Most of the pioneering Sherlockians whose names we know were men, including a fair number of doctors and military officers along with writers. For years the Baker Street Irregulars was a male-only organization, though a token female would be invited to each year’s banquet, presumably to receive the traditional toast to The Woman. Recently, though, more and more women, many of them in their twenties or younger, have joined a growing Sherlockian fandom, spurred in part by 21st-century media adaptations and the Internet’s added channels of communication.
This anthology of carefully footnoted articles, most well written and somewhat more serious in tone than the lighthearted mock scholarship of the pioneers, represents the new generation well for the most part. A quick survey of the contributor notes reveals the variety of nationalities represented: seven are identified as American, five German, four British, plus one each from Australia, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, and (mysteriously) “a country too bored to continue to exist.” Appropriately enough, there is a single token male—Eric Mittmann, who compares Sherlock Holmes and Batman. (Is he toasted as The Man?)
Some of the more interesting content: Kim Sirag on Conan Doyle’s depiction of Victorian women, less sexist than sometimes thought; Emily Paine on the differences between television’s two Sherlockian updates, the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary; Mary Platt on the two films with Robert Downey, Jr.; and Kyrie Culp on the reasons for the character’s enduring popularity. In one notably weak article, an author who has never read any of the Conan Doyle stories still wants to be considered a Sherlockian!