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S. Dawson (London, UK)
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Eliminate the Impossible: An Examination of the World of Sherlock Holmes on Page and Screen
Eliminate the Impossible: An Examination of the World of Sherlock Holmes on Page and Screen
by Alistair Duncan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Jan. 2009
In the introduction Duncan states that his original intention was to provide an introduction to the stories and the world of Holmes whilst being of use to long standing fans, something which I think he accomplishes admirably. The information is laid out over several chapters making it easy to jump straight to the type of information you require, be it synopsis and timeline commentary on all the stories, Holmes's influence on detective fiction, his origins or commentary on the various screen persona's of Holmes.

The chapters on the characters origins and influence on detective fiction are refreshingly simple and very accessible, particularly to the novice as we are not bogged down with complicated supposition and babble which can be off putting, even to the experience Holmesian. There is nothing particularly new or revealing for the experienced hand but they serve as excellent bite sized passageways into further study or analysis.

Duncan provides a concise commentary to each of the stories, highlighting some of the comments presented about the date of each case, providing key elements that give us characterisations of either Holmes or Watson as well as important details about each of the cases. Duncan is very adapt at pointing out the flaws in the various chronological arguments and whilst not suggesting alternatives of his own he is able to give the reader chance to form their own conclusions.

Overall, Duncan's treatment of each of the individual stories is detailed and interesting, the commentary providing some good areas of speculation and starting points for any student of the Canon to pick up on.

The second part of the book focuses on the various screen interpretations of Holmes, both the good and the bad. This is arguable the most interesting part of the book as there are few out there which discuss the various interpretation. Each Holmes is dealt with in the order they appeared, their performance as Holmes is discussed (as well as their Watson's) and there are comments on the various films or TV episodes they appeared in.

Alistair Duncan manages to escape the trap of lecturing or talking down to the reader that many books of this nature fall into. Using clear, simple and precise language Duncan manages to present existing thoughts seamlessly alongside his own commentary. The second part of the book is informative and well put together. I would have liked to read more about stage or radio Holmes's and non English performances but this should not prevent you from adding this book to your library.


Coward on the Beach (Dick Coward 1)
Coward on the Beach (Dick Coward 1)
by James Delingpole
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring on Vol 2!, 13 July 2008
A brilliant story in the vein of the "boy's own adventure" stories, this is billed as 'vol 1' and throughout you are teased with hints about Coward's past military undertakings (such as flying a Spitfire, Burma, Stalingrad...) and I cannot wait until vol 2 comes along for more adventures. Excellently written, full of a certain amount of dark humour, satire... absolutely wonderful and I recommended it to anyone who likes a good military style adventure story!


Surface: The Complete Series [DVD]
Surface: The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jay R. Ferguson
Price: £7.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, engaging... and with sea monsters!, 10 April 2008
'Surface' is a bit like a cross between the outstanding mini-series 'The Triangle' and what 'Invasion' could have been if given a plot. It does require a suspension of belief from time to time, but it's science-fiction and entertaining so who cares?

A definite watch and something that I wish had been allowed to continue as the season finale ends with such a bang that you'll be wishing there was more.


The Greatest Gift
The Greatest Gift
by Danny Leigh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, 16 Jan. 2008
This review is from: The Greatest Gift (Paperback)
Dull, is the only word I can think of to describe this book. It's clear Roddy Doyle is one of his influences as none of the dialogue has quotation marks, the narrative skips from the first person of Matthew to the second person of other characters in his life as they have their little goings-on. I had no sympathy for any of the characters, I found them all very shallow and very one dimensional. I sort of felt quite bad for not liking this book as the writer is a friend of my co-workers. I plodded on even though I really disliked the book and got the over-due ending with some relief. This book won an award for a good début novel, so it's not a bad book, I just didn't like it.


What Was Lost
What Was Lost
by Catherine O'Flynn
Edition: Paperback

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 16 Jan. 2008
This review is from: What Was Lost (Paperback)
This book will haunt me for a long time, beautifully crafted with an amazing attention to detail. This is O'Flynn's début novel, she is clearly a very special writer. The story pulls you in and the mystery keeps you going, stunning, haunting and magnificent. Read it now.


The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 4 Jan. 2008
This review is from: The Road (Paperback)
Haunting, terrifying and beautiful all at the same time. This book is fantastically written, the lack of something is as horrifying as the presence - everything is so bleak and forgotten that even the style reflects this. Outstanding.


Northern Lights: Adult Edition (His Dark Materials)
Northern Lights: Adult Edition (His Dark Materials)
by Philip Pullman
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 4 Jan. 2008
I tried to read this when it was reprinted in 2000 but I couldn't get into it... snap forward 7yrs and I finally get round to reading it. I enjoyed it, I loved the ideas, the imagery and the story line (so far). I love how it's not really your typical children's story, with the adults abusing their power and essentially doing what they think is best from their experiences and desire to 'protect'. Excellent read and I plan to finish reading the rest of series shortly


The Assassini
The Assassini
by Thomas Gifford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Before 'Angels and Daemons', 2 Jan. 2008
This review is from: The Assassini (Paperback)
In terms of plot, this is much better than anything Dan Brown has produced, the fact that this was published in the 80s and 'Angels and Daemons' came along in 2000 it isn't difficult to see where Brown's inspiration came from. The plot itself is much more involved and deals with an interest premise without getting too baffling.

Like all books of this genre, there really isn't much too it and an excellent candidate for a train or plane book.


Slaughterhouse 5, or The Children's Crusade - A Duty-dance with Death
Slaughterhouse 5, or The Children's Crusade - A Duty-dance with Death
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Live up to Expectation, 25 Nov. 2007
It bored me half to death. Slow moving, uninteresting, frustrating and somewhat confusing. Would have been better if the writer had stuck to one plot. Only worth reading to say you've read it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2009 2:50 PM BST


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
by Marina Lewycka
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charming and Intriguing, 5 Nov. 2007
Quirky, amusing and a sweet story set against a backdrop of personal tragedy. Not one of my favourites this year, but I recommend it as the story is certainly charming and an endearing. The writing reminds me a little of Susan Townsend, but that's a good thing.


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