Why do you moderate comments on your blog?
Some time ago the blog became a target for spammers. Every day I was having to remove comments from companies trying to advertise themselves or bizarre comments I couldn't even understand. I know Blogger has anti-spam functionality now but you cannot guarantee that things won't slip through.
Therefore if you make a comment you may have to wait a couple of days before it appears. Please don't post things more than once. Thank you.
Do you have any rules for comments?
I do have some rules that determine whether or not comments get published.
- The comment must be pertinent to the post.
- The comment must not be commercial (i.e. advertising).
- The comment must not be abusive (either about me or anyone else who has commented). Disagree by all means but be civil.
- A comment will not be published if I decide that the comments chain for a given post has reached its natural conclusion. This is akin to locking a discussion on a forum.
- The comment must not break the law.
Will you comment on posts?
I made the decision some time ago not to participate in the exchange of comments under blog posts. If you ask me a question via this method I'm afraid it will go unanswered.
Will you advertise on your blog?
I will not advertise any product, person or service on my blog on a commercial basis so please don't ask. If I decide to plug something that is my choice and I will not take money for it.
When did you become interested in Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle?
I "found" Holmes when I was 8 years old. My mother was watching The Scarlet Claw and I became captivated. The interest that began with the Rathbone films continued with me eventually reading the books.
The interest in Arthur Conan Doyle came along a lot more gradually. Initially I had very little interest in him but, as time moved on, he became more and more interesting to me with the result that I have now written two mini-biographies of him.
Who is your favourite Sherlock Holmes?
Jeremy Brett - which I know is controversial in light of the BBC's excellent new Sherlock series. Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes is very good and I love the show immensely but the ultimate Holmes accolade can only go to one that lives in Victorian England.
Which of your books is your favourite?
They are all important to me in their own way. Eliminate the Impossible because it was my first; Close to Holmes because it is my most commercially successful and was short-listed for the 2010 Tony & Freda Howlett Award; The Norwood Author because it won the same award in 2011 and because it adds a lot of information to our collective knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle; and, finally, An Entirely New Country as I consider it arguably my best work and something that will hopefully aid the cause of saving Undershaw.
What is Undershaw?
Undershaw is the name of Arthur Conan Doyle's former house in Hindhead, Surrey. Since 2004 it has been standing empty. Its present owners have obtained planning consent to convert the building into apartments and add further new buildings to the site. There is a considerable body of opposition to this plan and the fight is being taken to the High Court (in the form of a judicial review) in May 2012.