Archive for the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Category

Interview re Sherlock Holmes

October 7, 2017

This is an interview I did (in English) for an  from an Austrian radio program.

Mr Holmes is celebrated everywhere!

The Science Behind the Sherlock Holmes’ Novels

The famous detective novel series with Sherlock Holmes as the main investigator is 125 years old. FM4’s Reality Check asks: What have the novels done for a scientific approach to crime solving and forensics?

By Steve Crilley

Arthur Conan Doyle created the detective in 1887 while living on the south coast of England and working as a doctor. He turned to writing due to low patient numbers in his surgery. Through books, films and now the latest BBC television series, staring Benedict Cumberbath, the famous detective still fascinates audiences in 2017.

Here is our Reality Check Special, In the Shadow of Sherlock” as heard on Saturday 7th October at 12 midday, where we took a plunge into the world of the infamous gentleman detective who (in fiction) lived at 221B Baker Street, London.

Hear an interview with E. J. Wagner, click on
12:14 The Science of Sherlock Holmes  here.

As part of our celebration of 125 years of Sherlock Holmes stories, I spoke with crime-historian and storyteller E. J. Wagner, author of a book of scientific entertainment entitled The Science of Sherlock Holmes

Steve Crilley: E.J., can you take us back to the 1880s, Victorian London. Forensics was in its infancy and I guess the London police didn’t have much time for clever science, when there were murderers out there to catch?

E. J. Wagner: Well, that’s absolutely true. In fact, there was no scientific approach to crime solving in those days at all. What we think of now as forensic science grew out of a field known as medical jurisprudence. It was sort of a footnote to gynaecology. The first cases, that were examined were stillbirths and obstetricians were very concerned about whether or not the child did or did not breathe when they were born. Was there a possibility that a case was infanticide? And it was out of examining these foetuses, that we began to take notes on what happens to a body which doesn’t function and which is dead. The other big input was dissection of criminals, where bodies of the executed were examined and given over to the scientific community to study. So it was out of these dual professions obstetrics and executioners that the idea of dissection to determine the cause of death first came about.

In the 1880s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle studied medicine at university in Edinburgh. I guess this was a time, when bodies were been dissected and discussed in classes – without much regard for medical ethics and how the bodies ended up in a medical class in the first place.

Well there had been an anatomy act which allowed bodies to be given over if they had been executed criminals. Previously there had been an enormous scandal about bodies being stolen from graves and handed over to medical students. There was a great deal of revulsion from the community towards this. Asa a result, there was an Anatomy Act where there was a legal method of donating bodies or having bodies given by the state over to medical practitioners.

Johnny Bliss /Sherloqd
johnny_sherlockd.5664303FM4 Reporter Johnny Bliss (left) went to a Sherlock Holmes experience Sherlocked – the Escape Game“ in Vienna’s 14th district.

One of the gifts of Sherlock Holmes was to say to the world of the day: superstition plays little part in a gruesome crime. Forget vampires – a person really did it!

Well, that was Sherlock Holmes’s position absolutely! He said “We have no time for vampires here”. And he believed in an absolutely objective scientific approach. He kept on talking about his method. But what his method really was, was a combination of careful observation, and the application of what we now know as the scientific method: you observe certain facts and from them you draw a hypothesis. Then, if you can prove that hypothesis a number of times, now you have a theory. Now, a theory in science is not just some stray idea that flicked through your brain. A theory has got a lot of science behind it. The thing is, you must almost always need to be ready to change your mind as new facts become available. It’s a flexible thing!

What is your favourite example of how Holmes solved case through his use of forensics?

I think one of my favourites is the Hound of the Baskervilles, because he was really taking a piece of folklore, which is very evocative; the moors and the sounds and the glooming darkness. And he simply applies logic to the case and says: It is not possible. So, if it is not possible, once you have removed what is not possible, whatever remains must be the truth.

“A Leg to Stand On; the Law and the Sign of Four”

August 10, 2017

Michael B. Miller, member of the Norwegian Explorers Scion in Minnesota, and frequent perpetrator of Groaner Quizzes, made adroit use of a Sherlockian reference in his role as  Sr Assistant Hennepin County Attorney.

MIke Miller_1a7e   Photo by Jean Upton

Brief

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA

HENNEPIN COUNTY defendants’ REPLY BRIEF

Civil No. 06-4953 JNE/SRN

Baribeau; Jamie Jones; Kate Kibby,

on Jessicaher own behalf and as guardian for

her minor brother Kyle Kibby; Raphi Rechitsky;

Jake Sternberg; and Christian Utne,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

City of Minneapolis, Inspector Jane Harteau,

Sgt. Tim Hoeppner, Sgt. E.T. Nelson,

Sgt. John Billington, Sgt. D. Pommerenke,

Sgt. Erica Christensen, Officer Tim Merkel,

Officer Roderic Weber, Officer Sherry Appledorn,

Officer Jeanine Brudenell, Officer Robert Greer,

Officer Jane Roe (whose true name is unknown),

officer John Doe (whose true name is unknown,

and

County of Hennepin, Sean Kennedy,

Becky Novotny, Sam Smith (whose true name

is unknown, and Officer Mary Jones (whose true name is unknown,

Defendants.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Jake Sternberg (Sternberg)¹ has filed and served a memorandum in opposition to the Hennepin County defendants’ summary judgment motion.  Essentially, Sternberg attempts to create one or more issues of material fact and to rebut the legal defenses asserted by these defendants.

Plaintiff’s memorandum does neither.  The factual disputes he raises do not rise to the level of materiality; he fails to make a prima facie case on any of the claims pleaded in the complaint; and he fails to provide the legal analysis necessary to rebut the affirmative defenses raised by defendant.  (more…)

“Science of Sherlock Holmes”new updated edition!

February 21, 2017

Fall River Press  has published a new,updated edition with new chapter  of “The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective’s Greatest Cases… by E.J. Wagner
Average rating 4.5

B&N Cover.jpg

available at Barnes and Noble

This new, updated edition of the Edgar® Award-winning The Science of Sherlock Holmes is as fascinating and eye-opening as any Holmes mystery.  

IT CONTAINS  NEW CHAPTER ,  ” THE  EXCESSIVELY EXPRESSIVE CORPSE IN THE CANON “
“Fascinating.” –The Christian Science Monitor
“A double triumph…masterful.” –The Toronto Star
“Utterly compelling.”–Otto Penzler
Take a wild ride by hansom cab along the road paved by Sherlock Holmes—a ride that leads you through medicine, law, pathology, toxicology, anatomy, blood chemistry, and the emergence of forensic science during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Author E.J. Wagner delves into gripping real-life mysteries such as:

How Jack the Ripper’s brutal 1888 murders could have been solved, if detectives had followed the example of the Holmes mystery A Study in Scarlet, published the year before.

How a clever detective proved the butler did it.

Dr. Watson - registered as Wagners' The Game's Afoot - photo by W.R.Wagner

Dr. Watson – registered as Wagners’ The Game’s Afoot – photo by W.R.Wagner

How early forensic science failed in the Lizzie Borden Case

How  Black Dog  ghost tales   are linked to haunting murder case
In examining the Great Detective’s remarkable adventures—along with gripping real-life mysteries such as the disappearance of Dr. George Parkman, wife-killer Kenneth Barlow, Jack the Ripper, and Lizzie Borden—Wagner gives readers a new perspective on both Holmes and modern-day forensic detection.

ISBN-13:
9781435163980
Publisher:
Fall River Press
Publication date:
02/03/2017
Pages:
264

Meet the Author

E.J. Wagner is a crime historian, lecturer, teller of suspense stories for adults, and moderator of the annual Forensic Forum at Stony Brook University’s Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences. Her work has been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, the New York Times,  the Lancet, Smithsonian, among others. E.J’s website is http://www.ejwagnercrimehistorian.com

“The Science of Sherlock Holmes” new edition

August 6, 2016

Sterling Publishing, owned by Barnes and Nobel, will bring out new hardcover edition of my book “Science of Sherlock Holmes” in January 2017.

I’m looking forward to seeing it !

For Sherlock Fans “The Sign of Thor”

August 2, 2016

The Client

The Chief Advisor smiled somewhat sardonically at the Client on the opposite side of the desk.

 

“ I see you’ve been energetically following our advice, and are having astounding success”

 

“It’s been huge- HUGE I’m booming- just booming ” responded the Client. “I’ve won a majority of delegates in sixty states. It’s unprecedented!”

 

“Actually ,” murmured the CA-“ you might recall there are only fifty states,”

 

“ Minor detail,” replied the Client. “ If I got hung up on every tiny minor detail crowds wouldn’t rush to my rallies. They wouldn’t call me the Gold King. I wouldn’t be huge. Which I am.”

 

“ Understood-but I suggest that a slightly more measured tone might be helpful at this stage- a bit more statesmanlike… not calling your opponent “ Flatulent Fibbin’ Freddy” for instance.. or referring to orphans as “Losers” ”

 

“ My opponent, that sleaze, whose wife looks like a potato, viciously attacked me . He  said my public charities are a screen to cover my private iniquities”

 

“ Isn’t that true?”

 

“So what-how else could I get elected?

All my life I’ve been a man that reached out his hand for what he wanted. I can make or break-and it is usually break. I’m large –huge beyond the belief of an ordinary man.

Business is a hard game-and the weak go to the wall. I understand business-that’s why I’m huge in politics. Really huge.

I’m number one in over one hundred and twenty polls-even in Saudi Arabia and parts of Croatia wherever that is . That’s because I do it my way.

 

I’ll see you next week,” said the Client, and he marched out of the office, slamming the door behind him.

 

The sign on the door read

Moriarty, Moran, Milverton & Sons

Political Advisors since 1895

 EJ Wagner

(A version of this piece appeared in spring 2016 edition of  “Prescott’s Press”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes/Forensic Science video

October 16, 2015

Here’s a link to a video q&a about Sherlock Holmes and forensic science I did for for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science . My little Havanese Wiggins even managed am appearance !

” Sherlock Holmes: The International Exhibition” is to open there on October 23.

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Prose N Cons Mystery Magazine reports on EJ Wagner-How neat

October 4, 2015

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Mystery & True Crime • News, Features & Interviews

E.J. Wagner:
One Year Later This Sherlock Holmes Expert & Forensics Historian
Is as Busy as Ever
Most writers would give their finest pen to be in the kind of demand enjoyed by author and crime historian E.J. Wagner. Her seminal work, The Science of Sherlock Holmes, published in 2006, remains in Amazon’s top 100 “history and criticism – mystery and detective” list. And just when you think there’s nothing else she can possibly conquer, she’s asked by the organizers of the International Sherlock Holmes Exhibit to serve as an expert in forensic history. We caught up with Wagner to get the full rundown on everything she’s done over the past twelve months. Here’s her own recap:

Working backwards… I [recently] returned from the UK, where I presented the 1849 Parkman Webster Murder at Harvard case at University College London. [Before that] I presented Tales From the Dead House about the history of medical investigation at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City.
I’ve consulted on and written for several television productions, including How Sherlock Changed the World for PBS, Storyline’s The Real Sherlock Holmes, [and] Investigation Discovery about the 1930’s Anna Antonio case, and a few more not yet released.
I’ve written several pieces for Mystery Readers Journal, some of which are available on my blog (including Murder Between the Lines) and contributed a chapter called “The Excessively Expressive Corpse” for the forthcoming book Nerve and Knowledge: Medicine and the Sherlockian Canon. That will be published by the BSI Press and available by January 2016.
The [Spring 2015] issue of Canadian Holmes has an article of mine called “The Man Who Ignored Sherlock Holmes” about Hans Gross, the 19th century criminologist.
Sherlock Holmes: the International Exhibition, for which I served as expert in forensic history, is set to open in Seattle on October 13th and Denver on October 23rd. It’s already had successful runs in Oregon, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and California.
At present I’m at work on a a new travelling museum project, a number of short stories, and what I’ve come to think of as my chronic historical novel about murder in Salem.

Congratulations, E.J., on all of your successes – even if you do make the rest of us feel a bit like underachievers! Prose ‘n Cons will keep readers updated on the publication and availability of Nerve and Knowledge: Medicine and the Sherlockian Canon as more details are received. PnC
© October 2015 Prose ‘n Cons™ Mystery & True Crime News
© Hoover’s Prose ‘n Cons – All Rights Reserved

Prose ‘n Cons™ had the pleasure of interviewing renowned Sherlock Holmes expert E.J. Wagner back in October 2014. A year later, we find her even busier than she was then.

From writing for TV, to consulting on the International Sherlock Holmes Exhibit, to contributing a chapter to a forthcoming book from the Baker Street Irregulars Press, her calendar is always full – and her readers and fans are the beneficiaries.
Sponsored Content:

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E. J. Wagner, author of The Science of Sherlock Holmes (Edgar® award)
Web site: http://www.ejwagnercrimehistorian.com
Blog: https://ejdissectingroom.wordpress.com

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Sherlockian Matters: Toasting Trevor Bennet

August 14, 2015

A version of this appeared in latest issue of Prescott’s Press

Toast to Trevor Bennett EJ Wagner

I rise to pay tribute to Trevor Bennett- an excellent young man whose sacrifices in the interests of both science and family values have rarely been adequately appreciated.

At the end of The Adventure of the Creeping Man, Professor Presbury lies wounded and unconscious in the care of Watson and Trevor. For the world at large, the story ends there.

But the truth, although long suppressed, is this:

As the as the medical men watched ,the professor began to emit peculiar sounds-grunts and whoops and honks and chatters and barks and rumbles and hiccups-all typical of a crawling , climbing ,black faced langur.

Weeks, then months, passed, but the professor remained in this incoherent state.

It was evident that the serum he had ingested had caused a permanent and sinister simian change .

It was apparent to Trevor, that his prospective father in law would likely be an embarrassment at the marriage ceremony. (And even worse, would certainly never pick up the bill for the reception.)

Many young men would have abandoned the situation-but Trevor was made of stalwart stuff.

He discreetly had the professor moved to the laboratory of primatologist Lady Jane Goody.

That clever woman devoted herself to teaching the professor to communicate in sign language.

Many are the droll tales of her merry shrieks :

“No! Presbury ! No! Dirty, dirty!”

At length, the professor made enough progress to request, in sign, a suitable companion, and a winsome languress was procured for him.

Their descendants are many-and have contributed mightily to both medical research and the space program.

Several, even as we speak, are standing for political office.

All this was possible only because of the originality and high ethical standards of the very best of sons in law.

Ladies and Gentlemen-I give you-Trevor Bennett!

Sherlock Holmes Contest

August 15, 2014

A new offering, ‘Prose N’Cons Mystery Magazine will debut in October, and a contest regarding Sherlock Holmes is part of the coming attractions.

I did an interview for this issue-so I’m eager to see it:)
Here’s the link-test your Sherlockian knowledgeImage 3
EJ

http://www.prose-n-cons.com
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Sherlock Holmes French Connection

June 5, 2013

Dr Edmond Locard was a great supporter of Sherlock Holmes. Smithsonian Channel has included one of Locard’s Holmesian cases in the Forensic First Series. You can see a clip here-the female narrator seems to me me

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/series/1003122/catching-killers/3375550/trace-evidence
EJ Wagner-Pursuing VerityPursuingVerity05