The Red Circle is Sherlock's home in Washington DC. Now in our seventh decade, we continue to celebrate his immortality and enjoy each other's company.
All are welcome to join us and share our interest in all things Sherlockian and Doylean.

Next Meeting

Friday, March 18, 2016
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Drinks at 6:00 -- Dinner at 7:00
Guest Speaker
Ray Betzner
"Studies in Starrett"



Monograms Quiz Winners Announced, Answers Revealed  After being downloaded by well over 200 Sherlockians, three correct solutions were submitted to Dana Richards' "Monograms" quiz. Congratulations to Nancy Stanley, Denny Dobry and, ahem, your webmaster for correctly linking all 60 clues to the characters they describe. If you haven't looked at this clever challenge (or even if you have), you can find the quiz here, and the answers here. Trivial but heartfelt prizes will be awarded the winners, and we trust that Dana is already working hard on his next test of our Sherlockian savvy.

Website Tallies 100,000 Visits  On January 2, 2016 The Red Circle website marked 100,000 visits since its launch in October of 2010. But more gratifying than the total is the steady increase in traffic each year. From 5,500 visits in 2011, our first full year, we logged some 32,000 in 2015--a six-fold increase. So we're pausing for a little cock-a-doodle of victory as we press on. Thanks to you for your interest, and thanks to all who help us keep the content reasonably fresh and the memory green: Peter Blau's "Scuttlebutt" is still the gold standard for all things Sherlockian, Carla Coupe writes our Meeting Notes, and many others are credited in our Writings section. All are due a bow, as is Bob Howard who provides our bandwidth and our troubleshooting. Finally, a tip of the deerstalker to our muse, Horace Harker of the Central Press Syndicate! -- Alan Rettig, Webmaster

Start Her Up, Watson! This previously unpublished photo of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was taken by Nils Rettig, a Swede who visited the German health resort Bad Homburg vor der Höhe on July 5, 1911 in connection with the Anglo-German motor race Prinz Heinrich-Fahrt (the Prince Henry tour). Nils Rettig, who your webmaster hopes is an ancestor, took photos of many of the royal drivers, along with this photo of Conan Doyle. Conan Doyle and his wife Jean took part in the tour, which went from Hamburg to London, from July 4 to 20. Conan Doyle drove a 20 horsepowered Dietrich-Lorraine. Thanks to Skånelaholms slott for posting this unique photo - and to Martin Rundkvist for tipping us off about it!

 MEETING NOTES from our December 4 meeting are available here. Julianne Burke's presentation on The Valley of Fear is reported by Carla Coupe.

Hark! The Herald eBay Thing  From London, Roger Johnson points out an unusual plaque he discovered for sale on eBay. The seller admits he has no idea what the heraldry means, but describes the iconography as the deerstalker and pipe of Sherlock Holmes, a truncheon and handcuffs, a fountain pen and broken sword, stripes, with the red hand of Ulster in the center. The plaque was sold for £12.50 (about $19.00). Both Jean Upton and your webmaster think that the pen and sword probably signify "The pen is mightier than the sword," and that the plaque might represent an Irish mystery writers' group. But we'll probably never really know.

Sherlock Holmes
, the new play by Greg Kramer and starring David Arquette, is reviewed by webmaster Alan Rettig. Read it here. Comments? E-mail Alan here. The show moved from Washington to Chicago on November 23, where David Arquette gave an interview saying, incredibly, that American actors should not play Sherlock Holmes. Now he tells us! Read the interview here.

The Exercising Men   The Washington Post is out with its 2016 calendar, featuring the work of their fine photographers. Terry Rettig alerts us to the image for September, captured by Jonathan Newton, which reveals a line of early risers exercising in front of the Reflecting Pool. The Red Circle has it on good authority that Mr. Holmes is already hard at work finding the hidden meaning, although he might find it a somewhat more daunting task than cracking the code used by Elsie Patrick Cubitt and Mr. Slaney. Still, it should not go unnoticed that the photographer was standing on the steps of Abe's Memorial. We are confident that the great detective will eventually get to the bottom of it all, and reveal to the world the message from these daybreak over-achievers!

MEETING NOTES from the Red Circle's September 25 meeting are available here. Thanks once again to Carla Coupe for a fine writeup.

The Times hated it!  When The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes was first published in the United States, the New York Times took a dim view of the effort. "The reader leaves Mr. Sherlock Holmes at the bottom of a Swiss precipice, smashed into smithereens, and with the sincere hope that Mr. Doyle will never resuscitate him." So much for spoiler alerts. The Times hadn't been any kinder when the first group of stories was published by Harper Brothers in 1892. They panned The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by saying of the detective, "You get a little weary of his perspicacity." Now the Times has published these reviews--and more--under a short cover piece by Mark Bulik. The whole package is a must read, and you can find it here. This illustration is the cover of your webmaster's copy of the Harper Brothers edition of The Adventures. It's the 1900 printing, not the rare 1892, but it is still fun to read from a volume that was printed while so much of the Canon was yet to be written!

Red Letter Day for the Red Circle  About 100 Red Circle members and friends converged on the Bethesda Row Cinema on September 26 for the Washington Metro Area premiere of the 1916 classic film Sherlock Holmes, starring William Gillette. Peter Blau introduced the screening, noting the overwhelming impact of Gillette's performances onstage and in this film on the early popularity of the great detective, and on his subsequent staying power. It was clear after watching the marvelously restored film that a great debt is owed Mr. Gillette by Sherlockians past, present and future. A collection of photos from the screening can be found to the right below the calendar.

What's the double meaning of this?  Russian Sherlockian Alexander Orlov notes that this ad for the London production of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch is open to more than one interpretation. Of course, when we see it we're meant to think, "Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio." But Mr. Orlov suggests that another passage also fits: "A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum." That's Dr. James Mortimer's professional judgment early in The Hound of the Baskervilles after impertinently asking to run his finger along Sherlock Holmes' parietal fissure. It seems that, try as he might, Mr. Cumberbatch cannot escape the thrall of the detective at 221B.

More opportunities to see Hamlet  Peter Blau reports that the National Theatre's stage-to-screen production of Cumberbatch's Hamlet is "imaginatively staged and full of energy." The premiere performance on October 15 will be followed by numerous encores around the country. To find screenings near you, click here.

William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes on Blu-ray/DVD  Those who enjoyed The Red Circle's theatrical screening of William Gillette's classic 1916 film Sherlock Holmes will be glad to know that they can watch it again at home, now that Flicker Alley has released the combination Blu-ray/DVD three-disc set. In addition to the beautifully restored film, the discs are handsomely packaged with an informative booket, and are loaded with many attractive extras. You can order now at the usual online outlets, and--at a nice discount--from the film's distributor, Flicker Alley.

But wait. . .there's more!  There's also an excellent book about the film, in French and English, prepared by Thierry Saint-Joanis for the Société Sherlock Holmes de France, full of excellent illustrations, and you can see thumb-nail images of its pages, and purchase the book, at the society's website  

Political allusions (or is it illusions?)  Proud of the society's location, members of The Red Circle have for decades enjoyed keeping watch for political allusions to the Canon, and we already have the first such discovery from the ongoing if not perpetual campaign for the presidency: In The Washington Post's Plum Line blog, Greg Sargent writes. . ."The internet is a fickle place. For weeks, it lavished attention on the storyline that Jeb Bush was destined to play the role of chief antagonist to Donald Trump — Jeb would be Sherlock Holmes to Trump’s Professor Moriarty, bravely calling out Trump’s vile demagoguery and basking in accolades from it. But Jeb’s efforts to challenge Trump failed to capture the imagination."

GridLOCK DC 2015, the annual Sherlock Holmes DC confab, concluded its second convention and its second success in August. Nea Dodson's excellent report on all the fun is posted in our Writings section, and you can jump directly to it by clicking here.

Meeting Notes 
from the Red Circle's June 26 dinner meeting are available

  • Scuttlebutt: One Fixed Point in a Changing Age  Our own Peter Blau's monthly Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press has endured for more than four decades, and has a permanent home right here on our website. It's the most remarkable collection of Sherlockian news and notes anywhere, and your webmaster recommends a monthly visit. The very latest edition is available now, as are past numbers. It's just a click away--use the "Scuttlebutt" button at the top of the page.
    • Be an Inner Circle Contributor We welcome submissions from all quarters for this page. Please direct materials to the webmaster, alan@redcircledc.org
    • For earlier, archived items from The Inner Circle, click here.