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 December 2011

Rendezvous at the Populaire by Kate Workman puts us into familiar territory; the world of the Phantom of the Opera. This has been a happy hunting ground for pastiche writers, Sam Siciliano springs to mind. What we have here is a stripped down version, the tale being told in a straightforward and exciting manner. Holmes and Watson are perfectly drawn and it's refreshing to see Watson fully involved; I felt the 'Phantom' novels of Siciliano and Nicholas Meyer both suffered by Watson's absence from the main events. The Holmes of this tale is a vulnerable man, injured and doubting himself, but of course rises to the occasion, particularly in the fight scene with Erik. For fans of the Canon this is more satisfying than previous pastiches on this theme, its heart is in the right place and it is an undeniably exciting read.

If you like your Holmes to be 'different' and pastiches tinged with the supernatural than Tracy Revel's tow Holmes novels, Shadowfall and Shadowblood will satisfy on both accounts. Shadowfall begins by surprising Watson and therefore the reader by his walking in on a conversation between Titania, Queen of the fairies and Holmes. Once Watson accepts the premise..we are off on an enthralling adventure. I, for one was so bowled over by the story that I was not any time disquieted by a Holmes who was 'not of this world'. This is a tribute to Ms. Revel's skill in combing elements of the Canon with the other wordly elements of the shadowy world and characters that we meet along the way. Along the way Watson loses his soul, but not his courage or compassion. The action never flags and I was all too sad to get to the end of this hugely entertaining novel.

Tracy Revel's second Holmes novel, 'Shadowblood' brings us back once more to the world of shadows and halflings, magic and evil. Shadowfall was a great read, but this is even better. If anything, the characterisations of Holmes and Watson gel even better than before, the interacting between the pair is unforced and perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the Canon. the action ranges from London, through to Prague to Florida on the trail of Alice Telfair, a witch with no compassion for anybody or anything, and the Fountain of Youth. The gallery of characters we encounter is truly extraordinary with Lizzie Borden and HP Lovecraft thrown in for good measure. Enormously exciting, well plotted and the very essence of a page turner. And......the last lines are very, very moving. Loved it!

The above books available widely on all major book-selling websites or direct from the publisher:

Thursday 15 December 2011

A different Holmes

I am sure I am not giving anything away by saying at the outset that in Margaret Park Bridges' 'My Dear Watson', that we are dealing with a Sherlock Holmes who we see in a different light...namely, he reveals himself to be a woman....Lucy Holmes.

I admit to being a tad apprehensive when starting this book lest it developed into something tawdry with an affair between Holmes and Watson being chief on my 'worrying' agenda. What quickly became apparent is the fact that this book has been written with great love and affection. This Holmes is still Holmes as we know 'him' to be with no lessening or coarsening of the character. Watson, although having his romantic foibles brought to the surface ( not Holmes!!) is as steadfast as we would wish him to be, honesty and intelligence are his twin qualities here in spite of being misled by the charms of one, Constance Moriarty who is an excellently drawn villain with a secret of her own which is enmeshed with Holmes's own. I found the book exciting and strangely moving and I have no hesitation in recommending it to all Sherlockians and Holmesians out there. You will not be disappointed.

Available on Amazon etc or direct from the publisher.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

The thirteen tales that make up 'The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes' all have something in common above all else.....a fast pace and sense of rhythm. It's great to come across stories in which the author, in spite of his meticulous research, has no need to pad out the action, the adventures and the camaraderie of Holmes and Watson speak for themselves.
The dialogue rings true and all the characters act as you would expect them to and the cast of characters include the usual suspects of Mrs Hudson, Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes. I have seen criticism of many a pastiche writer who may have populated their tales with these familiar figures as though it told in some way of a lack of imagination from the writer. I do not see it that way. These almost peripheral characters are every bit a part of the Holmes universe in the way that London fogs and hansom cabs are. I am always glad to see them in the mix. The stories themselves are well-constructed, atmospheric and effective. My personal favourite is 'The Chamber of Sorrow Mystery'; I never object to tales of Holmes tinged with the supernatural and this is a very sweet offering and quite moving. I wish I had written it myself. The only minor quibble I have is a somewhat over reliance on stock phrases such as 'old fellow' 'By Jove' 'Eureka' etc, but then I have been guilty of that myself with far too many 'my dear friends' creeeping into my first pastiche 'Sherlock Holmes and The Lyme Regis Horror', I have attempted to rein myself in for the next pastiche!

All in all, then a worthy addition to the realms of Holmes pastiches. Thoroughly entertaining.

Available from Amazon or direct from the publisher at:

Sunday 4 December 2011

Just think how much of literature could be improved with certain Holmesian additions. Consider these opening lines for instance. Feel free to play along and work out which books these come from and come up with some of your own !

"Please, sir, is this 221b Baker Street?" asked a ragged boy of the man who opened the door at which the omnibus left him.

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Sherlock Holmes, lying on the rug.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a consulting detective in possession of a good fortune must not necessarily be in want of a wife."

"When Doctor Watson went to Baker Street to live with Sherlock Holmes, everybody said he was the most disagreeable-looking doctor ever seen."

"It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the gutters of Baker Street."

"Stately, plump Mycroft Holmes came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: ----Introibo ad altare Dei."

"Someone must have traduced Doctor Watson, for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning."

"Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson sat one morning in the window-bay of 221b Baker Street, working and talking."

"During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy Baskerville Hall. I know not how it was - but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit."

"The manager had no business to do it," said Holmes, "no business at all. He promised us south rooms with a view close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh,Watson!"

"Holmes knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him."

"My dear wife Mary and I have just been a week in our new home, 64 Queen Anne Street--a nice six-roomed residence, not counting basement, with a front-breakfast parlour."

"Sherlock Holmes's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down--from high flat temples--in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.

He said to his colleague: "Yes,Watson?"

"I was leaning against the bar in a saloon on Oxford Street, waiting for Mary to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to see me. She was small and blonde, and whether you looked at her face or at her body in powder-blue sports clothes, the result was satisfactory. "Aren't you Doctor Watson?" she asked."

"When Sherlock Holmes smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun."

"Moriarty was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Holmes signed it. And Holmes's name was good upon `Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to.

"Old Moriarty was as dead as a door-nail."

"Last night I dreamt I went to Shoscombe Old Place again."

Thursday 1 December 2011

Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror Expanded 2nd edition now available for pre-ordering on Amazon sites worldwide.

The Art of the Pastiche

What do we look for in a Holmes pastiche? Which are the most important elements for us?

For me, I look to the characters of Holmes and Watson. If they are 'right' I can forgive even the odd creakiness of plot. Whatever else may go on around them I do like my Holmes and Watson to be as canonical as is possible. I have placed them in my demented scribblings in all kinds of situations such as; the land of Oz, meeting Laurel and Hardy, Holmes being a Time Lord in a Dr Who piece, the sphere of the supernatural, but I always, always endeavour to have them behave traditionally in every way whatever madness goes on around them.

In a recent interview Anthony Horowitz said that his opinion that most pastiches were, 'by and large terrible'. I beg to differ. I find the majority of the pastiches to be good..some very good....some excellent. Some of these can produce heated views. I am thinking of 'The Last Sherlock Holmes Story' by Michael Dibdin. I know some who will not give it house room, who hate it with a passion.
The central premise of this Holmes vs Ripper tale is indeed shocking and it is no wonder that for so many Holmes enthusiasts it is a work to be avoided. Personally, I enjoyed it immensely. The whole flavour of that time is brought vividly to life. The dialogue crackles with authenticity and it undoubtedly a gripping read.

To my mind, the final sacrifice (you have to read it to find out more!) reveals the depths of the friendship of these two men. I find it every bit as moving as the glimpses into 'a great heart' in the 'Three Garridebs'.

Feel free to argue.....................