Tag Archives: book review

Review of Sherlockian Musings: Thoughts on the Sherlock Holmes Stories

Dr Goldfarb surveys each of the sixty stories, lighting upon all sorts of points that others may not have considered. The style is friendly and informal, but always intelligent and thoughtful. Of “The Empty House”, for instance: “Watson’s bereavement, presumably the death of Mrs Watson, is almost a cheery note. The gesture towards grown-up living, marriage, domesticity — that can all be forgotten now. Watson and Holmes can be adventuring boys again, and will be.” Of “Lady Frances Carfax”: “Poor Watson. He’s feeling old and rheumatic, and look how Holmes treats him: Go to Lausanne, track down Lady Frances, keep me informed — But then I’ll show up unexpectedly and tell you you’ve done everything wrong (but has he? most commentators say no). And for good measure you’ll get beaten up by the savage stalker, who I’ll then tell you is the good guy…” The “musings” were first published in The Petrel Flyer. This wider publication in more permanent form is well merited.

Reviewed by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Sherlockian Musings 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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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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