A nice feature of many Wikipedia entries is “Cultural References” or “In Popular Culture,” citing movies, literature, games, music, etc. with some connection to the topic at hand. There is no such section in the entry on Sherlock Holmes, however – possibly because that would require the equivalent of a library to do the concept justice.
References to Holmes are all around us. I had an experience of that last weekend listening to an audiobook of Rumpole’s Last Case, a series of seven John Mortimer short stories about self-proclaimed Old Bailey hack Horace Rumpole. It contains two Sherlockian Easter eggs in two stories. Other than the fact that Holmes and Rumpole are both brilliant and unforgettable characters, they have little else in common, so I wasn’t expecting that. But there it was.
One of the characters in “Rumpole and the Blind Tasting” is a wine merchant whose name I thought was “Vamberry.” This immediately brought to mind “the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant,” which Holmes mentions in “The Musgrave Ritual” as being before Watson’s time. I secured a copy of the book in paper and found out that Rumpole’s wine merchant was actually called “Vanberry.” But can there be any doubt about the source of Mortimer’s inspiration?
In the opening passage of “Rumpole and the Old, Old Story,” Rumpole notes that “from time to time there is a bit of an East wind blowing around our homestead in Froxbury Court.” For any true Sherlockian, this cannot fail to recall my favorite Holmes-Watson exchange in the entire Canon, which begins: “There’s an East windblowing Watson.”
Truly, we hear of Sherlock everywhere!
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