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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

With Starrett in Chicago

Last week we went to Graceland—not the Elvis mansion, but the cemetery in Chicago where Sherlockian giant Vincent Starrett is buried.

The monument marking his grave was erected in1986, paid for out of love by his friends (many of whom never knew him in life.) Ray Betzner tells the story on his Studies in Starrett blog.

We were in Chicago from Wednesday through Saturday attend meetings of the Torists International and of the Hounds of the Baskerville (sic). Starrett, a co-founder of the Hounds, always considered it the Chicago chapter of the Baker Street Irregulars.

As editor of the Baker Street Journal, I made a few comments at the 80th annual Hounds dinner about the connections between Chicago and the BSJ. The Journal was born in New York in the mind of Edgar W. Smith. But from the  inaugural issue of the Old Series in January 1946, it has always had strong connections to Chicago and to the Hounds. Starrett and Hounds member Jay Finley Christ contributed to Volume 1, Number 1 of that “Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana.” Its publisher was legendary Chicago and New York bookman Ben Abramson, also a Hound. And a note on page 96 seemed apologetic that “Commentary from The Hounds of the Baskerville of Chicago had not been received at the time of going to press.”

It was good for Ann and me to spend time in Chicago with our Sherlockian friends—living and dead.

As Ray notes, one of the other famous people buried at Graceland is the legendary detective Alan Pinkerton, who—although already in that grave—kind of hangs over The Valley of Fear.

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