Book Reviews

Arthur & Sherlock by Michael Sims

American author Michael Sims’ book on the relationship between Arthur Conan Doyle and his consulting detective will likely be of most interest to those who are familiar with the Holmes stories but not the background of its author.

Conan Doyle is perhaps unique in that not only did he create the world’s most famous fictional detective he also created a golden opportunity for other writers to cash-in by writing sequels, commentaries, pastiches and anthologies. If the number of spin-offs is anything to go by then Arthur Conan Doyle must be amongst the greatest popular authors of all time.

Although the book by Sims is very comprehensive and readable it doesn’t offer anything new in terms of analysing Conan Doyle’s background and what motivated him.

Some will say that I am too cynical in my view, but whilst I like all the Sherlock Holmes stories and even watch the repeats, several times over, when they appear on TV, I am not overly enthusiastic about the microscopic analysis of the juxtaposition of Conan Doyle and Holmes.

Does it matter; and how does it impact on one’s enjoyment of the original stories? One should remember that Conan Doyle wanted to be thought of as a writer of historical novels and only saw the Holmes stories as a convenient source of income for his extended family.

However, for those who are unfamiliar with Conan Doyle’s background or are new to the Sherlock Holmes canon, consisting of the fifty-six short stories and four novels, then this book is a worthwhile read and well written. Interestingly the book contains several pages of notes which reference, by chapter, the source of various quotations.

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing plc the book, in hardback form, runs to some 245 pages plus 4 pages of historical photographs and sells for £18.99

Ian Corke

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“MAY I INTRODUCE YOU TO MR SHERLOCK HOLMES?”

At London’s famous Sherlock Holmes pub on Monday the 16th May you can meet the authors of an award-winning book about the great detective.

Between 2.00pm and 4.00pm Roger Johnson & Jean Upton will be signing copies of The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany, which has been praised by reviewers in Britain and around the world.

Michael Cox, producer of the classic TV series starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes, says: “This is the best introduction to Sherlock Holmes that I know and it also serves as a valuable work of reference.”

The Baker Street Journal says: “This work belongs in the hands of every Sherlockian who has had to explain the lure of Baker Street.”

Crime writer Mike Ripley says: “Roger Johnson and Jean Upton are both well-known scholars and aficionados of everything to do with The Great Detective, as well as being members of the Sherlock Holmes Society, the Baker Street Irregulars and the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes. I am therefore quite willing to believe they know exactly what they are talking about and to admit they know far more than I ever did about Sherlock Holmes – up until I read their marvellous book, that is. Now, I am a positive mine of fascinating facts.”

For more than twenty years Roger Johnson and Jean Upton have acted as curators of the 221B Baker Street study at the Sherlock Holmes, maintaining a connection between the pub and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London that began more than sixty years ago.

The Sherlock Holmes is at 10-11 Northumberland Street, WC2N 5DB. For more information call 020 7930 2644, or see

http://www.sherlockholmes-stjames.co.uk/.

“A friend of Mr Sherlock is always welcome.”†

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SHERLOCK HOLMES’ LONDON

by  ROSE SHEPHERD

This beautifully-produced book is a worthy addition to our library.

Each chapter covers an area of the city, from Westminster to the East End docks, exploring the places in which Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solved their mysteries, and elaborating on their history and relevance to the cases.  With both old and contemporary photographs, illustrations, maps, posters, theatre programmes and newspaper headlines, Sherlock Holmes’ London offers an insight into the key role of the city in the life and work of Sherlock Holmes, from 1885 to the present day. The changing attitudes towards policing, crime and punishment are investigated.

Merging anecdotes, quotations from the canon, maps and quirky historical facts, this wonderful guide will have you itching to explore more of Sherlock Holmes’ London.

Hardback, 160 pages.  Published 2015 by CICO books, London and printed in China.  Price £16.99

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