Contents:

What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An Interview with David Nobbs.

I am very pleased to present  another brief question and answer session with David Nobbs, a master of the humorous novel, one of the UK's finest novelists working in that vein. Well known for the creation of Reginald Perrin, the eponymous hero of four novels and subsequent TV series starring Leonard Rossiter. His other works include the quartet of Henry Pratt novels which contain my own favourite, 'Second From Last In The Sack Race' the funniest book I have ever read. So there. 'The Second Life Of Sally Mottram' is his 20th novel and I was able to catch up with David and throw a few questions at him which he duly caught and returned to me:

Your latest novel 'The Second Life of Sally Mottram' takes place in the Pennine town of Potherthwaite. Did you have an actual location in mind or is the town an amalgam of various towns you know?
Potherthwaite is not based on anywhere specific, and in the main is based on my  vague knowledge of towns in the Pennines.  The one specific reference that I can trace  to an actual town  is the reference – I think it’s in the very first chapter – is to the stone houses climbing the hills as if trying to escape from a flood  This image came to me from houses I saw in Hebden Bridge, but I have taken great care to ensure that the lay-out of the town doesn’t resemble Hebden Bridge or anywhere that I know.  I love making up towns – Thurmarsh (Henry Pratt), Throdnall  (Sex and Other Changes).

Sally's motivation in the novel stems from her chance reading of a couple of books detailing the 'Transistion Movement'. Was this an epiphany for you too in the sense it gave shape to a novel which was already in your head? Or did the delving into the 'Transition Movement' give you the idea for the novel?
There’s no clear cut answer to this one.  I did know of the Transition movement.  I was very interested in it because I care very much about what is happening to our towns, and I was also influenced by a cluster of tweets revo0lving round the actor Neil Stuke, who played C.J. in the Martin Clunes version of Perrin.  He was involved in a strong anti-Tesco campaign, and a Save Our High Street initiative.  Then, when I went to visit my stepdaughter Kim in the Lotoise area of France, near Cahors, I discovered that she was involved in making a film about local Transition projects, and she had the books, which I dipped into and decided to buy.  In fact I didn’t use the books very much, I wanted this to be Sally’s story  and Potherthwaite’s story, and didn’t want to tie it in too closely with facts from elsewhere.

Did you or do you find writing from the viewpoint of a woman more challenging than say, writing the characters of Reggie Perrin or Henry Pratt?
I seem to take to it very naturally, and with about two exceptions women seem to be convinced by my women.  This is only my second book with a female protagonist.  The first was Going Gently.  I think this is my best book since Going Gently,so maybe I should try it more often.  Incidentally, Sally (and Kate in Going Gently) is not based on a specific person any more than Potherthwaite is.

No arguments here, I believe too that it's your best book since Going Gently. How do you structure your writing day? Do you treat it as a 9-5 job or only write when the muse pays a visit?
9 to 5 is a bit long for me at my age.  In fact it always was.  Quality is the aim, not quantity.  Four hours of truly inventive work is usually about the maximum.  I very rarely  set the alarm in order to start work at a particular time.  Good sleep is never a waste of time and should be interrupted as little as possible. Sometimes I bang some clothes on, sometimes I have breakfast first.  I almost always start work before breakfast over a cup of tea, and then carry on, usually for the rest of the morning.  None of it, though, is set in stone.  A couple of weeks ago I worked all evening almost till midnight – the first time I had worked in the evening for several years.  It just came to me that I wanted to, but it didn’t set a pattern.  I always say to young writers, if a day isn’t working, give up, do something else. But never do this two days running.  It’s no use waiting too long for the muse.  Evasive blighters, muses, as Jimmy would say.
 
Tricky coves indeed. For all the ups and downs that any career must have, is there anything you would change? Another direction you feel you could have taken?
Lots of things could have been done differently and better, but I don’t regret anything because I’m happy where I am now, and I might not be here if things had gone differently.   

Once the characters are in your head, fully-formed as it were, do you then have trouble jettisoning them when the novel is complete?
At last a really simple answer. No.  Sometimes, though, they come back to call on me, and then I’m into a sequel.

And what next? 80 next year (it's okay folks, it's not a secret), do you intend to slow down? Can you slow down? Have you slowed down?! Are there ideas in your head continuously just waiting to be turned into a novel? If so, will there be another?
I will be seeing my publishers next month, and I will be hoping to secure a two book deal.   We usually work in terms of two book deals. I have five ideas for novels, and we will talk them through and, I hope, arrive at a decision.  I am also presenting one or two TV ideas to various companies.  Who knows what will come of them, but I feel more inventive than I have for many years.
 
Thanks, David.  Good questions!

And thank you, David for your time and customary good humour. Visit David's website: www.davidnobbs.com

Saturday, 28 June 2014

THE COTSWOLDS WEREWOLF

The Cotswolds Werewolf is a collection of stories by Peter K Andersson. I was intrigued by the title as my last two books feature the Cotswolds and I was eager to see a Holmes story set in that beautiful area of England. The Cotswolds Werewolf is the lead-off story and is very well constructed with nice, very nice pacing and with nice philosophical asides for Holmes to get his teeth into. Which is just as well as Homes is suffering from what may be termed depression  and the countryside is not able to
rouse hi from his ennui but a spot of sheep murdering does the trick. There are some lovely eccentrics who people this tale and the author keeps  a tight hold on the proceeding while staying true to the Holmes and Watson we know and love. The accompanying shorter stories again display the author's grip on all things Holmesian. The Adventure of the Velvet Lampshade is particularly effective with a fabulous twist. In many respects, it is perhaps the best story in the collection, it is difficult to fault it. But the other stories all have their quirks and foibles and come recommended as a worthy addition to anyone's Holmesian library.

 
The Cotswolds Werewolf and other Stories of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon KindleKobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).
 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

THE SECOND LIFE OF SALLY MOTTRAM

The Second Life of Sally Mottram is David Nobbs's latest 'comic' 'humorous' novel. You know how it is, you see a review which tells you how the book in question is 'heart-warming' or 'uplifting' and you think ho-hum, really? Well, let me tell you, this novel really is. It tells the story of how one woman, Sally Mottram (but you guessed that) sets out to rescue her town from a terminal decline.
This is something she cannot accomplish alone and with a small band of helpers and supporters she sets out to restore pride to her home town of Potherthwaite. We are introduced to this motley band at a leisurely pace, giving us time to identify with them and get to know them. We learn of their weaknesses, their foibles. David Nobbs's humour is, as always, nicely observed..not forced in anyway. The humour comes from the characters themselves, no funny lines tacked on at random here. The build up to the big day when Sally delivers her speech outlining her plans on the Town Hall steps may be leisurely, but it's involving and is a mix of comedy plus the odd tragedy which David is so adept at. From the moment Sally addresses the townfolk, the novel really moves forward at a pace, the effect for the reader as for the people of the town is uplifting. I found the book very moving and very funny. Sally's second life is really the gift of giving a second life to others. She is changed, they are changed and ultimately we are changed through the experience. The novel is a triumph and is one of David Nobbs's very best which considering his output is high praise indeed. Actually, thinking about it some more, it may well be his best novel. I loved it....can you tell? Heart-warming and uplifting..so there.

www.davidnobbs.com

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Ashley Polasek...The newest Baker Street Babe!!

Who are the Baker Street Babes? In their own words: The Baker Street Babes are an all-female group of Sherlock Holmes fans who talk about everything from canon to Cumberbatch, Charles Augustus Milverton to Jude Law, and dancing men to Jeremy Brett. We love Sherlock Holmes and we love having well informed, but also quite fun discussions about it. We’re all young and we’re all females, but we’re all die hard Sherlockians/Holmesian. It’s a demographic within the Sherlock Holmes fandom that is new and growing and doesn’t yet have a voice. We hope to become that voice and we want to prove that we’re not just going to coo over Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch, as lovely as they are, but that we know the canon and want to have discussions about it as well.

I have been fortunate enough to meet four of the Babes while attending events in London and I can attest to their Sherlockian single-mindedness. Now, who is Ashley Polasek? She is a fast rising star of the Sherlockian world. Her own words: I’m finishing a PhD in the study of Sherlock Holmes adaptations, and I have an experience of presenting Sherlock Holmes-related papers at academic conferences which extends over many nations and three separate continents.Things I love: books, travel, theatre, swords, whisky, and DIY projects. Things I hate: wilful ignorance, tedium, misused semicolons, and Rupert Everett’s eyebrows. Ashley was a major contributor to Holmesian.net where her knowledge and insights astounded everyone. She has gone to share a stage with Lyndsay Faye, been interviewed on various TV shows including Lyme Regis TV!! And now she has been accorded the accolade of being a Baker Street Babe. 

I have had the pleasure of meeting Ashley a few times, shared several pints of cider and been blown away by her intelligence and sense of fun even though she likes Barry Manilow! She is also a poet of note as befits a disciple of Walt Whitman. Her poems on Holmesian.net were a highlight indeed and this one in particular which is set firmly in the universe of Holmes and Watson:

Did You See Them?

In the translucent gaslight glow
Through the dense swirling fog and mist
Undying phantoms may exist
Ghosts of an age you long to know

A passing shadow in the night
Slithers just in and out of view
Though uncertain if it's true
You pause to catch a fleeting sight

A muted whisper on the breeze
Hovers Ethereal, Unclear
Though never sure it's really here
You strain to catch each faint reprise

Gliding across the fields of time
Memories of an age conceal
From unseen spectre to the real
You make contact with the sublime

The ghosts of long dead past unveil
Burst from anarchic human mind
And as that thought and act align
You join and live their timeless tale!


One day you know there will be an amazing scholarly tome from Ashley...or a pastiche novel. What do you think, Ashley?

Follow Ashley here: https://twitter.com/SherlockPhD

The Babes here: http://bakerstreetbabes.com/

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Detective, The Woman and the Silent Hive

Amy Thomas just keeps on growing. Or, before she becomes alarmed, I should say that her writing skills just keep on growing. The latest in her series of books featuring Irene Adler, Holmes and Watson is another stunning read. The narrative is stronger than ever, with shades of one of Holmes's former case handled very well. The characterisations are spot on throughout, Miss Thomas does not put a foot wrong, she is completely in control. It is appealing and involving. Alternate chapters give us the alternate viewpoints of Holmes and Irene, it works very well as it has done before for the author. The plot kicks off with the death of the bees that Irene keeps in her hives at Fulworth. An accident? A air-borne disease? Or something else entirely?

This really is a delightful read from start to finish. Amy Thomas knows her subjects well. She knows the era well. And she pleases the reader very well indeed. The best of the series so far. High standards indeed.   




The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).
 

                                     

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Investigations of Sherlock Holmes

And another pastiche appears! A collection of short stories by John Heywood. Is there anything that marks this one out from the crowd. Yes! Namely, it's brilliant.

Some pastiche writers excel at dialogue, some with narrative, some with plotting. I find it quite rare to come across a writer who combines all those elements and gets each of those elements spot on.
John Heywood does precisely that. I can be picky with my own work and extremely picky with other's work, alighting on mis-spellings, confusion of tenses, anachronisms etc. I could find no examples of any of these in The Investigations of Sherlock Holmes, this collection is as perfect as it gets. Open it up where you will and you will find no false notes at all. This is a loving re-creation of Holmes and Watson's world by a writer who obviously knows his subjects well, nay, loves them. With this collection, John Heywood jumps into the front rank of Holmesian interpreters. I wish two things: 1. That there are more to come. 2. That I had written them!  It may well be the finest collection of short stories to appear for many years. No, damn it, it is the finest collection to appear in many, many years!

The Investigations of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository .

Friday, 28 March 2014

Sherlock Holmes pastiche views....

Pastiche Ponderings
What makes a pastiche a true pastiche? What criteria, if any, do we need to apply? I think of a true Holmes pastiche as being written/narrated by Watson in that familiar style we enjoy so much. If possible, taking it further, I prefer pastiches that have their opening scene in the sitting-room of 221b Baker Street, after all, as a location, it is the beating heart of the Canon. With one or two exceptions. all my Holmes pieces start in that fashion, it is where we see Holmes and Watson at their most relaxed and convivial. How far can we as authors take Holmes and Watson..are there places we
should not go? Themes and issues we should not address? For the most part, I would say no with some reservations, particularly as to 'slash' which often has homoerotic content, it's not the Holmes and Watson that I know and love. Old age and death is another issue which has caused controversy over the years. In essence, we cannot 'play the game' of Holmes and Watson et al being real people with real adventues unless we also acknowledge their mortality. The idea of the two of them in their latter years fascinates me, what changes would have come about in their relationship? Would old age have mellowed Holmes? My novella 'End Peace' takes this on a stage further and whilst I do not consider it a risky venture, some may have problems, not so much for character death (should there be any he says cagily!) but for other content!
Just had a quick head count of the Sherlock Holmes pastiches I own (novels not short stories which run into hundreds) and I find it to be 153!! Yes, one hundred and fifty-three, which of course got me to pondering once more on pastiches. It's fair to say, which I have on many occasions, that I prefer shorter novels (that's not necessarily the reason why mine are novella length-more to do with my limited plotting expertise!) but I do enjoy a certain amount of canonical fidelity, more than enjoy I guess, I positively demand it! First, my preference is for Watson to be narrating, it's well nigh impossible to see a Holmes story in any other light for me. Further fidelity comes from adhering to certain facts in the canon; for example using accepted Holmesian chronology such as birthdates for Holmes and Watson (1854 and 1852 respectively for me) and having the stories set within the framework of that chronology i.e nothing taking place between 1891 and 1894 ( yes I know Watson erred in that regard). With my own scribbling I have tried very hard to keep to those principles; 'Lyme Regis Horror' takes place during a blank period in 1896, acknowledges the fat that Mrs Watson is dead etc. 'Lyme Regis Trials is set in 1903 so we find Holmes retired to Sussex and Watson living in Queen Anne Street. I stress that this fidelity acts as a framework to hang a tale and with that fidelity as a starting point then flights of fancy may take the writer and by extension the reader anywhere, but Holmes, Watson and their world remains recognisable and grounded in 'reality'. Obviously this is a personal view and it does not mean that I have not enjoyed pastiches that do not follow these 'rules'. Holmes has to be Holmes and Watson has to be Watson, even the BBC's 'Sherlock' recognised that and whilst it cannot claim to be faithful to the canon, it is certainly true to the spirit of the original and there is enough canonical detail in there to satisfy most Holmesians. And now I am rambling.....and I am peckish......and I have a Rammstein CD lined up to play; nothing like German industrial/heavy metal to liven up one's day!!

Sherlock Holmes and The Lyme Regis Horror is available from all good bookstores worldwide including in the USAAmazon and Barnes and Noble, in the UK Amazon, Waterstones. Fans outside the US and UK can get free delivery fromBook Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).

Sherlock Holmes and The Lyme Regis Legacy is available from all good bookstores worldwide including in the USA AmazonClassic Specialities and Barnes and Noble,  in the UK Amazon and Waterstones, elsewhere Book Depository offer free worldwide delivery - and in all electronic formats including Amazon KindleNookKobo and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone)

Sherlock Holmes and The Lyme Regis Trialsis available from all good bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazonand Barnes and Noble, in the UK Amazon, Waterstones . Fans outside the US and UK can get free worldwide delivery from Book Depository  - and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone)


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sherlock Holmes....Russia...and twisting.

Great news!!  Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror, Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Legacy, Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trials and Holmes and Watson: End Peace have all been translated into Russian! Very excited to get the news....me in a foreign language...extraordinary!

A Twist of Lyme seems to be going down well and emboldened by this I am 10,000 words into the sequel. Seem to be very much in writing mode at the moment, long may it continue. Hopeful the omnibus hardback Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trilogy will see the light of day this year, complete with glossaries and photographs. Watch this space.

Monday, 10 February 2014

THE ABYSS.......

Pleased to say 'The Abyss' is back up and out there, available to all after post-problems!! Will post some links soon, but readily available from Amazon, The Book Depository etc and all book-selling websites. A different venture for me in form and content, but one I enjoyed writing very much. Go get it!! 



Friday, 31 January 2014

The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter.

Author, Tim Symond's third Sherlockian outing is 'Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter'. It is, as you my have come to expect from this author, rich in historical detail...the result of meticulous research. Be assured then that if Mr Symonds states something as a fact, then it is indeed a fact. the story kicks off with a money-making venture by Watson who for financial gain wishes to photograph at the Reichenbach Falls, an added complication is a certain Colonel Sebastian Moran
who is still hankering after revenge and has to be thrown off the scent before any Swiss trip can take place. This having been done, although disguises have been adopted (Watson's as a sea-captain falls at the first hurdle in a flash of humour), our intrepid pair set off for Switzerland. While there, Holmes is asked to look at the early life of Albert Einstein with regard to skeletons in the cupboard, particularly with reference to Einstein's daughter, Lieserl. Who was she? What happened to her? Holmes's investigations takes them from Switzerand to Serbia to a solution which is good an explanation of what happened to Einstein's daughter as any I have seen before. The wealth of detail complement the story not overwhelm it. Mr Symonds has a masterly eye for detail which fortunately is never allowed to slow down or deviate the reader from the plot. Holmes and Watson are canonical, but still have foibles that Mr Symonds has allocated them which gives them depth as characters. The novel zips along imbued with the author's care, spirit and love for his characters. It works as history, it works as fiction of the highest order. In short, it is highly recommended.

Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UKWatson’s Lounge and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Kobo,  Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).