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Philip K Jones reviews Sherlock Holmes and The Lufton Lady by Marlene R. Aig

“This book was published posthumously from notes left by the author.  Two “chapters” were published during her lifetime in issues of “Canadian Holmes,” [Volume 14, Issues #2 & 4, Wi/1990 & Su/1991].  Chris Redmond is responsible for making the completion of this tale available from her notes.

I have copies of the original publications as well as the more recent, Trade Paperback edition and I re-read the original ”Chapters” as part of this review.  Sherlockians must be warned.  This is a love story, written by a true “Romantic Soul.”  This is also a story that fits well into the Canon.  Most of its events precede that historic meeting at “St. Barts” which began the Canon, so Dr. Watson does not appear actively in the events narrated here.  The picture presented of Holmes is NOT filtered through the eyes of Dr. Watson, but rather he is presented by the diary entries of a school friend and an associate (superior?) of Mycroft.  The Holmes we see is younger and more impressionable than the one we have become accustomed to watching.

This love story presents three couples who are in love (more or less) and who are forbidden by societal standards to express their love.  The events presented are the direct results of the frustration imposed on these people by those societal strictures.  Ms. Aig was a journalist and, over her years of professional experience, must have seen the effects of such societal pressures acted out in sorrow, violence and misery many times.  Her presentation is deft and not overly sentimental, but it is most affecting.  Conflicts between society’s expectations and the vagaries of the heart are frustrating, even in retrospect.  The waste of time, energy and concern bear little resemblance to the advantages returned to society by conformity to its rules of conduct.

Each of these romances is resolved in the book.  “Happily ever after” is not always achieved in real life, so the results will be unsatisfactory for the romance-minded.  On the other hand, Sherlock is learning his trade and resolves the various situations presented in as efficient a manner as he can.  Murder, heartbreak, frustration and sorrow are often the lot of lovers in the world, especially in the world of Victorian England.  Criminals suffer the consequences of their actions, either through judicial punishment, private action or excessive throes of conscience.

In a technical sense, there is very little that needs to be said about this book.  It is well-written and well-edited and the story is interesting and believable.  The characters are engaging and very well presented and most of the background details are accurate.  My only problem is the forms of address used in the tale for the children of a Duke.  These are, at the least, odd and they may be improper.  In addition, this story is the first telling that I have encountered of a particular Untold Tale.  In The Musgrave Ritual, Holmes mentions “… cases … through… old fellow students” of which MUSG was the third.  The Lufton Lady is another.”

Sherlock Holmes and The Lufton Lady 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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Controversial New Novel from a Sherlock Holmes Master

Kieran McMullen has, over the last three years, established himself as one of the current leading ‘traditional’ Sherlock Holmes authors. Three historical military focussed novels behind him, and a wonderful collaboration with another new master Dan Andriacco (The Amateur Executioner) have given him a large following.

In ‘Sherlock Holmes and The Black Widower’ Holmes has to investigate a potential serial killer – one who has murdered three wives. Not so unusual – except the accused is a one Dr. John Watson. A gripping and sure to be controversial thriller, and arguably McMullen’s best so far.

Sherlock Holmes and The Black Widower is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USAAmazon UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle,  Kobo and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

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An Interview with Claire Daines

An Interview with Claire Daines

Claire Daines has just had her first Sherlock Holmes novel published and I caught up with her recently.

I very often find it hard to find the time to write, but you have a young family, now extended by one to care for. How do you find the time?

I hold it up at gunpoint! It helps that the three eldest are at school and pre-school five days a week, and I’ve gotten very good at typing one-handed with the baby on my knee.

Are you a structured writer, writing at a set time and place? Do you just open up the laptop and let it come to you?

Not structured in the least, but my family always knows where to find me: constantly tapping away on my laptop at the dining room table, one of the few spaces available for writing.  I hate to feel like I’m not achieving anything, so I usually keep several projects on the go at once. If I run out of steam for one, I can switch to another. I also make sure to carry pen and paper with me if I’m going out anywhere.

Why Sherlock Holmes?

You know how certain characters just stay on your radar all your life, and you can spot a reference to them a mile off, no matter how slight? For me, Sherlock Holmes has always been that character. The very first Holmes story I ever read was ‘Silver Blaze’ when I was still in primary school. It was in a book of various mystery stories: Father Brown, the Thinking Machine, and so on. I must have read that book a thousand times while growing up – it’s probably still in my parents’ attic somewhere. Funnily enough, the next major ‘Holmes moment’ that I recall was at 10 years old, watching Michael Caine blunder about beside Ben Kingsley’s Watson in ‘Without A Clue’!

I love Sherlock Holmes because of his brilliant mind, but also because he is so obviously not a mere ‘brain without a heart’. His humanity is clear in every story, despite the cold, logical façade he tries to present – which itself is such a very human thing to do!

Your novel ‘A Study in Regret’ has now made its way into the world. How did the premise of this work come  to you?

To answer, we have to travel back in time to the beginning of 2012. I had recently found a certain fanfiction website, and was blown away by not only the sheer quantity, but also the quality of some of it. After reading Discworld for several days straight, I turned on a whim to the Sherlock Holmes section in the hope that it would be just as good… and oh, it was! Some of those authors, I could barely tell the difference between their writing and Doyle’s, and I loved being able to read all those wonderful new adventures. With one particular writer, ‘Aleine Skyfire’ (who is now my best friend and co-author!), I was waiting impatiently for each fresh installment of the Holmes serial she was writing. After reading one chapter in floods of tears, I found myself idly wondering what it would be like for Holmes if Watson hadn’t survived Reichenbach…

Read the full interview here.

Sherlock Holmes and A Study In Regret is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USA, Amazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle,  Kobo and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).

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New York City writer lifts the lid on the Mystery of Charles Dicken’s murder in his new novel

John Paulits has been writing fiction for over thirty years but rarely has his writing caused as much controversy as his latest novel – The Mystery of Charles Dickens. History records that on June 9, 1870, Charles Dickens died of a cerebral haemorrhage. History, says Paulits, however, is wrong. June 9, 1870, is the day on which Emile de la Rue murdered Charles Dickens. His publishers have said that they’ve never had so many review copies requests – mainly from Dickens clubs and societies around the world.

The novel suggests that during a stay in Genoa in 1844-45, Charles Dickens, an accomplished mesmerist, used his mesmeric abilities to treat a young Englishwoman, Augusta de la Rue. He was  attempting to cure a years’ long malady of hers that included facial spasms and phantom-filled dreams. During her trances she revealed to Dickens a horrible truth she had long suppressed about her husband. Dickens, at that time, was helpless to act on the devastating admission, but twenty-five years later Emile de la Rue shows up in London, and Dickens finally seeks justice.

The introduction to the story describes the final four days of Dickens’ life.  The author, a Dickens scholar, explains how he came across a tucked-away John Forster (Dickens’ closest friend and first biographer) manuscript of a tale told him by Dickens–a tale of mesmerism and murder–and the old diary of Emile de la Rue, the man who murdered Charles Dickens.  Finally, since mesmerism plays such a crucial role in the story, a brief afterward gives a concise history of mesmerism and how it reached Dickens.

Paulits has won several awards for his fiction in the past. His science fiction novel HOBSON’S PLANET was an Eppie award nominee in 2009.  His children’s novel PHILIP AND THE BOY WHO SAID, “HUH?” won the Mayhaven Publishing Award for Fiction in 2000.  His children’s novel PHILIP AND THE SUPERSTITION KID was voted best children’s book of 2010 in a readers poll conducted by Preditors and Editors.

Paulits formerly taught elementary school in New York City and now writes full time. A born and bred Philadelphian, he lives in New York City and Brigantine, New Jersey. He is married and has one daughter.

The Mystery of Charles Dickens is available from all good bookstores including:

USA –   Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

UK  – Waterstones and  Amazon .

And in electronic formats including the Nook and Kobo.

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Book Publishing


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