May 15, 2004

Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints...

Found in an otherwise ordinary article about a Christies auction of some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's papers:

The papers are to be auctioned off Wednesday, perhaps to disappear again into the obscurity of private ownership, a fate that had obsessed Richard Lancelyn Green, a former chairman of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.

Lancelyn Green, 50, was found dead in his bed on March 27, garroted with a shoelace tightened by a wooden spoon, and surrounded by stuffed toys.

At an inquest last month, Coroner Paul Knapman said suicide was the most likely explanation, but he acknowledged there was no note, that garroting was a painful way to kill oneself, and that it therefore had been a "very unusual death." He said the deceased had been acting paranoid, but that people assumed it was baseless.

From the BBC's story about the inquest:

"Mr Lancelyn Green's sister, Priscilla, told the inquest she had become worried about her brother in the week before his death after a string of bizarre conversations.

"It was clear he was very concerned about the upcoming Sherlock Holmes sale," she said.

"This was Richard's life - Conan Doyle. It seemed that something about this sale was worrying him enormously and I tried to get him to explain to me what it was.

"He made comments about his own reputation, about the possibility of his name being in the papers, about people behaving in a way he did not expect them to and doing things he did not expect them to."

He had sent here a strange note with three names and their telephone numbers on it which had seemed to Ms Lancelyn Green "to be the beginning of a thriller novel".

The document had "Please keep these names safe" written on it.

The game is afoot indeed.

Posted by Linkmeister at May 15, 2004 02:03 PM

What a way to die. Given a choice, I'd choose a different method.

Posted by: cassie-b at May 16, 2004 04:23 AM

Me, too; I've rarely heard of a suicide using that method.

Posted by: Linkmeister at May 16, 2004 08:34 AM

I always thought the only way to actually kill yourself via strangulation was hanging or similar because of an innate survival reflex... I have never heard of anyone garroting themselves before I read this the other day.

Interesting... Sherlock's 'curse' surfaces again...

Posted by: Fox at May 18, 2004 09:31 AM

The question is, what are the 3 names? The Conan Doyle papers, whose sale so upset Green before his death, belonged to THREE distant relatives of the last remaining Doyle heir (see the NYTimes article [May 19,2004]). The names of the 3 were never made public, but Green, the world's foremost Conan Doyle expert, may have discovered them.
Any thoughts?

Posted by: Argyle at May 25, 2004 01:37 PM