Tag Archives: David Stuart Davies

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.

The Instrument of Death

31 Mar

A priceless ruby is stolen, but just as Holmes reveals the truth, the thief, a wealthy titled woman, is found dead. Strangled by a mysterious intruder. A deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

“The Instrument of Death” is another great book from renowned Sherlockian, David Stuart Davies. The book is an enjoyable read. David Stuart Davies has an excellent touch with the characters of Holmes and Watson, and his Lestrade is a little stuffy, but quite acceptable.

The book utilizes the character of Dr. Caligari from the the 1920’s German horror movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. We know from the beginning who the killer is, and how it’s done, so this is less a whodunnit and more a thriller. There are sections of the book that are a little graphic, so if you are at all squeamish this book may not be for you.

As always, David Stuart Davies has a light touch with description: “He wore a pair of heavy dark spectacles on a curved beak of a nose that gave him the appearance of a weary owl.”

“The Instrument of Death” is a fast paced and exciting blend of murder and mesmerism. Highly recommended.

The Scarlet Coven

22 Mar

“The Scarlet Coven” is a new novel by acclaimed Holmesian David Stuart Davies, published by independent publishing company Urbane Publications.

Simon Finch is a retired police officer in New York in 1936. His wife Laura is an artist. When Carleton Ross approaches them at the Alonquin about his missing sister, they get drawn into a macabre and terrifying affair.

Think Dashiell Hammett meets Dennis Wheatley. The only thing missing is Wheatley’s usual priest with an entire baggage carousel of angst.

Simon and Laura are Nick and Nora Charles with added sass. Actually, when I think about it, they lean a little more towards Neil Simon’s Dick and Dora Charleston from “Murder by Death”. Because I admit that I visualized them as David Niven and Maggie Smith!

The plot has all the delicious absurdities that Dennis Wheatley espoused, complete with scary Satanists with an agenda.

I’d categorize the book as Paranormal Noir.  Make of that what you will.

Loved it.

Can we have more Simon and Laura, please?

Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Ripper Legacy

13 Mar

David Stuart Davies’ latest edition to Titan’s Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series is a ripper, pun completely intended.

Sherlock Holmes is asked to investigate the kidnapping of a child.  This is no ordinary kidnapping, as he discovers when Mycroft becomes involved.

Some old enemies return and there are some new ones.  All well written and well rounded.

Sherlockians will recognize the plot as a “what if” extension of a fairly well known Sherlock Holmes movie from the late 1970s.

The relationship between Holmes and Watson is pure ACD.  No jarring notes here.

A worthwhile addition to any Sherlock Holmes collection.  Highly recommended.

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow of the Rat

8 Feb

A novella by noted Sherlockian David Stuart Davies.  “The Shadow of the Rat” is a good little story using Arthur Conan Doyles’s hinted at, but, untold story of The Giant Rat of Sumatra.

The story rips along at a good pace.

The relationship between Holmes and Watson flows smoothly and feels right.  Mr Davies has an excellent grasp on the intricacies of literature’s greatest friendship.

The story has the added bonus of an appearance by Stamford, and, major supporting roles for Mycroft Holmes and Inspector Lestrade.

A wonderfully imaginative take on The Giant Rat of Sumatra.

Highly recommended.

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

7 Feb

I felt that the editor, Otto Penzler, was too fixated on the writers rather than the stories, resulting in an extremely unbalanced mix.  Just because P. G. Wodehouse once wrote a Sherlock Holmes short story is no reason to include it, when, frankly, it’s not particularly readable.

I also felt that stories featuring detectives that are derivative of Holmes had no place in the book.  August Dereleth’s Solar Pons, for example.

There were extremely few outstanding stories, and some that were  appallingly bad, but the majority were mediocre.

Best stories by far were by:
Lyndsay Faye;
David Stuart Davies;
Stephen King; and
James C. Iraldi.

I don’t recommend this book to even to most dedicated Sherlockian geek, such as myself.  Far too much disappointment awaits.

The Scroll of the Dead

18 Sep

“The Scroll of the Dead” by David Stuart Davies was first published in 1998, and then republished in 2009 under Titan Books “Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” imprint.

At only 172 pages, “The Scroll of the Dead” is quite short, more a novella than a novel, but it is a great read.

I was reluctant to read it at first, as I had read “The Veiled Detective”, another of David Stuart Davies Sherlock Holmes novels, and had not enjoyed it.  “The Scroll of the Dead”, however, is totally different to “The Veiled Detective”.

A papyrus scroll is stolen from the British Museum and Scotland Yard asks Holmes for help.  Theft, murder and the obligatory damsel in distress all permeate the story making it fast paced and absorbing.

What I really love about “The Scroll of the Dead” is that David Stuart Davies has totally captured the warmth and strength of the friendship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

I was a little sad that the Scotland Yard inspector was not one of the ones from the canon.  I do love Lestrade, Gregson and Jones.  I have a particular affection for Athelney Jones, as well as Lestrade.

I do not hesitate to recommend the book to all Sherlockians.

“The Scroll of the Dead” is a worthy addition to the annals of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

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.

%d bloggers like this: