Saturday, May 15, 2004

News from Baker Street and The Brownstone.

There is more news about two of our better known detectives.

The first is a new mystery involving the archives of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes' creator.

LONDON -- Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts got a rare glimpse into the private world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as thousands of personal papers from his passport to his jotted-down story ideas went on display Friday.

At the same time, the archive has become entwined in a mystery worthy of Doyle's celebrated fictional detective: the bizarre death of a leading Holmes scholar.

The papers are to be auctioned off Wednesday, perhaps to disappear again into the obscurity of private ownership, a fate that had obsessed Richard Lancelyn Green, a former chairman of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.

Green, 50, was found dead in his bed on March 27, garroted with a shoelace tightened by a wooden spoon, and surrounded by stuffed toys.

The Press Telegram has the rest of the story here. Well, as much of the rest of the story as is known so far.

The second bit of news is better than the first: A&E has finally decided to release the second season of Nero Wolfe on DVD. This edition is also set to include "The Golden Spiders" which was actually a movie made before the series was concieved. Those who have the first and second season dvd collections will have the complete Maury Chaykin/Timothy Hutton adaptations to date.

This series was one of the finest film adaptations of any of the great literary detectives. The characterisations are inspired; it's impossible to read the Wolfean corpus now and not picture Chaykin and Hutton and the rest of the cast, so perfectly do they fit their roles. The music, the settings, the costumes: there's not a false note in the series.

At the present time the series is being re-run (in edited form) on the Biography channel which I don't receive. How long this will continue is anybody's guess.

The real "mystery" in this mystery series is how a network executive could be such a blockhead as to cancel this series and still retain his or her position in the said network. In any event, the residual supply of good sense at the network was sufficient to enduce them to publish the series on dvd. (The first season was published last year.)

More information on the series and viewer efforts to have it revived.