“The Illustrious Client” (1965)
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‘Dr. Watson Speaks Out’, A.A. Milne, 1929
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These Are a Few of My Favorite Books → The Adventures of Shelock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.
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Picklock Holes? Shamrock Jolnes? Learn all about fanfiction inspired by Sherlock Holmes, and view a slideshow of images from the Harry Ransom Center’s collections.
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This is truly a case worthy of a Sherlock Holmes. It concerns a macabre death, conspiracy theories and what has been dubbed “The Curse of Conan Doyle.”
Richard Lancelyn Green (10 July 1953 – 27 March 2004) was generally considered to be one of the world’s foremost Sherlockian scholars. He was an award-winning author of a Conan Doyle bibliography and other books on Sherlock Holmes and at the time of his bizarre death, the 50-year-old millionaire bachelor had amassed what is considered to be the largest private collection of Sherlockiana in existence.
He began his collection at age 7 and created his own version of 221B Baker St. in an attic room at Poulton Hall, Oxford. The collection has since been bequeathed to the City of Portsmouth, where it is still being cataloged. The patron of the collection is Stephen Fry. Packing it took two weeks and a team of 10. It filled 12 vans and comprised about 14,000 volumes and some 200,000 other items.
Prior to his death, Green had become frantic over the auction sale of 3,000 letters, notes and drafts for books that would have provided insight into Conan Doyle’s life. Dominated by private American bidders, the sale at Christie’s also included correspondence with family and friends, including Winston Churchill, PG Wodehouse, Theodore Roosevelt and Oscar Wilde.
Green believed the collection should go to the British Library, where he and the public could access it, not dispersed to private collections across the U.S. He tried to block the sale, but was unsuccessful.
Following the sale, Green was found lying in his double bed, surrounded by stuffed toys and a bottle of gin. Around his neck was a shoelace and a wooden kitchen spoon, which had been used to twist the cord tight.
Family and friends testified that shortly before his death Green’s behavior had become increasingly paranoid. He also had contacted a national newspaper and warned: ‘Something might happen to me.’
The coroner concluded suicide was the most likely explanation, but many have grave doubts and, as the anniversary of his death nears, the controversy surrounding Green’s death continues.
Among the wilder theories is that Green feared he was being spied on by the Pentagon. The inquest heard from Lawrence Keen that the scholar believed “an American was trying to bring him down.” One friend, who wished to remain nameless, said he had become paranoid about Jon Lellenberg (another preeminent Sherlockian whose name came up again recently in regard to a current fierce battle over who has rights to Holmes and also the “Shreffgate” controversy [x]).
Lellenberg was at that time a policy strategy analyst in the office of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Himself a highly respected author of books about Holmes and prominent in the U.S. appreciation society The Baker Street Irregulars, Lellenburg contributed to Christie’s catalog for the sale and was in London for a meeting with the Sherlock Holmes Society during the week of Green’s most erratic behavior.
Speaking from his home in Washington, Lellenberg said: “I have no knowledge of why he was paranoid about it. It would be silly and delusional to be concerned about me because the work I do has nothing to do with intelligence and surveillance at any level. The last time I met or spoke to Richard was a year ago in Chicago at the dedication of a collection at the Newberry Library. He was fine and gave a terrific talk. He was almost bubbly.”
Scotland Yard said it would reopen the case only if fresh evidence came to light.
Let me make clear that it is not my intention, in any way, shape or form, to point a finger at anyone by reiterating this information.
All I can say is I find it hard to believe someone can actually strangle themselves in this way. As they lost consciousness, their grip would loosen before they would actually die. If anyone has any theories/updated information, I’d like to hear it.
Also see Always1895’s warm retrospective on Green on Tumblr: [x]
Richard Lancelyn Green, requiescant in pace.
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Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering in Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1979-1980)
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Sherlock Holmes Writing Set
Created by the Stuart Hall Company in 1946. The set included “Sherlock Holmes” invisible and ‘special writing’ ink as well as paper and a ‘code book’. The ‘code book’ used a code based upon that in The Adventure of the Dancing Men.
(Sold in the US in 1946 and the UK in 1947. Production stopped in 1948)
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LADIES OF THE CANON: Mrs. Neville St. Clair
It has been suggested that Violet Hunter was hunting for more than a job in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.” Some believe she’d also cast her net for Sherlock Holmes.
Many believe Holmes and Irene Adler reunited following “A Scandal in Bohemia,” and might even have had a child together. Plenty of books and film adaptations have boarded that “ship” and sailed off on it.
Here’s one more Canon lady under scrutiny – Mrs. Neville St. Clair.
Mrs. (no first name supplied) St. Clair was Holmes’ client in “The Man with the Twisted Lip.” She tasked him, apparently, with finding out what had happened to her husband, although the police already were convinced he’d been done away with by a disfigured beggar named Hugh Boone.
Some argue Mrs. St. Clair was less interested in recovering her husband than in snagging Sherlock Holmes.
Why, for instance, did she insist that Holmes stay at her house in Kent, although her husband had disappeared seven miles away, in London?
Why did Holmes acquiesce to her wishes and even refer to her as a “dear little woman”? Why did he laud her courage, her “quick feminine eye” and her “flair for the dramatic”? It all sounds rather familiar.
Holmes tells Watson he was staying in Kent because there were “many inquiries that must be made” from there. Well, if that’s what you prefer to call them. A bachelor and a married woman staying alone together? A bit unconventional - especially since the lady put Holmes in a room with a double bed.
Brad Keefauver, in “Domesticity in Disguise,” suggests “Mrs.” Neville St. Clair was a myth, that she and her “husband” were actually brother and sister (as per the Stapletons in the “Hound of the Baskervilles”) and that Holmes had been having an affair with her.*
Did that mean the couples’ two children were actually his?
I’m not willing to go that far.
I just think with the cat away, Mrs. St. Clair wanted to play. She greets Holmes’ cart at the door decked out in a “light mousseline de soie with a touch of fluffy pink chiffon at her neck and wrists.”
Granted, it was June (1889, according to Watson) and possibly a warm evening, but this ensemble seems a bit fussy for a woman who has just lost her husband. She apologizes that her home is in disarray because “of the blow that has so suddenly come upon us.” Maybe her house was a wreck because she was too busy getting fancied up instead.
She “gave a cry of hope that sank into a groan” when Holmes arrives and she sees he is not alone. Holmes just shrugs. Was he disappointed that Watson had interrupted the festivities – or was he relieved?
Richard Asher, in “Holmes and the Fair Sex,” argues that the detective sensed Mrs. St. Clair’s inclinations, which was why he was so eager to bring Watson along. Even with Watson sleeping in his bed, Holmes does not seem to feel secure, for “he sat up all night on a pile of cushions smoking shag and probably ruminating over his narrow escape,” Asher writes.*
Then suddenly the “ship” darts in a new direction.
Watson writes that he drops off to sleep in Holmes’ bed until “a sudden ejaculation caused me to wake up.” He finds Holmes still on the floor with “a pipe between his lips.”
“Awake, Watson?” Holmes inquires.
Later, Holmes says, “I think I have the key of the affair now.”
“And where is it?” I asked, smiling.
“In the bathroom,” he answered. “Oh yes, I am not joking. I have just taken it out and I have got it in this Gladstone bag. Come on, my boy, and we shall see whether it will not fit the lock.”
Doyle’s notorious refusal to follow his own hero’s dictum that “nothing is so important as trifles” is evident in this story, as in others.
This is where Mary Morstan calls her husband “James” instead of John. But if she hadn’t, Dorothy Sayers would never have famously concluded that Watson’s middle name was Hamish.
Another head-scratcher: Holmes tells Watson an Inspector Barton is in charge of the case, yet Barton is never mentioned again in the story. The inspector Holmes deals with at Bow Street Police Court is named Bradstreet.
*Source: “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes” edited by Leslie Klinger
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The Hound of the Baskervilles art by Leonid Nepomnyaschiy.
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Original admisson ticket: 1930 radio performance
On October 29th, 1930 William Gillette did a single radio performance of “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”, as Sherlock Holmes, for the National Broadcasting Company.
It was the first performance of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” radio series. The series lasted until 1956 and was most notable for Basil Rathbone and Nigle Bruce as Holmes and Watson from 1939 to 1946.
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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
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from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, by Vincent Starrett
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