I took the train from Devon (or is it Yardley) to the City. Holmes (or someone) had asked me to spend time at Baskerville Hall with Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry but I felt I needed to get back to London (or is it Philadelphia). Strange how past and present; real and fictional seem to blend. I arrive at Paddington (or is it Jefferson Station). Yes, I am going to the theatre but before the performance, I need some dinner. There is a new place run by a Mexican immigrant (El Vez). But as I worked my way up the street, I notice a small pub sign, then the name spread across the front of the building, “Moriarty’s.” Forgetting the Mexican, I was drawn inside. The fiend, the Napoleon of crime, he had the audacity to have his name emblazoned on a pub sign. My how times have changed.
I sat down at one end of the bar, close to the door. I cautiously looked around. There was a mixed crowd, young and old, couples, singles, a few large groups. Were any of them Moriarty’s accomplices. I ordered a fairly local (Chambersburg) beer, Roy Pitz, sour. The bartender, a woman, brought three beers, one for me and the others for the couple next to me. A few minutes later, the guy next to me asks, “I think she has your sour.” Sure enough the drinks were mixed up. We both said it was ok and kept the mixed up beers. I checked on my phone Internet and read that Roy Pitz Hound Sour was no longer being made. Was the bartender telling me something? Was this a clue? The play I was going to was “The Hound of the Baskerville,” based on a book by my friend Doctor John Watson, who writes under the alias, Arthur Conan Doyle. I ordered a second beer, Roy Pitz sour and a Reuben.
As I bit into the pastrami,, I recalled a case Watson wrote about, “The Adventure of the Priory School,” and a character Reuben Hayes. “Holmes and Watson find themselves at the Fighting Cock Inn, and meet the innkeeper, Reuben Hayes, who seems startled indeed to hear that Holmes wants to go to Holdernesse Hall, the Duke’s nearby house, to tell him news of his son. The two men have lunch there, and Holmes suddenly realises something: He and Watson saw lots of cow tracks out on the moor, all along their line of investigation, but never at any time did they see any cows. Furthermore, the patterns of the hoof prints were quite unusual, suggesting that the cow in question walked, cantered, and galloped – very unusual behaviour for a cow.” Reuben, a clue maybe. Strange.
I got into a discussion with the couple next to me. I told them I was headed to a production of the “Hound,” carefully watching their response. “Do you know about the new Sherlock movie,” he asked, “Mr. Holmes.” I said I had heard about it but was getting a bit tired of Holmes movies. It’s like every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he can be Holmes “Between BBC’s Sherlock, CBS’ Elementary, and Warner Bros.’ ongoing film series starring Robert Downey Jr., we’re practically drowning in Sherlock Holmes adaptations at the moment. The last thing we need is another one. Or at least that’s what we would have said before seeing the excellent trailer for Mr. Holmes. In the new film by Bill Condon, Ian McKellen plays the classic character near the end of his life though he’s now living out a peaceful retirement among his beloved bees, Sherlock remains haunted by the circumstances of the case that put him into exile.” Exile, bees, the end of my life?
The couple was leaving for their table but before they left, I asked her for an email address. She told me she was moving to Washington, D.C. to become the principal of a High School, named after the American President, Woodrow Wilson. Movies, Washington, D.C. — was there a connection. I remembered:
Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to Washington D.C. in order to prevent a secret document from falling into enemy hands.
Director: Roy William Neill
Writers: Arthur Conan Doyle (characters), Bertram Millhauser (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Marjorie Lord
You may wonder how I remembered all that. Doctor Watson wrote about me in “A Study in Scarlett.”
“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” Actually I used IMBD on the Internet. It frees up a lot of brain attic space.
The couple left for their table. I paid my bill, took a long look around the room. Moriarity — his tenacles reach thoughout the city (London or is it Philadelphia). But he is leaving me clues. He wants to engage me in the chase, the hunt. He lives and dies for it.
I headed out to the Lantern Theatre and their production of “The Hound of the Baskerville.” Adapted from John Watson’s (Doyle’s) story by Steven Canny & John Nicholson.
Nicholson, I knew I had heard that name before.
“‘Departed’ No More? Robert Downey Jr. Desperately Trying To Woo Jack Nicholson Out Of Retirement For Sherlock Holmes Role” Retirement. Bees. Suffolk. New movie, “Mr. Sherlock Holmes.” Things are coming together.
The Lantern Theatre production was fantastic. Holmes. Lantern. I knew there had to be a connection.