Your Abilene Public Library is beginning the new year with a new club for fans of one of the English speaking world’s most beloved literary figures. On Thursday, January 9, the Baker Street Irregulars: Abernetty Family of Abilene, Texas will hold their first meeting at the Main Library Conference Room, 202 Cedar Street, beginning at 6 p.m.
If you love Sherlock Holmes, this club is for you! The Baker Street Irregulars literary society is dedicated to the study of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Victorian world. The Abilene Abernetty Family ‘scion society’ of the BSI was founded in June 2017, and will be meeting monthly on the second Thursday. Larry Prince of Abilene will be the leader of the club.
Founded in 1934, the BSI is the oldest Sherlockian society in the world. If you don’t know who these characters are, according to Wikipedia, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Referring to himself as a "consulting detective" in the stories, Holmes is known for his proficiency with observation, deduction, forensic science, and logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic, which he employs when investigating cases for a wide variety of clients, including Scotland Yard.
First appearing in print in 1887's “A Study in Scarlet”, the character's popularity became widespread with the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine, beginning with "A Scandal in Bohemia" in 1891; additional tales appeared from then until 1927, eventually totaling four novels and 56 short stories. All but one are set in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, between about 1880 and 1914. Most are narrated by the character of Holmes's friend and biographer Dr. John H. Watson, who usually accompanies Holmes during his investigations and often shares quarters with him at the address of 221B Baker Street, London, where many of the stories begin.
From books to movies, your library has a wide range of Holmes material for you to enjoy. For starters, you might want to take a look at The Complete Guide to Sherlock Holmes by Michael Hardwick. This non-scholarly, approachable companion to the stories offers entertaining digests of each tale and includes lists of characters, quotations, and unchronicled cases.
If you really want to dive in at depth, try The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; edited, with a foreword and notes by Leslie S. Klinger; with additional research by Patricia J. Chui. This two volume work has been hailed as one of the most important Holmes works in many years. One reviewer says “Klinger, a leading world authority, reassembles Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 classic short stories in the order in which they appeared in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century book editions. Inside, readers will find a cornucopia of insights: beginners will benefit from Klinger's insightful biographies of Holmes, Watson, and Conan Doyle; history lovers will revel in the wealth of Victorian literary and cultural details; Sherlockian fanatics will puzzle over tantalizing new theories; art lovers will thrill to the 800-plus illustrations, which make this the most lavishly illustrated edition of the Holmes tales ever produced.”
We also have the movies, from the classic Basil Rathbone, to the newer Benedict Cumberbatch, so let your Abilene Public Library introduce you, or re-introduce you to the world of Sherlock Holmes, where everything is “Elementary, my dear Watson!”
Article Contributed by Janis Test, Information Services Manager