Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Hansom Club Club

Back in the day, I was a weekly contributor to SherlockPeoria. Brad Keefauver and I did some crazy things in the name of Sherlock Holmes during our 10 years together. One of the pawkiest things we did was creating the Hansom Clock Club: A Scion Society of SherlockPeoria. Brad changed direction several years ago and took SP to strictly a blog and it can still be read at

The idea behind The Hansom Clock Club is simple. Anyone who owns one of those cheesy clocks sold via the Sears Christmas Catalog back in 1967 can become a member. All that is required is to send me a close-up picture of clock and you are a member. The one rule is if the clock is not running, set the hands to 2:21 before taking the picture.

The 1967 Sear Christmas Catalog

The current membership is twenty-two but  there was a 10% jump in membership this week alone. We were holding steady at  twenty members but then two new Sherlockians sent along pictures this week. Congratulations to Monica Schmidt and Al Shaw, members #021 and #022 respectively. I fully believe many members do not know they are members. To that extent, I also believe there are Sherlockians that qualify for membership but do not realize that the Hansom Clock Club exists. Hopefully after this blog hits the Internet, our massive readership (at least seven people) will spread the word.

I am waiting for the huge surge before I head off to the printer for new membership cards. It is at least seventeen-steps down my staircase to my kitchen where the printer is located.

Page 124 Sears 1967 Christmas Catalog
If anyone still has their 1967 Sear Christmas Catalog, please turn to page 124 on the right hand side of the page, near the bottom and read all about the Hansom Clock, listed there for a whopping $19.99 plus shipping and handling. If this is not a viable option, I would suggest logging onto eBay. Currently there are 8 listed ranging in price from $39.95 to $149.00.

Happy Collecting!!

Original Shipping Box


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sherlocking in Estonia

Estonian Coat of Arms
Estonia is a small Baltic country that has the distinction of being the first of the Soviet Republics to declare its independence. The Republic of Estonia was re-established on August 21, 1991, not too bad of an accomplishment for a country of about 1,300,000 inhabitants. To go along with the country's David vs. Goliath reputation, they also garner a great literary tradition. However, if any Sherlockian were to read and believe Ronald B. De Waal's The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes (New York Graphic Society; March 24, 1975), they would not be so enthused. According to Mr. De Waal, Estonia only published a single translation of the Canon.

I am writing today to set the record straight. The census I have regarding Estonian translations of the Canon sits at 45 editions. The one edition listed in De Waal is Baskerville'ide koer (Eesti raamat, 1973), C2692. In a letter I received from the Estonian National Library, dated June 23, 1989 (before their independence), one of their librarians list 40 editions and 34 of those were canonical. The earliest editions I found were Mõrtsukatöö Boscombe orus (Postimees, 1895), obviously "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" and "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" - Läbi akna ehk saladusline tuba (Dreimann, 1896). They were published nearly 80 years earlier than the De Waal entry. He is not to be blamed because his massively impressive work was compilied long before the luxury of having the Internet to do all of the heavy lifting. There are other editions from 1898, 1900, 1906, and 1907.

Viis apelsiniseemet: Kriminaaljutustus
I am particularly fond of a 1938 set of booklets published in Tartu by the publisher J. Mällos. Each volume includes a single canonical story. Luckily I have all five of them in my collection. The stories are FIVE; YELL; SPEC; CROO; and BERY. All of the booklets feature a monochrome front cover but not in the standard black, gray, and white.  No indeed. Every booklet features various shades of red or orange or sepia. Each cover speaks volumes while reflecting a minimalistic attitude. Maybe they were some kind of Soviet area subtle propaganda. Regardless of any overt or subversive meaning they are still some of my favorite from any language.

There are other editions published in the 1940's that feature covers that are reflective of the Hollywood glamor photographs of the time. There is a gap where nothing was published in the 1950's or 1960's. The previously mentioned HOUN from 1973 seems to be the first resurgence of Holmes publications. After this one was published, many others followed. The most recent one came out in 2010. Sherlock Holmesi lühijutud (Kirjastus Varrak, 2010) is a collection of all of the short stories, weighing in at nearly 800 pages.

Estonia offers a vast array of old, new, and interesting translations of the Canon and with a little digging and Sherlocking, you too can have a collection of books you cannot read.

Happy Collecting!

Kollane nägu: Kriminaaljutustus               Täpiline pael: Kriminaaljutustus
                   (YELL)                                                           (SPEC)

Salapärane Mees: Kriminaaljutustus          Berüllidest kroon: krimianaalroman
                  (CROO)                                                             (BERY)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Inspector Lestrade Is Back

The first thing to go is one's memory, or so I've heard. I have so many passwords that I cannot remember them all. That is exactly what happened with this blog. After I created the last post, I changed jobs, changed computers, changed iPads, changed iPhones, well you get the picture.

Every device requires a password. One 65 year old brain and a dozen or so places that need a password. I simply forgot my Gmail password. During the BSI Weekend last week, one of the three or so readers of my blog asked when I was going to do a new post. It has only been about 1 1/2 years since the last one. So here is the first "new" post in a long, long time. I hope to get back into the swing of things in the coming year. Only time will tell.

Happy collecting!