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I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere

Episode 143: The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street

Burt: Support for this episode of 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere' is made
possible by the Wessex Press. The premiere publisher of books about
Sherlock Holmes and his world. Find them online at
WessexPress.com. And the Baker Street Journal, the leading
publication of Sherlockian Scholarship since 1946. Subscribe today at
BakerStreetJournal.com.

Scott: 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere', Episode 142, 'The Criminal


Mastermind of Baker Street'.

Media: 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere' since you became his chronicler.

Media: In a world where it's always 1895, comes 'I Hear of Sherlock
Everywhere'. A podcast for devotees of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. The
world’s first unofficial consulting detective.

Media: I've heard of you before. You're Holmes, the meddler. Holmes, the
busybody. Holmes, the Scotland Yard Jacket Office.

Media: The games afoot, as we discuss the goings on in the world of Sherlock
Holmes enthusiasts, the bigger, straighter regulars, and popular
culture related to the great detective.

Media: As we go to press, sensational developments have been reported.


Media: So join your hosts, Scott Monty and Burt Wolder, as they talk about
what's new in the world of Sherlock Holmes.

Media: You couldn't have come at a better time.

Scott: And, hello once again. Welcome to 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere',
the first podcast for Sherlock Holmes devotees where it's always
1895. I'm Scott Monty.

Burt: You are indeed Scott Monty and I'm Burt Wolder.

Scott: And I have to tell you, Burt, April is an exciting month for a lot of
reasons. There are Sherlockian Society meetings, Spring, rumor has it
as somewhere around the next five corners, there are birthdays, I
think you have a birthday coming up, if I'm not mistaken.

Burt: You have a birthday coming up.

Scott: I do?

Burt: You do.

Scott: Oh, shhh. Don't tell anyone.

Burt: Dang.

Scott: And it's just an exciting time, you know? The light is here, once again,
thanks to daylight saving time. Albeit at different parts of the clock
now. But it's, I don't know. Spring has that kind of effect on me.

Scott: Well, and down through the ages, it's coded into our DNA. It's why
our ancestors, those happy medieval people over there, in the
ancient Anglo Saxon kingdom of Wessex still have their pagan rituals
and there's a link there too, isn't there? Between Easter and Ēostre?
What was her name? The old pagan goddess of something or other?

Burt: So, yes. It's the rebirth it's the time where you start to begin to look
forward to the idea of growth and the harvest. And when some of us
sit around looking at the return of the bills from the people who cut
the lawns and wonder why it's so high and where all the clippings are
going? Why the aspidistra doesn't look healthier and who trimmed
the arborvitae so badly on one side? And what those kids are doing
on the lawn?

Scott: Oh, those kids. I know. I thought of the name, it is associated with
Easter and it's the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. That must be it.

Burt: Big pointy teeth.

Scott: Yes. And the holy hand grenade.

Media: Oh Lord, bless this Thy hand grenade. But with it Thou mayest blow
Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thine mercy.

Scott: Well, we do want to get to our friends at Wessex Press just shortly,
but before we do just a reminder, you can reach out to us on
IHearSherlock.com, that's our website, the show notes for this
episode are available at ihose.co/ihose142, ihose.co/ihose142, all
lowercase. You can email us, you can tweet us, you can hit us up on
Facebook, on Instagram, it's all available in the contacts center there
on the show notes. The other thing that we want you to remember,
is that if you can help us get to a certain level via Patreon or Paypal,
we would like to start providing transcripts of these shows and we're
very close, we're very close to doing that. So, if you have it in your
heart to support the show on any kind of regular basis or irregular
basis, Patreon or Paypal, both of those work. Check out the orange
button or the Donate Now button on our website. It would really
help us out.

Scott: And now, we'd like you to help out our friends at Wessex Press.

Burt: It's an April of celebration in the ancient Anglo Saxon Kingdom of


Wessex. When we mark Hocktide, rejoicing in the death of [inaudible
00:05:34] and the accession of Edward the Confessor in 1042. It
seems like only yesterday. Like us, you appreciate the past. You still
hunger for the details behind Jeremy Brett's famous Sherlock
Holmes' television series from the 1980s. That's why you are
captivated by a rare recording of creator and producer Michael Cox,
telling the inside story of these remarkable shows. This study in
celluloid audio CD is available right now from our WessexPress.com.

Burt: Clocks fuss along, the lackeys of a spring, slaves of escapement, they
chime but never sing. Step out of time for a while, by reaching for the
pleasure only a volume from the Wessex Press can provide. Choose
yours today.

Scott: So, pagan rituals galore. I mean, this is the time.

Burt: Yeah.

Scott: We used to have a collection of stones that were laid in a certain way
that formed a fountain out in front of the College of Communication
at Boston University. And we used to call it Stonehenge Prime. The
first derivative of Stonehenge. Oh, it's fun.

Burt: Did it have some wonderful mechanical significance? There's also a


wonderful day in New York, maybe it happens more than once a
year, but there's a lovely day when the sun is setting and through
one of the big avenues, it may be 57th Street, you can see all the way
from the East River over to the Hudson as the sun sets.

Scott: Yeah, or the morning on a certain time when the sun just shines
straight up 6th Avenue. No, the statue at Boston University did not
have any kind of significance like that. Although, I will say that there
were certain evenings as finals were approaching and we were
pulling all-nighters studying for our test, we would head down to the
fountain with the 'Mission Impossible' theme song playing on our
mini-tape recorders and we would dump a whole bottle of Tide
laundry solution and it would foam over by the next morning.

Burt: Well now the campus police knows where to find you.

Scott: Well that's a statute of limitations. This was before the days kids ate
Tide Pods, we actually poured laundry solution into water. You kids
these days, and your fancy Tide Pods.

Scott: [crosstalk 00:08:16].


Burt: Crazy.

Scott: Well, speaking of kids today. He's not exactly a kid but he's a little
younger than us. We want to talk to our guest, Rob Nunn. Rob is the
author of 'The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street', and he shares
some really interesting though elementary thoughts, no, there
nothing like elementary, but he shares his thoughts at the
Sherlockian blog 'Interesting, Though Elementary'.

Scott: And he lives in Edwardsville, Illinois with his wife and daughter,
where he teaches the fifth grade. And every November Rob actually
makes it a point in his classroom to teach his students all about
Sherlock Holmes. You're going to hear that his first engagements
with Sherlock Holmes came at a rather young age, but as Rob has
eased himself into the Sherlockian world, he has taken on a lot of
activity. He has written for 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere', he is the
head of a Sherlockian Society in St. Louis. He's even involved with The
Beacon Society. We can't even do this justice, so we're going to let
Rob tell the complete story.

Scott: Rob, welcome to the show.

Rob: Thanks for having me. It's been, I'd say a lifelong dream, but let's go
with ten-year dream, to be on the show.

Scott: You've had a short and disappointing life, if that's been your lifelong
dream, I hate to tell you. [crosstalk 00:09:43]

Scott: Well, it's a pleasure to have you on, and like we do with all of our
guests, let's start at the very beginning of your Sherlockian journey,
and how about you tell us about your first meeting with Sherlock
Holmes.

Rob: My first meeting with Sherlock Holmes probably came back from
'Sesame Street' with good old Sherlock Hemlock and the greatest
Sherlock Holmes movie of all time, 'The Great Mouse Detective' back
in the '80s. He was just a constant figure, you knew when you saw
the magnifying glass and the deerstalker that you're dealing with The
Detective. And in fact, I don't know why or how it ended up that way
but Michael Harrison's book, 'The Revenge of the Hound' was in a
Scholastic book order, and I'm almost certain that was my first
Sherlock Holmes book. A few years ago I actually found it in my
Mom's basement, which was nice to come across. But I kind of
drifted away-[crosstalk 00:10:46].

Scott: Michael Harris or the book?

Rob: Oh, no. The book. I don't think he would have lasted very long down
there. Lots of empty boxes and used weight benches.

Rob: But then I got the complete canon for Christmas in 2003 and just tore
through it and that was right around the time that the RoBurt
Downey Jr. movies came out, I think. And I've been an avid reader of
Sherlock Homes ever since.

Scott: Wow. Well, first of all, I think it's wonderful that these childhood
influences were there. Sherlock, Hemlock and the Great Mouse
Detective. And interestingly enough, just this evening, I came across
a picture of Elizabeth Tower, which of course everyone knows as Big
Ben, it's undergoing some extensive renovations recently. Cleaning it
and what-not. And both of the hands have been taken off the face off
of the clock, and I thought, “Wow, 'The Great Mouse Detective' has
actually come true.”

Rob: Yeah, I wonder if Rattigan's cape is still stuck to the corner of that
one hand?

Scott: That's why they had to clean it, I guess.

Rob: There you go.

Burt: So, in addition to seeing the picture did you actually read 'Basil of
Baker Street'?

Rob: I came back to it probably about five years ago, when I really started
getting into a lot of that stuff outside of the canon, I realized it was
based off books, and since then I've read the books, but not when I
was a kid.
Scott: So, when did your run-in with Sherlockians first happen? You've
kinda backed your way into the stories, coming from the children's
influences, and then of course a pastiche with Michael Harrison,
eventually working your way to the canon. How did you run into
these interesting people that we know?

Rob: Well, coincidentally enough I wrote an article about this for 'I Hear of
Sherlock' back in 2015, the month after my first [inaudible 00:12:55],
I came out and said, “Hey, would you tolerate me writing an article?”
And you guys were kind enough to let me do that. But in the Fall of
2015 I had been connecting with Sherlockians through Twitter quite
a bit, and I'd finally decided, “Okay, I'm going to come out of my shell
a little bit, and go out and meet some people in real life.” And drove
about an hour to St. Charles, Missouri to meet with Harpooners of
the Sea Unicorn scion society over there, and it was a great meeting,
and ever since then if I go about six or eight weeks I start to feel a
little antsy. I gotta find a meeting or a fix somewhere.

Scott: I like that. That's not a bad addiction to have.

Rob: No, it's much better than other things I could be addicted to.
Although, it's not necessarily cheaper than some addictions.

Scott: Well, that's true. Depending on which area you want to pursue in the
Sherlockian world. So, Evansville, Illinois. Tell us about that. Are there
Sherlockian societies anywhere closer than an hour's drive to you?

Rob: No. So, Edwardsville is where I live now. We are about 20 minutes
from St. Louis and that is where all the major Sherlockian activity is.
Although there is a handful of Sherlockians I've met that live over in
Illinois, we kind of congregate in St. Louis for a central meeting spot.
St. Louis actually has four active scion societies there.

Scott: Really?

Rob: Yeah. There's the Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn which are in St.
Charles Missouri, which is one of the suburbs just outside of St. Louis.
There is a small group, Jefferson Hopes, who meet in people's
houses, and there is I want to say, about six to eight people in that
group. There is The Noble Bachelors of St. Louis that have an annual
dinner every year, usually at [Horse Race 00:14:53] over the summer.
And then my main scion is The Parallel Case of St. Louis that I am the
head of, and we meet every other month at one of the library
branches in St. Louis. So, there's plenty of us here.

Scott: Wow. And where does the name come from? The Parallel Case of St.
Louis?

Rob: That came from 'A Study in Scarlet', where Holmes was talking about
a parallel case in St. Louis and [Ariga 00:15:19].

Scott: Right. Well, that's very clever. I've never heard that name before,
that scion society.

Rob: Yeah, it's been around, I think this year might actually be our 30th
anniversary.

Burt: Wow.

Scott: Oh, wow. So that's-

Rob: And some of the original members are still trekking to our meetings
on a regular basis.

Burt: Is that the group that Joe Eckrich founded?

Rob: Yep, that is Joe's group and he is still right there in the mix of it but
he didn't want to be in charge of running the discussions so as soon
as he knew he could sucker me into it he passed it off as quick as he
could.

Scott: That's a smart guy, right there.

Rob: Joe is a smart guy, I'll give him credit for that.

Scott: Now at one point, it was early on in my own Sherlockian journey, I


wanna say the late '80s, early '90s, I had a short correspondence with
the then editor of The Baker Street Journal, one Mr. Phillip Shreffler,
who lived down in St. Louis.
Rob: Oh yeah. From St. Louis.

Scott: Is his name still bandied about?

Rob: He still comes up. He is a pillar of Sherlockian Society but he's not in
the St. Louis area anymore.

Scott: I see, he's up in Connecticut now, so. I seem to remember either the
Jefferson Hopes or the Noble Bachelors maybe associated with him.

Burt: Yeah, that's Phillip's investiture, Jefferson Hope.

Scott: Well, that makes total sense then.

Rob: Well, there you go.

Scott: So, tell us a little bit, this is fascinating, there are four scions in St.
Louis. Almost as many as there are good BBQ restaurants in St. Louis,
it seems.

Rob: Oh, I think St. Louis could do more than four.

Scott: Well, yeah, yeah.

Rob: We've got some good BBQ here.

Scott: I agree. It's just, there's a proliferation of Sherlockian societies there,


so how do each of these discern themselves from one another? How
do you see them as being different?

Rob: So the Noble Bachelors, they just meet once a year, and they have
one big event a year. It's not a story discussion group, it's just getting
all the Sherlockians in the area together, and they usually have a
canonical speaker. The speaker doesn't necessarily get up and speak
on a story, but they speak about things related to it.

Rob: In the past couple of years, they have had somebody get up and talk
about Victorian medical practices, last year was a talk about Jack the
Ripper, this year because St. Louis has just dedicated a Sherlockian
research collection, the Noble Bachelor speaker was about curating a
collection on research items. So that's the Noble Bachelors. And like I
said, the Jefferson Hopes is a smaller, more intimate group, they are
still very friendly to everybody, it's just they prefer to meet at
people's houses.

Rob: The Parallel Case of St. Louis, we are kind of the St. Louis group, we
meet every other month as a discussion group on the story of the
month. And the Harpooners are just further west, for people that
don't want to drive into the city, and they meet every month.

Scott: Well, that's some active community. Tell us a little more about this
research collection you just mentioned.

Rob: So, just in February, one of the members of The Adventuresses of


Sherlock Holmes, Mary Schroeder, she had a small research
collection at McKendree University over at a small town in Illinois
where she was a professor. And then she, as professors do, she left
there and retired and kind of forgot about it. And it sat there for
probably about 20 years just collecting dust. And it was a collection
of different magazines and books and pastiches and scholarly
writings and all that, as well as a few pieces of art, and a few of us
got together and decided we wanted to kind of get it back together,
and Mary found the rare books and manuscripts room at the St. Louis
Public Library and they said they would be happy to take it.

Rob: And in the meantime, Bill Cochrane who is a member of the BSI and
lives down in Southern Illinois, and he donated quite a few boxes of
material to donate to the collection, and I only know that because I
was the one who had to move all of Bill's boxes that he was donating.
But it was worth it because now in that collection, thanks to Bill, we
have complete run of the Baker Street Journal in the library
collection at St. Louis. So at the last Noble Bachelors meeting in
February, it was the dedication of that collection, and what they are
hoping is to have a really good place for people to go and physically
hold research items. I mean, we're not going to be pulling a Beeton's
Christmas Annual anytime soon, but a lot of good resources to sit and
read and see what other people have said about the stories and the
canon.
Scott: Wow, that's impressive. So, obviously a research collection. A lot of
scholarly works there. Are there any particular items of interest that
stand out to you as a newish Sherlockian?

Rob: They have the [inaudible 00:21:06], this huge, universal Sherlock
Holmes, which you couldn't read in a week if you tried. There's that,
they also had out, and I wish I could remember the name of the
actual story, but it is one of those miniature books, but it comes with
a magnifying glass, because you have to hold a miniature magnifying
glass to read the text on the page, and it's one of the canonical
stories, and I thought that was really fun to look at too.

Scott: That's fun. It sounds like the Queen Mary's dollhouse version, of
what was that-[crosstalk 00:21:40]

Rob: It's something very close to that, yeah.

Scott: That's interesting. As long as we are talking about the groups there,
let's venture off into something that I think is being sponsored
particularly by The Parallel Case of St. Louis and that is the third
Sherlockian symposium called Holmes in the Heartland.

Rob: That's right, yeah.

Scott: Why don't you tell us a little bit about that. And maybe a little bit
about the history of the Parallel Case events.

Rob: So back in the '90s, before I became a Sherlockian myself, the St.
Louis area Sherlockians had a couple of different Holmes-related
weekends; Holmes on the Arch and The Games Afloat, because it's
on the river. From all accounts they were really well received, a lot of
fun, but as things do they just kind of fell by the wayside, and we
thought with this collection, why not invite some Sherlockians from
the Midwest or even around the country to come see the beginnings
of what we're trying to do here.

Rob: So we are hosting a Holmes in the Heartland weekend on August


10th through 12th, and what we're hoping is that it will be our first
annual one. We'll have an annual Holmes in the Heartland every
year. But with that weekend, it's going to be a day full of
Sherlockiana on Saturday, but we also wanna kinda highlight the city
that it's in. So we're gonna have blues, BBQ, tea, history. All kinds of
other things throughout the weekend with that.

Scott: Wow. That's impressive. So, any particular names that folks might
recognize that folks might recognize that are speaking at the event?

Rob: We've got a really impressive lineup of speakers. Like I said, the
founders of the collection, Mary Schroeder and Bill Cochrane are
both going to give short speeches to talk about their involvement
with the specific collection there that's going to be on display for
people to see. But since the weekend is going to be around the St.
Louis Sherlockian collection, we've decided to have the theme for
this Holmes in the Heartland to be a curious collection, so we've lined
up some other speakers and just kind of said, we would like you to
give a talk under the theme of curious collection.

Rob: Our keynote speaker for that is Tim Johnson from Sherlock
Collections at the University of Minnesota. I think he's definitely
going to know what he's talking about when it comes to library
collections there. We've got a handful of other BSI members other
than Bill Cochrane. Bill Mason's coming up from Nashville, Brad
Keefauver from [inaudible 00:24:32] and Don Hobbes is trekking up
from Texas, and I'm sure all of them are going to have their own spin
on that theme.

Rob: And then we also have a newer Sherlockian Cassie Hayden who was a
former co-host of the Free Patch Podcast. She lives in St. Louis and is
a member of The Parallel Case, and she's going to be giving a speech.
And then we have a local fighting group, called the Black Knights
Fighting Group, they're going to be displaying baritsu and recreating
fighting styles of Victorian London. And then we have one other
surprise guest speaker that's going to hopefully link the St. Louis and
the Sherlock Holmes worlds together, but we're going to leave that
as a surprise for the people that attend.

Scott: Ahh, smart. I like that. Well, that's a heck of a program.


Rob: We are really impressed with the people that have signed on. We
don't have a track record of this. It was just a bunch of people sitting
around a conference table after a Parallel Case meeting and we said,
we oughta have a weekend for this, and within a couple of months,
kinda put all this together, and that's just Saturday.

Scott: Wow. Now in terms of showcasing the city of St. Louis, obviously
home of blues music, BBQ. Is there anything that an Anglophile
would find of interest in St. Louis?

Rob: Well, so like I said Saturday's going to be all about Sherlock Holmes,
but we've kind of bookended the weekend with some St. Louis
events. Friday night, we're calling it our Welcome to St. Louis TT1
BBQ and Blues Carbuncle Night. We're going to have a tour of the
National Blues Museum which is opened in St. Louis just about a year
ago. And then dinner right next door at Sugafire Smoke House, one
of St. Louis' top BBQ restaurants. And then after everything on
Saturday, on Sunday for anybody that can stick around, we are going
to have a tour of the Becker Medical Museum on the campus of
Washington University and they are going to have Victorian-era
medical implements and medicine. And then after that we'll have an
afternoon tea at the nearby London Tea Rooms to kind of wrap it all
up.

Scott: Well, that's perfect. Wow. So, how can folk find out about this event
if they are interested in attending in August?

Rob: So registration does not open for that until May, but a quick Google
search of the phrase 'Holmes in the Heartland', one of your top
results would be that. You can also follow The Parallel Case on
Facebook, its just The Parallel Case of St. Louis. On Twitter, we are
ParallelCaseSTL. We also have a blog,
ParallelagramSTL.blogspot.com. All of that will keep you in the know
about Holmes in the Heartland and when reregistration opens.

Burt: Excellent. Well we will put links to all of that in the show notes for
this episode. Which by the way, just as a reminder, is available at
ihose.co/ihose142, all lower case. Ihose.co/ihose142. We're going to
take a quick break here, and here from one of our sponsors but when
we come back, we'll be talking with Rob about something very near
and dear to his heart so stay with us.

Burt: With a new season comes a new Bake Street Journal. The BSJ is
produced four times a year, plus a bonus Christmas annual that is
only available to subscribers. Each volume consists of a Spring,
Summer, Autumn and Winter number, meaning you'll receive a
wealth of Sherlockian scholarship year-round in your mailbox. Each
issue will always contain a pithy and insightful editor's gas lamp, a
cartoon by Scott Bond, cataloging of Sherlockian publications
received, and much more. Add to that the variety of papers and ideas
from Sherlockians new and old, from around the world, and you've
got yourself a must-read for your bedside table.

Burt: Now you may think it's all been done before. There's nothing new
under the sun, as Sherlock Holmes said. But when one reads the
canon the first time, it's really a matter of enjoying the stories for the
adventures they bring. The second and third time allow readers to
appreciate the decades long friendship that was cultivated between
Holmes and Watson, and even more readings allow life to seep in
and provide even more perspectives that hadn't been there in one's
youth.

Burt: And so the scholarship and the BFJ continues with endless
considerations from Sherlockians of all ages. After reading their
articles, you'll never read the Sherlock Holmes stories the same way
again. See what you might be missing at BakerStreetJOurnal.com
today.

Scott: So, Rob, when we kicked off and framed up this episode, one of the
titles that is very close to you, is the 'Criminal Mastermind of Baker
Street'. At what point did you take your Sherlockian enthusiasm and
decide now was the time to put words on paper?

Rob: Like I said earlier, I've been lucky enough to write for 'I Hear of
Sherlock' for over a year at the point that this idea popped into my
head, and I thought as a Sherlockian, someday I'm going to write a
book. Maybe even a couple if it turns out I'm good at it. And one day
I was sitting around and reading 'The Greek Interpreter' and there's
the line from Gregson when Holmes comes back and he says, “I've
got a window open, we can go in that way.” And Gregson says
something along the lines of, “It's a mercy that you're on the side of
the force, and not against us.” Or something like that.

Rob: You know, just a regular commonplace line that I've read over and
over again, all of a sudden made me stop and I thought, well yeah,
how would that have looked if Holmes wasn't one of the good guys?
And the more I thought about it, the more interesting it got. So I
went back through and reread the whole canon, and thought how
would this story be different? How would this go? Would Holmes
work with the cops on this? Would he be behind the crime? And
what I did was I just tried to go through the entire canon, and rewrite
a biography of Holmes and Watson and their friendship, but instead
of being detectives solving crimes, they are the head of a secret
criminal empire, all behind London.

Scott: So in your other reading, have you ever read any of the Raffles story?
Did you find yourself going in that direction or? This sounds like it's
more of a parallel universe kind of a treatment.

Rob: It's very much a parallel universe, and a few people that have asked
me about it, they've said, “Now you're not saying that this is an
actual true story?” And I said, “No, no. It's not necessarily pastiche,
it's an alternative biography.” If Holmes had decided after the
Musgrave Ritual case, that he didn't get anything, but everyone
walked away with crown jewels, and all the glory, and he wasn't even
mentioned in the write-up in the newspaper. If he had decided well,
I'm smarter than everybody else, why shouldn't I be compensated for
this stuff? I've just really tried to re-tell that whole story. I've tried to
make everything else, 99% of the book, canonical, except for the fact
that Sherlock Holmes isn't a detective. Which, you know, kind of is a
sticking point.

Scott: And so have you come across Mycroft in this parallel universe yet?
Rob: Yeah, they are all there, Mycroft, Moriarty, Gregson, Lestrade,
everybody. In my universe, Mycroft tolerates it, mostly because he
doesn't have the energy to deal with it, but he also knows that having
a brother as smart as Sherlock, and with the skills that Sherlock does,
could be useful to the government. Mycroft uses Sherlock very
similarly to how he does in the canonical stories. I didn't want to
make him a main character. In some pastiches, Mycroft Holmes is
just as active as Sherlock, and that's not who Doyle created. He's a
minor character, but he still behaves mostly the same.

Scott: I think there was an excerpt there where Sherlock Holmes used the
solicitor John Hector McFarlane, to pay 130,000 pounds to Irene
Adler to keep her quiet. No? Too soon?

Scott: So, I love this idea, Rob, where you are reading, probably rereading
at that point, a story, and it suddenly hits you, like a flash and you're
inspired. And I would imagine that some of the writing just kind of
flowed from the pen, or the fingertips on the keyboard. Were there
areas where you found that yes, it is really easy to create this parallel
universe, and then other areas where you were really struggling to fit
something in? I mean, how did the whole process work for you?

Rob: Yeah actually, two well-known characters that have significant roles
kind of fit both of those bills. The Moriarty-Holmes relationship was
very easy to write, because it was two criminal empires against each
other, that were both trying to stay secretive but take the other one
down, and that was so much fun. I mean, I was pulling in unwritten
cases, or you know, the card scandals of the day, and they were
getting tied to one criminal empire or the other and that was a lot of
fun, and it was a slow build, chapter after chapter until you finally
reach the Reichenbach and I don't want to give any spoilers away
about what might happen to Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach
Falls.

Rob: But on the complete other end of the spectrum, I wanted to stay
really canonical with Irene Adler. Didn't want to make her into his
wife, or his long lost love, or anything like that. She appears in one
story, and has a strong impact, but man, for the life of me, I re-wrote
her chapter three or four different times. Just trying to figure out
how she could still outsmart Holmes but not necessarily overpower
him. And I would say the Irene Adler was the hardest one to write.
But in the end, I was really, really happy with how it turned out.

Scott: Excellent.

Burt: You know our listeners can find the book on Amazon where you can
choose between a Kindle, paperback or an audiobook version, and
the lovely part about that is you can see the cover layout, and you
were wise enough to take that wonderful illustration of Holmes and
put it at the center, and so the overall effect of the cover, even with
those strand magazines illustrations, is very sinister. You've really got
the hawk-faced version of Holmes there that's so much more true to
Conan Doyle's original descriptions.

Rob: What I tried to do with the story, and even thinking about the world
in general. If you just took one step to the right and looked at
everything through another angle, a lot of things played out the
same, but they just looked slightly different. And when I went back
through and started looking at all the strand illustrations especially
the pageant ones, as you see Holmes as a criminal, some of those
illustrations look very different. He's not sitting in a chair with his
arms pulled around his legs solving a problem, he's sitting in a chair
with his arms pulled around his legs planning his next crime, or
pulling a gun on Tiller Evans has a whole different connotation from
the original stories.

Burt: Or that one there in the upper left where he's knocking out Teddy
Roosevelt, that's always startled me.

Rob: I can not see that picture from [crosstalk 00:37:49] and not think,
why is he punching the president?

Burt: For those of you listening at home, that is a shot of Holmes in the
public house, fighting with Roaring Jack Woodley in 'The Solitary
Cyclist'. That is one of the featured images on the cover of 'The
Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street'.
Scott: So what's next for the criminal Sherlock Holmes? Are you going to
continue this into another book?

Rob: No, I think I really painted myself into the corner, because, chapter
one is titled 'Begin at the Beginning' and it is Holmes and Watson
meeting at St. Barthes. And the last chapter is Holmes and Watson at
the end of.. I'm drawing a complete blank on that story.

Burt: Oh his last battle you mean?

Rob: His last battle, yes, thank you. Sorry. It's the east wind coming line,
you know, right at the very end. So unless I try to really pigeonhole
some things in, and a few of the reviews pointed out, I really like this
but I'm not sure how there'll be a sequel, and they make a solid
point. So I think I'll let the criminal Holmes stay where he is and I'll
move onto some other writing.

Burt: That's fair. That's completely fair. And of course, you do have other
writing that you tend to on a regular basis, we've had you as a long-
time, well not long, well, three years, okay I guess that's kind of long,
at 'I Hear Sherlock Everywhere', and of course, you recently started
your own site called, 'Interesting, Though Elementary'. What was the
inspiration behind that?

Rob: It started out as pure publicity for the book. My publisher, MX


Publishing said, “Hey, we think it would be a good idea if you had
some kind of blog. You're already on social media, but a blog to get
Sherlockian topics out there.” And I thought, I don't want to be
constantly shilling my book every week, because no one is going to
come back to read that, but man, I could sit around and talk about
Sherlockians and Sherlockiana all day long, and now I have a blog
where I can do it at will.

Rob: So I limit myself to once a week, and I just kind of sit down and talk
about different topics and different writing projects that I have in the
pipeline. Or, this past week, was the whole conversation: what
makes a Sherlockian and what doesn't?
Rob: I get a couple of hundred views each week, which is great. I get lots
of good feedback. It's really just posts on Sherlockiana and how great
it is to get out there because I was definitely one of those
Sherlockians, I was happy behind a screen, and I thought, I've got
Jeremy Brett DVDs and Twitter, I don't really need to go anywhere,
and I didn't realize how great our hobby is enhanced once you get
out there and start meeting the other Sherlockians. It is kind of
almost a love letter to Sherlockians without getting a little too sappy
on a regular basis.

Burt: I get it. I get it. Makes complete sense. And it's very similar to why we
do what we do at IHearSherlock.com and it's well done, well-written.
Obviously folks-

Rob: Oh, thank you.

Burt: ... Can get a sense as to your style, and the things that you're thinking
about by going to your blog. We'll of course have a link to that in the
show notes as well. Personally, I have to say it makes me a little sad
because it means you're taking your attention away from writing for
us. But hey, we get that. You gotta do what yo gotta do.

Rob: Well, if it makes you feel any better, I do feel guilty on a weekly basis.

Scott: Okay, that's good. That's good.

Rob: [crosstalk 00:41:52].

Burt: That's wonderful.

Rob: We'll get Burt to take my place. He can start posting on ihost.net.

Scott: Yeah, you know, Burt's very good at contributing here on the
podcast. Not so much on the website.

Burt: It's true, it's true.

Rob: Play to your strengths, right?

Scott: Exactly.
Burt: No, I would love to do it. If I live long enough to retire, I would be
happy to spend my days doing Sherlockian writing.

Scott: We'll make sure that happens.

Rob: I said over and over again; if I could find a way to become a
professional Sherlockian, I would. I mean I love teaching, that's what I
do, but man, if I could just do Sherlockian things 40 hours a week and
get paid for and have health insurance, I'd be right there.

Scott: Yeah. The market has not caught up with us yet, unfortunately.

Rob: It definitely has not. Never has so much been written by so many for
so few. That also goes towards cashing paychecks.

Scott: Now in your Holmes in the Heartland event you mentioned that one
Bill Mason was coming down from Nashville. Bill, of course, is the
headlight of The Beacon Society. And those of you that have followed
the show on a regular basis, you'll know we, of course, had Shannon
Carlisle on recently, who is a Beacon Society Award winner. But Rob,
obviously given your profession as a fifth grade school teacher, and in
your own kind of Sherlockian interest, you've taken up an interest
and an active and leadership role in The Beacon Society. Why don't
you tell us about your attraction there and what it is that you're
doing?

Rob: I was lucky enough to get the Jan Stauber Grant a couple of years ago
and then very lucky enough to be awarded The Beacon Award this
past year, and Bill was around for a lot of that, but he has just
stepped down this past year, and Denny Dobry is in charge now, and
when he took over he emailed me and said, “You know, you're
obviously an active Sherlockian teacher.” I teach Sherlock Holmes to
my fifth graders for a two-week unit every November, and then to
bring it back to The Great Mouse Detective, that's how we wrap up
things before Thanksgiving break. He said, “Would you be interested
in some kind of leadership role?” And I said, “Yeah, what else?
Anything I'd be capable of doing I'd be happy to help.” And he said,
“The program committee is open." And my first question was,
“Okay, great, what is the program committee?"
Rob: We basically receive and review educational and related material,
and with approval the board of directors put resources on The
Beacon Society website for teachers to use. Whether they are going
to do a whole intensive unit, or they're just going to do learning
colors for pre-day kids, there is everything from kindergarten to
college resources on a Beacon Society webpage, and you don't have
to be trying to win a grant or an award, if you are just looking for
lesson plan ideas, The Beacon Society is a really great clearing house
for things like that.

Rob: If you are a teacher, obviously we would hope you would check it
out, and if you know teachers who even think a 20 or 15 minute
lesson on Sherlock Holmes would be interesting, we definitely want
them to check it out. And we're always looking for people to donate,
to help support, because The Beacon Society awards a grant every
year for many different amounts for teachers who want to purchase
books or some kind of program. And its not just teachers, there's a
lot of different library programs that have put on Sherlock Holmes
lock-ins or things like that. So The Beacon Society is a group that's
really near and dear to my heart and it's a real blessing that they
asked me and I'm very excited to help out with it.

Scott: So first of all, apologies to Denny Dobry for being a little forgetful
that he is now in the headlight role. There have been so many
changes lately and I know Bill did a wonderful job while he was there,
but I know Denny is going to do an equally good job. When you've
been looking through some of these lesson plans, what are maybe
one or two that have stood out to you? As a professional educator
yourself, as you're reviewing these putting them up on the website
and making them available for people or looking at them even for
future awards, which I know that's the awards committee, but what
are some of the more interesting plans or ideas that folks have
submitted?

Rob: Well I know you already mentioned it, but Shannon Carlisle's unit just
blew me away, with recreating her whole room, turning it into 221B
and making a museum and teaching all of that stuff. That's really,
really impressive. There is also some really good collegiate-level, how
to write a Sherlockian paper, and examples of Sherlockian papers.
There was one high school lesson, and it's actually right on the
homepage when you open up The Beacon Society webpage. It shows
a bunch of students with a bloodhound.

Rob: There's so many different things. It's not just like sit down, and see
why this guy is trying to kill his daughter with a snake. You know? It's
not just read a story. There's so many different ways to include
Sherlock Holmes in your classroom. And I guess young, old, in-
between, you can adapt it to meet your students needs.

Scott: Well, that's wonderful.

Burt: In your awareness of that body of material and in your own teaching
have you had any issues about the cases of Sherlock Holmes and
they're being suitable or appropriate to kids? Have you had to do any
editing or selection? I'm just curious, to what degree the canon is
really aligned with current sensibilities?

Rob: Different stories are going to meet different needs. I don't think, for
my fifth graders, I'm not going to teach them 'The Cardboard Box',
where they talk about adultery, because that's not there, but 'The
Silver Blaze' is applicable enough for them, because the murderer is a
horse who is just defending themself. So I think there's 60 different
stories and you can look at them all and say, "This one's appropriate,
this one's not." And what's great with these stories being around for
so, so long, so many of them have been re-written at an easier level
for the younger kids.

Rob: High school and college students can easily pick up Doyle's stories
and if it were up to me, every high school class in America would be
reading 'Hound of Baskerville'. That is a fantastic book for that age
range, not for my eleven year olds, who aren't going to get through
that. But there are some really good re-tellings of the stories that
kind of condense them, take out some of the things that a little, you
know, do fifth-graders need to know what a [inaudible 00:49:50] is? I
mean I know a lot of adults that don't necessarily know what that is.
The re-tellings are a real big boon to younger age teachers.
Burt: Excellent. Right, well what's next for Rob Nunn?

Rob: Well, I have an essay in Chris Redmond's next anthology that is


scheduled to come out this Fall; Sherlock Holmes' life where 60 of us
are taking the Sherlock Holmes stories and comparing them to other
things throughout history or popular culture, and a real big feather in
my cap was I was asked to write for one of the upcoming BFI
professional series books on education. That's their third one that'll
be coming out, I don't know if there is a date set for that, but that is
Marino Albarez and Tim Greer editing that one. And this Summer,
now that I'm done with all my other writing commitments, I can stay
up late after my wife and daughter go to bed. I'm hoping to get
started on a children's book, that kind of retells the stories for an
age-appropriate group like I just talked about actually.

Burt: Oh, great. What a slacker.

Rob: Yeah, I know. Plus running The Parallel Case and hosting what is
hopefully the beginning of a long-running series of weekends,
Holmes in the Heartland, here in St. Louis.

Burt: Well it's a good thing you have summers off, that's all I can say.

Rob: Yeah, too much really does allow for it.

Burt: That's what we call summer up here in Michigan. So what is Sherlock


Holmes like in your essay?

Rob: In mine, and I don't know if Chris is going to yell at me for telling it,
but I'm comparing Sherlock Holmes to Huckleberry Finn.

Burt: Ohhh.

Scott: Really?

Rob: And I'll tell you what, I had some ideas, but when I started doing a
deep dive, there was a lot more than I could even think of. And I've
talked to some of the other contributors, and heard of some of
theirs, and this is going to be very wide-ranging set of topics.
Scott: No doubt.

Rob: I mean it'll be nice to have another book that I'm a part of, but I think
I'm more interested in reading the other 59 essays than seeing my
own name in print.

Scott: Well, we'll look forward to that, and I guess that's an excuse for us to
have Chris back on the show too.

Burt: Yeah.

Rob: It's always a good excuse to talk to Chris.

Burt: Well, it's been a lovely excuse to talk to you, Rob Nunn. Thank you
for being with us. Folks, just as a reminder, you can find Rob's book
'The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street' on Amazon. You can find
really all of the things we talked about, anything that's got a link, it's
in the show notes on this episode of 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere'.

Burt: Rob, thank you for being an enthusiastic and eradiate member of the
Sherlockian community. We wish you much success moving forward,
and we look forward to seeing you in the not so distant future.

Rob: Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me.

Scott: What a lot of fun to talk to Rob, and get that other sense. It seems to
me that every person we interview brings something new, I suppose
as you would expect, but I'm continually amazed by the variety. For
example, I had absolutely no idea that there was such a community
of Sherlockians in St. Louis, but that is really the great part. You
know, the lovely thing about this interest, and about these societies
all over the world, is the community and being able to get together
with people who share these interest is so satisfying, and how
interesting his path into Sherlock Holmes.

Scott: Oh, by the way, I made a note at the time, earlier on in the
conversation Rob mentioned the 'Revenge of the Hound' and that
book wasn't written by Michael Harrison, it was written by Michael
Hardwick, you know every so often-
Burt: Oh. Hardwick, Harrison, you know-

Scott: Yeah we sorta confuse the two. But somebody out there has
probably already sent us an email about this but that was Michael
Hardwick.

Burt: Yeah, before the show even aired they probably sent us an email on
that, but you're right.

Scott: Good call, that's an important distinction. It was Michael Harrison


who wrote 'Sherlock Holmes: My Life in Crimes', and 'I, Sherlock'.

Burt: No, no. Michael Hardwick wrote 'Sherlock Holmes: My Life in Crimes'.

Scott: You know its all the way across the room on my bookshelves here so-

Burt: Hee hee hee.

Scott: Here it is. 'I, Sherlock Holmes' was Harrison.

Scott: That's what I was looking at. And see, it's right next to my copy of
'Sherlock Holmes: My Life in Crimes', so my bad.

Burt: And Michael and his late wife Molly, Michael and Molly Hardwick
they did the 'Sherlock Holmes Companion', didn't they?

Scott: Yes they did. They did indeed. An important distinction there.

Scott: Well, one other thing I want to point out about Rob and his
experience. He's a little younger than we are and is newer to the
Sherlockian movement and I think this goes back to, as he said, his
recent essay about being a Sherlockian and what it takes to be a
Sherlockian. There are some folks who believe you absolutely must
read the canon to be considered a Sherlockian and there are others
who come down just as hard on the other side and say, "No, all you
need is to like Sherlock Holmes."

Scott: Whatever you want to believe, I think it's this character, this
enduring character, the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that have
brought us altogether and Rob is the perfect example of someone
like The Baker Street Babes when they were first on the scene. New
to this movement, certainly no less fervent in their desire to connect,
to talk about these things, to share experiences, and Rob is probably
one of the newest Sherlockian that we have had on the show. He
hasn't been at this for a heck of a long time but he's still done some
interesting things. And that's all we want in the Sherlockian
community, we just want to connect with other interesting people
and Rob really personifies that, in his variety of activities and
interests, so we're fortunate to have someone like him in our midst.

Burt: Yes, absolutely. And people tend to lose sight of the fact that for
most of the time that Sherlock Holmes has existed from the 1880s
through the 1950s and 1960s, there were really only three ways to
connect with Sherlock Holmes.

Burt: One was to read the canon, the second was to see a movie and the
third was to listen to the radio. And I'm sure there were people who
were mesmerized by the radio programs and that was their entry in,
and I'm sure there were people who were fascinated by the Wrath
Bone and Bruce films and maybe only lightly delved into the canon
but since then, there are so many avenues and so much, before you
even get to social media, so many different ways and Rob mentioned
the RoBurt Downey Jr. Films and say what you will there are people
who love those films, and there are people who hate them, but the
lovely part about it is that those, and Elementary and the BBC
Sherlock have brought Sherlock Holmes to literally tens if not
hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Scott: And we are forever grateful.

Scott: Well it is that time once again to get prepared for the Canonical
Cutlets. You know we've had some participation over the last few
episodes that has caused us to think rethink how we are running the
program. We used to say that if you were the first one in with the
correct response, you would win a prize from the archives, from the
vault here at ihose headquarters. However, a couple folk wrote to us
and said, "Hey, not everyone gets to listen to the show at the same
time after its been released. Some folks who, perhaps like Rob, are
waiting by their Victrolas for the next episode to come out and there
are others who maybe have it queued up in their cars, other folks
who wait until they go on a road trip or until they have some quiet
time to sit down at their desks and listen and because of that, we
decided to, as I said, recalibrate how we are selecting the winner.

Scott: So, because we have had such great interest, and because folks have
been actively participating we are going to go with the random
selection of all correct answers that are submitted. So if you want to
participate in this, please be patient. We will put all the names in the
revolving drum, we will rotate it up and down the street. Whether or
not we stand on top of that drum while it rotates is another story but
when it comes to a complete and full stop we will then reach into the
drum, pull out the winning name and let you know who it is, won
that week.

Scott: So our last winner when we read the Canonical Couplet, 'Actors and
journalists, this story states, can bring to begging certain basic traits',
the winner was Tony Shaw who correctly answered 'The Man With
the Twisted Lip'. So, congratulations Tony, there is a Sherlockian
keepsake on its way to you as we speak.

Burt: Excellent. Well, I think that's a very good strategy and change in the
process but I really think that what we should do is just print out and
then cut up all of the winning answers and put them into Henry
Baker's hat and then pick one.

Scott: That's a big hat it could serve the same purpose as a drum.

Burt: That's true.

Scott: Well, speaking of drums, lets fire up those kettle drums shall we?
Aah, there they are, well that means one thing, it's time for this
episode's version of the Canonical Couplet. And here we go.

Scott: By this we're taught the all-important truth, that brothers seldom
share a single tooth.
Scott: If you think you know the answer to this canonical couplet, what
story is it taken from, or that it represents, let us know in an email.
Just email us at comment@ihearofsherlock.com with 'Canonical
Couplet' in the subject line. Let us know what you think and we will
select that random winner from you.

Scott: Well I guess we're kind of at the end of our tether again.

Burt: Oh, how nice to see the end of the old tether again. That little red
ribbon at the end waving in the breeze, it's so comforting.

Scott: Yeah. Well, and this episode of course, released on tax day in the
United States. April 15th. Forgot about that.

Burt: Well, it's not really, I think this year it's on a Sunday. Your taxes aren't
due until Tuesday, so why don't we just release this episode on the
Tuesday then.

Scott: I'm okay with that. But coming up in the next few weeks there's
Sherlockian Spring meetings all over the place. You're probably
headed up to Philadelphia or down to Philadelphia or over to
Philadelphia or however you get there.

Burt: No, I wish. I've got to miss the Sons of the Copper Beeches this year.
My wife has a gala that I must accompany her to.

Scott: Well.

Burt: Bad timing.

Scott: I hope you choose an appropriate gown.

Burt: Yes, something off the shoulder. But April 22nd will be a joint
meeting of the Cornish Horrors and The Men on the Tor in
Connecticut so I'll represent your interests up there.

Scott: Please do.

Burt: And many other things, and then there's the Speckled Band in May.
Scott: Yes, looking forward to that. The first co-educational meeting of the
Speckled Band in its history, so that should be something very
impressive. We'll certainly come back all full of steak and kidney pie
and tales to tell.

Burt: Excellent.

Scott: Well, until the next time, I remain the steak.

Burt: Well, I must be the kidney, and how appropriate.

Scott: Oh, indeed. I guess I'm Scott Monty.

Burt: Oh well, and I'm pie-faced Burt Wolder.

Media: The games afoot.

Media: I'm afraid within the pleasure of this conversation I'm neglecting
business of importance that awaits me elsewhere.

Media: Thank you for listening please be sure to join us for the next episode
of 'I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere', the first podcast dedicated to
Sherlock Holmes.

Media: Goodbye and good luck, and believe me to be my dear fellow, very
sincerely yours, Sherlock Holmes.

Scott: Still with us?

Burt: Yeah, I'm still with us. I actually have a-

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