A delightful time

My wife and I sampled the delights (not for the first time) of the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Friday.

I had the salmon to start and one of their huge burgers for a main.

My wife opted for pate to start followed by the steak.

The service was excellent bearing in mind that there was only one poor guy serving.

The pub does come in for a fair amount of criticism from Sherlockians who visit it from abroad but I think that is because they have unrealistic expectations. At the end of the day it is a pub that happens to be called the Sherlock Holmes and contains a number of Sherlockian items. It is not, and does not profess to be, some Sherlockian theme park.

If you come along knowing that it is just a pub you should not end up disappointed.

A non-Sherlockian author rant

Yahoo have earned my anger today. In the following link they mention 7 things they say you should never buy online. Amongst these are books with Yahoo encouraging people to swap books and generally do what they can to get books for free. I stress that they don't recommend theft as a way of avoiding payment.

I'm sorry but is anyone looking out for the author in all this? We're not all Dan Brown or J.K Rowling with millions in the bank and film deals. The vast majority of writers (if they're full time) get by on relatively modest incomes and an even greater number of us (including myself) have to juggle our writing with a conventional day job in order to live. The last thing we need is a major (and wealthy) I.T. company encouraging people to avoid paying for what they read.

We authors only get paid when a new book is sold. From then on every time it is re-sold or swapped - we get nothing. If we all collectively stopped writing what would you all do? The business of writing needs to provide worthwhile returns or writers will simply stop writing.

'To Review' list gets longer

I have just taken delivery of the following titles for review:

At this stage I'm not sure which I'll start with. If you're keen to influence the order I read them in please leave a comment.

Out of the Shadows

One of the most valuable tomes to me during recent times has been Out of the Shadows by Georgina Doyle.

A sad effect of history, which I won't go into here, led to ACD's first wife and children being very much skipped over by the early biographers and Mrs Doyle's book was the first to give them the space and recognition they very much deserved.

Regrettably, copies of the book are not simple to obtain these days but a good place to start would be with the publisher.


The new book is going very well and I am still writing up the notes I made at the British Library at the weekend. I feel pretty sure that I shall have to book some additional trips as I really think I need to look at some of their other items.

It is shaping up to be a longer book than my first which, so far, is the longest of my three published titles.

Something for the weekend...

The day the BBC Sherlock series was broadcast I was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live. I was told later that I had been mentioned on the show Something for the Weekend. I have since found the clip on Youtube:

Skip to about 10.25 in the recording and when the interviewer refers to 'a bloke who writes about Sherlock Holmes' it's me he's talking about.

British Library

Later today I shall be escaping the office to re-register at the British Library. My initial pass only lasted a month and I thought I could get all I wanted in one visit. How wrong was I?

So I'll be trekking down there with ID in hand to get my pass sorted. Then, tomorrow, I can lose myself amongst ACD's papers for the day.

Book Title Revealed

The title of my next book will be An Entirely New Country - Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw and the Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes.

As the release date has not yet been fixed you cannot pre-order. However feel free to ask questions on this blog or visit the MX Publishing website at to register an interest.

My thanks to all those who encouraged me to write it in the first place.

Sherlock II has a subtitle

The new movie has a subtitle:

Arthur Wontner

People tend to forget that Sherlock Holmes was portrayed on screen before Basil Rathbone. The silent era of films gave us a number of Holmeses with notables such as Eille Norwood.

However, when the talkies arrived Holmes was at last able to come into his own as his verbosity was never well served by the silent era. Although not the first 'talkie' Holmes Arthur Wontner can lay claim, in my opinion, to being the most notable prior to Rathbone.

It's true that he was far too old for the role and that his films, like Rathbone's for Universal, were set in contemporary times yet he was a stickler for accuracy and did his best to ensure as much fidelity as possible in his films.

His five films were completed by 1937 and had all been shown in Britain. The last, based largely on Silver Blaze, was renamed Murder at the Baskervilles for its delayed release in America in 1941.

By this time however, Basil Rathbone was established as the new Holmes and Wontner's films rapidly vanished from the public memory. Regular repeats have ensured Rathbone's continuing popularity and have continued to add more nails to Wontner's coffin.

If you look hard you can obtain four of Wontner's five outings as Holmes. In order these were:

  • The Sleeping Cardinal (1931)
  • The Missing Rembrandt (1932)  (Officially lost)
  • The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case (1932)
  • The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935)
  • Silver Blaze (1937)

Many thanks due... Catherine Cooke for her patience and assistance today at Marylebone library. My knowledge of William Gillette has been enhanced. I just need to get all my notes typed up now.

Research trips

Well I have two research trips coming up in the next week. The first will be to the Sherlock Holmes collection at Marylebone Library and the second will be back to the British Library.

It's all go go go.

A useful exercise

I've just drawn up a grid of the years and months to be covered in my book and low and behold there are some gaps. At least I now know the areas where I need to focus.

Where will I find the time?

I was looking at my book so far yesterday and proud as I am of what I have achieved so far I am still daunted by the amount still to do. A lot of what I have to do in the near future is research and I have got to find time to visit the British Library, Haslemere, Dorset and other places to get my hands on everything I need.

So much to do so little time.