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Amy Thomas reviews The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes: The Sherlockian Artwork of Norman Schatell

The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes:

The Sherlockian Artwork of Norman Schatell

Reviewed by Amy Thomas

The Baker Street Babes

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“As an art lover, I derive special joy from visiting museums like the Met in New York or the National Gallery. There’s a somewhat impish part of me, however, that takes more than a little delight in The Far Side and any collection of cartoons from The New Yorker I can get my hands on. It’s difficult to explain the appeal of a humorous cartoon—you either get it or you don’t, much like lolcats or anti-joke chicken. If, like me, you’re the sort of person who enjoys cartoons, The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes is right up your street.

During the 1970s, artist Norman Schatell published prolifically in The Baker Street Journaland various other prestigious Holmesian publications. This book collects over three hundred of his cartoons and presents them as a delicious buffet to delight humorously-inclined Sherlockians.

Books of cartoons make wonderful coffee table accompaniments, because they bear opening over and over again to discover new things to enjoy. Schatell’s work is both whimsical and respectful. It’s obvious he was a skilled artist and a knowledgeable Sherlockian, so part of the fun for readers is finding the in-jokes he included for those who are in the Holmesian know.

My one beef with the book, the fact that it’s a little hard to read the written text on a few cartoons, actually adds to the charm: Apparently, several of the included illustrations are actually reproduced from illustrated envelopes Schatell sent to his friends, so a bit of a homespun feel is to be expected.

Norman Schatell’s artwork added a great deal to the world of Sherlock Holmes fandom in the 1970s. Thankfully, due to his son Glenn’s efforts, new-wave fans can now enjoy his collection of humorous, irreverent, and delightful cartoons for years to come.”

The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes is available from major bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. Also available on Amazon Kindle.

 

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Amy Thomas from The Baker Street Babes reviews Benedict Cumberbatch, In Transition

“When I was a young teenager, I was utterly besotted with Prince William. What can I say? While my friends were eagerly snapping up magazines featuring N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys, I bought a short and fairly abysmal unauthorised biography of the royal heir. I didn’t care; it was something. Thankfully, Benedict Cumberbatch fans of any age no longer have to face the indignity of wasting money on shoddy prose.

Benedict Cumberbatch, In Transition is an exhaustively-annotated and impressively-detailed account of a young actor’s career. Some might ask if now is the time for such a book, releasing arguably nearer the beginning of his acting career than the end; however, the transitional aspect gives the tome much of its interest. Porter purposefully sought to chronicle the rise of an actor who is only just beginning to reach the heights many expect him to continue to scale.

It’s important to note that since the book is unauthorised, the information is gleaned from other sources. The value of such a book is the same as that of a very specific encyclopedia–it presents a host of information that most fans would be unable or unwilling to look up for themselves.

Whether or not Cumberbatch is as successful in the future as the author and many in the media and wider fandom expect, this book will continue to serve as an interesting signpost at the crossroads of a person’s life. Even those who have followed Benedict for some time will likely find new details to savor.

As a frequent user of Tumblr, a photo-heavy social networking site, I know firsthand that plenty of young people are as besotted today with Benedict Cumberbatch as I once was with the future king of England. Lynnette Porter has provided them, and their older counterparts, with a valuable guide to a fascinating career. No abysmal imitations need apply.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, In Transition is available from all good bookstores including in the USA AmazonBarnes and Noble, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere elseBook Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad,Kobo and Nook.

Cumberbatch

 

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Holmes Podcasts to go head to head in the Great Sherlock Holmes Debate

The match-ups in The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate are getting fascinating, with the two leading Sherlock Holmes podcasts – I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere and The Baker Street Babes lining up on opposite sides of the debate.

As we announced a few days ago, ‘The Babes’ will be supporting BBC’s Sherlock and now ‘The Lads (as it were) from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, Scott and Burt, will be contributing to the Guy Ritchie films. They have a secret weapon too – they have interviewed an adviser to the films on their podcast so have lots of material to work with.

This also gives us a fun ‘Babes vs Lads’ perspective which should be interesting. The Babes are lining up a series of authors for interviews ahead of the debate, as are Scott and Burt.

Whereas The Babes are relatively new to the scene, I Hear Of Sherlock Everywhere is the longest standing Holmes podcast and currently on episode 35. They have interviewed a host of leading Holmes figures over the years and the podcast is also available via iTunes. They have a great website and a growing following on their Facebook Page.

 

Please remember the debate is supporting two important causes – Save Undershaw and BAFTA for Jeremy Brett – please check out their sites and join their pages on Facebook (Undershaw Trust on Facebook).

 

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