Holmes is where the Heart is

BandA Sidney Paget illustration for The Speckled Band

Sherlock Holmes Society of India in its 12th year will launch its first ever e-zine.

It is very hard to place how and when the phrase, "It's elementary, my dear Watson," found its way into popular culture and everyday vocabulary. It may be because of the number of novels, thesis, movies and sitcoms dedicated to the fictional "consulting detective" created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or the enigma of the character himself. But one can be sure that the dual-brimmed, checkered hat along with the long smoking pipe signify only one thing the game is afoot.

Sherlock Holmes' adventures take him all across the world, from France to Switzerland and Tibet. But what about his Indian connection? The Sherlock Holmes Society of India (SHSI) is dedicated to finding about and discussing the connection that Sherlock Holmes and author Doyle shared with our country.

Sumal Surendranath, who founded the group on Yahoo! Groups in 2001, says it is one of the only groups in Asia that interacts almost on a daily basis. A hardcore Sherlock Holmes fan from Kerala, Surendranath is with the Indian Coast Guard. "I was 12 years old, when I first read a Sherlock Holmes story. Since then, I have been in love with the character and his world," he says. Holmes' personal life, whatever little Doyle wrote about it, has been the centre of many discussions and arguments on the group. His habits of keeping cigars in the coal-scuttle, tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper and his fixing unanswered correspondence by a jack-knife into the centre of his mantelpiece, have also intrigued the members. The society, which also has a Facebook page, now has close to 200 members from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Goa, among others. And it is a motley mix to say the least with a particle physicist, lawyers, Indian coast guards and even published authors such as Tim Symonds, Partha Basu and Pinaki Roy, who has a PhD on the subject.

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