Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Mystery of Sherlock Holmes' Birthday (and how to celebrate it)

Arthur Conan Doyle never told us what day his brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes was born. That small detail, however, has not stopped fans from determining and setting - and celebrating! - that day.

Why January 6?

According to the article "The Curious Case of a Birthday for Sherlock", by Jennifer Lee:
Paul Singleton, a Sherlockian scholar and actor in New York, said Christopher Morley made the following argument: Sherlock Holmes quotes Shakespeare often, but the only play he quotes twice is “Twelfth Night.” “He determined that Sherlock Holmes was born on the twelfth night, which is January 6.” (That date would coincide with the night of the 12 drummers drumming from the famed song.).

Hmm. Okay. But what about the year? Also from the same article:
The birth year is less up for dispute: 1854. The argument for that? In 1914, Mr. Holmes was described to be a man of 60 when he was instrumental in the capture and arrest of a Prussian spy known as Von Bork. Nonetheless, his centennial was celebrated in 1987, 100 years after he first arrived in print.

The Baker Street Irregulars were originally a group of street urchins that Holmes used as his eyes and ears on the street. The name has been adopted to refer to the *New York City based literary society dedicated to the study of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Victorian world* that began in 1934. They publish the Baker Street Journal and have a trust that is dedicated to raising funds for research for their members. They meet annually in January for a dinner and celebration of all things Sherlock. Because they refused admittance into the group by women until 1991, women fans of Holmes formed their own group, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, in the 60s.

So, how do you celebrate the birthday of the illustrious Sherlock Holmes? Oh, so easy.

I admit it, I am a huge fan of the BBC series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.

But long before I ever saw my first episode of this show, I loved both Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

and Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.

So the first thing you can do to celebrate is to watch any of these. You may also be interested to know that both Peter Cushing and Michael Caine have both also played Holmes on screen. And, of course, my least favorite, Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. Hey, I'm not hating on the actor. I totally love him as Iron Man! I just didn't care for this interpretation of Holmes.

Of course, if you'd rather read than watch it on tv, you simply must get The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I read it years ago and it is still one of my favorites.

What kind of party would it be without food? By all means, try the Dining With Sherlock Holmes Cookbook or the Unofficial Sherlock Holmes Cookbook. I did come across this recipe online:

1 1/2 ounces single-malt Scotch, preferably Laphroaig
2 ounces chilled brewed Lapsang souchong tea
1 ounce Honey Syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice  Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir well. Double strain into a chilled coupe.

It is called, what else, Sherlock Holmes.

Whatever you do, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you simply must do something to celebrate today!

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