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Sherlock Holmes conference at U of M more than elementary detective work

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About 150 Sherlock Holmes authorities, academic and aficionados got on the case at the University of Minnesota over the weekend to hash over all things to do with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed fictional detective, the Pioneer Press reports.

The three-day conference -- titled "Sherlock Holmes: Through Time and Place" -- was held at the university's Elmer L. Anderson Library. The event, which is organized by the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota and the Friends of the Sherlock Holmes Collections at the U of M, is held every three years.

This year's conference reflected on the current wave of popularity of Holmes on TV and in film, including the CBS series "Elementary," the BBC/PBS series "Sherlock" and the the two "Sherlock Holmes" movies staring Robert Downey Jr.

The consensus among Sherlockians at the conference was that the Downey films are correctly set in the Victorian era, but there are too many explosions and too few deductions.

The U of M has what is believed to be the largest collection of Sherlock Holmes materials in the world, including 11,000 titles including four copies of the valuable title of the 1887 publication that first featured Holmes in print. The collection also includes tens of thousands of Holmes-branded objects and artifacts, from artworks and sculptures, to shower curtains and dog chew toys.

While the gathering sounds similar to other hardcore pop culture gatherings, the tone is apparently much more serious.

Soren Eversoll, a 12-year-old conference attendee from St. Paul, tells the Pioneer Press, "We're different from the Trekkies. We're not dressed up. And we're interested in more serious things."

Other attendees at this year's conference included a federal judge from New York City and International Red Cross delegate from Switzerland.

The Pioneer Press says the U of M gets about 100 years from researchers to get some insight on Holmes.

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