Tag Archives: book review

Review of Cut To: Baker Street

“Dr Vaughan says that she’s always written with young and “casual” readers in mind. Her new book should appeal to them; it certainly appeals to me. As a dedicated veteran reader, with a special interest in dramatic and comedic presentations of Holmes and Watson, I find Cut to: Baker Street a helpful reference source, alongside Alan Barnes’s Sherlock Holmes on Screen and others (including the invaluable IMDB). The text doesn’t include full credits, but it covers the essentials, and it’s complemented by Georgia Grace Weston’s witty drawings. Exceptionally useful is the inclusion of internet-only and computer game productions, though their episode lists are classed with “Television”, which is a bit confusing. Such a book will never be complete, so in a few years’ time an updated edition would be welcome.”

Reviewed by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Cut To Baker Street is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.



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Book Review – Sherlock Holmes These Scattered Houses


“A previously untold adventure of the “Great Hiatus”. Holmes, travelling in the guise of Professor Keevan Sigerson, is being pursued across Europe by Moriarty’s henchmen. Narrowly escaping death for the umpteenth time, he resolves to return to London, but is forced instead to take passage to New York. Seriously injured, he finds his way to Poughkeepsie and takes refuge in the Vassar Women’s College, where he is soon embroiled in a mystery.

The pace of this novel is well-judged. From the outset it is a gripping and colourful adventure with lots of action. Clear respect for the Canon is demonstrated in the many neat references and affectionate nods to the characters, stories and intrigues of the original texts, and some real-life characters, such as Harry Houdini and Samuel Morse, add further colour to the plot.

The author demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of Poughkeepsie history and the significance of Vassar College. It provides a splendid backdrop to a fast-paced story told with great care and affection.”

Sherlock Holmes Society of London – Winter Journal


Sherlock Holmes These Scattered Houses is available from:

Amazon USA      Barnes and Noble.

Amazon UK        Book Depository  (free worldwide shipping)

Audio Book   

(first chapter of the audio free download)


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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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Another Winning Sherlockian Adventure from Tim Symonds – Review of Sherlock Holmes and The Case of The Bulgarian Codex

“Different editors of Dr. Watson’s manuscripts have different specialties. Denis O. Smith brings us incredible stories set in the 1880’s. Marcia Wilson brings an unsurpassed understanding about the world of the Scotland Yarders that has no equal. Tim Symonds offers a number of well-researched, compelling, and full-length Sherlock Holmes adventures and short stories specializing in Our Heroes’ activities in the early 20th century. In “The Bulgarian Codex”, set in 1900, Holmes and Watson become involved in the quest to recover an ancient document – the Codex in question – before the various empires and Kingdoms on every side of the Balkans can ignite into a world war.

As always, Symonds understands the intricacies of history at the beginning of the twentieth century, and those events that eventually led to World War I – along with Holmes and Watson’s efforts to prevent or at least delay it. Once again, Holmes and Watson are in the very center of events that – if not handled properly – could lead to global catastrophe.”

Reviewed by David Marcum

Sherlock Holmes and The Case of The Bulgarian Codex is available from all good bookstores including in the USA The Strand MagazineAmazonBarnes and Noble, in the UK AmazonWaterstones and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleNookiPad and Kobo.

bulgarian codex


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Review of Sherlock Holmes and The London Particular

“Daniel D. Victor has made a name for himself by bringing us some really great Sherlock Holmes stories in his ongoing series, “Sherlock Holmes and the American Literati”. These books feature encounters between Holmes and famous American writers, including “The Final Page of Baker Street” (Raymond Chandler), “The Baron of Brede Place” (Stephen Crane), “Seventeen Minutes to Baker Street” (Samuel Clemens), and “The Outrage at the Diogenes Club” (Jack London). Now, in “Sherlock Holmes and the London Particular”, he gives us Holmes’s fascinating encounter with Richard Harding Davis, a famed American reporter and novelist at the turn of the twentieth century.

The novel begins by throwing us in the thick of the action – Holmes and Watson, in a dense London fog, see an open door. They enter the building and find themselves immediately involved in a murder investigation. From there, the action only gets more exciting, with a stolen necklace, foreign intrigue, a problem with an inheritance, and a curious group known as “The High Table Club”.

As usual, the appearance of a new novel by Dan Victor is cause for Sherlockian celebration. Run – don’t walk – to dive into this one!“

Reviewed by David Marcum

Sherlock Holmes and The London Particular 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 KindleNookKobo and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).



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The Hound of The Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Play

“The Hound of Baskervilles doesn’t easily lend itself to the theatre, but dramatists seem unable to resist the challenge. I’ve not had the chance to see it performed, but Simon Corble’s play is pretty close to the top of my list of favourites. It was written to be performed out of doors, with the audience following the actors from place to place. Mr Corble boldly adapts the story rather than simply dramatising, and the result is clever, witty, exciting – and refreshingly intelligent. David Stuart Davies contributes an appreciative foreword, and the text is enhanced by a dozen photographs and superb atmospheric cover, using photos taken during a production at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire.”  – The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Hound of The Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Play is available from all good bookstores including in the USA Amazon and Barnes and Noble, in the UK WaterstonesAmazon and Book Depository (free worldwide delivery). In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and iPad.



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Review of Sherlock Holmes and The Sword of Osman

It is rare that I pick up a Holmes pastiche and immediately fall in love with it – but it happened with this book. Symonds managed to catch the voice of early retirement Watson so perfectly and with so much love and whimsical sarcasm that it is a joy to read from beginning to end. The story itself is set in a time when European powers were slowly realizing that a war unlike any before was approaching. Holmes and Watson come together for an adventure set in 1906 to make sure that the Sword of Osman, an insignia of the emperor of the Ottoman Empire, will remain in the hands of the ruling king in order to keep the brittle stability between several European nations and the Ottoman Empire intact. The initially mysterious client who sends the duo to Istanbul is Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary and a great admirer of both Holmes and Watson.

The adventure is complex, the case more difficult and dangerous than Holmes or Watson anticipate and rife with references to historical and political events – an intertextual feast. I do not want to give away too much of the story, but Symonds manages to write Sherlock Holmes and John Watson very close to how Doyle wrote them and yet manages to make them his own. The story is never boring and there are enough questions and mysteries to keep the reader on edge, especially with some knowledge on the political context (I recommend reading up in the relationship between Britain and the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the century for even greater enjoyment of the book).

Symonds also manages to do what very few pastiches manage: He makes the ending surprising even after Holmes offers us the solution to the mystery. It’s entertaining and educational and offers deeper insight into Holmes’s role in European politics, which results in his role as a double agent in Doyle’s “His Last Bow” as well as his relationship with John Watson and Mycroft Holmes.

It is definitely one of my favourite Holmes pastiches so far, and I am excited to read more of Symonds’s work.

Reviewed by The Baker Street Babes

Sherlock Holmes and the Sword of Osman 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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Review of The Adventure of the Wordy Companion: An A-Z Guide to Sherlockian Phraseology

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. In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).



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Review of The Literary Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volumes 1 and 2

It is wonderful having these stories collected in one volume. What a pleasure to traipse through them again, each previously encountered separately, all gathered in a single splendid cornucopia, with all of Victor’s brilliances on full display, an exquisite end-piece to the Sherlock Holmes & The American Literati series. As with Victor’s novels, each of these stories pairs Sherlock Holmes with a notable (though not exclusively American) author and, as is Victor’s forté, captures, with pitch-perfect accuracy, the distinct voices of the literary figures depicted as well as the verbal tropes of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes himself. Whether Guy de Maupassant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, David Graham Phillips, H.G.Wells, Raymond Chandler, or, poignantly, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Victor emulates each author’s style and incorporates those inflections and tendencies into the way they speak. While remaining ever true to Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Watson characters, Victor has delicious and devious fun blurring fact and fiction, excavating Holmes lore and adding to it, warping time, weaving ironies, atmospheric reveries, clever twists, and intertextual echoes across the tapestry. If you are a fan of Victor’s American Literati series, this collection is a must-have. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or any of the authors he encounters in these tales, you will be most pleased with where Victor takes things. A grand and glorious addition to the genre and to the already impressive Victor oeuvre. Bravo!

Reviewed by The Group W Bench

The Literary Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volumes 1 and 2 is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USABarnes and Noble USA,  Amazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

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