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Tuesday, January 31, 2023


The GOP is rewarding some of those who stood with — and even assisted — then-President Donald Trump in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

GUEST BLOG / By Dean Obeidallah, CNN--The House GOP leadership sent a clear message last week by choosing 11 representatives who voted against certifying the 2020 election to serve as one of the 17 House committee chairs — including Rep. Jim Jordan. 

These new committee chairs include Jordan of the powerful Judiciary Committee; Rep. Mike Rogers, the new Armed Services Committee chairman; and Rep. Mark Green, who now heads the Committee on Homeland Security. All voted not to certify the 2020 election results after living through the vicious January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to “Stop the Steal.” 

I find Jordan the most alarming of the bunch. As the January 6 committee’s report lays out in detail, Jordan did more than simply vote not to certify the 2020 results. Rather, he was “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts” to overturn the election. 

The bipartisan January 6 committee’s report notes that Jordan “participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud.” (The election wasn’t “tainted by fraud,” which all the courts that considered such claims by Trump and his allies back up.) 

Jordan has dismissed the January 6 committee’s investigation as one of the Democrats’ “partisan witch hunts.” In a 2022 letter to committee Chair Bennie Thompson, he insisted that “I have no relevant information that would assist the Select Committee in advancing any legitimate legislative purpose.” He also asserted he has been “consistent in denouncing political violence and supporting law enforcement personnel.” 

The report also documents Jordan’s role in the effort to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. For example, it details that on “January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a conference call in which he, President Trump, and other Members of Congress discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session.” During that call, they talked not only strategy for the January 6 certification process but also “discussed issuing social media posts encouraging President Trump’s supporters to ‘march to the Capitol’ on the 6th.” After that conference call on January 2, Jordan spoke to Trump for 18 minutes in a one-on-one phone conversation, according to the report. 

But the Ohio Republican was not done. “Jordan texted Mark Meadows (Trump’s chief of staff), passing along advice that Vice President (Mike) Pence should ‘call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all,’ ” the January 6 committee report says. 

The January 6 committee's devastating conclusions
The report notes other interactions between Jordan and Trump, including phone calls at least twice on January 6, 2021. However, as the report highlights — Jordan made “inconsistent public statements about how many times they spoke and what they discussed” that day. 

These inconsistencies made Jordan’s testimony before the January 6 committee imperative. But the congressman refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena seeking his testimony. Given that the committee was winding down with the GOP’s takeover of the House this month, the most it could do was refer Jordan — and other Republicans who defied subpoenas such as newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — to the House Ethics Committee. 

If Jordan and others who ignored the subpoenas are “left unpunished,” the committee’s report notes, it “undermines Congress’s longstanding power to investigate in support of its lawmaking authority.” 

The GOP House leadership — via the GOP Steering Committee that chooses committee chairs — not only didn’t punish Jordan, it elevated him to chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And recently, Jordan announced an investigation into Biden over the recently discovered classified documents at the President’s former office and home. Jordan will now be investigating the very President he tried to prevent from taking power. 

But Jordan is not the only lawmaker who would seem to have no place as a House committee chairman. There’s also Green, who now heads the House Committee on Homeland Security. The concerns about Green go beyond his voting to prevent the certification of the 2020 election to include a history of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ comments. 

In 2017, Trump nominated Green as secretary of the Army. As a Tennessee state senator, Green had championed legislation to make it easier to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, and he told an online radio show he opposed transgender equality because in his view as a public official he was required to “crush evil.” During a 2016 tea party meeting, he denounced teaching children about the Islamic faith in schools unless it was focused on “the assault of Islam” on others. 

Green’s remarks were so controversial that the late GOP Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, expressed concern. Given the backlash, Green withdrew his name from consideration as Army secretary. But now he has been elevated to the coveted position of a committee chair after being elected to Congress in 2018. The House GOP is telling the nation who it believes deserving of positions of power — and that is people who put service to Trump over the interests of our country. 

That’s the very definition of un-American.

Monday, January 30, 2023



The ugly truth EXPOSED about the Durham/Barr investigation of those who investigated Trump-Russia 

GUEST BLOG / By Glenn Kirschner. -- The New York Times just published a remarkable deep-dive piece, pulling back the curtain on the John Durham investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, exposing the ugliness and lack of ethics that apparently ran rampant through the Durham investigation. The following video surveys some of the most troubling aspect of the Durham probe revealed in most recent The New York Times reporting. 


Glenn Kirschner of #TeamJustice


“…When [John] Durham unexpectedly found evidence of crimes committed BY rather than AGAINST Trump, he and Barr deliberately deceived the nation into thinking the opposite! This deep dive by the New York Times is as jaw-dropping as anything I’ve read in the past decade. –Lawrence Tribe, Legal scholar. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023


As determined by the iconic Strand Magazine 

Editor’s Note: The Strand Magazine is a quarterly which offers the best of both worlds—publishing previously unpublished works by literary masters such as John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams and H.G.Wells, as well as new works of fiction by today’s bestselling authors such as Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder and Jeffery Deaver. Our reviews section looks at the latest mystery/thriller offerings, Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and anthologies, in addition to audiobooks and DVDs. 

GUEST BLOG / By Andrew Gulli, Managing Editor, Strand Magazine--Here are the Top 25 Mystery Novels of 2022 in no order of importance or rank, they all are number one. 

The Heron’s Cry By Anne Cleeves (Minotaur Books) Time and again, Cleeves has proven that she’s a contemporary Agatha Christie with a touch of Colin Dexter and P.D. James, this is her best novel yet. 

Lost Man of Bombay By Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton) Khan does a great job of combining humor, and mayhem, in a historical setting. His books are series books that never feel the same. Those wishing for a cookie cutter series, had better look elsewhere. 

Standalone: A Dickie Cornish Mystery By Christopher Champers (Three Rooms Press) After reading this novel, it’s apparent that the modern heir to Chandler. Woolrich, and Cain is Christopher Chambers, enough said. 

Flight Risk By Cherie Priest (Atria) The clairvoyant genre has sadly become cliche, oversaturated, and predictable. Thankfully, Cherie Priest has emerged as a writer who can spin and weave a great tale that’ll keep you riveted from the first to the last page—and it’s also a playful book which is much needed after the past few years. 

The Registration By Madison Lawson (Camcat Books) Can you get away with committing one murder for every lifetime? I know that’s a loaded question, but Madison Lawson answers that question in a very startling and unsettling way. 

What Jonah Knew By Barbara Graham (Harper) If you like twists and turns and to be continually unsettled read this wonderful novel. The only question I have now is, when will it be made into a major Hollywood film? 

The Widow By Kaira Rouda (Thomas & Mercer) In this traditional thriller, ambition, romance, and murder combine for a shocking and absorbing novel that I read in one sitting. 

My Darkest Prayer By S A Cosby (Flatiron Books) True, this is a republished debut by S.A. Cosby, but it was well-worth reading and if you’re new to this wonderfully talented writer, this is the book to start your reading odyssey. 

Fake Money, Blue Smoke By Josh Haven (Mysterious Press) Everyone likes a heist novel and Josh Haven has created a cracking one at that. Double crosses, twists, and great character development—finally a heist novel for the 21st century. 

The Kind to Kill By Tessa Wegert (Severn House) Wegert emerged onto the scene right before the Covid pandemic and despite the bad timing, she’s rightly earned the badge as one of the finest talents of the past three years. And The Kind to Kill is her best novel to date. 

Night Flight to Paris By Cara Black (SOHO) Rewind to World War II and delve into intrigue, assassination and romance and you have a novel where I felt I traveled back in time. Great job from SOHO Press, they are one of the bravest and most enterprising publishers around. Cara Black’s novels only get better and better, and she’s a pro at creating visual atmosphere in just a few sentences. 

Picture You Dead By Peter James (Macmillan) The latest installment in the Roy Grace series of mystery novels is also a personal favorite. James is a solid writer–character, action, and plot are perfectly balanced in this fantastic and gripping novel. If you haven’t read Peter James, make 2023 your resolution to start. 

The Maze By Nelson DeMille (Scribner) Plum Island is one of my favorite mystery novels ever. The magician from Long Island is able to weave complex plots around his coterie of characters that feel real and above all interesting. Aspiring writers and readers in general need to have this must-read book on their nightstand. 

The Unreliables By Katherine Nichols (‎Black Rose Writing) The line between insanity and sanity is explored in this wonderfully plotted tale of murder with a conspiracy adding menace. 

The Enigma Affair By Charlie Lovett (Blackstone Publishing) A Nazi coding machine, a mysterious assassin, and the improbable premise that the world has something from the past to fear, are made probable and plausible by Lovett who has written a novel that is a must read for fans of Dan Brown and Raymond Khoury. 

Must Read Well By Ellen Pall (Bancroft) Pall left nothing on the table with this novel. If you’re into a writer who writes with the style of John Cheever, but adds a touch of menace, then this novel is for you. Must Read Well is one of those novels filled with subtle notes, hidden secrets, and after the final page, you’ll call a friend and insist they read the book, because great literature should not only be read, but it should also be discussed. 

The Wife Before By Shanora Williams (Kensington) In this page-turner, Williams takes us on a fairytale romance that proves to be a nightmare. 

Two Nights in Lisbon By Chris Pavone (MCD) Pavone is a contemporary Eric Ambler and Graham Greene and this international tale of intrigue is a must read for fans of those two masters. 

Tomboy By Shelley Blanton-Stroud (She Writes Press) Who doesn’t like a reporter story and that is not only prescient but character driven and makes Tomboy one of those rare historical novels that’ll have you searching for something similar–it won’t be easy, this one is a unicorn. 

Ruby Falls By Deborah Goodrich Royce (Post Hill Press) Novels that pay homage to a legendary author are fraught with pitfalls. Royce in her homage to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca pulls off this tour-de-force effectively and pens this tale of secrets for a modern audience–Daphne would be proud. 

Always The First To Die By R.J. Jacobs (Sourcebooks) Psychological suspense, horror, a film set rife with murder, and a hurricane thrusting a city into darkness equals the making of an absorbing novel by a new talent. 

Hell and Gone By Sam Wiebe (Harbor Press) Even Vancouver has a criminal underworld and this wonderful fast paced novel explores the contrast between the haves and have nots and has two protagonists matching wits against criminals–a highly recommended read. 

The Kingdoms of Savannah By George Dawes Green (Celadon Books) Savannah is a city of many contrasts and when a homeless man is killed, a few principled people will stop at nothing to get to the truth of the murder and along the way discover how one horrible crime can serve as a link to so much more. 

All Good People Here By Ashley Flowers (Bantam) I know, I know, the past and the future intersect in crime novels and this gripping debut links a missing person case with one that occurred twenty years before–in the hands of Ashley Flowers, she conjures up something unique, inventive, and shocking. 

Flicker in the Dark By Stacy Willingham (Minotaur Books) Great suspense fiction, forces to you off balance, if the author can pull off a stunning and unlikely premise off, then you have one of those novels where you go back to the book and ask yourself how you could have missed so many things. Willingham pulls it off and we hope this new voice will craft more dark, unsettling mystery novels in the future.  

Saturday, January 28, 2023


Original photograph with CSN drummer Dallas Taylor superimposed in door by cover designer Gary Burden--also added was record label logo above mail box.

GUEST BLOG / By Henry Diltz, photographer (above)
--"...That photo on the cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash debut album released in 1969 on Atlantic Records that launched them into stardom. 

Henry Diltz.
It spawned two Top 40 hit singles, Marrakesh Express and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of December 6, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. We found an old couch in front of an abandoned house to take this photo. It became their first album cover..."

Album cover cropped image. When photo was taken the group had not
come up with a name so they weren't seated in order
otherwise they could have been called Nash, Stills and Crosby.

Works by Henry Diltz may be purchased at the Morrison Hotel site: 



For history of old house photo location site in LA area CLICK HERE.

Friday, January 27, 2023


Viva Magenta is Pantone's color of the year!

Pantone proves once again colorful articles need not be lengthy.

Thursday, January 26, 2023


New at San Francisco Interntional

GUEST BLOG / By Heather Lalley, Reporter, Restaurant Business magazine
--Aaron Noveshen, CEO of 12-unit Starbird, believes his tech-forward fast-casual chicken concept is ready to embark on a new adventure. 

Noveshen said documents are being finalized to open the brand to franchising as early as next month. A successful licensing agreement with an operator at San Francisco Airport proved that Starbird, which received a $12 million cash infusion from private-equity firm KarpReilly a year ago, can be well-run by a franchisee, he said. “With their huge success, we realized the time is ripe for Starbird,” he said. 

“We realized the time is ripe because the brand is proven to have incredible traction and sales growth.” Starbird has seen 25% year-over-year same-store sales growth three years in a row, he said. He said the chain will continue to open its own stores, but it is looking to franchising to speed the pace of growth. Starbird intends to double its unit count over the next 18 months, he said, with its first franchised stores likely to open in the first part of 2023. 

The chain also has four ghost kitchens, with plans to grow in that area as well. “It’s really to be determined because it’s new space,” he said. “We want to make sure we don’t build things without making sure everyone’s winning … It’s a long game. That’s the next part of our business to really prove out.” 

Walnut Creek

Starbird was founded in San Francisco in 2016 by restaurant consultancy The Culinary Edge, after Noveshen and his partners there decided chicken would be the next big restaurant industry growth area. The chain also operates several virtual brands out of its shop, including Starbird Salads, Starbird Bowls, Starbird Wings and plant-based Gardenbird. “Our virtual brand approach is really this mindset of a branded house,” he said. “We are Starbird first. We’ve really grown our Starbird Salads brand; that’s been fantastic for us.” But, he said, “We’re constantly evaluating the existing portfolio of virtual brands, making tweaks.” 

Starbird may add new virtual concepts or “sunset” current ones in the future, he said, especially with franchising on the horizon. “Our approach is not to create operational complexity,” he said. Since its founding, Starbird has been known for its digital focus. The concept doesn’t currently operate drive-thrus, but Noveshen said there’s potential to work with a partner to create a “drive-thru of the future” that would prioritize speedy pick-ups through voice recognition technology. 

Recently, the chain installed kiosks in all of its restaurants. They have helped push digital transactions to 85% of all sales, while also boosting check averages, engagement and overall satisfaction. “We always want to meet the customer where they want to be met,” he said. Right now, he said, Starbird is laser-focused on finding the right franchise partners. 

The chain is on the hunt for experienced, multi-unit operators who have a track record with restaurants that have “high culinary appeal,” he said. Ideally, Starbird would partner with franchisees who can teach the chicken chain as much as they’ll be learning, Noveshen said. “Great ideas come from operations,” he said. “The people who are in there, in the trenches every day, always thinking of ways to do things more consistently. We’ve learned so much from our team members. Working with a franchise group, we’d like to collaborate to make ourselves better every day.” 

Bottom line: So, far the wings are delicious.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Art Deco is always in style,” says Designer says Jessica Lagrange of her recent bath project. 


GUEST BLOG / By Katherine McLaughlin, Architectural Digest--Below, AD outlines everything you need to know about Art Deco style, from its history to modern interpretations, and how you can bring the luxurious look into your home. 


Vintage Art Deco rug, 1930s

Tuesday, January 24, 2023


Amtrak eastbound California Zephyr tucks under US 80 near Truckee CA

California Zephyr, one of AMTRAKs longest lines is also one of its most popular routes. The Zephyr runs between Chicago and San Francisco, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco. 

Connections into San Francisco and Oakland stations via Thruway Bus Service at Emeryville, California. Here the #6 Z dips under US80 near Truckee CA enroute to Reno. 

Wall to wall trip takes 51 hours and 20 minutes on average. Often delayed as freight trains have the right away in most states/ Chicago Omaha Denver Salt Lake City Emeryville (San Francisco) 51 hours 20 minutes. Daily Departure. 

Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr (#5 westbbound and #6 eastbound) is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, you may find it hard to disagree. 

Glide past — not above — amber waves of grain. Climb the magnificent Rockies and Sierra Nevadas and witness the power of the raging Colorado River. Cross the Continental Divide, travel through tunnels and canyons. 

Marvel at the vivid hues of Utah’s deserts. There is simply no better way to experience the true majesty of America than from the ground up on Amtrak. Other scenic highlights include: Moffat Tunnel, Colorado's Gore, Byers and Glenwood Canyons, Winter Park, Truckee River, Donner Lake, San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait. 


Truckee, CA train depot

Train Stations Served by the California Zephyr

Chicago, IL - Union Station (CHI) 

Naperville, IL (NPV) 

McCook, NE (MCK) 

Elko, NV (ELK) 

Winnemucca, NV (WNN) 

Princeton, IL (PCT) 

Galesburg, IL (GBB) 

Burlington, IA (BRL) 

Mt. Pleasant, IA (MTP) 

Ottumwa, IA (OTM) 

Osceola, IA (OSC) 

Creston, IA (CRN) 

Omaha, NE (OMA) 

Lincoln, NE (LNK) 

Hastings, NE (HAS) 

Holdrege, NE (HLD) 

McCook, NE (MCK) 

Fort Morgan, CO (FMG) 

Denver, CO - Union Station (DEN) 

Fraser-Winter Park, CO (WIP) 

Granby, CO (GRA) 

Glenwood Springs, CO (GSC) 

Grand Junction, CO (GJT) 

Green River, UT (GRI) 

Helper, UT (HER) 

Provo, UT (PRO) 

Salt Lake City, UT - Amtrak Station (SLC) 

Elko, NV (ELK) 

Winnemucca, NV (WNN) 

Reno, NV (RNO) 

Truckee, CA (TRU) 

Colfax, CA (COX) 

Roseville, CA (RSV) 

Sacramento, CA - Sacramento Valley Station (SAC) 

Davis, CA (DAV) 

Martinez, CA (MTZ) 

Emeryville, CA (EMY)

Monday, January 23, 2023


Sad but true serial liar sworn into Congress. Image by Elizabeth Franz, Getty Images.


GUEST BLOG / By Jonathan Entin, Essayist, and Professor Emeritus of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio --There are mounting calls from both politicians and voters to force the newly elected apparent fabulist U.S. Rep. George Santos from Congress following revelations he fabricated his background and other details of his life. 

But New York’s 3rd Congressional District voters, who elected Santos as their representative in November 2022, cannot directly force him out of office until the next election, in November 2024. 

It appears that Santos, who beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman during the 2022 midterm election, has woven a web of lies about his personal and professional background, some of them touching on major historical and tragic events. Santos falsely claimed, for example, to have Jewish ancestry and said that his maternal grandparents fled to Brazil during the Holocaust. He also said that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks seemingly “claimed” the life of his mother – who actually died in 2016. 

Congressman George Santos (R).
Santos said he graduated from Baruch College in the top 1% of his class and from NYU’s Stern School of Business – but he never attended either institution, nor did he graduate from college. 

He also lied about his work experience, falsely claiming Citigroup and Goldman Sachs as former employers. Santos has since admitted to embellishing parts of his résumé and said that he has not worked for CitiGroup or Goldman Sachs – and does not have a college degree. 

Although a local weekly newspaper raised questions about his background in September, the story did not gain traction until The New York Times published its own story in December 2022. If the voters had known about these lies before the election, Santos might have lost. 

As a scholar of constitutional law and public policy, I think it is important to understand that voters have limited options at this point. Forty states provide for the recall of state and local elected officials. But there is no federal recall law that could lead to the removal of someone like Santos from Congress. 

There are few federal options to remove Santos 

The Nassau County Republican Committee and other local offices in Santos’ Long Island district are calling for him to step down. Several Republican House members have joined the chorus. Santos, meanwhile, has said that he will not resign. “I was elected by 142,000 people. Until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me, we’ll find out in two years,” Santos recently said. 

He may be right. 

The Constitution says that members of Congress can be impeached and removed for treason, bribery or other offenses. 

The Constitution does not specify grounds for expulsion – or actually removing someone from office – leaving that to each chamber of Congress to determine. 

The Constitution also says nothing about recall elections. The Supreme Court has also never specifically addressed the legality of a federal recall, but two other rulings suggest that such a law would be unconstitutional. 

The court first determined in 1969 that Congress may not refuse to seat a duly elected member who meets the constitutional qualifications for office. And it also ruled in 1995 that states may not impose term limits on members of Congress, because that would add an additional qualification for membership beyond the citizenship, age and residency requirements mentioned in the Constitution. 

Even if a federal law authorizing the recall of members of Congress were adopted and survived a legal challenge, the legislative and legal processes would consume virtually all of Santos’ two-year term. 

So recalling Santos is not a promising option, even if it were legal. 

Critics might also try to get the House to expel Santos. But expulsion is exceedingly rare. The House has expelled only five members in its entire history, most for joining the Confederacy during the Civil War. 

Ethics concerns are at play, though Santos would not be committing any crime simply by telling lies. Maybe he did other things that violated the law – state, federal and Brazilian authorities are currently investigating whether he used campaign funds for personal expenses, and whether he committed fraud in Brazil by using someone else’s checkbook to pay his bills. 

But Santos will not automatically lose his office even if he is convicted of any crime. The House does not require members to forfeit their office in those circumstances – or even if they go to prison. 

Santos’ case, however, does raise ethics concerns that members of Congress can address. Two House Democrats from New York have filed ethics complaints against Santos with the House Ethics Committee regarding incomplete financial disclosure forms. This bipartisan committee investigates alleged law violations by Congress members and makes recommendations to the full House. 

Ethics Committee recommendations are not legally binding. The House itself must consider them, though. In any event, this process probably would extend far into or beyond Santos’ term. Santos might also resign if the Ethics Committee recommended his expulsion. That has happened on several occasions. For example, in 1986, Sen. Harrison Williams resigned when facing an Ethics Committee’s recommendations that he be expelled because of corruption. 

In 1995, Sen. Robert Packwood left his post for the same reason. Rep. Mario Biaggi of New York also stepped down before an expulsion vote in 1988. 

No clear exit ahead 

In short, Santos would be able to serve most or all of his term even if the House did ultimately vote to expel him. But there are additional complications. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to expel a member of Congress. Such a supermajority is unlikely, especially in a House with a narrow majority in which every vote counts and when Republicans might be hard-pressed to win a special election to fill Santos’ vacancy. 

Voters who are appalled by George Santos’ apparent lies have little direct leverage to force him out of office quickly. Their first and best opportunity will come in 2024 if Santos decides to seek another term. Voters could defeat him in the Republican primary, where he surely would face opposition. And if he somehow survived the primary, he would still have to face a Democrat in the general election. 

One can only hope.

Headlining and captioning by online daily magazine

Sunday, January 22, 2023


Editor’s note
. More works by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle have been released to the public domain as of 1/1/2023. The adventure posted here has been placed into the public domain by for all to enjoy for free. Thank you to all the Gutenberg projects world wide for their devotion to bringing literature to the masses.


By Sir Arthur Conon Doyle 

First published in: The Strand Magazine, October 1921 Hearst's International Magazine, November 1921 First book appearance in The Case-Book Of Sherlock Holmes, 1927 

It was pleasant to Dr. Watson to find himself once more in the untidy room of the first floor in Baker Street which had been the starting-point of so many remarkable adventures. He looked round him at the scientific charts upon the wall, the acid-charred bench of chemicals, the violin-case leaning in the corner, the coal-scuttle, which contained of old the pipes and tobacco. Finally, his eyes came round to the fresh and smiling face of Billy, the young but very wise and tactful page, who had helped a little to fill up the gap of loneliness and isolation which surrounded the saturnine figure of the great detective. 

"It all seems very unchanged, Billy. You don't change, either. I hope the same can be said of him?" 

Billy glanced with some solicitude at the closed door of the bedroom. 

"I think he's in bed and asleep," he said. 

It was seven in the evening of a lovely summer's day, but Dr. Watson was sufficiently familiar with the irregularity of his old friend's hours to feel no surprise at the idea. 

"That means a case, I suppose?" 

"Yes, sir, he is very hard at it just now. I'm frightened for his health. He gets paler and thinner, and he eats nothing. 'When will you be pleased to dine, Mr. Holmes?' Mrs. Hudson asked. 'Seven-thirty, the day after to-morrow,' said he. You know his way when he is keen on a case." 

"Yes, Billy, I know." 

"He's following someone. Yesterday he was out as a workman looking for a job. To-day he was an old woman. Fairly took me in, he did, and I ought to know his ways by now." Billy pointed with a grin to a very baggy parasol which leaned against the sofa. "That's part of the old woman's outfit," he said. 

"But what is it all about, Billy?" 

Billy sank his voice, as one who discusses great secrets of State. "I don't mind telling you, sir, but it should go no farther. It's this case of the Crown diamond." 

"What—the hundred-thousand-pound burglary?" 

"Yes, sir. They must get it back, sir. Why, we had the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary both sitting on that very sofa. Mr. Holmes was very nice to them. He soon put them at their ease and promised he would do all he could. Then there is Lord Cantlemere—" 


 "Yes, sir, you know what that means. He's a stiff'un, sir, if I may say so. I can get along with the Prime Minister, and I've nothing against the Home Secretary, who seemed a civil, obliging sort of man, but I can't stand his Lordship. Neither can Mr. Holmes, sir. You see, he don't believe in Mr. Holmes and he was against employing him. He'd rather he failed." 

"And Mr. Holmes knows it?" 

"Mr. Holmes always knows whatever there is to know." 

"Well, we'll hope he won't fail and that Lord Cantlemere will be confounded. But I say, Billy, what is that curtain for across the window?" 

"Mr. Holmes had it put up there three days ago. We've got something funny behind it."

Billy advanced and drew away the drapery which screened the alcove of the bow window. 

Dr. Watson could not restrain a cry of amazement. There was a facsimile of his old friend, dressing-gown and all, the face turned three-quarters towards the window and downward, as though reading an invisible book, while the body was sunk deep in an armchair. Billy detached the head and held it in the air. 

"We put it at different angles, so that it may seem more lifelike. I wouldn't dare touch it if the blind were not down. But when it's up you can see this from across the way." 

"We used something of the sort once before." 

"Before my time," said Billy. He drew the window curtains apart and looked out into the street. "There are folk who watch us from over yonder. I can see a fellow now at the window. Have a look for yourself." 

Watson had taken a step forward when the bedroom door opened, and the long, thin form of Holmes emerged, his face pale and drawn, but his step and bearing as active as ever. With a single spring he was at the window, and had drawn the blind once more. 

"That will do, Billy," said he. "You were in danger of your life then, my boy, and I can't do without you just yet. Well, Watson, it is good to see you in your old quarters once again. You come at a critical moment." 

"So I gather." 

"You can go, Billy," Holmes said and spoke again once Billy was out of earshot.  "That boy is a problem, Watson. How far am I justified in allowing him to be in danger?" 

"Danger of what, Holmes?" 

"Of sudden death. I'm expecting something this evening." 

"Expecting what?" 

"To be murdered, Watson." 

"Are you are joking, Holmes?!" 

"Even my limited sense of humour could evolve a better joke than that. But we may be comfortable in the meantime, may we not? Is alcohol permitted? The gasogene and cigars are in the old place. Let me see you once more in the customary armchair. You have not, I hope, learned to despise my pipe and my lamentable tobacco? It has to take the place of food these days." 

"But why not eat?" 

"Because the faculties become refined when you starve them. Why, surely, as a doctor, my dear Watson, you must admit that what your digestion gains in the way of blood supply is so much lost to the brain. I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix. Therefore, it is the brain I must consider." 

"But this danger, Holmes?" 

"Ah. yes, in case it should come off, it would perhaps be as well that you should burden your memory with the name and address of the murderer. You can give it to Scotland Yard, with my love and a parting blessing. Sylvius is the name—Count Negretto Sylvius. Write it down, man, write it down! 136 Moorside Gardens, N.W. Got it?" 

Watson's honest face was twitching with anxiety. He knew only too well the immense risks taken by Holmes and was well aware that what he said was more likely to be under-statement than exaggeration. Watson was always the man of action, and he rose to the occasion. 

"Count me in, Holmes. I have nothing to do for a day or two." 

"Your morals don't improve, Watson. You have added fibbing to your other vices. You bear every sign of the busy medical man, with calls on him every hour." 

"Not such important ones. But can't you have this fellow arrested?" 

"Yes, Watson, I could. That's what worries him so." 

"But why don't you?" 

"Because I don't know where the diamond is." 

"Ah! Billy told me—the missing Crown jewel!" 

"Yes, the great yellow Mazarin stone. I've cast my net and I have my fish. But I have not got the stone. What is the use of taking them? We can make the world a better place by laying them by the heels. But that is not what I am out for. It's the stone I want." 

"And is this Count Sylvius one of your fish?" 

"Yes, and he's a shark. He bites. The other is Sam Merton the boxer. Not a bad fellow, Sam, but the Count has used him. Sam's not a shark. He is a great big silly bull-headed gudgeon. But he is flopping about in my net all the same." 

"Where is this Count Sylvius?" 

"I've been at his very elbow all the morning. You've seen me as an old lady, Watson. I was never more convincing. He actually picked up my parasol for me once. 'By your leave, Madame,' said he—half-Italian, you know, and with the Southern graces of manner when in the mood, but a devil incarnate in the other mood. Life is full of whimsical happenings, Watson." 

"It might have been a tragedy." 

"Well, perhaps it might. I followed him to old Straubenzee's workshop in the Minories. Straubenzee made the air-gun—a very pretty bit of work, as I understand, and I rather fancy it is in the opposite window at the present moment. Have you seen the dummy? Of course, Billy showed it to you. Well, it may get a bullet through its beautiful head at any moment. Ah, Billy, what is it?" 

The boy had reappeared in the room with a card upon a tray. Holmes glanced at it with raised eyebrows and an amused smile. 

"The man himself. I had hardly expected this. Grasp the nettle, Watson! A man of nerve. Possibly you have heard of his reputation as a shooter of big game. It would indeed be a triumphant ending to his excellent sporting record if he added me to his bag. This is a proof that he feels my toe very close behind his heel." 

"Send for the police." 

"I probably shall. But not just yet. Would you glance carefully out of the window, Watson, and see if anyone is hanging about in the street?" 

Watson looked warily round the edge of the curtain. 

"Yes, there is one rough fellow near the door." 

"That will be Sam Merton—the faithful but rather fatuous Sam. Where is this gentleman, Billy?" 

"In the waiting-room, sir." 

"Show him up when I ring." 

"Yes, sir." 

"If I am not in the room, show him in all the same." 

"Yes, sir." Watson waited until the door was closed, and then he turned earnestly to his companion. "Look here, Holmes, this is simply impossible. This is a desperate man, who sticks at nothing. He may have come to murder you." 

"I should not be surprised." 

"I insist upon staying with you." 

"You would be horribly in the way." 

"In his way?" 

"No, in my way." 

"Well, I can't possibly leave you." 

"Yes, you can, Watson. And you will, for you have never failed to play the game. I am sure you will play it to the end. This man has come for his own purpose, but he may stay for mine." Holmes took out his notebook and scribbled a few lines. "Take a cab to Scotland Yard and give this to Youghal of the C.I.D. Come back with the police. The fellow's arrest will follow." 

"I'll do that with joy." 

 "Before you return I may have just time enough to find out where the stone is." He touched the bell. "I think we will go out through the bedroom. This second exit is exceedingly useful. I rather want to see my shark without his seeing me, and I have, as you will remember, my own way of doing it." 

It was, therefore, an empty room into which Billy, a minute later, ushered Count Sylvius. The famous game-shot, sportsman, and man-about-town was a big, swarthy fellow, with a formidable dark moustache shading a cruel, thin-lipped mouth, and surmounted by a long, curved nose like the beak of an eagle. He was well dressed, but his brilliant necktie, shining pin, and glittering rings were flamboyant in their effect. As the door closed behind him he looked round him with fierce, startled eyes, like one who suspects a trap at every turn. Then he gave a violent start as he saw the impassive head and the collar of the dressing-gown which projected above the armchair in the window. At first his expression was one of pure amazement. Then the light of a horrible hope gleamed in his dark, murderous eyes. He took one more glance round to see that there were no witnesses, and then, on tiptoe, his thick stick half raised, he approached the silent figure. He was crouching for his final spring and blow when a cool, sardonic voice greeted him from the open bedroom door: 

 "Don't break it, Count! Don't break it!" 

The would be assassin staggered back, amazement in his convulsed face. For an instant he half raised his loaded cane once more, as if he would turn his violence from the effigy to the original; but there was something in that steady grey eye and mocking smile which caused his hand to sink to his side. 

"It's a pretty little thing," said Holmes, advancing towards the image. "Tavernier, the French modeller, made it. He is as good at waxworks as your friend Straubenzee is at air-guns." 

"Air-guns, sir! What do you mean?" 

"Put your hat and stick on the side-table. Thank you! Pray take a seat. Would you care to put your revolver out also? Oh, very good, if you prefer to sit upon it. Your visit is really most opportune, for I wanted badly to have a few minutes' chat with you." 

The Count scowled, with heavy, threatening eyebrows. 

"I, too, wished to have some words with you, Holmes. That is why I am here. I won't deny that I intended to assault you just now." 

Holmes swung his leg on the edge of the table. 

"I rather gathered that you had some idea of the sort in your head," said he. "But why these personal attentions?" 

"Because," Holmes said, "you have gone out of your way to annoy me. Because you have put your creatures upon my track." 

 "My creatures! I assure you no!" 

"Nonsense! I have had them followed. Two can play at that game, Holmes." 

"It is a small point, Count Sylvius, but perhaps you would kindly give me my prefix when you address me. You can understand that, with my routine of work, I should find myself on familiar terms with half the rogues' gallery, and you will agree that exceptions are invidious." 

"Well, Mr. Holmes, then." 

"Excellent! But I assure you you are mistaken about my alleged agents." 

Count Sylvius laughed contemptuously. 

"Other people can observe as well as you. Yesterday there was an old sporting man. Today it was an elderly woman. They held me in view all day." 

"Really, sir, you compliment me. Old Baron Dowson said the night before he was hanged that in my case what the law had gained the stage had lost. And now you give my little impersonations your kindly praise?" 

"It was you—you yourself?" 

Holmes shrugged his shoulders. "You can see in the corner the parasol which you so politely handed to me in the Minories before you began to suspect." 

 "If I had known, you might never—" 

"Have seen this humble home again. I was well aware of it. We all have neglected opportunities to deplore. As it happens, you did not know, so here we are!" 

The Count's knotted brows gathered more heavily over his menacing eyes. "What you say only makes the matter worse. It was not your agents but your play-acting, busybody self! You admit that you have dogged me. Why?" 

"Come now, Count. You used to shoot lions in Algeria." 


"But why?" "Why? The sport—the excitement—the danger!" 

"And, no doubt, to free the country from a pest?" 


"My reasons in a nutshell!" 

The Count sprang to his feet, and his hand involuntarily moved back to his hip-pocket. 

"Sit down, sir, sit down! There was another, more practical, reason. I want that yellow diamond!" 

Count Sylvius lay back in his chair with an evil smile. 

"Upon my word!" said he. 

"You knew that I was after you for that. The real reason why you are here tonight is to find out how much I know about the matter and how far my removal is absolutely essential. Well, I should say that, from your point of view, it is absolutely essential, for I know all about it, save only one thing, which you are about to tell me." 

"Oh, indeed! And pray, what is this missing fact?" 

"Where the Crown diamond now is." 

The Count looked sharply at his companion. "Oh, you want to know that, do you? How the devil should I be able to tell you where it is?" 

"You can, and you will." 


"You can't bluff me, Count Sylvius." Holmes's eyes, as he gazed at him, contracted and lightened until they were like two menacing points of steel. "You are absolute plate-glass. I see to the very back of your mind." 

"Then, of course, you see where the diamond is!" 

Holmes clapped his hands with amusement and then pointed a derisive finger. "Then you do know. You have admitted it!" 

"I admit nothing." 

"Now, Count, if you will be reasonable we can do business. If not, you will get hurt." 

 Count Sylvius threw up his eyes to the ceiling. "And you talk about bluff!" said he. 

 Holmes looked at him thoughtfully like a master chess player who meditates his crowning move. Then he threw open the table drawer and drew out a squat notebook. "Do you know what I keep in this book?" 

"No, sir, I do not!" 



"Yes, sir, you! You are all here—every action of your vile and dangerous life." 

 "Damn you, Holmes!" cried the Count with blazing eyes. "There are limits to my patience!" 

"Mr. Holmes to you.  I'll not ask, again."

"Of course, Mr.--"

"It's all here, Count. The real facts as to the death of old Mrs. Harold, who left you the Blymer estate, which you so rapidly gambled away." 

"You are dreaming!" 

"And the complete life history of Miss Minnie Warrender." 

"Nice try! You will make nothing of that!" 

"Plenty more here, Count. Here is the robbery in the train deluxe to the Riviera on February 13, 1892. Here is the forged cheque in the same year on the Credit Lyonnais." 

"No, you're wrong there, Mr. Holmes!" 

"Then I am right on the others! Now, Count, you are a card-player. When the other fellow has all the trumps, it saves time to throw down your hand." 

"What has all this talk to do with the jewel of which you spoke?" 

"Gently, Count. Restrain that eager mind! Let me get to the points in my own humdrum fashion. I have all this against you; but, above all, I have a clear case against both you and your fighting bully in the case of the Crown diamond." 


"Not so fast, I have the cabman who took you to Whitehall and the cabman who brought you away. I have the commissionaire who saw you near the case. I have Ikey Sanders, who refused to cut it up for you. Ikey has finked, and the game is up." 

The veins stood out on the Count's forehead. His dark, hairy hands were clenched in a convulsion of restrained emotion. He tried to speak, but the words would not shape themselves. 

"That's the hand I play from," said Holmes. "I put it all upon the table. But one card is missing. It's the king of diamonds. I don't know where the stone is." 

"You'll never know." 

"No? Now, be reasonable, Count. Consider the situation. You are going to be locked up for twenty years. So is Sam Merton. What good are you going to get out of your diamond? None in the world. But if you hand it over—well, I'll compound a felony. We don't want you or Sam. We want the stone. Give that up, and so far as I am concerned you can go free so long as you behave yourself in the future. If you make another slip well, it will be the last. But this time my commission is to get the stone, not you." 

"But if I refuse?" 

"You give me little choice.  I'll deliver you to the police for those other crimes and alas, not the stone." 

Billy had appeared in answer to a ring. 

"I think, Count, that it would be as well to have your friend Sam at this conference. After all, his interests should be represented. Billy, you will see a large and ugly gentleman outside the front door. Ask him to come up." 

Billy asked, "If he won't come, sir?" 

"No violence, Billy. Don't be rough with him. If you tell him that Count Sylvius wants him he will certainly come." 

The Count turned to look at Holmes once Billy left the room, "What are you going to do now?" 

"My friend Watson was with me just now. I told him that I had a shark and a gudgeon in my net; now I am drawing the net and up they come together." 

The Count had risen from his chair, and his hand was behind his back. Holmes held something half protruding from the pocket of his dressing-gown. 

"You won't die in your bed, Holmes." 

"I have often had the same idea. Does it matter very much? After all, Count, your own exit is more likely to be perpendicular than horizontal. But these anticipations of the future are morbid. Why not give ourselves up to the unrestrained enjoyment of the present?" 

A sudden wild-beast light sprang up in the dark, menacing eyes of the master criminal. Holmes's figure seemed to grow taller as he grew tense and ready. 

"It is no use your fingering your revolver, my friend," he said in a quiet voice. "You know perfectly well that you dare not use it, even if I gave you time to draw it. Nasty, noisy things, revolvers, Count. Better stick to air-guns. Ah! I think I hear the fairy footstep of your estimable partner. Good day, Mr. Merton. Rather dull in the street, is it not?" 

The prize-fighter, a heavily built young man with a stupid, obstinate, slab-sided face, stood awkwardly at the door, looking about him with a puzzled expression. Holmes's debonair manner was a new experience, and though he vaguely felt that it was hostile, he did not know how to counter it. He turned to his more astute comrade for help. "What's the game now, Count? What's this fellow want? What's up?" His voice was deep and raucous. 

The Count shrugged his shoulders, and it was Holmes who answered. "If I may put it in a nutshell, Mr. Merton, I should say it was all up." 

The boxer still addressed his remarks to his associate. "Is this cove trying to be funny, or what? I'm not in the funny mood myself."

"No, I expect not," said Holmes. "I think I can promise you that you will feel even less humorous as the evening advances. Now, look here, Count Sylvius. I'm a busy man and I can't waste time. I'm going into that bedroom. Pray make yourselves quite at home in my absence. You can explain to your friend how the matter lies without the restraint of my presence. I shall try over the Hoffman 'Barcarole' upon my violin. In five minutes I shall return for your final answer. You quite grasp the alternative, do you not? Shall we take you, or shall we have the stone?" 

 Holmes withdrew, picking up his violin from the corner as he passed. A few moments later the long-drawn, wailing notes of that most haunting of tunes came faintly through the closed door of the bedroom. 

"What is it, then?" asked Merton anxiously as his companion turned to him. "Does he know about the stone?" 

"He knows a damned sight too much about it. I'm not sure that he doesn't know all about it." 

"Good Lord!" The boxer's sallow face turned a shade whiter. 

The Count admitted, "Ikey Sanders has split on us." 

"He has, has he? I'll do him down a thick 'un for that even if I swing for it." 

"That won't help us much," said the Count, "We've got to make up our minds what to do." 

"Half a mo'," said the boxer, looking suspiciously at the bedroom door. "He's a leary cove that wants watching. I suppose he's not listening?" 

"How can he be listening with that music going?" 

"That's right. Maybe somebody's behind a curtain. Too many curtains in this room." As he looked round he suddenly saw for the first time the effigy in the window, and stood staring and pointing, too amazed for words. 

 "Relax! it's only a dummy," said the Count. 

"A fake, is it? Well, strike me! Madame Tussaud ain't in it. It's the living spit of him, gown and all. But them curtains Count!" 

"Oh, confound the curtains! We are wasting our time, and there is none too much. He can lag us over this stone." 

"The deuce he can!" 

"But he'll let us slip if we only tell him where the swag is." 

"What! Give it up? Give up a hundred thousand quid?" 

"It's one or the other." 

Merton scratched his short-cropped pate. 

"He's alone in there. Let's do him in. If his light were out we should have nothing to fear." 

The Count shook his head. 

"He is armed and ready. If we shot him we could hardly get away in a place like this. Besides, it's likely enough that the police know whatever evidence he has got. Hallo! What was that?" 

There was a vague sound which seemed to come from the window. Both men sprang round, but all was quiet. Save for the one strange figure seated in the chair, the room was certainly empty. 

"Something in the street," said Merton. "Now look here, guv'nor, you've got the brains. Surely you can think a way out of it. If slugging is no use then it's up to you." 

"I've fooled better men than he," the Count answered. "The stone is here in my secret pocket. I take no chances leaving it about. It can be out of England tonight and cut into four pieces in Amsterdam before Sunday. He knows nothing of Van Seddar." 

"I thought Van Seddar was going next week." 

"He was. But now he must get off by the next boat. One or other of us must slip round with the stone to Lime Street and tell him." 

"But the false bottom ain't ready." 

"Well, he must take it as it is and chance it. There's not a moment to lose." Again, with the sense of danger which becomes an instinct with the sportsman, he paused and looked hard at the window. Yes, it was surely from the street that the faint sound had come. 

"As to Holmes," he continued, "we can fool him easily enough. You see, the damned fool won't arrest us if he can get the stone. Well, we'll promise him the stone. We'll put him on the wrong track about it, and before he finds that it is the wrong track it will be in Holland and we out of the country." 

"That sounds good to me!" cried Sam Merton with a grin. 

"You go on and tell the Dutchman to get a move on him. I'll see this sucker and fill him up with a bogus confession. I'll tell him that the stone is in Liverpool. Confound that whining music; it gets on my nerves! By the time he finds it isn't in Liverpool it will be in quarters and we on the blue water. Come back here, out of a line with that keyhole. Here is the stone." 

"I wonder you dare carry it." 

"Where could I have it safer? If we could take it out of Whitehall someone else could surely take it out of my lodgings." 

 "Let's have a look at it." 

Count Sylvius cast a somewhat unflattering glance at his associate and disregarded the unwashed hand which was extended towards him. 

"What—d'ye think I'm going to snatch it off you? See here, mister, I'm getting a bit tired of your ways." 

"Well, well, no offence, Sam. We can't afford to quarrel. Come over to the window if you want to see the beauty properly. Now hold it to the light! Here!" 

"Thank you!" 

With a single spring Holmes had leaped from the dummy's chair and had grasped the precious jewel. He held it now in one hand, while his other pointed a revolver at the Count's head. The two villains staggered back in utter amazement. Before they had recovered Holmes had pressed the electric bell. 

"No violence, gentlemen—no violence, I beg of you! Consider the furniture! It must be very clear to you that your position is an impossible one. The police are waiting below." 

The Count's bewilderment overmastered his rage and fear. 

"But how the deuce—?" he gasped. 

"Your surprise is very natural. You are not aware that a second door from my bedroom leads behind that curtain. I fancied that you must have heard me when I displaced the figure, but luck was on my side. It gave me a chance of listening to your racy conversation which would have been painfully constrained had you been aware of my presence." 

The Count gave a gesture of resignation. 

"We give you best, Holmes. I believe you are the devil himself." 

"Not far from him, at any rate," Holmes answered with a polite smile. 

Sam Merton's slow intellect had only gradually appreciated the situation. Now, as the sound of heavy steps came from the stairs outside, he broke silence at last. 

"A fair cop!" said he. "But, I say, what about that bloomin' fiddle! I hear it yet." 

"Amazing, isn't it?" Holmes answered. "You are perfectly right. Let it play! These modern gramophones are a remarkable invention." 

There was an inrush of police, the handcuffs clicked and the criminals were led to the waiting cab. Watson lingered with Holmes, congratulating him upon this fresh leaf added to his laurels. Once more their conversation was interrupted by the imperturbable Billy with his card tray. 

"Lord Cantlemere sir." 

"Show him up, Billy. This is the eminent peer who represents the very highest interests," said Holmes. "He is an excellent and loyal person, but rather of the old regime. Shall we make him unbend? Dare we venture upon a slight liberty? He knows, we may conjecture, nothing of what has occurred." 

The door opened to admit a thin, austere figure with a hatchet face and drooping mid-Victorian whiskers of a glossy blackness which hardly corresponded with the rounded shoulders and feeble gait. Holmes advanced affably, and shook an unresponsive hand. 

"How do you do, Lord Cantlemere? It is chilly for the time of year, but rather warm indoors. May I take your overcoat?" 

"No, I thank you; I will not take it off." 

Holmes laid his hand insistently upon the sleeve. "Pray allow me! My friend Dr. Watson would assure you that these changes of temperature are most insidious." 

His Lordship shook himself free with some impatience. 

"I am quite comfortable, sir. I have no need to stay. I have simply looked in to know how your self-appointed task was progressing." 

"It is difficult—very difficult." 

"I feared that you would find it so." 

There was a distinct sneer in the old courtier's words and manner. 

"Every man finds his limitations, Mr. Holmes, but at least it cures us of the weakness of self-satisfaction." 

"Yes, sir, I have been much perplexed." 

"No doubt." 

"Especially upon one point. Possibly you could help me upon.  

"You apply for my advice rather late in the day. I thought that you had your own all-sufficient methods. Still, I am ready to help you." 

"You see, Lord Cantlemere, we can no doubt frame a case against the actual thieves." 

"When you have caught them." 

"Exactly. But the question is—how shall we proceed against the receiver?" 

"Is this not rather premature?" 

"It is as well to have our plans ready. Now, what would you regard as final evidence against the receiver?" 

"The actual possession of the stone." 

"You would arrest him upon that?" 

"Most undoubtedly." 

Holmes seldom laughed, but he got as near it as his old friend Watson could remember. 

"In that case, I shall be under the painful necessity of advising your arrest." 

 Lord Cantlemere was very angry. Some of the ancient fires flickered up into his sallow cheeks. 

"You take a great liberty, Mr. Holmes. In fifty years of official life I cannot recall such a case. I am a busy man, sir engaged upon important affairs, and I have no time or taste for foolish jokes. I may tell you frankly, sir, that I have never been a believer in your powers, and that I have always been of the opinion that the matter was far safer in the hands of the regular police force. Your conduct confirms all my conclusions. I have the honour, sir, to wish you good-evening." 

Holmes had swiftly changed his position and was between the peer and the door. 

"One moment, sir," said he. "To actually go off with the Mazarin stone would be a more serious offence than to be found in temporary possession of it." 

"Sir, this is intolerable! Let me pass." 

"Put your hand in the right-hand pocket of your overcoat." 

"What do you mean, sir?" 

"Come—come, do what I ask." 

An instant later the amazed peer was standing, blinking and stammering, with the great yellow stone on his shaking palm. 

"What! What! How is this, Mr. Holmes?" 

"Too bad, Lord Cantlemere, too bad!" cried Holmes. "My old friend here will tell you that I have an impish habit of practical joking. Also that I can never resist a dramatic situation. I took the liberty—the very great liberty, I admit—of putting the stone into your pocket at the beginning of our interview." 

The old peer stared from the stone to the smiling face before him. "Sir, I am bewildered. But—yes—it is indeed the Mazarin stone. We are greatly your debtors, Mr. Holmes. Your sense of humour may, as you admit, be somewhat perverted, and its exhibition remarkably untimely, but at least I withdraw any reflection I have made upon your amazing professional powers. But how—" 

"The case is but half finished; the details can wait. No doubt, Lord Cantlemere, your pleasure in telling of this successful result in the exalted circle to which you return will be some small atonement for my practical joke. Billy, you will show his Lordship out, and tell Mrs. Hudson that I should be glad if she would send up dinner for two as soon as possible." 

Friday, January 20, 2023


resident Joe Biden talks on the boardwalk with California Gov. Gavin Newsom as he visits with business owners and local residents in Capitola, Calif., Thursday, Jan 19, 2023, to survey recovery efforts following a series of severe storms—storms that Newsom’s administration is handling with aplomb. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)  

Capitola in the midst of California deluge last week.  Photo: Patrick Barnard, USGS


Thursday, January 19, 2023


Remember Jell-o gelatin dessert? 

GUEST BLOG / By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business reporter--Way in the back of the grocery store, at the end of the sleepy baking aisle, sits a brand decades past its prime: Jell-O gelatin. 

Today, Jell-O is served to patients at hospitals. Or schoolchildren throw it around during food fights at lunch and college kids swallow it down with alcohol shots. 

Others associate Jell-O with the disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, who was the face of the brand for 30 years. Jell-O molds and now-defunct flavors like Italian salad and mixed vegetables are in recipe books for “nauseating” foods. 

“Jell-O is kind of associated nowadays in our culture with illness and frailty and vulnerability. So it certainly doesn’t have the fun associations that it did when I was growing up,” said Rachel Herz, a neuroscientist and the author of “Why You Eat What You Eat.” 

But 120 years ago Jell-O revolutionized dessert. But today it mostly sits at the end of the sleepy baking aisle or in the back of the cupboard these days. But Jell-O once gave middle-class consumers access to a luxurious food that had only been accessible to the wealthy. 

Back in the day Jell-O turned into a salad, a staple dish of the mid-twentieth century, and morphed into a fun snack for kids. It was adaptable and versatile. Jell-O became a figure of speech and the state food of Utah, where the state’s large Mormon population is known for its devotion to the product. 

Jell-O even went to space. It was this country’s national dessert, eaten by presidents at the White House, depicted in advertising by leading actors and artists, and a symbol of Americana. 

Jell-O “displays so many elements of the American character,” wrote Carolyn Wyman in her 2001 book “Jell-O: A Biography.” Jell-O is the “food that most resembles a toy.” 

But what happened? How did a brand once marketed as “America’s Most Famous Dessert” become an afterthought today? A dessert for the rich The genius of Jell-O was to transform an elegant, complex dessert and make it cheap and easy to make.  

During the Victorian era in Europe, decorative gelatin molds were a symbol of high society and served to royalty. Gelatin desserts were for the elite who had cooks and servants to labor through the elaborate and time-consuming process of making gelatin, often extracted from the feet of calves or other animal parts. 

“If ever there was a food calling out for a convenience product solution, it was gelatin,” Wyman wrote. In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in LeRoy, a small town outside of Rochester, New York, found an answer to the problem. Wait, who dabbled with developing cough remedies and teas, added flavoring and coloring to granulated gelatin, a flavorless food ingredient. 

Wait came up with a sweet, flavored powder that could be added to boiled water, cooled, and was ready to serve. The first flavors of his product, which were extracted from natural fruits, were orange, lemon, strawberry and raspberry. (It’s not known exactly how he added the colors.) 

An early print advertisement for Jell-O

Wait trademarked a name for his invention, Jell-O, based on an idea from his wife May. How she landed on the name has been lost to history, but some historians believe it was inspired by the product Grain-O, a substitute for coffee, that was also made in LeRoy by the Genesee Pure Food Company. 

Wait couldn’t get his new product off the ground. In 1899, he sold the rights to Jell-O to Genesee for $450. Jell-O’s fortunes quickly changed under Genesee. Orator Woodward, the owner of the company, turned over the advertising, which was in its nascent stages, to ad firms in New York. 

The advertising, targeted at women in magazines like Ladies’ Home Journal, stressed how easy the new product was to make — and for only 10 cents, about the cost of a loaf of bread. 

Genesee tried to turn Jell-O into a brand consumers would ask for by name, and salesmen would go door-to-door to local grocers to persuade them to place ads of Jell-O in windows and behind the counters. The ads, depicting fancy Jell-O molds in startling new colors, stood out. 

Jell-O also distributed free recipe books, a new marketing strategy at the time. By 1907, Jell-O sales crossed $1 million. Jell-O Girl Early Jell-O advertising depicted women as inept, needing the help of a simple recipe like Jell-O. “How often some ingredient is forgotten or not rightly proportioned and the dessert spoiled,” ran another ad. “I couldn’t keep a house without Jell-O.” 

Early ads emphasized the beauty and glamor of these desserts that were formerly unattainable to the average household, said Wendy Woloson, a historian at Rutgers University-Camden who studies consumer culture in 19th-century America. “Even you can serve this dessert to your family, without the use of a servant.” Jell-O “was able to democratize access to a dessert that had formerly been a high end luxury type of dessert only available to the rich,” Woloson added. “That was really significant.” In 1904, Jell-O introduced the Jell-O Girl, which helped reinforce the idea that children loved Jell-O and that it was so simple to make a child could do it. 

The Jell-O Girl was the face of the brand for almost 40 years. Rose O’Neill, a famous artist who created the Kewpie doll, created “Jell-O and The Kewpies” ads for the brand featuring the dolls and the Jell-O Girl. 

 A 1919 ad with the Jell-O Girl, the face the brand for nearly 40 years. By 1925, Genesee sold Jell-O to the Postum Cereal Company (which would eventually become the giant General Foods and is Kraft Heinz today) for $67 million. 

Jell-O salads Jell-O shifted during its next phase. During the Great Depression and World War II era, Jell-O was pitched as an affordable food, a way to turn a few ingredients into a family meal people could use to stretch their dollars. Again, Jell-O leaned on new advertising to stand out. It was one of the first companies to advertise on radio, sponsoring popular comedian Jack Benny’s radio program in 1934. 

Benny popularized the jingle “J-E-L-L-O” to millions of listeners and it was one of the most successful partnerships in radio advertising history. “Jell-O again! This is Jack Benny talking.” Although Jell-O initially was marketed primarily as a sweet dessert, it took on a new life as a savory salad, driven in part by the introduction of lime Jell-O in 1930. 

A 1950's magazine advertisement for Jell-O salads, a staple dish of mid-century America. Advertising Archive/Courtesy Everett Collection “Jell-O Salads, Welcome! say the women of America!” read an early ad displaying Jell-O as a salad. “Shimmering…luscious…Jell-O salads are making this a salad nation!” said another ad in The Farmer’s Wife magazine. Jell-O congealed salads, often made with fruits, vegetables, Cool whip or other foods, were used to show off at dinner parties and a form of creative expression. 

Jell-O released flavors such as seasoned tomato, celery, mixed vegetable and Italian salad, and Jell-O salads were a colorful way to use leftovers in side dishes. In 1955, the company introduced the slogan “A Jell-O salad makes the meal.” “The Jell-O salad really hits the American sensibility and palate perfectly. Americans have a longtime sweet tooth,” said Laura Shapiro, a culinary historian and author of “Perfection Salad” about women and cooking at the turn of the twentieth century. 

“This is the most American thing of all. Nobody but us thinks that a salad is a red molded strawberry flavored thing on a lettuce leaf. But that was one of the big attractions of Jell-O – you could eat a dessert and call it a salad.” Jell-O was marketed as a light, satisfying ending to a meal even if people were stuffed – typified by its successful 1960s campaign slogan “There’s always room for Jell-O.” 

But as more Americans traveled and global cuisines entered the mainstream, the simplicity of Jell-O salads became a downside. Julia Child brought French cooking to American kitchens, and Jell-O seemed bland. “Upscale becomes the new mainstream and Jell-O salads moves into a niche,” Shapiro said. 

“Jell-O salads started to look unsophisticated and kind of an antique. They started to look a little silly.” Jell-O sales peaked in 1968 and then begin a decline of about 2% of a year for two decades, according to Jell-O biographer Wyman. 

By 1987, the company sold about half as many boxes as it did two decades prior. 

With Jell-O salads becoming less popular, the brand looked for its next hit. But it had a problem: With the increase in women entering the workforce, families weren’t sitting down for as many meals and eating dessert like they once did. 

And new, ready-to-eat foods were hitting the market that were more convenient. 

What was once considered a quick and easy dessert now took too long to make for consumers, especially moms, Jell-O’s longtime target customer. “It was starting to be looked at as a chore in the mid 1980s,” said Chris Becker, who led the Jell-O account at Young & Rubicam, Jell-O’s longtime advertising agency. “It was perceived as old-fashioned and was creating dust in the cupboard.” 

Jell-O began to pivot into new products such as single-serve cups, ready-to-eat Pudding Pops and frozen Gelatin Pops. It transitioned from targeting moms to marketing the product as a snack for kids. 

In 1990, Jell-O launched a new product that would transform the brand: Jigglers. It was based on a recipe that used four times the usual amount of Jell-O and could be cut into squares. Jell-O launched a marketing blitz, with supermarket displays, Jiggler giveaways and ads with Bill Cosby. 

Cosby had been working with Jell-O since the 1970s as the face of Jell-O’s pudding lineup, but Jigglers was the first gelatin commercials he appeared in. An ad showed Cosby and kids at a formal dinner tossing their spoons to eat the new Jigglers “with our bare hands.” Cosby “brought that advertising to a different level,” Chris Becker said. “He became the brand.” 

Kraft in the early 2000’s shifted the focus of Jell-O’s advertising away from kids and toward adults. It pitched sugar-free Jell-O, for example, as a treat for Atkins dieters. 

But as the Atkins diet slipped in popularity, it took Jell-O down with it. Jell-O sales fell 19% from 2009 to 2013 to $753 million, the Associated Press reported at the time. Jell-O’s sales have stagnated since. In 2022, they were $688 million, according to IRI. 

Reviving Jell-O Jell-O has slumped in recent years because of competition and a lack of investment in the brand. Kraft tried to restart its Jell-O business when it split into two companies in 2012, said Erin Lash, an analyst at Morningstar. “It never seemed to get off the ground in terms of resonating with consumers and getting over the overhang of being an unhealthy snack,” she said. 

But perhaps Jell-O’s decline had less to do with the perception that it’s unhealthy than changes in consumers’ lifestyles. New salty and sweet convenience snacks with exciting tastes have emerged. 

Big brands, including Jell-O, have faced competition from a proliferation of startups and direct-to-consumer brands. “Over the course of the last 10 years, you’ve had a period where social media and online commerce has made it easier for smaller, niche startups,” Lash said. “Consumers have been more willing to purchase brands that they were unfamiliar with.” 

Jell-O has also become a smaller focus at Kraft Heinz, its parent, she said, and is a tiny piece of its business. Kraft Heinz’s “easy indulgent desserts” business, which includes Jell-O, makes up just 4% of the company’s total sales. 

Jell-O has little presence on Instagram, TikTok and social platforms that are crucial to reaching younger shoppers. It also doesn’t advertise on television to try to reconnect Baby Boomers with the brand. 

But Kraft Heinz said big changes are coming to Jell-O next year. “Jell-O is a beloved family brand with an incredible amount of opportunity,” Emily Kerschner, the vice president of marketing and strategy at Kraft Heinz, said in an email. 

Next year, Jell-O will “undergo its first brand renovation” in a decade and increase its advertisement spending, she said. It’s also exploring adjusting the recipe to reduce sugar. Jell-O still remains a cultural curiosity, said Lynne Belluscio, the former director of the LeRoy, New York Historical Society and the curator of the Jell-O Museum in the brand’s birthplace. “We have people come through and they say, you know, I really like Jell-O. I’m going to go home and have some.”