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Sherlock Holmes Society of London reviews Watson is Not an Idiot by Eddy Webb

“The essays collected in Watson Is Not an Idiot: An Opinionated Tour of the Sherlock Holmes Canon by Eddy Webb (MX Publishing; www.mxpublishing.co.uk) were originally posted on Mr Webb’s blog at http://eddyfate.com. They are necessarily opinionated, as they must be; they’re also intelligent, incisive and well-written. The nearest equivalent to Watson Is Not an Idiot is probably Martin Dakin’s Sherlock Holmes Commentary, but Mr Webb takes the line throughout that the chronicles of Sherlock Holmes are fiction, written by Arthur Conan Doyle. His book can help us appreciate just what is good in the stories, what isn’t, and why they still appeal when so much contemporary work is forgotten. It would make an ideal present for the Holmesian neophyte or for the long-time scholar.”

 

Watson Is Not An Idiot is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle,  KoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

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An exciting week for Sherlock Holmes fans.

Last week saw the launch of Eddy Webb’s detailed and brutally honest review of the Sherlock Holmes stories ‘Watson Is Not An Idiot’. Critics have called it a brilliant introduction to the original stories. An early review says:

“I am in love with this book. As a Sherlock fan, I didn’t think I would be able to learn more about Doyle’s work. Boy, was I mistaken.Eddy brings you to Doyle’s world and explains the common misconceptions of certain key phrases, Sherlock, and of course, Watson (who is not an idiot).”

This week’s new title is very special. ‘Sherlock Holmes and a Quantity of Debt’ is a special edition hardback of David Marcum’s debut Holmes novel. We say special as David’s two short story collections (The Papers of Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2) have been bestsellers since their launch in June and September this year, and compiled together into a stunning 13 hour audio version. Reviews have been amazing:

“David Marcum has achieved the ultimate Sherlock Holmes pastiche, David is indeed the undisputed master of the modern Sherlock Holmes story, to read these stories it is as if Conan Doyle himself has written them.No doubt about it David Marcum is THE best Sherlockian author of today.If like me a purist and like Sherlock Holmes stories as Conan Doyle intended them this then this book is an absolute must.”

The reaction to the short stories gave us the confidence to include in the launch a special hardback.

Finally, this week sees a fantastic free event for Sherlock Holmes fans on Friday 8thNovember, 7pm at the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel. The launch of ‘The Immortals’ a comprehensive review of the BBC Sherlock and CBS Elementary series from Holmes expert Matthew Elliott – free tickets available from http://theimmortals-efbevent.eventbrite.co.uk/.

Watson Is Not An Idiot is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA,Amazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle,  KoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

Sherlock Holmes and A Quantity of Debt is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon KindleKobo and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

The Immortals: An Unauthorized guide to Sherlock and Elementary is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

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Review of In Search of Doctor Watson 2nd Edition by Molly Carr

“According to the author, this book “falls naturally into two parts: the Doctor as written about by Doyle, and an exploration of the concept of the foil before, during and after the first appearance of Watson.”

She is, however, doing herself an injustice with this relatively bald statement. Part One covers every aspect of a character that you can imagine, the friends and acquaintances on which Doyle may have drawn – or not, and, if not, why not –for inspiration;  the places and actions and fallacies of same – in a historical context; Watson’s own background and possible ‘origins’, his income and where that would fit into London society.

For me, just as interesting as this detailed investigation is the wealth of background information and research that is included to paint such a complete and convincing picture: the history of the Field Medical Services, the 66th’s movements during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, the attitude of the medical profession (including Doyle) towards dressers, the description of Charles Booth’s social system etc. etc.

Equally fascinating is her attempt to construct a plausible  timeline before and, especially, after Maiwand and Peshawar and when Watson met Holmes; naturally she has to excuse the former for the occasional lapse of memory as to precisely in which hospital he was tended for his shoulder wound. She even suggests that Watson purposely chose New Year’s Day for their first meeting as it “makes for better ‘theatre’.”

Equally interesting is the discussion on the literary duos spawned [by Holmes and Watson], although I would disagree with her argument – when discussing Arthur Morrison’s  lack of success with his Strand stories which appeared soon after The Final Problem – that “what the readers…of the Strand desperately wanted was a second Holmes and Watson.” What they clearly clamoured for – and eventually got – was the return of the original! Raffles & Bunny, Drs Thorndyke and Jarvis, Lord Peter Wimsey & Bunter, Sexton Blake & Tinker, Poirot & Hastings: they are all there,  but the conclusion is, naturally,  that there‘s only one Holmes and Watson!

Can I find any fault in this, perhaps definitive, work on Dr. Watson? Well yes, just one: given that the author shares her extensive knowledge of relevant sources with us, an index and/or bibliography would be handy for the interested researcher. Something for the next edition maybe.

But in the meantime this one can be wholly recommended.”

This review appeared in THE TORR: The Journal of ‘The Poor Folk Upon the Moors’ The Sherlock Holmes Society of the West Country. Issue No. 43  – Autumn 2013

In Search of Dr Watson 2nd Edition is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UK and Waterstones. For elsewhere Book Depository who offer free delivery worldwide. In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and iBooks(iPad/iPhone).

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Review of Watsons Afghan Adventure by Kieran McMullen from The Ill Dressed Vagabond aka Phil Jones

Watson's Afghan AdventurePhilip K Jones is one of the most respected, and meticulous Sherlock Holmes reviewers in the USA. Here he casts a close eye over Watsons Afghan Adventure, the debut Holmes pastiche from Keiran McMullen.

“This is the only Sherlockian book I know of by this author.  It is Watson’s own tale of his experiences in Afghanistan.  The narrative is a very realistic exposition of a British Doctor’s life during the Second Afghan War.  I am not sure of the details of the campaigns involved, but the presentation is an accurate and intelligent view of what Watson would have seen and experienced.

The Watson presented here is very much the Watson who wrote the Canonical tales.  He is inherently good and caring but also intelligent and observant.  Some of the details differ from those in the Canonical accounts but all the disagreements are well explained and logical.  The tale told is well written and intriguing, with a variety of characters and locations.  The bumbling Watson presented in the Canon, of course, never existed, but this Watson has all the heart and courage displayed in the Canonical tales along with the attention to detail and intelligence required by their author.

Good and evil are displayed by most of the characters.  The wide range of the noble aspirations, lofty ideals and gross excesses of ‘The Raj’ are displayed as well as the nobility, humanity and venality of the native population.  Most of the characters are interesting and the story told is a fascinating combination of a treasure hunt and an exposé of the details of the British domination of the Subcontinent.  As ever, Watson maintains his ideals, observes his fellow travelers and tries to help whomever and wherever he can.

There are a few irritating details in editing that occur throughout the book.  Most are substitution of homonyms for the proper spellings but there are also a few specific mis-usages and errors in details.  A careful edit should catch the majority but they are, at most, a minor distraction.  In a literature that is plagued by poor editing and gross mis-spellings the errors in this book are truly small change.  Some purists may disagree with the details of Watson’s history provided, but no real violations of the Canon are included.  This is an interesting and thought provoking addition to the Canon that is well worth reading.”

Kieran’s own blog is becoming very popular – especially his recent series of articles on the different actors that have played Dr.Watson.

Watson’s Afghan Adventure is available from all good bookstores and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, iBooks (iPad and iPhone) and other formats.

 

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