Sixty flights of seventeen steps

Sherlockians have been finding places on the internet to discuss Sherlock Holmes almost since there as been an internet. And in 1992, when e-mail listservers were a prime method to connect, HOUNDS-L, a.k.a. the Hounds of the Internet, started connecting some fine Sherlockian minds for all manner of discussion. One of the regular topics of discussion on HOUNDS-L was the story of the week, a sixty-week journey through the Sherlockian Canon led by a volunteer who would post an introduction and some questions about the story to prime the pump.

Most of these story introductions can be found at, and you can find what discussion leaders from Randy Cox to Steve Clarkson posted all through the 1990s. You can also find "The View Halloa," where Rosemary Michaud picked up the mantle in the early 2000s. What you won't find among those others on was the discussion starters from the Hounds discussion leader from September 2000 to October 2001.

The reason for this was that after the discussion leader of that period ambitiously tried to come up with seventeen discussion questions for each of the sixty Sherlock Holmes cases, the volume of questions produced was enough to inspire a Sherlockian publisher to inquire about publishing them in a book. Shortly after that inquiry, the organizer of so much of the Hounds material also inquired about adding them to those of the other discussion leaders, but was told "no" due to the book prospect, which then never came to pass.

The questions then wound up on the now-gone "" website for most of the 2000s, and have seen use by scion societies like the Crew of the Barque Lone Star, which has spurred putting them out on the internet one more time.

So here they are yet again. Remember, they were written in the years 2000-2001, so forgive any dated attitudes, errors, etc. that might show up in them. The world has changed a lot in the ensuing seventeen years. (Hmm. Seventeen steps, seventeen years . . . appropriate!)

Brad Keefauver
Sunday, May 13, 2018

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