Welcome

Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Birthday Toast to Sir Arthur



On this 160th birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I share the toast I delivered at this year’s Gaslight Gala during Baker Street Irregulars & Friends Weekend in New York. The theme of the gala, held Jan. 11, was “Sherlock Holmes: A Spirited Celebration.” The toast is in that, uh, spirit:

In a wonderful passage from a story not generally regarded as one of the best, Sherlock Holmes remarks: “This agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply.”

How is it possible that the Literary Agent, sometimes known as “the St. Paul of Spiritualism,” allowed these seemingly skeptical words to be recorded? Perhaps the answer lies in a couplet from a verse composed by the Agent himself: 
               So please grip this fact with your cerebral tentacle:
               The doll and its maker are never identical. 
At any rate, the Agent and the Master seemed to be on very different spiritual pages. And for that, devotees of detective stories with earthly solutions should be profoundly grateful. So, raise a glass – preferably of spirits – in honor of a man: 
  • Who believed in spirits, although he didn’t drink them;
  • Who believed in fairies, even though he knew it made him look foolish;
  • Who believed in mediums and their messages, but was himself an extra-large;
  • Who allowed Professor Challenger to be converted to spiritualism, but not Sherlock Holmes; and (best of all)
  • Who gave us a very material hell-hound of the Baskervilles in a story he accurately called “a real creeper.” 

To Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Steel True – Blade Straight – Knight – Patriot – Physician – and Man of Letters”:

Cheers!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Classical Education in Sherlock Holmes

Photo courtesy of Ray Betzner

One of my favorite scenes in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the discussion of such 20th century writers as (if I remember correctly) Harold Robbins and Jaqueline Suzanne. “Ah,” Spock says sagely, “the Classics.”

Recently I’ve been reading real classics of the Sherlockian world in the form of the Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Library, a paperback reprint series published in the 1990s. Seven of the nine books have sat on my shelves years – nay, decades – and I’m embarrassed to say that I’d neglected to read some of them. Because, like all classics in any field, they are still relevant.  

How had I never opened T.S. Blakeney’s Sherlock Holmes: Fact or Fiction? It was published in England in 1932, the year before Vincent Starrett’s indispensable The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (also part of Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Library series) was published in the United States. It’s a wonderful little volume, scholarly and yet somehow like listening to an old friend.

The equally delightful Gavin Brend’s My Dear Holmes: Studies in Sherlock and James Edward Holroyd’s Baker Street By-Ways came much later (1951 and 1959), but still relatively early in the history of the Great Game. They had less to build on than those that followed, and those that followed built on them.

Other books in the Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Library series are Vincent Starrett (ed.)’s   221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes; H.W. Bell (ed.)’s Baker Street Studies, S.C. Roberts’s Holmes & Watson: A Miscellany; John Kendrick Bangs’s R. Holmes & Co.; and James Edward Holroyd (ed.)’s Seventeen Steps to 221B.

With the single exception of the Bangs novel, all these books have influenced other writers for decades. In fact, many of the individual articles in the collections are frequently quoted and anthologized.      

Whether you read them in the Penzler editions or not, read them all. Because you can’t fully appreciate where you are until you understand how you got there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Best Holmes? That's Debatable



One of the great things about being a Sherlockian is that you are in good company.

That holds true in many senses of the phrase. Right now, I’m thinking of how cool it is to be part of the “Great Sherlock Holmes Debate” with so many friends at Undershaw, former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and now a special school called Stepping Stones on Saturday, May 25.

But I won’t be in Sussex that day, or in West Palm Beach, where the 15 artists of The Art of Sherlock Holmes will be unveiling their creations as part of the event. I’ll debating virtually the topic: “Have we Gone Too Far?”

Some of the many incarnations of Holmes (and Watson) are relatively faithful to the Canon. Others have barely a nodding acquaintance. In one slide and 90 seconds, I will assert that – despite some underwhelming scripts – Basil Rathbone’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in 14 films did not go too far. Quite the contrary.

The lineup of debaters is amazing. In no particular order, the adaptations and their defenders include (besides me): Jeremy Brett – Bonnie MacBird; Douglas Wilmer (TV) – Catherine Cooke; BBC Sherlock – Jayantika Ganguly; Robert Downey Jr. – Mary Platt; Elementary – Richard T. Ryanj; The Hound of the Baskervilles (Hammer film) – Steven Philip Jones; Young Sherlock Holmes (film) – Amy Thomas; The Great Mouse Detective – Paul Hiscock; Miss Sherlock (Japanese TV) – Derrick Belanger; The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes – Janina Woods; Asylum (film) – Lyndsay Faye; Denis Smith (pastiches) – David Marcum; Holmes and Watson (film – yes, that film) – Mattias Boström; Kareem Abdul Jabar (pastiches) – Lenny Picker.

One hundred guests will take part in person, with another 400 tickets for Sherlockians to join online from anywhere around the world. Online fans will be able to join in the debate by live chat.

Get more details at Eventbrite.  


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Freddy and Me and the Baker Street Journal



When I suggested on Facebook that the new Spring 2019 edition The Baker Street Journal was one of the best, I was thinking of the interesting and insightful articles by Dana Cameron, Carla Coupe, Monica Schmidt, Dino Argyropoulos, Ken Ludwig, and others.

But I must admit to a certain bias in the matter because this issue also contains my third contribution to the BSJ, “Freddy the Porcine Holmes.” It explores the connections between two of my childhood heroes, Freddy and the Pig and Sherlock Holmes. I’ve written about Freddy before on this blog, especially here and here and here.

Re-reading the 25 Freddy novels and his collected poems was my first retirement project in October 2017. I did so with pen and file cards in hand with the intention of finding all the Holmes references and writing an article for the BSJ. Mission accomplished!

And being published in the BSJ is an accomplishment indeed. The blurb on its website tells the simple truth: “The Baker Street Journal continues to be the leading Sherlockian publication since its founding in 1946 by Edgar W. Smith. With both serious scholarship and articles that ‘play the game,’ the Journal is essential reading for anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a world where it is always 1895.”

I began subscribing in the early 1970s while I was in college. Life intervened and my subscription went on a Great Hiatus for about four decades. I made up for that, though, by buying the e-BSJ, which makes all the issues up to 2011 available in on a searchable CD-ROM. It’s an invaluable research tool.

If you are a Sherlockian and you don’t subscribe to the BSJ, do it right now. Not only is it everything noted above, it’s what other Sherlockians are reading!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Missing Sherlock Holmes in Cairo

The Sherlock Holmes Pub, Cairo
Baker Street Beat was on a Great Hiatus last week because its author was out of town - in Egypt.

Nowhere does the Canon record that Sherlock Holmes ever visited that country, although he did stop by nearby Khartoum, Sudan, during his own Great Hiatus. Holmes also handled the case of the two Coptic Patriarchs (mentioned in "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"), and Copts are Egyptian.

More to the point, there is a Sherlock Holmes Pub at the Ramses Hilton in downtown Cairo. So where do you think we went almost immediately after reaching Cairo on Sunday, April 7?

No, guess again. We visited the Hanging Church, once seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope, and the nearby Church of the Holy Virgin.

No one has the time to do everything. The Sherlock Holmes Pub, with few Sherlockian connections beyond the name and a stained glass window, didn't seem as worthy of our time as two deeply historic churches in an ancient country. Looking back, I think we chose wisely (to echo a line in an Indiana Jones movie).

Speaking of Holmes and Egypt, I noticed recently that books in the long-running series of Amelia Peabody historical mysteries by the late Egyptologist  Barbara Mertz (AKA Elizabeth Peters) contain numerous references drawn from the world of Holmes.

In The Curse of the Pharaohs, for example, names of characters include Sir Henry Baskerville (but not the one in The Hound), Karl von Bork, and Charles Milverton.

Later, in The Lion in the Valley, a man identifies himself as Tobias Gregson, "well-known private investigator," and says he was involved in the matter of the Amateur Mendicant Society and the Camberwell poisoning case.

Perhaps there is a stronger connection yet to be uncovered. After all, Arthur Conan Doyle visited Egypt. Why not Sherlock Holmes?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Gathering of Sherlockian Friends



I’m still basking in the afterglow of last weekend’s Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Six conference in Dayton, sponsored by the Agra Treasurers. Maybe the emphasis should be on the Friends.

“Great speakers; great fellowship; great time,” said one evaluation by a participant.

The fellowship is a big part of any Sherlockian gathering as friends from various places, who in some cases have little else in common, come from around the country to reconnect in Baker Street.

Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Six attracted 62 attendees (a recent high) from the East Coast, the Midwest, the South, and Canada to hear eight A-list speakers Saturday on a wide variety of topics. Evaluations described the talks as phenomenal, excellent, high-quality, and fantastic.

Steve Doyle accurately described me as the ringmaster. It was my fun job to introduce:

Bob Katz, who offered a thoroughly plausible theory – supported by the Canonical text – that the young John H. (“Jack”) Watson was a drummer boy wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg;

Susan Bailey, who shared her research into the origins of the character Tonga from The Sign of the Four;

Ann Margaret Lewis, who not only discussed the motets of Lassus – upon which Sherlock Holmes wrote a monograph – but let us listen to beautiful examples;

Scott Monty, who (in bow tie) explored brand names in the Canon and humorously drew connections to some modern brands as well;

Shannon Neihart Castle, who described the workings of her Sherlockian-themed classroom (“it’s a bonny thing”);

Jeffrey Marks, who enlightened us about the work of Anthony Boucher on the Sherlock Holmes radio show with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce;

Vincent Wright, who took us around the world in 63,540 days by drawing hilarious connections among people, places, and dates that one wouldn’t ordinarily think of together;

Regina Stinson, who wrapped up the day with wonderful guided tour of “The Film Life of Sherlock Holmes,” from the first silent movie last less than a minute to the cringe-worthy Holmes & Watson.

What’s next for the Dayton conference, which started under another name in 1981? Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Seven! Planning is underway now for March 2020. You can expect another great lineup of speakers, and some reorganization of the room to accommodate more guests.

Stay tuned for details later! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

On the Case Again with Octavius Bear



My friend and fellow Cincinnatian, Harry DeMaio, is one of the most prolific writers I know, considering that nine books in his Casebooks of Octavius Bear series have been published since 2015, the tenth is coming in September, and the eleventh is in the works.

Book Nine is The Basket Case, in which a star ostrich basketball player is found dead in a New York City alley. A giraffe is suspected. The giraffe’s team coach calls on Octavius to investigate. No wonder Harry describes this as “Alternative Universe Mysteries for Adult Animal Lovers.”

And the hero is a bear with one paw in the world of Sherlock Holmes. I’ll let Harry explain:

“Octavius is a nine-foot-tall, 1400-pound Kodiak Bear/consulting detective/scientist/inventor/seeker of justice/mega-billionaire owner of Universal Ursine Industries/narcoleptic war hero/gourmet-gourmand/somewhat sedentary and grouchy just on general principles. He is a hybrid character somewhat loosely based on Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe with some characteristics of each but definitely his own bear.

“Octavius, among his many talents and accomplishments, is a brilliant, self-taught practitioner in the wide-ranging fields of biology, physics, ursinology, voodoo, teleology, chemistry, apiculture and oenology as well as a first rate electrical, electronic, structural, marine, aeronautical, mechanical and chemical engineer.  He has a few other interesting characteristics such as falling into brief, deep narcoleptic comas – side effects of his successful genetic experiments to eliminate the need for him to hibernate.”

Clearly, Octavius lives in a different universe than we do.

“Here’s the story: About 100,000 years ago, according to scientific experts, a colossal solar flare blasted out from our sun, creating gigantic magnetic storms here on Earth. These highly charged electrical tempests caused startling physical and psychological imbalances in the then-population of our world. The complete nervous systems of some species were totally destroyed.  For example, homo sapiens lost all mental and motor capabilities and rapidly became extinct. Less developed species exposed to the radiation were affected differently. 

“Four-footed and finned mammals, birds and reptiles suddenly found themselves capable of complex thought, enhanced emotions, self-awareness, social consciousness and the ability to communicate, sometimes orally, sometimes telepathically, often both. Both speech production and speech perception slowly progressed with the evolution of tongues, lips, vocal cords and enhanced ear to brain connections. Many species developed opposable digits, fingers or claws, further accelerating civilized progress.

“Alternate universes play an increasing level of importance in each succeeding book.”

That brings us back to The Basket Case.  

“Aside from being based entirely in one location, New York City, and dealing with basketball, Book Nine follows most of the same patterns established in its predecessors with four major exceptions,” Harry says. “Octavius, who was somewhat sedentary in the earlier books, is much more active and directly involved in managing the progress and outcome of the case. The cubs fall in love with Noo Yuck. As I mentioned earlier, alternate universes play an increasing part in the overall structure of these books. Ursula has now become a dominant character.”

Ursula would be the Artificial General Intelligence Unit that has been an integral player in all volumes after Book Six, The Attaché Case.

Other series regulars include:

Maury (Mauritius) Meerkat – sidekick, narrator, detective, and theatrical agent.

Inspector Bruce Wallaroo – Irrepressible but brilliant marsupial; an international law and order genius from Australia; often calls on Octavius and Maury for support.

Bearoness Belinda Béarnaise Bruin Bear (nee Black) – Now wife of Octavius; very rich widow of Bearon Byron Bruin living in Bearmoral Castle in the Shetlands; owner-pilot of the last flying Concorde SST; Gorgeous polar superstar, with the Aquashow, Some Like It Cold.

Arabella and McTavish – Belinda and Octavius’ cubs – mischievous, energetic furballs.

Frau Ilse Schuylkill – Swiss she-wolf; housekeeper-cook; jet pilot and sharpshooter with other very strange and arcane abilities.

The major villain is Imperius Drake, a mad duck with dreams of world (nay!  cosmic) conquest. Once a mild-mannered Mandarin Duck, he is now Moriarty with Wings.” A brilliant but loony anitidae who has developed a serum to make the animal kingdom his slaves, he seeks vengeance for ridicule by the scientific community and the death of his beloved Lee-Li-Li who swallowed all his serum in a vain attempt to stop his madness.

Next up in the series is The Camera Case, in which a movie is being shot at Polar Paradise. An ingenue falls from her suite to her death. Murder? Whodunnit?

Book Eleven, The Würst Case Scenario, will feature artificial food and murder. This series has leghs!  
The Basket Case  is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USAAmazon UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

Harry’s website is www.octaviusbearslair.com.



Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When Parody Meets Pastiche


The distinction between a pastiche and a parody can be more nebulous than you might think.

In his essay, “The Beginnings of Solar Pons,” August Derleth made it clear that he intended Pons as a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, “not  parody.” But Vincent Starrett, in praising the Pons stories, wrote that he found in them “a hint – just a mild flavor of burlesque.” He added that “it seems to me the best pastiches must have just that remote flavor of affectionate spoofing.”

Recently, I picked up a copy of Arsene Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes (also known as The Blonde Lady) at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York. Most crime fiction aficionados at least recognize the Lupin name as that of the famous thief of French fiction. In this episodic novel, which I have known about since I was a boy, Lupin does battle with a character that might fairly be called a burlesque of Sherlock Holmes. The story is serious, but Herlock Sholmes is not.

Even less serious is Sholmes’s sidekick, Wilson. When Sholmes calls Wilson a “triple imbecile,” he is only stating the obvious. Think Nigel Bruce, but not as smart.  

Lupin, on the other hand, is everything that the back cover of the Wildside Press edition of Arsene Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes proclaims him to be: “witty, charming, brilliant, sly . . . and possibly the greatest thief in the world.”

And still, the best he can do against “Herlock Sholmes” is a draw. To that degree, Sholmes is like the character of which he is a parody. His one book-length appearance is worth reading.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

10 Rules for Writing a Sherlockian Pastiche

The guy on the left never called the one on the right "Sherlock" 

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, in the one-volume Doubleday edition, runs 1122 pages. That is a lot, but not nearly enough. So, hundreds of writers have related thousands of Holmes adventures that Dr. Watson (per Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) never got around to. I myself stand guilty of this, in both short story and novel format.

Some parodies and pastiches are quite good. Others are painful to read, at least for me. As a public service, I have recommended LeahGuinn’s fine monograph on how to write a Holmes story in the style of the original. Now I call your attention to Derrick Belanger’s “10 Rules for Writinga Sherlockian Pastiche.”

This excellent decalogue was written for young people engaged in the training that goes with being a member of the Junior SherlockianSociety. But any adult writer could benefit from it as well. Take for example, rule number three:
You need to read the original Sherlock Holmes stories. You can’t write a pastiche if you don’t know who you are imitating. Pay attention to how Doyle introduces Holmes, how the mystery begins, how his characters interact. Note that Watson calls Sherlock Holmes by his last name, “Holmes” not “Sherlock.” The closer you are to Doyle, the better. 
Obvious, you say? Then why do so many pastiches show no evidence that the author has ever actually read the Canon?

Belanger assumes that the budding author is writing a mystery. Though that’s not actually a necessity, since some of the Canonical Holmes stories are detective stories without being mysteries, I think it’s a more-than-reasonable assumption. And, as a mystery writer myself, I like  his advice in rule eight: 
Know your ending. You have created a client who has brought Holmes a mystery to solve. You have to have Holmes solve the mystery to bring your story to a conclusion, and the ending must be believable. I find that authors who don’t know the ending to their story in advance tend to get lost in the plot and often abandon their story. My advice is to know your ending before you write your story. If you know how the story will end, then you can set up the clues along the way to help you reach your conclusion and make it satisfying to your readers. 
Read all ten rules. And if you are a pastiche writer, please follow them!  

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Profile: Scott Monty



You may be used to hearing Scott Monty and his podcast sidekick, Burt Wolder, interviewing other Sherlockians. Today we turn the tables and interview Scott, who will be one of eight fantastic speakers at the Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Six conference in Dayon, March 29-30.

To hoist you by your own petard, I’ll start with the question you ask every guest on your twice-monthly podcast, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: When and how did you first encounter Mr. Sherlock Holmes?

Ha! I see what you did there. I talked about this with Burt on Episode 122 (https://ihose.co/ihose122). I was in high school and was doing a research paper about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Because our small-town library didn’t have sources that could adequately inform my paper, I pled my case to my teacher, who let me know that she just saw a Sherlock Holmes expert on PM Magazine on Channel 3 in Hartford. She encouraged me to seek out and document a primary source for my paper, so I called Channel 3 and got the phone number for one Harold “Tyke” Niver, BSI.

He answered the phone, “Baskerville Hall!” and I knew I was in business. Tyke spent an hour with me, describing how Sherlock Holmes became an inextricable icon in popular culture, and what Conan Doyle thought of it all. I had more than enough for a paper, and even better: I discovered enough to make me want to learn more about these “Sherlockians.”

How did you become involved in the Sherlockian community?

It was an immediate byproduct of the call with Tyke. He ran The Men on the Tor, and they met twice a year at Gillette Castle. At the conclusion of the call, Tyke invited me down for their next meeting. I was still 15 years old, so my father had to drive me.

When I entered the Great Hall, I was warmly welcomed by everyone, and I discovered that this group was made up of a cross-section of society: judges, professors, musicians, industrialists, homemakers, writers, and more — all with a common interest. I knew that I had found my people. And ever since then, Tyke and his wife Teddie — both BSIs — have been like my Sherlockian godparents.

I’ve always known a few Sherlockians, but no scion until I was almost 30. What has it meant to you to be part of a Sherlockian community in your more formative years?

There’s really something to be said for joining a group and having someone take you under their wing. That’s what Tyke did for me, and later Dan Posnansky of the Speckled Band. I didn’t ask them to guide me, but they must have seen something in me to want to introduce me to the right people, tell me about the right books and resources, and encourage me to attend the right events.

They really have been like a specialized set of parents for me. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed corresponding with them and seeing them at annual events when possible. And that has added to the feeling that a handful of Sherlockian events seem like family reunions.

You seem to be particularly fascinated with the earlier generation of Sherlockians – Morley, Starrett, Smith, and their contemporaries. Why is that? 

These men are legends in our field. It can be a little difficult for outsiders to appreciate, but the names above are like the Founding Fathers of the Sherlockian movement. They gave it life, they wrote incessantly, and they provided the structure to keep it alive. Not only were they visionaries and passionate, but their writing was exquisite — something we don’t see these days. Oh, we certainly see writing, but Edgar Smith’s prose in particular was beautiful and masterful. Morley’s letters were whimsical and educational. Starrett’s books and columns were insightful and delightful.

What did it feel like to walk in their shoes when you became a member of the Baker Street Irregulars?

It was kind of a shock. And it still is, to be honest. I feel like I’m always standing on the shoulders of giants — of these greats that have come before us. I remind myself that we’re stewards of this august organization — or perhaps organism, as it’s a living thing — and that we should always try to honor their memory, but keep the group moving forward in a respectful yet relevant way.

When was that?
I received my investiture (“Corporal Henry Wood”) in 2001.

Tell me about your involvement with The Baker Street Journal.

Shortly after I was invested, Mike Whelan asked if I'd consider taking over as Business Manager of the BSJ. After doing a bit of research, I accepted and developed a 10-point plan for the Journal. These included, among other things establishing the first web presence for the BSJ at bakerstreetjournal.com, selling the BSJ CD-ROM (now the eBSJ), and initiating an online ordering process for all BSI Press items with PayPal. I stepped down from the role in 2008, but I remain proud of the strong start I gave to the BSI online.

When did you and Burt Wolder launch I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere as the first podcast devoted to Holmes and his world? And how did that come about?

It all started with the Baker Street Blog in August 2005. I was the business manager of the BSJ at the time, and I thought the public deserved more regular and timely updates rather than waiting for a communication every quarter.  (I still do. 😉) I was working for an advertising and marketing agency at the time, and professionally, I was exploring the possibilities of social media. So, the Baker Street Blog became a living laboratory for me.

In early 2007, I decided that a podcast would be a fine complement to the site. After all, Sherlockians were no strangers to audio programming, as the Sherlock Holmes radio shows from the 1940s to the 1990s attested. And like Holmes and Watson, I knew that such an undertaking would be better with a partner. So, I approached Burt, a fellow marketing and communications professional, and we brainstormed about a concept and name. Thus, I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere was born. The show frequency, format, and features have changed a bit over the years, but in the last three years, we’ve settled into a good cadence.

In 2013, we integrated the two sites and run everything from there now.

What’s your favorite part of doing the show and the shorter podcast, Trifles?  

My favorite part about doing both of them overall is that I get to interact with Burt. He’s a great Sherlockian and our friendship has grown since we started the shows. His knowledge never ceases to amaze me, and he’s got a wonderful sense of humor that keeps the show light — I think we work well together.

My favorite part of doing IHOSE is talking with our wonderful guests. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed the shows in which Burt and I discussed topics (which is really part of why Trifles was born) — but expanding our universe and learning from the great fun other people are having with Sherlock Holmes is a highlight.

How many bow ties do you own?

You know, I haven’t counted recently. I’m going to estimate and say something like 75 or 80. I also own about 400 neckties. And yes, I know. I have a problem.

You are speaking at Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Six in Dayton on March 30. In 25 words or less, what’s your theme (as of today)?   

It’s about Sherlock Holmes and advertising; specifically, brand names in the Canon (and brands that should have been in the Canon).