Canadian Sherlockians Mike Ranieri and Geordie Telfer set up the I Grok Sherlock podcast ‘To have conversations with other Sherlockians who share our sense of humour and sensibility toward not only the TV shows, games, tie-in products, but also the canon stories themselves.’
Their canonical knowledge and insight is very impressive, but it’s their humour and the fluid way they meander from one topic to something totally different that makes the podcasts a joy to listen too. The latest one begins by focusing on The Five Orange Pips but dives off into a discussion about Conan Doyle and his attitudes toward race. This is where they refer to my blog on the same topic and say some jolly nice things about my writing.
I love the extra detail these guys add at every possible turn, from the history of the KKK to research into unbreakable bicycle tyres (the invention which gave the Openshaw family their wealth in The Five Orange Pips.) They are also very good at picking up on the key points of the canonical stories. In talking about The Pips they highlight Doyle’s beautiful description of the storm battering London, how it is one of those intense storms which ‘Shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilisation like untamed beasts in a cage.’ There is also much talk of the unpublished stories alluded to in The Pips and how they have inspired countless pastiche, and of course, they mention that crucial line in which Holmes admits to having no friends except Watson.
The section on race is very interesting. They grapple with trying to understand the opinions of the age and how they would have influenced Doyle’s writing, separating Doyle’s opinions from those being expressed by his characters and how his actions in real life contrasted with some of the notions conveyed in the canon. I do recommend having a listen. The knowledge, humour and detail squashed into each podcast is pretty impressive – and I’ll never look at a bicycle tyre in quite the same way again!