The Maniac Collector's Inbox (19)
Back to SherlockPeoria front page October 6 , 2002 Back to The Maniac Collector's Archives
Well, it's been a quite week in my home, Lake Sherlockbegon, Texas. Summer has finally loosened its grip and allowed the temperature outside to drop to a mild 98 degrees in the shade. It takes a bit longer to fry my eggs on the sidewalk that runs beside my mailbox. Charlotte Rae, the chain-smoking mail carrier has been passing me by more than she's been stopping this week. This is not a good sign for the Maniac Collector of Sherlockiana. That old rusty mail box is beginning to cry from hunger pains. Feed me, feed me, feed me Sherlockiana.
The only item that I added to my collection this week was the latest issue of The Whaling News for September 2002. I enjoy the cleverness of this publication and the meaning behind its funny folded way. The first page is "The Baleen", which means whalebone or the head. The articles in the middle under the title "The Blow Hole" - enough said. Finally the last page is "The Fluke". The fluke is the whale's tail.
The Harpooner's of the Sea Unicorn publishes The Whaling News every month and has been doing so for 177 consecutive months. The Sea Unicorn was the steam sealer from Dundee that is mentioned in "The Adventure of Black Peter." This is also the story where Peter Blau's investiture comes from. Peter's excellent monthly newsletter, Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press should arrive next week, as it has every month since June of 1989.
Spermaceti is a white waxy substance that is separated from the oil contained in the head of a sperm whale. It is used to make candles and ointments. The fat was compressed using a Spermaceti Press! That was a whale of a tale.
Just because nothing Sherlockian found its way to my mailbox does not mean I was not trying. I did have an unusual experience this week. I found some more issues of La Dominica del Corrieire from 1901 to 1904. This is an Italian weekly magazine that has been published since the 1890's. I bought 61 issues of an Italian magazine from a guy in Venezuela, Argentina. I had a time with Gladys Phipps at the Lake Sherlockbegon Western Union Wire Transfer Office trying to explain the town was Venezuela and the country was Argentina. I was surprised she knew that much Geography. The reason the 61 issues were so special was that they included all 17 issues of La Maledizione dei Baskervilles! Throw in Il Socio del Dottore parts 1 and 2 (RESI) and part 1 of Lotta di Giganti (EMPT) for good measure.
I also won an on-line auction for a couple of Dutch translations. One is an interesting copy published in 1948 but it is not listed in De Waal's. According the person who sold it, it is an illustrated edition. The other book was volume 19 of 26 of De Sherlock Holmes Serie published by Blankwaart & Schoonhoven in the 1930's. These are listed in De Waal's as C2675. This will be my 12th volume in the series. Of course not until Charlotte Rae, the chain-smoking mail carrier stops boycotting my mailbox.
I ventured outside of the Lake Sherlockbegon city limits on Saturday. I went to the 8th annual Ft. Worth Book and Paper Show. I was hoping to pick up some rare historical text on the origins of Lake Sherlockbegon but there were none to be found. I did bump into some people with Sherlockian connections. The first person I saw was Carole Nelson Douglas. She was there with a stack of Irene Adler books and Midnight Louie books kindly offering to sign any and all presented to her. We had a good chat and she agreed to an interview with me. It should be found in a future issue of The Holmes & Watson Report.
Another Ft. Worth resident I saw was Mr. Brian Perkins. Brian used to own Barber's Books in downtown Ft. Worth. I have known Brian for many years. When Barber's Books was open, I made it a point to take visiting Sherlockians there. Why? Because Brian is the owner of The Dancing Men manuscript and is willing to show it when asked the right way. He is usually at the Ft. Worth Book and Paper Show to do free appraisals. Brian is the Bob Burr of Ft. Worth. He never leaves the city limits.
Browsing the many dealers at the show is mostly an exercise in futility. There are thousands upon thousands of volumes on Texas and the southwest, the Civil War, Indians, and trains but very little on Sherlock Holmes. I did find a 2nd edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, George Newnes, 1894 for $350 but this was such a battered copy that it was beyond any consideration. There were pages missing, pages torn and ugly yellowed tape repairs sporadically throughout plus the hinges were extremely weak. No thanks. The Lake Sherlockbegon Bad-Book Border Police would have confiscated it had I tried to bring it back to town.
Well, that's the news from Lake Sherlockbegon, where men are strong, the women are good looking, and all of the Sherlock Holmes books are above average.