So far so good

One of the people I asked to review a draft of part of my book has come back to me. He made some perfectly sound suggestions for minor changes but otherwise thinks it is excellent and said...

'The book promises to be as valuable a contribution to the study of ACD's life and career as I'd hoped'

Living Literature

I have to confess that I am really looking forward to my literary lunch for Living Literature which is taking place on November 10th. Unfortunately dear readers it is a private event so you cannot come along and watch. I do hope that it turns out to be the first of many as I will confess that I am getting a taste for this.

It also occurs to me that this is my first UK event (excluding my book signing for Waterstones). My radio and television interviews were for broadcast in Germany. It is good to be finally doing something on my home turf.

Census records

Doctors are famous for having atrocious handwriting but I think we can add another class of people to this category. They are the people who fill out census records. It seems to me that the people who wrote out census record in the 19th century just didn't know how to write legibly.

This tends to make my life more difficult.

Yahoo answers

It's good to start the day on a high. I answered a question on Yahoo answers relating to Sherlock Holmes and it has been voted best answer.

Performing a service

As I get closer to the completion of my current book I am becoming more and more amazed at the lack of interest that has been shown in this part of Conan Doyle's life. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I believe that my book will go a long way to plugging a gap in the current knowledge of his life.

Oxford to the rescue

Oxford University have come up trumps with information again.

Very pleased.

The Norwood Author

I just thought I would post links to my latest book for Amazon.Co.UK and



Get pre-ordering folks :-)

Permisson granted

The nice curator of the Gilbert & Sullivan Archive has granted permission for me to use photographs from their site. Hurrah!

Movie thoughts

Friends and colleagues often ask me what I think of the imminent Sherlock Holmes film from Guy Ritchie. I therefore think it worth spending a little time writing down what I think for the benefit (or not) of all out there.

Firstly I have to admit that all my opinions are based purely on the interviews I have read and the two (slightly) different trailers so I am fully prepared to state that my views may alter after seeing the finished article.

But, based on what I do know.....

I am in two minds over this film. On the negative side I have issues with the casting - I think Downey Jnr is miscast and I believe he has been chosen purely because of the high-profile he has gained through his Iron Man film. He is the man of the moment who will guarantee ticket sales. It justifies his casting from a marketing perspective but not from the perspective of authenticity.

I also have issues with the apparently (judging from trailer) OTT action sequences. I've read interviews where people involved have said that the action is okay and canonical because it says in the stories that Holmes was a boxer/fencer/martial artist etc.

This is true but you cannot take one line from the stories and use it as a blank cheque to do whatever you like. We have to accept that we are going to get Hollywood's reinvention of Holmes despite all their protestations that they've gone back to the source material. Perhaps they have but they have chosen to ignore what doesn't suit them. Another blogger summed up my feelings when they said "we don't need reinvention we need rediscovery".

On the plus side however there is the obvious fact that this film will generate significant interest in Sherlock Holmes that extends far beyond Sherlockian Societies. If (and it's a big 'if') this film inspires people to pick up the books and discover the true Holmes then I will applaud it. I have to admit that it was Basil Rathbone's 'The Scarlet Claw' that got me into Holmes and I freely admit that it was hardly a canonical piece of cinema.

So, to sum up, I think this film will be fun and enjoyable but whether it will really be a Sherlock Holmes film remains to be seen.


It's amazing the items that you can get on ebay for your Sherlockian collection. However it is equally amazing that there are a large number of people selling such items who have no idea of their true value or indeed of what they are really selling.

I've just been on ebay and saw a number of listings for bound copies of The Strand described as having illustrations posed by "Jeremy Brett". Not only does this seller get this wrong he/she also wants the best part of £200 per volume. In reality they are not worth much more than £60 so I suspect they will go unsold.

My favourite auction today was a lot of three bound Strand volumes where the vendor optimistically expects in excess of £600 for the lot. No harm in trying I guess but no serious collector is going to be that daft. That kind of price only befits a first edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Recent reviews

Whoops I forgot to blow my own trumpet (which is most unlike me). CTH received a very positive review in the most recent issue of The Sherlock Holmes Journal and in the Passengers' Log (the journal of the Sydney Passengers) a few weeks beforehand.

The latest version of the latter journal contains a nice article concerning my victory in getting The William Stanley pub in South Norwood to erect a Conan Doyle / Sherlock Holmes display.

If you are a member of either society and have the journals - do have a peek.

Oxford to the rescue (I hope)

Once again I am turning to the University of Oxford for help. Their central archive people were very helpful to me a few weeks ago and now I have gone back to them again (specifically University College) to see if they can assist me further.

I'm keeping those digits crossed again.

Three little maids from school...

I have just dashed off an email to the owners of a website called the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive. I'm hoping that they'll grant me permission to reproduce a picture of the Savoy Theatre from 1881.

Fingers crossed...

Getting soundings

Earlier this week I sent off the draft of the first section of my latest book for early comments. I won't name the reviewers here but, needless to say, I am interested (and impatient) to see what they all think of it so far.

I am still on-target for my March release date. I'll be mortified if they don't like it.


UK debut

I received a call today from an organisation called Living Literature who organise events to publicise (and keep alive) the work of famous authors from the past. It seems that they wish me to be the guest at a literary lunch during which I shall be quizzed on my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle and the London they lived in.

Pencilled in for November 10th.

Here is their URL keep an eye on it for details in future.

Hello and welcome

I thought it was about time I set up a dedicated blog to let people know what is going on in my Sherlockian world. This keeps things nice and separate from my conventional life.

So a brief intro for those unfamiliar with my work:

I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan since 1982 but it took me until 2007 to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and produce a book upon the subject. This was entitled "Eliminate the Impossible" (or ETI for short) and was published in February 2008. It received much critical praise (and the odd detractor) and I was sufficiently encouraged to take the material I had cut from the final draft and turn that into a second book. This book, which was released in February 2009, was called "Close to Holmes" (or CTH) and has, so far, done even better than ETI.

I am presently working on my third book which is called "The Norwood Author". This is about the life of Sherlock Holmes's creator - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - during the four year period that he lived in the Norwood area of present-day South-East London.

I have given interviews for both radio and television on the subject of both Holmes and Conan Doyle but so far these have been for broadcast in Germany.

So there you go......more will follow later.