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Ye Olde Ed (Chelmsford, England)

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Sherlock Holmes and the Scottish Question
Sherlock Holmes and the Scottish Question
by Mike Hogan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Terrorism, espionage, danger and hair’s-breadth escapes, 10 Nov 2014
The story seems singularly appropriate to the year of the Scottish referendum, as it starts with the reported theft of the Coronation Stone from Westminster Abbey (but is it the real Stone of Destiny?), leading Holmes to uncover a plot by Scottish nationalists to destroy the Union. In the shadows, behind the plot, is a foreign power, whose aim goes beyond the dismantling of the United Kingdom. Terrorism, espionage, danger and hair’s-breadth escapes make 'The Scottish Question' a political thriller rather than a detective story – and why not? There’s also wit, and a pinch of satire in the mix. Mr Hogan writes well too.


Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street Volume 2
Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street Volume 2
by Arthur Morrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected identification - vindicated!, 10 Nov 2014
I welcomed 'Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street', Volume One, in which David Marcum demonstrated his proposition that Martin Hewitt, whose investigations were chronicled by Arthur Morrison in The Strand Magazine and elsewhere, was actually Sherlock Holmes in his pre-Watson days. With surprisingly little tweaking by Mr Marcum, Morrison’s stories are remarkably convincing in their new guise – and, since he was a very good writer, the results are as engaging as the originals. 'Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street', Volume Two, by Arthur Morrison, ‘edited, Holmes-ed’, and with original material’ by David Marcum, is out now, and Volume Three is due later in the year.


A Sherlock Holmes Monopoly: An Unofficial Guide and Outdoor Activity
A Sherlock Holmes Monopoly: An Unofficial Guide and Outdoor Activity
by J. P. Sperati
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars This very handsome book is a winner!, 10 Nov 2014
Holmes’s relationships with certain specific parts of London are at the core of this very handsome book. You may think there’s no obvious link between the detective and the standard London version of the game, but as you follow Holmes around the locations on the Monopoly board, preferably walking in London with the book in your hand, you’ll find yourself entranced by the many curious connections that Mr Sperati has uncovered. Splendid photographs contrast the Victorian scene with today’s, and as a bonus there’s a cleverly devised Sherlock Holmes Monopoly treasure hunt, based on the board game, which I fancy will be great fun to play. The book is a winner!


Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space
Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space
by Kasey Lansdale
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The stories fizz with imagination, 10 Nov 2014
Some of the fourteen contributors to this book are unknown to me, while others, like Julie Cohen, James Lovegrove and Guy Adams, are familiar names. Each story reimagines Sherlock Holmes in a different way, and much more radically than 'Sherlock' or even 'Elementary'. Julie Cohen's ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Bandana’ has Holmes as a New York gumshoe in the 1970s. In ‘A Scandal in Hobohemia’ by Jamie Wyman, Sanford Haus is the owner of a seedy travelling carnival in 1930s America. The third great title is ‘A Study in Scarborough’ by Guy Adams, in which Holmes and Watson are actors, former stars of a comedy series on BBC radio, in which they played detectives named Holmes and Watson. The book is a mixed bag, and won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the stories fizz with imagination.


A Sherlock Holmes Monopoly - An unofficial guide and outdoor activity (Standard B&W edition)
A Sherlock Holmes Monopoly - An unofficial guide and outdoor activity (Standard B&W edition)
by J. P. Sperati
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This very handsome book is a winner!, 10 Nov 2014
Holmes’s relationships with certain specific parts of London are at the core of this very handsome book. You may think there’s no obvious link between the detective and the standard London version of the game, but as you follow Holmes around the locations on the Monopoly board, preferably walking in London with the book in your hand, you’ll find yourself entranced by the many curious connections that Mr Sperati has uncovered. Splendid photographs contrast the Victorian scene with today’s, and as a bonus there’s a cleverly devised Sherlock Holmes Monopoly treasure hunt, based on the board game, which I fancy will be great fun to play. The book is a winner!


Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die
Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die
Price: £9.51

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book, 10 Nov 2014
Alex Werner, who put together the exhibition of the same name, has compiled a fascinating book. 'Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die' opens with David Cannadine’s survey of Holmes’s profound knowledge of London, and Conan Doyle’s rather sketchier acquaintance with the city. John Stokes examines the detective’s ‘Bohemian soul’, as Watson calls it in, er, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’. Alex Werner and Pat Hardy consider Holmes and London in art. Claire Pettit relates Conan Doyle’s view of his creation as ephemeral trivia to the increasing influence of ephemera in his world. Nathalie Morris looks at early dramatic presentations of Holmes. The book is sumptuously illustrated with photos, drawings and paintings, most of which feature in the exhibition; and a few unfortunate misspellings (‘John Dickinson Carr’, ‘Nicolas Utechin’) don’t detract from its appeal and its importance in relating the great detective to the great city that he made his home.


A Biased Judgement: The Sherlock Holmes Diaries 1897
A Biased Judgement: The Sherlock Holmes Diaries 1897
by Geri Schear
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and well written, 10 Nov 2014
'A Biased Judgement: The Sherlock Holmes Diaries, 1897' starts with a vicious attack on Holmes, and the action builds towards an attack on the Queen herself and civilisation as we know it. Moriarty is dead, but someone has revived his gang – does the name Porlock sound familiar? My problem (apart from Americanisms like ‘Go visit’) is with an essential element of the story, indicated in the title. Sherlock Holmes falls in love and marries. Lady Beatrice is a strong, attractive character – but Sherlock Holmes in love? What ineffable twaddle! Nevertheless, the book is exciting and well written.


Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Twain Papers
Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Twain Papers
by Roger Riccard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining tale, 10 Nov 2014
In 1900 Samuel L Clemens and his family spent some months in London before returning to their home in Hartford, Connecticut after nine years’ absence. Clemens was and is, of course, rather better known as Mark Twain, and it was probably inevitable that a meeting with Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson would be recorded. You can read about it in this book. The author’s arrival at 221B on 6 January is greeted with pleasure by both Watson and Holmes, especially as the latter has been lamenting the lack of criminal activity. The reason for Twain's visit is that some papers have been stolen from his room at the Langham Hotel – the collection of notes and manuscripts that he has been attempting to organise into an autobiography. The suspects include a magazine publisher, a young sprig of the aristocracy, a honeymooning couple, an attractive widow, an actor named Smith, and an old antagonist who claims to have royal blood in his veins. After a witty talk by Mark Twain at Drury Lane Theatre, the investigation takes the detective and the doctor to Bristol – though an unfortunate incident delays Watson at Reading, and he travels on from there in a motor car. Before long, of course, Holmes is able to identify both the culprit and the person on whose orders the theft was committed. It’s a very entertaining tale, particularly in the depiction of Mark Twain himself.


The Elementary Sherlock Holmes
The Elementary Sherlock Holmes
by Not known
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

3.0 out of 5 stars A nice little volume for dipping into, 10 Nov 2014
'The Elementary Sherlock Holmes: Things You Didn’t Know About Literature’s Greatest Detective' bears no author’s name, but it’s ‘based on "The Sherlock Holmes Encyclopedia"’, and according to Amazon it’s the work of Matthew Bunson, whose 'Encyclopedia Sherlockiana' (not to be confused with Jack Tracy’s superior 'Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana') was reissued under that name. The Elementary Sherlock Holmes is a nice little volume for dipping into, though the mention of ‘Mrs Beeton’s Christmas Annual’ and the assertion that the Sherlock Holmes Museum’s address at 239 Baker Street was officially changed to 221B show that it’s not wholly reliable.


The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes
The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes
by Guy Adams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

1.0 out of 5 stars What a wasted opportunity!, 10 Nov 2014
In the early 1980s Webb & Bower published three Sherlock Holmes Murder Dossiers, compiled by Simon Goodenough to tell the cases of 'A Study in Scarlet', 'The Sign of Four' and 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' through cleverly designed ‘original’ documents (and other items, such as Lucy Ferrier’s wedding ring). Now we have 'The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes' by Guy Adams, which claims to be a facsimile of Dr Watson’s notes for 'The Hound' and five short stories: ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, ‘The Red-Headed League’, ‘The Boscombe Valley Mystery’, ‘The Dancing Men’ and ‘The Final Problem’. It’s understandable that Mr Adams has used computer fonts, where Mr Goodenough’s handwritten texts actually were reproduced from handwriting — I’ve done the same myself — but only two or three of them are convincing, and it doesn’t take a detective to see that the note ‘The Red-Headed League is dissolved’ and Hilton Cubitt’s letters were apparently written by the same person. All the newspaper cuttings are in the same modern typeface, and none of them looks like newsprint of the period. I could overlook this sort of thing, perhaps, but there’s rank carelessness elsewhere. The supposed marriage certificate of Irene Adler and Godfrey Norton is the sort of fancy-schmancy document that would more probably certify ‘Highly Commended’ at a village flower show. John Turner’s confession is taken on an official Metropolitan Police form by Inspector Lestrade — from whom Holmes and Watson promised to keep it secret. Abe Slaney’s confession is taken by Inspector Martin of the Norfolk Constabulary — on an official Metropolitan Police form. Dr Mortimer’s drawing of the Hound’s footprints shows them to have been only two inches across, and someone has appended a note: ‘Smaller feet than anticipated’… (What on earth is the point of that?) Guy Adams claims to have been the youngest actor to play Sherlock Holmes on the professional stage. That he’s now a full-time writer is rather disturbing, given such horrors as: ‘Wilson — like I — had no knowledge of the league’ and ‘That last sentence beared up to rereading.’ 'The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes' is ‘officially endorsed by the Administrator of the Conan Doyle Copyrights’. Oh, dear. The book could, and should, have been very good indeed — what a wasted opportunity!


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