07 Feb 2014
Every Monday and Friday, I publish a Sherlock Holmes parody from the 223B project. Today is “The Case of the Sinn Feiners” by Peter Todd, one of the many pennames for the prolific Charles Hamilton.
(The “Tuck Hamper for a Storyette” headline refers to a contest the magazine ran. Schoolboys who send in short stories (what we call flash fiction nowadays) were eligible to receive a box of snacks. “Tuck” is slang for a big meal and is related to the phrase “tuck in” for to eat. Nowadays, you can order tuck hampers online to send to your little nippers in boarding school.)
Charles Hamilton (1876-1961) is not only one of the most prolific creator of Holmes parodies and pastiches, but the most prolific writer of all time according to the Guinness Book of Records. He is most noted for writing, under a variety of pennames, public school stories for weekly newspapers aimed at schoolboys, such as The Greyfriars Herald, The Magnet, The Gem and The Marval. In addition, he wrote 93 stories about Herlock Sholmes and Dr. Jotson. Written with a dry humor, they also can reveal a subversive attitude to the attentive reader. In “The Case of the Sinn Feiners,” published in the Aug. 28, 1920, issue of The Greyfriars Herald, Hamilton exercises a few Irish stereotypes, but doesn’t directly condemn Feinian attempts to win Irish independence and sneaks in a few shots at authority figures. There’s even a nod to Sexton Blake, “the poor man’s Sherlock Holmes,” and his assistant Tinker.
For more information, and to read scans of issues The Greyfriars Herald and other story newspapers, visit the Friardale website.
Me again. Even though The Greyfriars Herald was aimed at schoolboys, I did have to wonder about their readership after spotting this ad in the back: