Cover art for podcast Sherlock Holmes: Trifles

Sherlock Holmes: Trifles

374 EpisodesProduced by Scott Monty & Burt WolderWebsite

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

374 Episodes | 2017 - 2024


February 22nd, 2024


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Corpulence in the Canon

February 21st, 2024

“His body was absolutely corpulent” [GREE]     Join us for another "Mr. Sherlock Holmes the Theorist" episode, in which we bring a piece of …

An Essex Adventure

February 15th, 2024

“not far from Frinton.” [RETI]     It's travel time again! The second episode of every month in Season 8 is travel-themed, and we ride the rails again with "An Essex Adventure" by A. Godfrey Hunt from The Sherlock …

Watson's Billiard Playing

February 8th, 2024

“chalk his billiard-cue” [MISS]     Back in Season 3, when we did a series on Games and Sports, we had one episode on billiards in the Sherlock …

Hunting Crops

February 1st, 2024

“here’s a hunting crop handy” [IDEN]     In the last episode, we reflected on Sherlock Holmes chasing James Windibank out of Baker Street. While …

Hosmeric Hypocrisy

January 25th, 2024

“You’ll be interested to hear that I am engaged.” [CHAS]     The name of this show was inspired in part by William Hyder, BSI ("A Most Valuable Institution"), who includes a half sheet of a trifling matter in the …

The Other Boarder

January 18th, 2024

“There was no other boarder” [VALL]     The third episode of every month in Season 8 finds us revisiting familiar ground: episodes under the "Mr. …

The Underground Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

January 10th, 2024

“We traveled by the Underground” [REDH]       We're kicking off a new monthly series for Season 8: travel. Highly appropriate, as we travel to …

Soothing Elements

January 4th, 2024

“I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere” [GREE]     It's easy to think of Sherlock Holmes as an automaton — Watson himself called …

Oh My!

December 27th, 2023

“Oh, my God! what a blind fool I have been!” [BERY]       Well, this is it. The final entry of Season 7 and of 2023. And it marks our 365th …

Watson à la Mode

December 20th, 2023

“a charming coquettish intimacy” [3GAB]     The final installment in this season's Masters Class is another Christopher Morley essay, "Watson à …

The 12 Trifles of Christmas

December 13th, 2023

“the compliments of the season” [BLUE]     Here it is, 12 days before Christmas — the perfect time to celebrate with you. So we're doing it in style.   Listener Jim Zych was kind enough to share his trifling …

Hand Washing

December 6th, 2023

“washed their hands of the matter” [GREE]    We like to think that the practice of hand washing is a universal occurrence. After a couple of years of a pandemic, it was certainly ingrained into the public's …


November 30th, 2023

“bear in mind” [MUSG]  Image credit: Russell Stutler   Can you think of the instances when bears are mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes …

By Jove!

November 22nd, 2023

“By Jove, Watson; I’ve got it!” [CHAS]    Last month, we contemplated the significance of the exclamation "By George!" So this month, we give ourselves over the gods as we explore "By Jove!"   What's the …

Dr. Watson's Secret

November 16th, 2023

“This terrible secret” [FIVE]    Dr. Watson was a master of inconsistencies. Or perhaps sloppiness. Or, according to Christopher Morley, …


November 9th, 2023

“Now, then, give him the pencil.” [GREE]    Writing implements are a part of daily life. They are today and they were when Watson was writing the stories.   And from the very first story, Watson picks up a pencil …


October 25th, 2023

“bag of tigers” [EMPT]    We continue to clean up and cover a few more animals that we missed in previous seasons. The tiger was another foreign …

Was Sherlock Holmes an American?

October 19th, 2023

“I’m a free-born American” [STUD]    It's the final quarter of our Masters Class series, and this is the first of three essays we're going to bring you from the pen of Christopher Morley. Morely is important not only …

By George!

October 12th, 2023

“By George, it’s marvellous!” [GOLD]  "By George!" It's an expression you've heard and read thousands of times, most likely. And it comes up in the …

The Dental Holmes

October 5th, 2023

“a set of excellent teeth” [RESI]       Around these parts, we've surveyed the implications of teeth, teeth marks and other clues for the …


September 27th, 2023

“you used to shoot lions” [MAZA]   Back in Season 5, we had a recurring feature: each month, we looked at a particular exotic animal from the …

The Ripper and the Crown

September 21st, 2023

“He thought the tutor” [3STU]   The final installment in our Masters Class series featuring the work of Michael Harrison takes us into the world …

Terrible Human Tragedies

September 13th, 2023

“the most terrible human tragedies” [VEIL]   Having inadvertently left "The Veiled Lodger" out of our discussion about suicide in Episode 349, we put more focus on it in this episode. The introduction identifies it …

Suicides in the Sherlock Holmes Stories

September 7th, 2023

“I only breathe it among ourselves—a suicide” [GOLD]   LISTENER ADVISORY: This episode contains mentions of suicide, which some listeners may …

Dueling Topics: The Real Birlstone Manor

August 30th, 2023

“at the Manor House in consultation with his two colleagues” [VALL]   One of the great bits of fun of scanning the Sherlock Holmes stories is …

The Poetic Hound

August 24th, 2023

“Cut out the poetry, Watson” [RETI]      The Hound of the Baskervilles holds a special place for many people. It is a gothic tale of horror, …

Why Didn't I Check Montague Street?

August 17th, 2023

“he walked into my room in Montague Street” [MUSG]      The Masters Class is now in session! For the second time, we turn to a Michael Harrison essay: this time, we wander the streets of London.   Michael's …

Animal Abuse

August 9th, 2023

“a last howl of agony” [HOUN]      Modern times give animals nearly as many rights as humans, but such was not the case in Victorian times. Unfortunately, there are numerous occasions when animals are made to …

Conan Doyle and Cars

August 3rd, 2023

“as his car swung round the village street” [LAST]    As you know, most of the Sherlock Holmes stories were set squarely in the Victorian era. …

Canonical Sevens

July 26th, 2023

“called me in seven times” [ABBE]    There's something magical about the number seven. Whether or not it appears more than other numbers in the …

221B, Baker Street

July 20th, 2023

“this evening at 221B, Baker Street” [BLUE]  Image credit: Russell Stutler   It's time once again for the Masters Class, the episode each month in which we look at an exemplary piece of Sherlockian …

A Few Quick Ones

July 13th, 2023

“this quick succession of strange surprises” [SIGN]    There are some trifles that are too trifling to stand on their own. Then again, Burt and Scott tend to have the ability to stretch out any bit of minutiae into …

Boscombe Valley Oddities

June 28th, 2023

“What do you say, dear?” [BOSC]    One of the earlier cases in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" is filled with …

Up From the Needle

June 21st, 2023

“a nice taste in wines” [LAST]    In this month's Masters Class, we turn for the final time to a work of Edgar W. Smith's, "Up From the Needle," …

Business at the Cedars

June 15th, 2023

“It is, of course, a trifle” [TWIS]    Sometimes there are moments in the Sherlock Holmes stories when we just take Holmes at his word, giving …

Dairy Go Round

June 7th, 2023

“I've learned not to cry over spilled milk” [SIGN]    Between recent episodes on Eggs and Breakfast, it seems like we've had our fill of comestibles. Well, this isn't a podcast to be trifled with, so we're headed to …


May 31st, 2023

“Is alcohol permitted?” [MAZA]      We've explored a number of angles around alcohol in the Sherlock Holmes stories, but it recently struck us …

The Great Hiatus

May 25th, 2023

“I travelled for two years” [EMPT]      This month's Masters Class features the second in our three essays by Edgar W. Smith. In Vol. 1 No. 3 …

The Magic Number

May 18th, 2023

“We have touched on three” [TWIS]    Since this is Episode 333 and since there are three stories in the Canon that incorporate the number three …

Police Precautions

May 11th, 2023

“Why not take police precautions against him?” [FINA]      When reading "The Final Problem," it's difficult not to be caught off-guard. After …


May 4th, 2023

“when I have exterminated that fourth egg” [VALL]    While we discussed breakfast in the last episode, we felt we paid more attention to the …

Breakfast at Baker Street

April 27th, 2023

“we had breakfasted” [CHAS]    For all the meals we hear about in the Sherlock Holmes stories – not to mention Mrs. Hudson having a good idea of …

The Adventure of the Veiled Author

April 19th, 2023

“an anonymous communication from a quarter” [VALL]    Just who was it that wrote "His Last Bow"? We know it wasn't Watson, as there were observations about him in the third person and a narrative of actions that …


April 12th, 2023

“a varied collection of weapons” [CROO]      Watson was wounded by a Jezzail bullet, Holmes fired a patriotic 'V.R.' into the wall at Baker …


April 5th, 2023

“one by one passed through into the little garden” [STUD]    Whether we think of British gardens as landscaped acres of greenery or as the …

Dueling Topics: Watson's Gender

March 29th, 2023

“Old woman be damned!” [STUD]    One of the wonderful things about examining and reexamining the Sherlock Holmes canon is that we can find …

The Love Life of Sherlock Holmes

March 22nd, 2023

“any emotion akin to love” [SCAN]    Sherlock Holmes doesn't seem to have a high opinion of women, although he does a fine job of understanding …


March 15th, 2023

“a feeling of vague expectancy” [LAST]    "Beware the Ides of March." So went the warning from the soothsayer to the title character in William …

Hobbies in the Canon

March 8th, 2023

“that is my special hobby” [HOUN]    We all have hobbies. Indeed, our interest in Sherlock Holmes is a perfect example.   What do we know about …

Sleepless in Baker Street

March 1st, 2023

“I found myself in dream-land” [SIGN]    Regular sleep patterns seem to be a rarity in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Watson dozed off while …

Real Life Inspirations: A Scandal in Bohemia

February 22nd, 2023

“the title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own” [SCAN]    We're treated to a variety of colorful characters in the Sherlock …

The Erudition of Sherlock Holmes

February 15th, 2023

“Your merits should be publicly recognized.” [STUD]      We continue with our monthly series of Masters Class episodes, going back to Trevor …

Compound Surnames

February 8th, 2023

“toward the Triple Alliance” [NAVA]      When we're introduced to the victim in "Wisteria Lodge," it happens first by telegram — a telegram he himself signed "John Scott Eccles." Later, we hear him referred to as …

Dr. Watson's Marriages

February 1st, 2023

“over many nations and three separate continents” [SIGN]    We all know about Mary Morstan from The Sign of Four, of her marriage to Watson, and …

A Detective By Any Other Name

January 25th, 2023

“gazing with great reverence at the famous detective” [HOUN]    When Sherlock Holmes describes himself to Watson, he says that he's a consulting …

The Early Years of Sherlock Holmes

January 18th, 2023

“pictures of the old masters” [ILLU]    It's the first of our monthly Masters Class episodes for Season 7, and we're kicking off a series of …


January 11th, 2023

“observe the spatulate finger-end” [SOLI]    Quick: in which Sherlock Holmes stories do we find the mention of a piano? You might think you know, …

Mentors in the Canon

January 4th, 2023

“this insignificant-looking man inspired me” [GREE]    We all have examples of mentors in our lives. People who inspire us and coach us, helping us …

The Home Life of Henry Baker

December 28th, 2022

“the unknown gentleman who lost his Christmas dinner” [BLUE]    Poor Henry Baker has always been a sad, sympathetic character. Deprived of his hat and his peace offering to his wife at Christmastime, he was a victim …

Mrs. Hudson: A Legend in Her Own Lodging-House

December 21st, 2022

“a long-suffering woman” [DYIN]      Have you considered how much (or little) we know about Mrs. Hudson, and what we take for granted? For example, her first name was Martha, she was widowed, and she retired with …


December 15th, 2022

“Good old Dr. Starr!” [3GAR]    One of the creepiest looking characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories was Col. Lysander Stark, who chased after …

The Route of the Blue Carbuncle

December 8th, 2022

“found in the banks of the Amoy River in southern China” [BLUE]    The blue carbuncle had quite a journey. Before it even arrived in the action of the story, the piece of crystallized charcoal was the object of "two …

Rambling About

December 1st, 2022

“devoted to a series of walks” [WIST]    In at least four separate cases, we know that Holmes and Watson were out strolling around London. How …

Revealing Costume

November 23rd, 2022

“revealing what they are” [ENGR]      "By a man’s finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt cuffs—by each …

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

November 16th, 2022

“That sounds a little paradoxical.” [BOSC]      The fourth short story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," …

Doyle and Water

November 9th, 2022

“a cry for help and a splash in the water” [FIVE]      Water, water everywhere. And that just makes us think. Of the Sherlock Holmes stories, of …

Our Client's Foot Upon the Stair

November 3rd, 2022

“heard upon the stairs” [SCAN]      So much of how we think about Sherlock Holmes is due to the scenes where we find Holmes and Watson at home …


October 26th, 2022

“numerous candles did something” [HOUN]      We equate gas lamps with Sherlock Holmes — even electric lights. But we don't often think about the …

The Colonel of the Matter

October 19th, 2022

“the line of his pedigree” [EMPT]      Colonel Sebastian Moran was called "the second most dangerous man in London" and was a formidable …

It Happened at Midnight

October 12th, 2022

“to reconstruct this midnight drama” [MUSG]    A quick look through the Sherlock Holmes stories finds a good number of incidents taking place …

Clients in Jeopardy

October 5th, 2022

“the victim of an unfortunate accident” [FIVE]      For our "Mr. Sherlock Holmes the theorist" episode, we take a step back into 1947 to …


September 28th, 2022

“the wondrous strength-giving serum” [CREE]      For our 300th episode, we thought we'd do something just a Trifle different. Following the …

Masters Class: Lowenstein of Prague

September 21st, 2022

“an obscure scientist who was striving in some unknown way” [CREE]      In this month's Masters Class, we turn to a Morley-Montgomery Award-winning article from The Baker Street Journal in 1973: "Lowenstein of …

The British Monarchy

September 14th, 2022

“a regal and stately lady in Court dress” [CHAS]    With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we find ourselves in a similar place as Sherlock …

The Arcadia Mixture

September 8th, 2022

“You still smoke the Arcadia mixture of your bachelor days then!” [CROO]    When Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson first met, Watson noted he was …

The Metaphysical Holmes

September 1st, 2022

“I caught a glimpse of a great heart” [3GAB]    Without a question, Sherlock Holmes was a master of his craft. When we look at his motivations for …

The Best Sherlock Holmes Stories

August 24th, 2022

“the finest assorted collection” [STUD]      For nearly a century, there has been a general concordance on which Sherlock Holmes stories are best. …

James Watson, M.D.

August 17th, 2022

“he was trying to hide his own identity” [RESI] 

Over the years, there have been numerous theories about how Watson (or Mrs. Watson, rather) got his name wrong, substituting “James” for “John.” We covered some of …


August 11th, 2022

“Carina sings tonight at Royal Albert Hall” [RETI]    We revisit our previous episodes about music, with a singular investigation: Carina.   …

His Last Bow — Wow!

August 4th, 2022


“the judgment which we have pronounced” [ABBE]  You say bow, I say bow. Potato, potato, tomato, tomato, let's call the whole thing off.   Of …

The Four Violets

July 27th, 2022

“stained with violet” [IDEN] 

It should come as no surprise that the most common name of female leads in the Sherlock Holmes stories was Violet. We …

The Dynamics of an Asteroid

July 21st, 2022


“man in the scientific press capable of criticizing it” [VALL]    Every month, we feature an episode called "Masters Class" that looks at an …

A Study in Speech

July 13th, 2022


“a curious lisp in her utterance” [HOUN]  In the canon of Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave us settings and characters that …

A Note on The Priory School

July 6th, 2022


“one might think that you were afraid of our finding something out” [PRIO]  The first week of the month means it's time for another round of Mr. …

Sherlock Holmes and Advertising

June 30th, 2022

“run down to the advertising agency and have this put in the evening papers” [BLUE] We know Sherlock Holmes valued the agony column; we discussed …

Strange Business

June 22nd, 2022


“the rest of that strange company” [DANC]  Men and women from professions of all kinds consulted Sherlock Holmes. And throughout the Canon we're …

Watson's Hidden Addiction

June 15th, 2022


"much addicted" [TWIS]    This month's Masters Class brings us back to a Morley-Montgomery Award-winning article from The Baker Street Journal.   …

Witchcraft in Baker Street

June 8th, 2022


“What's this, Mr. Holmes? Man, it's witchcraft!” [VALL] Continuing on our supernatural theme, we land on witchcraft. And not just any witchcraft, …

Hocus Pocus

June 1st, 2022

"some hocus-pocus" [SIGN]  

The last time we were together, we examined Sherlock Holmes's Tours de Force (Episode 282), in which we discussed a …

Sherlock Holmes's Tours-de-Force

May 25th, 2022


“my poor little reputation, such as it is, will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid” [REDH]  One of the greatest features of the Sherlock Holmes …

The Hoof-Marks in "The Priory School"

May 18th, 2022


"a remarkable cow" [PRIO]

The third week of the month means it's time for Master's Class: a look at an exemplary piece of Sherlockian scholarship …

Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare

May 11th, 2022


"A touch! A distinct touch!" [VALL]

Every author owes something to Shakespeare. His inventiveness with language has withstood the test of time, and …

The Dates in the Red-Headed League

May 4th, 2022


“As to your dates, that is the biggest mystification of all.” [CREE]  This is another instance of the new product we're calling "I Can't Believe We Didn't Talk About This Already."   An early instance of Sherlockian …

The Rushed Wedding

April 27th, 2022


“Drive like the devil” [SCAN]  Call this the case of the overlooked fact. And one that was staring us in the face, too. It concerns the marriage of Irene Adler and Godfrey Norton in "A Scandal in Bohemia."   A …

The Tree That Wasn't

April 20th, 2022


“There’s not a tree in the park” [EMPT]  The third week of the month means it's time for Master's Class: a look at an exemplary piece of Sherlockian …

The Problem of the Case-Book

April 6th, 2022


“Holmes turned to his desk and, unlocking it, drew out a small case-book” [SPEC]  The first week of the month means it's a "Mr. Sherlock Holmes the …

Trees, Part 1: Over the Oak / Under the Elm

March 31st, 2022


“grazing the top of the oak” [MUSG]   I think that I shall never see... a Sherlock Holmes story as lovely as a tree. However, there are plenty of …


March 23rd, 2022


“a look of grief and despair” [BERY] Let's face it: when clients arrived to consult Sherlock Holmes, they were rarely in positive spirits. Some …

In Memoriam: Muzzafar ad-Din

March 16th, 2022


"I want that yellow diamond!” [MAZA]

The Masters Class series continues, and this time, Peter Blau instructs us on some finer points of geology and …

On the Scent with Sherlock Holmes, Part 3

March 9th, 2022

“the air of London is the sweeter for my presence” [FINA]

We're back with the third and final installment in our series On the Scent with Sherlock …

Missing Three-Quarter One-Third Discovered

March 2nd, 2022


“this extraordinary league” [REDH]   For fans of sportsball, the concept of fantasy leagues might seem like a modern invention. A late-20th century pastime of creating the ideal lineup of teammates for competition. …

A Seven-Per-Cent Solution

February 23rd, 2022


"Would you care to try it?" [SCAN] It's the sixth season of Trifles and we realized we hadn't covered a central yet sensitive topic related to …

The Politician, the Lighthouse, and the Trained Cormorant

February 16th, 2022


“the source of these outrages is known” [VEIL]   The Masters Class series continues, and this time, we delve into the active mind of Nicholas …

On the Scent with Sherlock Holmes, Part 2

February 9th, 2022

“dropping from branch to branch” [CREE]    The London in which Sherlock Holmes lived gave off its own scents. Whether the roads were paved or …

A Final Illumination on the Lucca Code

February 2nd, 2022


“One A, two B, and so on. You will hear soon.” [REDC]   The secret code that Genarro and Emilia Lucca shared for passing messages to each other in "The Red Circle" was straightforward. Or was it?   In 1956, Donald …

Roll Out the Beryl

January 26th, 2022


“Halloa, Beryl!” [HOUN]   In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Henry falls for Stapleton's sister, who was said to be “a young lady of attractions.” However, Stapleton clearly didn't like the idea of the two of them …

The Archetypical Sherlock Holmes

January 19th, 2022


“men of such a different type” [SOLI]   We're beginning a new monthly series focused on some of the best scholarship over the years. The kind of …

On the Scent with Sherlock Holmes, Part 1

January 12th, 2022

"I am one of the hounds" [STUD]   On two occasions in the Sherlock Holmes stories do we find Holmes employing a dog to help him track a scent. But …

Great Beginnings

January 5th, 2022


"On the very day that I had come to this conclusion" [STUD] 

It all began with a chance meeting between two medical school colleagues at the …

The Friendship Club

December 29th, 2021


“nothing but a welcome for my friend and colleague” [TWIS]   The great heroes of literature are frequently teamed up with a sidekick: Don Quixote …

Reptiles & Amphibians

December 22nd, 2021


“a curiously reptilian fashion” [FINA]   Aside from vipers, cobras, and adders, there are other reptiles in the Sherlock Holmes stories that either …

Did Sherlock Holmes Have a Sense of Humor?

December 15th, 2021


“Homes seldom laughed.” [MAZA]     Sherlock Holmes could be deadly serious. As in his encounter with Professor Moriarty, his matter-of-fact …

Street Lamps

December 8th, 2021


“Holmes pointed to the street lamp” [SIXN]   It's impossible to think about Victorian London without imagining street lamps. We're most familiar …

Damsels in Distress

December 1st, 2021


“she confessed with distress” [LADY]   Sherlock Holmes took on clients of all sorts, often when they were puzzled, had nowhere else to turn, or were …

Romance in the Canon

November 24th, 2021


“a love-story or an elopement” [SIGN]     We don't think of the Sherlock Holmes stories as being romances, and yet there are elements of romance …

British Birds

November 17th, 2021


“a fierce old bird of prey” [SPEC]    Birds are part of British life. Such is the reality of living on an island. And there were a great variety of …

Was Sherlock Holmes Crazy?

November 10th, 2021


“You’re crazy!” [DANC]  Sherlock Holmes had his eccentricities, without a question. Many scholars over the years have debated his mental health, …

Meretricious Effects

November 3rd, 2021


“to produce his meretricious finales” [BLAN]  There are a number of times in the 60 Sherlock Holmes stories when Holmes criticizes Watson's efforts …

Some Freaks of Atavism

October 27th, 2021


“hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind” [FINA]  Family matters a great deal in the Sherlock Holmes stories, although we don't discover …


October 20th, 2021


“a pin, a cork, and a card” [HOUN]   When it came to exotic insects, butterflies were all the rage in Victorian England. They were sought after by …

Financially Speaking

October 13th, 2021

 “extraordinary stories about your financial ability” [STOC]  Money was occasionally a concern for Sherlock Holmes. But when, and more importantly, …

Something Amiss in The Three Gables

October 6th, 2021


 “Have you noticed anything amiss with them of late?” [SILV]  "The Three Gables" isn't likely to be found on anyone's "best of" list of Sherlock …

Plotting Lovers

September 29th, 2021


 “it was her plot as much as mine” [ABBE]  From the realm of conjecture: what if the star-crossed lovers in "The Adventure of Abbey Grange" and "The Problem of Thor Bridge" weren't simply victims of circumstance? What …

Sherlock Holmes, Book Collector

September 22nd, 2021


“Maybe you collect yourself, sir” [EMPT]  Sherlock Holmes shared his reading interests on occasion, and they tended to be wide and varied. Some of …


September 16th, 2021


“pinned like a beetle on a card” [BLAC]  It's the third week of the month, and that means it's the exotic animal episode. Last month we covered worms, and we mentioned the slow-worm, which Mr. Sherman said kept the …

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

September 8th, 2021


“passionate, whole-hearted, tropical, ill-balanced” [THOR]    Maria Gibson (nee Pinto) was a troubled woman. What could have driven her to her final …

Watson's Medical Career

September 1st, 2021


“a general practitioner with very limited experience and mediocre qualifications” [DYIN]    We know Watson had a serious medical career before he …

The Evolution of Sherlock Holmes, Part 3

August 25th, 2021


“some arm-chair lounger who evolves” [STUD]  From a humble beginning to the heights of international fame and importance, the career of Sherlock …


August 18th, 2021


“Why does fate play such tricks with poor, helpless worms?” [BOSC]   On the third episode of every month in Season 5, we explore exotic animals in …

A Window into Windows

August 11th, 2021

“window-breaking Furies” [VALL]  

Windows are everywhere in the Sherlock Holmes stories. But in certain cases, they form an essential part of the …

I Know That Country, Holmes

August 4th, 2021

“It is full of old houses which are named after the men who built them centuries ago.” [SUSS]  

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a master storyteller. He …

The Evolution of Sherlock Holmes, Part 2

July 28th, 2021

“evolved from his own inner consciousness” [BOSC] 

In Episode 237, we looked at how Holmes's personality traits changed over the course of his …


July 21st, 2021

“Cyanea! Cyanea!” [LION]  

In the third week of every month in our fifth season, Trifles looks at exotic animals. We turn to the sea this time, …

The Evolution of Sherlock Holmes

July 14th, 2021

“Let me show you the evolution of this case” [WIST]  

In our last episode, we discussed the subtle yet undeniable change in the nature of the …

Holmes & Lestrade Through the Years

July 7th, 2021


"That you, Lestrade?" [EMPT] One might say that Sherlock Holmes and Inspector G. Lestrade had a contentious relationship. While this may be the …

Two Maids A-Missing

June 30th, 2021

“Altogether there are eight maids” [MUSG]  

Two stories. Two jewels. Two lady's maids. And two strikingly similar circumstances.

In "The Blue …

Secret Societies

June 23rd, 2021

“some secret society, some implacable organization” [VALL] 

We know the Mafia, the KKK, and other named secret societies permeate the Sherlock Holmes …

Lab Rats

June 16th, 2021

“the direct nature of the experiment” [BRUC]  

It's the third week of the month, and that means it's time for our Exotic Animals feature! When you …

The Best Sherlock Holmes Stories

June 9th, 2021

“The best possible” [NOBL]  

In Episode 231, we left you with a bit of a cliffhanger. The show was filled with answers to questions from listeners, …

Your Questions, Answered

June 2nd, 2021

“they are pretty sure to ask questions anyhow, so it would be as well to have answers” [RETI]  

We're doing something a little different for this …

Luck in the Canon

May 26th, 2021

“That is very fortunate” [SCAN]  

Sherlock Holmes didn't believe in superstition, the supernatural, or random guesses. He was a detective who dealt …


May 19th, 2021

“the whole story concerning the politician, the lighthouse, and the trained cormorant” [VEIL]  

There is one scant mention of a cormorant in the …

Eyeglasses in the Canon

May 12th, 2021


“I stooped to the eyepiece and focussed for my vision.” [SHOS] 

Given Arthur Conan Doyle's training in the field of eye medicine, it's no surprise …

More Messages

May 5th, 2021

“the sending of general messages” [VALL]   

Sherlock Holmes was an inveterate message sender and receiver. The many notes, letters, telegrams, …

Money Woes

April 28th, 2021

“I am a poor man” [PRIO]  

Time and again, we find people in the Sherlock Holmes stories who are having money problems. As in money problems drastic …

Viper / Wiper

April 21st, 2021


"like a viper’s tooth" [DYIN]

Here we are again, ready to tackle the monthly topic of exotic animals. So naturally, we turn to the wiper. Wait, the what?

Suffice it to say that the oddly-identified snake does have a …

The Crimes of Sherlock Holmes

April 15th, 2021


"It is fortunate for this community that I am not a criminal."[BRUC]

Sherlock Holmes certainly ran with a rough crowd. Burglars, murderers, …

Brain Fever

April 7th, 2021


“a sharp touch of brain-fever” [MUSG]    Inspired by two sources of Sherlockian medical scholarship, we decided to discuss brain fever. What was …

No. 221B Baker Street (Part 2)

March 31st, 2021


“Apply 221B, Baker Street” [NAVA]    Last week, we left you hanging with Vincent Starrett's chapter in his book The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

No. 221B Baker Street (Part 1)

March 24th, 2021


“I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street” [STUD]   There is no question that 221B Baker Street is the most famous address in all of fiction. What makes it interesting is its non-existence at the time of the stories' …


March 17th, 2021


“some creature of the weasel and stoat tribe” [CROO]  There was a fad in mid-century Victorian England that led to pets becoming more common. But the third week of each month, our episodes focus not on everyday …

Moriarty's Mathematics

March 10th, 2021


“rarefied heights of pure mathematics” [VALL]   As we know, James Moriarty was a professor of mathematics. We know little about his academic appointment, other than having to step down from a chair.   What we do know …


March 3rd, 2021


“I return with an excellent appetite” [BLAC]    The Sherlock Holmes stories are a cornucopia of content. A smorgasbord of smarts. A full menu of …

Colours in the Canon

February 24th, 2021


 “Our own colours, green and white.” [WIST]   Yes, the circle was red, the study was scarlet and the pips were orange. But there are so many other …

Cheetah and Baboon

February 17th, 2021


 “It is a nice household,” he murmured. “That is the baboon.” [SPEC]    It seems that Dr. Grimesby Roylott had a bit of a wild side. Killed a man in …

Walking Sticks & Canes

February 10th, 2021


“There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick.” [HOUN]  Walking sticks were once fashionable. They were just as necessary as a pair of gloves and a hat in a gentleman's daily attire in Victorian England.   …

Footwear in the Canon

February 3rd, 2021


“shoes, but no socks.” [PRIO]   Over the course of our first four seasons, we covered a wide variety of haberdashery: dressing gowns, clothes, disguises, and hats, to name a few. But we haven't covered anything related …

The Three Moriartys

January 27th, 2021


“I can tell a Moriarty when I see one.” [VALL]    Quick: in "The Final Problem," what is the name of Sherlock Holmes's arch-rival? Yes, we know it's …


January 20th, 2021

 “the great black-faced monkey of the Himalayan slopes,” [CREE]    It's only mentioned in passing, but the langur played an important role in "The …

The Three Professors

January 13th, 2021


“His life as been academic” [CREE]    Sherlock Holmes and academic affairs are, well, elementary. [Sorry] But have you considered those who hold …

Sherlock Holmes's Birthday

January 6th, 2021


 “you could not celebrate him without being known yourself.” [HOUN]   Every year, the Baker Street Irregulars meet in early January to celebrate …


December 30th, 2020


“As I expected, his reply was typewritten” [IDEN]    While handwriting was and is distinctive enough for a detective like Sherlock Holmes to draw …


December 23rd, 2020


“Have you ever had occasion to study character in handwriting?” [SIGN]    More than once, Sherlock Holmes used someone's handwriting to guide him …

The Care and Feeding of Sherlock Holmes

December 16th, 2020


“Holmes smiled and rubbed his hands” [WIST]    Sherlock Holmes enjoyed breakfast. But it was often interrupted. He had a variable knowledge of …

Smile When You Say That

December 9th, 2020


“Holmes smiled and rubbed his hands” [WIST]   Did Sherlock Holmes care about teeth? There's evidence that he cared about his own teeth, as seen …

The Setting of Cornwall

December 2nd, 2020


 “sinister atmosphere of forgotten nations,” [DEVI]  It's not quite a holiday for Sherlock Holmes in "The Devil's Foot," but rather a time away from …

The Location of 221B, Part 2

November 26th, 2020


  “I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street” [STUD]    In the first part of this two-episode series, we looked at the Baker Street area of Victorian London and the changes that it has seen in the century and a half …

The Location of 221B, Part 1

November 18th, 2020


 “we made our way back to Baker Street” [3GAR]    The address is legendary. Synonymous with its famous inhabitant, just as the deerstalker and …

Child Pscyhology

November 11th, 2020


 “Holmes, a child has done this horrid thing” [SIGN]    Many of us find our way to the Sherlock Holmes stories as children, yet there is a decided …

Spare No Expense

November 4th, 2020


 “I desire you to spare no expense and no pains” [WIST]    Sherlock Holmes had to go places, see people, investigate things. And doing so meant …

The Setting of Agra

October 28th, 2020


 “Yes, this is the great Agra” [SIGN]  It's where Jonathan Small met Mahomet Singh, Dost Akbar and Abdullah Khan and together they made a pact known …

The Victims

October 21st, 2020


 “You have been cruelly used” [SPEC]  We're at the end of our four-part series on Women in the Canon from The Best of the Sherlock Holmes Journal, …

Clothing in the Canon

October 14th, 2020


"we did not meet to talk about the cut of my socks" [3GAR]    When you think of attire in the Sherlock Holmes stories, the mind usually turns to …

The Dates in The Hound of the Baskervilles

October 7th, 2020


 "Have you the dates of those letters?" [HOUN] 

The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Sherlock Holmes's most famous cases. But what can we say …

The Brook Street Business

September 30th, 2020


"something further from Brook Street" [RESI]  When Percy Trevelyan went to open up his practice, he found that he had more in brains than he did in his pocketbook. Until a shrewd businessman came along and made a …

The Setting of Dartmoor

September 23rd, 2020


"forbear from crossing the moor in those dark hours" [HOUN]     One of the most iconic characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories is not a character …

Ladies of Title

September 16th, 2020


  "Title and money—who could carry them better than she?" [ABBE] 

  We've investigated which women were influential in their own right in the …

Palmer and Pritchard

September 9th, 2020


"Palmer and Pritchard were among the heads of their profession" [SPEC]   When he was facing off against Dr. Grimesby Roylott, Sherlock Holmes …

Sherlock Holmes and Philosophers

September 2nd, 2020


"Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero," [FIVE]  Sherlock Holmes called Professor Moriarty "a genius, a philosopher, and abstract …


August 26th, 2020


"once a clergyman, always a clergyman" [SOLI]    We see influences of religion here and there in the Sherlock Holmes stories. From Biblical …

The Working Girls

August 19th, 2020


"in the capacity of governess" [SIGN] 

Sherlock Holmes had a number of clients who were women, and in certain cases, they were gainfully employed. In …

My Old Friend Charlie Peace

August 12th, 2020


"My old friend Charlie Peace was a violin virtuoso" [ILLU]    No, Charlie Peace was not a colleague of Norman Neruda or Sarasate. He was a notorious …


August 5th, 2020


“I have made a small study of tattoo marks” [REDH]  Tattoos. A rare topic in the Sherlock Holmes story, yet they're key in helping Sherlock Holmes to …

Justice, Part 3: Comeuppance

July 29th, 2020


“there never was a man who deserved punishment more” [IDEN]  There are certain instances in the Sherlock Holmes stories where the villain is so foul, …

Watson's Patience

July 22nd, 2020


“This is unworthy of you, Holmes” [SIGN]  Sherlock Holmes wasn't an easy man to live with. Still, it's impressive that Watson didn't unload on him …

The Women of Influence

July 15th, 2020


“accomplished, a wonder woman in every way” [ILLU]   Each month, we look at a piece of Sherlockian or Holmesian scholarship that might be outside of …

Justice, Part 2: Disproportionate

July 8th, 2020


“I do not feel justified in doing it” [HOUN]    In the last episode, we talked about the uncertainty of justice at the conclusion of some stories. Did the perpetrators find justice raining down on them? In some cases, …

Justice, Part 1: Unresolved

July 1st, 2020


“It’s every man’s business to see justice done” [CROO]    Everyone likes a neat ending. The case is solved, the criminal is caught, and justice is …

Ships Ahoy

June 25th, 2020


“the writer was on board of a ship.” [FIVE]  We were inspired by two articles in the Baker Street Journal, some forty years apart. Each made a study …

The Historicity of Sherlock Holmes

June 17th, 2020

“an historical curiosity” [MUSG] 

It's the third week of the month, which means it's our regular feature in Season 4: Mr. Sherlock Holmes the …

The Eternal Triangle

June 10th, 2020


"I have never loved" [DEVI]

When you think of crimes in the Sherlock Holmes stories, many of them were crimes of passion. In a 1981 article in The …

I Must Confess

June 3rd, 2020

“Indeed, if I may make a full confession to you” [FINA]  

They say confession is good for the soul. It's also good for the detective story. Sherlock …


May 27th, 2020

“It may give him a sleepless night” [FIVE]  

Have you had trouble sleeping lately? You're not alone. There were plenty of people in the Sherlock …

Billy the Page

May 20th, 2020

“Billy advanced and drew away” [MAZA]  

We're used to reading about Mrs. Hudson ushering clients in and out, and providing various domestic services …

Friend or Foe?

May 14th, 2020

“we have got a foeman who is worthy of our steel” [HOUN]  

There are a handful of cases where Sherlock Holmes meets an opponent who is formidable and …

We Have Much to Hope From the Flowers

May 6th, 2020

“a highly sensational and flowery rendering” [SIXN]   

Flowers appear in a handful of spots in the Sherlock Holmes stories. More than the famous rose …

A Colonel of Truth

April 29th, 2020

“the Colonel’s manner has been just a trifle cavalier” [SILV]  

Having spent the last episode discussing the unusual setting and Holmes and Watson's …

Squiring Around

April 22nd, 2020

“the fellows are still at large” [REIG] 

In "The Reigate Squires," we find Sherlock Holmes ill and uprooted — staying in a country house — which, …

The Mystery of Watson's Second Wound

April 15th, 2020

“Your hand stole towards your own old wound” [CARD] 

Watson returns from Afghanistan, recovering from a wound in the shoulder and the aftereffects of …

Jumping to Conclusions

April 8th, 2020

“the best and only final clue” [3STU] 

In "The Adventure of the Three Students," Holmes has a litany of clues at his disposal. From balls of doughy …

Upbeat Moments in the Canon

April 1st, 2020

“my heart jumped so with joy” [STUD]   

We commonly see clients who come to Sherlock Holmes riddled with despair and grief. But if we look closely …

Loneliness and Isolation in the Canon

March 25th, 2020

“helped a little to fill up the gap of loneliness and isolation” [MAZA]   

There are many tragic figures in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and more …

Watson Was a Woman

March 18th, 2020

“Watson, the fair sex is your department” [SECO]  

There was a scandal in Sherlockian circles in the early 1940s. Author Rex Stout, BSI ("The …

Post-Reichenbach Arrangements

March 11th, 2020

“I made every disposition of my property before leaving England” [EMPT]  

After Holmes "died" at the Reichenbach Falls, wouldn't people have looked …

Infectious Diseases in the Canon

March 4th, 2020

“he contracted some loathsome disease” [YELL]  

Dr. Watson was a general practitioner, and one "with very limited experience and mediocre …

Shaky Foundations in The Norwood Builder

February 26th, 2020

“work which will cut deep at the very foundations” [GOLD] 

"The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" first appeared in print in 1903 as part of The …

Was Sherlock Holmes an American?

February 19th, 2020

“I saw the American stamp” [DANC] 

For all of his familiarity with American cities, American police forces, American language and attire, Sherlock …

Victorian Vegetarians

February 12th, 2020

“the City and Suburban Bank, the Vegetarian Restaurant” [REDH] 

We have plenty of instances of animal flesh on the side-board, whether it's a couple of brace of grouse, Henry Baker's Christmas goose, or a joint of beef.

Black History in the Canon

February 5th, 2020

“should not gossip about there being a black child in the neighborhood.” [YELL] 

Steve Dixie in "The Three Gables," Lucy Hebron in "The Yellow Face," …

The Final Mycroft Problem

January 29th, 2020

“I had only one confidant—my brother Mycroft.” [EMPT] 

Why did Mycroft put himself in harm's way for Sherlock Holmes when the latter faced his …

Army Coaches

January 22nd, 2020

“enormous sums of money” [SILV]  

Here's one of those things that lends itself to the title of this podcast. We were thinking about Professor Moriarty and his ignominious fall from grace. After he left the university …

The Date of the Sign of Four

January 15th, 2020

“As to your dates, that is the biggest mystification of all.” [CREE]  

With Season 4, we're starting a new monthly series that we're calling "Mr. …

British Food

January 8th, 2020

“cuisine is a little limited” [NAVA]  

We find a smattering of food references throughout the Sherlock Holmes stories. But which can be considered …


January 1st, 2020

“befogged in mind” [SIGN]  

Weather conditions not only play a part in the settings of the Sherlock Holmes stories, but in some cases, they determine …

Sherlock Holmes, Sportsman

December 25th, 2019

“I am a born sportsman” [LAST]  

In a lifetime crammed with high adventure, his brilliant achievements in crime detection obscured his remarkable skills as an athlete. He was an expert with singlestick and foil, a fine …

Bohemians and Sherlock Holmes

December 18th, 2019

“his whole Bohemian soul” [SCAN]  

The last in our series of episodes on international interactions with Sherlock Holmes brings us to the now-defunct …

Minus Watson, Part 2

December 11th, 2019

“I was alone.” [BLAN]  

Sherlock Holmes was occasionally without his Boswell. Watson was married at least twice – some scholars even claim there was …

Minus Watson, Part 1

December 4th, 2019

“the only selfish action which I can recall in our association” [BLAN]  

Sherlock Holmes was a loner. An independent consultant. An automaton. But he …


November 27th, 2019

“his strange headgear” [SPEC]  

Sherlock Holmes is synonymous with a certain type of hat. We don't need to mention the kind. You know what it is.

But …

Asians and Sherlock Holmes

November 20th, 2019

“from their East Indian colonies” [RESI]  

"Asian" isn't a term that pops up in the Sherlock Holmes canon. And yet we meet a handful of individuals …


November 13th, 2019

“Going for a swim, I see.” [LION]  

How many swimmers do we encounter in the Sherlock Holmes stories? Given that only one story is centered around an …

Weather or Not

November 6th, 2019

“you had been out in vile weather” [SCAN]  

Think about the number of times we come across inclement weather in the Sherlock Holmes stories. It's …

Aliases and Disguises

October 30th, 2019


"It is always awkward doing business with an alias." [BLUE]


Back in Episode 96, we chatted about the many disguises and other identities of …

Canadians and Sherlock Holmes

October 23rd, 2019

“this young stranger from Canada” [HOUN]  

Canadians are so polite. Why, Sir Henry barely complained of being killed by his family's legendary …

Classism in the Sherlock Holmes Stories

October 16th, 2019

“a very different level to your Majesty” [SCAN] 

"The Adventure of the Dancing Men" has a similar theme to that of "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor": a British gentleman and his flighty American bride with her …

Shooting and Hunting

October 9th, 2019

“excellent wild-duck shooting” [GLOR] 

When we think of English country estates, it's only natural to think of outdoor activities. In many cases this included the pastimes of hunting and shooting.

Where in the Sherlock …

Third Time's a Charm

October 2nd, 2019

“three times repeated” [FIVE] 

There's a familiar plot device that runs throughout a number of Sherlock Holmes stories. That number is three, but do …

Beards in the Sherlock Holmes Stories

September 25th, 2019


"he was bearded" [SIGN]


Well this is embarrassing. As we finished our editing and prepared to leave for a business trip, we realized one critical fact about this topic: we've already talked about it (in Episode 105).

Indians and Sherlock Holmes

September 18th, 2019

“he still made India too hot to hold him” [EMPT] 

India is a wonderful land. And it plays a part in a number of Sherlock Holmes stories. Certainly, …

En Garde! Singlestick

September 11th, 2019

“I'm a bit of a single-stick expert, as you know” [ILLU] 

In listing Sherlock Holmes's limits in A Study in Scarlet, Dr. Watson indicates that Holmes …

Music in the Canon, Part 2: Musicians, Instruments, and Venues

September 4th, 2019

“Let us escape from this weary workaday world by the side door of music.” [RETI]  

Sherlock Holmes took a great interest in musicians and concerts, …

Music in the Canon, Part 1: Composers and Their Works

August 28th, 2019

“a composer of no ordinary merit.” [REDH] 

From the very beginning of the Sherlock Holmes stories, we know that Sherlock Holmes plays the violin. …

Russians and Sherlock Holmes

August 21st, 2019


"a man might as well live in Russia" [VALL] 

The connections between Sherlock Holmes an Russia—in the Sherlock Holmes stories themselves, as …

Ahoy! Rowing, Boating and Yachting

August 14th, 2019

“He started in his little yacht” [BLAC] 

There are plenty of instances of maritime transportation in the Sherlock Holmes stories. But when it comes …

John Watson's Youth - Part 2

August 7th, 2019

“you were on the battlefield” [BLAN] 

In the last episode, Robert Katz, BSI began to take us through his theory of where Dr. Watson spent his early years. He used the facts given to us by Watson himself, combined with …

John Watson's Youth - Part 1

July 31st, 2019

“I travelled in my youth” [TWIS] 

We know little about Dr. Watson's life, aside from what he managed to tell us. Yes, he was in the Army's medical department. Yes, he was wounded. And he needed to find a flatmate to be …

South Americans and Sherlock Holmes

July 24th, 2019

“her people have been leaders in Pernambuco for generations” [3GAB]  

South America and its exotic tropical climate is about as far removed from the …

Boarding Houses

July 17th, 2019

“a boarding house that was recommended” [VALL]  

When traveling or settling into a city for a bit, Victorians had options. Hotels were commonplace, …


July 10th, 2019

“Come into the billiard-room and have a quiet cigar.” [GLOR]  

Rack 'em up! Our monthly discussion of games and sports turns to billiards.

While the game itself is mentioned once in a significant way, there are a number …

Why Thank You

July 3rd, 2019

“he sang your praises very loudly” [STOC]  

As early as A Study in Scarlet, we discover that Sherlock Holmes "was as sensitive to flattery on the …

Watson's Club

June 26th, 2019

“a member of an aristocratic club” [BERY]   

From golf clubs to gentlemen's clubs... 

Ask any Sherlockian to name a club in the Canon and they'll …

Americans and Sherlock Holmes

June 19th, 2019


"It is always a joy to meet an American." [NOBL] 

Americans have been avid fans of Sherlock Holmes since the earliest days. The novels were pirated …


June 12th, 2019

“'Fore God, Mr. Holmes, it’s all right,” [SHOS]  


Sherlock Holmes and golf don't necessarily go together. That is clearly represented by the few …

School's Out

June 5th, 2019

“Light-houses, my boy! Beacons of the future!” [COPP]  


We first hear of boarding-schools in "The Naval Treaty," in which Watson mentions his …

Where Was the Shadow?

May 29th, 2019

“the calculation now was a simple one” [MUSG]  

The questions in the Musgrave Ritual lead us to answers that are nearly as cryptic as the questions …

French and Sherlock Holmes

May 22nd, 2019

“an autograph letter of thanks from the French” [GOLD]  


France and England have always had a close relationship, if contentious at times. Is it any small wonder that we find plenty of French influences in the …

Odd Jobs

May 15th, 2019

“He could carve a bit and gild and frame, and do odd jobs.” [SIXN]  


There were scores of jobs mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes stories, but we …

You've Got a Deal

May 8th, 2019

“I would not have missed it for a good deal” [BERY]  


Eight episodes ago, we talked very specifically about a card game: whist. But we're aware …


May 1st, 2019

“less poisonous than one might expect” [BRUC]  


From the very first Sherlock Holmes story, we're introduced to poisons and their role in crime and …

Old Money

April 24th, 2019

“old coins, apparently” [MUSG]  


This is National Coin Week, according to the American Numismatic Association. What better week to consider old …

Sherlock Holmes and Australians

April 17th, 2019

“distinctly Australian” [BOSC]  


To readers of the Sherlock Holmes stories in the late Victorian era, Australia was an exotic and dangerous place. …

Tennis, Anyone?

April 10th, 2019

“two on the lawn” [CROO] 

Sherlock Holmes and tennis — they go together Well, we're here to tell you that while combining the great …

Fool Me Once

April 3rd, 2019

“we can't have tomfoolery of this kind” [FIVE]  


The beginning of April dependably brings April Fools' Day. And while there weren't outright …

Who Then, Is Porlock?

March 27th, 2019

“It is Porlock's writing” [VALL]  

The opening of The Valley of Fear introduced us to a mysterious individual: Porlock, who sent a cryptic note to …

Irish and Sherlock Holmes

March 20th, 2019

“The dancing Irish deviltry” [VALL]  

The Irish make scant appearances across the earlier Sherlock Holmes stories, but once we pass The Valley of …


March 13th, 2019

“the game was whist” [EMPT]  

We continue our monthly investigation into Games and Sports in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and in this case, we turn …


March 6th, 2019


“volumes of poetry” [ENGR] 

  When we think of poetry, it's a style of writing that transports us, particularly emotionally, to another plane of …

Villains: Grimesby Roylott

February 27th, 2019

“There has been some villainy here” [COPP]  

A look at some of the villains in the Sherlock Holmes stories, beginning with the first real heavy that …

Italians and Sherlock Holmes

February 20th, 2019

“Have we any Italians on the staff?” [SIXN] 

Italians seem to surround us in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Restaurants, music, artisans, and of course …


February 13th, 2019

“a straight left against a slogging ruffian” [SOLI] 

Sherlock Holmes, boxer? We don't often consider Sherlock Holmes for his boxing abilities, yet …


February 7th, 2019

“glancing at the governess” [WIST] 


They pop up here and there around the Canon quite infrequently. However, you can be sure that when a governess …

Brands in the Canon

January 30th, 2019

“Look at this advertisement” [STUD] 


For well over 100 years, Sherlock Holmes has been seen in advertisements around the world. The fact is: …

Germans and Sherlock Holmes

January 23rd, 2019

“Who were these German people” [ENGR] 

Sherlock Holmes had a number of encounters with German people. Who were they, and how did these interactions …

An Inspector Calls

January 16th, 2019

“the smartest of the Scotland Yarders” [SIGN] 


If you ask anyone familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories to name a Scotland Yard inspector, …

Board Games

January 9th, 2019

“to play games of that sort” [REIG] 


This marks the first in a semi-regular series on Trifles in which we spend time talking about sports and games …

Beards in the Canon

January 2nd, 2019

“the tall, black-bearded figure” [HOUN] 


We begin our third season with a discussion of facial hair in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Specifically, …

Sherlock Holmes's Dining Habits

December 26th, 2018

“he had invariably breakfasted and gone out before I rose” [STUD] 


The holidays typically bring a bounty of food, followed by solemn pledges to …

Unpublished Cases: A Very Commonplace Little Murder

December 19th, 2018

“if it turns red, it means a man's life” [NAVA] 


We often fixate on the famous cases like the Giant Rat of Sumatra, James Phillimore and his umbrella, or Wilson, the notorious canary trainer. But there are times when …

Inside 221B: On the Floor

December 12th, 2018

“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 …

You're So Hansom

December 5th, 2018

“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 …

Telephonically, My Dear Holmes

November 28th, 2018

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

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

Unpublished Cases: The Ferrers Documents

November 21st, 2018

“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 …

Inside 221B: The Gramophone

November 14th, 2018

“modern gramophones are a remarkable invention” [MAZA] 










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

Sherlock Holmes and Children

November 8th, 2018

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


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

Trick or Treat

October 31st, 2018

"Disguised, and under an assumed name" [STUD] 


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


October 24th, 2018

"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 …

Unpublished Cases: John Vincent Harden

October 17th, 2018

"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 …

Inside 221B: Have a Seat

October 10th, 2018

"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, …


October 3rd, 2018

"he could send some telegrams" [PRIO] 

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

How Insulting

September 26th, 2018

"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 …

Unpublished Cases: On the Continent

September 20th, 2018

"come on to the Continent with me" [FINA] 


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

Inside 221B: Stradivarius

September 13th, 2018

"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 …

Doctors in the Canon

September 5th, 2018

"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 …

The Good Doctor

August 29th, 2018

"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 …

Wine & Spirits

August 22nd, 2018

"any other spirit but rum" [BLAC]  


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

Unpublished Cases: The Sign of Four

August 16th, 2018

"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 …

Inside 221B: The Morocco Case

August 8th, 2018


"neat morocco case" [SIGN] 

We all know that Sherlock Holmes used drugs. "A seven-per-cent solution" of cocaine is what he recommended to Watson in …

Episode 83 - Smoke If You Got 'Em

August 1st, 2018

"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

"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

"before my biographer had come to glorify me." [MUSG] 


We've previously covered the tantalizing cases that Sherlock Holmes pulled out of his tin …

Episode 80 - Inside 221B: The Wax Bust

July 12th, 2018

"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


"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


"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


"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

"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

"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

"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


 "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


"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

"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

" 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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


"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


"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

"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


"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


"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

"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 …

Compounding a Felony

January 3rd, 2018

"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


"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

"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


"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

"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


"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

"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

"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


"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


"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


"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

"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

"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


"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


"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

"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


"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


"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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


"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


"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


"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

"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

"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

"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


"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

"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


"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


"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


"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 …

Mothers in the Canon

May 10th, 2017


"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


"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

"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


"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

"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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 …

John, James and Mary

February 15th, 2017


"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


"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


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


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


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 …

2 - Watson in the City

January 11th, 2017


The opening lines of A Study in Scarlet are rich with details about Dr. Watson's past. His medical degree, his army service, even his injury. He recalls how he came to London without knowing anyone in the city and …

1 - Optimism

January 4th, 2017


The new year usually brings resolutions and offers a new beginning. In our new podcast which begins in January 2017, we thought it was the ideal time …

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