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.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Another excerpt from Watson: My Life

‘John, Henry is dead. He fell heavily down the stairs after coming home drunk. Lily found him the next morning, lying there with his neck broken. I am truly sorry, John.’ While Josiah recited this sad news to me, Irene was weeping uncontrollably, her face crumpled by grief. But, grief for my brother? I could hardly imagine that. But? ‘My God…Lily…why is she not here? Is she…?’ ‘She is well. John,’ said Irene. ‘She is in Carlisle still, in the same house…with her bairns.’ Children? There were children. A girl and boy I was told, Charlotte and John, just four and two years old. I recall running out of the house like a madman, intent on covering the ground to Carlisle as quick as I possibly could. My brother dead. Lily, his widow. A nephew and niece. I was unsure as to what kind of a father I would be, but I was determined to marry Lily and bring up my brother’s children. By the time I was half-way to Carlisle, this happy family had a house in London where the children would go to the finest schools, their uncle would have a successful medical practice and their mother would want for nothing. My face, when Lily opened the door, must have displayed every emotion under the sun. It’s a wonder she didn’t just shut it in my face as I seemed to be only capable of speaking gibberish. Rather than that course of action, she pulled me inside and we fell into each other’s arms. Seated on a small couch engrossed in their own company, playing some kind of game, were two of the sweetest looking children I had ever encountered. I immediately felt there was a bond between us. As for their mother.  I had so many questions I scarcely knew where to begin. Most of all, I wanted to know how she had come to marry my brother. I could hardly qualify it as a match made in heaven nor any kind of love match yet who I was I to judge? I had spent years away and had done virtually nothing to remain in contact with those I professed to love. Through Lily’s tears the whole story tumbled out. Henry had stopped drinking and had begun to reclaim his life which was anathema to the woman he lived with for she wanted no part of a sober life or a sober Henry. My brother sought for himself a respectable position and found one in Carlisle as an assistant in the Parks department of the council, responsible as part of a team for the maintenance of the recreational facilities provided throughout the town and its environs. It was in one of those parks that he ran into Lily. Naturally, they talked of old times and of me I was gratified to hear. ‘He was funny, John. He was charming and so determined to turn his life around. As for you, where were you? I had heard nothing from you. You promised to come and see me when you returned from Australia.’ Her word cut me to the quick. I had no answer for her for I had made a promise to her and my failure to keep it had stung me all these years. Maybe my relationship with Adeline had soured my taste for romance. My overriding thought as I was sitting there in Lily’s house was that now I had been given a chance to atone for my previous failures. ‘I thought long and hard, John, when he asked me to marry him. I knew his history, but I also could see how the future could be. He was attentive and loving, everything I could have wanted in a man. In the end I said yes of course and no woman could have done more to please her man, to make him proud.’ I asked her gently, what had happened, what had changed. ‘He started drinking once more two years ago and the alcohol dragged the wild side of him out, the coarse and abusive man that must have been concealed in him all this time just waiting for the proper release.’ She clung to me and wept as she approached the climax of her story. ‘He became violent, never to the children, but often to me. I felt his punches, his slaps. I learned how to cover up the bruises. I could not tell anyone, I felt trapped and the worst of it was that it was my fault.’ I remonstrated with her, how on earth could be her fault? Did she invite his violence to her? ‘I married him, John. That’s what I mean. I should have realised that sooner or later Henry would revert to his old ways. I could not tell my parents, it would be to confess my weakness twice over for they had urged me not to marry him.’ On that fateful last night, Henry had gone out carousing with his mates while Lily was left to put the children to bed. He had been in the blackest mood imaginable that day she told me and she was fearful that his mood would be even blacker on his return. In spite of her anxiety she had fallen into a deep sleep and heard nothing of Henry’s return and subsequent fall from the very top of the stairs. ‘But if the children had woken? I mean…well…I suppose I mean you would have heard them, Lily.’ ‘They did not wake, John.’ ‘My point is that…’ I found it hard to put my point into words, but it ran along the lines that if a mother would waken at hearing the slightest sound from her children during the night than surely the sound of a fully-grown man tumbling down the stairs was scarcely less of a disturbance. Lily smiled. ‘The sound of a child’s cry is different, John. Surely, you must know that. I heard nothing, nothing.’ I did not press the point and we talked of happier times as we drank tea. She spoke in vague terms of resuming her career or of going home to Corbridge to her parents where she and the children would be assured of being in a happy home. I thought the time was right and I made my proposal of marriage to her. I had rehearsed in in my head during the preceding few hours, what I had not allowed for was Lily’s refusal of my offer. ‘Dear, sweet John. We are not who we were. I am not Maid Marian, you are not Robin Hood. You are so kind to ask, but I cannot accept. I have my own life to lead. You might say I have made me bed and have to lay in it. A marriage cannot be built on the platonic love that we have always shared. There are other reasons too.’ She would not be drawn on the other reasons nor would she listen to further entreaties on my part. Her mind was made up, the answer was no and that was it. I made arrangements of a financial kind for my nephew and niece, settling a small allowance on them to be paid twice yearly into an account I would set up for them. Lily refused any such allowance for herself, but I made her promise that should she find herself in any financial hardship she would contact me immediately. As I fastened up my overcoat, she grabbed my arm and hung on for dear life. ‘I am so sorry, John, for everything. You mustn’t hate me.’ ‘I could never hate you,’ I assured her. It was only when I stood on the doorstep that the true meaning of her words hit me. ‘You pushed him, didn’t you?’ ‘Yes, I pushed him. Goodbye, John.’ The door slammed shut behind me like a metaphor for that part of my life closing. All the innocence of childhood, all those good times disappeared in that instant. I was not put on this earth to be judge and jury. I could not condemn Lily for her actions any more than I could condone my brother for his. I could and would not turn her in to the authorities. She had suffered enough, we all had. During the long train journey, I was haunted by the fact that all that happened could be lain squarely at my door. If I had kept my promise to Lily, then who knows how things would have turned out? No man is an island and the ripples we send out through our action or inaction can have the most profound effect on the lives of others. 

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Watson: My Life  is now finished!!!!

Here is an excerpt:

Mary featured in my dreams of last night. My remembrances of yesterday brought her back into focus. She had not inhabited a dream of mine for many years. So many memories still here in my admittedly fading memory. The murder of Ronald Adair and the return of Sherlock Holmes, that’s where I must start today. My reaction to Holmes’s return has a tendency to puzzle people. Why I did not rant and rage at his devious and harmful subterfuge in hiding the fact that he was still living? Why did I immediately fall in with assisting him? Over forty years on and I feel compelled to explain. What I described was an immediate reaction of mine to his sudden appearance. The friendship we had forged was at the forefront of my mind and I was, as I stated, overjoyed to see him alive and standing in front of me. Those emotions crowded out others which would bubble to the surface only later. Chief among these was my anger, unreasonable the fact of it may be, that Holmes was alive yet Mary was dead. I, of course, was not blaming Holmes for her death, but I grieved in differing ways for both of them. If Holmes could be re-born, why not Mary? Yes, irrational I know. Now, what I have to say may sound like heresy to some, but that emotional reunion with Holmes was not in reality quite how I depicted it. Yes, I was amazed to see him which is not quite the same as being overjoyed. The sequence of events then differed somewhat. I demanded a full explanation of what had driven him to allow me to believe he was dead. Of why he could treat a trusted friend and comrade that way. His explanation after I fainted that he had no idea I would be so affected was particularly hurtful. Then the other side of the coin was that in front of me was a man who had a peculiar difficulty in allowing emotions to alter his equilibrium. He really had no idea of what troughs of despair his ‘death’ would bring about in me. That we were able to continue our friendship was a miracle itself, but at that stage of my life I realised how much I needed Holmes in my life. In some ways we came to be dependent on each other although I very much doubt that he would have admitted to such a dependency. But, as history records, I joined with Holmes in the capture of Colonel Sebastian Moran and before too long found myself back in my old quarters. Once more assisting Holmes whilst keeping my doctoring hand in even after selling the Kensington practice for a very good price indeed. History also records how that transaction came about.[1]  The year following on from Holmes’s return was one of the busiest of his career. The cases came thick and fast with barely time to draw breath. The majority of these cases remain unchronicled. The best I could do was to acknowledge these cases in passing which even then infuriated people who reckoned I was just teasing them with these tantalising glimpses of adventures that would never be told. Perhaps I was. Perhaps I did so deliberately. The pre-eminence that Holmes had achieved in his chosen profession before the three years hiatus had not noticeably been diminished in his absence and now had risen to even greater heights. I personally believe that around that time he was at the peak of his powers. Not that I mean that there was any falling off of his skills in the latter years of his career, more that his talents were seen at their best during those post-hiatus years. His mental and physical form were seen to their best advantage and he was called upon by all and sundry, even his Holiness the Pope[2].  By comparison, 1896 was a barren year when for whatever reason, the great cases failed to materialise. Of course, there were some cases that Holmes looked into, but on the whole the first few months of the year were punctuated by Holmes bemoaning the fact of enforced idleness that he had to suffer. And when Holmes suffered, I suffered too I can tell you! That was all to change when I received a letter from my old friend, Godfrey Jacobs, who I believe I have mentioned before in my ramblings. The letter extended an invitation for me to visit him and his family in Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast. Much to my surprise, Holmes after a spot of cajoling on my part, elected to travel with me. Almost immediately when we arrived at that docile, peaceful spot then we were embroiled in a mystery, the like of which we had never known. Rather like the giant rat of Sumatra it is a tale for which the world is unprepared, the stuff of nightmares and dreams. Belief systems counted for nothing during that time and if you agree that faith is defined as something that enables us to believe things that we know to be untrue, then we had faith a-plenty. I will say only this, that I the most flat-footed of men faced head on a force I did not understand. Holmes, that most scientifically minded of men saw for himself something that science could not explain. I did commit an account to paper of the nature of what we encountered in Lyme, but it is not an account for the consumption of the general public nor will it ever be so.

[1] A relative of Holmes purchased the practice, the money to do so evidently coming from Holmes.
[2] An unchronicled case involving the sudden death of Cardinal Tosca.

Friday, 17 November 2017

All the latest news....

It's been so long since I last added any news. Apologies. Current projects are something like this: 'Sherlock Holmes and the Scarborough Affair' is still a work in progress, but we will get there, the 'we' being myself and collaborator Gill Stammers. I am also adapting my first novel 'Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror' for the stage which is going fairly well and nearing completion of 'Watson: My Life' which purports to be an autobiography of Watson as dictated by the man himself into a recording device in 1936. Watch this space! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Monmouth: Fear Nothing but God
After the success of last year's The Tempest of Lyme, this year's community play will be Monmouth: A West Country Rebellion.
How can you help? We need in excess of £5,000 to stage this production. To that end there is Crowdfunding in place. To read more about the play and make your pledge, click HERE

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Another appeal.

Tales from The Stranger's Room Volume 3 is coming along nicely, but there is still some space available for anyone who wishes to contribute. I am looking for short Holmesian fiction, poetry, quizzes, art work or non-fiction. Pleasde feel free to email me on if you have any ideas or indeed contributions. Thank you.