Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Ten Things You Don't Know About Sherlock Holmes:
1. In his earliest draft of A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle named the detective and the doctor Sherrinford Holmes and Ormand Sacker, respectively. Thank all that is holy that Doyle refrained from experiments with psychotropic drugs thereafter.
2. One of the most beloved Sherlock Holmes adventures, The Speckled Band, features a nefarious doctor who trains a killer snake to climb a bell-pull at the sound of a whistle, rewarding the serpent with milk. Snakes are entirely deaf, "hearing" through vibrations in the belly and tongue, and they do not drink milk...but what the heck.
3. Sherlock Holmes first appeared on film, in a one-reel mutascope running less than a minute and titled Sherlock Holmes Baffled, in the year 1900. Which everyone will agree was remarkably early and gave the man a bit of a head start (he is thought to be the most prolific screen character in film history).
4. No fewer than three actors featured on various incarnations of Star Trek have played Sherlock Holmes. Leonard Nimoy (Spock in the original Trek series) in a 1970s stage tour; Matt Frewer (Berlinghoff Rasmussen in ST:TNG) in a series of low-budget Canadian TV films; and Brent Spiner (Data in ST:TNG) in several actual Next Generation episodes in which he donned cape and deerstalker.
5. Sherlock Holmes's great-uncle was Horace Vernet, a famous French painter of war history patronized by Napoleon III. Or so Holmes informed Watson regarding his hereditary genius, remarking, "Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms."
6. Sherlock Holmes was something of a ninja--he knew "baritsu" (a corruption of bartitsu), a combination of jujitsu and British-style boxing and wrestling. Of course, bartitsu was invented eight years after Holmes used it to defeat Professor Moriarty...but what the heck.
7. Jeremy Brett, who embodied Sherlock Holmes for many thanks to his fine work in the Granada television series, first played Dr. John Watson opposite Charlton Heston's Sherlock Holmes in the Los Angeles stage production of The Crucifer of Blood.
8. Apart from commercially published pastiches, writing Sherlock Holmes fanfiction is a thriving internet hobby. The Archive of Our Own, a fan repository, as of this date lists 20,333 separate works. Experts have estimated that the figure for total number of fan created Sherlock Holmes stories is closer to 40,000.
9. Pulitzer Prize winner and Edgar-nominated author Michael Chabon began his boyhood writing career with a Sherlock Holmes tale, in which the great detective faces fearsome deep sea perils alongside Captain Nemo of the Nautilus.
10. Though we don't think of him this way often, Sherlock Holmes possessed "a great heart as well as a great brain." We have only Dr. Watson's word for it, but he seems a trustworthy sort of upstanding British gentleman, the kind of chap unlikely to lie upon such a subject.
Faye's love of her adopted city led her to research the origins of the New York City Police Department, the inception of which exactly coincided with the start of the Irish Potato Famine. Her second and third novels, the widely acclaimed, The Gods of Gotham and its sequel, follow ex-bartender Timothy Wilde as he navigates the rapids of his violently turbulent city, his no less chaotic elder brother Valentine Wilde, and the perils of learning police work in a riotous and racially divided political landscape. Visit her at www.lyndsayfaye.com and follow her posts and podcasts on www.bakerstreetbabes.com