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!