Muse Volumes in Review- Birthday Edition

 

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the rules are simple. Each year we provide ASH Birthday Coveran essay topic in this special birthday edition of the Muse. The contest is only open to Muse subscribers. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter. By entering the contest, you give the Muse permission to publish your work. No entries will be returned, and Muse editorial staff and their families are not eligible.

Contributions to the Annual Birthday Challenge may be sent to:
Susan Z. Diamond
Muse Contributions Editor
16W603 3rd Ave.
Bensenville, IL 60106-2327
szdiamond@comcast.net

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2017
A Review, Forthcoming in November

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2016- A Review of Volume 31, 2015

AN A-MUSE-ING YEAR

As is our custom, we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) use this special birthday edition to thank our talented contributors for sharing their humor and scholarship with our readers. Thanks also go to our managing editor, Evelyn Herzog, who handles our exchequer and is the finest proofreader under a bonnet on this planet, and Laurie Fraser Manifold, our Artist-in-Residence, whose serial graphic novels and other drawings delight our readers.

THE HONOURS LIST

Ten new ASH joined our ranks since our last birthday edition. They are: Tiffany R. Knight, Prima Donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw; Candace J. Lewis, Art for Art’s Sake; Monica M. Schmidt, The Church of St. Monica; Joan Silaco, You See, But You Do Not Observe [SCAN]; Robert Stek, The Origin of Tree Worship; William A. Walsh, John Hebron; Nancy Lee Whitaker, The Shadow Never Seen; Robert P. Zatz, The Jezail Bullet; and Tamar A. Zeffren, Your Extensive Archives, Watson. Matt Laffey hasn’t chosen his investiture as we go to press.

At the 2015 BSI dinner, Mary Ann Bradley received the Two-Shilling award and Marsha Pollak was given a “Tip of the Deerstalker” award. Congratulations to both!

The Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Speciality, Enjoy Yourself!) Award

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband ASH Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.

This year’s winner is Steve Mason for “When Death Comes A’ Callin’.” He received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17, presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Steve for delighting us and our readers. In addition to providing this engaging riff on Woody Allen, he, along with fellow Texan Don Hobbs, gave our readers the results of their survey of Sherlockians around the world about the most important items to have in one’s Canonical library.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

This year three ASH crossed the Reichenbach: Rivkah Peller, Maggie Oakshott; Glorya Wachs, A Bijou Villa, and Martha Irish, Minnie Warrender. Sherry Rose-Bond shared her memories of Rivkah, including the many escapades the two engaged in through the years. Glorya’s remembrance was a joint effort by Evelyn Herzog, Bob Katz, Andy Peck, and Ben and Sue Vizoskie, while Peter Blau remembers Martha in the first issue of the next Muse year.

NEW VOICES

We’re always delighted to welcome new contributors to the Muse. We were especially pleased to hear from Gwendolyn, Noah, Bennett, Luke, Mihir, Willow, Keoni, Abigail, and Kylie—students in Shannon Carlisle’s 3rd grade literacy class. These intrepid young Sherlockians, who were studying William Carlos Williams’ classic “The Red Wheelbarrow,” reworked it into a poem based on BLUE.

Kelsey Hercs gave our readers many smiles as she discussed the dangers of bicycling for women. Donny Zaldin took a more serious view of the legal rights of Victorian women, while Taylor Blumenberg championed that oft-maligned swamp adder. Nick Martorelli honored Douglas Maberley, while Julianne Burke turned Chaucer’s classic lines into Sherlockian verse. Ron Fish toasted that Victorian delicacy—the Christmas goose, and Paul Harnett reported on the Gaslight Gala.

We hope to hear more from all of them.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Authors who found their way into our pages multiple times this past year were: Peter Jacoby, who took issue with Nicholas Utechin’s view of Holmes’ capital cases, speculated on Porlock’s identity, and proved that Birdy Edwards had not met an untimely end;  Will Walsh reassured those of us who love all canines that the Hound was not murdered by the Master and linked Edward VII to the millennial generation; Robert Stek investigated monkey glands and honored the good doctor; Elaine Coppola addressed the Latin and Italian literature in the Canon, researched the names of the Canonical ladies, and found the perfect mate (not Holmes) for Agatha;  while Warren Randall found a different mate for Agatha and reminded us of a  clever but oft-forgotten poet. In addition to winning the Birthday Challenge, Sandy Kozinn demolished Elsie Cubitt’s previously pristine reputation.

Many other contributors from previous years also reappeared. Alexian Gregory enlightened readers on the history of Naples, while John Baesch was equally informative on the subject of Pope Leo XIII. In the same issue, we had Maggie Schnader’s toast to Doyle, the mathematician, and Bob Katz’s to Doyle, the romanticist. M.E. Rich once again provided new insights into the Prima Donna, while Mickey Fromkin toasted that “red hot mama,” Queen Victoria. Jenn Eaker explored the manipulative side of Holmes’ personality, while Susan Diamond continued her series of book reviews.

British Holmesians also weighed in: Joe Marino on Holmes and women, and the redoubtable duo of Roger Johnson and Jean Upton with a charming photo of Douglas Wilmer. From India, S. Subramanian completed his alphabet of detective Clerihews.

THE MUSICAL/POETIC MUSE

Richard Kitts turned “All About That Bass” into a battered tin dispatch box, while Tiffany Knight adapted “Health to the Company” to the Sherlockian world. Shakespeare inspired Beth Austin’s love song to “Sherlockio.”

 

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2015- A Review of Volume 30, 2014

MORE MUSE-ings

Once again, we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) use this special birthday edition to thank our talented contributors for sharing their humor and scholarship with our readers. Thanks go to our managing editor, Evelyn Herzog, who handles our exchequer and is the finest proofreader under a bonnet on this planet, and Laurie Fraser Manifold, our Artist-in-Residence, whose serial graphic novels and other drawings delight our readers.

THE HONOURS LIST

Seven new ASH joined our ranks since our last birthday edition. They are: Elizabeth Austin, Birdy Edwards; Robert J. Bousquet, A de Reszke Brother; Jenn Eaker, That Lady in Blue Silk Over Yonder; Nick Martorelli, Mr. Kent; Ashley D. Polasek, Miss Mary Fraser; Karen A. Wilson, A Faithful Scotchwoman; and Christopher A. Zordan, The Chemical Laboratory at Bart’s. Many of them have already contributed to the Muse, and we expect to welcome the others to our pages soon.

In 2014, two ASH received investitures in the Baker Street Irregulars: Harrison “Terry” Hunt is now The Something Hunt and Jacquelynn Morris is The Lion’s Mane. Other ASH honors at the BSI dinner included “Eddy” awards to Bob Katz and Andy Solberg and “A Tip of the Deerstalker” commendations to Andy Peck and Susan Rice. Congratulations also went to Catherine Cooke, who received the Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Tony Howlett Award.

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband ASH Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.

This year’s winner is Jenn Eaker for “My Version of Events.” She received a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17, both of which were presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Jenn for delighting us and our readers. In addition to giving us Slim, the whimsical swamp adder, she elsewhere provided readers with Watson’s eulogy at Holmes’ funeral.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

Last year we lost no ASH, and we were overjoyed. This year unfortunately we have sad news. Dorothy Belle Pollack, our ASH poet laureate, passed away. As editors, we cannot say too much about how we will miss her and her puzzles or sparkling verse that graced every issue on the inside front cover. We are grateful to Mickey Fromkin, another talented ASH poet, for her farewell tribute to Dorothy Belle—also on the inside front cover. As Contributions Editor and friend, Susan Diamond wrote about Dorothy Belle and how much she would miss her.

Other ASH who crossed the Reichenbach were Beverly Halm, Mrs. Allen; Joe Moran, An Honourable Soldier; and Michael Riezenman, The Right Honourable Trelawney Hope. In each case, ASH friends wrote of our loss. Carol and Ron Fish shared their reminiscences of Bev, Margaret Fleesak remembered Joe, and Susan Rice paid tribute to Mike. In the same issue, Susan also honored John Bennett Shaw and William S. Baring-Gould—two gentlemen who very deservedly joined our ranks and were mentors and benefactors to all of us.

OUR NEW ASH

Our new ASH contributed much to our pages. In addition to Jenn Eaker’s wit, readers enjoyed Beth Austin’s investigation of brain fever—an ailment that has baffled many through the years. Karen Wilson’s “Hooked on Holmes” and “Song to ‘Elementary’” demonstrated that she’s very comfortable with the latest additions to the Sherlockian scene. And Ashley Polasek’s “Toast to the Complete Sherlock Holmes” made us all long to be at her imaginary gathering of Canonical characters.

NEW VOICES

We’re always delighted to welcome new contributors to the Muse. The BSJ’s 2014 Morley-Montgomery Award winner, Anastasia Klimchynskaya, reported on the “Daintiest Thing under a Bonnet” charity ball, while Angela Williams-Dunford gave us the lowdown on the Gaslight Gala. Leah Guinn channeled Grace Dunbar in a most imaginative manner while Tiffany Knight did the same for Mary Morstan. Tracy J. Revels provided a scholarly look at Watson’s probable response to Holmes’ assumed death in “Mourning Becomes Him.”

We hope to hear more from all of them. On the other hand, Lady Celia Congreve, an early 20th century poet, is unlikely to reappear.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Authors who found their way into our pages multiple times this past year were Susan Diamond with book reviews and Judith Freeman, who challenged Raymond Chandler and assessed the current renditions of Holmes—the latter a topic that also caught Janice Weiner’s fancy. Many other contributors from previous years also reappeared. Dr. Bob Katz defended his profession from Holmes, while Richard Kellogg introduced us to a little-known work by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Francine Kitts discovered that she and Starrett had more in common than Holmes, and Maggie Schnader linked Doyle with Henry James and P. G. Wodehouse. Casting the Canon is a favorite hobby of Julie McKuras; this year CREE was her tale of choice. E.J. Wagner speculated on the model for Milverton, while Melinda Caric turned BRUC into witty verse.

GLASSES RAISED ON HIGH AND MORE

Our authors frequently found inspiration from others. Longfellow’s tribute to Paul Revere became Evelyn Herzog’s “Toast to Sir Reginald Musgrave” and Warren Randall’s “The Midnight Rounds of Doc Joe Bell,” while James B. Saunders’ “I am the very model of the modern Sherlockonian” was a delightful riff on Gilbert and Sullivan. S. Subramanian provided an alphabet of sleuths using Bentley’s clerihew, as well as verse inspired by Ogden Nash and Edward Lear.

We also enjoyed toasts to the woman by Lyndsay Faye and Marilynne McKay. Delia Vargas honored the Master, while Marina Stajic raised a glass to his creator.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2014- A Review of Volume 29, 2013

THE HONOURS LIST

Once again, we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) use this special birthday edition to thank our talented contributors for providing us with a delightful mix of humor and scholarship. We also are grateful to our managing editor, Evelyn Herzog, who manages our exchequer and is the finest proofreader under a bonnet on this planet, and Laurie Fraser
Manifold, our Artist-in-Residence, whose serial graphic novels and other drawings are a constant source of pleasure for us and our readers.

OUR ANNUAL MUSE-ings

In 2013, congratulations went to ASH Elaine Coppola who was honored by the BSI as “The Woman.”

Six new ASH joined our ranks since our last birthday edition. They are:
Ronald E. (Ron) Fish—The Engineer’s Thumb
Linda Hunt—The Remarkable Explorations of a Norwegian
Harrison Hunt—A Coffee and Curaçao
Alexander Katz—Sarasate
Alan Rachlin—to be announced
Marjorie (Maggie) Schnader—The Binomial Theorem

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband, ASH Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieceswritten by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.

This year’s winners are ASHes Mickey Fromkin and Susan Rice for “The Day of Reichenbach I and II.” They will share a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17, both of which will be presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Susan and Mickey for delighting us and our readers, as well as the attendees at the Spring Luncheon who were the first to enjoy their wit.

ASH ON THE ROAD AGAIN

This past year ASH were at the UCLA symposium, The Sherlock Holmes Society of London trip to Switzerland, The Wodehouse Society convention in Chicago, 221B Con, the Monmouth “no frills” Silver Blaze, the 54th annual Chicago Silver Blaze, the Scintillation of Scions VI, “Sherlock Holmes through Time and Place” in Minneapolis, and “The No Fog Countries Meeting II” in Venice. Photographs and reports of many of these events appeared in the Muse.

Special thanks for their reports go to: Lyndsay Faye—the first annual Baker Street Babes Charity Ball, Patricia Guy—“The No Fog Countries,” Brad Keefauver—221B Con, and Becky Robare—the 2013 Gaslight Gala.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Authors who regularly submit quality work are the joy of our editorial hearts. Two ASH contribute to every issue: Laurie Fraser Manifold, whose graphic novel keeps us enthralled, and Dorothy Belle Pollack, whose clever quizzes and sparkling verse always bring pleasure.Others who found their way into our pages multiple times this past year were: Susan Diamond with book reviews and a toast; Judith Freeman, who explored Canonical family relationships and ruminated on Moriarty; Patricia Guy, who toasted the Master and reported on the Venice conference (a tough job, but someone had to do it); Sandy Kozinn, who saluted country visits and entered the Birthday Competition; Steve Mason, whose survey of what Sherlockians most coveted from the sixty cases spanned two issues; Marilynne McKay, who raised a glass to spousal friendship and explored the meaning of two terms that appeared for the first time in this year’s issues (go look it up if you’re curious); Gayle Lange Puhl, who brought home the bacon after researching the history of the Criterion Bar; and Chris Zordan with toasts from the Autumn and Spring Luncheons.

FIRST TIMERS

Another editorial pleasure comes from finding new Sherlockian voices for the Muse. David Hester, Conor Kimbro, and John Murphree—fourth grade students from Tennessee—concluded that Dr. Watson owned an 1882 Chubb’s safe No. 33, after performing research that would have done credit to far older and more experienced Canonical scholars.Others appearing in our pages for the first time included the following—all of whom gave toasts worthy of publication: Jenn Eaker, Alex Katz, Kristina Manente, Jacquelynn Morris, Gary Thaden, and Robert Zatz. Hannah Batsel made her first appearance in a Wilde-ly witty pastiche. We look forward to hearing more from her.

GLASSES RAISED ON HIGH AND MORE

What do spring cleaning, romance, pubs, Altamont, and the Platters all have in common? All were the subject of toasts at last year’s ASH luncheons. Francine and Richard Kitts certainly are the “go-to” people for advice on romance and marital bliss, while Peter Crupe has been known to lift a pint or two. Evy Herzog convinced us all that cleanliness is a virtue in more ways than any of us had envisioned, while Melinda Caric impersonated Von Bork’s butler, and Alexian Gregory took us on a trip down a musical memory lane. Two papers of note were Shirley Purves’ continued investigation of Chaldean roots and Maggie Schnader’s thoughts on the mystery of Isadora Persano.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2013- A Review of Volume 28, 2012

MUSE-ings ON THE MUSE

Once again, we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) use this special birthday edition to thank our talented contributors for providing us with a delightful mix of humor and scholarship. We also are grateful to our managing editor, Evelyn Herzog, who manages our exchequer and is the finest proofreader under a bonnet on this planet, and Laurie Fraser Manifold, our Artist-in-Residence, whose serial graphic novels and delightful ASH illustrations are a constant source of pleasure for us and our readers.

THE HONOURS LIST

In 2012, congratulations went to ASH Mary Ann Bradley who received her BSI shilling and is now Mary Morstan. Mary Ann’s long-awaited ASH investiture is “Mary Watson.” Two new ASH joined our ranks since our last birthday edition. Regina Stinson is now “Violet Smith,” and Melinda Caric chose “Less Frontal Development Than I Should Have Expected.”

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

In 2012, congratulations went to ASH Mary Ann Bradley who received her BSI shilling and is now Mary Morstan. Mary Ann’s long-awaited ASH investiture is “Mary Watson.” Two new ASH joined our ranks since our last birthday edition. Regina Stinson is now “Violet Smith,” and Melinda Caric chose “Less Frontal Development Than I Should Have Expected.”

MUCH ADO ABOUT ASH

The social event of the season was the wedding of Susan and Mickey Fromkin. Marilynne McKay’s photographs captured the joyous occasion for those who were unable to be there.
The ASH group photo has become a feature of most conferences. This year ASH were at the Sherlock Holmes Society of London Oxford weekend, SinS (Arthur Conan Doyle: A Study in Scandal), and The Wodehouse Society Biennial Meeting. Readers also enjoyed photos of ASH Jean Upton with Rupert Graves, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, and Nick Briggs, thanks to her husband/photographer and fellow ASH Roger Johnson.
We also went back in time when Judith Freeman delved into ASH history, uncovering our original Bylaws and taking humorous issue with Bill Vande Water’s ASH Constitution and Buy-Laws (reprinted from Muse Vol. 16, No. 1, 1999). Susan Rice recounted the original beginnings of ASH in a college dorm room before looking to the present day with the thriving new groups—Baker Street Babes and Sherlock NYC—both of which originated on the Internet.

THE PROFESSORIAL MUSE

The professors who contribute to our publication are certainly not of the Moriarty persuasion. Longtime academician supporters include co-editor Marilynne McKay and our Poet Laureate, retired professor Dorothy Belle Pollack, who continues to provide us with sparkling verse, including a witty riff on A.E. Housman’s “When I was one and twenty.”Professor Robert J. Bousquet introduced us to a predecessor of the Master: John Babbington Williams’ detective James Brampton. The Muller case—a tantalizing real crime reference in STUD—was researched by Professor Richard L. Kellogg and shown to be not what it seemed. ASH’s own Professor Coram, Andrew L. Solberg, took a lighter approach with a poetical case in which the Master was less than scintillating.

RAISE A GLASS ON HIGH

As always, toasts played a major part in the Muse. Julie McKuras toasted friendship, while M.E. Rich raised a glass to her BSI investiture, Lady Frances Carfax. Marilynne McKay found the BBC’s Sherlock worthy of praise, and Debbie Clark investigated Irene Adler’s ancestry. In a lighter vein, Matt Laffey explored Watson’s limits, the ever-witty Warren Randall turned Starrett’s classic into a toast to “Jonas’ hidden room,” and Greg Darak found many Shakespearean quotes that Holmes could have used… but spared us.

REPEAT OFFENDERS – WHOOPS! – WE MEAN CONTRIBUTORS

After Dorothy Belle Pollack, Judith Freeman is probably our most frequent contributor. She explored personal relationships in two separate pieces: one on the “perfect union” between Holmes and Watson and another on the “sinister sons” lurking within the Canon. Kate Karlson discussed the Master’s French connections in one paper, while finding the women of HOUN to be exiles” in another. Karen Murdock studied gestures in the Canon and gave us an intriguing puzzle on Canonical rhymes.

Muse editors also found time to write. Susan Diamond reported on the Beacon Society, which she heads, and reviewed several publications. In addition to her photographs, Marilynne McKay recommended Lyndsay Faye’s Gods of Gotham and enlightened us on podcasts.

AND YET OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS

Holmesian Joe Marino provided an able defense of the Honourable Philip Green, while the irrepressible Robert Katz found that Watson was most fortunate in the location of “the wound.” Gayle Lange Puhl sang us a song of Sherlock, Francine and Richard Kitts provided their “foolproof” approach to betting on the ponies, and Carol Fish gave all the details about the 2012 Gaslight Gala. Carol and Laurie Fraser Manifold stepped down as co-chairs, turning the popular affair over to ASH Becky Robare who helmed Gala 2013.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2012- A Review of Volume 27, 2011

A MOST A-MUSE-ing YEAR

Looking back over the past year’s issues, we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) find them particularly rich in wit and humor—thanks to our talented cadre of contributors whom we honor in this special edition. And, as always, we also thank our managing editor, Evelyn Herzog, who handles our exchequer with finesse and makes sure every issue goes out on time without typos. Finally, we are delighted that Laurie Fraser Manifold has joined our team as Artist-in-Residence. Her serial graphic novels and other drawings continue to delight our readers.

THE HONOURS LIST

In 2011, congratulations went to ASH Lyndsay Faye who received her BSI shilling as Kitty Winter. She has promised to leave her vitriol at home when she attends ASH gatherings. We are, however, encouraging her to crash all male-only scion meetings, bottle in hand.

In November, five new ASH joined our ranks. Ann Margaret Lewis, who is a familiar name to Muse readers, will now be known as A Vatican Cameo. Other new ASH, who had not chosen their investitures when we went to press, are: Debbie Clark, Dana Richards, and Paula and Mike Riezenman. Congratulations to all!

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband, ASH Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.This year’s winner is ASH Karen Murdock for “Do You Write Like Arthur Conan Doyle?” As announced by Al Gregory at the Gillette luncheon during the Birthday Weekend, Karen receives a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Karen for delighting us and our readers.

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM AFAR

Benoit Guilielmo, a noted French Sherlockian, found Watson’s memory at fault in LADY and, in the following issue, created an invisible Sherlockian library containing such noted authors as Keibosch and Pauvremütte. John Addy of the Northern Musgraves concluded that Tonga was “maligned, falsely-portrayed, and poorly treated,” while fellow UK residents, Jean Upton and Roger Johnson, shared their meeting and “photo op” with Edward Petherbridge, who played Holmes as well as Lord Peter Wimsey. And Canadian Edwin Van der Flaes toasted either the Author or the Literary Agent—depending on your preference.

THE WITTY, WHIMSICAL MUSE

While Karen Murdock won the WHIMSEY award, she did not corner the market on humor. Lee Urban’s Bob Newhart-style phone interview with Mrs. Hudson had us all chuckling. Brad Keefauver played “The Game” with his usual adroitness as he revealed some startling deductions from ABBE. Francine and Richard Kitts’ revelations about Grace Dunbar were equally amazing. To wash it all down, mixologists Linda and Harrison Hunt concocted the Watson, a sprightly combination of gin, tea, brandy, Drambuie, and bitters. Also in a humorous vein, we had Jeffry Alan Bradway’s “Baskerville Effect,” and Will Walsh’s “Doyle’s First Muse.”

RAISE A GLASS ON HIGH

As always, toasts played a major part in the Muse. Nashville’s Bill Mason proved that one can always find something new to say about “The Woman.” Ben and Sue Vizoskie lamented the lack of country house hunting parties in the Canon. Carol Cavalluzzi found comfort in Holmes, while Margaret Fleesak honored ACD.

THE MUSE IN POEM AND PUZZLE

Dorothy Belle Pollack found inspiration in villains Moriarty and Roylott, as well as giving readers two challenging puzzles.  Cynthia and Richard Wein and Sandy Kozinn provided two very different poetic views of Irene Adler. On a more serious note, Rebecca Jones, a chemistry professor from Tennessee, ruminated in verse on “Becoming Sherlock.”

…AND YET OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS

ASH history continued to absorb our storytellers as we published the rest of Evelyn Herzog’s talk from the 2010 Sprits of Sherlock Holmes conference in Minneapolis. Susan Rice recounted how she first met the Master and ultimately learned how to make an ASH of herself. Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves also began her article by explaining how she encountered Holmes for the first time, but ended with the startling conclusion that her husband and daughter are Baskervilles! So far, they have not yet spotted a gigantic hound on their grounds, but Joanne’s veterinary training may yet come in handy.

Rebecca Robare made two appearances in our pages: reporting on the Gaslight Gala and providing a “cognitive neuroscientific” explanation of the Master’s genius—a treatise which would surely have fascinated its subject. Also in the scholarly vein, Richard Kellogg introduced us to Francis Galton as a potential replacement for Watson.

In addition to her birthday challenge triumph detailed below, Judith Freeman explained how the Canon educates us all and, separately, introduced us to her remarkable uncle: Isadore Klein, creator of Mighty Mouse. The Canonical Isadora Klein was defended vigorously by Staten Island resident Laurie Raps.

Alexian Gregory described an interesting and relatively low-cost approach to Canonical collecting, while Susan Diamond diligently reviewed the books that crossed her editorial desk and found much good there.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2011- A Review of Volume 26, 2010

ANNUAL MUSE-ings

Once again it is time for us (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) to thank our contributors for their part in ensuring the Muse’s success. We also thank our steadily growing readership for their support in an age when many publications go awry. And, of course, we are eternally grateful to managing editor Evelyn Herzog, whose eye for detail rivals that of The Master as she tracks down typographical blunders.

THE HONOURS LIST

We’re delighted to welcome three new ASH to our ranks: Jeffry Bradway (Liége in the Lowlands), Jacquelynn L. Morris (>de novo>), and Gayle Lange Puhl (A Glass of Milk). Muse readers enjoyed two of Gayle’s witty pastiches, as well as her correspondence with Vincent Starrett.

Also in 2010, three more ASH received their BSI shillings: Pj Doyle (Ettie Shafter), Patricia Guy ( Imperial Tokay), and Sarah Montague (Violet Smith). That same evening, Susan Dahlinger received the BSI Editors’ Award for her work on “Rathbone Returns.” Earlier in the day Myrtle Robinson received the Beacon Award for her long-time efforts in promoting the Canon in South Carolina schools. Congratulations to all!

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the

Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.

This year’s winners are ASHes Elaine and Joseph Coppola for “The Fayetteville Fairies.” The Coppolas receive a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17, presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Elaine and Joe for delighting the judges and our readers. In another issue, the Coppolas proved as deft at verse as photography with a toast to friendship.

ART IN THE BLOOD

Laurie Fraser Manifold’s graphic novel continued to enthrall readers. Her initial tale—replete with zombies, a vampire, and a “werehound”—came to a satisfying conclusion, and Billy the Page has happily brought an expectation of another case. We cannot thank Laurie enough for her ongoing contributions. Her “Adventuress Bobble Heads” from the 2009 Autumn Luncheon song sheets also found their way into our pages as further evidence of her wit and talent.

On a more scholarly artistic note, Nancy Minogue Dean took advantage of a visit to the National Gallery of Ireland to explore the Doyle-Vernet artistic connection.

While we’ve all wished we could have seen that compromising photograph of our heroine with the King of Bohemia, Roger Johnson provided readers with something almost as good: photos of wife Jean Upton with actors Tom Baker (Holmes), Alan Cox (young Watson), and Benedict Cumberbatch (the latest Holmes)—neither all at once nor compromising, we hasten to add. We’re eagerly awaiting Jean’s next Holmesian conquest.

WIT AND WHIMSY

This past year definitely brought out the humorous streak in our authors. Greg Darak outdid Baring-Gould by giving Watson at least six wives, then rechanneled Ogden Nash in a toast to ACD. And the Muse’s first contributor from India, S. Subramanian, enchanted us with his poetic tribute to “The Ripping Good Yarn,” as well as a few Wildean epigrams. Finally, Jefferson Hope, Mrs. Hudson, and the good Doctor shared some rather startling reminiscences of the Master in interviews with Susan Diamond.

THE YEAR OF MY CROFT

Warren Randall’s decalogue provided a concise résumé of the portly member of the Holmes family, while in another issue he offered similar data on the younger, slimmer scion. Following in Ronald Knox’s footsteps, Susan Diamond speculated a bit unkindly on Mycroft’s motives in GREE, but Greg Darak and Lee Urban sprang to his defense.  Mycroft also played a prominent role in Sue Vizoskie’s charming fantasy about how the world of Holmes would have been different if the younger Holmes had been a she.

RAISE A GLASS ON HIGH

Adventuresses and their friends have always known what to do with a glass, and the past year showed that the fine art of the toast still reigns supreme. Allan Devitt speculated on Mrs. Hudson’s past, while Marjorie Schnader ruminated about Holmes’ finances and Marilynne McKay used 221 words to explain why we are better and wiser for reading the Canon. Michael Pollak honored The Woman, and Francine and Richard Kitts, who’ve been known to drop a few quid at the track, toasted The Horse. Bob Katz raised his glass to what brings us all together—friendship.

THE MUSE IN POEM AND PUZZLE

Our Poet Laureate, Dorothy Belle Pollack, wrote limericks from A (Mrs. Amberley) to S (Stapleton), as well as giving readers two challenging puzzles.  Francine Kitts used the “six-word story” concept to test everyone’s Canonical knowledge. Our most touching verse was Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves’ poetic tribute to infant daughter Emily Rose.

…AND YET OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS

Karen Murdock enlightened us twice: once about litotes—a figure of speech—and again on the etiquette of hat-wearing in Victorian times. Further enlightenment came with Sherlock Alive, Karen’s collection of the Sherlockian excerpts from Vincent Starrett’s Chicago Tribune columns; it has received rave reviews, including one in the Muse by Susan Diamond. Our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, Evelyn Herzog, gave an equally positive review of Voices from Baker Street. We also began publishing Evy’s talk on “The Spirit of ASH”—a paper far too good to edit down to one issue, so Muse readers can look forward to more in 2011. And only Kate Karlson could have linked Paris, the City of Light, to dynamite (and anarchy). Thanks also to Don Hobbs, the Maniac Collector, who reported on the 2010 Gaslight Gala. Another splendid year for The Serpentine Muse.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2010- A Review of Volume 25, 2009

ONE HUNDRED ISSUES AND STILL GOING STRONG

Volume 25, Number 4 was our hundredth issue. While there are certainly other Sherlockian journals that have achieved this milestone before us, we’re still proud of the accomplishment. And we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) realize that this achievement would not be possible without our contributors. In this, our annual birthday issue, we thank them and our managing editor Evelyn Herzog, who makes sure every issue goes out on time without typos, for their contributions to the Muse’s success and longevity.

THE HONOURS LIST

We’re delighted to announce that twelve new ASH joined our ranks in the past year: Carol Cavalluzzi (The Agony Column), Elaine M. Coppola (Encyclopaedia of Reference), Joseph A. Coppola (Cyril Morton of the Famous Westminster Electricians ), Nancy Minogue Dean (A Disreputable Statuette), Audrey Epstein (Allegro), Barbara Herbert (Pals of the Dook), Richard J. Kitts (The Lyceum Theatre), Lyndsay Faye Lehner (The Fascinating Daughter of a California Millionaire), Joseph W. Moran (An Honourable Soldier), Karen Murdock (May Blunder), E.J. Wagner (The Record of Old Cases), and Richard Wein (The Hans Sloane of My Age).

Also in 2009, two more ASH received their BSI shillings: S.E. Dahlinger (The Bruce Partington Plans) and Allan Devitt (The Dancing Men). That same evening, Susan Rice received the BSI Editors’ Award for her work on “Of Dubious and Questionable Memory,” while Mary Ann Bradley’s services to the BSI were recognized when she was presented with a solid gold diamond-encrusted “The Woman” door charm and a painting of herself by Gail Postal. Finally, The Friends of Dr. Watson, an international society devoted to ensuring that the Good Doctor receives the recognition and respect he deserves, named Susan Diamond as the Society’s first honorary president.

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.

This year’s winner is ASH Philip Shreffler. His writings have entertained and enlightened Muse readers for many years, but it was his “Toast to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” that captivated the judges. Philip will receive a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17, both of which will be presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Philip for delighting us and our readers. Philip also deserves kudos for a highly innovative toast to “To Bet” which appeared in an earlier issue this year.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to never have to write these words again. However, in 2009, we lost Joe Fink, a long-time dear friend of ASH and a frequent Muse contributor who had just joined our ranks in 2008. We reprinted excerpts from Joe’s “A Not So Trifling Monograph on the Origins of ASH” in the Muse, and Joe Moran wrote about his friend’s accomplishments.

THE CONTROVERSIAL MUSE

Alexian Gregory’s monograph on his investiture, “The Coptic Monasteries of Syria and Egypt,” generated more comments and responses than any other piece published in the fifty some-odd issues we have co-edited. We selected Ann Margaret Lewis’ response as the appropriate rejoinder and closed off the debate before we became known as a theological journal. Alexian also provided us with “A Toast to Opium”—we’ll leave it up to you to determine if there’s any connection between his two articles.

THE SCHOLARLY MUSE

Both Lynn Walker and Bob Katz were intrigued by Charles “Chinese” Gordon. Each had a theory as to why Watson had Gordon’s portrait, and Bob provided the “missing link” to Henry Ward Beecher. Susan Rice delved into ASH and BSI history, demonstrating that Sherlockians, like everyone else, are often oblivious to the historical significance of events as they happen. Finally, Bruce Harris took pity on Nathan Garrideb.

AN ABUNDANCE OF RICH’S AND RANDALL’S

In addition to being our first editor, M.E. Rich is also one of our best contributors. This past year, she provided three very different and very enjoyable pieces. Her “Return to Civil Practice” was a whimsical look at Victorian manners, her toast to friend-ship took a nautical turn, and her riff on the blue carbuncle would have been enjoyed by the master of  the art of stream-of-consciousness—James Joyce.Warren Randall also frequently graces our pages. This year’s contributions included limericks, pastiche, toasts, and pawkishly punny prose.

RAISE A GLASS ON HIGH

Adventuresses have always known what to do with a glass, and the past year showed that the fine art of the toast still reigns supreme. The Woman was honored by Carol Cavalluzzi and Mike Reizenman, while Pj Doyle recognized the “other woman”—Mrs. Hudson. Dana Richards’ toast to the second Mrs. Watson was an homage to Spooner. Marilynne McKay toasted both stable staff and tea—separately, we hasten to add—and also contributed a book review.

THE MUSE IN POEM, PUZZLE, AND PASTICHE

Dorothy Belle Pollack found poetical inspiration in both Virgil and Burton (Sir Richard, that is) and also provided two challenging puzzles. Chrys Kegley provided an “Ode to the Irregulars,” while Gayle Lange Puhl debuted with a “fractured fairy tale” of a pastiche.

…AND YET OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS

Will Walsh was our eyes and ears at the 2009 Gaslight Gala, while Myrtle Robinson introduced us to Dr. Tracy J. Revels, the 2009 Beacon Society Award winner. Laurie Fraser Manifold’s graphic serial novel continued to thrill readers, and Delia Vargas remembered a very special evening in London. E.J. Wagner provided the rationale behind her investiture, “A Record of Old Cases,” while Susan Diamond explained the art of collecting by happenstance.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2009- A Review of Volume 24, 2008

Distributed at the BSI dinner & Gaslight Gala

THE MUSE IS A VALUABLE INSTITUTION

…or so at least we (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) like to think. However, there would be no Muse without our contributors. In this, our annual birthday issue, we thank them and our managing editor Evelyn Herzog, who makes sure every issue goes out on time without typos, for making Volume 24 a rewarding experience for our subscribers.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN”

ASH history was made last January at the Gillette luncheon when nineteen stellar male Sherlockians joined our ranks. Our new ASH are: John Baesch (Cardinal Tosca), Peter Crupe (The Criterion Bar), Joe Fink (Tonga), Al Gregory (The Coptic Monasteries of Syria and Egypt), Andrew Joffe (The Dog That Did Nothing in the Night-Time), Roger Johnson (Shinwell Johnson), Bob Katz (Dr. Jackson), Brad Keefauver (Something Hunt), Bill Nade (Those Modern Gramophones), Andy Peck (The Date Being—?), Warren Randall (An Impish Habit), Chris Redmond (The Glamour of His Convictions), Philip Shreffler (Radix Pedis DiaboliProfessor Coram), Thom Utecht (Montague Street), Ed Van der Flaes (Nonpareil Club), Bill Vande Water (A Very Ordinary Individual After All), and Ben Vizoskie (Briarbrae).

Many of the new ASH are already well known to our readers as Muse authors. During the past year, Warren Randall’s verse appeared in three issues, while Brad Keefauver provided both a substantial toast to a substantial man—Mycroft—and an insight into Mary Morstan’s role as a doctor’s wife. Andy Solberg parodied How to Read Literature like a Professor, while John Baesch toasted friendship.

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband, Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.
This year’s winner is Greg Darak, who debuted in the Muse with the pastiche, “The Adventure of Holmes’ Shortest Case.” Greg will receive a handsome certificate and a check for $221.17, both of which will be presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend. Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Greg for delighting us and our readers.

ADVENTURESS HONORS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

At the 2008 BSI dinner, Betsy Rosenblatt received her shilling as Lucy Ferrier and Sherry Rose-Bond was honored with the two-shilling award. ASH in print included S.E. Dahlinger, who co-authored the 2008 BSJ Christmas Annual, and Patricia Guy with Bacchus in Baker Street. The Christmas Annual is sold out, but Patricia’s book is available through Amazon.com. Finally the 2008 Beacon Award went to Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City, MD—for a school project headed by Andy Solberg.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

The loss of Francine Morris Swift, Hatty Doran (BSI: The Wigmore Street Post Office) was a grievous one. Most of us had known and loved her for many years. Our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress Evelyn Herzog wrote about the pleasure of knowing Francine and the zest she brought to ASH.

Adeline Skillman Tinning, The Duchess of Holderness, was another long-time ASH who crossed the Reichenbach during the past year. Susan Rice shared this remarkable woman’s accomplishments with Muse readers. And S.E. Dahlinger wrote movingly about Paul Smedegaard, husband of ASH Margaret Smedegaard, and dear friend of many of us.

THE SERIAL MUSE

Laurie Fraser Manifold’s serial graphic novel continued to appear in each issue with readers wondering expectantly how it will all end. (Now we know how Dickens’ and Doyle’s readers must have felt each month as they waited for the next installment or case.) And Ann Margaret Lewis completed her retelling of “The Mazarin Stone” in the first person. Our thanks go to the Conan Doyle Estate for granting her and us permission to publish this fresh look at a familiar tale.

SOME REMARKABLE FIRST APPEARANCES

We’re always glad to add new authors to our contributors. This past year Nancy Dean provided an imaginative toast to the Master, while Rebecca Robare showed us that the Adventuress spirit continues to flourish. Carol Cavaluzzi, Karen Kozlow, and Janice Weiner reported on the doings at the 2008 Gaslight Gala.

THE MUSE IN POEM AND PUZZLE

Our Poet Laureate, Dorothy Belle Pollack, provided us with two sets of Canonical conundrums, as well as verse about both “damsels in distress” and “the Prague affair.” Francine Kitts’ word search and Dana Richards’ anagrams also challenged our readers.

Jeffry Bradway toasted Watson in imaginative verse with rhymes that Cole Porter might have envied, while Sandy Kozinn provided a lyrical tribute to friendship.

THE SCHOLARLY AND NOT-SO-SCHOLARLY MUSE

Susan Rice, tongue planted firmly in cheek, gave us a brilliant riff on writing a Sherlockian paper. Marilynne McKay found much to enjoy in ABBE, as well as providing an ingenious insight into the “infuriating” Violet de Merville. Vipers and gold really don’t have much in common other than being in the Canon, which is why it took Judith Freeman two papers to cover these dissimilar topics. Karen Murdock, who can always be depended upon for some unusual insights in the Canon, wrote about both antithesis and hapax legomenon.

THE VICTORIAN AGE

David Hammer wrote about some aspects of Victorian life that Doyle chose not to include in the Canon, while Lynn Walker took a more traditional approach by speculating on the collaboration between Watson and Doyle.

The Victorian conceit was continued with T. Michelle Fromkin’s dissertation on the events of 1858 and Pj Doyle’s research on the photography of the period. Victorian music hall songs play a prominent role in the new book Ladies, Ladies: The Women in the Life of Sherlock Holmes. Co-editors Patricia Guy and Kate Karlson gave us the inside scoop on the book’s genesis, while Susan Diamond provided a positive review. The book is available on Amazon.com.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2008- A Review of Volume 23, 2007

WE HOPE YOU’VE BEEN A-MUSE-D

…and enlightened by the papers, puzzles, and verse which appeared in Volume 23 of the Muse. We (co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) present our annual birthday issue to recognize and thank our contributors and our managing editor Evelyn Herzog, who handles our growing list of subscribers and ensures that each issue goes out on time with no typographical embarrassments.

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Speciality, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber was established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory. It is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse are eligible except for the entries in the Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges (the Muse editorial board, Francine Kitts, and Sue Vizoskie) or their spouses.

This year’s winner is Warren Randall. Admittedly Warren upped his odds by appearing in the Muse pages four times with pastiche, toasts, and verse. But his riff on Vincent Starrett’s “221B”—A Visit to 104 Berkeley Square—was our unanimous choice. Warren will receive a handsome certificate and a check for $221, both of which will be presented at the Gillette luncheon during the January birthday weekend.

Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award and to Warren for providing us with so many amusing contributions.

ADVENTURESS HONORS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

At the 2007 BSI dinner, ASH Dayna McCausland received her shilling as Lady Clara St. Simon. Later this year, Ladies, Ladies: The Women in the Life of Sherlock Holmes, co-edited by ASH Patricia Guy and Kate Karlson, appeared in print. The book, which includes many selections by ASH, is available from your favorite on-line bookseller.

And at the December meeting of Mrs. Hudson’s Cliffdwellers, the Muse editorial staff presented Dorothy Belle Pollack with a special certificate commemorating her many years of contributions and declaring her “Poet Laureate” for the Muse. The past year was no exception as each issue included either her witty verse or a challenging puzzle.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

Three Adventuresses crossed the Reichenbach during the year spanned by Volume 23 of the Muse, and one more shortly thereafter. Maureen Green (Mary Sutherland) exemplified the ASH tradition of friendship. Her younger sister, Marjorie Morris, and her dear friend, Marina Stajic, wrote poignantly about Maureen. We then received a double blow with the loss of Anita Janda (Modesty Among the Virtues) and Betty Jane Kraemer (Mary Maberly). Susan Rice honored Anita in our pages, while MaryKate Brennan wrote movingly about Betty Jane.

Our hearts were further saddened by the loss of Francine Morris Swift (Hatty Doran). Francine’s wit and scholarship brightened many Muse issues. Four memorable women have left our society, and we will miss them greatly.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN”

The world of ASH will change in 2008 as our ranks will be swelled by the addition of qualified male Sherlockians. The gentlemen will be known simply as ASH, not as Adventuresses, and will have to meet the same criteria for membership as the ladies have. Original Adventuress M.E. Rich presented the blueprint for the future at the 2006 Autumn Dinner, and the Muse “stopped the presses” to share her talk with the entire Sherlockian world.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Well, not quite. But reviewing the past year’s issues, we take pleasure in noting that, in addition to Dorothy Belle Pollack and Warren Randall, many individuals contributed more than once to the Muse’s pages.

Our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, Evelyn Herzog, toasted the original Adventuress and her explanation of how she accessorizes her ASH investiture (Violet Hunter) inspired subsequent “little monographs on the ASHes.” Robert Bousquet pondered over the mysteries of Dr. Watson and provided a thought-provoking report on domestic violence in the Victorian era.

Muse Graphics Editor Marilynne McKay and her spouse, Ron Hosek, toasted The Master and The Horse (Silver Blaze), and Marilynne gave us a short history of The Great Dermatologist, her ASH investiture.

Sue Vizoskie’s 2007 BSI dinner toast to the Master graced our pages, along with her and husband Ben’s toast to friendship .

Francine Kitts’ history of The Strand traced that remarkable magazine from its inception in 1891 until the last issue in 1950. Readers also enjoyed her Canonical characters quiz.

THE SERIAL MUSE

And taking a page from the Strand’s playbook, the Muse entered the world of serials. Laurie Fraser Manifold’s “Pictorial Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” began in the summer issue and will continue until…well, as long as she needs to tell her outrageously horrifying tale.

Ann Margaret Lewis accepted a challenge put forth by the Hounds of the Internet and rewrote “The Mazarin Stone” in the first person. The first installment appeared in the Fall issue. Our thanks also go to the Conan Doyle Estate for granting her and us permission to publish this fresh look at a familiar tale.

FURTHER MUSE-ings

Janet Bensley made her first appearance in our pages with a fascinating treatise on the hidden meaning of flowers, while Karen Murdoch wrote about the two of the most unsavory Canonical women: Scylla and Charybdis.

The dependably pawky Joe Fink speculated about the giant rat of Sumatra. In an equally irreverent presentation, Allan Devitt and Susan Diamond identified Holmes’ shortcomings through a series of interviews with some less-than-satisfied clients.

Shirley Purves wrote about her ASH investiture—The Ancient Cornish Language—and introduced us to a remarkable Cornish woman, Dolly Pentreath. Remarkable women (in this case, Lillie Langtry and Lola Montez) were also the basis for Lee Ballinger’s toast to Irene Adler.

Cynthia and Richard Wein wondered in clever verse “what Sir Arthur would think”? Other witty toasts in verse—this time to the Watson family—came from the pens of Sandy Kozinn (the good doctor) and Richard Olken (Watson’s second wife).

Elaine Coppola reported on the 2007 Gaslight Gala. Finally, noted Sherlockian scholar David Hammer expressed his puzzlement over the opposite sex’s interest in The Master.

WWW.ASH-NYC.COM

The ASH website continues to be an active repository for news and links to Sherlockian and Victorian sites all over the Internet. Muse graphics editor and webmistress Marilynne McKay urges each Adventuress to keep her Directory information up-to-date on the Members Page. If you haven’t catalogued all your copies of the Muse (who has?) remember that reports of past events, contests, and even Birthday Issues like this one are always available on the ASH website’s Serpentine Muse page, although you’ll still have to subscribe to get the articles!

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2007- A Review of Volume 22, 2006

AS OUR WHIMSEY TAKES US
(with apologies to Dorothy L. Sayers for our adaptation of Lord Peter’s family motto)

Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay once again present this special birthday edition to thank our contributors as well as our managing editor, Evelyn Herzog, who oversees Muse subscriber lists, production and distribution of each issue, and ensures that no typographical gremlins creep into the final copy.

THE Jan WHIMSEY (Whimsical Humour Is My Speciality, Enjoy Yourself!) AWARD

In the Winter 2005 issue, we announced the creation of The Jan WHIMSEY Award in memory of Jan Stauber. The annual award, established and funded by Jan’s husband Al Gregory, is given to the author writing the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse were eligible except for the entries in the annual Birthday Challenge and pieces written by the judges or their spouses.

The judges (the Muse editorial board and Jan’s dear friends Francine Kitts and Sue Vizoskie) discussed many outstanding candidates for the first award. It is with great pleasure that we present the first Jan WHIMSEY Award to Regina Stinson for her poem, “A Canonical Number Conundrum” which appeared in the summer issue. Regina will receive a handsome certificate and a check for $221, both of which will be presented during the January birthday weekend.

Our sincere thanks to Al for sponsoring the award, as well as for his ongoing contributions to the Muse, including this year’s “I Hear of Joe Moran Everywhere.”

NEW ADVENTURESSES

Congratulations to the seven stellar Sherlockians who joined our ranks during the past year: Susan Cohen (The Women of Many Nations and Three Separate Continents), Carol Fish (Lady Eva Brackwell), Margaret J. Fleesak (Lomax the Sublibrarian), Sabina H. Hollis (The Science of Deduction and Analysis), Anita Janda (Modesty among the Virtues), Rebecca J. Robare (Sophy Kratides), and Glorya Wachs (A Bijou Villa).

Sabina’s imaginative toast to Dr. Who and Holmes, ably illustrated by Laurie Fraser Manifold, enchanted readers. And Carol, along with husband Ron, were the Muse’s eyes and ears at the 2006 Baskerville Bash.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

Trish Pearlman (A Curious Collection), Jan Stauber (Hotel du Louvre, Paris), and Barbara Iris Ulan Van Buskirk (Violet Smith) all died during the past Muse editorial year after courageous battles with cancer. Judith Freeman reminded our readers of Trish’s warm humor and incredible creative talents, while Francine Kitts shared her memories of a delightful trip to Paris with the effervescent irrepressible Jan. Paula Cohen’s remembrance of multi-talented Barbara took us back to the early giddy joyous days of ASH. Then in October we were struck an unexpected blow when Maureen Green (Mary Sutherland) died from injuries sustained during a fall. We’ll honor Maureen in the first issue of Volume 23.

2006 also marked the 10th anniversary of the deaths of two beloved adventuresses: Pat Moran and Marlene Aig. We remembered both at the Spring Dinner. Marina Stajic’s memories of Marlene (with additions by Maureen Green) and M.E. Rich’s of Pat (coupled with those of Lisa Jones Jennes—another early ASH who crossed the Reichenbach many years ago) reminded our readers of these bright and vibrant women who graced our world too briefly.

ADVENTURESS AND NON-ADVENTURESS SCHOLARS

This past year brought us many dissertations on a wide range of Canonical topics. From the academic world, Robert J. Bousquet told us about the dashing De Reszkes and solved the Long Island Cave Mystery, while Richard L. Kellogg discussed Doyle and cocaine (now if we’d only had such enlightened academicians when we were in college…).

Judith Freeman, one of our most frequent contributors, provided papers on the thirty-nine beryls and marriage in the Canon. The transition from marriage to motherhood is a logical one, and Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves reported that Victorian mothers (at least the Canonical ones) weren’t all that maternal. Warren Randall took matters a step further with his discourse on widows and widowers.

Julie McKuras, our resident expert on the cinema, provided the perfect cast for NAVA, and husband Mike, assisted by Allan Devitt, provided the lyrics for the next Oscar winning song, “Brain Fever.”

Allan then found inspiration in the stars—not the cinematic variety, but the astrological ones—proving that the Master was indeed a Capricorn and putting an end to all those pesky little arguments about his birthday. Not content with that, Allan took a less than reverent view of the Master in a toast from the Spring Dinner.

GLASSES RAISED ON HIGH

Toasts, of course, are a key component of scion life, and Muse readers enjoyed a number of witty ones on characters and topics both traditional and non-traditional.

Joyce Ann and Arthur Liebman and Sandy Kozinn raised glasses to our heroine Irene Adler. Sandy also found the Crocker-Croker quandary an apt topic for a toast in limericks. The lead Turf Builder of Baker Street, our own Kate Karlson, took time away from the betting window to toast Silver Blaze and, less traditionally, discovered that “it is always 1895” at the Biltmore Estate.

Lynn Walker cleared away the mists in a toast to fog, while Peter Blau honored Emilia Lucca. Francine Kitts found the second Mrs. Watson to be a very lucky woman indeed. And delivering a relatively new traditional toast with her usual panache, Susan Rice reminded us of what makes ASH unique among Sherlockian groups: friendship.

THE MUSE OF POETRY AND PUZZLES

Dorothy Belle Pollack returned to her classical roots in two sets of limericks: one inspired by Tacitus and the other by Vergil (educating us along the way as to the correct spelling of the latter gentleman’s name). She also provided readers with two challenging Canonical puzzles—one of which remains to be solved correctly by our readers.

Dana Richards, Virginia’s master of the quiz, appeared in our pages for the first time with his clever canonical monograms. Also making her first appearance in the Muse was Ceille Baird Welch with her ballad “Sherlock.”

“LET ME RECOMMEND…”

Susan Diamond found much to commend in David Hammer’s latest work, Cases of Identity, while Marilynne McKay had a few reservations about Laurie King’s latest effort, The Art of Detection. Judith Freeman gave high praise to E.J. Wagner’s The Science of Sherlock Holmes.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2006- A Review of Volume 21, 2005

MUSE-INGS PAST AND PRESENT

Once again it’s time for us (Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) to recognize and thank everyone who contributed to the past four issues. First as always, our thanks go to managing editor Evelyn Herzog, now Baltimore based, for handling our growing list of subscribers and ensuring that the Muse goes out on time.

NEW ADVENTURESS

At the 2004 Autumn Members Meeting, we were delighted to welcome Lynn E. Walker to our ranks as The Head of a Private School at Walsall. A long time Sherlockian and Muse contributor, Lynn’s BSI investiture is The Long Island Cave Mystery.

ADVENTURESS HONORS

At the 2005 BSI dinner, Julia Carlson Rosenblatt received the coveted two-shilling award for her many contributions to the BSI including a key role in organizing the Valley of Fear trip. That same weekend, Myrtle Robinson, along with Dr. Twyla Tutin and the Hansom Wheels of South Carolina, received the Beacon Society’s annual award for excellence in Sherlockian outreach. Muse readers had already read about Myrtle’s activities in this area in previous issues and on the ASH website, www.ASH-NYC.com.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

Three Adventuresses crossed the Reichenbach during the year spanned by Volume 21 of the Muse, and one more shortly thereafter. Barbara Brandes (Edith Presbury) died after a long and valiant struggle against both cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. Kate Karlson wrote poignantly about her friend and inspiration, Helen Heinrich (Lady Hilda Trelawney Hope), in the Muse. Maggie Walsh (The Third Cab) delighted all who knew her with her wit and zest for life. Dorothy Stix and Susan Rice shared their memories of Maggie with our readers.

THE Jan WHIMSEY (“Whimsical Humour Is My Specialty. Enjoy Yourself!”) AWARD

Our final loss occurred shortly after the end of the Muse year. Jan Stauber (Hotel du Louvre, Paris) was a frequent contributor to our pages and had inspired us all with her positive attitude and her unquenchable humor. We are most grateful to her husband, Alexian Gregory, for establishing The Jan WHIMSEY Award in her honor.

The annual award, consisting of a very handsome certificate and $221, will be presented to the Muse author who has written the most whimsical piece during the Muse volume year (i.e., from the December to September issues). The first award will be presented at the January 2007 birthday weekend at one of the ASH events and announced in next year’s “birthday edition” of the Muse.

To quote Al, “Articles are to be judged solely on basic of whimsicality. Scholarship, erudition, logical argumentation, historical discoveries, clever puzzles, etc., are irrelevant. ASH-ness and BSI-ness are irrelevant.” All articles, verse, etc., appearing in the Muse will be eligible for the award except the entries in the annual Birthday Challenge. In addition to the Muse editorial staff of Susan Diamond, Evelyn Herzog, and Marilynne McKay, Jan’s friends Francine Kitts and Sue Vizoskie will serve as judges. Judges, of course, are not eligible to win.

DUBIOUS AND QUESTIONABLE MEMORY

Nothing gladdens your editors’ hearts more than a bit of controversy, and one of our founders, M.E. Rich, provided just that with her reflections on the role of Adventuresses—past, present, and future—in the Sherlockian world. And the responses were equally thought-provoking. Judith Freeman argued that more male Sherlockians should be invested in ASH. Laurie Fraser Manifold agreed, recommending the candidates be young, attractive, and charming. She graciously volunteered to evaluate all contenders. “The Donald” Izban said that this controversy was all much ado about nothing and “who cares?”

NEW CONTRIBUTORS

The Muse has always welcomed new contributors, and this past year was no exception. David L. Hammer, one of the Sherlockian world’s most renowned authors, demonstrated that he is as adept at verse as prose with a tribute to the Master. Canadian Sherlockian Carole Logan also found verse and Holmes to be a compatible combination.

Robert J. Bousquet, a New Jersey professor with a passion for opera and all things Sherlockian, enlightened us as which operatic roles Irene Adler was likely to have performed. Bob Katz’s approach was somewhat more whimsical as he managed to link the Master and the head of the Confederate secret service in a tale that must be read to be comprehended. And John Baesch answered the question that has perplexed many an ASH: what is a whiffenpoof? Finally, in a toast to the Literary Agent, Bev Wolov introduced us to the real terror of the moor—the sheep of the Baskervilles.

OLD FRIENDS

As editors, we are most grateful to those authors who, year after year, supply us with stellar copy. In addition to her aforementioned letter, Judith Freeman addressed the provenance of the blue carbuncle, linked Roy Chapman Andrew and ACD, and showed her humorous side in Silver Blaze’s session with his therapist. Karen Murdoch argued that Kitty Winter was the most “dangerous pet” in the Canon, and we suspect a certain Austrian baron would agree. Philip Shreffler found “commedia” aplenty in an unlikely place—“The Bruce-Partington Plans.”

Adventuresses have always debated the identity of the “real” Irene Adler. In the past year, Myrtle Robinson argued cogently for opera singer Adelina Patti, while Peter Blau took a more traditional approach in a toast to Lily Langtry.

Jan Stauber and Al Gregory toasted the much-loved Adventuress Edith Meiser at the Baskerville Bash, while Catalina Hannan reported on all the doings that night. Another frequent contributor to our pages, Sue Vizoskie, reported on our Autumn Members Meeting and toasted both Mesdames Adler and Hudson.

Mickey Fromkin toasted the good doctor in verse and reminded us that “ASH Was Born to Boogie.” Another talented Sherlockian poet, Warren Randall, proved the Master was indeed “A Man for All Seasons.”

Violets are near and dear to the hearts of ASH. Carl Heifetz, a Florida Sherlockian, raised a glass to Violet Smith, while Margaret Fleesak identified with Violet Hunter.

Finally, the Muse editors also found time for contributions. Marilynne McKay found the women behind the great hiatus and reported on the Spring Dinner, while Susan Diamond reviewed David Hammer’s final collection of pastiches.

THE PUZZLED MUSE

In the past year, Canonical and non-Canonical conundrums intrigued our authors and our readers. In addition to her usual witty and erudite verse, Dorothy Belle Pollack challenged our readers with two innovative word puzzle competitions—won by subscribers Elaine Coppola (both puzzles!) and Carol Russell. And Francine Kitts provided another one of her Canonical “word searches.”

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2005- A Review of Volume 20, 2004

MUSE-ING ON A MILESTONE

October 2004 marked the publication of the 80th issue of The Serpentine Muse—no small accomplishment. We (Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) take great pride in having prepared thirty-two of those issues. As always, thanks go to our steadily growing ranks of contributors, managing editor Evelyn Herzog, and the New York based production team. This special birthday edition of the Muse is our way of recognizing and thanking everyone who contributed to the past four issues.

ASH IN PRINT

We’re pleased to announce the publication this year of Serpentine Muse-ings: an Anthology from the Journal of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, Volume Two. Yes, we had too much good material to stop after one volume. These first two volumes include the very best from the first seventy-six issues of the Muse. Since contributions are on the rise and every issue is now a full twenty-four pages, we expect to publish a third volume in another two or three years. Our thanks go to all who agreed to have their works reprinted in this second “best of the Muse” collection.

Another noteworthy publication is 
Dubious and Questionable Memories: A History of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmesthe 2004 BSJ Christmas Annual, edited by our own Susan Rice. Finally, Adventuress S.E. Dahlinger’s anthology Violets and Vitriol was published in January 2004, with numerous ASH as contributors.

NEW ADVENTURESS

One new Adventuress joined our ranks during the past year as we welcomed New Yorker Lynn E. Walker as The Head of a Private School at Walsall.

ADVENTURESS HONOURS

Last January Francine Kitts received her BSI investiture as Lady Hilda Trelawney Hope. That same weekend Jan Stauber received the Beacon Society’s first annual Beacon Award for Sherlockian outreach, and Peter Blau received the Dr. John H. Watson Afghan Campaign Desk in appreciation for his services to the BSI. Congratulations to all three!

FRIENDSHIP

Friendship was the theme of the 2003 Autumn Members Meeting—a most appropriate one since friendship is really what ASH is “all about.” In fact, we now toast friendship at every dinner. During the past year, Sabina Hollis took the scholarly path with a discourse of Aristotelian friendship—linking it, of course, to the Canon. Trish Pearlman’s more lighthearted approach disclosed her failings as a correspondent, though not as a friend. M.E. Rich focused on friendship amongst the women in the Canon. And Al Rosenblatt took on the men: not just Holmes and Watson, but that other Canonical duo—Moriarty and Moran.

Both M.E. and Al were good enough to favor us with more than one submission in the past year. M.E.’s “Old Man River” brought the Thames to life as clearly as Doyle did any of his characters. And Al’s “Reichenbach Verse” included such memorable lines as Holmes’ “Hello, Dalai, it’s me.”

THE ASH REPORTORIAL STAFF

Since the Chicago- and Albuquerque-based editors cannot attend every gathering, we are grateful to those who provide coverage for us. Carol and Ron Fish reported on the 2004 Baskerville Bash, while Francine Kitts gave us the low-down on the 2003 Autumn Members Meeting. In the same issue, Judith Freeman reported on vultures (no, that was not a Sherlockian gathering but one of Judith’s frequent essays on Canonical fauna) and the ASH Wednesday bridal shower for our beloved Principal Unprincipled Adventuress Evelyn Herzog. Co-editor Marilynne McKay covered the 2004 Spring Dinner.

THE POETIC MUSE

Verse has always been a part of the Muse tradition, and last year was no different. Dorothy Belle Pollack created a sesquicentennial acrostic and a collection of clerihews to delight our readers. And The Woman got her due from both S.E. Dahlinger and Warren Randall. Catalina Hannan provided a Sherlockian lullaby and, not limiting herself to verse, also gave us an insight into Mrs. Hudson, the needlewoman.

CANONICAL WOMEN

As Adventuresses, we’ve always been fascinated by the women in the Canon. Jan Stauber honored the commissionaire’s wife, the long-suffering Mrs. Peterson, while Karen Murdock focused on prostrate females in her essay on fainting in the Canon. (Note: she did not discriminate and also discussed those males found “insensible upon the bearskin.”) Two of our most talented Sherlockian thespians proved they were not insensitive to the fairer sex. Andrew Joffe found a true champion for Laura Lyons—the Literary Agent himself, while Paul Singleton admired Violet Hunter’s resourcefulness.

SCHOLARSHIP FROM SERIOUS TO SUBLIME

The Muse has always maintained a flexible attitude on scholarship—enjoying the serious side but delighting in more outrageous approaches as well. We welcomed Professor Richard Kellogg’s first Muse  appearance as he linked Elliot Ness to the Master. Philip Shreffler researched the provenance of the Musgraves’ “battered and shapeless diadem” and, in another piece, initiated us into the mysteries of “clubland.” Patricia Guy gave us a guide to “the good, the bad, and the ugly” Italians in the Canon. Julie McKuras and Peg Duthie tackled the fate of Jefferson Hope in “Free Him or Fry Him?”
The self-appointed Executive Director of the Dwarf Defense League, one Joseph J. Fink, took up the cause of “the most underrated character in the Canon: little Jimmy Griggs.” And our expert in all matters chemical, Marina Stajic, provided a brilliant illogically logical approach to flying reindeer.

TOASTS FOR ALL TIMES

Gems play a major role in Canonical cases so it was only appropriate that Delia Vargas had us raise our glasses to yet another battered diadem—the Beryl Coronet, while Julia Rosenblatt was fascinated by that large yellow diamond—the Mazarin Stone. Kate Karlson, ASH’s resident expert on the turf, explained the rationale behind long-shot betting. (Perhaps she shouldn’t quit her day job yet.) Slightly more traditional toasts were given to the Master and the good doctor with John Baesch and Carole Logan honoring the former and Nancy Minogue Dean the latter.

SHERLOCKIAN OUTREACH

The Muse continued to promote Sherlockian outreach. Canadian Barbara Roden shared her experiences in promoting the Master at her son’s school, while Myrtle Robinson told how the Hansom Wheels have expanded their outreach program to include seniors. And Francine Kitts shared one of the word search puzzles she’s developed for her class of Staten Island seniors.

THE BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE 2004

Trish Pearlman’s “Interview with The Master” was the winning entry in last year’s Birthday Challenge. Sandy Kozinn and Laurie Manifold received honorable mentions.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2004- A Review of Volume 19, 2003

A CENTURY AND A HALF

Perhaps one of the most comforting things about being Sherlockians is that we are always younger than the Master. By comparison to his century and a half, our milestones seem small. Yet we (Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) take great pride in having completed seven years as editors. Thanks to our steadily growing ranks of contributors, managing editor Evelyn Herzog, and the New York based production team, twenty-eight issues of the Muse have gone out during this time. This special birthday edition of the Muse is our way of recognizing and thanking everyone who contributed to the past four issues.

WE HEAR OF ASH EVERYWHERE

We’re pleased to announce the publication this year of Serpentine Muse-ings: an Anthology from the Journal of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes. Our thanks go to all who agreed to have their works reprinted in this “best of the Muse” collection. Equally good news is that the 2004 BSJ Christmas Annual will be a history of ASH edited by our own Susan Rice.

And ASH has crossed the ocean. Adventuress Patricia Guy has founded our first international scion: The Assorted and Stradivarius of Verona.

NEW ADVENTURESSES

Four new Adventuresses joined our ranks during the past year. Trish Pearlman is A Curious Collection, a most appropriate choice in view of her active involvement in the Mini-Tonga Society. Laurie Manifold’s artwork had enhanced previous Muse issues, and we were glad to welcome her as Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen and to share her witty limericks with our readers. Another new ASH, Elyse Locurto, Carina at the Albert Hall, along with Paul Singleton and Chris Powich, wrote a musical toast to the Adventuresses. Elyse and Paul performed the toast at the Spring Dinner, and it subsequently appeared in the Muse. The fourth ASH, noted English Sherlockian scholar Catherine Cooke, chose An Idler of the Empire as her investiture. The class of 2003 is truly a stellar one.

THE ASH SOCIAL CALENDAR

Normally the Spring Dinner and the Autumn Members Meeting are the highlights of our social calendar. However, on September 20, an event took place which transcended the two dinners. Our own founder and much-loved Evy Herzog wed John Baesch—definitely a Sherlockian match made in heaven. Adventuresses, clad in all shades of violet to honor our Violet Hunter, gathered in New York for the glad occasion.

ADVENTURESS HONORS

Last January Susan Vizoskie received her BSI investiture as Mrs. Saunders. At the same dinner Janice Fisher was honored as “The Woman.” Congratulations to both!

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

These are the words we hate to write. Mary Campbell and Ann Skene-Melvin, two of Canada’s leading Sherlockians and long-time ASH, crossed the Reichenbach and were mourned in the Muse by their friends Maureen Green and Kate Karlson. Maureen’s poignant piece “Sherlockian Friendship” in a subsequent issue was especially moving in view of our recent loss.

NEW CONTRIBUTORS

The Muse has always welcomed new contributors, and this past year was no exception. Minnesotan Karen Murdock debuted with an essay on pious villains and followed up with a piece on the feminine reasoning behind Watson’s choices of tales. Fellow Minnesotan John Bergquist’s toast to Hungary made Muse readers long for a glass of Von Bork’s Tokay.

Chicagoans Bill Sawisch and Sally Behary, first time attendees at the Birthday Weekend, gave us a fresh and witty take on the Baskerville Bash. The world-renowned Sherlockian “froggies,” Thierry Saint-Joanis and Jean Pierre Cagnat, saluted “Les Femmes Françaises”—first performed by Thierry at the ASH birthday brunch. Garrideb Charlotte Rodziewicz’s prize-winning toast to the Master also found its way to our pages.

FAMILIAR TOPICS, NEW IDEAS

We’re always amazed by the ingenuity that our contributors apply to familiar topics. For example, writings about the good doctor are even more numerous than those by him. However, who but our own Catalina Hannan could have created the “special Dr. Watson tour” for a new “living history” Sherlock Holmes museum. Undoubtedly there will be room in the museum for Trish Pearlman’s witty consumer research study on Watson and the ladies. Watson also captured the imagination of the ever-inventive Warren Randall. “No John in Chicago” was not a treatise on the absence of plumbing in the Second City but a Sandburgian tribute to Watson by Holmes.

Joe Moran gave us new insights on Doyle, the defender of women’s rights. Jan Stauber also honored the original good doctor with a tribute to all of his talents. Moving from the noble to the ignoble, Jim Goehmann contributed a catchy ballad on Colonel Moran sung to the tune of “Sweet Betsy from Pike,” while Kate Karlson cautioned us to look to ourselves for characteristics of “the collector,” Baron Gruner.

And, of course, our authors could not ignore Holmes himself. Sandy Kozinn’s poetical toast mused about marriage to the Master, while Lynn Walker wrote eloquently about Holmes’ humanity. Where the Master is, so is the woman. Marina Stajic began with a list of her accomplishments and neatly segued into a tribute to the late great ASH, W. S. Baring-Gould. The equally inventive Julie McKuras chose as her topic “The Women”—both good and not-so-good.

ADVENTURESS AND OTHER SCHOLARS

Al Gregory gave us new insights into the classic Christopher Morley essay “In Memoriam Sherlock Holmes.” Another great Sherlockian, Dorothy L. Sayers, was the subject of Judith Freeman’s essay which linked CREE to “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.”

Susan Rice and Peter Blau both found inspiration in the royal family. Peter wrote about that “certain gracious lady,” while Susan regaled us with anecdotes about her high-spirited son “Bertie.” Dorothy Belle Pollack continued to combine wit and scholarship with “The Sutherland Saga” and her Shelley-inspired verse on ILLU. And the irrepressible Don Izban took issue with Sandy Kozinn’s remarks on “women and the Canon,” which had appeared in the Fall 2002 Muse.

The Muse editors donned their book reviewers’ hats as Marilynne McKay had the highest praise for Anita Janda’s The Secret Diary of Dr. Watson, and Susan Diamond was equally complimentary about the London Society’s Radical Rethinks on Hound and Horse. Marilynne also reported on the Autumn Members’ Meeting and toasted her hero Sir James Saunders.

SHERLOCKIAN OUTREACH

Many of us worry about where the next Sherlockians will come from. Others do something about it. Myrtle Robinson’s “Come through the Magic Door with Me…” provided a step-by-step guide to bringing Sherlock into local schools. Jan Stauber also recounted her efforts in this area. Francine Kitts addressed the other end of the age spectrum by teaching classes on Holmes to seniors, including her own father. (Francine also provided Muse readers with a little mental stimulation through a Sherlockian rebus.)

And the Muse was pleased to announce the formation of the Beacon Society which has been founded to support educational experiences that introduce young people to the Canon and recognize exemplary efforts to do so. The society was the brainchild of Adventuress Maribeau Briggs, and ASH Susan Diamond is currently the organization’s Percy Phelps (secretary).

Warren Randall’s pastiche, “A Case of ‘Glove in Bloom,’” was the winning entry in last year’s Birthday Challenge. Sandy Kozinn, Trish Pearlman, and Sue Vizoskie were the runners-up. Honorable mentions went to Judith Freeman, Brad Keefauver, Laurie Fraser Manifold, and Regina Stinson.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the rules are simple. Each year we provide an essay topic in this special birthday edition of the Muse. The contest is only open to Muse subscribers. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter. By entering the contest, you give The Muse permission to publish your work. No entries will be returned, and Muse editorial staff and their families are not eligible.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2003- A Review of Volume 18, 2002

“IT IS ALWAYS 1895…”

Sherlockians can take comfort in the immortal words of Vincent Starrett. No matter what the year on the calendar, the “game” goes on and the Muse goes out to its subscribers. And once again, we (Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) take great pleasure in recognizing and thanking everyone who contributed to the past four issues.

The past year has not been an easy one for New Yorkers, and we are most grateful to Evelyn Herzog and the New York based production team, who ensured that theMuse went out on schedule. Evy manages the subscription list, coordinates the printing, proofreads each issue, and handles the mailing with the assistance of New York Adventuresses who gather quarterly to label and stuff envelopes. Of course, a little something choice in wines might be imbibed at that time, thus ensuring the Canonicity of the process.

WWW.ASH-NYC.COM

Thanks to Muse graphics editor Marilynne McKay, ASH now has its own splendid website: www.ASH-NYC.com has ASH history, all of the birthday flyers and competition entries, memorable events in our history, links to other Sherlockian and Victorian sites, and (thanks to computer consultant Ron Hosek) a password-protected members-only section with the (updatable!) ASH Directory. If you haven’t yet checked it out, do so. We think you’ll be delighted.

NEW ADVENTURESS

One new Adventuress joined our ranks during the past year. June Kinnee is now known as Conductor of Light. One of the founders of The Curious Collectors of Baker Street and a Baker Street Irregular (Miss Hatty Doran), the peripatetic June is well known to just about anyone who attends any Sherlockian conference anywhere. She also is the world’s premiere raffle ticket salesperson for the Watson Fund — just ask any attendee of the New York Birthday Weekend!

ADVENTURESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS

ASH receiving honors during the past year included Mary Campbell (BSI, Brenda Tregennis), Susan Dahlinger (one of two recipients of the True Davidson Award for best formal paper presented at a Bootmakers of Toronto meeting), Francine Kitts (the Baskerville Bash’s Hugo Award), Marilynne McKay (BSI, Violet de Merville), and last, but far from least, Susan Rice (the BSI’s Two Shilling Award).

Adventuress authors included Paula Cohen (Gramercy Park, her first novel, received a rave review in the Muse from Susan Rice and was a selection of several book clubs) and Susan Diamond (Seventeen Steps to Slimness: A Sherlockian Guide to Dieting). Susan Vizoskie edited and published writings about the London Society cruise and toasts from the Three Garridebs. On the visual side, Adventuress Maribeau Briggs, in conjunction with long-time ASH friend Paul Singleton, produced “A Hound It Was…”— a compilation of film clips from the various cinematic versions of HOUN.

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

We mourned Gertrude Mahoney, ASH (Elsie Cubitt), who died this spring. Her good friends, Marina Stajic and Martha Irish, shared reminiscences of Gertrude with Muse readers. Long-time Muse readers will also remember enjoying Gertrude’s witty verses in our early issues.

“ADVENTURESS SCHOLARS OFF ON A HIGH”

The Muse has always been a mix of the light-hearted and the erudite, and the past year was no exception. Susan Rice, our authority on all things Starrett, provided a fascinating look at the great man’s columns for the Chicago Tribune. In “The H Particle,” Alexian Gregory joined the writers speculating on Watson’s middle name and presented a strong case for — yes, Habakuk! And consulting cartoonist Stu Shiffman answered the question “Who Wants to Marry an English Lord?” Of course, Watson is often maligned for his inaccuracies, but in “Speculation on the Speckled,” Judith Freeman sprang to his defense, proving that the animals whose authenticity is most often in question — the geese with barred tails, the cheetah, the baboon, and the swamp adder — all did exist.

Not surprisingly, Canonical women also fascinated our authors. While showing us how Irene Adler dressed as a youth was able to slip by Holmes, Laurie Fraser Manifold also provided a fascinating look at make-up in the Victorian era. Lynn Walker meditated on Emilia Lucca and the value of education. Finally Marilynne McKay assumed the persona of Isadora Klein in a monologue about la Belle Epoque originally presented at the Spring Dinner.

AT THE MOVIES

The cinema continues to attract Sherlockians. In a slightly different take on the “Casting the Canon” concept, Julie McKuras cast all of the recent Oscar winners in Canonical parts and then, through a piece of remarkable deduction, linked them all to Kevin — no, not Bacon — Spacey. The Welcome Holmes internet group chose to cast CROO with Helena Bonham Carter in a featured part as Teddy the mongoose!

TOASTS, TOASTS, AND MORE TOASTS

This year’s Spring Dinner yielded an exceptional collection of toasts. The always-imaginative Joe Fink honored Irene Adler by proving that she, unlike Holmes, had never been “laid by the heels.” Francine Kitts showed us how Neville St. Clair’s daughter would have blown his cover, had not Holmes done it first. And Philip Shreffler paid his respects to “women who are never entirely to be trusted.” In a musical interlude, Elyse Locurto and Paul Singleton turned “How about You?” into a summer STOC classic.

Of course, toasts take place throughout the year at scion gatherings, and this year’s Muse had a stellar collection. Warren Randall toasted Watson, Doyle, and the Montague Street Lodgers at a gathering of — duh, the Lodgers, of course. Sandy Kozinn’s toast to Irene speculated on the proper pronunciation of the name, while at the Baskerville Bash, she told everyone how she made a mutt of herself over a “toast to the hound.” Judith Freeman honored her own ASH investiture — Lady Beatrice Falder — in a toast originally given at the 2001 Spring Dinner. And in what might be the most unusual toast topic of the year, Sue Vizoskie asked the Cliffdwellers to raise their glasses to “Mrs. Hudson’s silver-plated coffee-pot.”

ASH AT SEA and “ON THE ROAD AGAIN”

Not only do Adventuresses love to travel, but we love to tell others about our travels. Eight of us were on board for the Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Jubilee cruise with Muse editors Marilynne McKay and Susan Diamond reporting all the details and Marilynne handling the photography.

Julie McKuras chronicled all the “doings” at the Footprints of the Hound conference in Toronto, while Francine Kitts shared a magical moment at Meiringen — where else would a Sherlockian couple go to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary? Finally, Allan Devitt reported on the antics at the Baskerville “Bash-In” last January.

THE POETIC MUSE

Dorothy Belle Pollack continued to enchant Muse readers with her light and witty verse. This past year she reprimanded the Cunninghams for their lack of attention to detail and turned her own attention to Mycroft’s dominant mind and his equally dominant derrière.

Chicago Sherlockian Jim Goehmann made his first appearance in the Muse with a poetic explanation of Moriarty’s fall into the Falls. Norman Davis, husband of Linda Crane, gave us a delightful update in verse on their new address.

THE BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE 2003

Laurie Fraser Manifold’s poem “The Most Evil Woman in the Canon” was the winning entry in the Birthday Challenge 2002. Sandy Kozinn (2001 winner), Warren Randall, and Barbara Roden were runners-up. Honorable mentions went to Don Izban, Dayna McCausland, Julie McKuras, and Sue Vizoskie.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the rules are simple. Each January 6th (Holmes’ birthday) we provide an essay topic. There is typically a one-month window of opportunity between the announcement of the topic and the deadline for receipt of entries. The contest is open only to Muse subscribers. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter. By entering the contest, you give the Muse permission to publish your work. No entries will be returned, and Muse editorial staff and their families are not eligible.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2002- A Review of Volume 17, 2001

MUSE-ings

In 1942, Vincent Starrett wrote: “How remote that age before the world went all awry…” Almost 60 years later, the world is once again “all awry.” However, perhaps Mycroft Holmes is still the British government and is working closely with Tony Blair. And perhaps a gaunt, somewhat elderly British gentleman has once again grown a beard and gone undercover — this time residing in the caves of Afghanistan. After all, “only those things the heart believes are true.”

Certainly Muse contributors continued to play the game during the past twelve months, both before and after the horrific events of September 11th. Each year in this modest monograph, we (Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) recognize and thank everyone who contributed to the past four issues.

As always, our thanks go first to Evelyn Herzog and the New York based production team. Evy manages the subscription list and our modest exchequer, coordinates the printing, and proofreads each issue — a most important step, since the editors have learned the hard way that it is impossible to proofread our own work. Each quarter New York Adventuresses gather to label and stuff envelopes, ensuring that our subscribers receive each issue on time.

ADVENTURESSES IN THE NEWS

Four new Adventuresses joined our ranks during the past year. Their choices of investitures were most appropriate. Our new members are Catalina Hannan (A Basket of Coloured Silks), Dayna McCausland (Art in the Blood), Shirley Purves (The Ancient Cornish Language), and Jan Stauber (The Hotel du Louvre). Catalina, Shirley, and Jan are all familiar to Muse readers through their contributions, and Dayna is, of course, a well-known Canadian Sherlockian.

We’re all eagerly awaiting the spring publication of Paula Cohen’s first novel, Gramercy Park. And 2001 marked the appearance of Susan Rice’s superb tribute to Starrett: The Somnambulist and the Detective: Vincent Starrett and Sherlock Holmes.

ASH receiving honors during the past year included Susan Dahlinger (now a Master Bootmaker), Judith Freeman (the Hugo award for her many contributions to the Baskerville Bash), and Julie McKuras (BSI, The Duchess of Devonshire). 

“STAND WITH ME HERE UPON THE TERRACE…”

Adventuresses mourned the loss of one very dear to us all — Wayne Swift — and extended our sympathy to our own Hatty Doran, Francine Swift. Wayne was a frequent Muse contributor, whose toasts at the Spring and Fall dinners were always memorable. A vintage Swiftian toast from the 1998 Watsonian dinner reminded Muse readers of Wayne’s wit.

THE DINNERS AND THEIR TOASTS

Adventuresses do love to dine, and those dinners always yield some memorable toasts. The 2000 Fall Dinner was especially notable as we celebrated the birthday of our own Principal Unprincipled Adventuress and presented her with a hamper (well, trunk might be a more appropriate word) of Victorian goodies. Paula Perry provided Muse readers unable to attend with all the details.

That evening, American Canonical women were honored with Catalina Hannan’s toast to a principled Adventuress, Effie Munro, and Elyse Locurto’s tribute to Hatty Doran’s sense of duty. Lest anyone become bored with all this integrity, equal time was given to the “naughty ladies.” Francine Kitts concluded that Mary Holder was a Muggle under a spell, while Kate Karlson honored the avenging angel with a dirty face — Kitty Winter. Fortunately, Evy’s mother was not in attendance as she might have been surprised to learn that her daughter is the granddaughter of Watson and Beryl Stapleton. Full credit for this revisionist history goes to Linda Anderson, who also provided the photographs that appeared in the Muse.

Watson certainly received his share of attention that evening as Dore Nash speculated about his duality and debunked his prowess as a ladies’ man, characterizing him instead as a “love-stricken naïf.” Needless to say, the evening would not have been complete without toasts to ACD (Sue Vizoskie) and the Master (Myrtle Robinson). Our thanks to all of the above for providing Muse readers with some most enjoyable reading.

The next major dining experience was the Baskerville Bash. Judith Freeman provided us with all the details, while Linda Anderson’s photographs of the Bash gave tantalizing glimpses of Shirley the Curly, Toby, Hugo the Hound, and Old Sherman.

Lest anyone feel faint from lack of sustenance, it was time for the Spring Dinner. Toasts from Mary Kate Brennan, Warren Randall, M.E. Rich, and Priscilla Ridgway entertained Muse readers. And there was Joe Fink’s talk about Moriarty’s tongue — as with all Finkian scholarship, this paper defies description.

Toasts at non-ASH events also found their way into the Muse’s pages: Catalina Hannan’s tale of Irene Adler’s last stage appearance; Harold “Tyke” Niver’s assessment of Mrs. Hudson – yes, the Mrs. Hudson – as an adventuress; and Warren Randall’s verse honoring “the slim sibling of the massive Mycroft.”

AT THE MOVIES

Thanks go to Carl Heifetz whose idea of “casting the Canon” generated much amusing and innovative copy. Carl cast GREE as a vintage black-and-white film starring Bogart – or was it Rathbone? This motivated Julie McKuras, a film major, to provide a star-studded version of EMPT using a contemporary cast. And the irrepressible Don Izban gave us “STUD – the Musical” with Sir Alec Guinness in all roles except Holmes and Watson.

THE MUSE OF POETRY

Our own poet laureate, Dorothy Belle Pollack, has been delighting Muse readers with her sparkling verse for 22 years. This year James Wilder and Oscar Meunier were the topics for her wit and whimsy.

While all Sherlockians are familiar with the original Aunt Clara, Ann Byerly Marlowe took the traditional tune and turned it into a tribute (of sorts) to Holmes and Watson. And the late William Schweickert took the same tune and used it to speculate on “just where in the hell Holmes answered when Nature did call.”

ART IN THE BLOOD, OFF TO THE RACES, AND SOMETHING ABOUT RATS

Consulting cartoonist Stu Shiffman proved adept with a keyboard as well as a sketchpad in a memorable essay illustrated by his own drawings about why he loves Adventuresses. The feeling is reciprocated.

Kate Karlson speculated on the Master’s gambling habit and caused some of us to wonder whether her obviously extensive knowledge of the track meant that she shared Holmes and Watson’s fondness for placing a wager.

Was the giant rat of Sumatra a very large hairball instead of a ravenous rodent? That, at least, is Marilynne McKay’s theory. Marilynne’s photographs of Muse contributors and the past year’s Sherlockian events also added much to Volume 17 of The Serpentine Muse. Hopefully, Muffy will not develop a Milvertonian personality and put her photographic talents to any other uses.

THE BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE 2002

Sandy Kozinn’s superb sonnet was the winning entry in last year’s Birthday challenge. Three-time winner Sue Vizoskie and new Muse subscriber Laurie Fraser Manifold were the runners-up.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the rules are simple. Each year we provide an essay topic in this special birthday edition of The Serpentine Muse. Note that the contest is open only to Muse subscribers. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter. By entering the contest, you give The Muse permission to publish your work. No entries will be returned, and Muse editorial staff and their families are not eligible.

THIS YEAR’S ASSIGNMENT

Much has been said and written lately about “evil.” Evil, of course, abounds in the Canon: Moriarty, Moran, Milverton — just to name a few Men. In 200 words or less, name the most evil Woman in the Canon and give your reasons for your choice.

The winning entry and runners up as appropriate will appear in The Serpentine Muse. In addition, the winner will receive a $30 gift certificate for the book store of his or her choice.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2001- A Review of Volume 16, 2000

“IF YOU HAVE A FANCY TO SEE YOUR NAME IN THE NEXT HONOURS LIST…”

This modest monograph is The Serpentine Muse’s equivalent to an honours list. Each year, we (Muse co-editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) recognize and thank everyone who helped make the last four issues possible. While we realize that, like Holmes, our contributors play the game for the game’s sake, not for recognition or honours, still it would be most ungracious to ignore the efforts made.

First, our thanks go to Evelyn Herzog and the New York based production team. In addition to managing the subscription list and the always important exchequer, as well as coordinating the printing, Evy is now our proofreader par excellence. She is ably supported in the production area by New York Adventuresses who gather quarterly to label and stuff envelopes while imbibing “something a little choice…in wines.”

During the past year, the list of Muse contributors, as well as subscribers, continued to expand. Old friends reappeared in our pages with new insights into matters Sherlockian, and talented new contributors joined their ranks. In addition, we recorded another year of Adventuress history.

Once again we stood “upon the terrace” and mourned Adventuresses who have crossed the Reichenbach. 1999 ended sadly with the death of a very dear friend — Dorothy Rowe Shaw. Most appropriately, another Dorothy (Stix) shared with Muse readers her recollections of their long friendship and Dorothy’s many contributions to the Sherlockian world.

Then on August 10, 2000, Adventuress Margaret B.T. Hoffman (The Hoffman Barcarolle) died of leukemia. Margaret was a charter member of the Hansom Wheels in Columbia, South Carolina.

On a happier note, three new Adventuresses joined our ranks. Frequent Muse contributors Jane Hinckley and Sandy Kozinn are now known as Flora Millar and Esmeralda, respectively. And Julie McKuras of Minnesota became The Compliments of the Season, in recognition of her shared enthusiasms—the Canon and Christmas.

Other honours came our way as well. In January, Jean Upton became a member of the BSI with the investiture of Elsie Cubitt and S. E. Dahlinger received the Morley-Montgomery Award for her BSJ article on William Gillette. Later in the year, Marina Stajic was made an honorary member of La Societe Sherlock-Holmes de France with the investiture Madame Fournaye and Margaret Smedegaard received the Old Campaigner award at the Watsonians’ Regimental Dinner. Finally, frequent Muse contributor Sue Vizoskie received the Three Garridebs’ Amick award for the best scholarly paper presented at a meeting during the past year.

On April Fools Day, 41 Adventuresses and friends came from points near and far to attend the Spring Dinner. A highlight was the distribution of the new ASH directory, once again ably compiled by Marilynne McKay with the assistance of Sue Vizoskie and Evelyn Herzog.

Those unable to attend were able to read some of the more memorable presentations in the Muse. These included toasts by Pj Doyle, Marilynne McKay, and Jan Stauber, as well as Joe Fink’s paper “The Turkey Feather Tickle.” Pj’s toast to Canonical Fools took a few liberties with the gospel of Matthew, while Marilynne gave us the Great Dermatologist’s insights on Godfrey Emsworth. Jan Stauber proved Watson was the perfect “10” as a spouse. (Does this make Al an “11”?)

Joe’s riff on Holmes, Houdini, Doyle, spiritualism, noses, and feathers was so astonishing that even dinner attendees needed to revisit it in the Muse to grasp all its complexities (or perhaps absurdities would be a better choice of words). The paper was enhanced by Stu Shiffman’s delightful illustrations. We’re pleased to report that Muse readers will see more of Stu’s art, as well as his prose, in an upcoming issue.

Two of the more memorable papers from the 1999 Spring Dinner also appeared in the Muse this year. First came The ASH Constitution and Buy Laws — a paper presented by Bill Vande Water, who resolutely denied all responsibility for its contents claiming he received the document anonymously. This claim brought to mind Holmes’ remark in SUSS: “We must not let him think this agency is a home for the weak-minded. Of course, it is his…” Linda Spessotti set the “science” of numerology back some 2500 years as she linked Stonehenge, the Magna Carta, the Musgrave Ritual, and the Five Orange Pips through the Tallahassee area code and other equally plausible deductions.

Startling yet scholarly insights were not limited to Linda and Joe Fink. Sandy Kozinn’s research proved clearly that Holmes is Jewish, while Susan Diamond found a new site for Watson’s mysterious wound. Sandy also won first prize in the annual Muse birthday competition. The assignment was to write an uncharacteristic, corrupt, non-Watsonian, reprehensible opening to a Holmes case, and Sandy’s entry was delightfully appalling, as were those of runners-up Warren Randall and John Russo.

Readers were also kept up-to-date on events they may have missed. Linda Spessotti chronicled the doings at Baskerville Bash 2000, while Sue Vizoskie gave us a first person report on the unveiling of the Baker Street statue.

Our Principal Unprincipled Adventuress, Evelyn Herzog, defended our honor in a spirited exchange of correspondence with well-known mystery writer Susan Conant. Ms. Conant is literary agent for Holly Winter. In one of her recent works, Ms. Winter had referred to us as the “ladies’ auxiliary” of the BSI. Ms. Conant apologized most graciously for Ms. Winter’s gaffe and assured Evelyn that Adventuresses would appear in a more favorable light in the next Holly Winter work. It should also be noted that while Ms. Winter was indeed confused about Adventuresses, her writings have done much for animal welfare — especially through her exposure of “puppy mills” and other forms of animal abuse.

As you can tell, the Muse editorial staff is partial to dogs — four provide able assistance in the preparation of each issue. So it was with great pleasure that we received a paper from one of the most famous Canonical canines — Toby. Thanks go to Susan Cohen for sharing his recollections of his Master with us. Judith Freeman made sure we did not forget the feline point of view as she argued that a cat was indeed the perfect companion for the perfect detective.

The Muse has always been noted for poetry, as well as prose. Dorothy Belle Pollack continued to delight readers with her humorous verse. We also enjoyed the last two parts of Joan Brieaddy’s superb “Holmesian Quartet,” Ben Vizoskie’s “Sherlock, Sherlock, Burning Bright,” Jane Hinckley’s “Tri-Cycle” on Violet Smith, and Al Gregory’s “Toast to the Goose.”

Both Al and Jane appeared twice this past year. Al mused on Selden’s unsuitability, while Jane introduced us to the other ASH — Alternative Short-term Home-care-giver, also known as the BSI — Baby Sitting Industry, when she explained why she could not be found at the Spring Dinner.
Finally, the water-stained oilskin packet from the Sherlockian cruise on the Zenith continued to provide memorable reading. Irv Kamil gave us an adventure in serendipitous research which undoubtedly inspired many readers to go on their own similar adventures. Marilyn MacGregor punningly updated us on Violet Hunter, while Philip Shreffler provided the latest “info” on another hunter — Leon Sterndale. We understand that Philip is now resting comfortable in the same institution that houses Joe Fink and Linda Spessotti.

A CHALLENGE FOR OUR FUTURE READERS…

The Birthday Challenge has become a Muse tradition. Admittedly the Muse editors are not altogether altruistic in sponsoring these little contests. Our goals are, of course, to generate copy and to encourage new subscribers. On the other hand, those of you who are not already Muse subscribers will benefit by receiving four informative and enjoyable issues for a mere pittance–ten dollars, to be exact. As in the past, this contest is FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter the contest.
This year’s competition is loosely based on an idea submitted by Sue Vizoskie. As was the case with last year’s competition (a suggestion by Linda Spessotti), Sue is eligible to enter the contest. Needless to say, the Muse editorial staff and their families — both two and four legged members — are not eligible. Also by entering the contest, you give The Muse permission to publish your work. No entries will be returned.
This year’s assignment is:
In SCAN, Holmes says: “When a woman thinks that her house is on fire, her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most.” We would point out that this statement is equally true for the male of the species. In 200 words or less, if 221B Baker Street were on fire, what one item would Holmes and Mrs. Hudson each rush for and why?
The winning entry and runners up as appropriate will appear in The Serpentine Muse. In addition, the winner will receive a $30 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 2000- A Review of Volume 15, 1999

MILLENNIUM MUSE-ings

As we either celebrate the last year of an old century or enter a new one (depending on how you keep score), it is time once again for the co-editors of The Serpentine Muse (Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay) to give thanks. First of all, our gratitude to Evelyn Herzog and the New York based production team. Ev manages the subscription list and the always important exchequer, as well as coordinating the printing. Every quarter New York area Adventuresses gather to stuff and label envelopes; perhaps a drop or two of wine is partaken of at these sessions; but whatever the system, it works – and The Muse goes out on schedule to its steadily growing circulation.
Meeting schedules was perhaps even more impressive this year as co-editor McKay retired from Emory and moved (with husband Ron Hosek) from Atlanta to Albuquerque. With the acquisition of their two new “furkids,” The Muse’s canine editorial support team is up to four: Buddy and Robo in Chicago, Marta and Oly in New Mexico, along with felines Ernie, Lupe, and Uno.
Next thanks go to our contributors — old friends and new — who provided readers with wit, insight, and scholarship on a wide range of topics Sherlockian. As we’ve done for the past two years, we’ve prepared this pamphlet to recognize their contributions and to review the events of the past year.
Unfortunately, once again we lost much-loved Adventuresses. In our winter issue, Evelyn Herzog and M.E. Rich remembered Tom Stix, pointing out that he had all the characteristics of an Adventuress — “commitment to the Sherlockian cause, humor, conviviality, and participation in the group’s activities, coupled with a willingness to make a fool of oneself in public.” In the same issue, we laughed aloud at Evelyn’s remarks from the 1997 BSI “roast” of Tom and remembered happier times.
In 1999, we mourned Lynn Willis. Manibeau Briggs wrote movingly of Lynn’s infectious enthusiasm and Sherlockian dedication. And our hearts and sympathy went out to Bev Wolov on the untimely accidental death of her husband Rob.
Linda Spessotti (you’ll hear more of her later in this flyer) joined our ranks as A Student of the Unusual. And Adventuresses rejoiced as yet another of our ranks joined the BSI. Marilyn MacGregor — whose piece “Autograph Treasures” appeared in the summer issue — received the investiture V. V. 341at the 1999 BSI dinner.
Approximately 50 Adventuresses and friends gathered for the Spring Dinner — an event that yielded copy for Muses past and future. In the fall issue, M.E. Rich’s toast to “The Woman” provided a spirited defense of the original Adventuress, while honoring those who follow in her footsteps. Readers also enjoyed Jane Hinckley’s toast linking the Statue of Liberty to the then soon-to-be unveiled Statue of Holmes.
The year’s most distinguished contributor was none other than John H. Watson, M.D., whose “Adventure of the Inverted Reindeer” was a worthy addition to the Christmas Canon. Now we know not only what Holmes and Watson did two days after Christmas, but also their pre-Christmas exploits. Later we reveled in yet another previously unrecorded case, as the Ochs Academy Sherlock Holmes Club, the pride and joy of Adventuress Delia Vargas, provided us with “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Golden Eye.”
For female Sherlockians, one of the biggest annoyances is the misguided soul, usually of the male persuasion, who says, “I don’t understand how women can like Holmes when he disliked women so much.” While most of us have become reasonably adept at dealing with these individuals (air-guns are remarkably effective), Susan Rice provided the definitive response in “Entirely to Be Trusted.” As with all of Susan’s writings, the scholarship was impeccable and the reasoning indisputable. Feminist Sherlockians should never leave home without a copy of this indispensable work.
The nautical theme begun in earlier years continued with Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves’ “Cruising and Crossing,” a title which might have caused some confusion if it hadn’t been followed with “on board ship with Sherlock Holmes.” In the same issue, Paul Smedegaard challenged readers’ nautical Canonical knowledge with “Shape Up and/or ‘Ship’ Out.”
Dorothy Belle Pollack has been The Muse’s poet laureate for many years, delighting readers with her humorous verse. This year, Joan Brieaddy, author of “A Holmesian Quartet,” and Mary Erickson also provided poetic interludes.
And scholarly pieces abounded as Bruce Aiken had some rather vitriolic comments about ILLU, Barbara Holmes speculated about “the most winning woman,” and Dennis France proved Watson to be the ideal juror, but Holmes to be far from the ideal judge.
Events both recent and far past found their way into the Muse,as Francine Swift’s “Tales of the Sub-Librarians” recounted the scion’s history, including an explanation of Texas liquor licensing which brought back not-so-fond memories to those of us who are transplanted Texans. Dennis France’s “Founders’ Footprints” gave those unable to attend an in-depth look at a memorable conference.
Last year’s Birthday Challenge yielded memorable pieces by Susan Vizoskie (our third-time winner) and David McCallister. And another Vizoskie – Ben found his way into our pages with a toast that defies description.

A CHALLENGE FOR OUR READERS…

The Birthday Challenge has become a Muse tradition. Admittedly the Muse editors are not altogether altruistic in sponsoring these little contests. Our goals are, of course, to generate copy and to encourage new subscribers. On the other hand, those of you who are not already Muse subscribers will benefit by receiving four informative and enjoyable issues for a mere pittance – ten dollars, to be exact. As in the past, this contest is FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter the contest.

Linda Spessotti not only designed this competition, but provided a sample entry. We know you’ll have fun following in her footsteps. Also, since it seems unfair to deprive one who saved the editors much effort of a chance at the prize, Linda is eligible for the competition (although not, of course, with the entry printed here).

We all know and love the characteristic Watsonian opening to a case — openings such as these:
Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind the night before…
“Well, Watson, what do you make of it?”
Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation.
“How did you know what I was doing? I believe you have eyes in the back of your head.”
“I have, at least a well-polished, silver-plated coffee-pot in front of me,” said he. (HOUN)
In choosing a few typical cases which illustrate the remarkable mental qualities of my friend, Sherlock Holmes, I have endeavored, as far as possible, to select those which presented the minimum of sensationalism, while offering a fair field for his talents. It is, however, unfortunately impossible entirely to separate the sensational from the criminal, and a chronicler … must either sacrifice details … or he must use matter which chance, and not choice, has provided him with. With this short preface I shall turn to my notes of what proved to be a strange, though a peculiarly terrible, chain of events. (CARD)
Your assignment is to write an uncharacteristic, corrupt, non-Watsonian, reprehensible (i.e., bad) opening to a Sherlock Holmes case. There is a limit of 150 words.
Here’s Linda’s example:
It had been six long, scorching weeks, that summer of 1898, since Holmes had been involved in a case. His mood was as foul and fetid as the August air, and mine was little better.
He lay like a jellyfish, sprawled on the sofa, listening to the sick melodies in his opium-addled mind. I, not much better off, languished in the armchair, bored, hot and miserable.
Suddenly he spoke. “Listen, Watson.” His cocaine-riddled tongue made it sound more like “Lissen, Wasson.” “I’m g-d— sick of you filching my adventures an’ publishing ‘em and making a f —– g fortune off me.”
Of course, the winning entry and runners-up will appear in the Muse. In addition, the winner will receive a $30 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 1999- A Review of Volume 14, 1998

AN A-MUSE-ing YEAR

Holmes would have been lost without his Boswell, and we would be equally at a loss without the New York-based “publication staff.” Evelyn Herzog keeps our subscription list current, manages the exchequer, and coordinates the printing. Then four times a year, Adventuresses gather to share laughter and wine while stuffing and labeling envelopes. Our sincerest thanks to those who ensure that the Muse goes out on time!
1997-98 saw the ranks of Muse contributors increase. Old friends returned to our pages with new ideas, and the Muse  welcomed many new contributors.
The entire Sherlockian world grieved over the loss of “a certain gracious lady,” Dame Jean Conan Doyle. Our own Jean Upton gave us a unique insight into the woman behind the public persona. Regrettably this was not the only time we stood upon the terrace. A much-loved Adventuress, Dr. Eileen Hartsoe Katz, died this past June. Her close friend and fellow Adventuress, Sherry Rose-Bond, shared her memories of Eileen with us.
As always, the SPRING DINNER was a highlight of the Adventuress year. Warren Randall received the “Baker Street (B.S.) Bowl” for his highly imaginative response to Ann Onymous’ “What’s This?” challenge.Muse readers also enjoyed Sandy Kozinn’s excellent runner-up entry in the competition, as well as dinner toasts by Nora Myers, Marina Stajic, and Susan Diamond. Special thanks go to the mysterious Ms. Onymous for sponsoring the competition and providing a most impressive inscribed silver bowl for Warren.
The year had a decidedly nautical bent as a tattered oil-skin packet revealed writings from Sherlockian voyages past and present. Peter Horrocks proved what most Sherlockians suspected: Moriarty sank the Titanic. In the previous issue, he’d informed Muse readers that Moran was a double-glazer in India. We understand from Peter’s physician that he is resting comfortably and now only needs medication infrequently.
The oil-skin packet also gave us George Hubbard’s and Shirley Purves’ radically different views on Watson’s return to Australia. While Marilynne McKay hitched Lord St. Simon to Annie Oakley, Ben Vizoskie found Flo Ziegfield a more fitting partner for the noble bachelor. Finally Susan Diamond sent Moran to his maker via a double-berylled tiger cub. By then, most Muse readers must have concluded that the cruising Sherlockians had consumed more than their fair share of a local Bermudian beverage — a potent potion of rum and ginger beer aptly titled a  “dark-and-stormy.”
Other contributors provided a somewhat more scholarly perspective. Jeanne Thelwell gave us a Masterly reconstruction of Lucy Hebron’s life, while Sue Vizoskie introduced us to the woman behind Mary Sutherland’s hat — the Duchess of Devonshire. Chicagoans weighed in with opinions pro and con on Watson. Fred Levin accused him of telling “The Whopper of All Time,” while Don Izban defended Watson in the matter of the blue carbuncle.
Several regular Muse contributors returned to our pages. Dorothy Belle Pollack continued to delight readers with her verse. Francine Kitts gave us an intriguing e-mail quiz, as well as some lyrical thoughts. Philip Shreffler, now wed to Adventuress M.E. Rich, took time to prove the provenance of Camden House.

A CHALLENGE FOR OUR READERS…

Another Muse tradition is our annual Birthday competition. Last year’s winner was Sue Vizoskie with the aforementioned piece on the Duchess of Devonshire. Admittedly the Muse editors are not altogether altruistic in sponsoring these little contests. Our goals are, of course, to generate copy and to encourage new subscribers. On the other hand, those of you who are not already Muse subscribers will benefit by receiving four informative and enjoyable issues for a mere pittance – ten dollars, to be exact. As in the past, this contest is FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter the contest.
Your task is simple. Write 200 words or less on the following topic:
While much has been made in Canonical scholarship over women named Violet, in fact, there are far more “Mary”s than “Violet”s (Cushing, Fraser-Brackenstall, Holder, Maberley, Sutherland and, of course, Morstan). Which Mary either most or least exemplifies the Adventuress spirit? That’s right, you have a choice: those of you who, like Kitty Winter, are partial to vitriol may go on the attack.
Of course, the winning entry and runners-up as appropriate will appear in The Muse.In addition, the winner will receive a $30 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice.

The Serpentine Muse Birthday Edition 1998- A Review of Volume 13, 1997

AN ADVENTURESS YEAR IN REVIEW

With Volume 13, The Serpentine Muse, the journal of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, returned vigorously from its brief hiatus as Co-Editors Susan Diamond and Marilynne McKay took the helm. (A large bouquet of thanks here from the Chicago- and Atlanta-based Editors to the New York “Production Staff,” headed by Evelyn Herzog. Once each quarter, the wine flows, the laughter reverberates, and The Muse goes out on schedule.)
Winter 1996 took on a somber note as we stood upon the terrace for three of our own: Patricia Moran and Marlene Aig (each a previous Muse editor), and John Bennett Shaw, a staunch supporter of ASH in its formative years. In prose and verse, Peter Crupe, T. Michelle Fromkin, Marina Stajic, and Bob Thomalen shared their memories of these much-loved Adventuresses.
The Muse “went to the dogs” as Linda Anderson provided convincing evidence that the Hound was a victim, not a villain, and the inimitable Francine Morris Swift conducted a caninical inquiry into the dog who did nothing.
Uncouplings proved of interest with Kate Karlson’s treatise on D-I-V-O-R-C-E Victorian style. Joe Moran continued the trend with a look at canonical foiled and failed marriages.
Muse readers were enlightened by Phillip Shreffler’s ruminations on the indiscretions of the Master and the reverberations of Lady Frances down through the Canon. Thom Utecht raised eyebrows and handkerchiefs with “The True History of Violet Hunter.”
Under the heading of “perfect Sherlockian roommates,” we learned that Susan Vizoskie is partial to little men with blow guns, while Marina Stajic prefers feline companionship. Marina scored a “hat trick” with her third appearance of the year — a treatise on Canonical Chemistry as presented at the ASH Spring Dinner in New York.
Another “First” at the Spring Dinner was the distribution of an ASH Directory, published by The Serpentine Muse under the guidance of Graphics Editor Marilynne McKay.
Wodehousian Sherlockians were ably represented by Francine Kitts, who drew hitherto unremarked parallels between the writings of Watson and Wooster.
Celebratory activities included toasts from various Adventuresses, including Peter Blau and Marilynne McKay, and songs from T. Michelle Fromkin. The Muse’s most dedicated contributor — Dorothy Belle Pollack — kept us entertained with her verse on cases and characters Canonical.
Delia Vargas shared her experiences in first encountering Holmes and the Adventuresses, while Nora Myers entertained us with tales of spreading the Canonical gospel in a Baltimore classroom.
A Mystery Guest — one Ann Onymous — provided us with “What’s This?” — a challenge to provide a new, yet Canonical, text for a classic Strand illustration — in 100 words or less. All this along with news, engaging illustrations, and upcoming events for Adventuresses and their friends, delivered quarterly.

A CHALLENGE TO PRESENT AND FUTURE READERS

Those of you who are already Muse subscribers know what a wealth of information and entertainment you are receiving for a paltry ten dollars a year. However, we understand that many otherwise well-informed Sherlockians have not yet seen the light and signed up. To encourage you to do so, we, the Muse editors, are sponsoring yet another contest FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Of course, you may subscribe at the same time you enter the contest. Since the Ann Onymous competition amply demonstrated our readers’ wit and ingenuity, we encourage you to set pen to paper and answer the following query in 200 words or less:
Which woman in the Canon (other than The Woman, Irene Adler) most exemplifies the Adventuress spirit?
Of course, the winning entry  (and runners-up as appropriate) will appear in The Muse. In addition to everlasting literary fame, the winner’s reward will be a $30 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice.