Monday, May 5, 2014

"Dear Mr. Holmes"

"By the way, even if you aren't alive, let us know . . ."
What's a fictional detective to do about real-life problems?
Nobody at the Abbey National remembers when the first Holmes letters began turning up or who decided that they should be answered. And when Mrs. Nicholson was hired several years ago to write the firm's staff magazine and press handouts, nobody told her that she'd also be working for Sherlock Holmes.
"That was just dropped on me," she recalls. "I'd only read a few of the stories, and I didn't know any more about him than anybody else. But since I started answering his mail I've read about forty of the sixty or so Conan Doyle stories and all the books other people have written about him." — David Lampe, "Dear Mr. Holmes," THE SATURDAY REVIEW (January 6, 1973)
The address 221B was the subject of a protracted dispute between the museum and the nearby Abbey National building. Since the 1930s, the Royal Mail had been delivering mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes to the Abbey National Bank, and they had employed a special secretary to deal with such correspondence. The museum went through several appeals for such mail to be delivered to it, on the grounds that it was the most appropriate organisation to respond to the mail, rather than the bank whose primary business was to lend money out on interest. Although these initiatives were all unsuccessful, the issue was finally resolved in 2002 when the Abbey National vacated its headquarters after seventy years, and the mail is currently delivered to the museum. — Wikipedia ("Sherlock Holmes Museum")
Category: Detective fiction

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