Archive for November, 2009

The Adventure of the Empty House

One of the reasons that I started this series of writings was the threats against the continuing existence of Undershaw, once the home of my dear friend, Arthur Conan Doyle.

I wrote about the current state of the property and the appeal to save it from developers.

Undershaw is built on a 4 acre plot surrounded by National Trust land of outstanding beauty looking down onto the Nutcombe Valley with the South Downs in the distance (maybe as far as Holmes cottage?) The building is in a sad state, rain having poured in through the roof causing extensive damage.

The Undershaw Preservation Trust has been set up by Mr John Gibson, an expert on Sir Arthur, and he can be contacted at info@undershaw.co.uk. Lynn Gale has set up a blog to provide the latest on this desperate fight to save this once beautiful building.

Somewhat cynically, the current owners (Fossway Ltd) , aware of the heritage of the building have offered to include a visitor centre in its plans for the Grade II listed building. The developer, Michael Wilson, has suggested an open-sided pavilion where the public would be able to see views of Undershaw and would contain a display board about the history of the house and Sir Arthur.

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London has publicised the plight of Undershaw but Sir Arthur still gets less publicity than Holmes!

If you can help in any way, please get in touch with the Undershaw Preservation Trust or Lynn Gale direct via her blog.

Alistair Duncan has also created an entry on facebook.

Holmes Christmas List 2009

With the case of the Blue Carbuncle just chronologically around the corner and people beginning to think about gifts, here are ten possibilities for your Christmas list.

1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes – the Canon is an essential part of any Holmes libary and this edition is a real bargain.

2. Dust and Shadow – my own account of the Ripper killings.

3. The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – stories that I’m not sure are really true!

4. Sherlock Holmes Handbook– a new edition of this essential handbook.

5.Eliminate the Impossible: An Examination of the World of Sherlock Holmes on Page and Screen – a fascinating examination of Holmes’ world from the author soon to bring us a book about my literary agent’s time in Norwood.

6.The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 and Volume 2 – Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce radio shows. Witty, fast-paced, and always surprising, these great radio plays are as fresh as when they first premiered and feature perfect sound.

7. Sherlock Holmes’s London – a recreation of the London Holmes and I know.

8. Sherlock Holmes Calendar 2010 – how could you manage without this?

9. Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography – pure guesswork of course!

10.Sherlock Holmes Handbook: Methods and Mysteries of the World’s Greatest Detective – seems as though this gives the whole game away!

This is only the start of what promises to be a bumper year of Holmes books and other paraphernalia as the Sherlock Holmes film creates a renewed interest in the world’s first consulting detective. There’s even going to be a Sherlock Holmes for Dummies!

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