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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.

9781787053465

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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.

9781787053199

 

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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.

9781787053205

 

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Review of The Adventure of the Wordy Companion: An A-Z Guide to Sherlockian Phraseology

Finally!
As a writer of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, I’ve been waiting years for a book like Nicko Vaughan’s “The Adventure of the Wordy Companion: An A-Z Guide to Sherlockian Phraseology.” A glossary of selected terms, phrases, and references from the original canon of Sherlock Holmes stories, this collection offers writers and readers alike a treasure of Holmesian information. Oh, sure, most of the alphabetical listings appear in the annotated versions of the Holmes stories (if you own such collections), but specific references are most difficult to locate if you don’t know the exact place to look. Want to know what a “lumber room” is? Or a minstrel’s gallery? How about a Penang-lawyer? You can easily discover the answers in “The Wordy Companion.”

To be sure, a stickler can find things to quibble about. Some adverbs and adjectives are defined as verbs (the definition of the adverb “askance,” for instance, begins with an infinitive verb: “to perceive something, or someone as suspicious…”). And at the expense of the celebrated actor William Gillette, whose world-famous performance as Holmes premiered in 1899, the book’s introduction misidentifies the 1908 performance of German actor Alwin Neuss as the “first depiction of Sherlock Holmes.” But in light of the practical nature of the book, such distractions are negligible.

As someone who out of necessity has constructed his own list of important terms from Holmes stories, I’m thrilled to be able to flip through this book to find just the right word or term for what I’m trying to say—and learn some interesting facts and definitions along the way. “The Wordy Companion” maintains a prominent position on my desk.

Reviewed by Daniel D. Victor

The Adventure of the Wordy Companion is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

9781787053168

 

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The Sherlock Holmes Society of London reviews The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part IX and X, 2018 Annual

“These two latest volumes maintain the high standard set three years ago by editor and publisher. Parts IX and X between them contain thirty-seven new stories, all as faithful as possible to the canonical tradition and style. The authors include Sonia Fetherston, S.F. Bennett, Mark Mower, Kelvin Jones, Jayantika Ganguly, Daniel D Victor, Hugh Ashton, Tim Symonds and David Marcum himself. There’s also a play by the late Jim French, and another by Leslie Charteris and Denis Green – a nice addendum to Sherlock Holmes: The Lost Radio Scripts. Nicholas Meyer, whose novel The Seven-per-Cent Solution effectively began the age of quality Holmes pastiche, contributes a foreword. Neither editor nor authors will benefit financially, as all royalties go towards the conservation of Undershaw, Conan Doyle’s former Surrey home, which now houses Stepping Stones School. The books are treasurable and the cause is admirable.

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories are available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. Available on KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

Both Covers MX book 9 and 10

 

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Review of The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street

The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street by Rob Nunn. London: MX Publishing, 2017, 325pp. Nunn turns the Canon on its head in this clever and entertaining book and imagines a world in which Holmes has turned to crime. As a criminal consultant, Holmes vies with his rival Moriarty for the role of king of crime. Available from sherlockholmesbooks.com.

Reviewed by The Baker Street Journal

The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street is available from all good bookstores including  The Strand MagazineAmazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone). Available on Audio.

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