Thursday, June 26, 2014

The best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman's wit.

Some of the best evenings have uneventful beginnings, no? One similarity between SCAN, our month's story, and the evening, was that it started out as a typical series of events. Three members had already arrived. Your faithful chronicler was running late to dinner because she decided to take a cardboard cutout of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the restaurant before the meeting started. It started pouring rain outside the moment my foot got in the door, so it was fortunate that we got our usual spot inside the restaurant rather than outside on the patio.

Conversation was abuzz with excitement about what Sherlockian events are coming up. For the first time in ten years, the Silver Blaze race sponsored by the Noble Bachelors is going to be held again! Also coming up is the Gillette to Brett IV conference in Indianopolis, and the Sherlock Holmes exhibition at the St. Louis Science Center in October. Also, I will be at the Archon 38 for the Parallel Case table in Collinsville this October so be sure to stop by and say hello if you will be there as well!

By the end of dinner, we had seven members, and two more met us at Big Sleep Books, where we usually meet. As usual, we discussed upcoming local Sherlockian events, and then moved onto the story.

Now this is a controversial one, because we receive an introduction to the (in)famous Ms. Adler, with whom even the great Sherlock Holmes is impressed. In the Canon, she is a quick-thinking, decisive woman who wishes to move on with her new husband and new life, done with the pompous King of Bohemia. In fanon, she has taken many faces. She has become a wife, a companion, a friend, and a nemesis to Holmes, and sometimes more than one of these at the same time. Pastiches write her in roles more close to the canon, such as actress, singer, and courtesan, to roles such as thief and professional spy.

Naturally, our first topic was to discuss why we are so fascinated with her. We didn't arrive at a conclusion, but we discussed many other things by way of this thread. Perhaps Holmes had a bad experience with women, and his distaste for them stemmed from that, despite his calculating and logical exterior (as per Watson).

We discussed what could have been in the picture that was so controversial that the king needed for it to be destroyed. Could it have been pornographic? We doubt it, since someone else would have needed to be there in order to take the picture. They say two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead. So that wasn't too likely. Someone had a theory that the picture was of Adler wearing the crown jewels, implying royalty. This would have certainly incited gossip and profound royal chaos.

Mycroft and Moriarty also came up in conversation. In pastiche it seems like when the two are the main focus of the story, they are more or less alternate versions of Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty is the evil version, and Mycroft is the fatter, less ambitious version. We all have our likes and dislikes.

We discussed more pastiches as well. I rarely read them myself, having vowed to accumulate as little as possible. However, there were some interesting ones that people were reading.

At last, the evening was winding down. I left Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the window of Big Sleep Books. If you are ever in the Central West End, do give him a visit- and perhaps, your patronage.