A most gracious welcome to Stormy Petrels, where two quirky Sherlockians share in the intricacies of their nerdity. We’re a bit sparse right now, but growing. Please be sure to check all our pages for updates, as well as our new twitter PetrelsofCrime! While ssigerson and I, hamishmd, have given a bit of our bios and other sorts of information on our About page, we felt that our first post was a grand opportunity to introduce ourselves a bit more thoroughly, as well as where we are coming from, in a Holmesian sense. ~Hamishmd
On the Canon
What is your favorite story from the canon?
Hamishmd: I have daily favorites, truly. I think the story that made the biggest impression on me was probably The Speckled Band. We read it in junior high, and so it was the first story I “rediscovered.” I adore it- there’s a great villain and a sense of unbearable tension. I also have a deep soft spot for The Blue Carbuncle, for the “Holmes and Watson Christmas Special” vibe. I make sure to read or watch the Granada episode every Christmas.
Ssigerson: My knee-jerk reaction to this question would also have to be The Speckled Band. Not necessarily because of its fantastic writing, characters or plot, but because this was my first canon story as well. Speckled Band is the story that opened the sherlockian floodgates for me and as such it occupies a very special place in my heart. Apart from The Speckled Band, it is very, very hard for me to choose another ‘favorite’. Potential candidates might be The Priory School, for the sheer randomness of its clues (cows, guys, REALLY?) and The Six Napoleons, for it’s fantastically snarky dialogs.
What is your favorite exchange between Holmes and Watson?/What is your favorite canon quote?
Ssigerson: “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 wonderful chains of events,…leading to the most outré results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” IDEN
Hamishmd: “..and believe me to be, my dear fellow, Very sincerely yours, Sherlock Holmes.” FINA
On Pastiche and Adaptations
Where do you find things to read/watch?
Hamishmd: Much of it is, as ssigereson can attest, pure luck. Some novels and adaptions are heavily advertised, promoted or recommended, but some we just stumble upon by sheer luck. For example, I was once wandering about the Kensington Runestone museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, and ran across a book in the gift store called Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery. You better believe I bought the hell out of that one. Ssigerson and I seem to have the best luck at finding the visual adaptions the other hasn’t found yet. Lately, I’ve been finding some odd old adaptions in $5 bins at Target and Marshalls.
Ssigerson: Hamishmd is quite right. Between us, we manage to cover an awful lot of ‘ground’. Some of my finds are entirely coincidental (I like bookstores *cough*), but many (especially these days) come through the constant stream of updates, reviews, newsfeeds, and other types of posts I catch through all manner of virtual media. MXPublishing is a fantastic starting point (they publish almost nothing but Sherlockiana). There are also a lot of other blogs and webpages out there that focus on new literary releases (much like what Hamishmd and I are doing here). It also never hurts to go to Amazon, enter ‘Sherlock Holmes’, and hit ‘enter’.
What is your favorite visual adaption?
Hamishmd: Two adaptions own my heart right now. I think they are tied because I really feel that they are in two categories: for a direct canon adaption I adore the Granada series, and for best “interpretation” adaption I adore BBC’s Sherlock. Brett feels just as though he’s emerged from the worn pages of Doyle, and Cumberbatch as though he’s emerged from the chaotic modern Holmes ether.
Ssigerson: Hamishmd said it. I feel the same way. Both ‘Granada’ and Sherlock are tied neck to neck with each other, but for very, very different reasons. I adore Granada’s warm, ‘canon’ feel and attention to period detail, but am stupidly in love with Sherlock’s modern spin, the contemplative way they ask ‘what if…?’, and the emphasis on the psychology of the characters.
Where do you go to for reference?
Ssigerson: Wait a minute….there are encyclopedias for this stuff?! Many of them, in fact. They are fun to hoard and dangerous to open…. Seriously, though. There is an entire world of very involved academic work that happens around the canon, which means there are also whole bookcases-worth of reference material. For quick reference, encyclopedias or the internet are often going to be your best bet. For something a bit deeper, try an annotated copy of the canon (such as William Baring-Gould’s fantastic two-volume set) or one of the myriads of ‘companions’ and reader’s guides. Personally, I like having a wide range of very thoroughly detailed (the more obscure, the better) sources. I take my references very seriously and like to cross-check my information. I also want to see citations in my encyclopedia entries, which can make me a little picky when purchasing, but there are options out there to suit every taste. There is even a ‘Sherlock Holmes for Dummies’ if you are so inclined.
What are your other hobbies?
Ssigerson: Am I supposed to have a concise list of these? I tend to capriciously drop or dive into things depending on whatever most engages my interests and mood at any given time. ‘Regulars’ include lots of reading (particularly period literature and historical fiction), traditional archery, historical re-enactment, travel, some writing, and needlework (cross stitch, embroidery, handsewing).
Hamishmd: I’m a fantasy and history nut. In the last several years, in no small part due to my blooming Sherlockian nature, I’ve taken to reading many historical mysteries. I adore lavish historical, fantasy and sci-fi TV series, and have a tendency towards reading lots of fanfiction. I also make sock monkeys.
What canon character do you identify with most?
Hamishmd: I always felt that Silver Blaze’s story was overshadowed by that damn dog. I mean, come on. Everyone knows that Ponies are the best. I bear absolutely no resemblance to Dr. Watson. At all. Truly.
Ssigerson: Oh, come on Hamishmd. Don’t you think you’re being a little overly sensational? Silver Blaze is pretty and all, but you have to remember, if it weren’t for that ‘damn dog’, the case would never have been solved. I rather like that dog. He makes himself useful.
Hamishmd: But the dog doesn’t do anything!
Ssigerson: But that’s the point! The horse is too distracting and clearly not the answer to the problem. Everyone is so busy obsessing over that stupid horse that they all completely miss the blatant loose threads laying around. It’s the little things that count the most. They’re like neat little red flags pointing out inconsistencies. I love it!
Hamishmd: And we all know how much you love those little “clues,” don’t we?
Ssigerson:….Hey, are those Thin Mints?
Hamishmd: BY JOVE! Thin Mints!
Any questions for our duo? Please comment!