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The Sherlock Holmes Society of London reviews The Druid of Death – A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

“As an unashamed fan of new Sherlock Holmes stories, I am discomfited to admit that I had not read any of Richard T Ryan’s earlier novels. This is his third, and a splendid book it is. The plot revolves around some mysterious deaths, bearing the hallmarks of ritualistic sacrifice or cult murder. Scotland Yard is baffled, and Inspector Lestrade invites Holmes and Watson to assist. Our heroes are drawn into the mysterious lore of ancient druidic symbols and Celtic mythology to face a race against time in unravelling the case and preventing further bloodshed. The pace is well-judged, and it is a gripping and colourful tale from the offset. Ryan’s style is reassuringly familiar, and he clearly has a respect for the Canon, demonstrated in the many neat references and affectionate nods to the characters, stories and intrigues of the original texts. Another fine touch is the inclusion of the Revd Sabine Baring-Gould, real-life grandfather of the celebrated Sherlockian, William S Baring-Gould. Ryan demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of British history and there is good attention to detail throughout this tale. It is a great story told with skill and affection.” – Mark Mower

The Druid of Death – A Sherlock Holmes Adventure is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Kindle. Available on Audio.

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The Sherlock Holmes Society of London reviews A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Revised 2018 Edition

Brian Pugh has been working on his chronology of Arthur Conan Doyle for many years. The 2009 edition was a trusty companion and, as it went through subsequent revisions, I was gratified to see my own works referred to in its pages. I value and admire Brian’s work so much that it is an honour to be mentioned alongside great names such as Stashower, Lycett, Dickson Carr and Nordon. This latest version is enormous at over 450 pages — roughly three times the size of the 2009 edition.

So what do you get in this edition? First and foremost it incorporates all corrections to previous editions, thus superseding them. It also includes all the maps (now in full colour) and material featured in the 2016 Addenda & Corrigenda. Then, of course, there are the fruits of Brian’s latest research: family trees, maps, photographs of residences, commemorative plaques, graves, a day-by-day list of pertinent activities, a bibliography of Conan Doyle and those who’ve written about him. There are also photos, of which some are appearing in print, it is believed, for the first time. Any student of Doyle (and Holmes) needs to be equipped with certain books — the core texts if you will. This is a vital element of that core library.

A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Revised 2018 Edition is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

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Review of Baker Street Beat – an Eclectic Collection of Sherlockian Scribblings

Before he created the McCabe and Cody series – [Or is it Cody and McCabe? It depends on whom you ask, and it’s an interesting point to ponder … .] Dan Andriacco had written a variety of Sherlockian items – essays, plays, and even a pastiche. Fortunately, instead of being forced to seek each of these out in their various original points of publication, they have all been collected in “Baker Street Beat”.

There’s something here for every Sherlockian. There are a couple of radio plays – one of “The Speckled Band”, and one with a more contemporary feel. For those that like Sherlockian Scholarship, the book includes several essays, including one which is of particular interest to me, “Writing the Holmes Pastiche”. Another of equal importance is “You Know My Methods, Watson”, examining the connections between Holmes and Dr. Thorndyke, another of my heroes. And then there’s “Reichenbach Pilgrimage”, which means a lot to me since I haven’t been able to get there yet – and in the meantime this essay helps to provide valuable information until I do.

As a devotee of Holmes Adventures, what I want most is MORE adventures. And this book has a real winner, Dan Andriacco’s own version of “The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden”. As much as I enjoy his McCabe and Cody [Cody and McCabe?] books, I want him to write more Holmes pastiches! Are you listening, Mr. Andriacco?

This book has been around since 2011, but it certainly hasn’t gone out of date. Add it to your Holmes collection today!

Reviewed by David Marcum

Baker Street Beat is available through all good bookstores including in the USA  Amazon USABarnes and Noble, in the UK Amazon and Waterstones, and for all other countries Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In electronic formats Amazon KindleKoboNook, and iTunes for the iPad. Available on Audio.

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Peter E. Blau reviews A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Revised 2018 Edition

“Brian W. Pugh continues to revise his A CHRONOLOGY OF THE LIFE OF SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (Mar 14 #7); the fourth edition (London: MX Publishing, 2018; 444 pp.) is a grand resource for information about the life and work of Conan Doyle. The chronology starts in 1755 (the birth of James Doyle) and ends in 1998 (the memorial service for Dame Jean), and one of the truly useful aspects of the chronology is the citation of sources, so that one can sort through conflicts (and learn that in some cases, Conan Doyle himself was not the most reliable source). There’s also information about aspects of his life and works, and maps and photographs, and a careful and useful index compiled by Geraldine Beare. Recommended.”

A Chronology of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Revised 2018 Edition is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

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Cassie Parkes reviews the first 3 Lego Sherlock Holmes books by P James Macaluso

“If there’s one thing I love besides Sherlock Holmes, it’s Lego. I have a shelf full of Lego figures (I have lots of character ones-Marvel, Lord of the Rings etc) and I loved The Lego Movie beyond comprehension. So when I saw that P James Macaluso Jr  had created illustrated versions of Conan Doyle’s work using Lego figures, I was giddy beyond belief!

I looked at three of Macaluso’s Holmes books: A Case of Identity, The Red-Headed League and A Scandal in Bohemia. The books use Conan Doyle’s original text, but are illustrated with charming Lego images (like the one above) which are Lego reproductions of Paget’s work in the original stories. Each illustration is both adorable and clever as, when compared to Paget’s originals, they are actually remarkably similar!

The books themselves are fairly thin and glossy, they are easy to read and I was eager to turn the page and see each new illustration recreated in Lego! One thing I did think about was how they would be fairly accessible to children in this format, though the vocabulary of Conan Doyle’s work might be a little tricky for some younger children.

Overall, these books are a fun, lighthearted take on Conan Doyle’s work, and I for one am very jealous both of the fact that I didn’t think of it first, and of Macaluso’s extensive Lego collection. I would definitely recommend these to both Holmesians and Lego fans alike, they’re the kind of thing which I know will make me smile over and over again.”

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Re-Imagined series is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Kobo and Nook.

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Review of The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes

2018 is a time for rejoicing, as there are more new Sherlock Holmes stories from Denis O. Smith. His new collection, “The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes”, (the hardcover edition combining the paperback Volumes I and II) features twelve stories, and joins his previous books in providing some of the best Holmes adventures available.

In Issue 339 of “The District Messenger” (January 30, 2014), the newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, editor Roger Johnson wrote: “The Watson style is deceptively difficult to imitate. Good practitioners include June Thomson, Hugh Ashton and David Marcum, but the best is probably Denis O. Smith.”

While I would add a few other names to this list, such as the late Barrie Roberts, Gerard Kelly, and Tony Reynolds, I have to agree that the best truly is Denis O. Smith. From the first time that I first read Mr. Smith’s initial efforts at editing Watson’s notes, in the pamphlets that he originally self-published back in the early 1980’s, I knew that these were a cut above the others. Now, with this latest collection of Smith’s work, mixing six new stories with six that have been previously published elsewhere, we have even more to enjoy.

The new stories are: “The Five Keys”, “The Tregorran Heir”, “The Victoria Street Mystery”, “The Man in the Green Tweed Suit”, “An Unusual Interview”, and “The Thirteenth Step”.

Those that have previously appeared include some that haven’t been available for years, having initially been published in the long-vanished “Chronicles” volumes published by Calabash Press: “The Green Umbrella”, “The Zodiac Plate”, and “The Yellow Glove” Rounding out the book are three tales that have been in volumes of “The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories”: “The Inn on the Marsh”, “The Jet Brooch”, and “The Watcher in the Woods”.

As always, Denis Smith channels Watson’s voice perfectly. The story structure, the details and the description, the mysteries themselves – all combine to be perfect visits with Holmes and Watson. The only thing that matches how much I enjoyed this book is the sadness that I read it too quickly, and that I have to wait for more from Denis Smith’s visits to Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box.

Reviewed by David Marcum

The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

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Publishers Weekly reviews The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes: Vol. 1

“Smith’s facility at crafting original plots remains undiminished in this collection of six Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Some hook the reader with a tantalizing opening, such as “The Jet Broach,” in which the Baker Street detective receives an anonymous package containing a brooch and a scrawled note for help. Even those with a less dramatic start take unexpected and intriguing turns, such as “The Five Keys,” which begins with a request for help so banal that Watson is surprised his friend accepts the case—a couple want the detective to attend the reading of a will, to keep his eyes and ears open for anything underhanded. Holmes gets drawn into a mystery worthy of his skills that ends with an eminently fair solution. “The Inn on the Marsh” features an odder entreaty from another man and wife, who are perplexed as to why the guest register at the inn they stayed at during their honeymoon no longer contains their names. Sherlockians will rejoice that Smith continues to create new mysteries faithful to Conan Doyle.”

The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes: Vol. 1 is available for pre order from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes – Volumes 1 and 2, hardcover edition is available from The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

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