Beyond wow

On Sunday afternoon I had the great pleasure of a conversation with Mrs Georgina Doyle who is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's niece-in-law. After a lot of nerves on my part (which never entirely left me) we managed to have a good conversation about a wide range of Doylean subjects. These included Undershaw but also other books and some of the howlers that some authors have written.

Mrs Doyle has notably contributed to Doylean literature herself with the fantastic book Out of the Shadows. This book looked at the lives of ACD's first family who were so often neglected by writers in favour of his second. It is a book well worth obtaining.

Mrs Doyle has very kindly offered to meet with me so I shall be visiting her (employer permitting) in the next few weeks.

Real life gets in the way

It is often the case that real life gets in the way of more enjoyable activities. In this case the workload of the day-job combined with other events has interrupted my efforts on my latest book.

Rest assured folks that work has not halted but is simply proceeding slightly slower than expected.


For some reason I have become a target for unwanted post comments by some Chinese (?) user. Due to this I will have to moderate all comments from now on.

Message from Lynn Gale of The Undershaw Preservation Trust

I am calling on the nation to show their disappointment at the decision by Waverley Borough Council by writing to Jeremy Hunt MP in his position as Culture Secretary to instigate a review and get the decision overturned. His address is: 2 Royal Parade, Tilford Road, Hindhead,
Surrey, GU26 6TD (MP for SW Surrey).

Unlikely reviewer

I have just found this review of "Close to Holmes" on the website of the Chorleywood Residents' Association
A new book of interest to all those fascinated by historical London has been published ("Close to Holmes: A Look at the Connections between Historical London, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" by Alistair Duncan, MX Publishing, 206pp £9.99).

Well reviewed in the Sherlock Holmes Journal, this is the book for me. "

Undershaw book - latest update

My book on Undershaw (arguably even more important now) is almost 6000 words long. In light of the planning decision I have redrafted the introduction.

Waverley Disgrace

Read more details the BBC

A national disgrace

It is with anger and regret that I must report that yesterday Waverley Borough Council granted permission for the present owners of Undershaw to redevelop it. In short this means that the building, which both the owners and council took inadequate care of (despite its grade II listing), will be carved up into a number of separate dwellings.

I would very much like to know who, in the present financial climate, would be in a position to buy one of these proposed dwellings. I very much fear the property will be carved up and then continue to sit empty which will benefit no one.

I urge people to contact Waverley Borough Council and make their feelings known. It may not achieve anything but I think they need to be made aware of the anger this will cause for Conan Doyle fans worldwide.

Well deserved win

This is Lynn Gale of the Undershaw Preservation Trust handing over the prize of my three books to raffle winner Mrs English.

Well done and I hope you enjoy them.

D-Day - Undershaw Planning Meeting

Today at 5pm Waverley Borough Council decide whether or not to grant permission for a developer to make changes to Undershaw.

If they grant it they will be guilty of national and cultural vandalism. In addition they will also be, in effect, rewarding a developer who has failed to look after the property adequately in accordance with its grade II listed status. This little fact is acknowledged by Waverley Council on their own website.

They will send the message that it's okay to let listed buildings decay in defiance of council instructions and that ultimately you will get the development permission you seek (plus the chance to make a tidy profit).

Undershaw book

The fledgling book is now up to 4,500 words (or thereabouts). Clearly there is still much to do but it is looking good so far.


It is without doubt the case that the on-line archive of old newspapers provided by the British Library has been of immense use and value to me. Without it I would have struggled to write "The Norwood Author" and it is proving equally as useful for my, as yet untitled, book on Undershaw.
However I am suffering from a severe case of goggle-eyes after spending two afternoons browsing through all manner of papers for the years 1898 and 1899. I have to repeat this excercise for every year up to and including 1907.
Why do I do it to myself?