Happy 153rd, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

And thanks for all the many years of enjoyment Holmes and Watson have given me.

Thank you for hour of enjoyment.
And thank you for having the decency to die before insane copyright laws.

This is wonderful news, I will raise a glass in his honor.

In about, oh, 5 minutes from now.

If any of you other Holmes and Watson fans haven’t met Professor Challenger yet, you’re in for a treat.

It amazes me that Doyle, a spiritualist who believed in fairies, created one of the greatest skeptics in all of fiction.

I was just thinking that it’s about time I read the canon again. It’s been a few years.

I’ve taken up a pipe again–with difficulty–so perhaps it’s time for me too. For now, I’m smoking my black clay, which I bought specifically as an homage to Holmes’s old and oily black clay pipe and the canon is within reach; if only I had a mantel, I’d hang a persian slipper.

He didn’t believe in that stuff when he created Holmes, but yes, the contrast between the author and the character is very striking. He threw himself into Spiritualism and became a global ambassador for the cause after his wife died and he lost his son and several other relatives in the World War I, and he believed not just in fairies, but in almost any kind of Spiritualist hokum you could name. He was far from the only person to turn to that stuff for comfort after the war. I’ve read some of what he had to say on the topic and it’s depressing to see an obviously intelligent mind used in service of all of that garbage, and sometimes his credulity is so obvious - like when he refuses to consider the possibility that a gentleman could lie - you’re just embarrassed for him. All of that said, I’ve read and enjoyed a bunch of the Holmes stories and just this weekend I saw an episode of the new Sherlock series on TV. It was very good and a really successful modernization of the story.

Amazing how enduring Sherlock is – well over a century later, he’s still one of the most beloved and recognizable characters of fiction. And I agree, some of Doyle’s other writing is really wonderful as well (although the stuff he admired the most of his writings is pretty boring today.)

Thanks, CKDH. Starrett also wrote a poem along those lines, which you can read here: http://www.astudyinsherlock.net/2006/03/16/starrett-221b/

I have a bad feeling about this…

Assuming you mean the current copyright laws, he didn’t. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes was published in 1927 and contains stories published after 1922, which puts them into copyright. (American: there are different expiration dates in a multitude of countries on this matter.) As a character who lasted that long, Holmes is fully under copyright (and has multiple trademarks for further protection). The Holmes estate controls all uses of his character, although they cannot prevent reprints of the earlier stories themselves. In fact, the Holmes estate was made up of warring family factions and for about half century was notorious in rarely allowing any use of Holmes.

This is exactly parallel to Disney’s protections on Mickey Mouse, which is why I stomp of people who make the idiotic claim that the copyright laws were written to protect Disney. They weren’t, they don’t, and they won’t in the future, but Mickey Mouse wouldn’t be in any danger if they were, did, and will.

Holmes would not appreciate this level of ignorance. Although, as an absolute certainty, Doyle would have gotten every reference to copyright wrong if he had written about it in the Holmes’ stories. :stuck_out_tongue: