Our 26th meeting was conducted on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was (from left to right) Candace, Michelle, Pat, Rick, Tom, Barb, Beth, Henry, and Bill (taking the picture).
Notes from this meeting:
Although it was not yet time to discuss the story for tonight's meeting (which was "A Study in Scarlett"), several members could not wait to comment on the Mormons and the part they planed in the story. Just after 7pm, I started the meeting and told everyone that we would have to postpone that discussion until it was time! Also, we were all saddened to hear that this will be Henry's last meeting with us. Henry is moving to Chapel Hill, and we wish him all the best! He will be GREATLY missed!
Mystery Quote: The Mystery quote was from the "Adventure of the Priory School". By the way, Tom chose this particular quote because of ACD's colorful language ("We stared in silent amazement at this ponderous piece of wreckage..."). Bill, Rick, Barb, and Candace get credit for correctly naming this story.
Mystery Character Description: Candace brought us the mystery character, which turned out to be Mary Morston from the story "The Sign of Four". Bill and Candace get credit for guessing the story!
Mystery to Solve: The mystery was entitled "An evening with Pat and Mike". This story was difficult, and yielded much discussion and many questions concerning the solution. Credit for helping solve this mystery was Michelle, who correctly identified the piece of paper to be a suicide note, and Beth, who correctly that the cause of death was poison. Candace receives honorable mention for asking questions which led to the discovery that Pat was blind.
Story to Discuss: Henry did a great job at presenting the story "A Study in Scarlett". Everyone participated in a lively discussion of this story, which made for an interesting evening.
Plans for the August Meeting:
Since so many of our members are travelling during the month of July, we have decided to skip that month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, August 20, 2019, at 7pm. Bill volunteered to lead a discussion on "The Gloria Scott", and Beth agreed to bring mystery Character. The Mystery to solve is shown below:
Our 25th meeting was conducted on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was (from left to right) Candace, Barb, Pat, Michelle, Tom, Rick, Bill, Beth, Henry, and Barry (sorry you got "cut in half", Candace). Just an observation, but why is Tom and Rick leaning to their left?
Notes from the May Meeting:
Our 25th meeting began at around 7pm as usual, with small talk about what's new with members present. Tom reported on the brief interaction with the SH club in Mt. Olive, which really never got off the ground.
Mystery Quote: The Mystery quote was from the "Adventure of the Dancing Men" - Barry, Rick, Barb, and Candace get credit for correctly naming this story.
Mystery Character Description: Pat brought us the mystery character, which turned out to be Grimsby Roylett from the story "The Speckled Band". Noone gets credit for this one!
Mystery to Solve: The mystery was entitled "A fatal attack of gas", which was difficult, but not unsolvable. Barry guessed correctly that the oxygen container that was supposed to keep the millionaire safe was actually the murder weapon. Candace guess that the glass enclosure was actually the revolving door in the man's building.
Story to Discuss: Michelle did a great job at presenting the story "The Stockbroker's Clerk".
Show and Tell:
Plans for the June Meeting:
The June meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at 7pm. The place will be Beach PC, 5905 Carolina Beach Road, #7 in Monkey Junction. The mystery quote to identify is as follows:
"We have had some dramatic entrances and exits upon our small stage at Baker Street, but I cannot recollect anything more sudden and startling than the first appearance of Thorneycroft Huxtable, M.A., Ph.D., etc. His card, which seemed too small to carry the weight of his academic distinctions, preceded him by a few seconds, and then he entered himself -- so large, so pompous, and so dignified that he was the very embodiment of self-possession and solidity. And yet his first action, when the door had closed behind him, was to stagger against the table, whence he slipped down upon the floor, and there was that majestic figure prostrate and insensible upon our bearskin hearth-rug. We had sprung to our feet, and for a few moments we stared in silent amazement at this ponderous piece of wreckage, which told of some sudden and fatal storm far out on the ocean of life."
The Mystery character description will be brought by Candace, and the story to discuss will be "A Study in Scarlett", led by Henry. The mystery to solve will be as follows:
Our 24th meeting was conducted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was (from left to right) Barry, Barb, Candace, Michelle, Pat, Rick, Bill, Henry, and myself (Tom).
Our 24th meeting began at around 7pm as usual, with small talk about what's new with members present. Pat & Michelle discussed their upcoming trip to NYC, and that led to several comments about NYC from other members. In addition, Tom mentioned to the group that our mailing list of people interested in our Club has grown to 32. Even so, we still average about 10-12 at each meeting.
Tom chose a very easy quote this month, which was from the Red Headed League. In fact that it was so easy, that everyone get's credit for guessing it!
Mystery Character Description:
Tom brought the mystery character, which turned out to be Henry Baker from the story The Blue Carbuncle. No one recalled the man's name, but many guessed the name of the story. Credit goes to Barry, Michelle, Pat, Candace and Rick.
Show and Tell:
Tom brought one his smaller statues of SH, as well as a SH Zippo lighter. Also, Tom passed around the Baker Street Almanac, which he had just recently received in the mail. Henry quickly pointed out that our club was recognized by the Almanac, along with one other club in North Carolina. At that news, Tom proposed that we plan a future trip to Mt. Olive to visit them during one of their meetings.
Mystery to Solve:
Tonight's mystery was entitled "Terminal Encounter", which was rather difficult. The solution turned out to be the result of a common cold. The killer planted poison in a place that would hopefully be consumed by the victim, then promptly gave her a cold by spending "close up" time with her at the airport. Michelle gets credit for figuring out that the poison was added to the victim's cough syrup, which hopefully she would drink when she got a cold from the killer. Congratulations Michelle!
Assigned Story to Discuss:
The Copper Beeches was brought to us by Candace, who did a great job at describing the story, and then leading us in a discussion. Well done, Candace!
Plans for the May meeting:
It was agreed that the May meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 21st, at 7pm, at the usual place.
The mystery quote:
A heavy step was heard upon the stairs, and an instant later there entered a tall, ruddy, cleanshaven gentleman, whose clear eyes and florid cheeks told of a life led far from the fogs of Baker Street. He seemed to bring a whiff of his strong, fresh, bracing, east-coast air with him as he entered. Having shaken hands with each of us, he was about to sit down when his eye rested upon the paper with the curious markings, which I had just examined and left upon the table. “Well, Mr. Holmes, what do you make of these?” he cried. “They told me that you were fond of queer mysteries, and I don’t think you can find a queerer one than that. I sent the paper on ahead so that you might have time to study it before I came.”
The Mystery Character will be brought by Pat, and the story will be The Stockbrokers Clerk brought to us by Michelle. The Mystery to solve is shown below:
Our 23rd meeting was conducted on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was (from left to right) Barry, Barb, Candace, Pat, Michelle, Rick, Bill, Henry, and myself (Tom).
Notes from this Meeting:
INTRODUCTION: The meeting began on time, and everyone seemed to be in a jolly mood.
MYSTERY QUOTE: Credit for the correct identification of the quote is awarded to Rick, Barb, Candace, Barry, and Michelle. The answer was "The Yellow Face".
SHOW AND TELL: Tom passed around several Sherlock Holmes comic books for everyone to see.
MYSTERY CHARACTER: Candace presented a description of Irene Adler, and only Rick, Barry, and Michele guessed the character's identity. The story was "Scandal in Bohemia", which featured Irene Adler.
MYSTERY TO SOLVE: The mystery at tonight's meeting was entitled, "Good help is hard to find", and was joint credit for the solution goes to Candace and Henry. The crime was a death, which turned out to be suicide. The housekeeper was in on it, and was guilty of assisting the deceased in killing himself. In a nutshell, the knife which was used to kill the deceased was tied to a vacuum cleaner cord, which retracted after the deceased let it go. The Housekeeper then removed the knife later when she was alone. It was staged like this to make it look like an unsolvable murder, and that way the insurance would pay for the death.
TONIGHT'S STORY: Henry led us in a discussion of "The Horror of the Heights", a story written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Although this was not a Sherlock Holmes story, it was nevertheless very entertaining. In fact, Henry also drew pictures to illustrate his presentation as shown below:
Plans for the April Meeting:
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, and be held at Beach PC, 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7. The starting time is 7pm, and the meetings usually last until 8:30pm. All are welcome to attend, but, it would be a nice gesture to let Tom know in advance if you plan to come.
“Now, it is a fact, gentlemen, as you may see for yourselves, that my hair is of a very full and rich tint, so that it seemed to me that if there was to be any competition in the matter I stood as good a chance as any man that I had ever met. Vincent Spaulding seemed to know so much about it that I thought he might prove useful, so I just ordered him to put up the shutters for the day and to come right away with me. He was very willing to have a holiday, so we shut the business up and started off for the address that was given us in the advertisement."
MYSTERY CHARACTER: To be perfectly honest with you all, I can't recall who agreed to bring a character description... so hopefully if it's you, then you will be ready. LOL
STORY TO DISCUSS: The story we are discussing is "The Copper Beeches". You can watch the full length video starring Jeremy Brett below:
MYSTERY TO SOLVE:
Our 22nd meeting was conducted on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was (from left to right) Barry, Candace, Barb, Michelle, Pat, Rick, Beth, Bill, Linda, Henry, and myself (Tom).
Notes from this meeting:
INTRODUCTION: The meeting began about 10 minutes late. Tonight's small talk on one side of the room was political, and on the other, it was quite literary. But finally, when everyone settled down, we began.
MYSTERY QUOTE: Credit for the correct identification of the quote is awarded to Barb, Candace, Barry, Bill, Pat, and Beth. It was a description taken from the story "The Musgrave Ritual", and everyone agreed that it was pretty easy.
MYSTERY CHARACTER: Candace did a marvelous job with two character descriptions. In both cases, she actually read the descriptions as if she was the character! Very well done! Credit will be awarded to herself, Bill, Pat and Beth. The first was a character from "The Noble Bachelor", and the second was a character from "The Empty House."
SHOW AND TELL: Tonight, Tom brought two books - one large book that described how SH came about, and a very small book containing only 2 stories. He also brought the Sherlock Holmes action figure.
MYSTERY TO SOLVE: The mystery at tonight's meeting was entitled, "Melvin Plays the Ponies", and was correctly solved by Henry. In case you missed the meeting, the solution is as follows: "This is an old con game that can be performed by any criminal willing to make several hunded telephone calls - 343 at first, then 49, then 7 more. Eventually, one name will surface that has won all three races, and that person is the patsy that will fall victim to the criminals activities." If you need more of an explanation than that, please give me a call!
TONIGHT'S STORY: Rick did a great job leading us in a discussion of ACD's story entitled "The Final Problem." As we discussed this story, much was revealed about ACD himself, and how he wrote his stories. Furthermore, we discussed the impact that Sherlock Holmes has had on the world, and the pressure that ACD was under to bring him back from the grave!
Plans for the March, 2019 meeting:
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, and be held at Beach PC, 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7. The starting time is 7pm, and the meetings usually last until 8:30pm. All are welcome to attend, but, it would be a nice gesture to let Tom know in advance if you plan to come.
“The facts are these, Mr. Holmes,” said he. “I am a married man, and have been so for three years. During that time my wife and I have loved each other as fondly and lived as happily as any two that ever were joined. We have not had a difference, not one, in thought or word or deed. And now, since last Monday, there has suddenly sprung up a barrier between us, and I find that there is something in her life and in her thought of which I know as little as if she were the woman who brushes by me in the street. We are estranged, and I want to know why.
“Now there is one thing that I want to impress upon you before I go any further, Mr. Holmes. Effie loves me. Don’t let there be any mistake about that. She loves me with her whole heart and soul, and never more than now. I know it. I feel it. I don’t want to argue about that. A man can tell easily enough when a woman loves him. But there’s this secret between us, and we can never be the same until it is cleared.”
Once again, Candace has volunteered to bring one or two character descriptions from one or more stories we have already read. Thanks Candace!
STORY TO DISCUSS:
During the March meeting, Henry has volunteered to bring a story for us to discuss, but it's not a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Instead, Henry wants us to read "Horror of the Heights", which can be read by clicking on the following button:
MYSTERY TO SOLVE:
Our 21st meeting was conducted on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was (from left to right) Barry, Candace, Michelle, Pat, Beth, Bill, Linda, Rick, Henry, and myself (Tom). Once again, we missed Barb (Rick's better half), but someone had to stay home with the puppies (don't ask me to explain).
Notes from this meeting:
INTRODUCTION: Tom began the meeting with his usual "witty" remarks, which caused others to join in the conversation. Officially, the meeting began a few minutes after 7pm.
QUOTE: The assigned quote for this meeting came from "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton", and was guessed correctly by Barry, Candace, Michelle, Rick, Bill, and Pat.
CHARACTER: Linda brought us a character description from the story "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", which described Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Credit goes to Barry, Pat, and Michelle for guessing the name of the character, but no one was able to guess the name of the story!
SHOW AND TELL: This month, Tom brought in his statue of Sherlock Holmes created by Tom Clark (yes, the same guy who designed the collectible gnomes). Here is a description and photo of this piece:
MYSTERY: The mystery to solve this month was entitled "Rip Van Winkle RIP", and proved to be a challenge for everyone! But after the questions were asked and answered, Rick was able to guess the solution to the crime. Candace deserves credit as well for asking the most number of questions. In case you could not make the meeting, the solution is as follows: "The man was a spy and had never been in a coma. He was fooled into believing that the cold war was over and so he could discuss his secrets freely. Not being able to live with the guilt he committed suicide by jumping out of the window."
STORY: Once again, Bill did a masterful job at describing the assigned story for this month, "Silver Blaze". He really went above and beyond the call of duty by bringing a small stuffed horse, dog, and lamb to help him with his description (if you are not sure how those animals play a part in the story, then you better read it again!"
Plans for the February Meeting:
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, and be held at Beach PC, 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7. The starting time is 7pm, and the meetings usually last until 8:30pm. All are welcome to attend, but, it would be a nice gesture to let Tom know in advance if you plan to come.
“He had been in the same college as myself, and I had some slight acquaintance with him. He was not generally popular among the undergraduates, though it always seemed to me that what was set down as pride was really an attempt to cover extreme natural diffidence. In appearance he was a man of exceedingly aristocratic type, thin, high-nosed, and large-eyed, with languid and yet courtly manners. He was indeed a scion of one of the very oldest families in the kingdom, though his branch was a cadet one which had separated from the northern branch some time in the sixteenth century, and had established itself in western Sussex, where the Manor House of Hurlstone is perhaps the oldest inhabited building in the county. Something of his birth place seemed to cling to the man, and I never looked at his pale, keen face or the poise of his head without associating him with gray archways and mullioned windows and all the venerable wreckage of a feudal keep."
Candace has agreed to bring a character description.
Story to Discuss:
Rick coordinate a discussion of the story entitled "The Final Problem".
Mystery to solve:
Notes from the December meeting:
INTRODUCTION: Tom welcomed everyone to the meeting, and then proceeded with opening remarks which included reading from the "Afterword" section of a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. That prompted a brief discussion about how Conon Doyle chose to publish his stories, both in England and the USA.
QUOTE: The assigned quote for this meeting came from "The Engineer's Thumb", and was guessed correctly by Candace, Michelle, Rick, Bill, and Pat.
CHARACTER: Barry presented the character description for us all to guess, and credit goes to Pat, Michelle, and Candace for guessing the title to be "The man with the Twisted Lip", and the character to be "Sherlock Holmes" himself!
SHOW AND TELL: Tom brought in 4 of his Sherlock Holmes collectibles - Meerschaum pipes, small red Sherlock Holmes book, a Sherlock Holmes Zippo lighter, and small SH mug.
MYSTERY: The mystery to solve was entitled "A Christmas Eve Surprise", and was rather difficult to solve. Although all participated in the discussion, ultimate credit goes to Beth was asking the key questions that resulting in the solution. In case you tried to solve the mystery but missed the meeting, here is the solution: Richard had murdered his girlfriend Shelley exactly one year ago on Christmas Eve. She had been Donna's best friend. To hide his crime, he packed up Shelley's suitcases and buried the body and her luggage together. Then, he spread the word that Shelley had made a sudden decision to move to Alaska. Unfortunately, someone knew about the murder, because a few weeks ago Richard started to receive anonymous letters that threatened to turn him into the police. No wonder Richard was acting erratically! The present that had arrived at the house was addressed to D. Albans - "D" for Dick. It was more blackmail material. It was the sweater that Richard had given to Shelley last Christmas Eve - and it had been buried with Shelley. Donna mistakenly opened the package thinking it was for her. When Richard saw Donna wearing the sweater at the party, he was convinced that she was the blackmailer and that she had married him only to gather evidence against him. Richard's next victim had to be Donna!
STORY: Linda did a masterful job of introducing and explaining "The Empy House" which was the assigned story for December. After a brilliant job of summarizing the story, she led a lively discussion which included everyone present! Well done, Linda!
Plans for the January meeting:
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 22nd, and be held at Beach PC, 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7. The starting time is 7pm, and the meetings usually last until 8:30pm. All are welcome to attend, but, it would be a nice gesture to let Tom know in advance if you plan to come. The quote for the January meeting is as follows:
You know, Watson, I don’t mind confessing to you that I have always had an idea that I would have made a highly efficient criminal. This is the chance of my lifetime in that direction. See here!” He took a neat little leather case out of a drawer, and opening it he exhibited a number of shining instruments. “This is a first-class, up-to-date burgling kit, with nickel-plated jemmy, diamond-tipped glass-cutter, adaptable keys, and every modern improvement which the march of civilization demands. Here, too, is my dark lantern. Everything is in order. Have you a pair of silent shoes?”
Linda has agreed to bring a character description, so that we may attempt to guess the identity and the story. Tom has agreed to bring more show and tell (but others are encouraged to bring their stuff as well), and the story to be discussed is entitled "Silver Blaze", and will be presented by Bill. Below is the mystery to solve:
Meeting number 19 was conducted on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, and began at 7pm at 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7, in Monkey Junction. Attending was Barry, Michelle, Pat, Beth, Barb, Rick, Linda, Bill, Henry, and myself (Tom).
Notes from the November meeting:
INTRODUCTION: As members gathered at Beach PC for this meeting, Tom and Henry discussed the Sherlock Holmes plan put on by Big Dawg Productions, entitled "Baskerville". Both agreed that it was a production worthy of attending, and that if it ever came back, everyone in the club should plan to be there!
QUOTE: The quote for this meeting was from the ACD story entitled "Five Orange Pips", which must have been easy, because just about everyone guessed correctly. Official credit goes to Barry, Rick, Barb, Michelle, and Bill, mainly because the took the time to put their guess on the little slip of paper. Congratulations!
CHARACTER: Beth read clues about a character for us to guess, but unfortunately, I did not take very good notes! I can't remember who it was that she discussed, so my bad. Sorry Beth!
MYSTERY: The mystery was entitled "Here, There and Everywhere", and was one of the more difficult mysteries that we have tried to solve. The member asking the most questions was Pat Martin, who eventually guessed the correct solution from the clues presented. Congratulations to all who was able to come up with the correct solution, and especially Pat, who deserves credit for solving this mystery.
STORY: The story this month was "The Beryl Coronet", and Pat Martin led the discussion. He brought up many interesting points about this story, which in turn caused much discussion. Most people felt that this was not one of ACD's better stories... perhaps he was just trying to make a deadline and publishing commitment... who knows!
Plans for the December meeting:
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 11th, and be held at Beach PC, 5905 Carolina Beach Road, Unit 7. The starting time is 7pm, and the meetings usually last until 8:30pm. All are welcome to attend, but, it would be a nice gesture to let Tom know in advance if you plan to come. The quote for the December meeting is as follows:
I shall have to tell my tale to the police; but, between ourselves, if it were not for the convincing evidence of this wound of mine, I should be surprised if they believed my statement, for it is a very extraordinary one, and I have not much in the way of proof with which to back it up; and, even if they believe me, the clews which I can give them are so vague that it is a question whether justice will be done."
"Ha!" cried I, "if it is anything in the nature of a problem which you desire to see solved, I should strongly recommend you to come to my friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, before you go to the official police."
"Oh, I have heard of that fellow," answered my visitor, "and I should be very glad if he would take the matter up, though of course I must use the official police as well. Would you give me an introduction to him?"
Barry has agreed to bring a character description, so that we may attempt to guess the identity and the story. Tom has agreed to bring show and tell, and the story to be discussed is entitled "The Empty House", and will be presented by Linda. Below is the mystery to solve:
Meeting number 18 was conducted on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Henry, Ben, Beth, Bill, Barb, Rick, Barry, Michelle, Pat, and myself (Tom).
Notes from the October meeting:
The quote was taken directly from the story entitled "The Dancing Men", and was guessed correctly by 7 of our members (Beth, Bill, Rick, Barb, Barry, Michelle, and Pat. Credit must also go to Ben Steelman, who also picked the correct story for this quote, and showed great enthusiasm as he loudly announced the name! Following the quote, Tom read two character descriptions, and even told the club the names of the characters... but he did ask members to guess the name of the story. Unfortunately, no one could recall that the two characters in question came from "Case of Identity".
The mystery this month was entitled House Trap, and was quite a puzzler! Turned out that Beth was on the right track by guessing that Harold in the story was the Bank Robber. Pat and Michelle were able to add that the reason the police were present was that it was a setup to catch Harold in the act of trying to collect missing money that actually did not exist!
Instead of a story this month, club member Ben Steelman and gave a fascinating presentation on Basil Rathbone. Everyone enjoyed learning about Rathbone's life, and that he was not only the most popular Sherlock Holmes in history, but also very popular in Hollywood because of the great parties he gave! Thank you Ben, for a great presentation!
Plans for the November meeting:
Before we concluded the October meeting, we decided the next meeting would be on November 13th (only about 3 weeks away). The story to discuss will be "The Beryl Coronet", and will be presented by Pat. The quote to be identified is shown below:
"One day -- it was in March, 1883 -- a letter with a foreign stamp lay upon the table in front of the colonel's plate. It was not a common thing for him to receive letters, for his bills were all paid in ready money, and he had no friends of any sort. 'From India!' said he as he took it up, 'Pondicherry postmark! What can this be?' He opened it quickly and we both looked inside. I began to laugh at the contents, but the laugh was struck from my lips at the sight of his face. His lip had fallen, his eyes were protruding, his skin the color of putty, and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his trembling hand, 'K. K. K.!' he shrieked, and then, 'My God, my God, my sins have overtaken me!'
The mystery to solve at the November meeting is shown below. If you can't get it, don't blame me... you said you wanted one that was considered "Difficult"!
Meeting number 17 was conducted on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Barry, Candace, Pat, Michelle, Beth, Beth, Bill, Rick, Barb, Henry and myself (Tom).
Notes from the September Meeting:
After assembling in our usual place, we swapped travel stories and plans for the future. Then, we got down to business. After reading the assigned quote, and dropping some hints, pretty much everyone was able to name "The Blue Carbuncle" as the story from which the quote was taken. The character identification was guessed by only a couple of folks - the character (who's name currently escapes me) was from "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (I will take better notes next time). The meeting concluded with a discussion of "The Sign of Four" led by Henry Tonn. Well done, Henry!
Plans for the October Meeting:
Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd, at the usual time and place. I received an email to day from Henry Tonn, who was able to confirm that Ben Steelman will be in attendance at this meeting, and will lead us in a discussion of Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by Basil Rathbone. It promises to be an interesting meeting, so please plan to attend! To give Ben plenty of time for Ben's discussion, there will be no story discussion (yes, that right - no homework for a change!)
The quote for the October meeting is as follows:
"I am fairly familiar with all forms of secret writings, and am myself the author of a trifling monograph upon the subject, in which I analyze one hundred and sixty separate ciphers; but I confess that this is entirely new to me. The object of those who invented the system has apparently been to conceal that these characters convey a message, and to give the idea that they are the mere random sketches of children."
I forgot to write down who has agreed to bring a character description, so if you are the one, please be ready. Otherwise, I will prepare one just in case!
The mystery to solve is shown below. Study it, and be ready to ask questions so that you may solve the mystery!
Meeting number 16 was conducted on Tuesday, August 22, 2018, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Barry, Barbara, a delightful newcomer (I forgot to write her name down - please forgive me!), Michelle, Pat, Beth, Rick, Bill, Henry, and myself (Tom).
The next meeting will be held on September 25th, and will take place at the usual time and place. Because of Hurricane Florence and the manditory evacuation, I have been unable to put together notes for the next meeting, so we will deal with it then!
Meeting number 15 was conducted on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Henry, Barry, Candace, Barbara, Adam, Pat, Michelle, Bill, Rick, and myself (Tom).
Preview of our next meeting...
“God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence.
“Why does fate play such tricks with poor, helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this
that I do not think of Baxter’s words, and say, ‘There, but for the grace of God, goes Sherlock Holmes.’ ”
Meeting number 14 was conducted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Barry, Candace, Pat, Rick, Bill, Beth, Michelle, Henry, and myself (Tom).
Over the past year or so, our meetings have evolved to include four basic parts, as described below:
Preview of the June meeting...
The June meeting will be held on June 19, 2018, at Tom's Computer Repair Shop (Beach PC). If you are new to the group and need directions, please RSVP to Tom! Hope to see everyone there!
Our 13th meeting was conducted on Tuesday, April 17th, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Barry, Candace, Pat, Rick, Michelle, Beth, Bill, Henry, Ken, Chuck, and myself.
Here is the quote that members were asked to identify at the beginning of this meeting:
The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable agitation. Then, with a gesture of desperation, he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground. “You are right,” he cried; “I am the King. Why should I attempt to conceal it?”
Of course, most members were able to identify this quote coming from one of our favorite stories (and definitely Barry's favorite story) "Scandal in Bohemia". After that little exercise, I introduced a new segment that I hope will become a permanent part of future meetings... character identification. This is where I gave clues about a character that appeared in a Sherlock Holmes that we have already studied, and then I asked members to guess the identity of that character. For this meeting, my character was none other than Neville St. Clair, from "The Man with the Twisted Lip." No one was able to guess the characters name, but many knew it was a character from "Twisted Lip".
Next, we tackled the Puzzle of the month, which was entitled "A Fast Kill" The mystery in this puzzle was how Michelle was able to poison the Swami since he refused to eat or drink anything. After much discussion, it was Bill who suggested that the Swami was poisoned by the smelling salts that Michelle administered to try to revive him from his fainting spell. She had laced the smelling salts with poison, so when she held it under his nose, she was in fact killing him!
The Story we discussed was "Adventure of the Dancing Men", led by Henry. Everyone enjoyed Henry's interesting observations on this story, and were eager to add their own. I believe that just about everyone had something to say about this great story!
Our next meeting will take place on May 15th, and as always, be held at the usual place. The story to read beforehand is "The Priory School", and the discussion will be led by Bill.
The quote for the May meeting appears below:
“My dear fellow,” said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street, “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outrè results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”
The puzzle to solve appears below:
Candace volunteered to bring a character description for us all to guess.
See you at the next meeting!
Our 12th meeting was conducted on Tuesday, March 20th, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Barry, Candace, Rick, Pat, Michelle, Lacy, Beth, Bill, Barbara, Henry, Linda (not in the picture), and myself (12 members present for our 12th meeting... interesting!).
True to form, we began the meeting by trying to identify the quote of the month, which turned out to be from a story we had discussed earlier in the year, "The man with the twisted lip". Credit goes to just about everybody for matching the quote with the correct story title.
Next, we tackled the Puzzle of the month, which was entitled "Don't Shoot!" The mystery in this puzzle was how the murders took place. Boris and Nick planned a gag for their friends. They hired an actor to appear at their poker party and shoot blanks at Boris. But a vengeful Nick put real bullets in the gun, and the actor unknowingly killed Boris. Nick, pretending to protect his guests, silenced the actor by shooting him. Several members participated in revealing this mystery, but it was Pat who asked if the bullets in the gun contained blanks. Therefore, Pat gets credit for this one.
The Story we discussed was "The Yellow Face", led by Barry. Of course, Barry did a masterful job at pointing out the best parts of this story. When he opened his presentation for discussion, most people had something to say about it. We all agree that it was not one of Conan Doyle's better works, but still, it was a good read.
See you at the next meeting, which will take place on April 17th!
Our 11th meeting was conducted on Tuesday, February 20th, and began at 7pm as usual. Attending was Barry, Candace, Pat, Michelle, Deb, newcomers Beth & Bill, Rick, Henry, and myself
After welcoming everyone, we began the meeting by trying to identify the quote of the month, which turned out to be from a story we had discussed earlier in the year, "The Five Orange Pips". Credit goes to Rick, Barry, Candace and Barbara for matching the quote with the correct story title.
Next, we tackled the Puzzle of the month, which was entitled "Lord love a Duke". There was much discussion about this mystery, especially concerning the small piece of metal found at the crime scene. Credit goes to Pat for figuring out that the piece of metal was from a second bullet. It was placed in the fireplace and exploded when heated by the fire. It was to give the illusion of someone firing the gun to throw off the actual time of the murder.
The Story we discussed was "The Speckled Band", led by Candace. She did a masterful job at summarizing the story which prompted a lot of good discussion. She also brought minature models of the bedrooms talked about in the story, which were masterfully done. By the way, if anyone took pictures of the two room models, could you please send them to me for the website? Thanks in advance.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at Beach PC repair shop, and begin at 7pm (the usual time). The story to be discussed will be "The Yellow Face", and will be presented by Barry.
I hope to see everyone there!
"If you look closely at the table around which the participants are all sitting, you will notice a bottle of champagne and what looks like a birthday cake..." This is just the beginning of the observations that might be made by Holmes if given the chance. He would go on to suggest that this group was in the process of a celebration of sorts... and that since the bottle appears to be empty, the celebration must be about over.
Holmes' observations would be correct! This picture was taken at the conclusion of the meeting, after we ate cake and drank champagne in celebration of the birthday of Sherlock Holmes. This meeting took place January 23, 2018 and was held at the usual place. In attendance were Barry, Ken, Linda, Barbara, Candace, Henry, Rick and myself.
After welcome and small talk, we began the meeting by trying to identify the quote of the month, which turned out to be from a story we had discussed earlier in the year, "The Boscombe Valley Mystery". Credit goes to Barry, Rick, Candace and Barbara for matching the quote with the correct story title.
Next, we tackled the Puzzle of the month, which was entitled "Caribou Mating Season". After much discussion, the solution to this mystery was solved by pretty much everyone, so no individual credit will be awarded.
The Story we discussed was "The Blue Carbuncle", led by Tom. We had planned to discuss this story during the Christmas season in December, but due to illness, that meeting had to be cancelled.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at Beach PC repair shop, and begin at 7pm (the usual time). The story to be discussed will be "The Speckled Band", and will be presented by Candace.
I hope to see everyone there!
On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, The Sherlock Holmes Society of the Cape Fear met for a ninth time, at the usual place and time. Attending the meeting was Barry, Ken, Michelle, Pat, Barb, Rick, LInda, Henry and Tom. It should be noted that Linda came in costume!
After welcome and introductions, we began the meeting by trying to identify the quote of the month, which turned out to be from a story we had discussed earlier in the year, "Charles Agustus Milverton". Credit goes to Barb, Rick, Pat and Michelle for matching the quote with the correct story title.
Next, we tackled the Puzzle of the month, which was entitled "Unplugged". I have decided not to give final credit to the solution of this one, because no one individual had guessed all the clues. The solution: Fred attached a bait-loaded lure to the bilge plug, causing the boat to sink and Ethel to drown when a hooked fish pulled it out. The fisherman later caught the same fish, with the bilge plug and Fred's personalized lure still attached.
The Story we discussed was "The Engineer's Thumb", led by Tom. Everyone commented that they enjoyed the story, but it was not one of Conan Doyle's greatest.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at Beach PC repair shop (the usual place), and begin at 7pm (the usual time). I hope to see everyone there!
This year is really flying by! It's hard to believe that we have already held eight meetings of the Sherlock Holmes Society of the Cape Fear! Our most recent meeting was held on October 17th, at the usual time and usual place (if you're not sure when and where that is, just go back and re-read the minutes from previous posts). Attending the meeting was Pat, Michelle, Barb, Candace, Henry, Linda, Rick, Chuck (had to leave before the picture was taken), and Tom. It should be noted that Linda brought her dog, the only "unofficial" member in full costume!
Linda, Barb & Sherlock Hound...
After welcome and introductions, we began the meeting by trying to identify the quote of the month, which turned out to be from a story we had discussed earlier in the year, "A Case of Identity". Credit goes to Barb, Rick, Michelle, and Chuck for matching the quote with the correct story title.
The mystery this month was entitled "The Timely Intruder", which involved a break-in to the same home on Elm Street three days in a row, and at the same time each day... only to end abruptly before the police could catch the perpetrator. Much discussion ensued about this one, and credit must go once again to Candace for coming up with the idea that the break-in's were to check the mail which was delivered to the house at the same time each day. Obviously, the person who broke in finally received what he/she was waiting for... so case closed!
"The Man with the Twisted Lip" was the story up for discussion this month, and Rick walked us through the finer points. Most members present agreed that this was a good story, but it was one where Sherlock himself deduced the outcome incorrectly! Oh well, you can't win them all.
Watch your email for details about next month's meeting. If you are reading this but never attended a meeting, please come and join us! Watch your email inbox for the next meeting announcement that announces (a) the quote of the month, (b) the story to be discussed, and (c) the mystery to solve. Remember... the game's afoot!
September marked our seventh meeting as a club devoted to the greatest detective the world has ever known, Sherlock Holmes. Attending this meeting was Chuck, Michelle, Barbara, Rick, Henry, Candace, Pat, Barry & myself, a good showing for our club.
After welcoming everyone to the meeting, Tom started things off by paying respect to Jeremy Brett, who passed away on September 12, 1995. Jeremy's career playing the great detective was highlighted in a YouTube video which Tom presented to the group.
Next came the quote of the month, which came from one of the orginal stories written by Conan Doyle. Only Candace and Pat were able to correctly identify the quote of the month as coming from the story "The Speckled Band". Congratulations!
The mystery this month, titled "The Widow Wendy", was another murder, but of interest was the way the police were able to trick the perpertrator of the crime into incriminating herself. After asking several questions, the credit for solving the mystery goes to Pat. He was able to figure out that aside from some strong suspicions that the wife killed her husband, they had no hard evidence. Therefore, according to Pat, they released false information about where the body was found, causing the wife to visit the actual spot of the murder to check for the body. When she did, the police were waiting. Well done, Pat.
The story up for discussion was "Five Orange Pips", which was led by Henry. He had previously warned everyone by email that he had found some serious flaws in this story, which dominated his presentation. As one would imagine, Henry's thoughts about this story were well received, and most agreed with his conclusions. Regarless of how you felt about some of Henry's thoughts on the subject, it was still a great discussion.
At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that next month's meeting would be Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 7pm. The story to be discussed will be "The Man with the Twisted Lip", and it will be presented by Rick. The quote to be identified is as follows:
"It is a curious thing that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man's handwriting. Unless they are quite new, no two of them write exactly alike. Some letters get more worn than others and some wear only on one side."
If you are reading this but have not yet attended a meeting, then please try to attend in October! It's an amusing and enlightening way to spend an evening.
On August 29th, the Sherlock Holmes Society of the Cape Fear held it's sixth meeting, and was attended by 7 members. Those attending were Tom, Barry, Rick, Barb, Chuck, Candace, and Henry. Although still not up to what I would consider to be "full strength", it turned out to be a great meeting!
As organizing member and moderator of the club, I opened the meeting with "Welcome and Announcements", and then went right into the agenda. First up was the quotation of the month, which came from the story "The Sign of Four". Only Chuck came up with the correct answer, but congratulations to all who participated in making a guess.
Next, we attempted to solve the murder of "Oxford Dan", which took a little longer than I thought it should. To solve the murder, club members had to ask me "yes" and "no" questions about the crime, and then be able to tell me how Dan was killed and why. After about 20 minutes (and 40-50 questions later), Candace put us all on the right track by guessing that the place of the murder was a shoe store. After that, Rick came up with the solution before anyone else! Thanks Candace and Rick!
The story of the month was "The Bascombe Valley Mystery", which I introduced using the famous illustration by Sidney Padget. That, plus Henry's "6 reasons why he didn't like the story" challenge maintained the discussion at a lively pace. It turned out that everyone had something to add to the discussion of this story.
At the end of the meeting, we decided that next month's meeting would be held at 7pm on Tuesday, September 19th, at the usual place (if you are not sure where that is, read the posts about previous meetings). The story to discuss will be "The Five Orange Pips", and the discussion will be led by Henry. The quote for September will be as follows:
"Do not go asleep, your very life may depend upon it. Have your pistol ready in
case you need it. I will sit on the side of the bed, and you in that chair."
The mystery that we will try to solve is entitled "The Widow Wendy", which is shown below. Begin to think about "yes" and "no" questions that you can ask to get to the bottom of this mystery!
There you have it! I look forward to seeing all club members at the September meeting! Be sure to RSVP the email I send to each of you. Also, be sure to bring a friend, but let me know how many chairs I need to put out!
The game's afoot!
Tom and Barry decided that the best time to conduct the August meeting would be Tuesday, August 29th. The time will still be 7pm, and the place will still be Beach PC's computer repair shop at 5905 Carolina Beach Road.
The story to be discussed will be "The Boscombe Valley Mystery". Be sure to read the story and be ready to discuss the finer points.
Two additional activities that will be introduced at the August meeting will be (a) identification of a quotation from a story, and (b) solving a crime by asking questions about the scenario. The quote is as follows:
"My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants." - Sherlock Holmes
If you think you know which story from which this quote comes, then write it on a piece of paper and bring it to the August meeting. The crime to solve is shown in the picture below:
Even though the information is sketchy at best, this crime can be solved if you know which questions to ask!
The game is afoot!
Well, the summer is really taking it's toll on meeting attendance! Only four members were able to attend the July 18th meeting (Tom, Barry, Barb and Rick). I am starting to understand why some clubs shut down during the summer months. But even with only a handful of members, a great discussion about all things Sherlockian ensued! We met at 7pm, but chatted about Ohio (don't ask) for about 15 minutes, delaying the actual start of the meeting to see if anyone else showed up.
At 7:15pm, the meeting actually began, and we started by solving the assigned puzzle. It was so tricky, that no one was able to come up with the correct solution! For all those members who did not make this meeting, the solution was simplicity itself. The burglers created a picture of the safe and placed behind the door so that when the security guards looked into the office to make sure everything was ok, it would appear to be normal. That way, they could drill out the lock and break into the safe without being noticed! Sherlock mentioned that he was actually impressed with their ingenunity.
After the puzzle, Tom began the discussion about the assigned story, A Case of Identity. In typical "book club" fashion, each member brought up what he or she thought was interesting about this Conon Doyle story. One of the points about the story on which everyone agreed was that Sherlock was wrong about the "crime" being "actionable". We all thought that the guilty parties could be charged with some crime and would have been held accountable. Another was point that was brought up was how unbelievable it was that the mother would conspire against her own daughter. Talk about heartless!
The meeting came to an end around 8:20pm. We discussed when the August meeting would be held, but could not decide... so check back later for the meeting date and the title of the next story to be discussed. Or, send Tom an email!
The fourth meeting of the Sherlock Holmes Society of the Cape Fear met on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Beach PC computer repair shop (5905 Carolina Beach Road, Suite 7). All total, 6 members were present (Tom, Richard, Patrick, Ken, Michelle, and Barbara).
As I ponder over the fact that our meeting attendance seems to be dwindling, I must remember to consider the fact that it is now summertime. Many members find it necessary to take vacations to out of town locations, making it difficult for them to be in two places at the same time. Holmes would probably tell me not to worry... that once summer is over and fall returns, so will the majority of our club members. I will rely on his wisdom in this matter.
We began the meeting discussing the solution to the puzzle entitled "Down on the Farm", which described the discovery of a body in a field. Holmes deduced that the may was a spy, and had sacrificed his life by jumping out of a hot air balloon to lighten it's load, making it more likely that the other spies in the balloon could escape British authorities. Congratulations goes to Club member Patrick Martin, who successfully solved this puzzle. Well done, Patrick!
During the last meeting, it was suggested that all members bring a small sample of their "Holmes" library with them to this meeting. In the spirit of cooperation, several members brought books to show the others. Ken Campbell really outdid everyone by bring a large bag full of books all based on the topic of Sherlock Holmes. Thanks Ken for that! It was most enjoyable to take a look at your collection!
After passing around the books that were brought, Ken then led the group in a discussion of the story entitled "The Red Headed League". Ken had much to say about this great story which prompted much discussion. Tom showed an excerpt from the TV adaptation starring Jeremy Brett, which was called "the laughing scene". All in all, a great time was had by all!
It was agreed by all that the next meeting will be Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm. Our fourth meeting adjourned around 8:20pm.
The third meeting of the Sherlock Holmes Society of the Cape Fear met on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Beach PC Training Center (5905 Carolina Beach Road, Suite 7). All total, 8 members were present (Tom, Pat, Michelle, Ken, Henry, Rick, Barbara, and Chuck).
As recording secretary for the club, I must say that I am very pleased at how the meetings are progressing! We began the meeting discussing the solution to the puzzle entitled "The Hanged Man", in which is was decided that the mystery was indeed a "cold case"... the man who committed suicide did so by standing on a block of ice. As the ice melted, so did his life!
After the mystery, it was Michelle's turn to lead us in a discussion of "Charles Augustus Milverton", a classic Conon Doyle story about a blackmailer who Sherlock referred to as "one of the most dangerous men in London." Her commentary on the story was entertaining and enlightening... well done, Michelle!
After discussing the story for the evening, Ken suggested that we all bring books and memorabilia to the June meeting. He also agreed to lead the discussion on the next story (I will announce the title of the story in an email).
It was agreed by all that the next meeting will be Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm. We adjourned at around 8:30 pm, and I feel that a good time was had by all!