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Tag Archives: sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A wonderful history of Doyle’s former home – review of Welcome To Undershaw

The story of Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s house from 1897 to 1907, is complicated. Doyle built the house for his first wife, Louisa, who was in ill health. It was there that he assisted Dr. John H. Watson in finalizing both “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” for publication. After his wife died, Doyle remarried and moved away. He owned the house for a while longer, but then sold it. For many decades, it was a hotel, becoming more and more run-down and abused. After the hotel was closed, the house sat empty for years, a victim of both the natural elements and vandalism.

When the house was threatened with unsuitable development, a group of people banded together to save it, and they were successful. But after the house was saved, there was disagreement as to what to do with it. Some wanted it to be a private house, completely restored and lived in by someone who would keep it in an original 1890’s style. Others hoped for some sort of museum. However, in the end, the house was purchased and restored by the DFN Foundation, to be used as the Stepping Stones School for special needs children.

Today, the house has been lovingly rebuilt. Broken stained glass has been restored to perfection. Plaster, which had sloughed off due to water damage, was replaced using historic methods. Rotting floor joists, and some that were cut completely through by the hotel, were fixed. Additionally, other facilities, such as a modern building with classrooms, a pool, and a small fully functional theatre, were built. The cost was much more than had originally been anticipated, but the DFN Foundation graciously stepped up and saved the building after it had first been saved from destruction.

What Like Kuhns has done is to provide both a history of the building, as well as aspects of Doyle’s life leading up to when he built it, lived in it, and then moved away. Additionally, he has documented the sometimes contentious history of the site over the last few years as groups worked together – and sometimes squabbled – over the best way to make use of the historic treasure. Now the house is being wonderfully used by the Stepping Stones School, which would have certainly made Doyle very happy and proud.

This is a handsome book that friends of Undershaw will be glad to own.

Reviewed by David Marcum

Welcome To Undershaw is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA,Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

9781787050211

 

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The Mystery of the Scarlet Homes of Sherlock

Several Sherlockians have claimed “The Mystery of the Scarlett Homes of Sherlock”, the first of the lost diaries of Arthur Conan Doyle ,  is a blatant hoax. I have embarked on a series of investigations to determine  the veracity of the diaries. I started the enquiry in Edinburgh on a Sunday morning at number one Picardy Place, the birthplace of Arthur Conan Doyle. There, across the street, was Sherlock Holmes on a pedestal wearing his deerstalker hat.  Not far away I found the Conan Doyle Pub which served the exact same type of meat pie and beverages, [single malt whiskey and ale, that ACD mentioned in his diary. Next, on a dark, moonless night, with the aid of a hooded bulls-eye lantern, I jimmied the locks on a rear door to the Royal College of Surgeons on Nicholson Street and entered the archives. There, hidden away in a locked box was the original correspondence between Dr. Joe Bell and ACD. These letters, written by hand confirmed the close relationship between Dr. Bell and the young ACD. and the fact that ACD modelled Sherlock Holmes on his friend and teacher, Dr. Joe Bell. My investigation led me to the museum of the RCS. There, midst skeletons, dissected anatomical specimens and vicious surgical instruments I found a small alcove, almost hidden from view, with  a portrait of Dr. Bell and a movie clip of ACD, in person discussing the origins of the famous detective.  Thus far, my investigations confirm the truth of the opening pages in ACD’s lost diaries. These investigations prove beyond the shadow of doubt, the first scenes mentioned in “The Mystery of the Scarlett Homes of Sherlock”.  I intend to study steamship  passenger lists as well as the files of the Rush Medical School in Chicago for discussions of Dr. Bell’s lectures while he was an invited consultant.

John Raffensperger, MD, Author of The Mystery of the Scarlet Homes of Sherlock

The Mystery of The Scarlet Homes Of Sherlock 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).

1780929684

 

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Welcome To Undershaw – out on October 10th

“WELCOME TO UNDERSHAW is subtitled as “a brief history of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: the man who created Sherlock Holmes” and offers a well-illustrated examination of Conan Doyle’s early life, the history of the house, and an interesting exploration of what happened while he was living there. It’s nicely done indeed, and will be welcomed by anyone who has visited or plans to visited Undershaw.” Peter Blau, Scuttlebutt, Sept 16.

Welcome To Undershaw is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

9781787050211

 

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What’s Your Favorite Sherlock Holmes Story?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Sherlock Holmes is the “most portrayed literary human character in film & TV.”   He fascinated the world when Conan Doyle’s stories first appeared, and today he’s still calling “the game is afoot” to Dr. Watson as they hail a hansom cab on the foggy streets of London, ready to right a wrong and catch a criminal.

Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six Sherlock Holmes short stories and four novels, and everyone seems to have a favorite tale. Even Conan Doyle himself made a list of his personal twelve favorite short stories:

  1. “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” 1892
  2. “The Red-headed League” 1891
  3. “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” 1903
  4. “The Final Problem” 1893
  5. “A Scandal in Bohemia” 1891
  6. “The Adventure of the Empty House” 1903
  7. “The Five Orange Pips” 1891
  8. “The Adventure of the Second Stain” 1904
  9. “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot” 1910
  10. “The Adventure of the Priory School” 1904
  11. “The Musgrave Ritual” 1893
  12. “The Reigate Squires” 1893

Read the full article published in The Strand Magazine by Diane Gilbert Madsen here.

 

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Peter E. Blau reviews Welcome To Undershaw

Luke Benjamen Kuhns’ WELCOME TO UNDERSHAW (London: MX Publishing, 2016; 107pp., hardbound) is subtitled as “a brief history of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: the man who created Sherlock Holmes” and offers a well-illustrated examination of Conan Doyle’s early life, the history of the house, and an interesting exploration of what happened while he was living there.  It’s nicely done indeed, and will be welcomed by anyone who has visited or plans to visited Undershaw.

Welcome To Undershaw is available for pre order from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

9781787050211

 

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Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street

In 1893, Dr. Watson and Conan Doyle published what they believed was the last Sherlock Holmes story, “The Final Problem”. The world was stunned, and The Strand Magazine rushed to fill the vacuum. Readers were soon introduced to a new detective, Martin Hewitt, as presented by Arthur Morrison. Although initially different than Holmes, Hewitt also showed a number of interesting similarities as well … .

For many years, Martin Hewitt has been mostly forgotten, except in some Sherlockian circles, where it has long been theorized that he was a young Mycroft Holmes. However, recent evidence has come to light that Hewitt’s adventures were – in fact – cases undertaken by a young Sherlock Holmes when he lived in Montague Street, several years before he would take up his legendary rooms in Baker Street with Watson.

These volumes are the Complete Martin Hewitt Stories, taking Arthur Morrison’s original publications and presenting them as Sherlock Holmes adventures. If you are a fan of Holmes, enjoy! And by all means, seek out the original Hewitt stories and enjoy them as well. The Game is afoot!

Review

“What is important to note is all the original stories by Morrison are kept nicely in tact with a few additions here and there. This book gives credit where it is due and doesn’t try to be passed off as something that it is not.”

Luke Kuhns

Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

montague street volume 1

 

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Peter E. Blau reviews The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories

“THE MX BOOK OF NEW SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES, edited by David Marcum (London: MX Publishing, 2015), is an anthology of straight-forward pastiches, carefully selected from what Marcum calls the “Great Watsonian Oversoul.” Marcum believes that “there never can be enough good Holmes stories, relating the activities of the true, correct, and traditional Holmes,” and he offers more than sixty stories, almost all previously unpublished, by authors who are old hands at writing pastiches or newcomers to the genre. The stories (and occasional poems and scripts) are nicely done indeed, and the collection consists of three volumes (439/416/418 pp.) Recommended.
MX’s web-sites are at <www.mxpublishing.com> and <mxpublishing.co.uk>. The authors have donated their royalties to the preservation of Undershaw, Conan Doyle’s former home, which is being converted by the DFN Foundation into a school <http://www.steppingstones.org.uk/>, and the success of the anthology and triggered work on three more volumes <www.tinyurl.com/goj4jap>.”

Volume IV will be released on 22nd May.

The MX Books of New Sherlock Holmes Stories are available from all good bookstores including The Strand Magazine, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in KindleKoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

mx collection volume 1-3

 

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