North America has found me

Well it's now official. My blog is now most popular in the United States with double the views of the UK this past week.

An attempt at audio Boo

I've recorded an Audio Boo

Its aim is to crudely sum up the Undershaw situation. It's not a stunning recording as I was speaking off the cuff. However I think it does the job quite well.

A night at the Lords

On Friday 20th I was amongst the party that celebrated the SHSL's Diamond Anniversary with a dinner at the House of Lords. Prior to dinner we all gathered on the terrace.

The dinner was sponsored by Baroness (aka Ruth) Rendell and featured an array of fine courses. The dinner concluded with a speech by Leslie Klinger - the man behind the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes series.

And the winner is...

I am very pleased and proud to report that my book The Norwood Author won the Tony & Freda Howlett Literary Award 2011 at last night's Sherlock Holmes Society of London AGM. If you are interested in purchasing a copy please follow the links to the left.

Edward Hardwicke RIP

I have just heard that Edward Hardwicke died today. He was a great actor and a worthy man to carry Watson's service revolver.

Rare yet influential characters

In my opinion the Holmes canon contains three figures who, despite only one or two appearances, linger in the minds of Sherlockians.

The first and most obvious of these is Professor Moriarty. He's an active character in The Final Problem and a background presence in The Valley of Fear but you would be forgiven for thinking that he featured in, or was behind, a significant number of Holmes's adventures.

The same can be said for number two on the list - Mycroft Holmes. The Greek Interpreter and The Bruce-Partington Plans were his two outings but again you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

The final figure in this triumvirate is Irene Adler. She only has one story to her credit - A Scandal in Bohemia - but she too stands out. In her case it is mostly due to her being the only woman to out manoeuvre Sherlock Holmes.

The strong impression these characters have made is mostly down to screen adaptations. Moriarty and Mycroft, in particular, have featured in more films than they should have done. In the case of the former he has even had his own series of books and has appeared in Star Trek.

However, to this list should be added a fourth. A figure who should, by rights, excite every Holmes fan. It is true that he appeared towards the end of the canon and only once but for me he represents a fascinating figure, perhaps the most fascinating since Inspector Baynes from The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge.

My mysterious figure is one gentleman by the name of Barker. Holmes describes him, in The Adventure of the Retired Colourman, as his 'hated rival'. I've always taken this remark as tongue-in-cheek. Like Baynes, Barker is an intelligent man who is almost as clever as Holmes.

Barker (shown here on the extreme left) comes across as a little more physical than Holmes but is nonetheless a capable amateur detective. In some respects he comes across as a homage to the most successful Holmes clone - Sexton Blake - beyond the fact that he had a moustache where Blake (as far as I know) did not.
It surprises me that no one has yet taken it upon themselves to subject this character to the pastiche treatment. I know that I am not up to the task so I hope that someone else can pick up this particular baton.

Haslemere Festival 2012

Next month I will be meeting with the committee that organises the Haslemere Festival to discuss my possible appearance at the 2012 event. I shall be shown the venue for my 'performance' and discuss what I shall be talking about on the day.

Two more books for the review 'in-tray'

The following two books have arrived with me today and have been added to the 'to review' pile.

I shall probably tackle them in the order that you see but I will not be starting them just yet. I'm so far behind with my reading that I've only just got onto Gyles Brandreth's latest Oscar Wilde mystery (which I'm enjoying thus far).

Pictures from the new Sherlock Holmes Movie

The following link shows two pictures from the new Warner Bros. film. The second of which features, what I can only assume to be, Watson and Mary's marriage with a decidedly scruffy Holmes as best man.