Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer Meeting Report

Forty-seven members and guests convened at the Fox & Hounds restaurant in Bloomfield Hills on July 22, 2007 for the summer meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Along with the chef-carved prime rib and broiled salmon, the buffet lunch included the usual accompaniments and a well-researched presentation in which Dr. David Mohan dissected a mystery from the most famous and popular of the Master’s tales, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

Dr. Mohan’s monograph, titled “Three Knights Upon the Moor,” examined the history and homes of the two families which are the most likely candidates for the story of that large and rather disagreeable hound.
Dr. David Mohan

Backed up with heraldry, maps, drawings and photographs, the presentation examined how both families – the Cabells of Dartmoor and Norfolk and the Baskerville-Mynors and their ancestors, the Vaughns – had histories that included sightings of evil black dogs. Just as intriguing were the links both families had to the “literary agent,” Arthur Conan Doyle.

Before all of that however, Gasogene John Kramb and Tantalus Robert Musial attempted to shed light on a few of the Canonical conundrums in the assigned reading, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.”
Tantalus Musial and Gasogene Kramb

Among them was how a firm specializing in assessing machinery became involved with a tea broker who was also mixed up with the importation of nitrates? What of this giant rat and what exactly was a yeggman? When did Sherlock Holmes’ practice become “an agency”? And was Holmes’ rather casual advice at the end of the case enough to put all aright?

Along the way were the usual toasts. Introduced by Tidewaiter Walter Young, the toastees included Gloria Longueuil, Sam Stinson, Dennis Petroni and Young himself, all of whom raised a glass to publicly recognize the singular attributes of Mrs. Hudson, Watson’s Second Wife, The Woman and Mycroft Holmes. Longtime Mendicant Jerry Alvin also rose to recognize the efforts of one Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pa., who left a fortune to make life easier for certain men with red hair.
"Red" Alvin

Winning the summer 2007 door prize, a DVD that detailed “The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes,” was Joyce Hostnick.

Before business was adjourned, Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot read the poem “A Long Evening with Holmes” and Anne Musial and Dr. Mohan led the multitude in a chorus of “God Save the Queen.”

While the afternoon was most convivial, there was also sadness in the air since the site of this gathering, an English Tudor-style landmark in the northern Detroit suburbs since 1928, will close at the end of August – to be torn down and replaced by some modern development.
Fox & Hounds (1928-2007)

Sadder still since several knowledgeable Sherlockians report that the Fox & Hounds was patterned in part as a Stateside recreation of two famed hotels in the charming Cotswold village of Broadway in the United Kingdom – the Lygon Arms and the Broadway Hotel.

Though there is no record in the existing canon of Holmes and Watson staying at the Lygon or the Broadway, there are several cases for which the world is not yet prepared so one never knows what may turn up.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial, Tantalus

Sunday, July 29, 2007

AMS at the Sterling Heights Public Library

Members of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit have been busy this Summer hosting a variety of programs at the Sterling Heights Public Library. The report below from Ray Mandziuk gives an overview of the events. Thanks Ray!

June 28
Ray Mandziuk met with 18 teens and a few adults and presented a program that involved discussion on the topic, “Get A Clue”, that led to defining examples, observation in identifying clues towards solving a crime. The main theme of our discussion quickly shifted to detectives, Sir, Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

Ray devised an approach to identifying clues for the guests while they viewed A Scandal in Bohemia by simply calling out ‘clue’ as each one appeared.

At the conclusion of the video we reviewed the clues noted, assigned two points to each correct answer, with the highest six receiving a choice of Sherlockian items displayed as prizes.

Our young friends were earnestly involved, attentive and responsive to the discussion. The library provided refreshments, a small gift to the attendees and support in the presence of Mary Newton, a staff member, and the assistance of Ray's wife, Pat.

Before leaving, the young adults received a ‘badge’ as a memento of their introduction to ACD and SH along with an invitation to return on Thursday, July 26, at 2:00 PM to meet The Hound of the Baskervilles.

July 9
Roy Pilot conducted an informative, relaxed conversation with eight adults on a steamy, Monday evening. Roy’s approach was novel in that he used a book bag in presenting items from a complete Sherlock Holmes book of 60 stores, followed by an enlarged picture of the Beeton’s Christmas edition (the first Sherlock Holmes story), A Study In Scarlet, an issue of the Strand Magazine, The Problem of Thor Bridge, two copies of B.S.I. publications, and other items.

Roy’s comments on each of the items from his bag was very interesting, leading to stimulating responses and numerous questions from his ‘class’ to which he responded without much effort giving additional information with names, years and places exhibiting his vast knowledge of Sherlockiana and Doylean material. He impressed me as a professor setting a foundation for freshmen students.

July 29
At 2:00 PM, the Sterling Heights Library Auditorium was the site of the second session for young adults and those of us 'young at heart' (adults).

With 21 people in attendance, Ray Mandziuk, member of the Amateur Mendicants and Tantalus Emeritus, led a program that touched on the meaning of clues, detection and the means by which detectives approach dealing with criminals in assimilating evidence toward proving guilt.

The main part of the program was viewing the video, Hound of the Baskervilles, starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, after opening comments regarding Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author.

Participants were asked to use pad and pencil in identifying "clues" as they appear in the movie, with Ray indicating when a clue appeared, but not telling what the clue was, although most were obvious.

The children were responsive to the film, interested and somewhat competitive in identifying clues, asking questions as the story developed and moved on to conclusion with Sherlock Holmes commenting on the clues that led him to disclose that Stapleton was guilty of murder and attempted murder with the use of a large dog as the hound, while Watson watched.

Participants with most clues identified earned points and received a variety of Sherlockian prizes for their new skills in detection.

It was most satisfactory for Ray to interact with the youth present who had their first experience with Sherlock Holmes in reacting positively with comments like--"I enjoyed the show", "it was cool", and "when do we see another one?"

- Submitted by Ray Mandziuk, Tantalus Emeritus

Also - for a report on this event from our Sister Scion, The Ribston-Pippins, please click here