Lynx-Eyed Historian of Science
The Works of Porlock
Porlock was the Canonical name of Stillman Drake, given him when he was
made free of The Scowrers, which is the organization devoted to the
study of the Sherlock Holmes canon in San Francisco.
In his spare
time, when not working at his day job in municipal finance at the
investment banking firm of Blyth & Co.1, Porlock composed a
few essays on Sherlockian subjects. He also found time to write some
other papers, which made possible his mid-life career change: taking a
professorship at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of
Science and Technology at the University of Toronto.
Some of the latter papers are available in book form.2
But the works of Porlock have not been widely circulated, although one
of them, "The Camberwell Poisoning Case", is to be found in West
by One and by One, privately printed in 1965 by the Scowrers and the
Trained Cormorants of Los Angeles.
Here, collected for the first time, are all four of the known works of
How did Holmes manage make musical sounds on his fiddle when it was on
his knees? Just how much did he know of Orlando di Lasso (alias
Lassus)? What would
he have thought of the modern Authentic Performance Movement(tm)?
It's all very well to wind up a dead man's watch, but just how many
additional assumptions do you need to make in order to prove that he
went to bed within two hours past? And who was the victim whose demise
in Camberwell was investigated so promptly by Sherlock Holmes of Baker
This, the most lightweight of the pieces, describes a little-known
incident associated with the terrible happenings at Birlstone Manor.
At the same time it gives a full account of one of Holmes's most famous
Dark waters indeed, Watson!
1 Later merged into Blyth, Eastman
2 Essays on Galileo and the History of Science,
ed. N. M. Swerdlow & T. H. Levere, 3 vols., University of Toronto
3 Later merged into Paine Webber.4
4 Currently part of UBSPaineWebber.
Date last modified: June 22, 2001.
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