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The View from the East End (12)

By Inspector Hopkins

May 8, 2005

The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes

Out here in the East End, the Scion Society that I am proud to call my "home scion" is known as "The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes", and is moderated by BSI member Dr. Robert S. Katz, who also earned the BSI’s esteemed "Two Shilling Award". We meet on a Saturday night, every three months, approximately at the start of each of the four Seasons.

Our meeting place is in a Quaker Church building in Chatham, New Jersey, and attracts the crowd from North Jersey and New York City. At any given meeting, there are approximately 25-35 people in attendance. We start off with a bit of socializing, and then have an informal dinner hosted and overseen by assistant moderator Peter McIntyre. Peter is somewhat of an amateur chef and has provided us with several homemade dishes and delicious homemade ice cream! Oftentimes, other members bring and contribute a dessert. I well remember the "Blue Carbuncle" cake presented at our last Christmas season meeting . . . it had blue sugar "Jewels" embedded in the "Snow" white frosting!

BSI members Ben and Sue Visoskie frequently have Sherlockian memorabilia available for sale. They set up their wares on a table in the back of the dining area, similar to a "vendors table" at a Sherlockian symposium. Cards, books, jewelry, and other items are offered at very reasonable prices.

After our dinner, we file into the Quaker meeting room, (which has very good acoustic properties), and we discuss two stories from the Canon, with a brief break in between each one. When Paul Churchill attends a meeting, he of course brings the appropriate Evidence Boxes related to the stories, and the members usually examine these items during this break. The Church building is located in a suburban area which is quite rural and attractive, and is in fact surrounded by many trees, visible through all the windows. Once you are on the grounds or inside the building, it is difficult to remember that you are within only a few miles of one of the most heavily urbanized areas on earth.

Bob Katz seats himself in the midst of the group, and proposes a number of questions, encouraging each of us to take turns relating the plot of each story and expressing our views. An in-depth discussion of each story follows, and I am always glad to hear some view or opinion of the stories that I never would have thought of by myself! The conclusion of our discussions focuses on how the two stories are related to each other. This has always been a most interesting conclusion, and our three-hour-long meeting seems to be over before we realize it!This group was founded in 1990 by Bob Katz and has been attended faithfully ever since. He is a prolific speaker and writer, and has submitted numerous articles to The Baker Street Journal. Based upon his own experiences as a medical doctor, his writings and talks often focus on Dr. Watson and his medical skills in the Canon. Other Sherlockian scholars and BSI members who have also published in The Baker Street Journal are part of our group, and I am pleased to report that it is an honour to be a witness to their thoughtful, and often humorous, analyses.

But no matter what level of Sherlockian knowledge a follower may possess - whether beginner or expert - all are easily made to feel welcome by Dr. Katz and Peter McIntyre, as well as everyone else in the group!

For the unusually modest price of attendance (typically $6-$10), the camaraderie, the in-depth analysis, the food, and the fellowship, this Scion Society is going to be very tough to beat out here in the East End.

This group will be looking forward to celebrating their 15th Anniversary this coming September, and I know that it will be a very special time for all of us.

Unless you are used to the frenetic pace of our North New Jersey traffic and the joys of our Garden State Parkway, a newcomer might find him-or-herself somewhat intimidated by the path needed to be taken to attend this Scion. It will be well worth the effort, however, and should not be any reason to avoid it! Since we do not have a website at present, feel free to e-mail me for more specifics, and/or for directions:

Until next time, when we will discuss more Scion Societies, I am indeed,

Yours faithfully,