August 13, 2011
11 a.m.

Hedberg Public Library Public Meeting Room

Carol Beilharz, Tom Drucker, Herb Emmel, Resa Haile, Bryan Pike, Gayle Lange Puhl, Victor Rufer.

James Haile

Gayle provided the quiz. Resa took first, Victor, second, and Carol, third. Paul Devine from The Notorious Canary Trainers was kind enough to donate items from his collection for our prizes, and Tom Drucker was kind enough to bring them to the meeting. Gayle provided the quiz and “The Case of the Shoeless Engineer” episode from the Ronald Howard television series, Sherlock Holmes.

Victor felt that this case didn’t put Holmes to a real test. Tom said that there was only one significant deduction: the fact that the horses didn’t look tired. Victor noted that Hatherley was offered six months’ wages for this job. Bryan didn’t like the story that much. Victor likes it much better when Holmes goes through the steps of the investigation. Gayle said he should have gotten into the press. Resa noted there was a concept for the Granada television series with Jeremy Brett of doing a version in which Holmes was trapped in the press, but it was never done.

Gayle noted that it said the thumb was ripped out by the roots. Was the thumb caught in the press? There was a discussion of thumbs and the position of hands in window. Resa, borrowing a question Elaine had asked at the Notorious Canary Trainers discussion of this story, asked if he wouldn’t have bled to death before he was found. Victor said that the body shuts down in traumatic injuries and doesn’t bleed as much as would be expected. Gayle said that shock would blunt the pain at first. Question: Where was the tourniquet put on?

Gayle said that Hatherley should have been covered in blood but Watson doesn’t mention this, just that he is neatly dressed in a heather suit. Victor wondered why he wasn’t questioned by people en route. Resa said he was in shock and not thinking clearly; he might not have remembered. Herb has been to Europe five times and he noted, regarding the train tickets, that they don’t check them that often. When an inspector goes on, he checks the tickets. The fine for not having a ticket is very heavy.

Resa thought that, although Holmes’ advice to Hatherley is often deemed heartless, it is good advice. His business will probably be booming. Gayle thought it was probably the left thumb that was lost. Resa wondered if he was left-handed. Gayle said left-handedness never came into it or it would have been mentioned. She said the Russian version of this story is wonderful and involves Mycroft. Resa noted that this is one of the stories in which the villains get away. She asked if this was a failure for Holmes. Victor said Holmes did what he was asked to do. To him, it’s the riddle. Once he’s solved it, he’s no longer interested. Resa wondered if the other culprits killed Lysander Stark after they got away. She also noted the title change from “Engineer’s Thumb” to “Shoeless Engineer” in the Ronald Howard version. Victor said the press came down very fast. Bryan said it was a very tall press, from the third floor. It must have been adapted from another type of press. Herb said a small press was what was needed for the job. Victor noted that they were making the amalgamate for the coins.

THE ADVENTURE OF THE NOBLE BACHELOR—Saturday, September 24, 11 a.m.

Minutes prepared by Resa Haile.

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