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From the casebook of Sherlock Holmes......

We had a great meeting on Monday to discuss Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. If you weren’t there, you missed Jeff’s raising of the bar. Not only did he lead the discussion, he did it dressed as Sherlock Holmes, complete with pipe, magnifying glass and deerstalker hat (photo will be on the wiki sight when Jeff posts the meeting notes).

JeffAsSherlockHolmes

Since Jeff is our webmaster, he couldn’t help but also present a slideshow from his ipad. He showed us some photos of Doyle, many of the original illustrations that were printed with his early books/stories, and a timeline of what was going on in the world when the books were published. It was well done and very interesting.

Kim went all out and brought a variety of scones, in keeping with the British theme. We had a quiz question: What was Dr. John Watson’s middle initial? Apparently it was very hard and Jose was closest and won a copy of The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, which even tells you how to survive plunging down a waterfall. So that should come in handy for Jose when he’s out and about. By the way, the answer was H. We’re not sure what it stands for, but that’s Watson’s middle initial. There is a theory that it stands for Hamish, but it’s unsubstantiated.

Most of us were in agreement that we really liked the first part of the book, the part that introduced Holmes & Watson and even explained how they met. But we were less than impressed with the second part that jumped continents and took place in and around Utah, with a concentration on the Mormon religion. We understood that it was backstory to the murder that took place in part one, but not very enjoyable backstory. Still, the ratings were all very good, with many in the 8-10 range. I think Conan Doyle is a favorite among mystery fans and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to give him too low a score. How can you give a low score to a man who can tell your cigar by the type of ash it produces? We may even put him on our list to read again, but will make sure to choose one that stays close to London the whole time.

Of course we discussed all of the movies and shows that have been based on Sherlock and all of the actors who have played him. Many of us liked the Jude Law and Downey Jr. movies, not because they’re specifically close to the books, but because they’re fun to watch. We had a few different opinions as to whether Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone played the character best. The Douglas County Library has several DVDs available with many actors in the role. Kryss also found an article talking about a new series coming out that has Lucy Liu playing Watson, yes, a WOMAN. It’s called “Elementary” and here’s the link: http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=707448#scptih

Jeff’s research also uncovered a lot of interesting things about the author, for example Doyle was friends with Houdini. Apparently they eventually had a falling out because Doyle insisted that Houdini had some sort of power, whether psychic or otherwise. Houdini kept telling him they were all illusions, but Doyle didn’t want to believe that. I think Jeff said that Doyle wrote a bookabout Houdini, and if you look on Amazon, there are also a couple written by others that talk about their strange friendship. I didn’t just make that up, both use the words “strange friendship” in the title.

One additional note, the library has a conflict for our June, July, and August meetings. We decided as a group that we would hold the meetings offsite. Dave and Kim have offered their homes and we will do the 3rd at Starbucks on Yosemite. I will give more information on that as the dates get closer, but our meeting dates and times will not change, which is why we decided on the offsite plan.

We will meet next on March 26th to discuss The Brass Verdictby Michael Connelly. Jose will lead and Lorraine will provide snacks. There is one copy left at the library if you need one and we will be sure to read fast and return for the rest of the members who still need one. You know the drill, email when you’re done and give your copy to a librarian to put on our shelf.

See you in the Spring,

Kerry

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