The Norbury Chronicle

 e-newsletter of the Holmesian Studies SIG of American Mensa

since ’88, Baker Street Irregulars scion since ‘95

 "Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed." (Mark 4:22)

Issue XXXVII                                                                                                  Spring '12

Sig News

W e have designated Stanley Wyllie, as coordinator in case the designated coordinator, yours truly, cannot fulfill the role any longer.

I t also time to assign scionyms, our scion aliases from “The Yellow Face”. [Note the names marked with an M are Mensans, the others are not, but also welcome to contribute. Please do!

Peter E. Blau “Frank Open” (YELL 60:B), Laura J. Brauer (M) “Her Mother’s Pet” (145:E), Arden Cookie “Muscular Athletic Fellow” (21:L), Steve Emecz “Young Man” (22:A), Michael Halm (M) “Friend at Norbury” (122:E), Robert Hubbard “Self-contained Man” (33:B), Alek Matthew Kristola (“One Who Throws Reserve to the Wind” (33:C), Patrice Mooney (M) Person Who Is Watching” (53:C), Razilee Purdue “Amber Mouthpiece” (11:G), Mark Quire “Frank Nature” (60:B), Martin V. Ruppert (M) “Mother’s Pet” (145:E), Joan Blumetti Santapaga (M) “Woman of … Open Nature” (60:B), Bill Sheretz (M) “Muscular Man” (16:D), Peggy Stapledon (M) “Woman Who Brushes” (34:E), Shirley Starke (M) “Faithful … Woman (145:H), Lu Ann Thompson (M) “Mrs. Hebron” (37:C), Milton Toby (M) “Man … Intelligent-looking” (144:B), “Dennis Tomlinson (M) “One Who Throws” (33:C), Robin Trent “Nurse” (145:N, Q, 146:E), Stanley Wyllie (M) “Energetic Fellow” (21:L)

The Green Verge Mystery

U nexpectedly I discovered a Holmes mystery in Logic Made Easy by R. H. Warring. I quote: “One spring day you come across two round stones and a carrot lying close together on a grassy verge.” The author proposes that Holmes’ kind of logic would lead one to conclude that “A boy built a snowman here in the second week of February.” and then proceed to where the boy spent his holiday. Rather than following Holmes’ reasoning – that two round stones and a carrot have never been known to be together except as a snowman’s face, or perhaps in stone soup.

H e seems to prefer playing the part of Watson or Lestrade by coming up with theories already rejected. The stones were not like the irregular stones already there, or even the traditional coal, but oopos, out-of-place-objects, round skipping stones from the beach at Brighton. He suggests that a girl would have made a snowball nose rather than a carrot, but Holmes I suspect had more to go on than that, perhaps a boy-sized footprint or stick-arms. He hypothesizes they are window breaking stones from a would-be burglar thwarted by a cook’s flung carrot or stones and carrot flung by a gardener. There is however no garden beyond a hedge, no kitchen window mentioned, only the grassy verge, a boundary between grass and the ungrassy pathway, a place where something is expected to happen, most likely in Hyde Park where just able anything could happen.

A dmittedly Watson in his retelling of such mysteries often does tend toward the dramatic and the suspenseful storytelling rather than the giving of a logic lesson, but using what facts the reader is given and what is, or should be, common knowledge and eliminating the impossible does lead to valid conclusions. Later in the book Warring does write about using probabilities and generalities based on experience rather than certainties for the basis of logic.

Young Sherlock Holmeses

I  had been of the opinion that Sherlock Holmes was born sometime after 1854, thinking him more of a boy genius, a Mensan, like the rest of us. But recently I discovered in The Math Book that that was the year George Boole published An Investigation into the Laws of Thought on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities, a most auspicious year for the birth of the Great Detective. We have been exploring a couple series on the Great Detective as a young man.

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

In 1868 Holmes goes to live with his uncle and aunt in Hampshire and encounters the mad Maurentis. We are about to start Rebel. So far they make me want to hunt for the rest of the series, Red Leech, Black Ice, and Fire Storm.

Boy Sherlock Holmes series by Shane Peacock

These were interesting adventures, though in universe where as we expect nothing is as it seems. “Holmes” doesn’t sound Jewish!

Eye of the Crow

I n 1867 Sherlock Holmes investigates Lily Irving’s brutal murder in the East End, where like St. Meinrad’s murder, crows are the only witnesses. His investigations lead to the murder of his mother, Rose Sherringford Holmes, but also a tenuous partnership with Lestrade.

Death in the Air

A fter his mother’s murder Sherlock gives up investigating for a while, but then while visiting his father Wilberforce Holmes, ornithologist at the Crystal Palace, he witnesses the attempted murder of the a trapeze artist, “Le Coq” Mercure. Lestrade ends up taking the credit in the end, but Holmes decides he must continue to investigate.

The Secret Fiend

T here are new Springheel Jack sightings and Holmes’ girl friends Beatrice and Irene (!) are threatened.

The Dragon Turn

S herlock attempts to slay a dragon and rescue a damsel in distress. I liked this one the best.


Mr. E.’s Mysteries

  Mr. E. and his faithful companion, Daniel Buncombe, were visiting an old friend in Boston since they had a unexpected layover between engagements. When they arrived at Russell Bertrand’s mansion the butler, recognized them immediately, of course, and escorted them into Russell’s favorite room, his library, even though that meant he was not to be disturbed. It was immediately obvious that he had been.

  Dan found him dead in his easy chair, as if he had fallen asleep, with the Bible open in his lap. The butler informed us that his master had not been feeling well lately, but had refused to go see the doctor. As Dan busied himself with consoling the butler that it wasn’t his fault, that apparently their friend knew his time had come. Mr. E. however busied himself with investigating further.

   “Ee! Ee!” Mr. E. cried.

   “What are you saying, Mr. E.? Do you observe something we missed?”

   Dan re-examined the Bible and discovered what he had missed before. It was upside-down in Russell’s lap! He hadn’t been reading and fallen quietly asleep. Mr. E.’s directed Dan’s attention to the tea cup on the small table next the the easy chair, but before they could examine it, the butler reached for it and dropped it.

   “How clumsy of me. Although I expected this, I seem to be more upset than I thought.”, he says carefully removing the broken pieces.

   “How about if I take those, if you don’t mind. It could be evidence.”

   “Oo! Oo!”

   “Oo, Mr. E. has found something else, I think. Not only has the Bible been moved from its place in Russell’s well organized library, but I can see from here that another book has as well. Yes, that’s the one, Mr. E., there on the top shelf, the one that’s also upside-down.”

    Mr. E. climbed back down after pulling the book off the shelf so that it fell to the floor. Upon doing so the book, Gone With the Wind, fell open to reveal an envelope. The butler made a move for it like he had the cup, but this time Mr. E. was too fast for him. By that time Dan was already to the phone and calling the police.

   “Thank you, Mr. E. Well done! I suspect that this is the Mr. Bertrand’s new will with you cut out of it, am I right? It’s too bad that you didn’t notice either of the odd books or you might have gotten away with your scheme.


What Do We Know about James Phillimore?

We know that there were at least four James Phillimores.

u    1875 James Phillimore’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Smithers, said he had a re-occuring illness and had recently given a surprise gift to his wife, Lavinia "Vinnie" Phillimore (Mrs. Hudson and the Malabar Rose by Martin Davies) We suspect that that surprise gift was a painting by Algernon Redfern aka Felix Ruber, linked to a neighbor’s strange death ("The Finishing Stroke" by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec in Gaslight Grimoire) The only clues were footsteps leading to a scorched circle on the floor and the ferrule or protective metal cap of his umbrella. Two identical James Phillimores on a 1906 kinescope led Holmes to Ambrose Bierce and Alistair Crowley. ("The Enigma of the Warwickshire Vortex" by Mike Ashley in The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures)

u    The second James Phillimore was the shape-shifting alien who interrupted Holmes’ cousin A. J. Raffles and Harry "Bunny" Manders’ attempted jewel robbery, escaping on the Alicia. ("The Problem of the Sore Bridge - Among Others" by Harry Manders in Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space) In 1887 as “Samuel Gossage” this alien tried to confuses things by trying to connecting the disappearance with other Yellow Tophat Mysteries ("The Singular Adventure of the Eccentric Gentleman" by Alan Stockwell in The Singular Adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes) This alien, aka “Herr Doktor Bechstein”, visited Holmes yet again in 1933 as “Señor Mercado-Mendez” and through him Holmes became a consulting detective for the Galactic Council from Mack Reynolds ("The Adventure of the Extraterrestrial" in Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space)

u    1891 English Prof. J. Adrian Fillmore changed the spelling of his surname to Phillimore, confusing things even more, after saving Holmes at Reichenbach Falls, but losing Moriarty’s “incredible umbrella” he’d bought used. He was transported by genie to Moriarty’s secret lair in Flatland. (The Incredible Umbrella) Holmes apparently used the ferrule from 1875 to get there and recover both the umbrella and Fillmore.

u    1895 Yet another James Phillimore was married to Alice, whose ex-husband Harvey Maynard was blackmailing her. ("The Adventure of the Forgotten Umbrella" by Mel Gilden) He may have been connected to Mortimer Phillimore, who also visited Holmes, and then committed suicide in 1901. This James Phillimore escaped with trickery, not devilry or alien technology; Maynard did not. ("The Remarkable Disappearance of James Phillimore" by Paul D. Gilbert in The Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes) This is similar to James Cabpleasure’s 1893 disappearance. His wife, Gloria, came to Holmes because of his obsession with his umbrella, suspected of holding diamonds stolen from his employer. He aids henpecked Cabpleasure in his escape. ("The Adventure of the Highgate Miracle" in The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes)

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