It's the Christmas season at SteynOnline. As has been traditional round these parts for many years, we have bargains galore among our Steynamite specials - and, in celebration of our twentieth birthday, there's twenty per cent off everything at the Steyn Store.
Notwithstanding Mark's current and very serious health issues, we will have a full panoply of seasonal programming in the days ahead, including Tales for Our Time, Steyn's series of audio adventures that come December turns to more festive fare.
The latest of our Christmas entertainments this year is very different from its predecessors, but we hope also to your tastes. It brings us back to the author who launched this series, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and his most famous creation, last glimpsed round these parts in an unusual detour into Great War espionage. This rather more domestic mystery was first published in Strand Magazine in 1892 and its central character is a familiar Christmas figure, at least to Victorian London. In this first episode of The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, prefaced by Steyn's introduction, Dr Watson calls on Holmes and finds the great man fascinated by an old, worn hat:
'Its owner is unknown. I beg that you will look upon it not as a battered billycock but as an intellectual problem. And, first, as to how it came here. It arrived upon Christmas morning, in company with a good fat goose, which is, I have no doubt, roasting at this moment in front of Peterson's fire. The facts are these: about four o'clock on Christmas morning, Peterson, who, as you know, is a very honest fellow, was returning from some small jollification and was making his way homeward down Tottenham Court Road. In front of him he saw, in the gaslight, a tallish man, walking with a slight stagger, and carrying a white goose slung over his shoulder. As he reached the corner of Goodge Street, a row broke out between this stranger and a little knot of roughs. One of the latter knocked off the man's hat, on which he raised his stick to defend himself and, swinging it over his head, smashed the shop window behind him. Peterson had rushed forward to protect the stranger from his assailants; but the man, shocked at having broken the window, and seeing an official-looking person in uniform rushing towards him, dropped his goose, took to his heels, and vanished amid the labyrinth of small streets which lie at the back of Tottenham Court Road. The roughs had also fled at the appearance of Peterson, so that he was left in possession of the field of battle, and also of the spoils of victory in the shape of this battered hat and a most unimpeachable Christmas goose.'
To hear Part One of The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, prefaced by Mark's introduction to the story, please click here and log-in.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club over five years ago, and we're very touched by all those SteynOnline regulars across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. As wesaid at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone - all Mark's columns, audio interviews, video content, all our movie features and songs of the week. None of it's going behind a paywall, because we want it out there in the world, being read and being heard and being viewed, and maybe changing an occasional mind somewhere along the way.
That said, if you've enjoyed our members-only bonus features such as our Steyn Club audio adventures and you're looking for a Yuletide present for someone special, we hope you'll consider a Christmas Gift Membership. Aside from Mark's Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with Mark, such as last Friday's;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, and our other video content;
~Mark's video series of classic poetry;
~Priority booking for Mark's live appearances around the world, and other events such as the annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise (following October's sell-out inaugural cruise);
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle but to all our other audio adventures.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, whether you appreciate the subtleties of Mark's reading of this Christmas Tale for Our Time or find it far too elementary, my dear Watson, then feel free to comment away below. And do join us tomorrow for the concluding installment of The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.
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