28th November, No Comments
By John Watson
It has been a very busy year with the research for my book on Holmes on the British radio unearthing new details that need further investigation and so little time has been devoted to anything else, including this website.
Anyway, whilst Mrs Hudson is busy in the kitchen, I can tell you about the first book that I want to put on this year’s list of presents for afficianados of the world’s first consulting detective.
The Murder of Mary Russell is the latest in the series of Russell’s memoirs and is one of those books that once you start it you will find it difficult to put down.
The possibility of Russell’s demise is not the real surprise of the book – it’s when a man comes to the door one morning, claiming to be Mrs Hudson’s son. The book took me by surprise but not Holmes, Hudson and Russell who were in one its secrets long before me.
You can find my review here.
Also this year, we have had The Marriage of Mary Russel where Russell and Sherlock Holmes embark upon the riskiest adventure of their partnership – their wedding. Note that this is only for the Kindle.
Also, but so far only available on Kindle in the UK (publishing problems have pushed the book back to April next year) is Mary Russell’s War containing nine short stories, seven of which have never previously been available in print, and one brand new, never-before-seen Sherlock Holmes mystery.
They begin with England’s declaration of war in 1914 from Russell’s teenage diaries where she tells of tracking German spies through San Francisco, and then an unimaginable tragedy strikes.
On a much lighter note, Eve Titus’s Basil of Baker Street stories are being republished.
Those who still enjoy the film Basil The Great Mouse Detective (listen carefully at the beginning for the unmistakeable voice of Basil Rathbone upstairs in 221B and look out for the charming portrayal of Toby the dog) will be pleased to know that all five books of the original stories are being republished – three so far and the remainder in 2017.
The stories comprise Basil of Baker Street (first published in 1958 republished 2016), Basil and the Lost Colony (1964 republished 2017), Basil and the Pygmy Cats (1971 republished 2016), Basil in Mexico (1976 republished 2016) and Basil in the Wild West (1982 republished 2017).
Last Christmas, I mentioned the first three volumes of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories. Now there are two more.
The first, Part IV: 2016 Annual was published in May and the latest Part V: Christmas Adventures is published on November 21st. As before all the royalties from these collections are being donated by the writers for the benefit of the preservation of Undershaw, one of the former homes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Benedict Cumberbatch is certain to go down in history for one of the great portrayals of Holmes. Whether and for how long the BBC Sherlock will last is unclear but if you want to know more about Cumberbatch then a biography is released later this month.
Benedict Cumberbatch: London and Hollywood by Lynnette Porter covers his early success as a working actor through his dynamic trajectory to international star.
That’s all for this year’s Christmas list – just a few books as there’s nothing that caught my eye in the video or games departments. We are waiting to see what the New Year will bring – especially in the new series of the BBC’s Sherlock . . .
25th April, No Comments
By John Watson
It does, for the first time, make public the life story of the woman who probably knew more about my partnership with Holmes than anyone else. Mrs. Hudson has, for many years, kept secret the identity of many of our visitors and the details of many of the cases we had worked on together. Most of us, including me, had no idea about her life before Baker Street and much of what I have written about her is now clearly wrong!
When Russell made me aware of what she intended to make public in this chapter of her memoirs, I knew that she must have obtained Mrs. Hudson’s permission (and that of Holmes too) as it would provide previously undisclosed details of the case I have referred to as The Adventure of the Gloria Scott.
Holmes had related the story of this, his very first case, to me and had agreed that I could have it published. Holmes had asked me to change the name of one of the central characters but I had already sent the manuscript to the publishers and, unaware of its significance, I failed to get it changed. I assumed that my readers would just consider it a coincidence as I had failed to remark on the name in the actual story.
It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in April 1883 and subsequently was one of the stories in the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. At the time of its publication, Holmes was furious that I had left the name of Hudson unchanged (as he had asked me to) but, at the time, I had no idea why he was so insistent about it as he had stated that it was the “merest coincidence” that one of the central characters had the same surname as our landlady.
Two years earlier than the story’s publication, when Holmes was looking for new lodgings and came across Mrs. Hudson, he was aware of the connection but I was never made aware of the connection and it was only much later, as Russell relates in this memoir, that she and eventually I, really understood the connection. When I put the story of His Last Bow to print, I still had no knowledge of Mrs. Hudson’s past, and the role she took in that story.
This memoir of Russell’s opens in 1925 (though readers of the UK edition will find the date misprinted as 1995) with Russell in fear for her life. What leads us to this point is the early life of our landlady, Mrs. Hudson. Therein lies the link to the story of the Gloria Scott and with it Holmes earliest career. As that story unfolds, how we all ended up at 221B Baker Street becomes clear (for the first time to me, too!) and with it how Billy the page boy and Wiggins of The Baker Street Irregulars came to our assistance.
Most of all we learn the important part Mrs. Hudson has played and why, in many ways, it was an act, but one that even fooled “a nervy, limping medical man recently out of the army” when he first came to look at 221B, and for many years after!
11th November, No Comments
By John Watson
Mrs Hudson has been out shopping to get the dried fruit and nuts to make her wonderful Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. So here is my list of possible gifts for those who admire Sherlock Holmes almost as much as I do!
To play games [REIG]
Here you can see them explaining the changes and how both games are played.
If we get a “long succession of southerly gales” (as I mentioned in [BLAC]), Mrs Hudson and I could happily distract ourselves with these absorbing games.
By the way, in the past, Gibsons have run various competitions to write new Sherlock Holmes cases and you can see some of these using this link.
To the theatre [BRUC]
There are a couple of films this year worthy of note.
Ian McKellen as Mr Holmes, is based on the book by Mitch Cullin, A Slight Trick of the Mind. As usual, when Holmes has hold of the pen I come in for a bit of stick over what he regards as my additions to his film persona (though I insist I had nothing to do with the deerstalker and the curved pipe!)
Nevertheless, for once it is Holmes who is being forgetful in this film rather than me (I have pre-deceased Holmes apparently) and there is a lot of humour in McKellen’s portrayal that makes for a very entertaining film. It is not often that someone from the Lancashire town of Burnley gets to play Holmes (as my current literary agent never tires of pointing out).
On television, I have to admit that now having watched the first three series of Elementary on DVD (Season One, Season Two, and Season Three as the Americans insist on calling them), it is much better than the initial reviews that I read and I am grateful for the reviews that The Woman did for me which were published here.
The other film of note this year is a very old film, William Gillette’s 1916 film Sherlock Holmes which I am looking forward to watching. I will give a more detailed review later of the copy Flicker Alley (who have produced the disk) have kindly sent to me.
Gillette’s sole filmed performance as Sherlock Holmes, considered lost for nearly 100 years, was recently discovered and restored by San Francisco Silent Film Festival and la Cinémathèque française. By the time it was produced at Essanay Studios in 1916, Gillette had been established as the world’s foremost interpreter of Holmes on stage—having played him approximately 1300 times since his 1899 debut.
The film faithfully retains the play’s famous set pieces—Holmes’s encounter with Professor Moriarty, his daring escape from the Stepney Gas Chamber, and the tour-de-force deductions. It also illustrates how Gillette, who wrote the adaptation himself, wove bits from my stories ranging from “A Scandal in Bohemia” to “The Final Problem,” into an original, innovative mystery play.
This release includes:
- Two complete versions of the film: the original French-language version as discovered at La Cinémathèque française, as well as an English-language version translated from the French.
- “From Lost to Found: Restoring William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes” – Presented by film restorer Robert Byrne at the 2015 San Francisco Silent Film Festival
- Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900): Courtesy of the Library of Congress and presented in HD, this is the earliest known film to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes
- A Canine Sherlock (1912): From the EYE Film Institute, the film stars Spot the Dog as the titular character.
- Più forte che Sherlock Holmes (1913): Also from the EYE Film Institute, this entertaining Italian trick-film
- HD transfers from the Fox Movietone Collection: Interview with Arthur Conan Doyle and outtakes from a 1930 newsreel with William Gillette showing off his amateur railroad (University of South Carolina)
- PDF typescript of the 1899 Sherlock Holmes play by William Gillette
- PDF of the original contract between William Gillette and the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company
- A booklet featuring images from the film and information about the restoration project.
Note that the versions being released include a region-free Blu-ray version and a region-free DVD NTSC version. The latter will not play on UK PAL DVD players but does play on computers.
There has been nothing new from the BBC Sherlock this year, except for various repackaging of the films from the first three series, and the Christmas special (The Abominable Bride) is not due to be broadcast until New Year’s Day so there’s nothing on my Christmas list for this year.
He looked over his books [STUD]
But the creators of Sherlock have put together a book of what they consider to be the best of my stories.
Sherlock: The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures contains the following stories – A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of Four, A Scandal in Bohemia*, The Red-Headed League*, A Case of Identity, The Man with the Twisted Lip*, The Blue Carbuncle, The Speckled Band*, Silver Blaze*, The Yellow Face, The Musgrave Ritual*, The Greek Interpreter*, The Final Problem*, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Empty House*, Charles Augustus Milverton, The Bruce-Partington Plans*, The Devil’s Foot*, The Dying Detective, each introduced by Gattis and Moffat.
It is interesting to compare this selection with the twelve that Sir Arthur regarded as the best short stories (he excluded the long stories) and the seven he later added. Those marked above with an asterisk appear in his lists. He also included The Dancing Men, The Five Orange Pips, The Second Stain, The Priory School and The Reigate Squires, but not The Dying Detective. So I look forward to reading the reasons for Gatiss and Moffat’s selections.
From October of last year to April of this year the Museum of London exhibition Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die and this sumptuous book reflects this marvellous exhibition about which one friend remarked that I was “quite criminally under-represented”.
For those who seek their amusement in what Holmes and I might have investigated, the number of pastiches available continues to rise, and here are “five volumes you could just fill that gap on that second shelf. It looks untidy, does it not, sir?” (from The Empty House)
Otto Penzler’s The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories contains eighty-three stories, published over more than a hundred years. Including cases by modern-day Sherlockians Leslie S. Klinger, Laurie R. King, Lyndsay Faye and Daniel Stashower; pastiches by literary luminaries both classic (P. G. Wodehouse, Dorothy B. Hughes, Kingsley Amis) and current (Anne Perry, Stephen King, Colin Dexter); and parodies by Conan Doyle’s contemporaries A. A. Milne, James M. Barrie, and O. Henry, plus cases by science-fiction greats Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock.
There must be something there for everyone, but if not here are sixty more split over three volumes: The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part I: 1881 to 1889,Part II: 1890 to 1895, and Part III: 1896 to 1929
David Marcum, a prolific pastiche writer himself, has put together this three-volume collection, bringing together over sixty of the world’s leading Sherlock Holmes authors. All the stories are traditional pastiches. The authors are donating all the royalties from the collection to preservation projects at Sir Arthur’s former home, Undershaw.
Finally, though not really a pastiche, I am adding Zach Dundas’s The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes.
In this book Dundas carries out his investigation of Holmes from my nearly forgotten first manuscript of A Study In Scarlet to the award-winning series BBC Sherlock. He looks at the history and cultural influence of Holmes and I, weaving investigative journalism with text from my stories. Dundas provides detailed accounts of his travels across London, New York, and Los Angeles, exploring every facet of the Sherlock story, from societies dedicated to scholarly study to a self-trained “mentalist” who Holmes for his uncanny on-stage deductive powers, and includes interviews with Steven Moffat, create of the BBC series, bestselling author Laurie R. King, and others.
So there are quite a few items that could be added to a certain person’s wish list . . .
13th August, No Comments
By John Watson
It is with great satisfaction but with a tinge of sadness that I can report on Alistair Duncan’s final book in his trilogy on the life of my literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I will always refer to as ‘Dear Arthur’.
I will also take this opportunity to thank the man who saw such promise in the jottings of a fellow medical men and encouraged me to continue in my attempts to bring knowledge of Holmes great gifts to the world.
Nevertheless it is to Alistair Duncan that we must now give our most grateful thanks for the many hours of painstaking research he has undertaken to produce these three books covering nearly forty years of Dear Arthur’s life.
His latest, and the last in this trilogy, cover the final years of Doyle’s life from 1907 to 1930 during which I saw very little of Doyle, save when it was necessary to discuss the publication of my latest stories concerning my friend and colleague, Holmes. The very busy schedule that Doyle undertook, travelling here, there and everywhere, is meticulously detailed by Duncan and goes a long way to explain why I often had trouble contacting him, not least to correct some of the errors that crept into my manuscripts, for which I accept all the blame.
Nevertheless, I am sure it is Duncan’s book that you really want to know about . . .
Alistair Duncan has written and published three books covering the life of Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first of these was The Norwood Author, covering just the three years (1891 to 1894) during which Doyle lived in Norwood, South London.
The second was An Entirely New Country, covering the period between 1897 and 1907 when Doyle was living at Undershaw in Hindhead.
This third and, by definition, final volume, No Better Place, covers 1907 to 1930. So it begins with Doyle and his new wife, Jean Leckie, on their way back to England from their honeymoon to their new home, Windelesham, on the outskirts of Crowborough in East Sussex. By the way, it is now a home for the elderly so I may find myself there someday!
Doyle was still battling to obtain a pardon for George Edalji and arranging the publication of the penultimate series of Holmes stories, His Last Bow, beginning with the two-part serialisation of The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge in The Strand in September and October 1908. Early in that year, Sidney Paget, who had illustrated Holmes stories from A Scandal in Bohemia onwards, died in 1908, and a new illustrator was need for the stories that would form part of His Last Bow.
In 1910, Doyle mounted a stage play version of The Speckled Band with H. A. Sainstbury as Holmes and Claude King as me. In that same year, George Newnes passed away, to whom Doyle and I had reason to be grateful for providing the platform on which Holmes stories were published (The Strand).
The following year brought the death of Dr. Joseph Bell, whom many considered (but not Bell himself) to have been the inspiration behind many of my stories (but not myself!).
On August 4th, 1914 Britain declared war on Germany and the following month the serialisation of The Valley of Fear started in The Strand and did not appear in book form until the following year.
1916 was the year in which Doyle went public about his belief in spiritualism. From then on to the end of his life, it became his main campaign and seems, in the latter years to have been his only campaign.
In 1917, the story of His Last Bow was published in The Strand, chronologically the last adventure of Holmes and I that I intended to publish.
It is notable that in Duncan’s book, the war years of 1914 to 1918 have the least detail due, in no doubt to the people (and the newspapers) being preoccupied with the war itself.
It has been noted elsewhere that the overwhelming loss of life that the nation suffered was one of the factors in the rise of Spiritualism during this period and it does seem that Conan Doyle’s promotion of his beliefs continued to gather pace throughout the rest of his life and seemed, by Duncan’s account, to consume almost all of his time and energy. He travelled extensively abroad following the war talking about these strongly held beliefs.
During the 1920s, the Cottingley Fairies story broke, and although of minor significance to Conan Doyle, seems to be held by many to indicate that he was not the intelligent, reasoned man whom many had admired.
The individual Holmes stories that comprised The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes were published in the 1920s leading up to the Casebook publication in 1927. The films with Eille Norwood as Holmes were also released early in this decade.
Although taken ill in 1909, Conan Doyle seems to have remained in good health until 1929 but ignored advice to slow down and collapsed when due to talk at the Home Office early in July 1930 and suffered a heart attack and died on July 7th, 1930.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Duncan has made a tremendous job of piecing together Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s last years from newspaper articles, letters and other evidence, in such a way that one feels one is reading Doyle’s personal diary. One gets a feel for a man of great determination, pursuing his beliefs until the very end.
Posted in Books
14th November, 3 Comments
By John Watson
It is that time of the year when I look at what might be a welcome gift at Christmas who devotees of the Great Detective.
This year the list is quite short because, although there is a lot of Holmes material about, it is not all of good quality.
Nine years later they achieved it and, though Williams sadly died in 2001, 16 “Further Adventures” recalling some of my undocumented cases were broadcast with Andrew Sachs taking Williams place.
Bert Coules, the series originator and head writer, has updated his book “221 BBC” chronicling the series.
I have reviewed the book in detail here.
Sadly, this complete set of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes is so far only available in the USA (but it is “region free” so should be viewable in the UK) and these are just the same transfers as on the DVD but this time they are in High Definition. All the bonus content is exactly the same as on the DVD set including the booklet authored by Richard Valley.
The packaging is very poor, though with a thin cardboard sleeve holding the stack of “digipacs” each holding two discs.
It has often been said that London is one of the main characters in my stories about Holmes and this unique book to accompany the standard Monopoly game guides you through the idiosyncrasies of the Monopoly board and explains how the chosen properties relate to the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
There is a Sherlock Holmes Monopoly Treasure Hunt that you can play by actually visiting the sites featured on the Monopoly board, solving clues as you go. Besides the excitement of buying and selling, the game is a wonderfully entertaining way of exploring London in the footsteps of the master detective.
The Museum of London has a new exhibition, form now until next April delving into “the mind of the world’s most famous detective”. I have not yet been to the exhibition but when I do I will be reporting on it here.
In the meantime, this is the official book of the exhibition and it uses the Museum’s collection to highlight the features of the London that Holmes and I inhabit in particular its fogs, Hansom cabs, criminal underworld, famous landmarks and streets.
It’s a comprehensive guide to the BBC series. It contains previously unseen material, interviews with the cast and crew.
It covers each episode in detail and has hundreds of illustrations of the artwork, photographs, costume and set designs.
Nevertheless it seems to be doing for New York what my original stories did for London and it’s no surprise that it’s very popular in the USA.
Here are the 24 episodes from the second season.
So that’s this year’s Christmas list and it just remains for me to wish all my readers a Very Merry Christmas!
12th November, 2 Comments
By John Watson
As those of you who know your radio Holmes and Watson or have read an earlier article of mine on Bert Coules, this is the title of the book Coules wrote about the “world’s only complete dramatised canon and beyond”.
It has been been out of print for some time having been originally written for the Northern Musgraves, an English Sherlock Holmes group. This original, Musgrave Monograph No.9 was published in 1998 and ran to about 76 pages. The BBC included a revised version as part of their boxed set of the audiocassettes of the complete original broadcast canon. But these eventually ran out.
Towards the end of 2011 Coules was approached by the Wessex Press to produce an updated version for their Sherlock Holmes publications (Gasogene Books) and this has now been published.
Anyone who might not have heard of Coules can listen to two podcasts from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere (Episode 68 and 69) where his knowledge of Holmes and Watson and especially of their history on radio even manages to put the knowledgeable hosts of the show right on a couple of points. Another interesting point that Coules makes is that he sees my stories as “stories about a detective and not detective stories”, exactly the same view as that held by Gatiss and Moffat, the creators of the BBC Sherlock series.
Following a foreword by Clive Merrison, who played Holmes throughout the series and an introduction to the new edition from Bert Coules, it starts off with a wonderfully detailed history of Holmes and Watson on the radio and weaves into this how Coules became involved at the BBC.
He then takes us through the casting and production of The Hound of the Baskervilles with Roger Rees as Holmes and Crawford Logan as me which was broadcast in two hour-long episodes in May and June 1988.
Following the success of this production the BBC decided to produce the whole Canon but with new leads. Clive Merrison was to be Holmes and Michael Williams was to take on my role. A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of the Four (note the “correct” title) were also broadcast each in two hour-long episodes in November and December 1989.
The books takes us through The Adventures, The Memoirs, The Return, His Last Bow, The Casebook and The Valley of Fear before re-recording The Hound of the Baskervilles using a new script with Merrison and Williams.
Interesting in the script for The Lion’s Mane that Coules has come up with an explanation of the incorrect spelling of “lama” in The Empty House. I could write a book myself on the problems Arthur and I had with The Strand.
The idea of writing radio plays around some of the cases I had mentioned but not detailed as part of the Canon had occurred to Coules before the Canon was completed but by the time it became a reality, Michael Williams had sadly died. Andrew Sachs picked up my role from there and 16 Further Adventures were produced. The book covers these before rounding off with the script of The Abergavenny Murder (a case I mentioned in The Priory School) and cast and broadcast details of all the broadcasts.
The podcasts from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere mentioned above add to the information in the book and the presenters praise Coules for the way he handled the individual stories adding material where it was necessary to support radio broadcasts. Coules has a stage play based on The Lion’s Mane and would love to produce a television series setting my stories back in their original Victorian setting.
Meanwhile, the complete Sherlock Holmes Radio Collection and the Further Adventures are available on Amazon in the UK and USA but mainly as the separate series – the complete sets are now difficult to find.
7th March, No Comments
By John Watson
During The Sign of Four, Holmes recommended a book to me, Winwood Reade’s Martyrdom of Man, saying that it was “one of the most remarkable ever penned”.
At the time I was preoccupied, having just met Mary Morstan for the first time, and I remember sitting in the window with the volume in my hand, but my thoughts were far from the daring speculations of the writer.
My mind ran upon Mary’s smiles, the deep, rich tones of her voice, the strange mystery which overhung her life. I mused, until such dangerous thoughts came into my head that I hurried away to my desk and plunged furiously into the latest treatise on pathology. What was I, an Army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker bank account, that I should dare to think of such things?
I have never given the Winwood Reade’s book another look but here I have a copy of it which you can read if you wish.
Later in that adventure, when we were close on heels of our quarry, Holmes referred to Winwood Reade again saying that “He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician.”
I was, and remain, none the wiser.
Posted in Books
14th February, 4 Comments
By John Watson
Setting aside for the moment the question of whether Holmes went to Oxford, or Cambridge, or both, the Oxford Sherlock Holmes has been my favourite “annotated” collection of my stories for many years.
The original set of nine volumes is now not available new but second hand copies are still around.
Some of the volumes were republished later as paperbacks but I have yet to secure all nine volumes in this format. To further confuse matters, some of the volumes are available in Amazon Kindle format, but again are hard to track down as they are not all marked out as part of the actual Oxford Sherlock Holmes collection on Amazon – you have to scan through the sample pages looking for the required details.
To help, I have compiled the following list to help anyone trying to buy the set or add to their existing collection. But please take care if you order second-hand copies to stipulate that you require the Oxford Sherlock Holmes editions as these are the annotated versions. A well-meaning but unaware bookseller (I did once bump into a particularly wizened example whom I later discovered to be Holmes in disguise) may send you another version without the detailed notes. Those that are available are listed below and the links lead to them in the Amazon catalogue with the ISBN for books and ASIN for Kindle versions.
- Volume 1 – A Study In Scarlet:
- Volume 2 – The Sign of the Four
- Paperback not available
- Kindle not available
- Volume 3 – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- Volume 4 – The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
- Volume 5 – The Hound of the Baskervilles
- Volume 6 – The Return of Sherlock Holmes
- Volume 7 – The Valley of Fear
- Volume 8 – His Last Bow
- Paperback not available
- Kindle not available
- Volume 9 – The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
- The Complete Set (9 Volumes)
If anyone can help me fill in the gaps above, the ISBNs or ASINs would suffice, then I would be most grateful. It is quite a little detective piece in its own right . . .
Posted in Books
18th November, 1 Comment
By John Watson
About this time every year, as the shops start to fill up with Christmas gifts, I take a look at what’s new for those who follow Holmes’s adventures.
First on my list is the “official” Sherlock calendar for 2014.
Also, tied in to the BBC Series, the BBC has been publishing sets of my stories with interesting forewords by those involved with the BBC series. On December 5th, two more volumes will be added to the series.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes with an introduction by Mark Gatiss (in which he explains how “Sherlock in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms”) and includes “The Empty House” on which the opening episode of Series 3 is based.
His Last Bow with an introduction by Steven Moffatt (who expects Sir Arthur to ask him to write another story!) includes the last case we worked on together.
It would be nice idea to complete the series with a boxed set containing all nine books (the four novels and the five sets of short stories).
By the way, if you want one of the neat little magnifying glasses that Sherlock uses they are still available.
Later in December (the 23rd, though I do not understand why we have had to wait so long) is the DVD of the first series (my American readers call them “seasons”) of Elementary. I have yet to see any of these though I have become intrigued as I have read The Woman’s reviews on this site so I am looking forward to acquiring this set.
To go with this DVD, there is an unofficial guide, The Immortals, to both Elementary and the BBC Sherlock written by Matthew J Elliott, himself a proficient adaptor of my stories for the radio.
Mary Russell released her latest set of memoirs, A Garment of Shadows, earlier this year. Also available, as ebooks are three little “monographs”, the first of which, Beekeeping for Beginners, details how Russell met Holmes. The second, Sherlock Holmes, written by Russell’s literary agent, gives some insights into Holmes, and me for that matter! The third, Mrs Hudson’s Case, harks back to shortly after Russell’s initial encounter with Holmes and how the redoubtable Mrs Hudson solves a case on her own.
For those wanting to delve deeper into the Canon, Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Sherlock Holmes is now available on the Kindle, putting less strain on their handling than the original weighty tomes. Volume 1 and Volume 2 cover the complete set of fifty six short stories. Volume 3, which covers the novels, is not yet available on the Kindle but should soon be.
In a lighter vein and again with reference to Mrs Hudson (“I am not your housekeeper”) is a unique insight to life at 221B Baker Street from her diaries that have been found (apparently) in “battered biscuit tin” found in the vaults of the same bank where my “battered tin dispatch box” also resides.
Finally, “the game is afoot” with a new board game with ten cases for you to solve as one of the Baker Street Irregulars.
Plenty to keep you busy until Sherlock returns in “The Empty Hearse” after Christmas. I could drop a few clues here – tea, bus, ball – some of which or none of which may turn out to be true.
A very merry Christmas to all my readers!
17th November, No Comments
By John Watson
About this time each year I try to get Holmes to compile his wish list for Christmas. Usually at the top of his list is a request for me stop bothering him with such nonsense and to start rewriting my records of his cases to stress the science of deduction instead of the romantic approach he believes I always use.
Undeterred I have persisted and gleaned from him this list of what he regards as passable though he insists he cannot be cluttering his brain with all this nonsense when he has cases that must be solved.
He seems to have some regard for the BBC Sherlock Series and in this vein he has shown an interest in Sherlock – The Casebook though he did throw it across the room when part way through it (I think it was at the section on ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’ – he can be very brusque when anyone else refers to ‘The Woman’). There is now a box set of both series of Sherlock if anyone still hasn’t seen them or just want to pour over every detail of ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ looking for the obvious clue that Steven Moffat says everyone has missed. I doubt that I could persuade him to let me put the Sherlock Calendar up though Mrs Hudson might (she particularly likes the “I am not your housekeeper” from the Mrs Hudson in the series and is thinking of getting Holmes a mug inscribed with it!)
The renewed interest in Holmes generated by the Sherlock series has resulted in even more ‘guides to everything about Holmes’. I did not think any more were needed but Holmes thinks the two from Nick Utechin – Amazing and Extraordinary Facts – Sherlock Holmes and Roger Johnson’s and Jean Upton’s – The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany as providing fresh insight.
Now we also have a Sherlock version of Cluedo using characters and locations from the BBC series.
I would add Sherlock’s Home – The Empty House as we still need funds to secure Undershaw although we have won some of the key battles there!
This is a much shorter list than usual but there are a lot of interesting books due to be published in the New Year and at some point we may get a DVD of Elementary (Holmes seems to think that Watson being a woman is particularly apt – I have no idea what he means!)