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2012 Group Reads - Archives > A Study in Scarlet - Background and Resources

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver Please post any background material on the author, or any other extra additional resource material you think will be helpful and relevant to the reading. Please use spoiler warnings where needed.


message 2: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 15, 2012 12:34PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments The usual Wikipedia sites:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C...

Sherlock Holmes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock...

221B Baker Street (also, if you do a Google Images search, there are also tons of images of 221 Baker Street where Holmes and Watson share an apartment in the novels/short stories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/221B_Bak...

A Study in Scarlet: (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Study_...


message 3: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Recent online articles:

Scott Brown on Sherlock Holmes, Obsessed Nerds, and Fan Fiction by Scott Brown:
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/m...

Holmes Obsession: Solving The Mystery Of The Sherlock Craze by Madeleine Crum:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06...

The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Lenny Picker: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/pr...


message 4: by MadgeUK (last edited Jun 15, 2012 01:43PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I'll give this read a go but detective fiction is not my thing.


message 5: by Silver (new)

Silver I myself do not generally read much in the way of detective fiction, and never had much of an interest in Holmes' but when I had to read it for a class I was taking I found I rather enjoyed the stories more than I thought I would.


message 6: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 15, 2012 02:28PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments You are a good sport, Madge. :-)

And we'll going to talk about more than the detective part of the story. I'm "stealing" one of Zulfiya's ideas when she moderates a Dickens read - I'm going to open each thread during the discussion with talking points. I've already started the first one, and I have six talking points so far, and only one is the science of deduction. And obviously, everyone can talk about whatever else they want to discuss.

And Silver, I agree. I'm not a big detective fiction fan either, but I read A Study in Scarlet in about three days, and found myself captivated. It was really enjoyable; I found it hard to put down.

I think it is because there are a lot of other things going on than just a mystery.


message 7: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 269 comments I was just directed to this article the other day, so I thought I would share (it is about the current British series):
http://thepassingtramp.blogspot.com/2...

I'm not sure I will be able to fit this one in. I don't own it, and I've never tried to read on the computer, because I don't think I would like it. Plus I already have a heavy reading schedule in July. If you move on to some of the short stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and/or The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, which I do have, and I find some time, I will try to join in for those. But not promising!


message 8: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4467 comments Mod
Can't wait for this one. Big Sherlock fan here, plus love the other non-Holmes stories too.


message 9: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments I'm hoping we will see as many as possible of these eight posting on Scarlet. Should be fun, especially if that happens! (I will lurk, although I did download it. But time to tackle some other items on my personal TBR.)

http://www.goodreads.com/poll/answer/...


message 10: by MadgeUK (last edited Jun 15, 2012 11:21PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I am reading some heavy political stuff at the moment so this will be a nice distraction - I hope! And given the current political situation in the US, I find it amusing that we are about to read a novel (view spoiler)


message 11: by MadgeUK (last edited Jun 15, 2012 11:41PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Also, it only cost 77p on my Kindle:D

Denise: You may like to watch a film of it on Youtube:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbqpA...


message 12: by MadgeUK (last edited Jun 16, 2012 02:11AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Sherlock Holmes' claims to rationality and reason, via Conan Doyle, rather contrast with Doyle's own beliefs in Spiritualism and fairies. Some information and good photos about that here:-

http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/doyle.htm

Watson says that Holmes was an 'expert singlestick player'. A singlestick was 'a training weapon for the sabre/backsword in the 19th and 20th century' and looked like this:-

http://www.woodenswords.com/WMA/singl...

Apparently President Theodore Roosevelt played singleticks with General Leonard Wood (maybe after reading Sherlock Holmes stories:)):-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlest...


message 13: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Deborah wrote: "Can't wait for this one. Big Sherlock fan here, plus love the other non-Holmes stories too."

Yeay, Deborah - glad you will be joining. Always love your comments.


message 14: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 16, 2012 05:19AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Also, it only cost 77p on my Kindle:D

Denise: You may like to watch a film of it on Youtube:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbqpA..."


Since we are going to be reading more than just A Study in Scarlet, best to get the complete works.

Sadly, I thought I had the complete works, but the book I have at home has everything except A Study in Scarlet.

But my local libraries both had the complete works. And if your local library doesn't have a copy, most state library systems allow residents to get books from any town. In my state of Connecticut, it usually takes a week from the time I request a book from another town library to when they delivery it to my local library.

As Madge said, downloads are very inexpensive: .99 cents at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Quite the deal, especially considering that you get 4 novels, and (I think) 56 short stories.

Paperback edition: The least expensive I found on Amazon was $6.95. On Barnes and Noble, least expensive paper looks like $7.15.

And my local B&N store has the complete works in hardcover for $6.99.


message 15: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments I found an interesting image of Doyle and Sherlock that speaks of the relationship of author and character:

Go to the following Stanford University site, and scroll to the bottom to see the picture: http://sherlockholmes.stanford.edu/20...

There were a couple of interpretations of the drawing:

One, that Doyle was “chained” to Sherlock. Doyle often stated that he didn’t like writing the Sherlock stories; he wanted to focus on historical books.

Two, Doyle was nothing like his creation due to his interest in spiritualism. From “Sherlock Holmes and the Problems of War: Traumatic Detections” by Catherine Wynne: Mortimer Menpes said after interviewing Doyle: "Curiously enough, in real life, the Doctor has no capacity for detecting anything…The image of an inattentive and (later, when he converted to Spiritualism) otherworldly Doyle recurs in Bernard Partridge's Punch cartoon of May 1926…Here an oversized Doyle has his head in the clouds, only shackled or "foot-cuffed" to earth by a miniature Sherlock Holmes whose eyes are fixed, like a good rational detective, on the ground.


message 16: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Since I'm from Connecticut, I found our connection to the Sherlock Holmes stories interesting: William Hooker Gillette. He played Sherlock Holmes on stage and in a (lost) silent film.

It was to Gillette that Doyle wrote one of his most famous lines regarding his creation. When Gillette asked, "May I marry Holmes?," according to Wikipedia, “Doyle responded, "You may marry him, or murder or do what you like with him.””

Also according to Wikipedia, “Gillette formulated the complete phrase: "Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow", which was later reused by Clive Brook, the first spoken-cinema Holmes, as: "Elementary, my dear Watson", Holmes's best known line and one of the most famous expressions in the English language.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_...

And if you are ever in Connecticut, you can visit Gillette’s Castle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillette...


message 17: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 16, 2012 05:26AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments I love history, and I love historical places, so when I found out that a business group wants to renovate Undershaw (where Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles) and make the building multiunit homes (i.e., flats!), I was horrified.

A group of people are trying to save Undershaw - they won the first court battle, but one of the groups on the "wrong" side is sadly going to appeal.

http://www.saveundershaw.com/


message 18: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Sherlock Holmes' claims to rationality and reason, via Conan Doyle, rather contrast with Doyle's own beliefs in Spiritualism and fairies. Some information and good photos about that here:-

http:/..."


Thanks for the links, Madge!


message 19: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 16, 2012 05:36AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Lily wrote: "I'm hoping we will see as many as possible of these eight posting on Scarlet. Should be fun, especially if that happens! (I will lurk, although I did download it. But time to tackle some other i..."

I hope so too, for many reasons.

One, because I have fallen in love with the Sherlock stories and the Sherlock character, and will enjoy discussing with others.

Two, because I think that it would be great to see the group do different things now and again, and therefore, get a broader group of people participating. We discussed this a number of times - it seems that the group has gone from "heavy" read to heavy read over the past few reads, and I think that is difficult for the average member who leads a busy life with work, etc. A number of us hope that we can put in some "lighter" fare now and again. Not that the Sherlock stories won't have serious discussions - we definitely will - but it will be in a less heavy context.

And hopefully, if this is successful, we can try other ideas - I've throw out a few: a time when we only selected from Jane Austen books, when we nominate selections from only plays and read the say top 4 nominated, when we nominate selections from only short stories and again read 3-4 short stories, a read by someone who writes now but the book takes place in the 19th century, etc.


message 20: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Thanks for those links Lynn . the Stanford U one has some good topographical stuff.


message 21: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Here is something about Doyle and Mormonism:-

'According to a 1994 Salt Lake City newspaper article, when Conan Doyle was asked about his depiction of the Latter-day Saints' organization as being steeped in kidnapping, murder and enslavement, he said: "all I said about the Danite Band and the murders is historical so I cannot withdraw that, though it is likely that in a work of fiction it is stated more luridly than in a work of history. It's best to let the matter rest". However, Conan Doyle's daughter has stated: "You know, father would be the first to admit that his first Sherlock Holmes novel was full of errors about the Mormons." Years after Conan Doyle's death, Levi Edgar Young, a descendant of Brigham Young and a Mormon general authority, claimed that Conan Doyle had privately apologised, saying that "He [Conan Doyle] said he had been misled by writings of the time about the Church."[4] However, in a preface to Volume II of The Complete Novels and Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Loren D. Estleman noted the implied criticism of the Mormon Church. He states that the story was not controversial at the time of the story's release, probably due to the recent memory of the Mountain Meadows massacre and the small membership of the church.'

http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds...


message 22: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 20, 2012 05:31AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Here is something about Doyle and Mormonism:-

'According to a 1994 Salt Lake City newspaper article, when Conan Doyle was asked about his depiction of the Latter-day Saints' organization as being ..."


Thanks for that!

The text and research will provide us with an opportunity for an interesting discussion.


message 23: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments By today's standards the mysteries are primitive. I think the character of Sherlock is more interesting than the stories, and that's always been the appeal. There was a private eye series on cable recently with a quirky, neurotic detective, I think claustrophobic, and it made a big hit. (Someone provide me with a name, please.)


message 24: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Denise wrote: "I was just directed to this article the other day, so I thought I would share (it is about the current British series):
http://thepassingtramp.blogspot.com/2......"


It's short enough to print out if you use Draft mode.


message 25: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Ooh it says the blog doesn't exist! Another ilnk?


message 26: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Rochelle wrote: "By today's standards the mysteries are primitive. I think the character of Sherlock is more interesting than the stories, and that's always been the appeal. There was a private eye series on cable ..."

Monk.

And a lot of detective stories are like that - the detective themselves are the primary focus: Murder, She Wrote; Colombo; etc.

I actually like the SH stories, particularly since it is one of the first detective series and certainly the most well known. I like being able to see the beginnings of a genre and then see where that genre goes from there.

Recently, Janice and I did a buddy read on The Magic Ring - really fascinating reading one of the first fantasy novels and comparing it to Tolkien and others.


message 27: by MadgeUK (last edited Jun 20, 2012 07:19AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments The most popular detective series over here was Morse until John Thaw died. Set in Oxford it focussed on the character of the highbrow Morse and his working class sidekick Lewis. Other popular series include a lot of forensic science, sometimes quite gruesome. Silent Witness features cold cases and is very gruesome indeed. Cracker features a (fat) criminal psychologist who is an alcoholic gambler and that is popular too. One of my favourites is Rosemary & Thyme which features a couple of women detectives who are also gardeners. Whether their storyline is good or not the scenery is always beautiful, especially when the location is Italy or France.

Do you get any of these?


message 28: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments No, none of them. :-(

BBC America is too busy showing endless repeats of Top Gear and Ramsey's Kitchen.


message 29: by Linda2 (last edited Jun 20, 2012 12:24PM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments I don't get BBC America, but Morse played on PBS. I didn't see anything extraordinaruy about it. I don't generally watch or read detective or police stories anyway because I can't follow the plot twists. I'll give this one a go because Madge is willing to try it. :-)


message 30: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments A lot of the attraction was that it was set in Oxford and the stories involved people in and around the colleges. Morse was an opera loving intellectual, not the usual run of the mill detective. He was very civilised and quite left wing:)


message 31: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 269 comments MadgeUK wrote: "The most popular detective series over here was Morse until John Thaw died. Set in Oxford it focussed on the character of the highbrow Morse and his working class sidekick Lewis. Other popular se..."

I actually prefer the Inspector Lewis series to Morse. Lewis was always my favorite character on Morse, and I like his sidekick Hathaway, as well.

I think that all of those series have been on US TV at some time or other, but I think they are older series, so it was a while ago. I had never seen any of them, although I would have liked to see Rosemary and Thyme, since I like Felicity Kendall (in The Good Life, which was known as The Good Neighbors here because there was another show with the original name, and also Solo).


message 32: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 269 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Ooh it says the blog doesn't exist! Another ilnk?"

If you mean the one I posted:

http://thepassingtramp.blogspot.com/2...

it is still working for me.


message 33: by Linda2 (last edited Jun 20, 2012 02:08PM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Lynnm wrote: "You are a good sport, Madge. :-)

And we'll going to talk about more than the detective part of the story. I'm "stealing" one of Zulfiya's ideas when she moderates a Dickens read - I'm going to ope..."


Is a talking point what we used to call a topic?


message 34: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Denise wrote: "http://thepassingtramp.blogspot.com/2...

it is still..."


I just read this, and it reminded me of The Mentalist, the detective who's rude, arrogant and lacking in social skills. He's been assigned a partner who keeps him in check, but even she blows her cool sometimes over his actions. Wonder where they got the idea from? ;-)


message 35: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) MadgeUK wrote: "The most popular detective series over here was Morse until John Thaw died. Set in Oxford it focussed on the character of the highbrow Morse and his working class sidekick Lewis. Other popular se..."

I've watched all of these, either through my library or other avenues. I think the BBC/ITV trends and the U.S. ones follow the same avenues. Both have featured "damaged" detectives to some degree or another in the past few years/decades. "Dexter" is probably the most extreme over here, wouldn't you agree? (Sympathetic serial killer who solves crime and has his own list of serial killers to knock off). That is from a book, too.


message 36: by Jessie J (new)

Jessie J (subseti) Rochelle wrote: "I just read this, and it reminded me of The Mentalist, the detective who's rude..."

I love The Mentalist, and it does follow the Holmes/Watson trope to a great degree.


message 37: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Jessie wrote: "MadgeUK wrote: "The most popular detective series over here was Morse until John Thaw died. Set in Oxford it focussed on the character of the highbrow Morse and his working class sidekick Lewis. ..."

They always need a new gimmick to keep the audiences and the ratings coming. The private eye story isn't enough any more, so they tweak it it various ways. Then the CSI's came, with their blood and body parts. Now it's whole families of policemen. Always something supposedly new.


message 38: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Rochelle - I agree that a lot of the detective shows are gimmicky. Which is why I don't watch a lot of them. I do like to read detective/mystery books now and again - I think I posted this somewhere else, but I like Dick Francis, Sue Grafton, and Carl Hiassen. They have some gimmicks, but to me at least, they're just a fun, light read. And in Hiassen's case, talks about some bigger issues - the environment and government corruption.


message 39: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Jessie wrote: "I've watched all of these, either through my library or other avenues. I think the BBC/ITV trends and the U.S. ones follow the same avenues. Both have featured "damaged" detectives to some degree or another in the past few years/decades. "Dexter" is probably the most extreme over here, wouldn't you agree? (Sympathetic serial killer who solves crime and has his own list of serial killers to knock off). That is from a book, too. "

Dexter is most definitely the extreme! :-)

I started to watch it, but it wasn't clicking. I need to try again, because it has gotten such rave reviews. A lot of times, I'm not crazy about something the first time around, and then I watch again a few months later, and I get hooked. That happened with Mad Men for me. The first time I watched it, I thought, no. I gave it another shot, and now I think it is one of the best shows on television.


message 40: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments After reading both Rochelle's and Jessie's comments on The Mentalist, I'm going to have to watch an episode or two. I've never seen it, but would like to see the SH connection.


message 41: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I don't watch any of the violent/squeamish ones. Sometimes I record them and then fast forward the violent bits. Most American stuff is too violent for me.


message 42: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Arrrrggghhh. Frustration. :-(

Have been trying to find a book[s] with the original SH fan fiction, created after Doyle killed off Sherlock, and no luck. (There are some web sites that come up in Google, but not sure if they are trustworthy or not, so don't want to click on them.)

I usually like the research process, but get annoyed when I only hit deadends. :-(


message 43: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 1 comments This read is going to be great. I've read all of these stories before, but they never cease to fascinate. The story telling is like none other, the settings are superb, and the characters very interesting. Don't worry if you aren't into detective novels, there is much more to this!


message 44: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Thanks Chris. Nice to have you popping in. When I go to the theatre and end up not likig the play, I always look at the settings and costumes, so perhaps that is what I will do here:D.


message 45: by Linda2 (last edited Jun 27, 2012 06:10AM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Lynnm wrote: "After reading both Rochelle's and Jessie's comments on The Mentalist, I'm going to have to watch an episode or two. I've never seen it, but would like to see the SH connection."

It's not well-written, and I wouldn't bother. I turn it on to make a little noise in the house while I'm knitting.


message 46: by Linda2 (last edited Jun 27, 2012 06:12AM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Lynnm wrote: "Arrrrggghhh. Frustration. :-(

Have been trying to find a book[s] with the original SH fan fiction, created after Doyle killed off Sherlock, and no luck. (There are some web sites that come up in G..."


If you have IE, use McAfee Site Advisor, which rates the safety of sites found by searches. You don't need McAfee Virus Scan to use it. If you have Firefox, use WOT (Web of Trust.) They're both free.

I don't know how many of these obscure books from the 1880's would be online, but you might try the usual suspects: bartleby.com, Gutenberg.com and the library of the U of Virginia.


message 47: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Rochelle wrote: "If you have IE, use McAfee Site Advisor, which rates the safety of sites found by searches. You don't need McAfee Virus Scan to use it. If you have Firefox, use WOT (Web of Trust.) They're both free.

I don't know how many of these obscure books from the 1880's would be online, but you might try the usual suspects: bartleby.com, Gutenberg.com and the library of the U of Virginia. "


Thanks for the information, Rochelle. I have McAfee, but didn't know they had a site advisor. My McAfee is very good at stopping potential threats, but it's not like the one at school that literally will ask you if you want to continue if there is a potential problem with a website.


message 48: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Christopher wrote: "This read is going to be great. I've read all of these stories before, but they never cease to fascinate. The story telling is like none other, the settings are superb, and the characters very inte..."

Nice to see you again, Chris. Hope you'll join in... :-)


message 49: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Lynnm wrote: "but it's not like the one at school that literally will ask you if you want to continue if there is a potential problem with a website. "

This is a separate program, not connected to the antivirus. http://www.siteadvisor.com/ It will mark sites with a colored circle--red, green, yellow, depending on rating.

And if your antivirus is not asking those Q's, it's because you've missed something in the the preferences. You can set it to ask, but it becomes annoying, and you'll probably turn it off anyway. I believe the best security programs are the ones that run quietly in the background and don't bother you, i.e., after you've set preferences. I use Avast, the top-rated program. And it's free.


message 50: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Again, thanks, Rochelle. Didn't know that I could set preferences. I've just taken it as it came to me. I'm not sure if I would find it annoying - I rarely go on off beat types of web sites. It would be more if I click on something in error. Or at times like these when I'm doing a bit of research.


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