Sherlock Holmes: Trifles

100 EpisodesProduced by Scott Monty & Burt Wolder

You know the plots, but what about the minutiae? We delve into the Sherlock Holmes stories and provide answers to questions that arise, clarify muddy details, and look into some of the period terminology in this weekly podcast.

100 Episodes | 2017 - 2018

Episode 102 - Inside 221B: On the Floor

December 12th, 2018

17:54
“he slipped down upon the floor” [PRIO] 

It's not often that we have our eyes cast downward at 221B Baker Street. There are so many interesting things to see at eye-level: the Persian slipper, the chemistry set, the …

Episode 101 - You're So Hansom

December 5th, 2018

25:18
“In the morning you will send for a hansom” [FINA] 

The Sherlock Holmes canon is a wonderful snapshot of the times. In particular, we get a good …

Episode 100 - Telephonically, My Dear Holmes

November 28th, 2018

14:39
“Did you tell him of our telephone appointment?” [3GAR] 

From the Gramophone to the telephone, November seems to be quite the month of technology …

Episode 99 - Unpublished Cases: The Ferrers Documents

November 21st, 2018

15:58
“I am retained in this case of the Ferrers Documents” [PRIO] 

 

The arrival of Dr. Thorneycroft Huxtable on the doorstep (and hearth rug!) of 221B …

Episode 98 - Inside 221B: The Gramophone

November 14th, 2018

14:08
“modern gramophones are a remarkable invention” [MAZA] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you glance across the Sherlock Holmes stories, there really aren't …

Episode 97 - Sherlock Holmes and Children

November 8th, 2018

21:56
“Children, my dear boy, children.” [GREE]  

  

When you glance across the Sherlock Holmes stories, there really aren't that many instances of …

Episode 96 - Trick or Treat

October 31st, 2018

16:51
"Disguised, and under an assumed name" [STUD] 

 

Sherlock Holmes was a master of disguises. They allowed him to infiltrate areas that would have …

Episode 95 - Woof

October 24th, 2018

24:16
"a small monograph upon the uses of dogs in the work of the detective" [CREE] 

 

There are a handful of dogs sprinkled throughout the Sherlock Holmes …

Episode 94 - Unpublished Cases: John Vincent Harden

October 17th, 2018

17:51
"the peculiar persecution of John Vincent Harden" [SOLI] 

 

The famous year of 1895 holds many wonders. Many of the cases in The Return of Sherlock …

Episode 93 - Inside 221B: Have a Seat

October 10th, 2018

17:15
"Pray take a seat" [MAZA] 

 

As we glance around the sitting room at 221B Baker Street, the famous lodgings of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, …

Episode 92 - Telegrams

October 3rd, 2018

16:42
"he could send some telegrams" [PRIO] 

"My correspondence certainly has the charm of variety," said Sherlock Holmes in "The Noble Bachelor." He could …

Episode 91 - How Insulting

September 26th, 2018

21:06
"either a very bad joke or an insult" [SILV] 

 

We occasionally hear "Mr. Cocksure" and "jack-in-office" thrown about as epithets in the Sherlock …

Episode 90 - Unpublished Cases: On the Continent

September 20th, 2018

15:42
"come on to the Continent with me" [FINA] 

 

Watson occasionally accompanied Sherlock Holmes onto the Continent (i.e., Europe), but there were many …

Episode 89 - Inside 221B: Stradivarius

September 13th, 2018

16:50
"off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony" [REDH] 

 

One of the most off-hand but arresting comments that Sherlock Holmes …

Episode 88 - Doctors in the Canon

September 5th, 2018

19:14
"when a doctor does go wrong, he is the first of criminals" [SPEC]  

 

The Sherlock Holmes stories are told from the perspective of a doctor. So it …

Episode 87 - The Good Doctor

August 29th, 2018

14:53
"the good doctor took us to the yew alley" [HOUN]  

 

 

John H. Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department, had a number of medical …

Episode 86 - Wine & Spirits

August 22nd, 2018

18:44
"any other spirit but rum" [BLAC]  

  

We're accustomed to thinking about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson being associated with whiskey and brandy. …

Episode 85 - Unpublished Cases: The Sign of Four

August 16th, 2018

14:20
"I shall run over to Camberwell and call upon Mrs. Cecil Forrester" [SIGN] 

 

We know what you're thinking: The Sign of Four wasn't an unpublished …

Episode 84 - Inside 221B: The Morocco Case

August 8th, 2018

20:09

Episode 83 - Smoke If You Got 'Em

August 1st, 2018

21:51
"I trust you have no objection to tobacco smoke" [SIGN] 

 

Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous smoker in the world. But in popular culture, …

Episode 82 - Sherlock Holmes's Underground Network

July 25th, 2018

22:53
"the irregulars are useful sometimes" [RETI] 

 

Homeless children. A gossip columnist. A dog. What do all of these have in common? They're part of …

Episode 81 - Unpublished Cases: Holmes's Early Clients

July 18th, 2018

13:41

Episode 80 - Inside 221B: The Wax Bust

July 12th, 2018

18:22
"a wax-coloured model of my old friend" [EMPT] 

 

One of the handiest items found at 221B Baker Street has to be the wax bust of Sherlock Holmes. …

Episode 79 - Umbrellas in the Canon

July 4th, 2018

22:21

"the streaming umbrella" [FIVE] 

London is supposed to be a decidedly rainy place. The place where one might expect to find an umbrella or two …

Episode 78 - Where Are They Now? Inspector Gregson

June 27th, 2018

16:02

"the smartest of the Scotland Yarders" [STUD] 

When you think of a Scotland Yard inspector in the Sherlock Holmes stories, odds are your thoughts …

Episode 77 - Unpublished Cases: Holmes's Tin Box

June 20th, 2018

15:02

"pulling a large tin box behind him" [MUSG] 

We're accustomed to referring to Watson's famous tin box, held in the vaults of Cox & Co. Inside …

Episode 76 - Inside 221B: Destructive Habits

June 13th, 2018

16:51
"a shocking habit,—destructive" [SIGN] 

 

It's June, which is the month of the Queen's birthday. What a perfect time to look at the "patriotic V.R." …

Episode 75 - Nummi in Arca, or The Fiscal Holmes

June 6th, 2018

21:41
"I pocket my fee" [STUD] 

 

How much money did Sherlock Holmes make from his clients? And when did he begin making money? 

 

We went back to an early …

Episode 74: The Administrative Side of Baker Street

May 30th, 2018

18:15
"Bring me the books" [BLUE]  

Sherlock Holmes was a consultant—or more properly, a consulting detective—but he was a consultant, nonetheless. And …

Episode 73 - Myths in the Canon

May 23rd, 2018

12:53
 "I could easily dispose of the mythical" [SILV]    There are assumptions and myths mentioned throughout the Sherlock Holmes stories. Whether …

Episode 72 - Unpublished Cases: The Abernetty Family

May 16th, 2018

13:22

"the dreadful affair of the Abernetty family" [SIXN] 

 

Among the published cases, there are a handful that can be identified by a simple reference. …

Episode 71 - Inside 221B: Where There's Smoke

May 9th, 2018

20:44
"put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Busybody Holmes!" [SOLI] 

 

Sherlock Holmes is possibly the most famous smoker in literature. But more than …

Episode 70 - The Worst Parents in the Canon

May 2nd, 2018

15:32
" insight into the character of parents" [COPP] 

 

We're coming up on Mother's Day in the United States, and that made us think about parents. We've covered mothers in the Canon discussed alternative parents in previous …

Episode 69 - Occupations in the Canon, Part 1

April 25th, 2018

23:15
"Does it not strike you as a strange occupation" [RETI] 

In the 60 tales that comprise the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, we come across a variety …

Episode 68 - Unpublished Cases: See What V Has to Say

April 18th, 2018

19:30
"see what V has to say" [SUSS]  

 

Among the cases that Watson tantalizingly dangles before us, "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" offers the Matilda Briggs and the giant rat of Sumatra (one of the tales we mentioned …

Episode 67 - Inside 221B: Chemistry

April 12th, 2018

17:37
"abstruse chemical analysis" [SIGN] 

 

Along with the deerstalker, Inverness cloak, magnifying glass and curved pipe, Sherlock Holmes is most often …

Episode 66 - Sherlock Holmes's Honorifics

April 4th, 2018

20:07
"I was overwhelmed by the honour" [BERY]  

 

Sherlock Holmes was a well-known public figure. But he was also a known and sought-after expert …

Episode 65 - Time Marches On

March 28th, 2018

16:11
"I heard you marching about" [SIGN]  

 

From the first cricket match in England in 1877 to the wireless mentioned in 1914, there are numerous things …

Episode 64 - Unpublished Cases: The Amateur Mendicant Society

March 21st, 2018

16:18
"two rather leprous mendicants" [ILLU] 

 

When Watson glances across his notes and teases us with adventures that he and Sherlock Holmes have …

Episode 63 - Inside 221B: Drink Up!

March 14th, 2018

15:24
"as we sat over a glass of whisky and soda in Baker Street" [REDH] 

 

Step into the sitting room at 221B Baker Street with us again and look around, as we take in the sights, smells and sounds within that most famous of …

Episode 62 - Reference Sources

March 8th, 2018

18:53
"a line of books of reference beside the mantelpiece" [NOBL] 

 

In Episode 58, we discussed Sherlock Holmes's index books – those collections in …

Episode 61 - John Watson, Ladies Man

February 28th, 2018

15:44
"Now Watson, the fair sex is your department." [SECO] 

 

John Watson knew women; Holmes tells us so. And Watson certainly tells us so, in his …

Episode 60 - Unpublished Cases: James Phillimore

February 21st, 2018

14:14
"never more seen in this world" [THOR] 

 

In "The Problem of Thor Bridge," Watson treats us to a tantalizing look at the possibilities that lie …

Episode 59 - Inside 221B: On the Wall

February 14th, 2018

16:58

"applying his tape to the walls" [STUD] 

There's quite a bit we know about the inner sanctum of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson at 221B Baker Street. …

Episode 58 - Sherlock Holmes's Index

February 7th, 2018

20:41

"Good old index. You can't beat it." [SUSS] 

Sherlock Holmes had quite the index. We get glimpses of it in use at various times throughout the Canon, …

Episode 57 - Coffee, Tea, or 221B?

January 31st, 2018

18:33
"Mrs. Hudson entered with the tea and coffee" [NAVA] 

When it comes to British mysteries, tea is like aqua vitae. It's a given that it's part of the scenery. And of course we do come across tea a number of times in the …

Episode 56 - The Hudsons

January 24th, 2018

13:13

"it is surely Hudson" [GLOR] 

One of the most enduring figures of the Canon after Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Mycroft Holmes and Inspector Lestrade …

Episode 55 - Unpublished Cases: Weird Animals

January 17th, 2018

18:19

"it is a nice household" [SPEC] 

 

We've got another recurring feature for you here on Trifles: seeing as there were so many unpublished cases that …

Episode 54 - Inside 221B: On the Sideboard

January 10th, 2018

13:36
"upon the sideboard" [BERY] 

 

In this episode of Trifles, we're starting what will become a recurring feature over the course of a few episodes: namely, we're looking at some of the things you'll find in Sherlock …

Episode 53 - Compounding a Felony

January 3rd, 2018

18:43
"compound a felony as usual." [3GAB] 

Welcome to Season 2 of Trifles. We'll be working through some of the questions we ask in our show introductions this season, including a number of recurring themes. We hope you'll …

Episode 52 - The Second Morning After Christmas

December 27th, 2017

17:38

"compliments of the season" [BLUE] 

 

"The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" is one of the more well-known stories in the Canon. And yet we're …

Episode 51 - Peace in the Canon

December 20th, 2017

15:37
"there was peace in our hearts" [SIGN] 

 

Peace in the canon. Reading the Sherlock Holmes stories to find peace is something like going to …

Episode 50 - The Agony Column

December 13th, 2017

19:27

"what a chorus of groans, cries and bleatings" [REDC] 

 

Agony column. Agony column? To the modern reader, that term might be unfamiliar. Well, at …

Episode 49 - Sherlock Holmes and Rugby

December 6th, 2017

18:59
"You have a grand gift of silence, Watson" [TWIS]  

 

When Cyril Overton sent a telegram to Sherlock Holmes, proclaiming the status of Godfrey …

Episode 48 - Gotcha!

November 29th, 2017

18:29

"you have been caught in the act" [BERY]

 

One of the general bits of enjoyment of the Sherlock Holmes stories is the denouement in which Sherlock …

Episode 47 - Happy Families

November 22nd, 2017

20:19
"to mar the contentment of their family life" [VALL]  

Family. For many, it's a part of the holiday season. And with Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow …

Episode 46 - A History of Pince-Nez

November 15th, 2017

17:22
"observing the dint of a pince-nez" [IDEN] 

For many of us, the first time we encounter the word "pince-nez" is in the Sherlock Holmes stories. But …

45 - Military Morality

November 8th, 2017

24:57

"his military challenge" [STUD] 

November 11 marks Veterans Day in the United States, when we honor our men and women who have served in the …

44 - The Supernatural

November 1st, 2017

16:09

"The world is big enough for us." [SUSS] 

 

With Halloween just behind us, it's natural to reflect on the supernatural. The Hound of the Baskervilles and "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" loom large in our …

43 - Sherlock Holmes's Monographs

October 25th, 2017

16:21

"Why do you not write them yourself?" [ABBE] 

Aside from the untold tales which are hinted at occasionally by Watson, the most intriguing writings in …

42 - A Noble Supper

October 18th, 2017

16:24
"a quite epicurean little cold supper" [NOBL] 

 

In "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor," Lord Robert St. Simon assumed that Holmes was going up in …

41 - Great Voyages

October 11th, 2017

18:46
"several successful voyages" [BLAC] 

 

The second week of October marks the remembrance of Christopher Columbus in the U.S.. Long thought to be the …

40 - Who Was Sarasate?

October 4th, 2017

21:04
"Sarasate plays at St. James's Hall this afternoon" [REDH]  We know Sherlock Holmes enjoyed music. From his own violin playing to a few mentions of …

39 - The KKK of The Five Orange Pips

September 27th, 2017

15:31

"this terrible secret society" [FIVE] 

The Ku Klux Klan famously plays a role in "The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips." To British audiences, the …

38 - Photography

September 20th, 2017

17:46
"fondness for photography" [REDH] 

 

During the earliest days of the Sherlock Holmes stories, photography was still in its infancy. And yet, we are …

37 - The Student Days of Sherlock Holmes

September 13th, 2017

14:22

"I have no idea what he intends to go in for" [STUD] 

It's our Back to School Blowout Sale! Okay, not really. But since it's September and class is …

36 - Tradesmen in the Canon

September 6th, 2017

18:44

"I was already in debt to my tradesmen" [COPP] 

With Labor Day just behind us, what do we find in the Sherlock Holmes stories in the ways of the …

35 - The Real Greek Hero

August 30th, 2017

19:21
"a Greek by extraction" [GREE]   

 "The Greek Interpreter" gives us our first glimpse of Mycroft Holmes, through the meeting with him at the Diogenes …

34 - A Mysterious Box

August 23rd, 2017

12:45
"the matter is more mysterious" [CARD] 

 

"The Cardboard Box" opens with an iconic diversion on a hot August day on Baker Street. And while the …

33 - Thumb Up for Engineers

August 16th, 2017

15:09
"Very well thumbed, I assure you" [HOUN]   

"The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb" marks the only time that Watson has been responsible for bringing …

32 - A Return to Normalcy via Norwood

August 9th, 2017

15:41
"you will find your time very fully occupied" [NORW]    In the opening of "The Norwood Builder," we find Watson back in Baker Street—he sold his …

31 - Frederic Dorr Steele's Gift

August 1st, 2017

17:29
"worthy of our steel" [HOUN] 

 

Sidney Paget was the illustrator who first brought widespread visual recognition of Sherlock Holmes to the public. …

30 - A Lengthy Treaty

July 26th, 2017

15:36

"The chain of events is certainly one of extraordinary interest." [NAVA] 

Nepotism, bullying, carelessness and a locked room mystery — "The Naval …

29 - Who Wrote The Mazarin Stone

July 19th, 2017

16:12

"there can be no question as to the authorship" [SIGN] 

 

"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" took place in July 1903 and it shares a distinction …

28 - Harpoons: A Pointed Subject

July 12th, 2017

17:43

"among the harpooners my research was nearing its end" [BLAC] 

We have one of the most iconic openings in the Sherlock Holmes stories in "The …

27 - Rebellion!

July 5th, 2017

21:12
"there really was a plot" [GLOR] 

Independence Day is celebrated in the United States on July 4. It marks the date of the signing of the Declaration …

26 - The Plot Device of The Three Garridebs

June 28th, 2017

16:47
"Saw through my game, I suppose" [3GAR] 

 

Once again, we have a con man at work, eager to enrich himself. He finds his mark, manages to get him away from the scene where his work needs to happen, and is eventually …

25 - An Unbelievable Case of Identity

June 21st, 2017

15:36
"she will not believe me" [IDEN] 

 

In the early stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson was admittedly new to the bio-docu-drama …

24 - Heads of Household

June 14th, 2017

15:50

"He had described his household" [WIST] 

 

We're acutely aware of some of the fathers in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and the dastardly deeds …

23 - Married Life with Dr. Watson

June 7th, 2017

14:49
"not long after my marriage" [ENGR] 

In this episode, we look at how married life was treating Dr. Watson in "The Adventure of the Boscombe Valley …

22 - Pubs and Taverns, Part 2

May 31st, 2017

14:25

"back to the same establishment" [GOLD] 

The last time we met, we were in the middle of a pub quiz. How were you doing? We're going to pick up where we left off, talking about various public houses, bars, taverns and …

21 - Pubs and Taverns, Part 1

May 24th, 2017

13:47

"gone to the nearest public house" [SOLI] 

We owe the entire Canon to Watson's drinking habits. Because he found himself at the Criterion Bar, he …

20 - The Duke and the Doctor

May 17th, 2017

22:14

"His Grace is surprised, Dr. Huxtable" [PRIO]

The opening of "The Adventure of the Priory School" is one of the best in the entirety of the Sherlock …

19 - Mothers in the Canon

May 10th, 2017

14:30

"by the honour of your mother" [SIGN] 

There's no question that fathers play a significant role in many of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But what …

18 - Horse Sense in Silver Blaze

May 3rd, 2017

16:54

"have a look at the horse" [SILV] 

One of the best regarded stories in the Sherlock Holmes canon is "Silver Blaze." The story has so many elements to …

17 - Glimpses of Holmes in The Copper Beeches

April 26th, 2017

17:51
"I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain" [3GAR] In "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," we're treated to a range of …

16 - The Surprise of a First Reading of the Final Problem

April 19th, 2017

18:56

"it is with a heavy heart" [FINA] 

"The Final Problem" is a shocking tale, both for contemporaries of the Strand Magazine as well as for first-time …

15 - Sherlock Holmes and Easter

April 12th, 2017

19:12
"tell me how you came alive" [EMPT] 

While there is no explicit mention of Easter in the Sherlock Holmes story, we do have a story arc that follows …

14 - The Speckled Band and its Snakish Temper

April 5th, 2017

22:30

"roused its snakish temper" [SPEC] 

  "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is consistently ranked as one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes stories …

13 - Quarter Day Is at Hand

March 29th, 2017

15:06

"quarter day is at hand" [WIST] 

 

There are at least two instances in the Sherlock Holmes stories when we come across a mention of quarter day. Just …

12 - Irene Adler: A Legend Is Born

March 22nd, 2017

16:56

"To Sherlock Holmes, she is always the woman" [SCAN]

It is the first story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and it is also the first of what we …

11 - Celebrations

March 15th, 2017

12:58

"you could not celebrate him without being known yourself" [HOUN] 

 

With mid-March upon us, we thought it was high time to investigate some of the …

10 - The Dressing Gown of Many Colors

March 8th, 2017

15:51

"He was clad in his dressing gown" [CREE]

 

You'll find Sherlock Holmes lounging in his dressing gown in no fewer than 14 of the original stories. …

9 - A Matter of Faith

March 1st, 2017

16:40

"embrace the true faith" [STUD] 

We see glimpses of religion in a number of stories, from plot devices to red herrings, saintly inferences to clever …

8 - The Wrinkle in The Beryl Coronet

February 22nd, 2017

18:13

"it is a very sweet little problem" [BERY] 

  One of the more comical openings to a story occurred in "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet," in which …

7 - John, James and Mary

February 15th, 2017

15:18

"what's amiss with the names?" [VALL] 

 

One of the most puzzling passages in the Sherlock Holmes stories is when Mrs. Watson referred to her …

6 - Dating the Missing Three Quarter

February 8th, 2017

13:16

"a puzzled quarter of an hour" [MISS]

The Sherlock Holmes stories are filled with hints of dates, places and people that cause them to be …

5 - Moral Relativism in Charles Augustus Milverton

February 1st, 2017

16:29

Charles Augustus Milverton was considered by Sherlock Holmes to be "the worst man in London." Watson tried to shield the date of the case — not to …

4 - Guilt in The Abbey Grange

January 25th, 2017

14:06

Sir Eustace Brackenstall met with a grisly, if appropriate end in "The Abbey Grange." Ultimately, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson let his killer go …

3 - Simpson's

January 18th, 2017

14:19

Dr. Watson tells us that he and Sherlock Holmes visited one London restaurant two times. And while the gustatory habits of the famed Baker Street duo …

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