A message from the owner of
Ronald J. Gibson

My Sherlockian Friends:

My great-grandfather was U.S. Sen. J. Neil Gibson, whom Mr. Sherlock Holmes once assisted (Dr. John Watson related the case in "The Problem of Thor Bridge"). In 1985, I invited the good doctor to visit my Victorian Villa Inn. He was delighted by his experience, and returned the next year -- with his famous friend. They have come regularly ever since.

Secrets are hard to keep in Union City. Word has spread about these exclusive weekend sojourns. As a result, over the past several years, the Villa has been enjoyed by many members of Sherlockian groups from the Midwest and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts -- often repeatedly.

As you know, Mr. Holmes has been retired since 1903 and accepts new cases only if they have features of interest. However, he is asked frequently by the local constabulary to assist in their investigations. As Mr. Holmes has been heard to say, "Union City is delightful. It is a hell-hole of crime of great depth and brilliance."

The mysteries that have occurred here have not been mere guessing-games or vote-for-the-killer fictions. Mr. Holmes never would join in such childishness. These cases have been true enigmas requiring perseverance, keen alertness and real-world logic to solve.

The less ambitious of our guests sit back and watch the events unfold as they relax in the parlour or enjoy a hearty afternoon tea or multi-course Victorian gourmet dinner.

But, as thousands of visitors have learned since 1987, it's hard to keep from plunging into the action. Those who engage their skills at observation and deduction will find themselves pleasantly stimulated. And occasionally in peril!

Events begin Friday evenings when guests meet Mr. Holmes and his longtime biographer. Should the duo have a case on hand -- and they often do -- the guests may be asked to apply their energies to it, and to provide Mr. Holmes with the fruits of their labors.

Saturdays often find everyone in the Villa engaged in diligent sleuthing of a case that may involve blackmail, espionage, robbery, murder -- or worse. That is, when they're not strolling about the estate, lazing in the gazebo or playing croquet on the lawn.

Despite his 145 years, Mr. Holmes has lost none of his wit or expertise. He won't be found lounging about or engaging in any frivolity. No croquet for him. Before he returns to his Sussex bee-farm, you can depend on Mr. Holmes to have thrust any local wrongdoer behind bars. After a day of danger and derring-do, guests usually depart on Sunday mornings feeling invigorated, enthused and encouraged that justice has prevailed.

Because of our contact with Mr. Holmes over the years, educators have called on the Villa's staff to assist them with gifted and talented programs in Michigan and Indiana. Scores of guests who are professional attorneys, police officers and even judges have remarked that the cases presented here are surprisingly realistic and challenging. We're proud of that reputation..

But the focus at the Villa is always on elegance and fun. Guests may dress in Victorian garb -- or come as they are -- and participate as much (or as little) as they wish. Rather than play roles as in other such events (obviously contrived and written in advance), guests act as Mr. Holmes's "Irregulars," and the most diligent and successful of them is likely to receive a reward.

Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes recently completed their visits for 1998, but they plan to return several times during 1999, as long as the excellent health they both enjoy holds out. PLEASE NOTE: We regret that Watson and Holmes have suspended their visits for the time being; please contact us if you wish to arrange for a special dinner visit or a visit from Mr. Holmes off the grounds of the Villa.

By special arrangement, gift certificates are available from the Villa, so that your Sherlockian loved one or friend might enjoy an astonishing experience -- thanks to you! Also, groups may enjoy a single-night's stay, or just a gourmet Victorian-style meal in the Villa's restaurant, with Sherlock Holmes as the host. If a kind Providence favors the guests, he just may have a case at hand!

Also because of our unique arrangement, Mr. Holmes sometimes is able to pay visits to Sherlockian societies whose members wish to make their acquaintance with the Master beyond the realm of the printed page.

I hope, someday, that we will meet -- and that you will find your own visit to The Victorian Villa Inn to be as exciting as you anticipate!

Ronald J. Gibson

601 N. Broadway
Union City, MI 49094
Call (517) 741-7383 or (800) 34-VILLA, or FAX (517) 741-4002

DIRECTIONS: From I-69, exit M-60 (Exit 25); 7 miles west to Union City,
and left on Broadway (the main street of town). Continue to inn on North Broadway.

The Sidney Paget scans featured on these pages are
from the 221b Baker Street Page (see link on our main page),
used with the kind permission of Michael Sherman.

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