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Baker Street Essays 3

Baker Street Essays 3

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Published by Scott Monty
An occasional publication by Mr. Bob Byrne of http://www.SolarPons.com
An occasional publication by Mr. Bob Byrne of http://www.SolarPons.com

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Published by: Scott Monty on Apr 10, 2010
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Lured Away
Nathan Garrideb joins Jabez Wilson ( 
The Red Headed League 
 ) and Pycroft Hall ( 
The Stockbroker’s Clerk
 ) as Holmesclients who are lured away from their normal haunts sothat a criminal can put hisplans to work. Similar to John Clay’s case with Jabez Wilson, the villain needs ac-cess to Garrideb’s place fornefarious purposes. Garridebcan perhaps be excused, ashe is a rather secluded oldman and likely more suscep-tible to fraud. Also, Holmesseemed to assure him thatthings were on the up and up when he agreed that Gar-rideb should travel, alone, toBirmingham. How could theman know that Holmes wasarranging a stake-out?One does have to wonder,however, about the $5 mil-lion that Killer Evans wasgoing to give to Nathan Gar-rideb in exchange for theman’s one-third share of theKansas estate. If this hadbeen a legitimate deal, wasEvans going to convert hisone-third share to cash andexchange it for Garrideb’sone-third ownership share? Would Evans have viewedthis deal as the price for get-ting Garrideb’s participation?It’s not like Evans had aspare $5 million on hand.Nathan Garrideb shouldhave been a little more suspi-cious about this trade.
Slow on the Draw 
Holmes and Watson havetheir guns drawn and aimedat Killer Evans as he stickshis head up through the en-trance to the cellar. HowardElcock did a nice job of illus-trating this scene for
The Strand 
and it is consistent with Watson’s narrative.So how in the heck did Ev-ans manage to draw a gun(having to move his handseither into his coat or out of sight below the level of thefloor to do so) and get off two shots, well-enoughaimed to wound Watson, without Holmes or Watsonmanaging to return fire? Thetwo men seem inexcusably lax in this instance. Holmesalso moved close enough tostrike Evans in the head withthe butt of the detective’spistol. It is surprising thatEvans didn’t get off anothershot at Holmes, this one atpoint blank range. WithHolmes incapacitated, hecould have taken what hecame for and escaped. Why didn’t Holmes shoot Evansafter being fired upon?
 A Lion in Winter?
Killer Evans’ real name was James Winter. Could he havebeen the husband, or possi-bly brother, of that hellcatfrom
The Illustrious Client 
,Kitty Winter?
Volume II, Issue I
Some Thoughts Regarding
The Three Garridebs 
Spring, 2010
Special points of interest:
Starrett collects some essays
Spade, Chandler, Holmes?
Those wily women
Lighten up, Sherlock
Moriarty’s side of the story
   B  a   k  e  r   S  t  r  e  e  t   E  s  s  a  y  s
   T   H   E    C   A   N   O   N    E   X   A   M   I   N   E   D 
The Three Garridebs 1The Missing Three Quarter 3Thor Bridge 8The Three Gables 9Lady Frances Carfax 10The Mazarin Stone 11The Veiled Lodger 15
The Cases
 The very first article in
Baker Street Essays 
was a glowing re- view of  The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, by VincentStarrett.It is one of (and in my opinion,the best of ) the books in OttoPenzler’s Sherlock Holmes Li-brary, a reissue of nine previ-ously hard to find classics froman earlier age of Sherlockiana, This series included a second volume by Starrett,
221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes,
a collection was originally published in 1940.Unlike
Private Life 
, which con-sisted entirely of original com-positions, Starrett served as edi-tor of this collection of Sher-lockiana, contributing only onepiece; a pastiche entitled
The  Adventure of the Unique Hamlet.
contains twelve essays,three pastiches and a crosswordpuzzle. It starts off with
The Field Bazaar 
, a scene written by Doyle for the Edinburgh Uni- versity newspaper. It consists of an episode in which Holmesseemingly reads Watson’s mind,then explains how he did it. Inthose pre-internet days, it’shighly unlikely this small pieceof Holmes fiction was widely available.
Was Sherlock Holmes an American? 
,BSI founder Christopher Mor-ley’s heretical supposition thatthe world’s first consulting de-tective was really born on the western side of the Atlanticocean, follows.R.K. Leavitt’s
 Nummi in Arca 
 looks at Holmes’ fiscal situationover the years and is an interest-ing topic. Elmer Davis and JaneNightwork each contribute arti-cles about the role of matrimony in Dr. Watson’s life.P.M. Stone relates a reporter’s visit to an aging Holmes in
Sus- sex Interview 
. I enjoyed this littlepiece quite a bit.Starrett’s
The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet 
is frequently listednear the top of pastiche rank-ings, which I have never under-stood . Near the end of the story (which I don’t wish to giveaway) Holmes explains to the villain how the trail he took be-tween the two houses gave himaway. Unless I’m missing some-thing, this leaves a hole that youcould drive a truck through andquashes the redeeming qualitiesof the tale. I can’t imagine how this is considered one of thebest non-Doyle Holmes adven-tures.
Sherlock Holmes in Pictures 
is a very nice reminiscence by thegreat Frederic Dorr Steele him-self and worthy of inclusion inmore collections. Dorr Steelecomes across as very personable.Edgar Smith’s
 Appointment in Baker Street 
is an early dramatispersonae from the Canon. Re-member; this was long beforeHolmes encyclopedias by Or-lando Park, Jack Tracy and Mat-thew Bunsen. At 101 pages, it isalso far and away the longestpiece of the book. A few more pieces round outthe collection. On the whole,there are some good reads in
221B: Studies in Sherlock
, but it isa mixed bag and not on thesame level as Starrett’s
Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
Of course,that’s akin to saying HarrisonFord is no Humphrey Bogart in
. Who could be?
Speaking of...
Gasogene Books has brought usa 75th anniversary edition of 
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes 
.Gasogene, of course, is the pub-lisher of Leslie Klinger’s Sher-lock Holmes Reference Library  volumes. Naturally, this kind of high quality stuff is what you cannaturally expect from good Mid- western folks. This edition brings a new intro-duction and commentary on thebook. A special treat is a videoon the website that lets you hear Vincent Starrett himself recitehis poem, 221B (with some nice video behind it). If you are any kind of Sherlockian (and you wouldn’t be reading this e-newsletter if you weren’t), click onthis link and listen to a legendin the field.
221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes(Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Library)
Holmes is oftenarrogant andcondescending (seeabout any story in theCanon), but this is amore enjoyable side ofhis personality.
Holmes’ Humor
The Missing Three-Quarter 
pro- vides a wonderful look atHolmes’ sense of humor. God-frey Staunton is missing and hiscaptain and teammate, CyrilOverton, has asked Holmes tofind him. Staunton’s uncle isLord Mount-James, one of therichest men in England and adisagreeable old miser. Mount- James shows up at Staunton’shotel room as Holmes is going through the missing man’s pa-pers.Mount-James asks who will pay for Holmes’ expenses if hisnephew is not found. WhenOverton suggests that his family (which is Mount-James) would,Mount-James explodes, as Wat-son reports:
“’Nothing of the sort, sir!’ screamed the little man. ‘Don’t look to me for a penny – not a  penny! You understand that, Mr. Detective! I am all the  family that this young man has  got, and I tell you that I am not responsible. If he has any expec- tations, it is due to the fact that I have never wasted money, and I do not propose to begin to doso now.’” 
 When Holmes asks if Mount- James has any theory, the con-tinually more disagreeable manfinishes with “..and if he is sofoolish as to lose himself I en-tirely refuse to accept the re-sponsibility of hunting for him.” There is nothing to like aboutMount-James. Sidney Paget cer-tainly draws him as a particularly unattractive man, and Watsondepicts him as one on the inside.Holmes decides to tweak theunpleasant man. Holmes tellsMount-James that Staunton may have been kidnapped so that the villains could gain informationthat would allow them to robthe old man. Mount-Jamesnearly goes into shock and com-pliments his nephew, urging Holmes to find him, even offer-ing to pay as much as “a tenner”to help out.Holmes doesn’t really believethis to be true, but he said it to“interest that exceedingly un-pleasant old person.” Holmes isin rare form! He wanted to quietdown Mount-James and givehim a poke in the ribs for hisattitude regarding his missing nephew (who is also heir).Holmes is often arrogant andcondescending (see about any story in the Canon), but this is amore enjoyable side of his per-sonality.
 Pompey, apparently a beagle-foxhound mix, leads Holmesand Watson right to Staunton’scottage. This is an impressivefeat for the “eminent specialistin the work” that Holmes sethim to. Even the esteemed Toby did not have as successful a huntas Pompey. But one has to won-der, where in the heck did thisdog come from? Holmes, inLondon, sent to an animalkeeper for Toby in
The Sign of Four.
No stretch of imaginationneeded there.In this instance, they are in asmall, rural village. SincePompey is part foxhound, it ispossible that a hunting hound would be available for use. But itis surely convenient that Holmesfinds a top quality tracking dog in the middle of nowhere, just when he needs one.
How Did They Keep it aSecret?
Dr. Armstrong tells Holmes thatif Lord Mount-James discoveredGodfrey Staunton’s secret mar-riage, the old man would cer-tainly cut his nephew out of his will. Of course, the marriage isnow over with his wife’s death,but what is the cover story going to be regarding Staunton’s disap-pearance? Lord Mount-Jamesdoesn’t seem to be the type tooverlook Staunton’s marriagejust because his wife died.Surely some plausible reason hasto be found for the star three-quarter missing the big match. What will Overton tell his team-mates and what will Holmes and Armstrong tell Mount-James?Since it’s conceivable that Wat-son would be present withHolmes when Mount-Jamesdemanded to know what hadhappened (if for no other reasonthan to assure himself no gang of thieves was planning on rob-bing him), why didn’t Watsoncomment on this final aspect of the case?
Some Thoughts Regarding
The Missing Three Quarter

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