Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published January 30th 2013
The greatest detective who never lived
Sir Arthur wasn't as big a fan of Sherlock Holmes as many of his readers were. "His name makes me feel as I do when I hear the words pate de foie gras, of which I once ate too much so the name of it makes me ill to this day.'
When he wrote the final words of the short story The Final Problem in which Holmes supposedly goes over the Reichenbach Falls and dies, he flung his pen across the room shouting 'That's done for him'..
But it's not that easy to kill a myth and pressure was brought to bear by readers and publishers alike and Conan Doyle was persuaded to bring him back, although as someone remarked: "he may not have died once he went over the Falls, but somehow he was never the same man again.
The first Sherlock Holmes Society was founded in 1934, followed by many, many others.
In 1982 there was only one member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London living in Western Australia and when the President of the London Society, Charles Scofield QC (83 at the time), visited they had lunch together.
Douglas bemoaned the fact that there was no local Society and Charles said gently; 'Don't complain, dear boy, start one.'
And so he did - a small notice in Kirwan Ward's column in the Daily News was followed by a group of about six meeting and the Sherlock Holmes Society of WA was born on the 6th of January, 1983.
Over the 30 years that have followed the society has grown and spread its interests. They 'celebrate the immortal memory of the greatest detective that ever lived', generally by having a damn good time - croquet, readings, talks, costume events, quizzes, lunches and dinners and the occasional ball.
The Society meets monthly and membership is open to all that profess admiration for the Consulting Detective. The conceit of this, and all societies is that Holmes really lived and the stories are, in essence, true and once that is accepted a lot of fun can be had in a genteel, literary way.
Founding members of the SHSWA
The Buttons-cum-Commissionaire (President) is currently Damian Magee and the Patron (and founding president) is Douglas Sutherland-Bruce. Anyone interested in membership or just wanting to see what's going on can visit the website or Facebook page.