May 21, 2011
11 a.m.

Hedberg Public Library Public Meeting Room

Carol Beilharz, Ron Del Ciello, Resa Haile, Elaine Khan, Bryan Pike, Gayle Lange Puhl,  Victor Rufer

James Haile


Gayle provided the quiz and prizes. Resa took first, Victor second, and Ron and Carol tied for third.

Gayle reported on the latest meeting of the Criterion Bar Association, which featured Victorian Gardens. She also reported on two books, The Andaman Islanders by Lidio Cipriani and The Lost City of Z by David Grann. The surveyor Percy Harrison Fawcett, whose dream was to find the city of Z, is said to have partially inspired Conan Doyle’s character of Professor Challenger, who first appeared in The Lost World.

There was some discussion of the death of Sherlockian Richard Lancelyn Green, which is compared to one of the cases in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. David Grann’s article about the case appears in his collection, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession. The case has been used as a loose basis for the CSI episode Who Shot Sherlock? and the books, The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King and The Sherlockian by Graham Moore.

Movies and Jack the Ripper were also discussed.

Resa brought the “mashup” Hound: Curse of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Lorne Dixon. A mashup is taking a literary work (generally out of copyright) and removing some of the text to replace with different text to alter the story. The first mashup may have been Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In this version of The Hound, the supernatural elements of the story are expanded.

Resa said she really liked the description in this story. Ron said it was well written and that it had made it to Number 7 on one of Doyle’s lists of his favorite Holmes stories. Elaine liked the expression “hand-made London.”

Bryan noted the use of the postmark dates to relate to the ship and traveling times. Victor found it to be one of the most descriptive stories. It told a little about Holmes and his detective methods: “To carry the art, however, to its highest pitch, it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilise all the facts which have come to his knowledge; and this in itself implies, as you will readily see, a possession of all knowledge, which, even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias, is a somewhat rare accomplishment. It is not so impossible, however, that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work, and this I have endeavoured in my case to do.”

Gayle said this case was one of his failures. Victor said it had hurt Holmes’ pride, making it a personal matter. Resa thought it was odd that Holmes just let Openshaw go. Bryan disagreed that it was a failure, as Holmes figured it out. He felt it was not Holmes’ first priority to keep the client alive. Resa suggested the client’s death could have been faked by Holmes. Gayle didn’t think letting him leave was that irresponsible of Holmes. Openshaw had a gun. She noted that the narrative focused on the weather at the beginning; at the end, the storm has killed the bad guys.

Ron said he had been reading about the KKK, and that they had no secrets left by 1887. The co-founder had written a book by then. It was started as a mutual help society and didn’t get involved with lynchings and the terrible things associated with the KKK until the 1900s. Elaine asked why they killed the Openshaws. Gayle thought the papers could have been used for blackmail. Elias destroyed the papers in order to spite them.

Ron wondered why the father let his son live with Elias. Resa noted that the father had money; he held the patent on the “Openshaw unbreakable tyre.” She wondered if Violet Smith used them on her bicycle. Gayle said that Conan Doyle used a Duofold Big Red Parker Pen to write the latter stories, such as those in The Casebook.

THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP—June 18, 2011, 11 a.m.

Minutes prepared by Resa Haile.

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