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.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Missing Snowman heads out.......

....into the wide world, hopefully spreading delight wherever it pitches up. Prior to its travels, there was some extensive road testing. Skene School in Scotland were introduced to it one chilly day not so long ago and the result is here:

We were very lucky to be asked to preview and give our opinions on a new book written by author David Ruffle. The book called Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman is a lovely story about a little girl Henrietta who loses her snowman and asks Sherlock Holmes to help her find out where he has gone.

Most of the children enjoyed the story and thought the illustrations were very interesting too.

Crawford said, “It was fantastic!"

Rikey Austin

“An excellent story – I liked it all,” said Alfie.

Caitlin thought the story was brilliant especially when Henrietta kissed Sherlock Holmes on the cheek to say thank you for finding her snowman.         

Leah at 'The Well-Read Sherlockian' let her children loose on our 'missing friend'. The result is here:

'Having been blessed with three little people myself, I thought I’d give The Missing Snowman a field test. My kids are 10, 9, and 7–the first two a little older than Ruffle’s target audience, but since they still enjoy being read to, I figured they’d do in a pinch, so we snuggled up on the couch before bedtime. Here are their reactions:':

Daughter, 10: “Sherlock Holmes is like a mysterious character. He likes kids and talks to them so they can understand things.”

Son, 9: “It was great!”

Son, 7: “It was awesome!”

Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5 “This is a wonderful book that gets it right.”

Sherlock Holmes and The Missing Snowman is available from all good bookshops including in the USA Amazon , in the UK Amazon and Waterstones. For elsewhere Book Depository who offer free delivery worldwide.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

An interview with David Nobbs

I am very pleased to present a 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.

You have worked with many comedy greats over the years; Have you a particular comedy hero?

Leonard Rossiter, who was inspired both physically and verbally, hardly ever put a foot wrong, and combined subtlety and speed in a way that seemed barely possible, but only by a short head from Les Dawson, whose love of words, talent for physical comedy, and willingness to face challenges set him apart from any of the other comedians with whom I worked.

In a similar vein; Which actors do you feel have come closest to portraying your characters as you saw them?

All the regulars in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and A Bit Of A Do. Nothing else came near, and it’s no wonder they were my most successful series.

Which of your novels are you the most proud of?

Funniest book I have ever read!
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Second From Last In The Sack Race, Going Gently, and The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger. (No arguments from this quarter. DR)

Some of the episodes I have most enjoyed in your work has been some non-comic moments such as the death of Ponsonby, Percy Spraggs and the returning ghost of Neville Badger. These are handled so well, did you enjoy writing these episodes as much as the comic ones?

Yes, on the whole I did. Sometimes I think I am just a bit too anxious to make people laugh, and it’s just as important to make them feel. In fact, if they don’t feel for a character they can only laugh at them, not with them.

It seems to me there has been a change from the earlier comic novels to novels with a comic content. Do you see it the same way or do you not care for such labels?

I don’t like the label ‘comic novels’. I prefer the label ‘humorous novels’. I write novels that have a lot of comedy in them, but they have serious elements too. I think perhaps I have deepened the serious content, but I wouldn’t ever contemplate a novel with no humour, though I would rather like to try one, just once, that is utterly comic. I suppose the book where I got the mixture absolutely right was the first Reggie Perrin book. A deeply serious theme exploration of a man in crisis, but told just about entirely through comedy.

A new novel is on the way; Can you tell us a little about it?

I don’t think I can answer this question as the book is now out and you have reviewed it. (See post below for my review. DR)

And what of the future? What plans have you?

At the moment, and partly due to the difficulty of getting things accepted on television and even on radio, my mind is much taken up with my next book. There are two possible subjects. I will explore them in the next month and make my decision between them after Christmas. All I am prepared to say at this stage is that that one is a portrait of people in a small town and the other is written in the first person as a woman in her early forties.

My thanks to David for his time in answering my questions, questions which no doubt he has been bombarded with many times before. Check his books will not be disappointed.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

David Nobbs's latest novel reviewed

David Nobbs is one of the UK's finest comic-novelists and the creator of many well-loved characters such as Reggie Perrin, Henry Pratt etc. A screenwriter of note for many TV shows,'The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger' is his nineteenth novel. Its title is at once reminiscent of the entry of Reginald Iolanthe Perrin into the literary world some thirty-seven years ago. Are there parallels between the two men? Do the books share a common theme? First, I see the author's career as two distinct halves, from the early out and out comic novels (those that make you laugh out loud helplessly) to the novels which have comic moments. Perhaps that sounds too simplistic, but it's how I see his work. Even those 'out and out' comic novels have moments of beauty which move, (Ponsonby's death in 'Reggie', Percy's death in 'A Bit Of A Do'), there are lines which I re-read many times, so breathtaking they can be. The change came with 'Going Gently', a richly rewarding read (alliteration....can't beat it!) of the final days in an old woman's life and her review of her life and family. It's dark yet uplifting, sad with many richly comic moments. Further novels seemed to me to continue that trend away from the earlier dialogue-lead comic novels to novels which dealt more with the realities of life; in essence they did not rely solely on comedy for their enjoyment. Which takes us to Sir Gordon Coppinger. Whereas Reggie Perrin descended into a form of madness (or an alternative sanity), Sir Gordon falls into reality and sanity. There are great insights on what it's like to live your life in the glare of the public eye, to be 'adored' (not by waiters), to be feted and how quickly this can change when reality begins to crumble. To his amazement, as this 'fall' occurs he begins to find himself, the human being within as opposed to the caricature he has become. Along with the extremely well-written glimpses of family life, home life and sibling rivalries there are some exquisite moments between Sir Gordon and his butler, Farringdon. Farringdon is straight out of the Jeeves mould and his language is Wodehousian (up to a point!) and when writing comedy it can never be a bad thing to be reminded of Wodehouse. I still cannot tell you whether I felt any sympathy for Sir Gordon (perhaps we are not meant to). He is presented warts and all with all the weaknesses of any man and fortunately a few strengths too. 'The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger' is a worthy addition to David Nobb's canon. It's involving and amply pays back the time that is spent in reading it. It's very well written as you would expect from this author and as much as I enjoy the earlier works ('Second From Last In The Sack Race' makes me laugh out loud more than any other book I have ever read!) I feel with each successive book David Nobbs grows more accomplished as a novelist, he didn't get where he is today by simply writing comedy. Highly recommended.

'The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger' is available at more bookshops and websites than you can shake various sticks at.

Visit David Nobb's website at:

Friday, 23 November 2012

TopTens from 'Doctor Dan'

Dan Andriacco discovered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes stories at about the age of nine. Not long after, he became acquainted with such greats of the Golden Age of detective fiction as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner, and many more.He has been a member of the Tankerville Club, a Cincinnati-based scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars, since 1981. That connection is reflected in many ways in his book Baker Street Beat: An Eclectic Collection of Sherlockian Scribblings. Andriacco's Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody mystery series, (three books to date)set in a small town in Ohio, is very much in the tradition of his Golden Age favorites.
"McCabe is a great detective in the classic mode," Andriacco says. "By that I mean he is a polymath amateur sleuth. He's a college professor at at small Catholic college, but he's also a mystery writer, a magician, and a linguist. I would love to meet the man, but I'm not sure I'd want to be his best friend.
"His 'Watson,' Jeff Cody is not only his best friend, but also his brother-in-law and the public relations director for the college where Mac teachers. These multiple relationships carry multiple tensions, which I hope is a source of humor. These books are supposed to be fun and funny. Judging by reviewers, they seem to hit that mark for most readers."



"The Hound of the Baskervilles"
“His Last Bow”
“The Adventure of the Red-Headed League”
“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”
“The Adventure of Charles August Milverton”
"The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
“The Final Problem”
“The Adventure of the Empty House”
“A Scandal in Bohemia”
"The Valley of Fear"


"The Final Solution" – Michael Chabron
“The Adventure of the Unique ‘Hamlet’” – Vincent Starrett
“The Adventure of the Unique Dickensians” – August Derleth
The West End Horror" – Nicholas Meyer
Sherlock Homes vs. Dracula: The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count – Loren D. Estleman
Dust and Shadow – Lindsay Faye
Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes – Ann Margaret Lewis
Goodnight, Mr. Holmes – Carol Nelson Douglas
Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Boer Wagon – Kieran McMullen
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror – David Ruffle
(I won’t mention “The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden”)


221B Baker Street
The Diogenes Club
Simpson’s in the Strand
Reichenbach Falls
Baskerville Hall
Stoke Moran
Birlstone Manor House
King’s Pyland, Dartmoor
Pondicherry Lodge
The Sussex Downs (Holmes’s villa)

Visit Dan's excellent blog at: Baker Street Beat where you can find details of where to purchase his excellent books. And much more!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sherlock Holmes And The Case of the Bulgarian Codex

New from Tim Symonds, the author of Sherlock Holmes And The Dead Boer At Scotney Castle (MX Publishing 2012).

It's the year 1900. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson receive an urgent commission from the Prince Regnant of Bulgaria to come to Sofia. The Codex Zographensis, the most ancient and most sacred manuscript in the Old Bulgarian language has been stolen. Its disappearance could lead to the outbreak of war between Russia, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire…

What follows is a story of duplicity, murder, vampires and greed for vast estates in Bulgaria and Hungary, with the fate of millions in Sherlock Holmes's hands.
Although the events in Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Bulgarian Codex are fictional, the principal character Prince Ferdinand is based closely on one of the most compelling personalities in world history, the real Prince Regnant, later Tsar, who ruled Bulgaria from 1887 until his forcible abdication in 1918.

A snippet: The Balkans loom…


"SNORTING and champing at the bit like a high-strung warhorse, the Orient Express stayed its departure from the Gare de Strasbourg while Sherlock Holmes and I flung ourselves from a five-glass landau and clambered into the private cars of the Prince Regnant of Bulgaria. Our boxes tumbled in behind us. It was late on a Friday afternoon in April, in the year 1900. With a minatory scream the immense train pulled away on its long journey to Stamboul. Soon Paris was left behind. Without noise or jerk we were going fifty miles per hour without seeming to move. The case of the Bulgarian Codex had commenced."

Amazon UK and kindle reader link at : Kindle

and all bookselling websites worldwide and bookstores.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Ten Days to go......................

Ten days to go to the publication of 'Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman'. Here is no childish Sherlock Holmes, no Sherlock Holmes as a mouse, a dog or a cat etc. But a canonical Holmes. In 221b where he belongs, with the fire roaring, the unopened correspondence transfixed to the mantle by a jack-knife, the pipe rack ready for use. In Watson's corner we have the framed pictures of General Gordon and Henry Ward Beecher (yes, I know it should be unframed!). It may be a book aimed at younger children, but great pains have been taken to produce a recognisable Holmes and Watson in a recognisable and authentic setting and here there is a big thank you to Rikey Austin, her illustrations are quite, quite wonderful. Winter is on the way, Christmas is on the way and this will hopefully delight any child or indeed adult who find it in their Christmas stockings.

Sherlock Holmes and The Missing Snowman is available to pre-order from all good bookshops including in the USA Amazon , in the UK Amazon and Waterstones. For elsewhere Book Depository who offer free delivery worldwide.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Trilogy.......

The publication in December of 'Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trials' will bring to a close the Sherlock Holmes/Lyme Regis trilogy. So, what can you expect from each book in the series? How closely are they connected?
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror: Takes its inspiration from Bram Stoker's Dracula and of course from Lyme Regis. It introduces a love interest for Watson and several characters in the town who take on a life of their own in the two subsequent books. Started as a two page exercise and grew from there. Originally self-published in December 2009 and I was pleased with the response to it. The expanded 2nd edition, published by MX Publishing, features extra content. The extra content: Two 'lengthy short' pieces involving Holmes with the Australian cricket team of 1899 and a re-working of MR James's 'Casting The Runes'. Three Christmas pieces including 'Henrietta's Problem' the begetter of 'Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Snowman'. Two ghost stories and a poem complete the collection.
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Legacy: Faster paced than its predecessor and a tad more violence along the way (all understated). An old adversary is out for revenge and not just on Holmes and Watson. Four violent deaths punctuate the tale before a resolution take place culminating in one more death. Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes put in an appearance as do the Lyme Regis 'regulars'. There is humour too, mostly regarding Watson's various attempts to devour plum puddings. There is humour too in the extra content: Here, Holmes and Watson encounter Laurel and Hardy, visit the land of Oz, star in their own version of Masterchef and stumble into a Dad's Army/Frasier episode!!  Humour too in a poem I wrote as an ode to Holmes in the style of William McGonagall. A history of Lyme Regis is included and two poems celebrating life in Lyme.
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trials: Have to say, no great mystery here, but rather, me celebrating Holmes and Watson in Lyme Regis. There is a revenge motif again and chicaneries of the Admiralty play a part too. A lot of the action takes place in the Royal Lion Hotel, a fine place for it! I have tried to make it bright, breezy and fun as befits the end of the series and the characters. Submarines, actresses, madmen, shaggy dog, and a good time had by all. Pinched a paragraph from David Nobbs, one of the UK's leading comic novelists, to finish it all off (with his permission). And that's about it really, apart from the extra content: This time it's just one story, based on an unpublished account mentioned by Watson, 'the Grosvenor Square furniture van'. Imagined here as a story of haunting and possession. Maybe.

Sherlock Holmes and The Lyme Regis Horror is available from all good bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon and Barnes and Noble - and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle, Kobo 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  - and in all electronic formats including Amazon KindleNookKobo and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone)
Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trials: is available to pre-order from all good bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon and UK: Amazon and Waterstones.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Wormwood Scrubs Enigma....

When two prison guards are found beheaded in the barren countryside surrounding Her Majesty's Prison at Wormwood Scrubs, Inspector Lestrade seeks Holmes' singular powers to determine how the murders could have been committed in separate locations with the only footprints being those of the murdered guards themselves. With Doctor Watson at his side, Holmes sets out on this new adventure and uncovers deeper mysteries still; mysteries that will not only test the detectives' powers of observation and deduction, but his skepticism of the paranormal as well.

Now, this is how I like pastiches to be, namely on the short side with characterisations of Holmes and Watson spot on. To me very often less is more and here the author presents us with a novel crime which appears to be 'impossible' yet how can we possibly think that with Sherlock Holmes on the scene. It's the equivalent of a locked-room mystery, but takes place outdoors. The plot development is skilful and not hurried along in spite of the brevity of the tale. The atmosphere is perfect and even the odd Americanism can be forgiven. I enjoyed this very much, but then as I have said it's exactly the kind of pastiche that does appeal to me; short, sweet and thoroughly entertaining. A big well-done to J. Andrew Taylor.

J. Andrew Taylor lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife and children. He enjoys (in addition to reading & writing), playing the drums, live music, museums, historical sites and art fairs.

'Sherlock Holmes and the Element of Surprise' is available from Amazon UK, USA, Barnes and Noble,The Book Depository (free worldwide delivery)

Visit the author's website at: