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Out today – The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Part V: Christmas Adventures

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Part V: Christmas Adventures features contributions by: Bob Byrne, Derrick Belanger, Amy Thomas, David Marcum, Denis O. Smith, C.H. Dye, Marcia Wilson, Julie McKuras, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bert Coules, John Hall, Jim French, S.F. Bennett, Narrelle M. Harris, William Patrick Maynard, Vincent W. Wright, James Lovegrove, Arthur Hall, Nicholas Utechin, Mike Chinn, Tracy J. Revels, Roger Riccard, Wendy C. Fries, Paul D. Gilbert, Jan Edwards, Molly Carr, S. Subramanian, Peter K. Andersson, Matthew J. Elliott, Hugh Ashton, and Mark Mower,  with a poem by Ashley D. Polasek and forewords by Jonathan Kellerman, Roger Johnson, Steve Emecz, Melissa Farnham, and David Marcum.

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Part V: Christmas Adventures is 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 Kindle.

9781780929958

 

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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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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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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 house: High Court challenge fails

The Judicial Review yesterday ruled that the development of Undershaw as the new home of Stepping Stones can go ahead. The final challenge to the plans was rejected by Justice Foskett  according to BBC News.

The decision removes the final obstacle to the school’s opening in May 2016. The picture above shows the new building that will sit alongside the original Underhsaw house.

60+ Sherlock authors around the world are working on fundraising for restoration projects at the school with the MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories which has been a bestseller among Sherlock fans in the run up to Christmas. There were three initial volumes (totalling 1,340 pages and 60 stories) and Volume IV should be ready in time for the school’s opening.

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Sherlock’s Home – Call For Corporate Sponsors

In the coming weeks the courts will make the final decision on Undershaw, Conan Doyle’s former home. It has been the subject of a long running battle between the developers who seek to destroy it, and the band of Sherlock Holmes fans who are fighting to save it and return it to its former glory.

(Undershaw today, neglected and run down)

The high court ruled in favour of the fans – the developers appealed – that was defeated too – now they have appealed the rejection of the appeal (come on….). Now we just have to wait for that to get looked at and then we’re done: you’ve got to love the British judicial system (not).

In the meantime the UPT (Undershaw Preservation Trust) are putting together a fundraising committee of ten to twelve volunteers whose job it will be to raise the money needed to restore Undershaw back to its former glory. Due to the negligence of the developers [the high court case highlighted at least two instances where they broke the law in not keeping the building safe whilst the court case raged on] the job is considerably bigger than it needed to have been. It’s estimated that the team will need £2.5m (around $4m) to restore and prepare the building.

(Undershaw as it used to look)

This is where Sherlock Holmes fans around the world have plenty of ways of getting involved. Most of you will be aware of the book ‘Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House’ which was compiled by BBC Sherlock fan site Sherlockology and whose royalties all go to the trust. Many of you have bought the book and many have joined the trust’s Save Undershaw Facebook Page.

Now I’d like to suggest something else. Corporate sponsorship. We live in an era where Football, Baseball and Soccer stadiums around the world have corporate sponsors – even the theatre bar I was in a few weeks ago in London carried the support logo of their sponsor American Airlines. So why now Undershaw? On a purely brutal front, there is lots of very positive brand exposure to be had to be linked to this quite amazing story how a group of fans (led by John Gibson) have managed to save an incredible building against all the odds.

(campaigner and Holmes actor Derek Wood by a boarded up Undershaw)

My first stop for corporate sponsors are the corporations that have, especially in recent times, made some serious money from the Sherlock Holmes stories. Let’s remember, that if it wasn’t for Undershaw, none of that money would have been made, there would have been no Sherlock Holmes.

I am deadly serious here. Few people realise that Undershaw is where Conan Doyle brought Holmes back to life and where he created the The Hound of The Baskervilles that catapulted Holmes from simply a ‘fairly popular’ detective, to a worldwide phenomenon. Without Undershaw, we wouldn’t be enjoying Holmes today.

So yes, Warner Brothers, Undershaw has given you two blockbuster movies that have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes, BBC (I know you are a public corporation but you still are able to sponsor), you have this building to thank for the prolific success of BBC Sherlock. And how about CBS with Elementary…. I’m sure you guys will make a few bucks out of that too.

Now I am not suggesting any of these corporations hand over the millions that are required (though that would be nice) but it certainly would be fitting for them to be involved. There are plans to include a museum element to the restored house and it would be brilliant to have a Holmes on screen section with costumes and momentos from the films and TV series.

But here is the crux of this article, it’s a call out to the Holmes fans around the world who by day work for big corporations in many fields of expertise. There are plenty of ways for companies to get involved – especially any of those involved in construction. There will be plenty of opportunity for publicity – that’s one thing the Holmes fan base is really good at. There are dozens of rooms in the house and I am sure there is the opportunity for corporations to sponsor perhaps Conan Doyle’s study, the library of Holmes books that will be created – or perhaps the stunning stained glass window which surely every future visitor will stop to admire….

Corporations can write off donations like this against tax and use the association with the house for entertainment of key clients. A private tour of the house where Sherlock Holmes came back to life? Now that’s what I call special corporate entertainment…..

If you have an idea of how your company can get involved in the restoration and running of Undershaw please contact the UPT through the Save Undershaw Facebook page.

And if you haven’t got hold of a copy of the book ‘Sherlock’s Home’ its available from all good bookstores and in all formats – AmazonBarnes and NobleBook Depository (free worldwide delivery), Kindle , Kobo , Nook, and iTunes.

 

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