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 11 December 2014

Holmes in Oz

So, how about a slice of Holmes and the land of Oz for the festive season.

It is a fact that even whilst we are cocooned in this great city of ours, nature can make her presence felt. A gale shrieked and moaned outside on this particular day that I write of. I looked out of the window and was met with the sight of debris being picked up and hurled down Baker Street as though they were children's playthings. The windows rattled in their casement and the gas dimmed and lowered every few seconds. Holmes was busy continuing research he had undertaken into Early English Charters and appeared to be oblivious to the furious display of nature outside.  As I crossed the room to pour myself another coffee, the wind shook the very fabric of the building so much, that it felt like we were in motion.  Then, inexplicably, there was silence, followed by what seemed like an explosion. Everything inside the sitting-room that was not held down securely, jumped into the air.
                "Good Heavens Holmes, what on earth was that?" I asked.
                "I think, perhaps dear fellow, we should investigate and make sure no one outside has come to any harm."
                The wind had died completely as had the normal street sounds we associated with this busy thoroughfare. We descended the seventeen steps, opened the front door to be met with quite an unbelievable sight. The house was surrounded by a great deal of what I thought were children, but then I recognised them as adults suffering from a form of Dwarfism.  They were pointing at us and gesticulating wildly and peering at the very foundation of the house with looks of wonder and amazement. I feel I cannot do justice to what we observed, everything we now saw. The road, houses and indeed these little people were cloaked in the most vibrant hues; reds, oranges, yellows, greens. The surface of the road was a garish yellow and radiated out from a central point.
                 Holmes whispered to me, "Watson, I have a feeling we are not in Baker Street anymore."
                Before I could answer we were approached by a most beautiful creature, who seemed somehow illuminated from within. She pointed at Holmes.
                "My name is Glinda.  Are you a good wizard or a bad wizard?" she asked of him.
                Holmes took all this in his stride as though it was the most commonplace of dialogue, "I am not a Wizard of any kind, my name is Sherlock Holmes and this......"
                "Oh well, is he the Wizard then " she asked, now turning her attention to me.
                "I assure you, madam, that neither of us is a wizard, why on earth would you think such a thing?" Holmes asked her.
                 "The Munchkins called me and said a new wizard had just dropped a house on the Wicked Witch."
                "Munchkins," I asked, "who or what are Munchkins?"
                 "Why, these are Munchkins," she answered, indicating the throng of little people surrounding us," and there is the Witch, under your house."
                 "My dear we owe you a thousand apologies, we had no intention of harming anyone."
                 "There is no need of an apology; the Munchkins have declared you both national heroes."
                One of the little people, the Munchkins as she called them, stepped forward to me, "we'd like to thank you sweetly for doing it so neatly." 
                 I stammered a reply and looked to Holmes, "how on earth do we get out of here, Holmes?"
                "We will possess our souls in patience until we have gathered sufficient data to enable us to make good our return," he replied.
                A piercing scream filled the air and an ugly looking witch, straight out of a child’s story book descended on a broomstick.  There were cries of, " Oh no, the Wicked Witch," all around.
                 I turned to Glinda, "Have we not destroyed the Wicked Witch?"
                "This is her sister, and she's worse than the other one was."
                 "Who killed my sister? Was it you?" she screamed, fixing her eyes upon me.
                 "I assure you, madam, it was a complete and utter accident."
                 "Well," she said, looking even more threatening, "I can cause accidents too."
                She walked over to all that was left of her sister, "where are the ruby slippers? Who has them?  Give them back to me," she cried, working herself into a veritable frenzy.
                "There they are," answered Glinda, pointing at me, "and there they will stay."
                 I looked down at my feet to find that instead of my normal footwear, my feet were now adorned with these ruby slippers; not a shade that best suits me it has to be said.
                 The Wicked Witch became hysterical at this point screaming over and over, "Give me back my slippers."
                 Holmes said to me, "Keep tight inside them, Watson, their magic must be very powerful or she would not want them so badly."
                After issuing yet more threats of dreadful violence against our persons, she mounted her broomstick and was gone. Holmes took me to one side as the Munchkins continued their unrestrained celebrations.
                "I am of the opinion, Watson that these slippers with the magic that is undoubtedly contained within them may hold the key to our safe return to dear old Baker Street."  He stretched himself out on the ground and examined them for several minutes.
                Glinda looked on, bemused, "Mr. Holmes, what are you looking for?"
                "I am hopeful of using the magic powers of these slippers to return my friend and me back to our own life."
                "Your friend has that power already."
                 "I do?"
                "Those magic ruby slippers will take you home in two seconds. Now then, close your eyes and tap your heels together three times.  Look at your friend and think to yourself, 'There's no place like home. There's no place like home.'
                 "There's no place like home, Holmes. There's no place like home, Holmes. There's no place like home, Holmes."
                I awoke to find Holmes standing over me, with a smile on his face.
                 "My dear Watson, you are especially garrulous in your sleep today and surely only you could sleep with such a storm raging outside."
                I stretched my limbs, got to my feet somewhat shakily and glanced out into the street. I was relieved to see normality, no Munchkins, no witches, just a resolutely ordinary Baker Street.  Odd how the mind can play tricks on you like that whilst asleep.
                "Yes, Holmes?"
                "Whatever have you got on your feet?"

Thursday 2 October 2014


A Further Twist of Lyme, the final part of the Twist/Lyme trilogy of comedies is due to be published on December 10th. This final part of the saga of the Hamilton family in Lyme Regis will hopefully be of special interest to Sherlock Holmes for it contains the opening chapter of Sherlock Holmes and the Scarborough Affair. This marks a return to the world of Sherlock Holmes for me after an absence of two years. It is a collaboration with Gill Stammers of Lyme Regis and a tale of thievery, murder, chambermaids, strong-willed women and espionage. Watch this space....

Friday 22 August 2014

Coming soon.....

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE LYME REGIS TRILOGY.....A special hardback edition of the Sherlock Homes/Lyme Regis novels. Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror, Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Legacy. Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Trials. This edition is complete with glossaries which give copious background information on all the major characters; we learn what happens to them all in later life. There is also information on all the locations mentioned in the
three books and what part they play in the tales. Hey, and photographs too of most of the major players and locations. However, I could not find any photographs of Sherlock Holmes or Doctor Watson! Odd that. There have been a few editorial changes made to the text, primarily to get rid of those annoying errors that I allowed to creep in. Pesky things, errors.

Also to come, Sherlock Holmes and the Scarborough Affair (Long promised I know) and a new Sherlock Holmes tale for the new year set far from Dorset.

In the meantime:

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 Trials is 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)

Thursday 14 August 2014


'Another Twist of Lyme' in which we once more encounter the Hamilton family is published and available. A comic look at one family through birthdays, parties and various events. After 'A Twist of Lyme' was completed I had no thoughts whatsoever about re-visiting the Hamiltons, but in the end I
couldn't quite leave them alone as I am having too much fun with them; I only hope that the books are as much fun to read as they were to write. The action, as in the first book, moves between the present, the recent past and the future. Ah yes, about the future; I state quite categorically in my notes at the end that there were be no third instalment....but.....there will be! I am 20,000 words into 'A Further Twist of Lyme', but that will be the final visit to the Hamiltons. Honestly! Available throughout the world on Amazon and all book selling websites. An extract:

“Let me get this right, you haven’t brought a change of clothes. Is that what you are saying?” asked the officious young man with the officious looking clipboard.

       It was indeed what Judy was saying. He was right in that respect.

       “But it would have been in the emails, sweetie. It was just below the approved limits for the mini-bar in your dressing room. You must have seen it.”

       Judy had not seen it. He was wrong in that respect.

       “The emails went through my publisher, Connor Milligan. He didn’t mention a change of clothes,” Judy offered, realising how lame this sounded.

       The officious young man with the officious looking clipboard thought this excuse very lame. Judy was right in that respect.

       “But you do know you are appearing in two shows, yes?”

       Judy did know that and she wasted no time in telling him so.

       “So, tell me when you think your second appearance will be?”

       “Something tells me it will be today.”

       “Correct. I’ll wander down to the wardrobe department, well I say department, but it has more in common with a cupboard mostly because it is a cupboard. There may be something there we can utilise.”           

       This was Judy’s introduction to the television quiz show Chapter and Verse or Worse, a light-hearted, some would say humourous look at the world of literature. Less unkind souls would label it humourless. A young woman approached Judy.

       “I’m Alice,” she announced, offering Judy a firm handshake.  “Programme assistant. I’ll tell you what’s happening when and introduce you to how it all works. We’ll get you to make up first.”

       “Make up what?”

       “No, I mean take you to have your face and hair made up…oh, you were being funny weren’t you.”

       “I was trying. To be honest, I’m not a make-up kind of gal. I prefer the natural look.”

       “The natural look is one thing, but trust me love, you need a little extra something for the cameras to love you. And believe me they have to love you. I suppose they might just in your case.”

       Judy was not sure whether she had been insulted or complimented so decided on silence and a certain amount of compliance. She was led off to make-up, like a lamb to blusher. There, the officious young man with the officious looking clipboard caught up with her.

       “I’ve not had much luck,” he said, “all I can offer is a Dorothy costume from a ‘A Wizard of Oz’ production and a banana outfit.”

       “I quite like the look of gingham dresses on me, but I’m not too sure about wearing those ruby red slippers. They’re so not me.”

       “It’s no problem. Neither the studio audience or the viewers will see them. Oh…you were being funny weren’t you.”

       She was. He was right in that respect. “Trying, yes. I’ll just wear this outfit of mine for both recordings. There can’t be any harm in that surely.”

       The officious young man with the officious looking clipboard looked Judy’s outfit up and down and was of the unspoken opinion that there may well be lots of harm in it. With a scarcely concealed sniff of disapproval he walked away.

       Alice collected Judy after the studio’s make-up artist had struggled valiantly with her and had admitted defeat. “You don’t look any different,” Alice said, also with a sniff of vague disapproval. “Right, now you should  meet your fellow guests.”

       Judy was led to a small lounge which had all the appearance of a doctor’s waiting room. There was even a six months old copy of Good Housekeeping and three even older National Geographics.

       “Clara, this is Judy Hamilton. I’m sure you have heard of her.”

       Clara Snelling also wrote novels in the espionage genre, in her case with a twist in the tale or to be more accurate, the tail. Her spy thrillers had liberal helpings of all manner of fetishes and regular bouts of BDSM, something Bradley Steel would never approve of, but possibly something Mrs (?) Sheila Barry would have enthused over. Her latest, Thirty Days in Mandalay was being lapped up by an adoring public. The newspapers all acclaimed her hero, Daniel Ryan, as being a James Bondage for the modern age. Shaken, stirred and whipped.

       “Ah yes, Judy Hamilton,” she said, as though the name was in some way distasteful to her. “You write…those…er…um…”

       “Books?” offered Judy.

       “Don’t tell me…it’s coming to me…thrillers in the tennis world.” She too sniffed with mild disapproval.

       ‘Perhaps everyone is coming down with a cold,’ thought Judy idly.

       The other member of the panel was Raymond Stevens (no relation) who wrote what the press called ‘serious’ novels about ‘serious’ issues. Raymond Stevens seemed just a little too high-brow for this decidedly low-brow show. His publisher however had urged Raymond to consider doing the show to help spearhead a campaign to make the general public more generally aware of his books. Raymond therefore was performing under sufferance which had the effect of making him even more insufferable than he had been previously. Still, on the plus side, he had heard of Judy too. But, just as with Clara Snelling he had not deigned to read any of her work.

       The question master was Jeffrey Hopper, a failed stand-up comedian, a failed chat show presenter, but a tolerable quiz master. The assistant producer went through the format with the panellists. Keep it lights folks, this is not The Book Review, be topical, be funny, but not too funny. Jeffrey has to get 71% of the laughs, it’s in his contract.

       The floor manager set up the camera angles, checked the panellists postures, noted Judy’s lack of make-up and sniffed disapprovingly. Judy was as nervous as she had ever been, not even fully understanding what was required of her, for unlike her fellow guests she had never seen the show. The producers had sent a DVD of the previous series, but these Connor had not forwarded. Still, she was a natural, everyone said so in the studio. And reassuringly, there was an editor attuned to the faintest blip or error who could carpet the cutting-room floor with embarrassing or otherwise unworthy footage. It was his job too to ensure the loudest laughter coincided with Jeffrey Hopper saying something he perceived to be funny. Judy was in safe hands. The seconds counted down…

       The warm-up man, a failed quiz master and failed chat show host, but a tolerable stand-up comic had kept the studio audience on the edge of their seats, wondering when the quiz would start. It was now.

       Jeffrey Hopper greeted the small studio audience and much larger (although not that much larger) television audience with an affability honed during the previous eighty-four editions of the show. There were ripples of applause for Clara Snelling and Raymond Stevens. Then it was Judy’s turn. A light flashed on top of the camera which seemed to be intent on examining her nasal hair in minute detail. She smiled as Jeffrey introduced her as an upcoming star of the literature world, one whose following was bound to grow. She nodded, not in agreement, but just for the chance to give her head something to do. She smiled, hoping Jeffrey had reached the end of his embarrassing eulogy.

       “First round then, folks. I give you each a random phrase and you have twenty seconds to use it within a well known quote from any piece of literature you like. We’ll start with you, Judy. Your phrase is ‘a bear hug’.”

       She couldn’t remember the last time her mind had been so blank. Or if it had ever been so blank. She was well read. Everyone said so. There must be a quote she knew and loved that she could adapt. She smiled as the camera captured every nuance of the  dilemma that her face displayed.

       “Ah, yes,” she started confidently, “A bear hug won’t be a bear hug without presents, grumbled Jo.”

       The studio audience sniggered.

       “Thank you, Judy,” oiled Jeffrey Hopper, “a good effort although a tad lacking in humour.”

       “They laughed,” she said, pointing at the audience.

       “They’d laugh at anything,” Jeffrey replied.

       To prove his point, the studio audience went into hysterics. If the aisles had been wide enough they would have been rolling in them.

       “I see what you mean, Jeffrey,” said Judy, warming to her task.

       The studio audience laughed uncontrollably at this. Judy was worried in case some of them became physically ill as a result. There has no doubt been a study of how being exposed to high levels of mirth can result in major and long-lasting damage to the body’s immune systems.

       Judy fared a little better in the following round, ‘Famous writers in uncharacteristic poses’, although deducing it was F. Scott Fitzgerald in the gorilla suit was more of an inspired guess rather than due to any well-informed reasoning. Add to that, a successful bout of miming in the final round (East of Eden, no easy thing to mime the closing paragraphs of ) and not even Jeffrey’s opening line in the second show of “nice outfit, Judy…is it new?” (which predictably was followed by gales of laughter from the studio audience) could dampen Judy’s enthusiasm for the whole television experience. She thought that she could even be persuaded to take part again when invited. Alas, the invitation never materialised.


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:

Saturday 28 June 2014


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 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 there.

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 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 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:

The Babes here:

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)