Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Update and Apologies

24 Nov

I know I haven’t done a blog post for awhile and I apologize for this. There is a reason.

The reason is that I have had to find a new place to live as, after fifteen years, my landlord decided that they didn’t want to give me a new lease. I have been frantically trying to find a new flat.

I have found a new flat and I am now trying to pack up, or dispose of, fifteen years worth of accumulated stuff. So much stuff!

I haven’t even had time to begin to read the book that was selected as my next read and review book, James Lovegrove’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon”.

The move takes place in just under three weeks. Hopefully before December is out I will be able to sit down and read the book and do a review for you.

Again, my apologies for the lack of blog posts.

A Curious Beginning

2 Nov

“A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn is the first in the Veronica Speedwell mysteries.

Miss Veronica Speedwell is almost abducted on the afternoon of her aunt’s funeral. A mysterious German baron comes to her aid.

This is the start of a rollicking story that bounces from adventure to adventure like Tigger on a pogo stick.

It’s mostly background setup for the series, but the characters are rounded and interesting.

The heroine is not your usual fainting Victorian damsel, but a strong, intelligent, young woman with a zest for life and a passion for lepidoptery. There is a good range of supporting characters including the grumpy and somewhat enigmatic Stoker.

A fun book. Highly recommended.

The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes

24 Oct

“The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes” by James Lovegrove is a collection of the author’s short stories, most of which have been printed in various anthologies.

I like collections like this, because I get a chance to read stories I may well have missed upon their original publication.

With any anthology there are going to be stories that you don’t like, but also ones that really stand out for you. In “The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes” the stand out stories for me were:

The Adventure of the Marchindale Stiletto
The Strange Case of Dr Sacker and Mr Hope (originally published in one of my favourite anthologies “Gaslight Gothic))
Pure Swank
A Bauble in Scandinavia.

The last mentioned story being one that gives Watson a mystery of his own. It’s complex, sweet, and delightful.

One thing I did really love about the anthology was the fact that each story had a separate introduction with interesting facts behind it. Including original publication, and in some cases, the genesis of the idea.

“The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes” is a must read book for all Sherlock Holmes fans.

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

10 Oct

“The Complete History of Jack the Ripper” by Philip Sugden was a frustrating book to read.

On one hand the book was a carefully researched and well written look at the murders, including possible suspects, witness reports, police reports, post mortem reports etc, making the book a fascinating read.

On the other hand, the author spent a lot of time bagging the work of other Ripperologists. I felt that it was detrimental to the book. To me it broke up the information flow and irritated me no end.

If you can ignore that aspect, then the book is a worthwhile read.

The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong Volume One

26 Sep

“The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong Volume One” is written by Martin Daley and published by MX Publishing.

Inspector Cornelius Armstrong is a police inspector in the Northern English city of Carlisle in the Edwardian period.

The book contains two stories:
“The Italian Murder” in which Armstrong investigates the murder of a young Italian immigrant, and
“King Edward’s Ghost” in which ghost stories told at Christmas lead Armstrong into a case of deceit and betrayal going back to the reign of Kind Edward I.

Both stories are excellent reads. They are well-plotted and fast-paced, and salted with interesting historical details. “King Edward’s Ghost” had a slight supernatural frisson that just adds to the story’s depth and delight.

I am looking forward to reading Martin Daley’s other Inspector Armstrong stories.

Highly recommended.

“The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong Volume One” is available directly from MX Publishing

Wobble to Death

19 Sep

A six-day “Go As You Please” footrace, otherwise known as a ‘wobble’, was a strange phenomenon in the late 19th century. Men basically waled and rested at their own pace along a carefully set out course over a designated time period.

A wobble in Islington, London, is the setting for the first novel about Sergeant Wally Cribb on the London Metropolitan Police.

Peter Lovesey wrote this delightful book for a novel writing competition, which it won.

“Wobble to Death” is a well plotted, well written, crime story with lots of suspects and a satisfying conclusion.

While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes got me interested in crim fiction, it was Peter Lovesey’s Sgt Cribb who lead me to expand my interest further into the Victorian era.

Although the book is well over 50 years old, it is still a crisp and delightful read. If you want to read it, it is still in print and available from Book Depository.

Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen

11 Sep

“Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen” is written by Wendy Heyman-Marsaw. The book comprises thoughts, recipes, & memoirs from the long-running column published in the Sherlockian journal ‘Canadian Holmes’.

This collection is publishing by MX Publishing and illustrated with lovely old advertisements.

The book talks about how the column started and how the book came about.

There are loads of interesting facts, not to mention some absolutely delicious recipes, several which I intend to at least attempt to cook.

This delightful little book is so interesting and so useful that it has earned a permanent place in my research library.

Highly recommended for all those with an interest in the world of Sherlock Holmes and in life during the Victorian period.

The book is available directly from MX Publishing: Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen

Dramatic Moment of Fate: The Life of Sherlock Holmes in the Theatre

5 Sep

“Dramatic Moment of Fate: The Life of Sherlock Holmes in the Theatre” is written by Alexandra Kitty and published by MX Publishing. The book is a fascinating look at Sherlock Holmes on stage, ranging from William Gillette’s play through to modern plays by the likes of David MacGregor and Bert Coules.

The book is broken into chapters including such topics as Sherlock Holmes on Broadway and theatrical adaptations of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles”.

Of particular interest to me was the look at the various characters and who has played them on stage.

The book is well researched with extensive source notes at the end of the book.

Alexandra Kitty has written an excellent, one might almost say definitive, book on a subject that is rarely covered in any depth.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of Sherlock Holmes and also theatrical history. The book is available directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/the-dramatic-moment-of-fate-the-life-of-sherlock-holmes-in-the-theatre?_pos=1&_sid=4bc2282c1&_ss=r

My thanks to Steve Emecz at MX Publishing for the review copy.

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Beer Barons

29 Aug

“Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Beer Barons” is written by Christopher James and publishhed by MX Publishing.

The delivery of a beer barrel containing the body of a man to 221b Baker Street is the catalyst for a new adventure for Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. This one takes them to the beer capital of Great Britain – Burton-on-Trent.

The story is fast paced and exciting with a fiendish plot that has more twists and turns than a corkscrew.

One thing I also look for in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche is the relationship between Holmes and Watson. In this book the friendship is rock solid.

There are many interestly and lively characters, including Miss Gertie Cresswell, private detective. Miss Cresswell is wonderfully well rounded and I would love to see her in a book of her own.

All in all an extremely fun read. Highly recommended.

My thanks to MX Publishing for the review copy.

You can get your own copy directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/sherlock-holmes-and-the-adventure-of-the-beer-barons?_pos=1&_sid=c4f7ba5e9&_ss=r

Sherlock Holmes and the London Particular

13 Aug

“Sherlock Holmes and the London Particular” is part of the American Literati’ series by Daviel D. Victor and published by MX Publishing. The books see Holmes and Watson work with noted American writers of the period. The writer in this book is Richard Harding Davis, whom I freely admit I had not heard of.

Be that as it may, it is still an excellent book with the plot involving a stolen diamond necklace, two corpses and a Russian connection. A plot which made for an intriguing case and a ripping read.

For those that don’t know the London Particular was a type of thick, almost poisonous, fog that frequently filled London. It creates an atmospheric start to the story.

The characters are interesting and the denouement of the case suitably exciting.

Well worth a read. THe book is available directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/sherlock-holmes-and-the-london-particular?_pos=1&_sid=28d8159f9&_ss=r

%d bloggers like this: