Best Wishes for the Festive Season

18 Dec

Wishing all my readers all joy and happiness for the festive season.

Whatever you celebrate, Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia or just the joy of being alive, I wish you all the very best for now and into the future.

I’ll be taking a break for a couple of weeks to rest and recharge after a busy year at work.

Thank you all for reading my musings and I look forward to entertaining you in 2015.

Sherlock: Chronicles

14 Dec

“Sherlock: Chronicles” by Steve Tribe is an in depth guide to seasons 1 to 3 of the BBC production “Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

However, the book isn’t simply for fans of the show.  Yes, it is aimed at the show’s fan base, but it is also a book for Sherlock Holmes aficionados.

This book has photographs of earlier portrayals of Holmes and Watson, such as Brett & Hardwicke, and Rathbone & Bruce.  There are also reproductions of a couple of Sidney Paget’s original illustrations.  For this Sherlock Holmes fan, the inclusion of photos from the 1970s movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely was the icing on the cake.

There are many excellent photos, a lot of them behind the scenes, which delighted the heart of this backroom geek girl.

There are deleted scenes from the episodes, and also, for the Sherlock Holmes fans, wonderful comparisons of scenes from the script juxtaposed with the original pieces from the stories on which the quoted scene was based.

The book is also threaded through with quotes and interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat, Sue Vertue, Loo Brealey, Arwen Wyn Jones, et al.

The section on costuming was very interesting.  I was unaware just how much input both Benedict and Martin had had into Sherlock and John’s respective wardrobes.

Steve Tribe has created a book that will delight the fan girls, hold the interest of Sherlock Holmes fans, and absorb the geeks who love to know how things are done on television.  And trust me, there is a lot of “How We Did This Stuff”.  I found how they did the tube train scenes in “The Empty Hearse” particularly fascinating.

Highly recommended.

Why Don’t People Just Think?

8 Dec

It never ceases to amaze me how people don’t stop to think things through, and do something startlingly stupid in public.

Last night when I was going home on the tram, there was a woman sitting in front of me chatting on her mobile phone.  Which is fine, if not annoying.  I’m one of these people who is of the opinion that a mobile phone should only be used in public for quick chats… keep the whining about your mother-in-law, boyfriend, next-door-neighbour, or all three, to a minimum until you are somewhere private.

This woman managed to astound me with a level of stupidity that I had previously not seen in public.  In the course of her conversation she whipped out her credit card and began to read the details out to the person on the other end of the phone.  What. The. Bloody. Buggering. Hell????

Anyone within a several seat radius could easily have jotted down the details and then raised merry hell at her expense.  Especially as she gave out the security code as well!

I thought I had seen some pretty blatant disregard for personal privacy on public transport before, having been the unwilling recipient of the gory details of several people’s sex lives, but that took the proverbial cake.  Actually, it took three cakes, a large gateaux, and a strawberry covered pavlova!

This morning I am still finding it hard to comprehend how someone could be so damn stupid as to air their credit card details to the general public.

Though I am now beginning to understand why so many people fall for internet scams.  The International Stupidity Index is obviously a lot higher than I had previously realized.

Sherlock Holmes and the Frightened Golfer

26 Nov

“Sherlock Holmes and the Frightened Golfer” is a pastiche written by J. M. Gregson.

The publisher of this book, Endeavour Press, drew my attention to the the Kindle edition when it was being given away on Amazon.  So I suppose you could say I received a copy from the publisher.

“Sherlock Holmes and the Frightened Golfer” is a short novel, slightly longer than a novella.  However, in this case, short and sweet does the trick.

The plot revolves around the secretary of the Blackheath golf course who has been getting threatening messages, which he ignores, until the sender of the messages turns to violence.

Nice little plot and a relatively fast paced read.

Holmes and Watson are perfectly in character.  I could easily have believed I was reading a long lost Arthur Conan Doyle story, and you don’t get higher praise than that from me.

There are plenty of clues that will allow you to work out whodunnit.  I am pleased to say I was able to put all the pieces together and solve the case before the denouement at the end of the story.

The Kindle edition as has a couple of sample chapters of a Holmes/Watson story from another author at the end, which I will be hunting down in due course.

I recommend “Sherlock Holmes and the Frightened Golfer” to any Sherlock Holmes fans, those who like Victorian crime, and golf enthusiasts.

Happy Little Sherlockian

25 Nov

I am a happy little Sherlockian this morning.

Yesterday I arrived home from work to discover that I had a copy of the “Sherlock Chronicles” by Steve Tribe that the lovely Rebecca in England had purchased and sent to me.

I haven’t started to read it (yet), but did sit down to have a little flick through it.  And was immediately captivated by the photographs.  So many behind the scenes photos that I hadn’t seen before, as well as many gorgeous photos of Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and the others.  And not just Sherlock photos.  I spotted some from other things they had been in such as a photo of Benedict from “Frankenstein”.

The other thing I noticed is that the book also has photos of William Gillette, Jeremy Brett, and Robert Stephens, and copies of Sidney Paget’s original illustrations.  So the book promises to be a feast for Sherlockians, not just Sherlock fans.

As I keep having to point out to people, I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan first; a Sherlock fan second.  I adore Benedict and Martin’s portrayals, for me they are the closest to my ideal of, to me, literature’s greatest friendship.  But I will always love Robert Stephens’ Holmes (my first screen Holmes) and I adored Edward Hardwicke’s Watson.

Then this morning I came online to discover Twitter all abuzz with the news of the read through for the Sherlock special.

Words cannot express my delight at the photo of Benedict and Martin dressed as traditional Holmes and Watson that I also found all over Twitter.

Sue Vertue said the photo shows them as they will appear in the special, which raises some VERY interesting questions.  Is the special going to be divorced from the series and be set in the Victorian period with Benedict and Martin playing their character’s great-great-great grandfathers or uncles?

Is it a dream sequence?  Sherlock strung out on drugs dreaming of a time past?

A friend of mine, Angela, suggested the possibility of a Dickensian “Christmas Carol” type thing with Victorian Sherlock and John as the Ghosts of Christmas Past.

Or is it something as prosaic as the two men attending a masquerade party?

Whatever the outcome, my Sherlockian cup is overflowing… mostly with drool.

Mayhem

16 Nov

“Mayhem” by Sarah Pinborough is a novel that  looks at a little known series of crimes that were being committed in London at the same time as the Ripper murders.  The Thames Torso Murders.

The book starts with the remains of a woman being discovered where Scotland Yard is being built (this really did happen).

At first, the book appears to be a normal crime novel…then things take a twist into the dark and paranormal.

The main character is Dr Thomas Bond, who was a real person.  Considered by many to be the first criminal profiler.  He created the first profile of Jack the Ripper.  He was Police Surgeon for A Division (Westminster) under whose purvey the Thames Torso Killings fell.

Much of what happens in the book, with the exception of the horror elements of the story, did actually occur.  Dr Bond’s autopsy of Mary Jane Kelly is quoted, and his profile of the Ripper is quoted in full in the novel.

Several other characters will be recognizable to those interested in the crimes of Jack the Ripper.

This is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a ripper of a novel.  Fast paced, exciting, with an escalating sense of horror that has you on the edge of your seat.

Ms Pinborough has a dark sense of humour which helps take the edge off the fear factor:

“Found dead.  A verdict as useful as a fucking bible in a Bluegate brothel.”

“Of course she was bloody found dead.” Moore grumbled.  “Some bastard cut off her head and her limbs.  If she’d been found alive I would have been more than bloody surprised.”

I am eagerly awaiting her second book in the series “Murder” which is due for release next year.

Note: Apparently the back of the book was incorrect.  “Murder” was released earlier this year.  Am now awaiting my copy from the library.

London 2015

12 Nov

The next major step on the road to my London trip next year has been taken.

I have booked my airfares and hotel.  I now have dates I will be in London and a place to lay my head.

It is now starting to feel very real.

I had several criteria for the hotel.  It had to be close to UCL (for the Petrie Museum), the British Museum, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum.  My travel agent found me a nice hotel that was snuggled close to these attractions and I accepted his word on it.  It wasn’t until I got home and looked up the hotel that I realised just how serendipitous the hotel selection was.

My long time readers now that I am both a Sherlock Holmes fan and a BBC Sherlock fan.  I discovered that I will be spending 19 days literally just around the corner from North Gower Street where they shoot the exteriors for Sherlock!  Speedy’s Cafe is amongst the closest places to eat to my hotel!

I have a tendency to taking early morning walks.  I can see me quietly wandering North Gower Street playing a mental game of “I saw this on Sherlock” as I spot familiar things.

The Petrie Museum, The British Museum, and The Sherlock Holmes Museum are amongst the top attractions on my lists of things to do and see.  I am hoping the Sherlock Holmes Museum sells deerstalkers, as I have wanted one since I was 10 years old.

So far I have only one day fully planned out.  One of my favourite people in the whole wide world, my friend Rebecca, and I are going to the Tower of London and then doing the London Bridge Experience which is recreations of London’s dark and murky past.  Possibly tourist tat, but I am so looking forward to it.

And my list of things to do and see keeps growing.  Thanks to a documentary on underground London, I discovered that the Guildhall Art Gallery has preserved the ruins of Roman London’s amphitheatre in its basement and you can visit it.  And it is free!

The legendary London Stone in Cannon Street is also on the agenda.  One legend has it that is is the mystical heart of London.  Another legend (my favourite) claims it was the stone from which Arthur’s sword Excalibur was drawn.

This is what I love about London. The wondrous blend of history and mystery that makes it like no other city in the world.

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