About Sherlocking

Several years ago, I (Sean) co-founded a fan blog/site for the BBC Sherlock series (sherlocking.org). It didn’t last long (through the second series of the show) before we got hacked, shut down the site, and then moved on to other interests. In 2020, my interests turned back to things Sherlockian, and I decided to start anew with this hobby. I saw that the old @sherlocking Twitter account still had many followers, and so decided to revive “sherlocking” under this new URL (the old domain name having been poached long ago).

Instead of trying to report on a television franchise or host a community, I’ll be talking about… me! And whatever strikes my fancy with regards to Sherlock Holmes. It dawned on me after setting this up that the name is unfortunately a bit similar in name to sherlockian.net, an excellent resource that this site has no affiliation with. But, perhaps reflective of this site’s use of the verb form of “sherlock,” sherlocking.net isn’t a “resource” as much as it is a way to see someone “doing” a kind of fandom. Expect something more idiosyncratic, sloppy, and evolving.

This new site — sherlocking.net — is thus a personal blog about my re-engagement with the world of Sherlockiana, Holmesian stuff, and other related hobbies. I’ll be documenting my reread of the original 56 stories and four novels, I’ll talk about the film, TV, radio, and game adaptations I come across, and I’ll be posting about participation in the increasingly-online world of Sherlock Holmes communities, BSI scions, and the like. I hope you’ll enjoy reading along.

In real life, I’m a professor at the University of Virginia, married with a couple of kids, but I doubt much of that will make it into this site. I’ll be focusing on my Sherlockian interests exclusively here, and is a way for me to continue a lifelong interest in these 56 stories, four novels, and sundry other adaptations, pastiches, and the like.

When I was a kid, I first remember reading these (I presume abridged?) editions, published by Moby Books:

I lost them years ago and found a copy of the Adventures at a thrift store just a few months ago (where it now sits on my son’s bookshelf). I soon moved on to the Berkley paperback editions of the 1970s and 1980s, and then a paperback version of this beautiful beast:

… which was my most cherished edition for many years, eventually replaced by the hardback pictured above, the Baring-Gould annotated editions, the Klinger annotated editions, and the Lancelyn Green-edited Oxford annotated editions. I’m not drawn to collecting rare stuff, original printings, or anything like that — I’m still working on a collection of the Sherlock Holmes Reference Library editions and the Penguin UK “Read Red Classics” paperbacks, because, apparently, I just need more readable editions!

That said, I’ve got a Sherlockian Amazon Wish List here, and if you’re feeling generous and want to send me anything, feel free to!

While my interests have always been centered around the original sixty, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the major influence that three adaptations, pastiches, and extensions of the Canon had on me as a kid in the 1980s.

The first, the tabletop game Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, was profoundly important for me as both a fan of Holmes and as a budding board gamer. The next, Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space, was both a very fun set of science fiction pastiches, as well as the place where I first learned about the Baker Street Irregulars and “the grand game” (via Asimov’s description in “The Ultimate Crime”). The third, shown here in DVD form, was the Jeremy Brett-led Granada production of the 1980s-1990s, which is still the definitive filmed Holmes for me. I have a soft spot in my heart for various other adaptations — Hammer’s Hound, the Livanov Holmes, the Merrison radio Holmes, Gielgud’s radio Holmes, Cumberbatch’s modern interpretation, even Downey Jr.’s very different version. As I flesh out this site, I might revisit some or all of these.

Finally, I should mention that, as an adult, I’ve tried my hand at a little Sherlockian writing (with a chapter in Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy), though I’d like to write more. If anyone has suggestions for venues or advice on how to write well for these kinds of communities, please get in touch. For starters, I have what I think is a solid reinterpretation of something in The Sign of the Four that could make an interesting short piece.

I’m eager to get more involved with Sherlockian groups, too. I’ve been an member of the Madison, Wisconsin, USA scion of the Baker Street Irregulars called The Notorious Canary-Trainers. I was active in that group from 2007-2011 or so, and have recently rejoined them via Zoom during recent months. I’ve attended a grand total of one (virtual!) meeting of The Red Circle of Washington DC, and hope to travel up the road to visit them in person when COVID-19 has subsided. Lately, I’ve started attending a bunch of the weekly movie screenings on Zoom run by Monica Schmidt (“Julia Stoner,” BSI), and so that means I’m also an official member of the new online Sherlockian group called “Theatre-Goers Homeward Bound.”

I am also very interested in joining an existing or starting a new group (hopefully an eventual BSI scion) here in Charlottesville, Virginia. There was once one here called “The Game Is Afoot,” but that appears to have gone inactive sometime in the past few decades. So, I think we’ll be starting one with a new name and recruiting a new membership. Anyone with suggestions on good approaches to starting a group are welcome to get in touch, too.

Anyway, if you’ve just stumbled across this site and read through all of this, welcome! I’m going to revise the site as I go, flesh this out in bits and pieces over the summer, and add more in-depth pieces to the blog whenever it strikes my fancy. Comments are permanently off, but if you want to get in touch, I am most easily findable on Twitter at @sherlocking, and I look forward to hearing from you.