Man.” I love it because the essay shares a view of the Canon that is not familiar to how I read the cases. In fact, seeing it through a different lens adds a new facet to my observations that I never considered before.

By reading through another Sherlockian’s perspective, we can encounter a fresh view of the Canon and observe new connections and ideas. I believe that is a big part of what makes The Watsonian such an exciting read.

So have you ever read a work related to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, or spoke to a fellow Sherlockian, and was surprised to see the Canon viewed and interpreted in a different way? What did you learn from the experience? Tell us about it!

Weekly Forum: #49

Although mischaracterized as unobservant, Dr Watson was an intelligent man who learned from Sherlock Holmes’ methods throughout the many years they worked together. In fact, there is an example of this in DEVI, where Dr Watson applies those methods of observation to keep pace his friend’s deductions:

“Mr. Holmes,” said the vicar in an agitated voice, “the most extraordinary and tragic affair has occurred during the night. It is the most unheard-of business. We can only regard it as a special Providence that you should chance to be here at the time, for in all England you are the one man we need.”

I glared at the intrusive vicar with no very friendly eyes; but Holmes took his pipe from his lips and sat up in his chair like an old hound who hears the view-halloa. He waved his hand to the sofa, and our palpitating visitor with his agitated companion sat side by side upon it. Mr. Mortimer Tregennis was more self-contained than the clergyman, but the twitching of his thin hands and the brightness of his dark eyes showed that they shared a common emotion.

“Shall I speak or you?” he asked of the vicar.

“Well, as you seem to have made the discovery, whatever it may be, and the vicar to have had it second-hand, perhaps you had better do the speaking,” said Holmes.

I glanced at the hastily clad clergyman, with the formally dressed lodger seated beside him, and was amused at the surprise which Holmes’s simple deduction had brought to their faces.

Can you find other moments in the Canon where Dr Watson uses Holmes’ methods of observation?

Weekly Forum #47

There’s a “new” book out titled Sherlock: The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures which collects 19 famous cases that the BBC Sherlock creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, view as essential reading.

If you’re like me, you’re not particularly interested in this book because you already own at least half a dozen different versions of the complete Sherlock Holmes canon (How did I end up with so many versions? How much is too much?). However, I did find their listing of 19 “essential” stories interesting. Here is the list of stories that they selected for the book:

A Study In Scarlet
The Sign of Four
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
Silver Blaze
The Yellow Face
The Musgrave Ritual
The Greek Interpreter
The Final Problem
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Empty House
Charles Augustus Milverton
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
The Adventure of the Dying Detective

(This reminds me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s selection of 19 stories.)

So! If you were going to put together a collection of “essentials” or if you were about to offer a selection for a friend to read the Canon for the first time, would you agree with the above list?

If you don’t agree with the list, what ones would you replace and what have they overlooked?