A long lost Sherlock Holmes story?

Whilst the arguments rage over who wrote this (it certainly wasn’t me which could account for the style and typographical and other errors) here is the text gleaned from the pamphlet for you to ponder over . . .

To me it seems that it was written either by Doyle or someone else but that the character describes here as me (Watson) is, in fact Doyle who is thinking about his future political stance at the Border Burghs.

“Sherlock Holmes.”

DISCOVERING THE BORDER BURGHS,
and, BY DEDUCTION, the BRIG BAZAAR

‘We’ve had enough of the old romancists and men of travel’, said the Editor. As he blue-pencilled his copy, and made arrangements for the great Saturday edition of the Bazaar Book. ‘We want something up-to-date. Why not have a word from “Sherlock Holmes”?’

Editors have only to speak and it is done, at least, they think so. ‘Sherlock Holmes!’ As well talk of interviewing the Man in the Moon. But it does not do to tell Editors all that you think. I had no objections whatever, I assured the Editor, to buttonhole ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ but to do so I should have to go to London.

‘London!’ scornfully sniffed the Great Man. ‘And you profess to be a journalist? Have you never heard of the telegraph, the telephone, or the phonograph? Go to London! And are you not aware that all journalists are supposed to be qualified members of the Institute of Fiction, and to be qualified to make use of the Faculty of Imagination? By the use of the latter men have been interviewed, who were hundreds of miles away; some have been “interviewed” without either knowledge or consent. See that you have a topical article ready for the press for Saturday. Good-day.’

I was dismissed and had to find copy by hook or by crook. Well, the Faculty of Imagination might be worth a trial.

. . .

The familiar house in Sloan Street met my bewildered gaze. The door shut, the blinds drawn. I entered; doors are no barrier to one who uses the Faculty of Imagination. The soft light from an electric bulb flooded the room. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ sits by the side of the table; Dr Watson is on his feet about to leave for the night. Sherlock Holmes, as has lately been shown by a prominent journal, is a pronounced Free Trader. Dr Watson is a mild Protectionist, who would take his gruelling behind a Martello tower, as Lord Goschen wittily put it, but not ‘lying down!’ The twain had just finished a stiff argument on Fiscal policy. Holmes loq.–

‘And when shall I see you again, Watson? The inquiry into the “mysteries of the Secret Cabinet” will be continued in Edinburgh on Saturday. Do you mind a run down to Scotland? You would get some capital data which you might turn to good account later.’

‘I am very sorry,’ replied Dr Watson. ‘I should have liked to have gone with you, but a prior engagement prevents me. I will, however, have the pleasure of being in kindly Scottish company that day. I, also, am going to Scotland.’

‘Ah! then you are going to the Border country at that time?’

‘How do you know that?’

‘My dear Watson, it’s all a matter of deduction.’

‘Will you explain?’

‘Well, when a man becomes absorbed in a certain theme, the murder will out some day. In many discussions you and I have on the fiscal question from time to time I have not failed to notice that you have taken up an attitude antagonistic to a certain school of thought, and on several occasions you have commented on the passing of “so-called’ reforms, as you describe them, which you say were not the result of a spontaneous movement from or by the people, but solely due to the pressure of the Manchester School of politicians appealing to the mob. One of these allusions you made a peculiar reference to “Huz an’ Mainchester” who had “turned the world upside down.” The word “Huz” stuck to me, but after consulting many authors without learning anything as to the source of the word, I one day in reading a provincial paper noticed the same expression, which the writer said was descriptive of the way Hawick people looked at the progress of Reform. “Huz an’ Mainchester’ led the way. So, thought I, Watson has a knowledge of Hawick. I was still further confirmed in this idea by hearing you in several absent moments crooning a weird song of the Norwegian God Thor. Again I made enquires, and writing to a friend in the Sounth country I procured a copy of “Teribus.” So, I reasoned, so – there’s something in the air! What attraction has Hawick for Watson?’

‘Wonderful,’ Watson said, ‘and—‘

‘Yes, and when you characterised the action of the German Government in seeking to hamper Canadian trade by raising her tariff wall against her, as a case of “Sour Plums,” and again in a drawing room asked a mutual lady friend to sing you that fine old song, “Braw, braw lads,” I was curious enough to look up the old ballad, and finding it had reference to a small town near to Hawick, I began to see a ray of daylight. Hawick had a place in your mind; likewise so had Galashiels – so much was apparent. The question to be decided was why?’

‘So far so good. And—‘

‘Later still the plot deepened. Why, when I was retailing to you the steps that led up to the arrest of the Norwood builder by the impression of his thumb, I found a very great surprise that you were not listening at all to my reasoning, but were lilting a very sweet–a very sweet tune Watson–“The Flowers of the Forest;” then I in turn consulted an authority on the subject, and found that that lovely if tragic song had a special reference to Selkirk. And you remember, Watson, how very enthusiastic you grew all of a sudden on the subject of Common-Ridings, and how much you studied the history of James IV., with special reference to Flodden Field. All these things speak, Watson, to the orderly brain of a thinker. Hawick, Galashiels, and Selkirk. What did the combination mean? I felt I must sold the problem, Watson; so that night when you left me, after we had discussed the “Tragedy of a Divided House,” I ordered in a tin of tobacco, wrapped my cloak about me, and spent the night in thought. When you came round in the morning the problem was solved. I could not on the accumulative evidence but come to the conclusion that you contemplated another Parliamentary contest. Watson, you have the Border Burghs in your eye!’

‘In my heart, Holmes,’ said Watson.

‘And where do you travel to on Saturday, Watson?’

‘I am going to Selkirk; I have an engagement there to open a Bazaar.’

‘Is it in aid of a Bridge, Watson?’

‘Yes,’ replied Watson in surprise; ‘but how do you know? I have never mentioned the matter to you.’

‘By word, no; but by your action you have revealed the bent of your mind.’

‘Impossible!’

‘Let me explain. A week ago you came round to my rooms and asked for a look at “Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome.” (You know I admire Macaulay’s works, and have a full set.) That volume, after a casual look at, you took with you. When you returned it a day or two later I noticed it was marked with a slip of paper at the “Lay of Horatius,” and I detected a faint pencil mark on the slip noting that the closing stanza was very appropriate. As you know, Watson, the lay is all descriptive of the keeping of a bridge. Let me remind you how nicely you would perorate –

When the goodman mends his armour
And trims his helmet’s plume,
When the goodwife’s shuttle merrily
Goes flashing through the loom,
With weeping and with laughter.
Still the story told —
How well Horatius kept the bridge,
In the brave days of old.

Could I, being mortal, help thinking you were bent on such exploit yourself?’

‘Very true!’

‘Well, goodbye, Watson; shall be glad of your company after Saturday. Remember Horatius’ words when you go to Border Burghs :- “How can man die better than facing fearful odds.” But there, these words are only illustrations. Safe journey, and success to the Brig!’

The Man Who “Bested” Sherlock Holmes

I am indebted to Matthias Bostrom, who, via his writings, drew my attention to the problem of an early pastiche of a Sherlock Holmes story.

Many have assumed that Sir Arthur’s close friend, J M Barrie, produced the first “parody” of a Holmes story, but Charles Press, in his book “Parodies and Pastiches Buzzing ‘Round Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” mentioned “The Man Who ‘Bested’ Sherlock Holmes” as having been first published in Tit Bits on October 27th 1894. The story is included in John Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green’s book “My Evening with Sherlock Holmes”.

Mr Bostrom had managed to find an earlier publication of the same story in a Northern provincial newspaper. That paper was the “Express and Advertiser” which is now known as the “Burnley Express”.Burnex

This itself is a remarkable coincidence, as my Literary Agent hails from the very same town! So I set him the task of tracking down the paper, published in December 1892, and obtaining a copy of the story for my library. It has taken him a while but I now have a copy of the story.

The newspaper boasts about “Our Almanac and Special Christmas Number”, saying that “Next Saturday every purchaser of the Express will be presented with a splendid local almanac, produced regardless of cost. It will be printed on excellent toned and specially-prepared paper, in two colours, and will be embellished with excellent portraits of Sir John and Lady Thursby with a capital view of Ormerod House.”

Sir John Thursby was well-known to people in Burnley and gives his name to a college in the town.

The paper goes on to say that “the almanac will contain a vast amount of useful local and district information, and will prove the best ever presented by any paper in North – East Lancashire. Next Saturday’s Express will contain, in addition to the fullest local and district news and the regular features, the following entertaining Christmas reading :—

“Owd Nick and Scotch Snuff,” a laughable Lancashire Sketch by the Editor of Ben Brierley’s Journal,

“A Pendle Forest Christmastide Story of the Forty-Five” by Henry Kerr.

and “The Man Who Bested Sherlock Holmes” by Joseph Baron.

The paper also says that “Dr. Conan Doyle has gone through the manuscript of this story, and emphatically pronounced it “good”.

Well, see what you think . . .The Man Who Bested Sherlock Holmes

The Watson Files

“A century after Holmes and Watson’s adventures together in London, their grandchildren, Spencer Holmes and Jack Watson, experienced their own adventures. As his grandfather did Jack Watson often kept notes about these adventures and has decided to share them with the world. These are his stories…”

So begins the series of stories from Strobie Studios in Eastern Iowa with Michael Helgens as Spencer Holmes and Greg Kilberger as Dr Watson.

The stories usually last between 10 and 15 minutes and follow the same format as Rathbone and Bruce’s “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. The host, Craig Dahlen, goes to visit Watson each week to hear him relate one of the stories. The shows are very atmospheric, complete with gunshots that will make you jump if you’re not expecting them. Some characterisations are peculiarly American which takes a little time to get used to.

Season 1

In the first season of  21 episodes there were two from the Canon, “The Dying Detective” and “The Red-Headed League” – both expertly done. We meet a certain mathematical genius called Professor Marty and Lestrade has become Officer Weathers and Mrs Hudson … well, I will leave you to work that one out!

  1. The Missing Cat
  2. The Locked Room
  3. The Dying Detective
  4. The Cunning Thief
  5. The Strange Case of the Underwater Fire
  6. The Headless Ghost
  7. The Case of the Red Light Ripper – Part 1
  8. The Case of the Red Light Ripper – Part 2
  9. The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
  10. The Poisoning of Juliet
  11. The Beginning
  12. The Case of the Stolen Manuscripts
  13. The Case of the Fatal Premonition
  14. The Case of the Missing Reporter
  15. The Case of the Tacky Lipstick
  16. The Case of the Stolen Teddy Bear
  17. The Purloined Letter
  18. The Inferior Liver
  19. The Viral Video
  20. The Assassination of the Scots – Season Finale Part 1
  21. The Riddling Henchman – Season Finale Part 2

The complete set of Season 1 episodes is available from Nimbit Music along with a few bonus recordings including outtakes!

Season 2

In the second series there were again two stories from the Canon – “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Empty House”.

  1. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Season Premiere Part 1
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Season Premiere Part 2
  3. The Return of the Ripper
  4. The Secret in the Narwhal
  5. The Case of the Flying Pig
  6. The Kidnapping of Jennifer Watson
  7. The Adventure of Ancient Antiquity
  8. The Case of the Killer Cave
  9. The Adventure of Alien Abduction
  10. The Adventure of the Empty House
  11. The Case of the Combustible Comedian
  12. The Twenty Million Dollar Mistake
  13. The Case of the Missing Case
  14. The Continuing Saga of the Missing Case
  15. The Case of the Drugged Doctor
  16. The Pursuit of Professor Marty
  17. The Continued Pursuit of Professor Marty
  18. The Billion Dollar Blunder
  19. The Zoo Escapade
  20. The Case of the Missing Smell
  21. The Explosive Trial – Season Finale

Season 3

Again two stories from the Canon – “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Speckled Band”.

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia – Season Premiere Part 1
  2. A Scandal in Bohemia – Season Premiere Part 2
  3. The Case of the Smoking Ghost
  4. A Little Cheese with Your Wine
  5. The Case of the Mummy’s Curse
  6. The Case of the Crazy Millionaire
  7. The Case of the Cold Case
  8. The Speckled Band – Part 1
  9. The Speckled Band – Part 2
  10. Two Funerals and a Wedding
  11. Murder in the Viper’s Nest
  12. It’s All Fun and Games – Part 1
  13. It’s All Fun and Games – Part 2
  14. The Case of the Questionable Merger
  15. The Quest for Excalibur – Part 1
  16. The Quest for Excalibur – Part 2
  17. The Quest for Excalibur – Part 3
  18. The Case of the Mirror Twin
  19. The Case of Low Mileage
  20. Capturing Moran – Season Finale Part 1
  21. Capturing Moran – Season Finale Part 2

Season 4

Another two stories from the Canon in this series “The Musgrave Ritual” and “The Cardboard Box” plus a behind the scenes video of a third “The Red-Headed League” from Season 1.

  1. The Case of the Dental Alarm
  2. The Return of Frankenstein
  3. The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
  4. The Case of the Railroad Murders – Part 1
  5. The Case of the Railroad Murders – Part 2
  6. The Harker’s Landing Whale Preservation Society – Part 1
  7. The Harker’s Landing Whale Preservation Society – Part 2
  8. The Case of the Impossible Shot
  9. The Strange Case of the Does
  10. The Deadly Recipe
  11. The Strange Case of E. Edmond Montebank
  12. Max Noir
  13. The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
  14. The Magic Bullet
  15. A Swift Caper
  16. The Return of the Governor
  17. A Case of Mistaken Identity
  18. The Death of Holmes
  19. The Case of the Questionable Mummy
  20. The Succubus Adventure

Season 4 episodes are available on the Strobie Studios web site, via Facebook, YouTube and iTunes. Only a few of the Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3 episodes remain available online.

Strobie Studios can also be followed on Twitter. Along with the studio’s commercial work (which is well worth a look) they have recorded some of Edgar Allan Poe’s work and a time travel saga called “The Ark of Time”.

No new adventures so far this year . . . 

The Secret Archives of Sherlock Holmes

June Thomson has, for many years, had access to, and published, what purport to be records of Holmes cases that I have never brought forward for publication.

How this came about remains a matter of some dispute. A certain Aubrey B Watson, LDS, FDS, D.Orth. held a number of documents that came into his possession via his late uncle, Dr John F Watson, whom he says was a Doctor of Philosophy at All Saints College, Oxford. This itself is very puzzling as there is no All Saints College at Oxford although there is an All Souls College.

His uncle, whom I can assure you is in no way related to me, made a study of my life and background because of our similar names, and, his nephew insists, became an authority on me, though I can find no record of this. However, a lady called Adeline MacWhirter, approached the said uncle, saying she was related to me on my mother’s side, though again I cannot confirm this as my mother had passed away in Australia before I returned to England after being invalided out of the Army.

MacWhirter apparently told this other Dr Watson that she had inherited my old battered tin dispatch box, the one I mentioned in The Problem of Thor Bridge, which I had deposited at my bank, Cox and Company at their branch at 16 Charing Cross. I have regretted on many occasions mentioning this fact as too many people have alluded to this treasure chest as the source of their many fanciful stories about Holmes and I. She told this Dr Watson she had inherited the box and believing her to be honest and respectable, he bought the box for an undisclosed but apparently large sum in 1939.

Dr Watson says he made copies of all the originals for safe-keeping and deposited the dispatch box at his own bank. This bank, he says, received a direct hit “in 1942, at the height of the Blitz” and the box’s contents were destroyed. Again, some of these details imply some doubt as to the validity of the claims as the Blitz in the Second World was was from 7 September 1940 to 10 May 1941. Also, it is not clear to which bank he is referring as my dispatch box was safe in the vaults of Cox and Co, which incidentally, merged with Lloyds Bank in 1923, the year after The Problem of Thor Bridge was published in The Strand magazine.

It is from these “copies” that Thomson has published in this latest selection of cases entitled The Secret Archives of Sherlock Holmes.

They include following cases:

  • The Conk-Singleton Forgery
  • The Stray Chicken
  • The One-Eyed Colonel
  • The Three-Handed Widow
  • The Pentre Mawr Murder
  • The Missing Belle Fille, and
  • The Watchful Waiter

Those of you who are familiar with my stories will know that the Conk-Singleton forgery case was around the time of the case of The Six Napoleons so I can confirm that some of the details of this case are correct.

Again those of you who are familiar with my stories are aware, I do not as a matter of policy, confirm or deny the validity of any stories purporting to be details of actual cases that Holmes was involved in as that might betray confidences that I have sworn to maintain. All I can say is that if you read the details of these seven cases you will find them as one other reviewer has put it “properly detailed and convincing, the dialogue natural, and the narrative style fluent and immaculate” as if they were, in fact, written by yours truly.

Have a read yourself and see if you agree . . .

The other books produced by June Thomson include the following which are all being produced as new editions this year:

 

 

The House of Silk

This is the first Sherlock Holmes novel written by Anthony Horowitz.

It has been endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate which has led some reviewers to suggest that it somehow more “authentic” that might otherwise be the case. One review I read said that it had been “commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate”. The dust jacket claims it to be “utterly true to the spirit of the original Conan Doyle books” but this is, in my view questionable. Horowitz appears keen to ensure his story is as “authentic” as he can make it and to this end there are frequent references to detail from the Canon including many of the familiar names (Mrs Hudson, Lestrade, Wiggins, Mycroft and Moriarty), familiar locations (221B and the Diogenes Club) and some of the related cases (The Dying Detective, The Copper Beeches, The Red Headed League, The Resident Patient, and The Final Problem). I started to wonder, seeing all these references to my original stories, if Horowitz is hoping that this book could be the first of a new television series after his plans to take Foyle’s War into the post-war era were turned down by ITV? That would raise the interesting possibility of another screen Holmes!

Alistair Duncan has already published a review of the book and as usual this is an admirably balanced critique. He points out a glaring chronological error and, as I have noted above, the many Canonical references, some of which work better than others. For me, one of the strangest examples of this is the introduction of Professor Moriarty, who has nothing to do with the main plot, who promptly disappears again after making me promise to pretend I have never met him when I do eventually get a glimpse of him (at Victoria Station when Holmes and I are heading for the continent a year later in The Final Problem). Horowitz also chooses to rewrite the sequence of events concerning my first meeting with Holmes.

He does get himself into a knot by using all these references to other cases. Given this case starts in November 1890, he says it is shortly after The Dying Detective when that was two years earlier in 1888 but correctly positions The Red-Headed League in October 1890 and The Resident Patient in October 1881 (but gets the name of the Resident Patient wrong – it was “Blessington” and not “Blessingdon”). Our client from Resident Patient has a small part in this new plot but he says he has been reading my stories in the Cornhill Magazine. I was not aware they had been published in this magazine although some of Arthur’s own stories have been.

None of this is important to anyone but a “hardcore fan” as Duncan calls them and, getting back to the date of the this adventure, Horowitz has added a couple of contemporary references to secure the case in the correct timeframe. The first of these is the mention of the Norton Fitzwarren rail crash that occurred on 11 November 1890 south-west of Taunton, Somerset in which ten people were killed. The second is the mention of the murder “two years before” of Mary Ann Nichols at the end of August 1888 and attributed to Jack the Ripper.

Believe it or not, the story is a good one and although the crime is not one I would have been able to write about in my own time, I found that two-thirds of the way through I couldn’t put it down! I learned a few new words too including “tatterdemalion”, “gallipot” and “magsman” though I puzzled over the use of “liquid cocaine” over the more memorable “seven percent solution”. Something else that was missing was those pithy statements from Holmes that have become some of his best known quotations – except for “when you have eliminated the impossible . . .” which Horowitz does include. I concur with Duncan’s view that if you can get past the errors and the book’s publicity, it is better than most pastiches.

The House of Silk, read by Derek Jacobi, is the current “Book at Bedtime” on BBC Radio 4. Episodes 1-5 were broadcast Monday November 7th to Friday November 11th . Episodes 6-10 are being broadcast Monday November 14th to Friday November 18th at 22:45 and will be available on the BBC iPlayer for a week after transmission.

The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries

Some pastiches are better than others and John Taylor’s first set of stories, The Unopened Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, was quite good but they had a slightly bizarre and comic element that some Sherlockians may not have liked. I now understand that they were intended for a younger audience.

Taylor’s original stories appeared on the radio before being released on CD, and have now been released as an The Paranormal Casebook of Sherlock Holmes with a foreword that I must have written at some point.

The new stories, The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries, have not been broadcast and appear on CD and download.  They are much more realistic and have the benefit of being read by the latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch, though he is, of course, narrating the stories as myself.

For once the stories are not from one of the many tin boxes that seem to materialise whenever anyone needs to find a Holmes case to relate but from a wooden chest in my bureau. Yet another “archive of notes referring to some of Holmes’ cases that, for one reason or another, never saw the light of day.”

The first story “An Inscrutable Masquerade” appears not to have an obvious railway connection until very near the end but the byline in the title of the set of stories is “and other stories” so I suppose that is fine. It is nevertheless an intriguing story of how I appear to be leading a double life. It nicely follows my usual style of narration where I give nothing away until all is revealed towards the end.

The second story “The Conundrum of Coach 13” is firmly placed on the rails and is a “closed room problem” although in this case it is a carriage rather than a room, locked from the outside, from which a large quantity of gold bullion has completely vanished without trace.

The third story “The Trinity Vicarage Larceny” again has no railway connection that I could remember. It concerns a robbery (now who can say why this was a larceny rather than a burglary?) where a set of boots provides the main clues that lead to the case being solved.

The fourth story “The 10.59 Assassin” is a very ingenious story involving a very unlikely murderer. Here there is a clear railway connection in a murder and as the suspicion grows there comes an unusual twist. In some ways it reminds me of Silver Blaze. The murderer is the least suspicious of all the possibilities!

Cumberbatch’s reading of the stories is excellent despite the fact that his BBC Sherlock persona that kept popping into my head, especially when he is speaking as Holmes. He also does a very good job of helping the listener distinguish between Holmes, myself and the other characters in the stories and he switches between voices and accents with consumate ease.

These are very accomplished pastiches by John Taylor and, in my view, a much more serious attempt to emulate my style of narration. I hope he is encouraged to write more and that Cumberbatch can be persuaded to narrate again. A complete set of the Canon, read by Cumberbatch, would be a large undertaking but would, I am sure give a fresh take on my stories.

The Rediscovered Railways Mysteries are available on CD and by download here in England and in the USA (CD and download).

The railways are mentioned in many of our cases together, but mainly just as a means of travel. Alistair Duncan’s “Close to Holmes” contains details of many of the stations we used in and around London.

I hear of Sherlock everywhere [GREE] – American Radio Part 2

At the end of Part 1, I said the heyday of Holmes on the radio in the USA was coming to an end with the series of 39 shows with Ben Wright as Holmes and Eric Snowden taking my part. This series lasted until June 1950.

Then, after a gap of five years, in 1955 the shows with the Gielgud and Richardson pairing mentioned in British Radio Part 1 were broadcast in the USA in a different order and with four extra shows. These were repeated in 1956.

In 1959, 36 of the Carleton Hobbs and Norman Shelley shows were aired for the first time in the USA.

Then after what appears to be a very long gap, in 1977 the CBS Mystery Theatre broadcast eleven shows with Kevin McCarthy as Holmes and Cort Benson as Watson. These shows are all from the Canon and include HOUN, SIGN, STUD, REDH, BOSC, SPEC, SCAN, BLUE, BERY, IDEN and GLOR.

I can then find details of three more CBS Mystery Theatre shows, all with Gordon Gould as Holmes but with a different Watson in each case – MUSG with Lloyd Batesta in 1981, NAVA with Bernard Grant in 1982, and NAVA again later in 1982 with William Griffiths.

Nine years later in 1991, Edward Petherbridge appeared as Holmes with David Peart as Watson in STUD followed by VALL, FIVE, TWIS, SILV, GREE, SCAN, BLUE, SPEC, BRUC, NOBL, SIXN and HOUN stretching into 1993.

I also have a note of a production of HOUN with Nicol Williamson and George Rose but I have no date for this and I cannot tell whether this is a radio broadcast or not.

There are two more series, both of which are still running and produced by Jim French for the Imagination Theatre. The first of these, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are all pastiches with Lawrence Albert as Watson but with a succession of different actors playing Holmes. These include John Gilbert, John Patrick Lowrie and Denis Bateman. In one episode, Watson (played by Lawrence Albert) impersonates Holmes and works with Mycroft in that episode and the previous one. Over 90 episodes have been produced (at the end of 2009) and scripts and recordings are available.

Following on from this, Jim French started another series in 2005 called The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with John Patrick Lowrie as Holmes and Lawrence Albert again as Watson. This time they are all stories from the Canon and, as of March 2010, 23 shows have been produced.

So this brings this series itself to an end. The previous parts were:

  1. Sherlock Holmes on British Radio – Part 1
  2. Sherlock Holmes on British Radio – Part 2
  3. Sherlock Holmes on American Radio – Part 1

But, before I go I must acknowledge the following sources without whom this series could not have been produced:

There are still some broadcasts that I am trying to track down but if anyone  knows about any that I have missed then please drop me a line care of 221B Baker Street.

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Two volumes of Basil Rathbone as the “high strung crime solver” and Nigel Bruce as his “phlegmatic assistant” have been released on CD.

Each volume contains 12 stories, some with Canonical connections, marked below with a “C” if they are based on actual stories or with an “R” if they are merely cases that I mentioned in the stories.

Volume I comprises:

  1. The Unfortunate Tobacconist [R]
  2. The Paradol Chamber
  3. The Viennese Strangler
  4. The Notorious Canary Trainer [R] [L]
  5. The April Fool’s Day Adventure [L]
  6. The Strange Case of the Uneasy Easy Chair [L]
  7. The Strange Case of the Demon Barber [L]
  8. The Mystery of the Headless Monk [L]
  9. The Amateur Medicant Society [R] [L]
  10. The Case of the Vanishing White Elephant
  11. The Case of the Limping Ghost
  12. The Girl with the Gazelle [L]

Volume II comprises:

  1. The Case of the Out of Date Murder [L]
  2. The Waltz of Death
  3. Colonel Warburton’s Madness [R]
  4. The Iron Box [L]
  5. A Scandal in Bohemia [C]
  6. The Second Generation [L]
  7. In Flanders Fields
  8. The Eyes of Mr Leyton
  9. The Tell Tale Pigeon Feathers
  10. The Indescretion of Mr Edwards
  11. The Problem of Thor Bridge [C]
  12. The Double Zero

From October 1939 to July 1947 Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce starred in 220 episodes (though Bruce missed one due to illness). By 1947 Rathbone wanted to dissociate himself from the character of Holmes. Neverthe less he remains so closely associated with him that many still regard him as “the definitive Sherlock Holmes”.

Nigel Bruce continued for another two series with Tom Conway as Holmes.

These recordings include war-time announcements, original narrations and commercials for the shows sponsors.

There is a book by Ken Greewald who has taken some of these radio programmes and written them up as short stories. As well as the stories on the the CDs above (which I have marked with [L], the book also contains these three cases:

  • Murder Beyond the Mountains
  • The Case of the Baconian Cypher
  • The Case of the Camberwell Poisoners

The book is called “The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and has a picture of Nigel Rathbone on the cover. The book is out of print but a second hand copy should be easy to come by. I appear to have written a short introduction to the stories in the book!

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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