THE DISTRICT MESSENGER The Newsletter of the Society of Roger Johnson, Mole End, 41 Sandford Road, Chelmsford CM2 6DE

no. 134 14th September 1993

A direct link with Sir was severed in late July by the death at 83 of John Murray VI , chairman of Conan Doyle's own publishers. Older members of this Society may recall him attending the occasional annual dinner and contriving to look dignified while wearing a hideous tartan dinner-jacket. They don't make publishers like Jock Murray any more. Another notable loss to our world has come with the death of Charles Merriman , one of the senior members of the Society, which he served with quiet distinction in various capacities before age and ill-health obliged him to retire from the centre stage. He was an authority on the Dartmoor of Sherlock Holmes, and was invested into the Baker Street Irregulars in 1963 with the canonical honorific of "Colonel Hayter". The tradition is upheld by Charles' sister Shirley Purves. Judge S. Tupper Bigelow , one of Canada's (and the world's) leading Sherlockian scholars, died in June. Among his many accomplishments, he had been Chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission, "and an early promoter of various runnings of The Silver Blaze on both sides of the border,” adds Peter Blau. Stewart Granger , remembered as a peerless heart-throb by older movie-goers, and as a silver-haired patriarch by those of the television age, died recently. BBC TV wisely chose to pay tribute by showing his superb swash-buckler Scaramouche instead of reviving his ill-judged stab at portraying Sherlock Holmes in Universal's 1972 Hound of the BaskervillesBaskervilles.

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London is having a special First Day Cover produced by Covercraft to mark the issue of five 24p stamps depicting scenes from the Holmes stories. The cover will feature all five stamps on a specially designed envelope, which has a reproduction of the Paget illustration for "", showing the struggle at the Reichenbach Falls, and a smaller picture, in colour, of Holmes reading a note. The stamps will bear a special day of issue postmark (12th October) applied to the covers by the Royal Mail. The Society's logo is also included in this exclusive production. Price is £5.00 per cover to members, £6.50 to non-members (overseas applicants should add £1.00 per cover for airmail postage). Orders must be accompanied by a sterling postal order or cheque (drawn on a British bank), payable to Covercraft and sent to them at P.O. Box 432, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3SZ. Allow at least 14 days for delivery after the date of issue. Those qualifying for the lower price should state that they are members, or put the initials S.H.S. on the outside of their envelopes.

The British Philatelic Bureau (Edinburgh EH3 5TT; phone 031-550 8900) offers First Day Covers with a choice of postmarks: either the Bureau itself or London N.W.1 - the postal district encompassing 221B Baker Street. The charge per cover is £1.77 to inland addresses or £1.51 to overseas addresses (no VAT!), and the closing date for First Day Covers is the 12th October. The BPB also offers the five stamps in a Presentation Pack (no. 241) at £1.50, and a set of postcard-sized colour replicas of the stamps at £1.05 the set. Overseas collectors note: they take plastic (Access/Mastercard or Visa). As promised, Val Andrews' new Sherlock Holmes novella is now out, and like his very first (TheThe Wood Green Empire Mystery by "W. Lane") it involves the great detective with the world of magic and illusion, a subject on which the author is an authority. Sherlock Holmes andand the Egyptian Hall Adventure (Breese Books, 164 Kensington Park Road, London W11 2ER; £4.95) is very nicely produced, in strong card covers. The Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly housed the world-famous conjurers Maskelyne & Cook (later Maskelyne & Devant). John Nevile Maskelyne and David Devant play important roles in this tale of theft and murder in the theatre, which begins with the conjuror Cyrano and concludes with the sudden appearance of someone of whose existence we had not been told - though we should have been able to deduce it! Signed copies are available direct from Val Andrews (1 George Court, 67 Willoughby Lane, London N17 OQZ) at £4.95 post-free, or $10.00 overseas airmail. Signed copies may also be had of Sherlock Holmes and the Greyfriars School Mystery at £6.50 or $12.00 overseas airmail (see DM 133).

June Thomson's third volume of Holmes stories appeared yesterday. This is The Secret Journals of Sherlock Holmes (Constable & Co. Ltd, 3 The Lanchesters, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 9ER; £13.99). June Thomson is an experienced and successful writer of detective stories, creator of the Essex policeman Inspector Finch (Inspector Rudd in the U.S.A., for reasons too complex to go into); this may or may not have some bearing on the excellence of her Holmesian apocrypha. As with The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes each case derives from one of Dr Watson's tantalising hints: these seven tales relate the truth about the peculiar persecution of John Vincent Harden (spelt here as Hardern), Colonel Warburton's madness, the Addleton tragedy, the Dutch steamship Friesland, the mortal terror of old Abrahams, the Smith-Mortimer succession, and the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis. It's fun to have Holmes and Watson encountering the great and famous, in the tradition set by Nicholas Meyer, but June Thomson's stories particularly appeal because they are so like Sir Arthur's own. As a bonus, there's a discussion of the identity of the second Mrs Watson.

Brimax (c/o Reed Distribution Services, Northampton Road, Rushden, Northants. NN10 9PU; phone 0933 410511; fax 0933 410321) publish children's books. A couple of weeks ago they published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book costs £7.99, and contains only five stories! So why bother with it? Because it's beautifully presented, that's why, and particularly because almost every second page is devoted to a deliciously accurate and atmospheric illustration in full colour by Eric Kincaid, whose images derive from the work of Sidney Paget without imitating it. If you can't find it in your local bookshop, you can buy it direct from Reed Distribution Services, at £7.99 plus £2.50 postage (£3.00 surface mail overseas). They'll accept credit cards. Quote the title and the ISBN 0861129725.

Dr Watson Books (P.O. Box 1888, London E3 5PJ) have published a facsimile of the extremely rare 1888 Ward Lock edition of A StudyStudy In Scarlet. This was the first separate publication of the seminal Sherlock Holmes story, and is especially notable for the six illustrations by the author's father, . Great care has been taken to achieve an exact reproduction of the Bodleian Library's copy. The Presentation Edition is limited to 100 numbered copies each in dust-wrapper and morocco-covered slip-case (£150.00 or $225.00 each). The Special Edition is limited to 500 numbered copies, each in dust-wrapper and cloth-covered slip-case (£38.00 or $57.00 each), All prices include postage world-wide. (Philip Weller tells me that Dr Watson Books will refund 10% of the price to the buyers of the first 10 copies of the Presentation Edition and the buyers of the first 100 copies of the Special Edition.)

Sherlock Publications are the sole agents for Ronald B. De Waal's momentous The Universal Sherlock Holmes outside the United States and Canada. This definitive bibliography will incorporate the full contents of Ron De Waal's two previous volumes, plus the 10,000 new items compiled since their publication. Future additions will be produced as supplements. The new work will comprise 5 volumes, approximately A4 size, with a total page count of about 1500. The final price depends on the number of advance orders received before 1st December 1993 for distribution on or shortly after 15th January 1994, but will not exceed the equivalent of $100.00 + postage. The Universal Sherlock Holmes will not be available through bookshops. To order, send a deposit of £20.00 sterling per copy (cheques to Sherlock Publications) to 6 Bramham Moor, Hill Head, Fareham, Hants. PO14 3RU.

The Franco-Midland Hardware Company will celebrate the centenary of "The Stock-broker's Clerk" by offering First Day Postcards directly mailed to applicants; the specially designed cards will have all five of the new Sherlock Holmes stamps franked to indicate posting in a mail-box in Corporation Street, Birmingham, near the offices of the original Franco- Midland Hardware Company. Cards are £2.00 each or $4.00 for anywhere in the world. The FMHC' s Company Bond no. 002 is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and Freemasonry by Robert T. Runciman, a revised reprint of an article that first appeared in Ars Quatuor CoronatorumCoronatorum (see DM 127). I'm reminded also that the FMHC's newsletter, The NewNew Baker Street Pillar Box no. 15, features "Sherlock Holmes & Some Astronomical Connections" by Bradley Schaefer, reprinted, from The Journal of thethe British Astronomical Association (see DM passim ). For information about these and other products of Sherlock Publications and the FMHC (including Christmas cards designed by Maria Lockley, and a limited number of models of the Company's Ford Model T van) write to the Bramham Moor address above.

The Northern Musgraves also have a nice Christmas card, illustrating a scene from "The Blue Carbuncle", They're available in packs of five at £3.00 (UK), £4.00 (Europe), or $10.00 (in cash, or sterling cheque equivalent) (USA - airmail), from Anne Jordan, Fairbank, Beck Lane, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16 4DN. Cheques payable to The Northern Musgraves. Ask Anne about other Musgrave publications available. The 6th annual issue of The Musgrave Papers is just out, and full of interest and entertainment. For information about the Musgraves, write to David Stuart Davies (Overdale, 69 Greenhead Road, Huddersfield HD1 4ER) or Kathryn White (149 Myrtle Terrace, Cross Roads, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD22 9AJ). The next meeting of the Musgraves will be held jointly with the Poor Folk Upon the Moors, The Rich & the Poor FolkFolk, at Granada Studios in Manchester on Saturday the 23rd October.

The Oxford Sherlock Holmes in a boxed set at £69.95 or in individual volumes is due this month from Oxford University Press. This is the first attempt in nearly 30 years at an annotated text. It will appear in paperback eventually. Out this month in the U.S.A is Nicholas Meyer's long-awaited third Sherlock Holmes novel The Canary Trainer (W.W. Norton; $21.00), which pits Holmes against the Phantom of the Opera. Early reports are encouraging. Murder One has copies, if you can't wait for a British edition, but they are very expensive. In August, Studio Editions Ltd (Princess House, 50 Eastcastle Street, London W1N 7AP) issued The Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (£5.99). I haven't seen a copy, so can't comment. Reports are very favourable on : The Gentle Man of Horror and His 91 Films by Deborah Del Vecchio & Tom Johnson (McFarland & Co.; $45.00).

The Diary of Jack the Ripper (Smith Gryphon Ltd. Swallow House, 11-21 Northdown Street, London N1 9BN; 7th October; £15.99) is causing a good deal of controversy. The publishers stick to their claim of authenticity, but a number of authorities disagree, and Warner, who were to have published an American edition, have now backed out. In November, Canongate Press (14 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2KB) will publish Oscar Slater: The Mystery Solved by Thomas Toughill (£13.99); this case has genuine Doylean connections, of course.

In DM 133 I mentioned that Cadds Printing would produce a Sherlock Holmes calendar, in collaboration with Westminster Libraries, the Sherlock Holmes Memorabilia Company, Richard Lancelyn Green and others. The finished product is a very attractive desk calendar, with two months and an illustration per page (the Pagets are credited, but the Steele isn't, for some reason), and canonical dates annotated by Catherine Cooke, who tells me that it will soon be on sale at selected libraries, including Marylebone, Charing Cross and Great Smith Street, priced at about £4.00. It won't officially be available by post from Westminster Libraries, but Catherine will stretch a point for "any far-flung member" who sends her £4.50 sterling and a stamped & self-addressed envelope about 7"x 10" (Westminster Libraries, Technical Services, Marylebone Library, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5PS). Cheques should by payable to City of Westminster. The calendar is officially available direct from Cadds Printing Ltd (59 Lancaster Avenue, West Norwood, London SE27 9EL; phone 081-761 4927) at £5.25 each. Hugh Scullion, the Managing Director, adds, "A decent order will get a much cheaper price, of course." So it may be worth your while considering a bulk purchase. Ask about Cadds' other products too.

Some books you may not have realised were still available. Plays: "All tthehe Comforts of Home", "Secret Service" and "Sherlock Holmes" by William Hooker Gillette, edited by Rosemary Cullen (Cambridge University Press; £4.49). Young Sherlock Holmes by Alan Arnold (Severn House; £8.50). Holmes & Watson: A Miscellany by S.C. Roberts (Greenwood Press; £32.50). The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Vincent Starrett (Haskell House Publishers; £67.50) (*that price is not a typing error*). The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes by Adrian Conan Doyle & John Dickson Carr (Barnes & Noble; £5.95). Sherlock Holmes At Oxford by Nicholas Utechin (R. Dugdale; £1.50). Memories & Adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Greenhill Books; £25.00). Sylvian Hamilton's list, S.H.28 is out; she has books, posters, cigarette- cards, Persian-slippers and all sorts of other things for sale (Hermitage, Mt Pleasant, Duns, Berwickshire TD11 3HU, Scotland; phone 0361 82922).

David John Izzard found painted pewter character thimbles of Holmes & Watson at a craft fair at Mentmore Towers. They're cleverly designed, attractive caricatures, available gift-boxed as a pair at £10.80 from the maker, Stephen Frost, Warwick Models, Rigby Close, Heathcote, Warwick CV34 6TH. (*We bought a set at Covent Garden. We've also seen apparently unauthorised copies on sale at more than twice this price. You have been warned .) The issue of the Walt Disney comic Mickey and FriendsFriends for the 4th -10th September not only features a free plastic dinosaur model, but shows on the cover Donald Duck in full Holmesian rig-out looking at it through a magnifying glass (85p from newsagents if you're lucky, or try the publishers, Fleetway Editions Ltd, Egmont House, 25-31 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SU.) The 2nd half of The Return of Sherlock Holmes with Clive Merrison & is currently being broadcast by BBC Radio 4 at 2.00 pm on Wednesday afternoons. The series will be available on cassette in February. John Brazzill (13 West View Grove, Whitefield, Manchester M25 7NQ) asks if anyone can provide him with a recording of the BBC Radio 5 programme of some weeks ago It's My Party, in which the poet John Hegley's ideal party would include Sherlock Holmes as a guest. Bill Blake reminds me that cassette recordings of The New Adventures ofof Sherlock Holmes, with Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce, have reached no. 20 ("The Manor House Case" & "The Stuttering Ghost") and no. 21 ("The Great Gandolfo" & "The Unique Hamlet"). "The Manor House Case" and "The Great Gandolfo" have been issued before on LP, but these recordings are taken from the original masters. "The Stuttering Ghost" features Tom Conway, not Rathbone, as Holmes.

The Granada TV series currently in production will be called The Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesHolmes. The six stories featured (all at the more congenial one-hour length) are "The Golden Pince-Nez" (with Mycroft taking over Watson's role, Michael Cox tells me!), "The Red Circle", "The Three Gables", "The Cardboard Box", "The Mazarin Stone" and "The Dying Detective". It'll be interesting to see how the no-longer-gaunt Jeremy Brett copes with that last one... At the beginning of this month the Talisman Theatre in Kenilworth put on Hugh Leonard's The Mask of as its 500th production, but news reached me too late for inclusion in the last DM. If you know of a forthcoming production of interest, do please tell me!

Clare Taylor passes on information about a Sherlock Holmes Weekend based at the Blackaller Hotel & Restaurant (North Bovey, Devon TQ13 8QY; phone 0647 40322) from the 1st to the 3rd October. For £92.00 you get full accommodation from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, illustrated talks and discussions on Sherlock Holmes and Dartmoor, and mini-bus transport around (there will be several miles' walking involved) in search of canonical sites. The guide will be Paul Rendell, local historian and member of The Poor Folk Upon the Moors.

James O. Duval (Cox & Co. of New England, 72 Merrimack Street, Penacook, NH 03303, U.S.A.) is looking for a Sherlock Holmes collector in Britain who is willing to help him by buying new collectibles on his behalf, as so many dealers/manufacturers here ask for payment in sterling only. Jim would be willing to send U.S. currency through the mail beforehand so that this person would not have to draw on his/her own funds. He would also be happy to help his helper by performing the same function in the United States. Write to him if you think you can help - it could be of benefit to you, as well.

After the Dorothy L. Sayers Society, The Margery Allingham Society, The Arthur Conan Doyle Society (not to mention the various Sherlock Holmes societies) comes the Agatha Christie Society, run under the auspices of Agatha Christie Ltd, whose Chairman, Matthew Prichard, is Chairman of the Society as well. He is also Agatha Christie's grandson. The President is Agatha Christie's daughter, Rosalind Hicks, and the Vice-Presidents are Joan Hickson and David Suchet. Details can be had from P.O. Box 985, London SW1X 9XA. Geoff Bradley's excellent magazine CADS (that's Crime And Detective Stories) has reached its 21st issue. As the name suggests, it covers the full spectrum of crime fiction, including Sherlock Holmes, of course. Just out is a very useful index to the first 20 issues. Contact Geoff for details at 9 Vicarage Hill, South Benfleet, Essex SS7 1PA.

Other periodicals of interest include Scuttlebutt fromfrom the Spermaceti Press August 1993 (Peter E. Blau, 3900 Tunlaw Road NW #119, Washington, DC 20007-4830, U.S.A..); The Pleasant Places of FloridaFlorida Communication no. 129 (Dr Benton Wood, Box 740, Ellenton, FL 34222, U.S.A.); The PPetreletrel Flyer vol. 5, no. 7 (The Stormy Petrels of British Columbia, 1026 West Keith Road, North Vancouver, BC, V7P 3C6, Canada); The TorrTorr no. 3 (The Poor Folk Upon the Moors, Clare Taylor, 2 Lynbridge Court, Chapel Street, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8DU); The DiDispatchspatch Box vol. 1, issue 2 (221A Baker Street Associates, P.O. Box 351453, Los Angeles, CA 90035-998, U.S.A.) (*These are the people behind the recordings of the Rathbone/Bruce radio series; there will eventually be 26 cassettes - 52 plays in all. We hope Simon & Schuster will get their act together and give them proper distribution in this country. I have two spare copies of this issue; let me know if you'd like one.*); The SoftSoft----NosedNosed BulletBullet----InIn no. 13 (Von Herder Airguns Ltd, Michael Ross, Benheide 65, 47906 Kempen, Germany) (*I wish I had a greater knowledge of the German language, so that I could appreciate this magazine as it deserves.*); The Appledore Tower no. 9 (Paul H. Brundage BSI, 2632 Central Court, Union City, CA 94587-3128, U.S.A.).

From Peter Blau: "Here in one convenient book by a noted Sherlockian scholar is everything needed for the study and enjoyment of the Holmes canon," say the ads for A Sherlock Holmes Handbook by Chris Redmond (Dundern Press, 2181 Queen Street East #301, Toronto, Ontario M4E 1E5, Canada; US$26.50). Dundern also has Simon & Pierre's backlist, with a number of interesting Holmesian titles, fiction and non-fiction. The long arm of co-incidence: authorisation has been given for another novel pitting Sherlock Holmes against the Phantom of the Opera; The Angel of the Opera by Sam Siciliano will be published by Otto Penzler Books in association with Macmillan in May 1994.

Paul Singleton of the celebrated Friends of Bogie's issues a "newsletter for thespian pursuits in Sherlockiana"; The Third PillarPillar has now reached 16 issues. It costs $5.00 for a 4-issue annual subscription (Box 2882, New York, NY 10185-0025, U.S.A.). B.J. Rahn has started Murder Is Academic, a newsletter for those interested in teaching and studying crime fiction on campus, and has compiled a 134-page Collection of CrimeCrime Fiction Course Syllabi ($20.00 post-paid). Write to B.J for details of overseas rates, and for information about the newsletter (Professor B.J. Rahn, English Dept, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021, U.S.A.).

Intrepid Productions (2130 West 3rd Avenue #203, Vancouver, BC V6K 1L1, Canada) have filmed Craig Bowlsby's play The Hound of London, with Patrick Macnee as Sherlock Holmes. The film has been sold to TV stations in Canada, Ireland and Botswana - but not yet, apparently, the U.S.A. or the U.K. plays Holmes in a TV movie from CBS, called Sherlock Holmes Returns in The Adventure of the Tiger's Revenge. The premise - Holmes revives from a decades-long sleep to face crime in the late 20th century - is suspiciously like that of the Margaret Colin/Michael Pennington Return of Sherlock Holmes (*now out on sell-through video in Britain from CBS-Fox*), but the producers say they were unaware of the earlier film. Higgins last played the great detective in the play The White Glove at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, in 1983, and he was Mr Rathe in Young Sherlock HolmesHolmes.