The Duck is Launched!

19 Jun

“The Adventure of the Bloody Duck and other tales of Sherlock Holmes” has been launched.

Steve Emecz of MX Publishing hosted the online launch on Zoom where I read one of the stories from the book and answered questions.

If you would like to watch the launch, you can find the video here. It goes for about half an hour.

Book Launch: The Adventure of the Bloody Duck

5 Jun

“The Adventure of the Bloody Duck and other tales of Sherlock Holmes” will have its launch online via Zoom.

Please join me and Steve Emecz from MX Publishing for a live reading and author QandA.

Because I am in Australia and Steve is in the UK, we have had fun working out a time that would (hopefully) suit most people. The time is:

10.30pm, Saturday 18th June 2022 (UK)

5.30pm, Saturday 18th June 2022 (Eastern USA)

7.30am, Sunday 19th June 2022 (Eastern Australia)

9.30am, Sunday 19th June 2022 (New Zealand).

Register for the Zoom launch here: Bloody Duck Zoom Launch

Hope to see you on the day.

The Ripper and the Royals

18 May

“The Ripper and the Roylals” by Melvin Fairclough is a fascinating look at the crimes of Jack the Ripper, with ‘evidence’ supplied by Walter Sickert’s son, Joseph.

If you have seen the movie “Murder by Decree” starring Christopher Plummer and James Mason, as well as the TV mini-series “Jack the Ripper” starring Michael Caine and Lewis Collins, then you pretty much know what this book is going to deliver.

The evidence delivered is interesting, compelling almost, but also completely impossible to prove. The evidence includes diaries purported to have been written by Freddie Abberline. As I said, impossible to prove. However, the case stated, whilst highly improbable, is by no means impossible.

For anyone who believes that level of conspiracy could not have been kept quiet, Fairclough makes the very valid point that several members of the Queen’s own family were committed to insane asylums with the news only coming out in the 1980s. I remember when that news broke.

The result is a book that is a genuinely interesting read. Well worth obtaining a copy. I would say it is almost a must read for those interested in the Ripper’s crimes, and the machinations of Victorian society.

Highly recommended.

The Shadows of Sherlock Holmes

1 May

“The Shadows of Sherlock Holmes” is an anthology of crime stories from authors that are roughly contemporary with Sir Arthur Doyle. Writers of the calibre of Edgar Allan Poe, Baroness Orczy and Doyle’s brother-in-law, E. W. Hornung. The book was edited by noted Holmesian author David Stuart Davies and published by Wordsworth Classics.

With any anthology there are good stories and bad stories, and in the case of older stories, some that have not withstood the passage of time. On the whole, however, the book was a good read. For me, the best stories were:

The Absent-Minded Coterie – by Robert Barr
The Duchess of Wiltshire’s Diamonds – by Guy Boothby
The Great Pearl Mystery – by Baroness Orczy

If you come across a copy, it is worth a read.

Now on Redbubble

28 Apr

MX Publishing has a Redbubble store that has lots of Sherlock Holmes themed goodies.

Just added is a range of items for The Adventure of the Bloody Duck and other tales of Sherlock Holmes. Check them out here.

I admit to having a lot Sherlock Holmes themed Redbubble items around my house. They are bright and fun and just a little quirky.

The Adventure of the Bloody Duck

26 Apr

My upcoming book “The Adventure of the Bloody Duck and other tales of Sherlock Holmes” is now on the review site Reedsy Discovery.

If you like to read and review new books, this site is excellent. Check it out here: Reedsy Discovery

The Tea House Detective: The Old Man in the Corner

18 Apr

“The Tea House Detective: The Old Man in the Corner” was written by Baroness Orcy. The stories in this volume were originally published in book form in 1908. The edition I read was published by Pushkin Vertigo in 2018.

One does not associate Baroness Orczy with crime fiction. To me, like with many others, her name resonates with historical fiction, her being the writer of the class “The Scarlet Pimpernel”.

The stories are all well written and the character of the Old Man in the Corner with his compulsive tieing of knots, was both interesting and odd. The female journalist listening to his stories was little more than a device to get the old man’s tales out; he could have been talking to the wall. Except in the last story, when the character, Miss Polly Burton really stands out.

All the stories are excellent, but the stand out one for me was the very first story, “The Fenchurch Street Mystery”.

A fascinating book. Recommended.

Sherlock Cat and the Missing Mousie

7 Apr

“Sherlock Cat and the Missing Mousie”, written by Heather Edwards, illustrated by Amanda Downs, and published by MX Publishing, is not my usual choice of reading material. When I saw the cover illustration on Kickstarter I was captivated and knew that it was one book that I just had to read and review.

It turned out to be an absolutely sweet little book. Spot the cat has decided that he will be Sherlock Holmes the cat detective with his long suffering friend Fluffy as John Watson.

Join the two cats, their humans , and assorted other creatures in a joyous Sherlockian romp.

The book is well written, and while clearly for children, there is much to enjoy for the adult as well. There are so many lovely little Sherlockian in-jokes.

The illustrations by Amanda Downs are charming. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough of them.

This is the perfect book to introduce kids to the world of the Great Detective. In fact, it would be a great book to read with your children.

Highly recommended.

Sherlock Cat and the Missing Mousie is available for purchase from MX Publishing and other online book stores.

Watson Does Not Lie

27 Mar

“Watson Does Not Lie” by Paul Thomas Miller is a fabulous chronology of the Holmes stories working with the premise that everything Watson wrote was 100% correct, as far as he perceived it.

The result is a fascinating book that provides details for every story as well as a simplified time line and a full one.

Paul’s research is incredibly in depth. Newspaper archives, historic weather reports, and the records of the Royal Albert Hall were all grist for Paul’s research mill.

There is a lively timeline of John Watson’s marriages, based on the references in the stories. The result being six wives in twenty two years…one has to wonder about John ‘Three Continents’ Watson!

I came away with two things from this book. That the word ‘continuity’ did not exist in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s personal lexicon, and that Paul Thomas Miller is one hell of a researcher.

This invaluable little book has gone straight into my research library.

Highly recommended to all fans of Sherlock Holmes.

The Adventure of the Coal-Tar Derivative

20 Mar

“The Adventure of the Coal-Tar Derivative” is written by Steven Philip Jones and published by MX Publishing. It is a collection of short stories and novellas that take place during the Great Hiatus.

The stories are all of equal caliber, but my personal favourite was the first one “Mea Gloria Fides”.

The collection may not be to everyone’s taste, as the stories include letters and journal entries from participating characters. It put me in mind of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” which has long been a favourite of mine.

An interesting edition to the world of Sherlock Holmes.

The book is available directly from MX Publishing

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