The winner is...

My photo with book #aenccomp was won by Maria from Germany with this picture:!/Stuffasdreams/status/173810539091345409/photo/1

It pleased me to see so many other books being ignored in favour of mine.

Situation Report

Hi all. Well it has been all go go go over the last few days.

A small piece on Undershaw was requested by the Crime Writers Association for, I believe, their internal magazine. This went off last night. I have no idea when it is due for publication though.

As we speak I am still working on slides for the Haslemere Conan Doyle weekend and my article for the SHSL Swiss Pilgrimage journal supplement.

Somehow I fit a day-job in around all this but I'm not entirely sure how.

SHSL Swiss Pilgrimage

Towards the end of this year, the Sherlock Holmes Society of London will be making one of its semi-regular pilgrimages to Switzerland to follow the route as detailed in The Final Problem.

A special supplement to the Sherlock Holmes Journal will be released to commemorate this event and yours truly will be supplying an article.

Some of the first pilgrims in 1968

Full details of the 2012 pilgrimage can be found here.

The Legend that is Curly

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Kristina aka @CurlyFourEyes. This her Undershaw pose.

New design

Sorry I could not help myself. I felt it was time for a slight layout change.

Competition - Win a signed book insert

Hopefully you will have bought a copy of my book An Entirely New Country. If so you are already on the way to winning this competition. Take a photo of yourself with the book, don a deerstalker if you wish. Post the picture on one of the following and tweet me the link (using hashtag #aenccomp):

  •  Twitpic
  •  Yfrog
  •  Tumblr
  •  Flickr
  •  Blogger

In order to guard myself from potentially dodgy urls, these are the only sites I will look at.

I will decide which I like best and the best five will be sent dedicated inserts for their copy of my book.



Closing date February 29th


The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate II

The next Holmes debate is to take place in March 18th and is being held to support the Undershaw Preservation Trust. Regrettably, due to other commitments, I will be unable to take part. However I will be putting finger to key to come up with some arguments to be used by captain Nicholas Briggs on the day.

Sherlockian Links of the week

Here are some of the sites I consider worthy of mention and recommendation:

The Undershaw Preservation Trust

This organisation has single-handedly brought about the judicial review that seeks to throw out the planning consent that would see Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home carved up into town houses and apartments. Its three principals, John Gibson, Lynn Gale and Sue Meadows have fought tirelessly for years and without them the house would already have been lost.

If you wish to assist in the campaign to raise awareness of the house's fate you can buy my book An Entirely New Country or buy any of their Undershaw merchandise from their dedicated on-line shop.

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

The Sherlockian Society based in Holmes' home. For articles about the detective in all his incarnations this is the place to go. Membership is incredibly good value and there is some excellent merchandise on offer to both members and non-members.


The ultimate fan site for devotees of BBC's Sherlock

The Baker Street Babes

The home of some of the most entertaining Sherlockian podcasts available - and they're free.

Review - The Sherlock Holmes Society of London - 1959 - 1974 - DVD

If you are a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London this is a DVD you cannot be without. Over two discs are stored a range of short documentaries that cover both the society and some of its investigations.

The cover
Many notable figures from the society’s early days (most of whom are sadly no longer with us) feature in these films. The most prominent of them being Anthony Howlett whose name lives on through the society’s two awards – the Tony Howlett Award for long and notable service to the society and The Tony & Freda Howlett Award for the best literary work in the field produced by a society member.

The first disc contains in-house films as well as some features broadcast by the news programmes of the day such as Pathe. We follow Anthony Howlett around London as he visits places of significance such as the Criterion long bar (in the days when it was a pub and before it reverted to its former state) and the 221B sitting room in the Sherlock Holmes pub. We also get to see the late Bernard Davies guide us through the route taken by Holmes and Watson to the Empty House.

Disc two is devoted to the society’s first Swiss Pilgrimage in 1968. Mixing colour and monochrome footage we are shown the major points of the trip and we also get to see some recently recovered footage that was not widely seen before.

The only downside I noticed on my copy was that the menu on disc one did not always respond correctly. Some of the films are not possible to jump to directly and have to be reached via skipping through the ones that precede them. This is a small niggle though.

Buy it here :
Note that this DVD is only available, as I understand it, to society members

The Baker Street Babes need you

I am a great fan of the Baker Street Babes whose podcasts are fantastic (especially the one featuring yours truly).

They rather like me too
Due to their success (i.e. people downloading their free podcasts) they have run out of bandwidth. If you love what they do, put your hand in your pockets. They are accepting money in US Dollars so take that into account. Whether it's $1 or $100 it all counts.

Jump to it!

Details at :

Write-up of An Entirely New Country in The District Messenger

Roger Johnson of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London has written the following about my book in the January edition of The District Messenger. He has kindly permitted me to reproduce it here.

Alistair Duncan’s Eliminate the Impossible was a very good start, and Close to Holmes confirmed him as a truly important writer in our field. In The Norwood Author he illuminated, as no previous biographer had, an essential period in the life of Conan Doyle, when Sherlock Holmes leapt to international fame – and his creator killed him. Now An Entirely New Country: Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw and the Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes (MX Publishing;; £12.99/ $19.95/ €14.99). throws light on the drama of the years that followed, when Conan Doyle and his family lived in Undershaw, the house he’d had built at Hindhead, where conditions were favourable for his invalid wife Louise. Hindhead was also the centre of an informal community of writers and artists. During the Undershaw years Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Return of Sherlock Holmes. He served as a field surgeon in the Boer War and wrote a full history of the conflict. He adopted the cause of the wrongly convicted George Edalji. He was knighted. And he fell in love with Jean Leckie, who would become his second wife. Today, Undershaw is in a sad state, empty and threatened by inappropriate ‘development’. It’s fitting that the foreword to this admirable book was written by Mark Gatiss, the Patron of the Undershaw Preservation Trust. See