On Monday or Tuesday of last week, I ended up Googling some combination of Sherlock Holmes, steampunk, and Christmas. What I ended up with was Steampunk Scholar’s 2011 entry about the combination of these things, or lack thereof. Which reminded me of what I had forgotten: there already is a Sherlock Holmes Christmas story, “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.” I did chase down the pieces mentioned in the article. The radio show “The Night Before Christmas” is pretty awful. Don’t believe me? It’s fairly readily available online. The two television versions of The Blue Carbuncle can also be found through a YouTube search.
It’s interesting comparing the Peter Cushing/Jeremy Brett versions of this story with the text. The Cushing version especially adds a few things to pad out the story (a scene between Holmes and the Countess, and a more dramatic reaction by Ryder to his incarceration) as well as adding a few details that Holmes gets wrong.
Turning again to non-Doyle stories, George and Gertrude Fass wrote “The Case of the Christmas Pudding” for the mid-50s Holmes series staring Ronald Howard. It is far superior to “The Night Before Christmas” radio episode, and involves a crime committed with a Christmas decoration.
Of course, the most Christmasy portion of these stories involves food: Christmas goose and Christmas or plum pudding. I’ve never had either of these things. Growing up, our Christmas tradition food was meat salad sandwiches (egg salad with the addition of bologna). The animated series Sherlock Homes in the 22nd Century updates the tale to avoid food altogether. Here, a carbuncle is the much sought-after Christmas toy. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable adaptation.
Short Stories Read
Obviously, “The Blue Carbuncle” by Arthur Conan Doyle
Besides, it is the season of forgiveness. Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward.
It’s one of Doyle’s earlier Holmes stories and is pretty solid.
I also read “Brass Canaries” by Gwendolyn Clare
It is shopping season. We know because they cover their hands in cloth, and the sky falls white and fluffy around their feet.
As a complete coincidence this may be a story that fits the category of steampunk Christmas. It’s an unsettling tale and weirdly the flip side of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century‘s blue carbuncle episode.
I’ll leave off with a bit from one of my current favorite Holmes incarnations: