Saturday, February 28, 2009

Meeting Notices

Mark your calendars...
The next Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit events will be as follows:

Spring Meeting:
Sunday April 19th - Brunch 1:00 PM
Grosse Pointe Hunt Club, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
'The Resident Patient'
(Details forthcoming)

Summer Meeting:
Saturday July 18th - Dinner 6:30 PM
British Commonwealth Club, Warren, MI
'The Illustrious Client'

Hope to see you all soon

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Winter Meeting

Winter’s chill could not deter 48 members and guests from attending the January 31, 2009 meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit at the Commonwealth Club in Warren, Mich.

After a warm welcome, various Mendicants illumined fellow club members with all sorts of Sherlockian miscellany, including word of a new Sherlock Holmes movie coming in the fall and starring Robert Downey, Jr. Unfortunately, based on the lengthy clipping enumerated by longtime Mendicant Ed Stein, it seems that Downey will be playing the Master as an action hero, a sort of “Indiana Holmes.” This characterization of course is much the antithesis of the World’s First Consulting Detective and Stein reminded those in attendance that deerstalker-clad Mendicants had locally picketed a movie in the 1970s that took ridiculous liberties with our hero. Let Hollywood be forewarned!

Mendicants doing what we do best - eating.

During a fine buffet dinner of English-style roast beef, savory chicken and suitable accompaniments, glasses were raised for the traditional toasts. They were made by Carey Black (to Mrs. Hudson); Michael Smith (to The Woman); Gloria Longueuil (to Dr. Watson’s Second Wife, the lovely Violet Hunter); Patience Nauta (to Mycroft Holmes) and finally, by Jerry Alvin (to one Ezekiah Hopkins, the American millionaire from Lebanon, Pa., who so munificently provided for the propagation of redheads).

That business done with, Gasogene Kramb and Commissionaire Chris Music next surprised your correspondent with the award of the annual Beggar’s Cup, given yearly to the member making a significant contribution to Sherlockian scholarship (i.e. writing and presenting a monograph on an arcane topic in The Canon). The award, a shiny tin cup emblazoned with an engraved nameplate, is one of the most revered in literary criticism, at least in some circles.

Recipient of the 2009 Beggar's Cup - Tantalus Rob Musial

Next, Gasogene Kramb raised several interesting discussion points in the evening’s story, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” including the fact that it was the first case of murder in The Canon, the first short story involving Inspector Lestrade and the first case in which Holmes did not remand the killer to the constabulary.

Following that thoughtful exposition, Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot regaled the multitude by playing two amusing recordings from “The Songs of Baker Street,” an $18.95 CD available from The Wessex Press. The two tunes, an “Irregular Song” and “We Never Mentioned Aunt Clara,” were originally recorded at a meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society in the 1950s.

After that, your correspondent presented the evening’s monograph, “The Original Musgrave Riddle: An English Village Mystery.” Dating back to the 1400s, the riddle involved an older branch of the Musgraves and the last wild boar in England and was accidentally uncovered by my wife and me while hiking in the north of England in 2007.

Organized by Anne Musial, the traditional AMS drawing was then held and saw Sherlock Holmes books go to Chuck Longueuil, Jim Conway, Anthony Armor and your correspondent. The final raffle of the last of four Sherlock Holmes’ marble tiles (this one bearing a Sidney Paget drawing from “The Musgrave Ritual”) was won by Gloria Longueuil.

Members stand for the reading of '221B'

Commissionaire Music then reminded the group that the next meeting of the AMS would be a Sunday brunch on April 19 at the Grosse Pointe Hunt Club. Details to come but save the date.
As the evening drew to a close, Dr. David Mohan, Gayle Conway and Anne Musial led the group in the singing of “God Save the Queen” and the Lascar, Richard Jeryan, read the traditional closing poem, “221-B,” after which the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Musial, Tantalus

Former Gasogene Ed Stein negotiates the final bill with Chef George.