"There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it."
So Sherlock Holmes says to Dr. John Watson in A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novel to introduce the famous characters. It was published 127 years ago today.
How should we celebrate the cob-pipe-smoking detective's debut? By taking advantage of the fact that, as of this November, all stories about Holmes prior to 1923 are officially in the public domain. The US Supreme Court refused to hear a copyright appeal by the Conan Doyle estate after a US Court struck down its wishes to maintain ownership over Holmes. As freely as one would rewrite Jane Austen's work, Conan Doyle's Holmes mysteries (save roughly eight) may be manipulated at will (are you getting my subtle hint, Quirk Books?)
You may be versed in the modern adaptations of Holmes—as portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr., Jonny Lee Miller, or Tumblr's #1 Boyfriend Bentobox Lumberjack—so you might know tales like The Hound of the Baskervilles and "The Final Problem". But since I know you're ever curious (and maybe need new fuel for your fanfic), I've decided to gather five of Conan Doyle's lesser-known stories (with links!) that may, true to their form, spur the inner detective and London recluse in you.
"Have you ever wondered why we talk of 'spelling'? There is a spell word implanted in the brain of every English-speaking child, the root mantra of restriction, the secret name of a mighty hidden demon: 'eybeesee-dee-ee-eff-geeaitcheye-jai-kayell-emenn-ohpeequeue-are-ess-tee-youveedouble-you-ex-wyezed'. That name and all the names it generates were designed to set limits upon humanity's ability to express abstract thought. What you see depends entirely upon the words you have to describe what you see. Nothing exists unless we say it."
I love comic books.
I’ve published poetry, plays, fiction, essays, but more than anything, I have always loved comic books. I taught myself how to read with comic books; I taught myself math and computers by using the power ratings on my the Marvel trading cards that my dad used to buy me as incentive after tee-ball and basketball games. This was around 1991, and I’d take those numbers and plug them into Excel or FileMaker Pro on our Mac LCIII and compare and contrast the traits of various characters and basically use those statistics to run my own games of pseudo-D&D/Fantasy Marvel Heroes Trading Cards in my head.
Maybe you're playing live action Assassin's Creed. Maybe you're trying to become the next Spring-Heeled Jack. Maybe you're trying out your newfound spider powers. Maybe you just like the idea of running across rooftops. Whatever the reason, not all of us just know how to safely jump from rooftop to rooftop. Not to worry, however. The Worst-Case Scenario Handbook: Travel has a comprehensive guide to rooftop jumping, for all your vigilante needs.
But you know what we're also thankful for? You guys! Stopping by to read our blog, following us on the ol' Twitter, picking up our books... we heart you.
So to celebrate, we've hidden Rick Chillot's Quirkey (get it, it's like Quirk + Turkey, it came to him in a dream) around the website. Find him, and you'll find special Quirk Rafflecopters, where you can enter to win books. Here are some useful, and maybe a little too obvious, hints.