The NMSOBC is delighted to announce that our March 12 meeting will feature a virtual presentation by author Nicholas Meyer, who will be interviewed by our own Patrick Ewing about his latest Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The Return of the Pharaoh.
This is Meyer’s fifth pastiche. He kick-started the current Holmes revival in 1974 with The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, followed by The West End Horror (1976), The Canary Trainer (1993), and The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols (2019). An accomplished screenwriter and director, Meyer is also responsible for making Holmes’s reality canonical in the Star Trek universe (he is claimed as an ancestor by Mr. Spock in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which Meyer wrote and directed). We are honored to be featuring him.
If you have any questions you would like Patrick to ask him, or for further information, please contact us via email at email@example.com.
Although our calendar for the entire coming year is generally released in December, due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we are scheduling only a few months in advance. The following are currently scheduled or in planning:
The Master’s Dinner, Jan. 8. Members and invited guests only!
Hybrid Meeting, Feb. 12. Presentation from author and game collector Timothy Kline.
Hybrid Meeting, Mar. 12. Author Nicholas Meyer will talk about his new novel, The Return of the Pharaoh.
Tentative: April trip to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center train museum. Details TBD.
Reichenbach Falls Remembrance and Memorial Picnic, May 7, Silver Falls State Park.
Watson’s Picnic, July. Details TBD.
We intend to have meetings in June, September, October, and November, but the exact format is not yet set. Our theme for the year is Travel.
Watch our Events page and/or our Facebook calendar for changes and further details. Contact us if you’re interested in attending any of the events.
The discussion of ”The Priory School” at our last meeting and the ill-treatment of Arthur, Lord Saltire, inspired one member to research the incidence of characters named Arthur in the Canon. The following is adapted from her presentation.
The Incidence of Arthurs in the Canon by Terri Zensen
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used his own first name for characters who exemplified innocence, except for one case in which it was used as an alias by a very inventive forger.
1. The Priory School
Arthur, Lord Saltire: This young, innocent son of the Duke of Holdernesse is maligned and abducted by his half-brother, James Wilder, to force the Duke to break his estate’s entail. Arthur is not a developed character; his only real significance is his disappearance from his school, which causes Sherlock Holmes to be brought into the case. The Duke is upset at the headmaster for consulting Holmes, who sets off to discover the whereabouts of poor Arthur. Some odd cow tracks lead the Master to the resolution of the case.
2. The Bruce-Partington Plans
Arthur Cadogan West: This Arthur’s death brings Mycroft Holmes out of his usual haunts and into 221B Baker Street. Cadogan West’s death and the discovery of the missing submarine plans make the case a matter of national security. Arthur is blamed for the theft; fortunately for his reputation, Holmes is on the case. Then another man—Sir James Walter, the official guardian of the papers—is found dead. Col. Valentine attests that his brother’s honor had been compromised. Holmes finally unravels the case, saving both the country and the memory of poor Arthur Cadogan West.
3. The Beryl Coronet
Arthur Holder: Our next Arthur is accused of stealing the beryl coronet, left as collateral for a £50,000 loan. His father, Alexander Holder, the banker holding the treasure, wants his son prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Arthur remains silent even when imprisoned for the crime, trying to protect his cousin, Mary Holder, whom he saw passing the coronet to a confederate. Holmes discovers that the true culprit is Sir George Burnwell, a rakish friend of Arthur’s. Sir George was romantically involved with Mary, who has run away. The Master traces the gems—which, he learns after threatening Sir George at gunpoint, have been sold—and buys them back, returning them to Alexander Holder and clearing Arthur’s name.
4. A Study in Scarlet
Arthur Charpentier: This namesake is falsely accused of the killing of Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson. This son of Madame Charpentier, keeper of a boarding house where the two men had stayed for several weeks, is a sub-lieutenant in Her Majesty’s Navy. Drebber’s attempt to force himself on Alice, Mme. Charpentier’s daughter, caused Arthur to take off after Drebber with a cudgel. Inspector Gregson arrests him for the murders. Holmes then unravels the scarlet thread—the tale of the Mormons and the true reason for the deaths of Drebber and Stangerson—and effects the arrest of the true culprit.
5. The Stockbroker’s Clark
Arthur Pinner: This is the one case in which a character named Arthur is not an upstanding citizen. Arthur Pinner convinces Hall Pycroft to abandon the position he is about to take up at the firm of Mawson and Williams in favour of taking a job as business manager of the Franco-Midland Hardware Company. Pycroft becomes suspicious about what is occurring and consults Holmes and Watson. The detective and his chronicler confront Pinner and discover the scheme: This man is not truly named Arthur Pinner but is, in fact, one of the notorious Beddington brothers, forgers and cracksmen who were recently released from prison. “Pinner”’s brother is posing as Hall Pycroft with the intention of absconding with bonds from Mawson and Williams.
So the only Canonical character named Arthur who is neither a crime victim nor a falsely accused innocent is not a true bearer of the name. This blog will leave any conclusions from these facts to those appropriately trained in psychology.
Once again we must cancel an event: Watson’s Picnic, originally scheduled for June 11, because of that dastardly COVID-19.
We are instead planning a virtual picnic with a discussion of “Charles Augustus Milverton,” a gripping story of blackmail, burglary, and murder. Attendees are encouraged to bring their devices outside, weather permitting, and to enjoy picnic food while talking about the story and listening to presentations.
We ordinarily have our Blind Auction at Watson’s Picnic; we are working on the logistics of holding it over Zoom.
To avoid conflicting with a meeting of The Parallel Case of St. Louis, we have moved the date one week later: It will be held on Saturday, June 18. Details are on the Events page; keep an eye on that or our Facebook page for any changes or updates.
At our virtual meeting today, we had several fascinating presentations about “The Priory School” We also welcomed as a new member Rich Krisciunas (from Michigan!). As Rich is already a member of several Scions, he will skip the Egg phase and go straight to a full membership.
Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. All interested guests are welcome to join us, as Rich did. The one advantage of the virus is that it is making it more common for us to meet Sherlockians from geographically distant locations!
Saturday, June 27, 5 pm PT (virtual cocktail hour, 4:30 pm): The Torists International, a scion society based in Chicago, invites all Sherlockians, friends, and family to “an infinitely introspective program.” The meeting will include a eulogy for Sherlockian scholar and Torist co-founder Tony Citera; the investiture into the Torists of the winners of the Beacon Society-Joel Senter Memorial Contest 2020; a presentation on the sources of the ciphers in “The Dancing Men”; and a reading of Vincent Starrett’s 221B. Register here; email Jonathan Shimberg for more info.
Saturday, October 10, 10 am PT: Save the date for the virtual Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium! Speakers will include Mina Hoffman; Leslie Klinger, BSI; Bonnie MacBird, BSI, ASH; Angela Misri; and Rob Nunn. Visit the Symposium website for more info or to register.
Stay well, everyone, and when you must go out, wear a mask!