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Review of Mrs Hudson’s Olympic Triumph

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m a fanatic for the traditional and authentic and Canonical Sherlock Holmes. As a rule I avoid anything with parody, or that presents Holmes as anything but a hero. I simply ignore most of these Alternate Universe tales, while other I actively despise. (Hint: I’m referring to the BBC show “Sherlock”.)

But there are a very few non-traditional versions that I acknowledge for being very well done, even if they aren’t about The True Sherlock Holmes. For instance, I truly enjoy watching and re-watching the film “Without a Clue” (1988) starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley. It isn’t the True Holmes, but it’s excellent nevertheless. The same can be said for M.J. Trow and his skewed and wrong (but funny) look at a very defective Holmes through the eyes of his series hero, Inspector Sholto Lestrade. And another Alternate Universe version of The World of Holmes that I can recommend is the Mrs. Hudson series by Barry S. Brown.

There have been a number of other Mrs. Hudson adventures over the years. For instance, Sydney Hosier wrote four books in his own Mrs. Hudson series – but what makes those different from Barry Brown’s is that she is still the landlady of 221 Baker Street who just happens to become involved in mysteries. Barry Brown’s books are something different … .

The premise is simple: It’s Mrs. Hudson who is the true sleuth of Baker Street, rather than Holmes. Through the entire series of books, she leads the way, with Holmes, Watson, and even Mycroft in support. In some ways, these books mimic the scheme of “Without A Clue”, with Mrs. Hudson as the behind-the-scenes brains instead of Dr. Watson. Still, it’s a very fresh perspective on the Holmesian world.

In “Mrs. Hudson’s Olympic Triumph”, the fifth in Barry Brown’s series, the Baker Street Triumvirate – Hudson, Holmes, and Watson – travel to Greece at the behest of Mycroft Holmes – the only man who is in-the-know about their unusual arrangement – in time for the 1896 Olympics, the first to be held since ancient times. Of course, as is the way of these things, their mission is immediately complicated by murder. They each play their parts, and the truth is revealed in a most excellent manner!

I’m glad that MX Publishing is issuing these volumes anew, and in handsome uniform editions. MX is the premier Sherlockian publisher in the world, and can give these books the home that they deserve.

Reviewed by David Marcum

Mrs Hudson’s Olympic Triumph is available from all good bookstores including The Strand Magazine,  Amazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.  In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone). Also available on Audio.

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Review of The Unpleasantness at Parkerton Manor – A Mrs. Hudson of Baker Street Mystery Book 1

I always had a rather unorthodox view of the third most featured character in the Sherlock Holmes Canon – Mrs. Hudson, landlady of the best known address in English literature: 221B Baker Street.  I imagined her as a younger, more involved and most knowledgeable and perceptive character.

Barry S. Brown has taken Mrs. Hudson to a delightfully higher level in this series and casts her as the brains behind Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The canny middle-aged Cockney widow of deceased police constable, Tobias Hudson, creates her own consulting detective agency and hires Holmes and his friend, Watson as her “front men”.  Holmes takes the lead in a rather dramatic and occasionally humourous fashion whilst steady and dependable Watson takes copious notes of their exploits for Mrs. Hudson’s expert edification and review. In posing as the housekeeper, she can listen in on client consultations whilst serving refreshments.

The Unpleasantness at Parkerton Manor begins with a visit from Lady Parkerton to 221B. She believes that her husband, Sir Stanley, the wealthy inventor of the binaural stethoscope, did not die from natural causes, but from poisoning. But the family ate from the same food and drink and suffered no ill effects. There is no dearth of suspects within the immediate family or the servants.  Each has something to benefit from the demise of the victim, be it financially, professionally or both – even Lady Parkerton herself.

Holmes and Watson travel to the country manor of the Parkerton’s to interview possible suspects and gather evidence.  In what begins as a typical “country house” setting for a murder, more complex developments begin to occur. The inexplicable murder of the family’s coachman whilst Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are on the scene is but one and the absconding of the direct heir and his family is another.

In a fascinating twist, Mr. Brown gives the reader an introduction to malevolent head-hunters and the White Raja of Sarawak – a true-to-life character from Malaysia.

Mrs. Hudson stays at a hotel close to the action and meets with Holmes and Watson to debrief her on their activities and discoveries and to provide direction regarding next steps. Whilst staying on the periphery, she focuses her attention on Sir Charles’ and the coachman’s murders.

Mr. Brown also places Inspector Lestrade on the scene since he is on a holiday with his wife in the area. The local constabulary welcomes the Scotland Yard man on the case, much to the chagrin of Holmes and Watson. But the pair manages to remain one step ahead and Dr. Watson even informs Holmes that he is actually becoming quite a good detective in yet another lighthearted moment.

Barry S. Brown has very successfully given us a refreshing view of the residents of 221B Baker Street. He is quite convincing in his depiction of the characters in their new roles. Mr. Brown’s writing skill makes for highly dramatic and suspense-filled scenes interspersed with an occasional wry sense of humour. He also introduces the reader to well-researched, exotic locales and actual historical characters.  His unique point-of-view provides the audience with a change from the typical pastiche, yet retains the voice and atmosphere of the original Canonical work.

I was so entertained by Barry S. Brown’s work that I purchased book 2 of the “Mrs. Hudson of Baker Street Mystery” series. There are now 5 books in the series and I am pleased to say that book 6 is coming soon.

Review by Wendy Heyman–Marsaw, author, Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen

The Unpleasantness at Parkerton Manor is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

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Mrs. Hudson – Who Are You Really?

 Mrs. Hudson – Who Are You Really?

By Barry S Brown

The mystery surrounding Mrs. Hudson’s identity has been well and frequently described. What we know from Watson’s own words is that Mrs. Hudson is the “long-suffering” landlady at 221B Baker Street, an extraordinarily patient woman able to tolerate her lodger’s “incredible untidiness, … addiction to music at strange hours, … occasional revolver practice within doors, … weird and malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him ….”

In the end, however, the references to Mrs. Hudson are most remarkable for their scarcity. As described in James C. O’Leary’s informative blog post, Mrs. Hudson appears in only 11 of the 60 stories describing Holmes’ cases, speaks just three times, and is accorded a mere 26 lines of dialogue. Her silence is deafening – and, for some of us, unbelievable.

I refer to a school of thought that might be characterized as conspiratorial – if not downright paranoid. That school – in which I confess to be the prime, if not sole student – views Mrs. Hudson as the true, if unheralded, sage of Baker Street. We need to recall that Mrs. Hudson would have been exposed to the Victorian bias against women generally, and women of a certain class particularly. What the scarcity of words about the landlady has long obscured is that Mrs. Hudson was nonetheless determined to be the mistress of her own fate. As is now revealed in the slender volume, Mrs. Hudson in New York – fortuitously available from Amazon and fine bookstores everywhere – Mrs. Hudson is the true creative force behind the foremost consulting detective agency in London, if not the world. Based on skills in investigation and deduction acquired from exercises in the analysis of crime with her late constable husband, her capacity for informed observation – and the careful recruitment of a tall self-confident chemist as the essential male figurehead for her agency, she becomes engaged, with Holmes and Watson, in unraveling the complex problems brought to the doorstep of 221B Baker Street or encountered in far off New York City.

More about the person I choose to regard as the woman can be found at the Facebook page devoted to her exploits – Mrs. Hudson of Baker Street Information about the person who has, without regard for his personal safety, made these truths available is located at BarrySBrown.

The above prepared on behalf of Barry S Brown

Barry Brown is the author of the Mrs Hudson series of novels including Mrs Hudson in New York which is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USA Amazon UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository .  In ebook format it is in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

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