Tag Archives: wendy heyman-marsaw

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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Memoirs From Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen

Mrs. Hudson is possibly the most famous landlady in literature.  Presiding over the comings and goings at 221B Baker Street, she saw many clients, villains and Baker Street irregulars during the tenancy of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. This series of columns, thoughts, recipes and memoirs are from a long-running column in the Sherlockian journal, Canadian Holmes. In it the author, Wendy Heyman-Marsaw, puts herself in Mrs. Hudson’s shoes, up and down the 17 steps and recounts not only the time and era but the food, dining and eating habits of Victorian England. This book explores the meals Mrs. Hudson would have prepared and served her two famous lodgers, what food they would have had while on rail journeys or eating at hotels around London or inns around England.  You will also learn about Mrs. Hudson herself, her husband and even her views towards women’s roles and rights in Victorian times. With many illustrations from the Strand Magazine, readers will get a rare peek inside Victorian life.

“Ms. Heyman-Marsaw has done an incredible job of gathering Mrs. Hudson’s comments and recipes, and editors JoAnn and Mark Alberstat have assembled the pieces into a very pleasing whole. I’m very glad to have this volume in my collection, both for Mrs. Hudson’s own thoughts, and also for the chance to try some of the recipes.” – David Marcum

Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen 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 Kindle KoboNook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone). Available in Audio .



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The Sherlock Holmes Society of London reviews Memoirs from Mrs Hudson’s Kitchen

Memoirs from Mrs Hudson’s Kitchen by Wendy Heyman-Marsaw. MX Publishing, 2017. 130pp ‘From Mrs Hudson’s Kitchen’ has been a popular feature in Canadian Holmes, the journal of the Bootmakers of Toronto, since 2011. The chapters in this attractive, nicely illustrated book are expanded and rearranged from those columns. Mrs H’s narrative, friendly and level-headed, gives a good picture of what life must have been like for an intelligent lower-middle class landlady catering for an eccentric genius in late Victorian London. She tells us what food and drink she served her lodgers, and what would have been available to them on railway journeys and at hotels or inns. And there are nearly sixty recipes, all authentic and practical. It’s a very nice new volume for the Holmesian cook’s bookshelf — though perhaps we should avoid the tobacco cookies.

Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen is available from all good bookstores including The Strand Magazine,  Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble USA, Amazon UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. Available in Audio and Kindle formats.



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Peter E. Blau reviews Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen

Wendy Heyman-Marsaw’s MEMOIRS FROM MRS. HUDSON’S KITCHEN (2017; 119 pp.) offers a collection of columns from Canadian Holmes, expanded and edited by JoAnn and Mark Alberstat; it’s a nice cookbook, with commentary on life in Victorian times in London and the English countryside.

Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen is available for pre order from all good bookstores including   Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble USA, Amazon UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. Available now in Audio format.



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