Archive for September, 2012

News Bulletin 96



“-and behold the result!”*

Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure by Arthur Conan Doyle, edited by Jon Lellenberg and Daniel Stashower, was published on Tuesday 25 September 2012 by the British Library (Hardback, 368 pages,  £25).

In February 1880, when Arthur Conan Doyle was only twenty years old, he embarked upon ‘the first real outstanding adventure in my life,’ spending seven months as a ship’s surgeon on an Arctic whaler. The voyage took the young Conan Doyle into unknown regions and plunged him into dangerous and bloody work on the ice floes of the Arctic seas. His unforgettable adventure was echoed in a number of his early landmarks as a writer.

A ghost story based on the experience, ‘The Captain of the Pole-Star,’ got him noticed in publishing circles as a promising young writer and a magazine article called ‘The Glamour of the Arctic’ won him the respect of intrepid Arctic explorers.

During the voyage Conan Doyle kept a detailed diary. This incredible document, hidden from public view for more than a century, is written in his clear handwriting and is illustrated with many charming pen-and-ink sketches of scenes of life on board and of the sea-creatures and other sights he saw. It provides a vivid account of the coming of age of the young man who would go on to create Sherlock Holmes, and of a life at sea that no longer exists. The book features a facsimile of this remarkable diary, with a transcript as well as several non-fiction and fiction pieces based on the experience, including the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of Black Peter. It also includes photographs of the ship, its captain, and young Conan Doyle on deck.

The publication of this unknown diary will be welcomed by all Arthur Conan Doyle enthusiasts.

Want To See More?

There was an excellent article about the new book in the Daily Mail on 15 September 2012. You can read it here.

You can order by visiting:

BL Publishing   or

The main article above was culled from the British Library ‘Advance Information Sheet.’ *Headline quotation  taken from The Adventure of Black Peter.


News Bulletin 95

“It seems to me that I have done you full justice in the matter”

Sherlock fails to deliver

Despite being nominated for thirteen awards at this year’s Emmys , the BBC’s Sherlock has come away empty handed. It failed to collect anything at the Craft Awards on Saturday evening, and the luck was still out at last night’s Awards also. You can find a full list of last night’s nominees and winners here.  You’ll be able to watch Sunday night’s ceremony tonight on 5USA at 10pm.


For those who can’t get enough of Benedict Cumberbatch, here’s the star basking in The Sun.

SH3 on long finger?

According to Virgin Media Movie Watch, we’re not likely to see the follow-up to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows anytime soon. It’s all down to the fact that RDJ & JL are pre-occupied with lots of other projects so sometime in 2014 seems the very earliest date for the movie’s release.

It’s still out there!

The BBC’s 2002 The Hound of the Baskervilles is getting a re-run thanks to the Virgin Media Player. Is it worth watching again?

Aspects Irish Literature Festival

Nothing really to do with Sherlock Holmes as far as we know, but still worthy of mention here, is the 21st Aspects Irish Literature Festival which runs from 26 – 30 September 2012 in Bangor, Co. Down.

Of specific interest to many crime fans will be Bangor’s own Colin Bateman, whose Crime Night on Thursday 27th will feature the best-selling author  in conversation with Scottish crime writer Chris Brookmyre.

In a morning event which should capture the imagination of the younger generation, Derek Landy, creator of the bestselling comic and action-packed adventure series about smart-talking skeleton detective Skulduggery Pleasant, will talk about his books and characters. It’s on Saturday 29th.

Punt PI

Nothing to do with SH either, but there’s a nice little series running on BBC Radio4 every Saturday morning called Punt P1. The series is only half-way through and you can still catch the earlier ones on the iPlayer. We particularly liked ‘The Woman in Black’ (episode 2) on Saturday 14 September. You can listen to it here.



News Bulletin 94

“Anything else?” asked Holmes, yawning. “Oh, yes, plenty.”

Mayday Mayday is changing!

Our newsletter Mayday Mayday  is switching from a monthly to a bi-monthly publication, with effect from the current issue (no. 120, September 2012). This means that in future there will be five issues per year, instead of ten as heretofore. Issues will now however be twice as long so on average readers can expect to find eight pages instead of the four they previously did. And we’re getting off to a really big start with twelve pages in the latest issue to devour.

Subjects covered in issue no.120 include the schedules for the September and October sailings alongside an overview of the coming season. We’ve also got a 2-page special on our new Universal Sherlock season which is devoted to all twelve films starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. In addition, readers will find the Logs for the last two voyages, lots of stuff on books including a review of The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany and a great deal more besides.

Mayday Mayday is available to members in both electronic and printed formats.

The Return of Sherlock Wenlock

Sherlock Wenlock (see also Bulletin no.89), one of the silent stars of the London 2012 Olympics, has been bought for £6,500 by an anonymous donor and will be on public display in the Worcestershire town of Malvern.

Roger Johnson, writing in the latest District Messenger (no.325, 13 September 2012) tells us that the money raised by selling the eighty-four statues of the Olympic & Paralympic mascots will go to the Mayor’s Fund for London, which will help disadvantaged children.

There is a really great feature about Sherlock Wenlock on the Sherlockology website, which you really don’t want to miss. Sherlockology is the unofficial BBC Sherlock fansite, if you didn’t already know that important piece of information.

Return to Reichenbach

Around seventy members of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, along with the world’s most famous consulting detective (splendidly played by our good friend David Jones – watch out Benedict Cumberbatch!) have been retracing the steps that led to the momentous struggle at the Reichenbach Falls. Ashley Mayo undertook the role of Dr. Watson while all the other members involved on the trip were to be found attired in suitable Victorian garb, vividly impersonating a choice selection of characters from the stories. This is the seventh time that the Society has made a Pilgrimage to Swizerland.

A Handbook of the trip, Return to the Reichenbach, is available from the Society’s website.

You can read the Blog of their daily doings here and you can watch a Video of their departure from London (by plane, not train) here.           

Yet more Sherlock awards!

Surely there must be a severe danger of overcrowding in the BBC Sherlock trophy cabinet?  Just the other night, at a ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel, the series picked up the TV Choice 2012 Drama Award while Benedict Cumberbatch got his hands on the gong for Best Actor.

Holmes at the Ulster Hall

A Literary Lunchtime Talk at Belfast’s Ulster Hall on 23 August 2012 included a couple of brief nods to Holmes.

The Ulster Hall was also the setting for two talks on spiritualism, delivered by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in May 1925.

Sherlock Holmes Redux: The Great Detective lives on

If you’ve a spare few minutes, here’s something interesting to read, from the independent review website Critics at Large.

Book to Die For?

Books to Die For, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke [752 pages. Hodder & Stoughton. Hardcover. 30 August 2012 (UK).] includes a short chapter on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes story collection.

And finally

Did you click on the Links in this edition? If not, you didn’t get the full story.


News Bulletin 93

“Texas, I Think”

Dallas  is returning to our TV screens this evening (Channel5 at 9pm, Wednesday 5 September). This got us thinking about some of the things Larry Hagman got up to in the days before he struck oil playing JR Ewing.

It was in 1976 when he played the role of an incompetent police officer who thought he was Sherlock Holmes in a NBC TV movie called The Return of the World’s Greatest Detective.

Curiously enough, his side kick was a female Watson called Joan, played by Jenny O’Hara. The Pilot show wasn’t particularly well received so hopes for a planned series never developed.

Another Fine Success

BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives (Series 28. No.6, Tuesday 4 September 2012) featured Stan Laurel, one of the great comedy talents of the twentieth century. You can listen to the programme on the BBC iPlayer.

And, it can hardly come as any great surprise to learn that there’s a connection to our own world. In 1927, Oliver Hardy played Sherlock Pinkham, assisted by Stan Laurel as Ferdinand Finkleberry in Do Detectives Think? . Ollie & Stan’s 1944 comedy The Big Noise  also had a detective theme, with Stan donning the deerstalker.

We’re not sure if there’s any evidence that Stan played at the old Empire Theatre in Belfast’s Victoria Square, sometime between 1906 and 1909. There is proof positive however that Stan and Ollie both appeared at the Grand Opera House here in 1952.