Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Wan ghosts of Baker Street

sherlock-holmes-greg-joensThe man living at 221B, Baker Street, keeps haunting my life.
I was talking to a friend, a few nights ago, and found out he never read the Holmes stories, nor watched to movies. This was a hard blow for my conviction that Holmes is one of the most immediately recognizable characters on the planet.
But two things soon emerged.
My friend had indeed watched the Robert Downey Jr movies, and he knew of the character, in a very nebulous way (and I guess the Robert Downey Jr movies did not help).
What caused my friend to steer clear of the Canon was his inability to get Holmes’ motivation.
Why the heck is this guy solving crimes anyway? Continue reading


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The Hound of ’59

vMy friend Lucy published today a nice lengthy piece about the 1939 adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
You can find the post here, and read it through the usual Google Translate thingy. It’s excellent, and it raises an interesting question, by noting that The Hound of the Baskervilles is treated as a proper Gothic story, an old dark house film.
This got me thinking about the connection between the Canon and the Horror genre, and so while clouds gathered and the storm approached, heralded by thunder and lightning, I brew myself a cup of hot tea, and I took a look at the other Hound, the one that was unleashed on the moors, in the full shocking splendor of Technicolor, by Terence Fisher, with the assistance of the fine gentlemen of Hammer Films.
The first Holmes movie in color.
Another Gothic adaptation, featuring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
It was, if you recall, the year 1959. Continue reading


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Hope & Glory – the criminal mind

Here is where a few topics we discussed in the last few weeks collide and then we download a free ebook.

6778502A reader of mine (thank you!!) just sent me a book – a wonderful copy of The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, by Ransom Riggs.
The volume is a beautiful compact hardbound book, sturdy and very “Victorian looking”, and it covers the whole of the Holmesian lore concerning the Great Detective’s methods, tools and practices.
I am reading it very slowly to make it last, but it’s a perfect complement for a Sherlockian shelf, and it’s also the sort of handy reference one might need to check when writing.
Beautiful, and (hopefully) not too expensive.
I’ll do a full review as soon as I’m finished, but right now on my first impression, I feel like recommending it.
It might also be a good tool for roleplayer playing Victoria settings.
Just saying.

But there is another handbook I’ve been browsing that is worth mentioning.
I used it marginally as part of my research for Hope & Glory, at the very beginning – and maybe because of this I think it is not listed in the suggested reading list in the handbook.  Continue reading


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Sherlock will never die

The other day, on my post about the Japanese series, Miss Sherlock, Joe commented

Sherlock will NEVER die!

And I had to agree, of course.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the great characters of popular culture, together with Dracula and Tarzan1, and through infinite version and editions and adaptations, it has reached every corner of the world and every social stratum.
Sherlock Holmes is everywhere, and he is not going away.

sherlock_holmes_wall_by_alaniaflamestar

And I was reminded, reading Joe’s comment, of a thing I caught somewhere and I’ve been unable to trace, that is, Harlan Ellison suggesting the Canon as the basis of a reasonable education. Continue reading


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Meet Miss Sherlock

I am on a Sherlock Holmes roll – and it really looks like these next few months will be Sherlockian apocrypha and folk horror, considering the books that are piling up (virtually) on my ereader.

The-Private-Life-of-Sherlock-Holmes

Now, there was a time, before Facebook, when I was one of the Hounds of the Internet, and I was a lot more into Sherlock Holmes and related matters than I am now. I started out as a Sherlock Holmes fan in middle school, and read the stories and watched the movies etcetera.
But like Steely Dan used to sing

Those days are gone forever
Over a long time ago.

Or so I thought. Continue reading


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Holmes & HPL

sherlock-holmes-greg-joensI was listening to an old Harlan Ellison interview, last night, and he was saying that if you want to get a proper education, you have to read the Canon, that is, all the Arthur Conan Doyle stories about Sherlock Holmes.
Those will set you straight, Ellison said, because they are stories about the power of rationality, the power of observation. And they teach you that there are no mysteries if you pay attention.

And I think it’s a sound suggestion.
Hell, you can’t go wrong with “Read Sherlock Holmes!” Continue reading