Sunday, January 4, 2015

Crossover of the Week

May 26, 1903
            Sherlock Holmes comes to his friend Langdale Pike seeking help on a case. Mentioned are: Sir Harry Flashman; Miss Irene Adler; Enoch Soames; James Moriarty; Dr. John H. Watson; A.J. Raffles; the Diogenes; Isadora Klein (aka Lady Lomond); His Royal Highness Prince Florizel of Bohemia; Clarence, Lord Emsworth; Professor G.E. Challenger; the Doctors Nikola and Thorndyke; Mr. Oswald Bastable; Frederick, Lord Ickenham; Mr. A.V. Laider; Mr. Joseph Jorkens; the Darling children; Karswell; “that so-called ghost ship at Whitby”; Graustark; Ruritania; Van Dusen; an officious young waiter who is trying to better himself by reading Spinoza and memorizing Shakespeare and aspires to be a gentleman’s gentleman, and whose name starts with a J; Strether; Little Bilham; Isadora Klein; Spencer John; Grimpen Mire; Hewitt; young Wimsey; the Great Old Ones; and Miskatonic University.
            Short story by Michael Dirda in On Conan Doyle; or, The Whole Art of Storytelling, Princeton University Press, 2012. Langdale Pike, Isadora Klein, and Spencer John are from Doyle and Watson’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Three Gables.” This story depicts Holmes’ consultation with Pike on that case, which was only alluded to in the original tale. Irene Adler is from the Holmes story “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Professor James Moriarty is Holmes’ greatest foe. One member of the Diogenes Club is Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft. Grimpen Mire is from the Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. Professor George Edward Challenger appears in The Lost World and other works by Doyle. Sir Harry Flashman is the antihero of a series of novels by George MacDonald Fraser. Enoch Soames and A.V. Laider are the respective title characters of two stories by Max Beerbohm, both of which are included in the collection Seven Men. A.J. Raffles is E.W. Hornung’s gentleman thief. Prince Florizel of Bohemia is from Robert Louis Stevenson’s books New Arabian Nights and The Dynamiter. Clarence, Lord Emsworth is from P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle novels. Frederick, Lord Ickenham is better known as Uncle Fred, and is the subject of another series by Wodehouse. The officious young waiter is Wodehouse’s Reginald Jeeves, future valet to Bertie Wooster. Dr. Antonio Nikola is a master criminal created by Guy Boothby, while Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke is a detective created by R. Austin Freeman. Oswald Bastable is from Edith Nesbit’s books The Story of the Treasure Seekers, The Wouldbegoods, and The New Treasure Seekers. Joseph Jorkens is an explorer and raconteur created by Lord Dunsany. The Darling children are from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Karswell is from M.R. James’ story “Casting the Runes.” The “so-called ghost ship at Whitby” is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Graustark is a European monarchy appearing in novels by George Barr McCutcheon. The kingdom of Ruritania is from Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau. Van Dusen is Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, aka “the Thinking Machine,” a sleuth created by Jacques Futrelle. Lambert Strether and Little Bilham are from Henry James’ novel The Ambassadors. Private detective Martin Hewitt appeared in stories by Arthur Morrison. Young Wimsey is Dorothy L. Sayers’ future sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. The Great Old Ones and Miskatonic University are from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.


  1. Can it be that the Bastable mentioned is the time traveler from Moorcocks books?

  2. Based on the context, I'm pretty sure it's meant to be Nesbit's version of the character and not Moorcock's. Rick Lai is quoted on the subject of the two Oswald Bastables in Crossovers Vol. 1.

  3. I think one can even argue that Moorcock's Bastable is an AU counterpoint.

    Michael Dirda is my favorite critic. He seems to really love books. Most critics seem to love only displaying their wit in mocking books.