The Five Orange Pips

The Five Orange PipsThe Five Orange Pips

Get ready for some stuff that may or may not be accurate.

Mary is away, so the boys will play. John is having a sleepover at Sherlock’s house. He goes to breakfast one morning and Sherlock is already awake. All this time John has been pondering on past cases that Sherlock has solved.

There is a rather nasty storm outside, but a man appears to be at the door. John asks Sherlock if it’s one of his friends, but Sherlock tells John he doesn’t have any friends besides John. The man knocks on the door anyway. The man is fairly young and Sherlock determines he has come from the south-west, Horsham to be exact. Sherlock also knows all the dirt in the area. There is some talk about how great Sherlock is and how someone else referred the young man to Sherlock, there is no mention of a referer’s discount.

The young man tells Sherlock he has a very strange story, but the police can’t really help him in the matter. He says that his uncle Elias spent some time in America, in the South, but came back to England and moved out to the countryside. He wanted to take his nephew into his home. His nephew, the young man named John Openshaw, had free-reign of the house except for one room in the attic. His uncle never let him go in there and he could never discern what was in there.

One day his uncle got a letter. Inside were five orange pips, or orange seeds. The uncle looked distraught at the reception of this letter. There was a note from the KKK in the envelope that said to put it on the sundial. Seven weeks later, the uncle died in what was ruled a suicide, but the nephew doesn’t believe it. Before the uncle died, he left everything not to the nephew as would be expected, but to the nephew’s father.

At the death of the uncle, John’s father inherited everything. He too received a letter with five orange pips. A few weeks later he died in what was ruled an accident. John soon inherited the fortune. John soon also received a letter from West London. The other letters had come from Pondicherry and Dundee. John is scared because he fears he is next. He went to the police, but the police would not do anything but lend him a police officer for the evening, only at his home. Sherlock knows that things are not good and that this man is in danger. He tells John to put the letter on the sundial in the brass box his uncle possessed as instructed. Sherlock will watch to see who collects it. He cautions John to be very careful on the way home.

The next day, the news is bad. John Openshaw is already dead, it’s ruled as an accident. Sherlock goes into investigation mode. He finds from records of Lloyd’s that there is a ship called The Lone Star, that had been docked at all the areas where the letters were sent from. Sherlock sends a letter to the ship’s next destination, Savannah, Georgia, in hopes that the perpetrators aboard will be arrested by the local law enforcement. There was also a plan to send the five orange pips to the men in question so that they would be scared. It turns out that the ship never makes it to Savannah because it sinks.

The Five Orange PipsObservations

Well, Sherlock does solve the mystery, but everybody dies. That’s rather unfortunate.

Ok, ok, let’s talk about something. Arthur really liked the idea of secretive societies. I say this because of what I have read of Arthur’s writing. He repeatedly mentions the free masons. He writes an entire book involving Mormons, with false information I might add, and now he has this story about the KKK. These are all secretive societies to an extent, but Arthur wasn’t too good about doing his research on these societies. It was said he supposedly issued an apology to Brigham Young’s son for the false descriptions he put in A Study in Scarlet about Mormons. Much of what Arthur used in A Study in Scarlet were rumors and fear-mongering about the Mormon church. Arthur has once again used false information about a secretive society. I get that these societies are somewhat secretive, but there is more information out there. I kind of feel as if Arthur got a little lazy with his research. I know it’s fiction, but this is a situation where Arthur is presenting false words for a real organization with real people in it, not that the KKK deserves any defense.

Let’s start off with Arthur’s description of what KKK supposedly means. Arthur says that the Klu Klux klan is supposedly the sound a rifle makes when it clicks. Wrong Arthur. The name is from The Greek kuklos which means circles. This was a group or circle of men united in one effort. Arthur also says the movement died out in the 1860s. It is true that the original movement did lose some steam around the time, but the KKK is still alive and well, believe me. I once took a Poli-sci class with the granddaughter of the Grand Dragon of the KKK. I don’t know if it’s the same guy anymore, but he lived in Gainesville, Ga.

The KKK was concerned with keeping African-Americans enslaved, keeping them from land, and keeping them from voting. It also branched out to include hatred towards other races and even Jewish people. Their idea is that white Christian people are the best, essentially. Arthur is correct in the reasoning about what the KKK doesn’t like. He did get that part correct, but their messages are something different.

I have found no mention in my research that the KKK sent orange pips to foretell death to one of their wayward members. I also found nothing about oak leaves as mentioned in Arthur’s story. Let me tell you several things. The KKK doesn’t send you orange pips; they burn crosses in your yard, or they string you up a in tree and hang you; that’s called lynching. Cross burning is a more modern activity for the KKK though, as it has had three major reincarnations; the first did not burn crosses. The first group of the KKK probably had some other means of sending messages to those they had marked for death, but I have found no record of orange pips. You also have to consider that the only place orange pips would have been readily available in the Southern United States during this time period would have been Florida. Oranges do not grow in the rest of the Southern United States. Seeing as the organization got its start in Tennessee, apple pips would have been more likely.

These days the KKK is an embarrassing society that people are afraid to admit that relatives belong to. They still exist because they have freedom of speech and the government in the United States says you can hate whomever you want to hate as long as you don’t actually hurt them. Although, companies often block hate speech in their internet filters even if it is not illegal.

I do want to say that I might have some of this information about the KKK incorrect because I’m not going to thoroughly research it because I really don’t think it’s worth my brain power because I disagree with the organization. Most of my information comes from living in the South amidst the very people who very well might belong to the KKK.

The Five Orange PipsThemes

Sometimes the police cannot protect you. There are organizations that know how to circumvent the law. They can make it look like an accident, usually these organizations are various mafias, but there are others just as Arthur mentions. Sherlock as smart as he is, was not able to prevent John Openshaw’s death. While none of this is a comforting factor, I think it’s a good idea to know that there are some situations where the police just aren’t going to be able to do anything for you. It is best to keep your associations with groups who can circumvent the police to a minimum, at least I think that’s pretty sound advice.

People put a lot of trust in their government. The government can’t always protect you. Sometimes you have to protect yourself. This guy should have been carrying around a shotgun. Look, I’m from the South. I grew up around guns. If someone gives me a death threat, I’m going to carry around a gun and you won’t know I have it. John Openshaw did say he was armed in some manner, but it wasn’t enough. He apparently wasn’t ready or was too careless with his location.

He wasn’t being paranoid. He had a real threat to his life, but because the government didn’t see this as a threat, they weren’t able to provide proper protection for him and he died.

Here is what you should take away from this story:

1. Don’t hang out with groups that can circumvent the government.

2. Learn how to defend yourself. If John Opehshaw had been trained in defensive tactics he might still be alive. Take a self-defense class people.


If all else fails, make sure you have life insurance so your family doesn’t have to scramble to pay for your burial if you are mysteriously murdered by a subversive group.

five orange pips, john openshaw, john watson, kkk, orange pips, secretive societies, self defense, sherlock, sherlock holmes, sherlock holmes stories, sir arthur conan doyle, The Five Orange Pips, The Five Orange Pips by sir arthur conan doyle
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes

About these ads

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

The Boscombe Valley MysteryThe Boscombe Valley Mystery

John is sitting at home with his wife one morning and a telegram arrives. It’s from Sherlock. It pretty much says for John to get on the train and meet Sherlock on a trip to Boscombe valley. Mary is all like, “Dear you should go, have fun with your little friend.” John packs his bags really quickly and is out the door.

He meets Sherlock on part of the journey in a carriage where Sherlock has a ton of papers. They’re all about the most recent mystery Sherlock is involved in. It seems a man has been murdered and his son is suspected as the murderer.

The details of the case are this: Mr. McCarthy was found murdered by a small pond in the community. Some time before he was seen walking down the road to this pond. His son was seen a few minutes afterwards carrying a gun in the same direction. A young woman saw this man and his father arguing and left because she was afraid of their argument. Not long after the son was shouting because he had found his father dead. The son was arrested and taken into custody. He says he probably deserves it, but he did not murder his father.

John seems to think that the son did murder his father, but Sherlock doesn’t think so. In the testimony of the son there is a bit about a grey cloak or coat that had been on the ground.

The background of Mr. McCarthy is that he made some money in Australia and is good friends with Mr. Turner, who also made money in Australia. Mr. Turner owns the farm that Mr. McCarthy lives on with his son. Mr. Turner has a daughter and Mr. McCarthy has a son.

Upon arrival Sherlock wants to smoke a lot of cigarettes, but the young woman who started the whole thing is there and just knows that James is innocent. James is the name of the son of the man who was murdered. He would not say what he and his father were arguing about, but the young woman says it was because of her. Mr. McCarthy wished for the two to marry, but no one else did. Sherlock then decides to go and see James in prison.

While Sherlock is gone, John reviews the coroner’s notes because he’s a doctor. He determines that the blow came from a blunt object from behind.

He also says this:

“A man dying from a sudden blow does not commonly become delirious. No, it was more likely to be an attempt to explain how he met his fate. But what could it indicate? I cudgelled my brains to find some possible explanation.”

First off, John is speaking of Mr. McCarthy’s supposed dying words. They don’t make any sense to anybody. I’ll explain my second observation about this later on.

Sherlock finally shows back up remarking on the weather, again. He says he learned nothing from James, but then proceeds to tell John all about how James really does love Alice Turner, but she went to boarding school for five years and while she was away he married a barmaid. He was in Bristol seeing his barmaid for the past several days before returning home. His father did not know where he was. Part of the peculiar case is that the father called out, supposedly to the son, but he did not know that his son was home. Sherlock supposes that the son could not have performed the murder because his father didn’t know he was around and therefore could not have called to him and must have been calling to someone else.

Sherlock wants to go and see the crime scene. He criticizes the local law enforcement for muddling up the crime scene. He measured shoes before he left. After crawling on the ground and examining the area. He picks up a rock and tells John that it is the murder weapon. He determines that a third man had been there. He came from a different direction, suffered a limp, wore a certain type of shoes, and smoked Indian cigars. Sherlock knows this because he knows all 140 types of tobacco ash; he wrote about it.

Sherlock says he wants to go home after this, but Lestrade is confused. Sherlock says the mystery is solved and therefore he can go home. Lestrade doesn’t know who the murderer is and Sherlock criticizes him for not being able to find a man with a grey coat, a limp, and weird shoes.

Sherlock then goes back to the hotel with John, where he walks John through the case, as always. He says that McCarthy’s final words were not “a rat,” but were, “Ballarat,” which is a place in Australia where the two men made their money.

Then Mr. Turner shoes up, he had been sick some time so he didn’t look great. Sherlock tells Mr. Tuner that he knows all about Mr. McCarthy. Mr. Turner proceeds to tell the story of how it all happened. He had been something of a robber. He robbed a group of men with Mr. McCarthy included. The two left with a considerable amount of money because they sort of partnered up. They went their separate ways, but McCarthy showed back up a while later. He had means to blackmail Mr. Turner and thus lived very close on Mr. Turner’s best land.

Mr. Turner was supposed to meet Mr. McCarthy that day by the pond. That was who he called to, but the son had gotten there first and there was a heated argument. The argument was about Alice. After the son left, Mr. Turner murdered Mr. McCarthy with a rock. He said it had been pretty easy and he would do it again, but he had diabetes. He didn’t want James McCarthy to go to jail. Sherlock and John left, but James was cleared at the local court later on. Mr. Turner died a few months later from diabetes.

The Boscombe Valley MysteryObservations

Ok, let’s get to this:

“A man dying from a sudden blow does not commonly become delirious. No, it was more likely to be an attempt to explain how he met his fate. But what could it indicate? I cudgelled my brains to find some possible explanation.”

Is this a joke? Seriously, Arthur? The man was killed with a blow to the back of the head which could be described as being “cudgeled” but then John mentions within the next sentence that he cudgeled his own brain looking for answers. This is a terrible pun. It’s insensitive. Arthur must have had a twisted sense of humor, which makes sense because he was a doctor. If you have ever worked in the medical profession, you have a twisted sense of humor. You can’t cry at everything, so yes, you have to make a joke about the guy who died standing up, or in this case, make terrible puns about people dying from head wounds.

Arthur: Blunt force trauma!

Group of men with mustaches and cigars: Hahahahaha!

Arthur: Subdural Hematoma!

Group of men with mustaches and cigars: Hahahahaha!

Single mustachioed man with cigar: Oh, Arthur! You are too funny!

Alright, let’s look at the locations. Herefordshire is a real place, a region rather. This is where Boscombe valley is supposed to be. I cannot find any reference to a real Boscombe valley though. Maybe I just don’t know where to look, but I can’t find a thing. Maybe Arthur made this one up, or maybe it’s one of those things you actually have to find out while living in the country itself. Seriously, I will move to England and work for you. Call me.

The Boscombe Valley MysteryBallarat is also a real place. It’s a boom town, which means someone shouted, “Gold! Skins! Water! Oil!” or several other key words and that caused people to swarm the place hoping to make their fortune. It’s in a bit of a hilly area, which means that there is very likely to be gold there. So it would make perfect sense that there was a gold rush there and that McCarthy and Turner did go there to make their fortune. I actually grew up in a gold rush area. The area was populated heavily by a gold rush, but there aren’t so many people there now because there’s not as much gold. I actually lived in(near) the ghost town of Aururia for a while. Aururia went boom and then bust because of the gold rush. Unlike Aururia, Ballarat continued on and became a major metropolitan area for its region. Gold rush towns are notorious for being rough in the beginning. Murder, hookers, and drugs are regular fare in such places. They’re lawless towns before they are deemed populated enough for a local police force to start up. The idea that McCarthy and Turner meet in a robbery isn’t that far-fetched.

The Boscombe Valley MysteryThemes

People can be wrongly accused because some evidence seems to point to them, but not all of the evidence does. That evidence that doesn’t point to the person in question is often hard to find and can be missed by someone who isn’t willing to look carefully. This can be in relation to actual crimes or it can be in relation to your every day lives. Sometimes we accuse a family member of something because we sort of have evidence that points to their guilt, but maybe we’re not paying attention to everything.

For example, let’s say you have two kids and they’re sitting in the back seat of the car. Kid A starts to cry. You know this cry. It sounds like Kid A has been injured in some way. There is no one else in the backseat but Kid B. Kid B has been known to injure Kid A and Kid A usually cries in just this manner when injured by Kid B. So you get onto Kid B for poking, smacking, of kicking Kid A. Kid B then says, “I didn’t do anything.” Kid B has also been known to tell a few fibs, so you don’t believe Kid B. You never stop to consider that Kid A is faking to get Kid B in trouble, which could very well be the case. You ground Kid B, who wrongly gets punishment for hurting Kid A when Kid A was faking, but all the evidence you had pointed to Kid B, but you forgot to remember that Kid A could also be a bit of a fibber, an actor, and a drama queen. You only looked at the obvious evidence you had on hand; you forgot those other things.

It would be a sad happening for a man to go to prison for murdering his father when he didn’t. To be wrongly accused of killing someone you love would be terrible. Sherlock is able to help prevent this, but I think the truth would have come to light without Sherlock in the picture. I don’t think Sherlock was much-needed in this situation.

Another theme in this story is that sometimes there is no justice. A man was murdered. While it is true that he wasn’t a very nice man, he probably shouldn’t have been murdered. Nobody went to jail for it. Oh, the murderer is old and feeble…blah, blah, blah…..and?! He is still a murderer. I have a special place in my heart for old and disabled people because I used to work in a nursing home, but let me tell you, they’re not all sweet and innocent. I have actually had people in my care who have active court cases and charges against them. If they still have their mind, they’re still open for punishment, in my opinion. If they’ve gone a bit senile, then you can’t rightly punish them. The people in this story were just like, “Oh, it was Mr. Turner who murdered him…well, he’s got diabetes and he’s rich and he’s a nice guy…who cares if he murdered Mr. McCarthy?” There’s just something a little sinister going on here. Turner gets off because people like him, he’s sick, and he has money. Don’t try to deny it. Someone should have gone to prison. It just goes to show you that we’re easily swayed in some cases and our act of being swayed doesn’t always lean in the correct moral direction.

How is Sherlock up for letting a murderer get off?


Diabetes isn’t really a good excuse for getting out of a murder sentence. They can get insulin for you in prison.

Prosecution: So why did you kill Mr. Johnson?

Accused: I have diabetes

Courtroom attendees: *whispers* *gasps*

Judge: Case dismissed!

ballarat australia, boscombe valley, father son, john watson, murder, patricide, sherlock, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, The Boscombe Valley Mystery by sir arthur conan doyle, wrongly accused
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes

A Case of Identity

A Case of IdentityA Case of Identity

This story starts out with Sherlock describing something that could only be out of Disney’s Peter Pan, but then a case happens. John is visiting Sherlock once again and he’s talking about flying over the rooftops hand in hand. Did he get into the marijuana again? No, that’s not it, Sherlock doesn’t smoke pot; he only does heroin and tobacco.

John and Sherlock discuss a case of domestic dispute that is in the paper, but John is wrong and Sherlock tells him why. They soon observe a woman across the street. She comes and knocks on the door. This woman is named Miss Mary Sutherland. She is obviously worried about something.

She tells Sherlock and John that she is single. She lives with her mother and step-father. She works as a typist, a near-sighted typist, but she also has money from an inheritance, a sum of about £100 a year, that was a lot back then. She says that while she lives with her mother her mother and stepfather have the use of her money. She says a while back she met a man named Mr. Hosmer Angel, but he’s missing, he’s been missing. Mary even took out an ad in the paper looking for him.

It turns out that Mary’s step-father, who is only a few years older than she is, doesn’t like her going anywhere. She wanted to go to the gas-fitters ball, which I assume is a party for men and their families who work in the gas piping industry. Her step-father didn’t want her to go to the ball, but she went anyway. When she was there she met a man who called himself Mr. Hosmer Angel. The next day Mr. Hosmer Angel calls upon Mary to make sure she got home alright. They began to take walks and so forth. After a while they were engaged. When Mary’s step-father heard of this, he wasn’t too thrilled and forbid Mary from seeing Mr. Hosmer Angel, but the step-father was going to be in France so Hosmer thought it would be ok to come over. The couple was soon engaged and planned a wedding. The wedding was to be small, but when Mary got to the altar there was no one to marry. The cab driver swore he had a passenger, but there was none there.

The only thing Mary knows about Mr. Angel is that he works on Leadenhall Street, but she does know his profession. Sherlock says he will take the case and tells Mary to go home and not worry herself any longer. Mary leaves with Sherlock the typewritten notes that Mr. Angel wrote to her.

Sherlock writes letters to Mary’s step-father and a firm in the city. Mary’s step-father is to meet Sherlock at Baker Street. John leaves Sherlock as he is smoking his pipe.

The next day, or whenever, John goes back to Baker Street and asks Sherlock if he has solved it. Sherlock says, “Yes, it was the bisulphate of baryta.” John says, “No, no, no I wasn’t talking about your meth lab! I was talking about the mystery!” Ok, so that’s not really in the story.

Sherlock says that he has also solved the case, but he fears there is no law by which the doer of foul deeds could be arrested. Presently, there is a knock on the door and it’s Mary’s step-father.

They exchange pleasantries. Mr. Windibank, Mary’s step-father, says his time isn’t his own and Mary is an impulsive girl who doesn’t really know her own mind(sounds like a manipulator to me). Sherlock listens to this, but then goes on to say how he has Mr. Windibank’s type-written reply about the meeting. He says it’s also interesting how typewriters seem to have their own personalities. Sherlock points out a smudging of the “e” and a tail-less “r” in Mr. Windibank’s letter. What is more interesting is that the same characteristics are also present in the letters to Mary.  Sherlock presents that the letters were written on the same typewriter.

Sherlock then says that he has found Mr. Hosmer Angel. Mr. Windibank is none other than the missing man. The letters were typed on the same machine and Mr. Windibank has reason enough to try to keep Mary at home. He gets use of her £100 a year as long as she lives at home. If she gets married, he doesn’t get to use the money. The truth comes out. Mr. Windibank admits to dressing up as Mr. Angel and going to the ball, he even had his wife’s assistance, yes, the mother of Mary. Mr. Windibank said it was all a joke, but Windibank continued on with it. The real scheme of the thing is that if Mary became so heart-broken over her man lost at the altar, she would never marry and would remain at home with her mother, therefore…her step-father would continue to have use of her money for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Windibank knows that he has not broken any laws, but Sherlock also knows this but isn’t too happy about it. He says that someone should beat Mr. Windibank and grabs his hunting crop and makes toward Mr. Windibank, but Windibank gets out rather quickly.

John asks Sherlock how he figured all of this out and Sherlock explains his reasoning, as always. John then asks if Sherlock is going to tell Mary about the trick, but Sherlock says that Mary would not believe him and therefore it’s probably better not to say anything.

A Case of IdentityObservations

You know, Sherlock always seems like such a cold, uncaring character, but in this story we have a little glimpse of humanity. He thinks it’s a terrible thing that this man has tricked his step-daughter. He actually, even if it is just pretend, threatens bodily harm to this man. So many people suggest that Sherlock may have something akin to Asperger’s syndrome, but with this bit of information, maybe he’s not so unfeeling after all. He’s got a tender place in his heart for jilted young ladies. Moffat, you need to stop making Sherlock be so mean to Molly; it’s out of character.

Let’s see…the geography. Leadenhall street, Fenchurch Street and the church are all real. St. Saviour’s and King’s Cross are both in central London, but Arthur could have called his church in this story the same thing as the real church. Even if Arthur was thinking of a fictional church, there really is a church of this name in London in the general area that Arthur says it’s in.

A Case of IdentityLeadenhall street is a historic street for London. It’s been around a while and has served as a financial center for the city. The road itself isn’t very long.

Fenchurch is another real road. It’s also mentioned in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The thing about Leadenhall street and Fenchurch street is that they’re really close together. Mr. Angel supposedly works on Leadenhall street and Mary’s step-father works on Fenchurch street. It takes a few minutes to walk from one street to the other. This was an easy lie for Mr. Windibank. The streets are so close together it was more of a half-truth than anything else.


Oh, this poor, poor woman. Her step-father is a jerk. I completely agree with Sherlock. Someone should beat this man. Violence is rarely the option, but sometimes a good beating does the trick.

What this guy was doing wasn’t illegal, then. I think there might be laws against such a thing now. Consider this–claiming to be someone else is generally a bad idea especially if you’re using that name for financial gain, that is illegal; it is also illegal to be married to more than one person at once. While Windibank didn’t actually marry his step-daughter, if he had, he could have been in big trouble. He was really treading on the edge of legality.

This is yet another story all about how step-parents are so awful. This actually reminds me of the FLDS for some reason. In some instances step-daughters have been ordered to marry their step-fathers. The marriages aren’t legal by law, but the people regard them as binding. In history, there have been cases of step-parents going for the step-child to keep possession of the money, the wealth, or the power. I think that if this story continued on, the step-father would try for Mary upon the death of her mother.

Here’s the thing–Windibank is a manipulator. He has manipulated his step-daughter and he has manipulated his wife. Remember she’s a lot older than he is. He was all like, “Oh, baby I love you. I love older women. They have so much experience.” Then eventually it led to marriage. Once in the marriage, he gets his wife to go along with things she otherwise might not. Why would she trick her daughter in such a manner? Why would she desire to keep her daughter at home? Mothers want their daughters to grow up and have good lives, not sit at the house and become spinsters. Windibank then goes to great lengths to manipulate Mary in addition to her mother. It all sounds like something out of a soap opera.

The thing is, it’s not terribly uncommon. Weird stuff like this happens all the time. Sherlock makes a point of stating that truth can often be very strange in the beginning of this story.

In the end we have a manipulative man preying upon two women of the same family, a story of a woman taken in by supposed love, and an abuse of the relationship between a step-parent and step-child. Call Jerry Springer; we can start his show back up with this one Sherlock story.


Look, this woman needs to be strong and independent. She needs to get her own apartment. She needs to go and buy new shoes, or whatever it is she likes. She needs to buy some good chocolate, have a spa day, and then move on with her life.

A Case of Identity, a case of identity sherlock holmes, a case of identity sir arthur conan doyle, angel, baker street, bisulphate of baryta, fake fiance, fenchurch street, jilted woman, john, john watson, leadenhall street, left at the altar, mary southerland, pretending to be someone else, sherlock, st saviours church, windibank
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes

Rejection and Kittens II

Rejection and Kittens IIRejection and Kittens II

More rejection and more kittens, I have written two more query letters and it seems I’ve hit rejection with both. The kittens are also still around. There they are, in my yarn basket. That’s where they like to hang out. They don’t eat out of the bottle anymore, thank goodness. They like to scamper around my house and eat Ginger’s food. Ginger is still mothering the kittens, but she’s not having any more pretend-nursing. Those kitties have teeth now.

Rejection and Kittens II, Rejection and Kittens II one-elevenbooks

Book Haul: August 16, 2014

Book Haul: August 16, 2014Book Haul: August 16, 2014

Oh, I did the books on August the 16th. The book gods smiled down upon me and I ended up with nine books, but sadly…I’m only going to tell you about three of them. It’s not that the other books aren’t great, it’s just that they’re not really worth mentioning here. My trip to the thrift shop started out as any other, but there was a sign on the door. It said, “All books $.25 or 5 for $1.00.” This was clearly a sign, literally, because it was actually a sign, but it was also a sign from the forces who want me to have books. So I went inside. I ended up with a couple of other things. I ended up with a new head scarf and a plastic box of bobbins including an old lady’s pair of eye glasses, the woman had clearly been blind. Her family must have decided to get rid of her bobbins upon her passing or move elsewhere. So now I have some nice new-to-me metal bobbins, those are the best kind.

The reason I’m not going to expound upon these other books I purchased is because they’re just calligraphy and design books. Somebody has apparently gotten rid of their stockpile of calligraphy books and I snatched them up. Believe it or not, I have actually done some calligraphy. I do a lot of artwork with ink and have also done lettering in the past. So these books will be valuable resources to me whenever I want to pick up my ink and pens and play around. That’s why I’m not going into any great detail about these books.

Now for the other three books.

What I got

Book Haul: August 16, 2014The Smithsonian Institution by Gene Gurney

Sadly, there aren’t very many good pictures of this book, but we’ll work with what we have. Thank you anonymous E-bay user. This book is something of a history of the Smithsonian Institution, which is a very large museum if you didn’t know. I have been to a portion of the Smithsonian, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve been there. I would love to go back and see more of it. Mainly the Smithsonian is in Washington D.C. and is built around a large grassy area with large trees in the middle. The buildings are big and beautiful. There is a castle and there are Calder sculptures in the garden. If you ever get the chance, go.

This book is a short history of the institution. There are wonderful pictures in this book which is a big reason I bought it. The pictures are in black and white, but that’s ok, they’re actually higher quality black and white images which is surprising for this type of book.

This book apparently belonged to Walton J. Vandiver in March of 1965. So Walton if you’re still around, I have your book. This book was published in 1964 and is in great condition, so Walton apparently didn’t do a lot of heavy reading in this book. It was probably a gift from somebody else and Walton probably thought it was stupid. I doubt Walton ever actually read this book. I’m going to read it though even if Walton didn’t.

Book Haul: August 16, 2014Henry VIII: The King and His Court by Alison Weir

I hate Henry VIII.  I just hate him. There are a few historical figures that I would smack in the face if I had chance to meet them, Hitler, H.H. Holmes, and Henry VIII. For some reason that short list I just thought of all started with the letter H, maybe we should look into this. Even though I hate Henry, I’ve read a lot about him and that’s probably why I hate him so much, but his reign was a historically significant point in European history. So I guess you have to take him with a grain of salt. I have also read other books by Alison Weir and I enjoy her even though I keep trying to type her name as “Alison Weird.” I guess the idea of something being weird is too deeply engrained in me. At some point in time, I will read this book and I will know more things about Henry VIII that will probably want to make me hate him even more. Couldn’t this loser have been satisfied with one woman? You know Henry, some people may call you a player and act like it’s a good thing, but those people are from another time and apparently think it’s ok to mess with women like that.

Book Haul: August 16, 2014Chew on This by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson

This book is all about the weird stuff that goes on in the world of fast food. I like reading books about food. I do like food, but I also like to know what’s in my food. I’m one of those people who like to shop at grocery stores with snooty classical music because generally their foods are cleaner and contain less preservatives. That isn’t always the case, but often times it is. Good forbid I find something natural or organic at Wal-mart.

I try to eat fairly clean. I like to learn more about the substances that go into our food. I have a pretty good knowledge of how the food system in the United States works, but it’s always good to learn more. I don’t eat a lot of fast food anymore, I’m still a sucker for Wendy’s fries though. McDonald’s…eh…Wendy’s…yes! Who knows, they’re probably exactly the same thing. It’s books like these that have helped me to understand the food system in the United States and what exactly is going into my body when I do buy certain food products.

What I spent: $2.00

Explanation of the price. I got five books for a dollar, but then I got four books for $.25 each because I didn’t want to go back and look for another book.

Amazon.com Widgets
alison weir, books about the smithsonian, charles wilson, chew on this, chew on this by eric schlosser and charles wilson, eric schlosser, gene gurney, henry VIII the king and his court by alison weir, henry VIII the kingn and his court, the smithsonian institution, the smithsonian institution a picture story of the buildings exhibits and activities, the smithsonian institution by gene gurney
Book Haul

The Red-Headed League

The Red-Headed LeagueThe Red-Headed League

Hahahaha! Seriously…no, seriously…

It’s not that the idea of red-headed people is funny; it’s the idea that someone would be stupid enough to believe such an organization existed. Let’s get to the story part.

John just happens to stop in on Sherlock, again. There he finds Sherlock with a client with flaming red hair. This client has told a very strange story to Sherlock, but tells parts of it again for John’s sake.

The man is named Jabez Wilson, he’s a pawnbroker. His business is ok, but it could be better. He also has an assistant named Vincent Spaulding. One day the assistant comes to Jabez lamenting that he isn’t a red-head. Jabez asks what it’s all about and Vincent shows him an advertisement in the newspaper.

“To the Red-Headed League: on account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon Pennsylvania, U.S.A., there is now another vacancy open which entitles a member of the league to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind and above the age of twenty-one years, are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o’clock to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.”

So Jabez goes to fleet street where there are just tons of redheads. He doesn’t think he will get the position, but his assistant drags him forward. He applies and gets the job. He finds that his job is to copy out of the Encyclopedia Britannica for four hours every day; he begins with the A’s. After some time, he goes to his job only to find a notice on the door saying the red-headed league has been dissolved. He asks around and the name of the man renting the space was not Duncan Ross. The address left for him is a factory. Things just get stranger and stranger.

Sherlock is interested about the assistant, but doesn’t really have anything astounding to declare just yet. After Jabez goes home Sherlock says this is a three-pipe problem and begins to smoke. He then suddenly decides that he wants to go to a concert at St. Jame’s Hall. He asks John to go with him and John says, “Sure why not, I’m only a doctor, but my patients aren’t very interesting. They don’t require a lot of supervision,” or at least, that’s what I get out of what he said. So they go to this concert, which happens to be in the area of Jabez’s store.

He looks around the area. He taps the ground in front of the store. He knocks on the door and the assistant answers. Sherlock knows who he is. Sherlock attempts to memorize the area. He then tells John to go home, but come back later.

When John meets Sherlock again he has two other men with him. One man works for a bank and one man is a police officer. It turns out they’re going to wait in the basement of the bank. The property of the bank happens to adjoin the property of Jabez Wilson. Jabez had mentioned that his assistant was really interested in photography and often went into the basement. Sherlock deduced that he wasn’t really developing photos. The party waits in the dark because light might give them away. Soon men appear.

It turns out the man in question is named John Clay. He’s a royal person of sorts, but he’s also a criminal. He was posing as an assistant to Jabez Wilson in order to tunnel through to the bank basement, which was holding £30,000 pounds worth of French gold. He made up the entire Red-Headed League. John Clay is caught and everyone goes about their lives.

The Red-Headed LeagueObservations

Saxe-Coburg square is a real place. There’s a picture of it to the left. This is where Jabez’s pawn shop supposedly was. Pawn shops have been around for a long time. This square is near the Strand.

Fleet Street is also a real place and it has quite a history. It was named after the Fleet river which used to run outside the walls of London a long, long time ago. For many years Fleet street was home to London’s press, but most everybody moved out. It was a street of business for a long time. It would make sense that a business would be located there. The fact that the Red-headed League was supposedly located there gives the whole thing credibility.

The Red-Headed LeagueSt. Paul’s is also a real place. It’s a chapel located in London, that’s been there for a while. King Edward Street is nearby to St. Paul’s, but it’s a heck of a long way from Fleet Street. It would have taken our Mr. Wilson quite some time to travel from Fleet Street to King Edward Street in search of the man who headed the Red-Headed League. It would probably have taken up the better part of a day for him considering horses aren’t as fast as the tube. Taking that into consideration, the false address was probably given as yet another way to buy more time. While Jabez was out looking for this mysterious red-headed man, John Clay could still work on his bank heist in peace.



Seriously, how stupid, oh wait, naive is a better word…how naive do you have to be to believe that you would get paid to copy out of the encyclopedia? We’re not back in the days when monks copied the Bible by hand. We have other means to copy books. This reminds me of an episode of Futurama, actually I think it was one of the Futurama movies. So Bender is checking his email. He sees emails for getting paid to do this thing or that thing. He sees emails for watching porn. He sees an email to get paid while watching porn. Obviously, it’s too good to be true. He clicks on it and gets a virus. This is really no different from our Jabez Wilson. He didn’t stop to think that this situation was a little strange and perhaps just too good to exist. Money just doesn’t fall into your lap because red-headed weirdos pay you to copy out of the encyclopedia.

This story is actually funny to me because the whole situation is so absurd. John Clay is a smart man, don’t get him wrong. He may be on the wrong side of the law, but he’s smart. He took out an ad in the newspaper so his boss would believe him. He knew his boss was gullible enough to go for it.

This just goes to show that you really need to be on your game, especially if you’re a more trusting person. Jabez technically didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t know that his assistant was going to rob the bank. He didn’t believe that his assistant was doing anything other than photography down in the basement. It’s difficult for me to believe that Jabez was so trusting as a pawn broker. Generally pawn shop guys are not so trusting. They are skeptics; they have to be. They have to be a little tough. They can’t go giving items back when they have been sold to someone else. They can’t feel sorry for people who have to sell Grandpa’s watch to buy bread for the next week. It isn’t exactly the nicest profession, but it’s a profession. Honestly, Jabez’s trusting nature is probably why his business isn’t doing so well.

If Jabez were real today, he’d get taken in by all those Nigerian scams.

The Red-Headed LeagueOverall

Let this be a lesson to you all, don’t get taken in by something that is too good to be true. It’s just a good thing this robbery didn’t actually go down. If it had, Jabez might have been considered an accessory to a crime all while not knowing a thing about it.

P.S. Benedict Cumberbatch, one of our modern-day Sherlocks is a redhead. Maybe he should join the Red-Headed League, although I don’t think he would enjoy copying from the encyclopedia every day for days on end. It’s sounds like a pretty boring job, especially after getting to be Sherlock.

attempted bank robbery, bank robbery, french gold, jabez wilson, john watson, red headed, red heads, red-headed men, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, the red headed league by sir arthur conan doyle, The Red-Headed League, tunneling into a bank
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes

A Scandal in Bohemia III

A Scandal in Bohemia IIIA Scandal in Bohemia III

Sherlock is pursing the final mysteries of the character named Irene Adler, but things don’t turn out how Sherlock expects.

Sherlock informs the king of Bohemia that he had found out where Irene Adler keeps the photograph. Sherlock, John, and the King go together to Briony Lodge to retrieve the photograph. Upon arrival they meet with the housekeeper who says that Irene Adler is gone, left with her husband. As you recall she got married in the last installment of the story.

The house is a mess. Things are tossed and turned everywhere. Sherlock rushes to the secret compartment where the photograph had been kept. Upon opening it, he finds a completely different photograph. This one is of Irene alone. There is also a letter.

The letter is addressed to Sherlock, but all three read it together. Irene knows that Sherlock was after her. She describes how she dressed as a man and followed him home the day before. It was she who wished Sherlock a good evening. She admits that Sherlock took her in and that surprised her. She had been warned that Sherlock was formidable. She had her husband thought it best to leave the country at this point. She still has the photograph in question, but only keeps it to protect herself. She says she will not use it as blackmail.

The king is quite impressed with Irene still and makes several comments of the variety, “What a woman!” He doesn’t really say that, but you get the idea. Sherlock apologizes for not thoroughly solving the case, but the king is quite pleased. Sherlock asks for the photograph of Irene Adler as part of his payment.


I like Irene. She’s smart. She’s sassy. She’s quick. She bested Sherlock Holmes. She’s very good. I like her.

There isn’t a whole lot that needs explaining in this story. It’s pretty simple.

There is something I do want to mention though…who is to say this king is a nice guy? Just because he’s royalty doesn’t mean that he’s not a jerk. Perhaps he is wrongfully pursuing Irene. What if he has threatened her? What is he has hit her? What if this is more of a situation of a woman trying to get away from a bad relationship, but keeping the only weapon at her disposal? If you were a woman in her situation knowing you couldn’t take out physical revenge upon a guy so much larger than yourself and with such a high-profile, you would find the only means possible to protect yourself. Irene is doing the only reasonable thing she can do. When she suspects this guy is anywhere near, she runs. This doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship to me.


Don’t underestimate your enemies. Sherlock assumed that he would have plenty of time to come back with the king and retrieve this photograph, not so. Irene was onto him fast. She knew what his plans were. She dressed as a man and followed him. Irene got the heck out of Dodge before Sherlock could do anything and Sherlock never suspected it. Good for her.


I really like Irene. This story should be told from Irene’s point of view. Everyone always makes her out to be the bad guy. I’m thinking this Bohemian guy is the bad guy.

A Scandal in Bohemia III, blackmail, bohemia, irene adler, john watson, king of bohemia, photograph, sherlcok, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, watson
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 160 other followers

%d bloggers like this: