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The Real James Phillimore

This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Le Chat Noir Le Chat Noir 4 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #755
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    Montmorency
    Participant

    Does anyone have any ideas on this?
    The titillating reference in “Thor Bridge” to the strange disappearance of James Phillimore is similar to many cases of real life, which has been pointed out by some articles in the Baker Street Journal, but ACD himself claimed, first in his article “Some Personalia about Mr Sherlock Holmes” and later in “Memoirs and Adventures” that the reference was based on a specific case. This is how he puts it in the article:
    “The unusual or dramatic effects which lead to the invocation of Mr. Holmes in fiction are, of course, great aids to him in reaching a conclusion. It is the case where there is nothing to get hold of which is the deadly one. I heard of such a one in America which would certainly have presented a formidable problem. A gentleman of blameless life, starting off for a Sunday evening walk with his family, suddenly observed that he had forgotten his stick. He went back into the house, the door of which was still open, and he left his people waiting for him outside. He never re-appeared, and from that day to this there has been no clue as to what befell him. This was certainly one of the strangest cases of which I have ever heard in real life.”
    But is there an actual case like this? The article is from 1917, so it would have occurred prior to that. Walter Klinefelter, in his book “Ex Libris A Conan Doyle”, says that this “had happened in America where Doyle heard of it while on one of his lecture tours. Although requested to apply the methods of Sherlock Holmes, he refused.” What case is this? Does anybody have any clue??

  • #756
    ScarletSherlock
    ScarletSherlock
    Moderator

    Wow I’m going to have to do some research on this. THat is both fascinating and frightening! Disappearances like this have always held my interest even as they scare me. Stuff like Roanoke used to keep me up at night. Definitely looking into this book!

    "My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know." BLUE

  • #765
    Le Chat Noir
    Le Chat Noir
    Moderator

    I’m with ScarletSherlock: The research gauntlet has been thrown! I’m thoroughly intrigued, and I have some time today, so I feel that some internet sleuthing is in order. I hope my Web-fu skills are up to the challenge.

    EDIT: Okay, I found something that could lead to another something, maybe. I found an old book review from 1978 (I think), where they discuss “Among the Missing: An Anecdotal History of Missing Persons from 1800 to The Present,” by J. Robert Nash. My library doesn’t have it, but maybe our resident librarian could see if it was available at her institution? 😀

    I’m going to keep looking of course, but I thought that might be an interesting resource if no one’s considered it yet.

    “Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here.”

  • #768
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    Montmorency
    Participant

    Sounds great! I am really looking forward to what you will find out there. Seems like there must be something, the only question is if it is a needle in a haystack or not.

    • #769
      Le Chat Noir
      Le Chat Noir
      Moderator

      Well, it might be a little needle-in-haystack-y, but that’s what’s fun! If ScarletSherlock doesn’t have immediate access to the book, I can talk to the librarians at my institution and see what they can do for me.

      As for what I did: I went to ProQuest and plugged in a few keywords, and then limited it to archived newspaper articles. I came up with a few interesting cases, but nothing that seemed like they would have piqued ACD’s interest. I did find a great little article from for the early 1900s about a man who went missing and the “colored clairvoyant” who was trying to find him, though. I was relatively intrigued.

      “Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here.”

  • #773
    ScarletSherlock
    ScarletSherlock
    Moderator

    Aww yeah, I just requested it!! via Interlibrary Loan

    "My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know." BLUE

    • #775
      Le Chat Noir
      Le Chat Noir
      Moderator

      Go girl! Do you have any researching tips? Keywords to use? Specific databases to search?

      “Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here.”

  • #776
    ScarletSherlock
    ScarletSherlock
    Moderator

    Well, it was really easy for me. I just put in the book title & it came right up. If you’re looking for both the book and the review a librarian should be able to use Ebscohost or JSTOR especially, to find them for you.

    "My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know." BLUE

    • #777
      Le Chat Noir
      Le Chat Noir
      Moderator

      Sorry, I didn’t contextualize my questions. I meant in terms of searching for the missing American who might have inspired ACD. I have a copy of the goofy book review if you’d like to see it!

      “Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here.”

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