Tag Archives: Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventure of the Deadly Dimensions

8 Oct

A thoroughly rolicing read as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson take on the Order of Dagon, which is masquerading as a Druidic religion written by Lois H. Gresh..

Involving as it does Elder Gods, Druidic themes, opera, living machines, it is surprising just how well Ms Gresh has managed to meld the worlds of Doyle and Lovecraft.

Holmes first gets involved when a distraught man comes to him after the machine that his father created killed his father. It becomes increasingly obivous to everyone except Holmes that the machine is a living creature. Can they stop it before it kills again and again and again?

The scene shifts mostly between London and Avebury. With a truly revolting scene inside West Kennett Long Barrow. Be warned. This scene could easily make you lose your lunch!

This is the first of a trilogy, so am really looking forward to the second book which is released next year.

Highly recommended.

Jack the Ripper: Case Closed

31 Aug

In ‘Jack the Ripper: Case Closed’ by Gyles Brandreth, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle set out to examine the suspects in the Ripper case and solve the crimes once and for all.

The book is narrated in the first person by Arthur Conan Doyle. This was a weird experience for me reading a book where one of my favourite authors is actually a character.

Gyles Brandreth gets right inside the skin of Oscar Wilde. His Wilde is thoroughly believable and syncs well with what we know of Wilde’s actual character.

The ending, not to give away any spoilers, is both satisfying and unsatisfying on a number of levels. I could get behind the idea of the killer, but not the motive. The politics of the situation I could accept quite easily.

A delicious Victorian romp.

Books and Opportunities

14 Apr

I’ve been doing a fair bit of book shopping at opportunity shops recently.  I think you call them good will stores in the USA, and charity shops in the United Kingdom.

You can get some interesting books, and you are giving someone a helping hand.  Twice, if you donate the books back once you’ve read them.

The thing is, I have started to notice several patterns.

Firstly, there is the collection that has been donated.  Grandma or Great Aunty Phyllis has passed on and no-one wants her entire collection of Barbara Cartland novels, so off to the local op shop they go.  The same goes for Great Uncle Bert’s collection of westerns.

The month or so after Mother’s Day will see a rise in biographies and autobiographies of film stars and celebrity cookbooks.  After Father’s Day the pattern repeats, but the books are biographies and autobiographies of sports stars and rock bands.

The New year sees a systematic dumping of the latest hot novels that have obviously been unwanted Christmas presents.

The main pattern, however, is one that shows just how much longevity some books have.  I have seen the odd Harry Potter book in op shops, but the main stay seems to be Twilight.  Every shop I’ve visited seems to have at least two copies of each of the novels.  The largest shop had an entire book case of them!  They obviously don’t bear re-reading by the hoards of fans who originally swarmed all over them.  The same goes for the Fifty Shades series.  The same large op shop had four shelves of various copies of that series.  Buy it, read it, dump it.

Some authors though, are obviously well loved and collected.  I rarely see Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s books.  And I have NEVER seen any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books.  Some books are read until they fall apart and then new copies are purchased.  I’ve never seen any Tolkien books either, most likely for similar reasons.

I have, from time to time, come across real gems.  Odd books I’ve been looking for for ages, but have been unable to find.  An odd little novel I’d heard about, but never seen, called “Sherlock in Love” turned up at one of my local op shops about three months ago.  It’s sitting in my To Be Read Pile for future enjoyment.

A book I read many years ago by Rosemary Sutcliffe called “Flowers For Adonis” turned up in the same shop.  That was snaffled for a re-read.

Even if you don’t buy much, it is lovely to browse and see what other people have passed on.  The old saying of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is never more obvious than at op shops.  If you are a reader and have an op shop or two in your area, pop in, you never know just what you will find.  Me, I’m hoping for a copy of Dinah Lampitt’s “Pour the Dark Wine” in better condition than my poor old copy.

Starring Sherlock Holmes

19 Aug

“Starring Sherlock Holmes” is a gorgeous book by noted Sherlockian David Stuart Davies.  It covers all the appearances of the character on screen from the silent movie days until Matt Frewer’s outing as Holmes around 2004.

I do hope that David Stuart Davies does another revised version to include Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.

This is a coffee table book, but don’t automatically expect that information has been sacrificed for photographs.  Whilst there are heaps of gorgeous photos from all the screen appearances, there is also a lot a very interesting information about each incarnation of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

Naturally, much space is dedicated to the classic combinations of Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce, and Jeremy Brett/David Burke/Edward Hardwicke, but the lesser known pairings are all comprehensively covered.  Including many from non English speaking backgrounds.  Sherlock Holmes has proved to be very popular in Germany and Poland, with both countries producing their own movies and television versions.

I was delighted to be able to reacquaint myself with Christopher Plummer’s Holmes from the 1978 movie “Murder by Decree” which I had almost forgotten.  His Watson was the wonderful James Mason.  I remember really enjoying that movie, but as it was never released to video (that I am aware of) it dropped out of my personal Sherlockian database.

“Starring Sherlock Holmes” is a visual feast for Sherlockians and television and movie historians.  It also supplies some very interesting trivia.  I hadn’t known that Christopher Plummer is a cousin of Nigel Bruce, or that Jeremy Brett originally played Watson on stage, opposite Charlton Heston as Holmes.

Lots of wonderful snippets for the casual reader and the dedicated Sherlockian.

Completely Cumberbatched!

26 Feb

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Cumberbatched: An affliction affecting large numbers of women across the world who are hooked on BBC’s Sherlock.  It takes the form of complete fascination with the high cheekbones, exotic green eyes, creamy translucent skin and cupid’s bow mouth of the star, Benedict Cumberbatch.  Those afflicted tend to be under about 30.  I’m over 40 and I’m Cumberbatched.  I am not sure whether I should be congratulated, pitied or scolded.

I have been a Sherlockian since I first came across Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel “A Study in Scarlet” when I was about 10.  I have read all 4 novels and 57 stories numerous times, read pastiches by other writers, watched every damn version of movie and television I could come across.  I’d heard about the modernization of Sherlock Holmes and wasn’t too impressed with the idea…until two weeks ago.

A friend of mine got into it and suggested I would like it.  Quoting lines to me which piqued my interest.  So I bought the season 1 DVDs.  I was enchanted from the first moment.  It was obvious that the writers, Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat, were also Sherlockians, because the subtle canon references came thick and fast.  What was also obvious was the undeniable charms of the star, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict puts me in mind of a Fairy Prince come out of the Hollow Hills in search of foolish maidens to lure to their doom.  I am neither foolish nor a maiden, but would be amenable to being lured!

Benedict has said in interviews that he would like to play Hamlet.  Personally, I would love to see him play Oberon in “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”.  With his exotic looks, he would be the most chilling and believable Oberon ever.  Oberon is NOT a nice character.  King of the Fairies, selfish, dictatorial, sets his wife up to be humiliated, yet given to bursts of kindness, as when he tries to untangle the love affairs of the mortals who are roaming his forest.

If Martin Freeman was teamed with him as Puck…oh what a perfect production that would be.

A wonderful dream for me to contemplate.  But, meanwhile, I have Sherlock dvds to watch, the anticipation of season 3 to savor, whilst continuing to be comprehensively Cumberbatched.

What fools these mortals be!

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