Dancing to Death (“The Dancing Men”)

Dancing to Death (

Dancing to Death.

A Facsimile of the Original Manuscript of
“The Dancing Men” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
with Annotations and Commentary on the Story.

Edited & introduced by
Ray Betzner, BSI and David F. Morrill, BSI.

Despite the fact that Hilton Cubitt is murdered while he is Sherlock Holmes’ client, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” remains one of the most memorable Canonical tales. While thoughts of the scribbles that form the heart of the story may linger after its conclusion, unscrambling the dancing men code is not the only problem here. The manuscript itself provides a mystery: How did it go from being one of Doyle’s prized possessions to a bookstore in Texas?

This volume includes a reproduction of the original manuscript, an annotated typescript with commentary, and a history of the manuscript. Other articles explore the cipher’s origin and why Chicago came to mind as an example of a lawless American city. You will also find new perspectives on Holmes’ use of sound in solving a murder, along with a deeper investigation into the history of ciphers, both in and out of the Canon.

224 pages, 10″ x 7″ hardcover, December 2016
With the manuscript reproduction plus 40 b&w illustrations

Dancing to Death

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Table of Contents for Dancing to Death

General Editor’s Foreword and Preface to the Series
by Andrew G. Fusco

by Ray Betzner

Manuscript Facsimile of “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”
Transcription by Ray Betzner
Annotations by Ray Betzner and Phillip Bergem

Tracking “The Dancing Men”: Its History and Manuscript
by Randall Stock

My Manuscript Adventure
by Don Hobbs

The Cipher in “The Dancing Men”: A Study in Sources
by Donny Zaldin

Codes, Ciphers and the Canon
by Dana Richards

Honey, I Shrunk the Cubitt; and Other Upshots of Dancing With Granada
by David F. Morrill

Sherlock Holmes vs. Terrorism: Airflow Analysis in “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”
by Timothy Greer

The Town that Billy Sunday Could Not Shut Down
by Susan Rice

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You: The Frequently Unpleasant Consequences of Spousal Secrets in the Canon
by Marshall Berdan

Decoding the Writings on the Writings: A Consideration of the Scholarship on “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”
by Ashley D. Polasek

The Usual Suspects: Contributors

Learn More

Audio Interview with the editor (podcast at I Hear of Sherlock)

Other BSI Manuscript Series books

BSI Press / Books overview page

About the Series

The Baker Street Irregulars, the literary society focused on Sherlock Holmes, in cooperation with leading libraries and private collectors, publishes The Manuscript Series to bring to the public facsimile editions of manuscripts and other documents relating to Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with insightful commentary by talented Sherlockian and Doylean writers.

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