Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Holmes

I hope everyone is getting into (or out of) the holiday season.  Read the Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle to get you into the Christmas mood.  A great Christmas present would be a copy of The Murder in the Library by me and No Police Like Holmes and Baker Street Beat by that amazing writer and Sherlock wiz Dan Andriacco.  Enjoy the end of the year!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

No Police Like Holmes by Dan Andriacco

Sam Spade meets Sherlock Holmes.  Philip Marlowe meets Dr. Watson.  How much murder and mayhem can one expect at a sedate (ahem) conference of Sherlock aficionados at a college symposium?  A lot.

No Police Like Holmes is Dan Andriacco’s second book for MX Publishing.  His first was a small but pithy compilation of writing and scripts on all things Sherlockian, Baker Street Beat. This novel takes place at a Midwestern university.  A collection of Holmes manuscripts are being donated and some valuable pieces go missing.   And a body is discovered.  All good fun.

The hero, Jeff Cody, is part Woody Allen, part Humphrey Bogart.  He drinks Diet Coke but is not adverse to lusting after his ex-flame Lynda Teal (rhymes with Emma….. another great sexy heroine).  Other colorful characters are a gorgeous vamp married to an old rich man who collects Sherlockiana artifacts and books.  And Cody’s brother-in-law, a Nero Wolfe style armchair sleuth, is the catalyst that keeps the sleuthing and the plot going strong.

Will Jeff discover who stole the priceless manuscripts?  Will Jeff and Lynda find the murderer before the blighter gets them? Will the conference of the assembled Holmes fans continue without further disaster?

And most importantly, will Jeff get Lynda back into the sack?

No Police like Holmes is a fun, literary read.  In the hands of Andriacco, the above statement in not an oxymoron.   Get this book, dive into a comfy chair, pour yourself a couple of fingers of scotch and enjoy this, sweetheart.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Barefoot on Baker Street (spoiler alert!)

Barefoot on Baker Street (spoiler alert) and the Autumn Leaves

The Murder in the Library- available from MX and Amazon!

BF on Baker St is a very energetic, ambitious novel by Charlotte Anne Walters. (spoiler alert)  If you have ever wondered if Holmes, Watson and Moriarty had sex lives, then this is the book for you! 

‘nuff said.  Walters depicts a very real, brutal and frightening look at the underworld of Victorian London.  Her heroine, “Red,” is a fighter, a lover and a woman who is abused so many times and triumphs that I wonder where Walters gets her information and inspiration.  It seems very real and made me squirm.

A moment of silence for all the brave men and women who died on September 11, 2001 in the U.S. 

Autumn is coming, it’s the best time to savor a book about Holmes.  The air has a crisp bite,  the leaves turn bright gold and amber and you can almost hear the carriage wheels rattling over cobbled stone streets.  When you least expect it, Holmes is there!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review of Baker Street Beat and the Beatles

I saw Paul McCartney last week.  My favorite Beatle and one of the greatest entertainers of all time.  The longer he played, the younger he looked!  That, my friends is the secret of youth.  That's why Sherlock Holmes is perpetually 39, he's happy and he's endured.

Ok, now onto Baker Street Beat "an eclectic collection of Sherlockian Scribblings" by Dan Andriacco who also has a very eclectic and amazing personal background.  This book includes essays, short stories, radio dramas and a fab (Beatles again!) annotated bibliography.  His early recollections of how he became a Holmes fan are touching, thanks for letting us into your private space, Dan.  If you don't read any other Holmes pastiche this year, please, please read the short story The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden which has to be the closest in tone and content to a Holmes work that I have read in a long time.  Good job, fellow paisano Andriacco.  I would like to see him attempt a full length Holmes novel and perhaps there is one in the future?

I am going to speak at the Oak Brook book club next week about Murder in the Library, Sherlock, Agatha Christie and the writing process.  These ladies are no slouches when it comes to fiction, so wish me luck!

Enjoy the day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Case of the Grave Accusation

How nice it would be if all our favorite literary characters could be summoned into the present day by a letter, telegram or email.  Such is the premise in The Case of the Grave Accusation, a Sherlock Holmes adventure by Dicky Neely.  Watson is summoned by Holmes by letter to arrive at 221b Baker St.  They seek out to investigate the allegations that the Hound of the Baskervilles was not written by Doyle but stolen from Robinson.  A nefarious gentleman by the name of Roger la Pelure d'Ail wants Robinson's body exhumed, after hurling the most atrocious accusations against Doyle.  Cool story, watch Holmes grapple with a computer and be happy about it! Nice chronology of the ACD/BFR story/intrigue at the end of the book.

Thanks to all for your continued praise of my Sherlock inspired story "The Murder in the Library."  I just received some nice words from Laura Levine, author of 8 Jaine Austen mysteries and a past writer for LaVerne and Shirley. Enjoy this hot summer and keep reading!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Brian Pugh's Chronology and Murder in the Biblioteca

Hello to all and thanks for your very positive comments about Murder in the Library.  Exciting news is that it is being picked up for an Italian translation by Gargoyle Books and will be published in Italian in the spring of 2012.  Being half Italian my famiglia is molto felice!!

After reading the AMAZING  A Chronolgy of the Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Brian W. Pugh I have to take off my hat to this writer for presenting a complete, comprehensive chronology of the life and works of ACD.  This volume presents everything you wanted to know about Doyle and when and where he accomplished it.  Excellent index, great photographs.  This would make an excellent supplementary textbook for a class on Sherlock and/or the works of Doyle.  I forgot about The Lost World and now I'm itching to reread it!

I hope you are enjoying summer.  I'm looking forward to my next reads, The Case of the Grave Accusation and the Baker Street Beat.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Watson, Mrs. Watson, Librarians and Jack the Ripper

Happy Memorial Day holiday to all.  I was talking to my dad yesterday about World War II (he's 93) and his memories were very strong and indelible.  I can't imagine him flying a propeller plane all over the world.  I get sick in an elevator these days.  Modern life is not conducive to bravery.

On that note, there are some very brave fictional characters  that I have enjoyed reading about this week.  Molly Carr's A Study in Crimson, continues the adventures of Mrs. Watson and Mrs. St. Clair as they search for the Holy Grail.  I love the way Carr works in Rossetti, Raffles, Moriarty and the Mafia through her narrative.

Watson's Afghan Adventure by Kieran McMullen gives us a look at Watson's life pre-Holmes.  Watson's war experiences in the far east not only give us an excellent look at the past conflict in this area but give us an insight into the character of the man that we know and love as Holmes' right hand man and companion.

Can I review a non-MX book about Holmes?  Hope so, so here goes.  Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye.  A great book about Holmes and Jack the Ripper.  Faye's descriptions of Victorian London are superb.  And the plot is original and that's no small deed as so many authors have attempted Jack the Ripper interpretations.

Thanks to all for the continued praise of my book The Murder in the Library.  I look forward to speaking at book clubs this summer.  To the gentleman from Evanston who said he and his wife read my book while traveling in London and visiting the Sherlock Holmes Society, and enjoyed it very much,  I say thanks!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Murder will out and a Review of Murder at the Populaire

Thanks to all for the great comments about The Murder in the Library which is out on in book and kindle.  Hope you all enjoy it!

I finished reading Rendezvous at the Populaire by Kate Workman.  It's great to have Sherlock meet another notorious figure like the Phantom of the Opera. (instead of Jack the Ripper!)  Sherlock, after sustaining an injury has to reinvent himself.  By switching points of view between Holmes and Watson Workman gives us some Sherlockian psychology along with action, great locales and mystery.  This would make a great film, especially when they are all below the Opera House in the depths of the Parisian sewers.................
I enjoyed the pacing, the plot and the insight into Holmes' and Watson's feelings.  Check this one out!

For all us Yankees who watched the Royal Wedding all I can say is WOW.  Absolutely beautiful, amazing and London is so gorgeous in the spring.  I started to cry when I saw Elton John in the cathedral, can't help thinking back to another wedding.

Enjoy spring, my fellow Sherlockians, we're waiting for the sunshine here in the midwest, maybe one day and until then I'm on to the next book!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sociopaths, Butterflies and a Review of Shadowfall

Murder in the Library 4-28 available from Amazon and cool bookstores- the Library game is afoot!

You’ve got to love the Victorians- they were into spiritualism, mediums, vampires, exotic flora and fauna- and all these goodies work their way into the stories of Sherlock Holmes.  I can visualize Stapleton chasing butterflies across the moor in The Hound of the Baskervilles.  How often collectors of butterflies and small animals are also collectors of human souls.  Read John Fowles The Collector and compare Clegg to Stapleton.  Both characters exhibit the classic behavior of sociopaths.  

Sherlock Holmes as Gandalf?  Sherlock Holmes as Dumbledore?  Sherlock as Merlin?  Can it work?  It does work in Shadowfall, a Novel of Sherlock Holmes by Tracy Revels.  This novel combines many of the traditional elements of Holmes and Watson with a fantasy theme that you’ve got to read, I won’t tell you about it and spoil it.  Suffice it to say if you’re into fairies, zombies, voodoo, grave robbers, ravens at the Tower and priceless jewels of the crown you will enjoy Shadowfall.   A most unusual treatment of Holmes and Watson with exciting action scenes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes

Murder in the Library coming April 28th - available on Amazon and Amazon uk .   The library game is afoot!

Unsolved cases and lost stories of Sherlock Holmes- what better method than to extend the mystique and the presence of the denizens of 221b Baker Street?  In 1954 Adrian Conan Doyle writing with John Dickson Carr created The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes a collection of adventures based on unsolved cases.  Adrian Conan Doyle, the youngest son of Sir Arthur, wrote these stories at the same desk his father used.  Definitely the spirit of Sherlock pervades these tales.

Published in 2010, The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes are cases that were never made public by Dr. Watson.  The stories were discovered by Tony Reynolds upon the death of his grandmother, Emma Mary Reynolds, (née Watson).  Mr. Reynolds has edited these tales and for our reading pleasure has published them into an eight story collection.  Of singular merit are the stories The Adventure of the Medium and The Adventure of the Gypsy Girl.  Naturalists will especially enjoy The Giant Rat of Sumatra.  Let us hope that Mr. Reynolds finds more locked deed boxes among his relative’s effects that belonged to Dr. John Watson.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Study in Pink and Eliminate the Impossible

Murder in the Library April 28th  The library game is afoot!

A Study in Pink and Eliminate the Impossible by Alistair Duncan

 I just reread a A Study in Scarlet this week and watched again A Study in Pink, the newest Sherlock offering from the BBC.  I recommend both to everyone.  Read the story and then watch the show.  There are some subtle and not so subtle hints, nods and absolute spot-on characterizations.  Watson is really defined here, a scarred but game figure, who likes the ladies and admires Sherlock immensely and not without exasperation.  Sherlock is as always, eccentric, brilliant and capable of great charm when moved out of his bouts of lethargy or energy.  I’ve watched it 20 times already.

After reading Eliminate the Impossible by Alistair Duncan I move that every university immediately creates a Sherlock Holmes course and curriculum and I nominate Mr. Duncan to be the head professor.  He can then train all us willing to spread the Sherlock canon by using this very well written book for the class text.  Major characters are defined, a timeline of works is listed and then every story is reviewed and outlined in several well written pages.
If you have never read the stories, then use this book for reference as you read.  If like me you are attempting to re-read the entire canon in chronological order, then this is indispensible.  Then Duncan reviews all the stage and film Sherlocks up until 2008. 

This is a great reference tool and immensely manageable both in scope and size. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Holmes and more Americans and The Sign of Fear by Molly Carr

Murder in the Library coming April 28th.  The library game is afoot!

In the Adventure of the Yellow Face, Americans again play a part.  When Grant Munro asks Holmes to investigate the mysterious stranger living in a cottage near his home, Holmes deduces that Munro's wife, Effie, must have hidden her first husband there.  She had said her husband and child had died from the yellow fever in Atlanta, Georgia.  This is one of Holmes' less notorious cases, and one can surmise that this is due to the fact that this case is one of his "failures" and also due to the racial overtones of the story.
A daring tale of mixed races for the times, perhaps the sympathy that Doyle shows in his writing is due partially to his Jesuit education and artistic temperament.  This story deserves another read by all.

In The Sign of Fear author Molly Carr presents a Holmes adventure unlike no other.  Watson's wife, Mary, unhappy at being left so often by Watson as he pursues adventures with Holmes, decides to do a bit of sleuthing on her own.  She is a strong character with decidedly un-Victorian views of a woman's behavior and sexuality.

She investigates a jewel theft and the murder of a Duke with some assistance from Raffles and Miss Jane Marple's mother!  This Sherlockian pastiche is a roller coaster ride of characters, shifting points of view and plot twists.  The story has a decidedly Travels with my Aunt feel to it so if you are a Graham Greene fan you will enjoy The Sign of Fear by Molly Carr.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Holmes and Americans and is Irene Adler the original Jersey Shore Girl?

Murder in the Library is coming on April 28th! The library game is afoot!

While a dedicated observer of life with many viewpoints and opinions Holmes maintains a solid, multicultural approach to different nationalities and races.  He observes the differences of each culture, without casting judgment.

Henry Baskerville has spent time in America and in Canada farming.  He comes to England to accept his new position and proves to be pleasant, pugnacious in strength and character and unwilling to be frightened by the drama lying over his inheritance.  He is perhaps the most benign American to be found in the Holmes oeuvres.

With a more sinister persona Abe Slaney from The Adventures of the Dancing Men comes to reclaim his Elsie, while wreaking havoc upon her health and the disposition of her new husband. Slaney comes from Chicago, which at the turn of the 20th century was already a hotbed of crime, corruption and a fertile ground for the emerging crime syndicate.

Dangerous men abound everywhere in the U.S. and the Mormons, as portrayed in A Study in Scarlet, are particularly vengeful.  Even though Doyle later apologized for depicting the religious group as violent and inflexible, the group which left Illinois on a pilgrimage for religious freedom definitely had a strict agenda. 

The KKK in the Five Orange Pips gives certain Americans a very bad name, especially southern men who fought in the Confederate Army.  Holmes leaves out the racism and focuses on the supremacy and corruption of the Klan members.

And Irene Adler, also a singer like Sinatra, left New Jersey to seek her fame and fortune.  Notorious and glamorous, they both warbled their way into the hearts of many.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Libraries as places of murder and mayhem?

Libraries make a great place for murder and mayhem.   Is it the perpetual silence that motivates mischief?  Do the books emit the spirits and personalities of their characters?  Possibly.  If you stand next to a copy of A Study in Scarlet will you begin to warble beautifully like Irene Adler?  If you stand next to The Hound of the Baskervilles will you start to change into a snarling, vengeance seeking hound?

Agatha Christie placed a corpse in The Body in the Library.  Lord Peter Wimsey investigated a ransacked library in Gaudy Night.  Sherlock Holmes is a great student and researcher.  His musings and studies are goal directed and are intended to increase his knowledge about a particular subject.  Books and papers litter 221B.  His personal filing system defies a librarian’s neat sense of order but it works for him.

A library is a living, breathing organism of knowledge and capable of inspiring and motivating passion, evil and even death.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Murder in the Library

It is very exciting to be a new author for MX Publishing.  Combining the elements of a tradtional mystery novel with the amazing brilliance of Sherlock Holmes is a heady experience.  Murder in the Library is my first effort at a modern day murder novel inspired by one of the great cases of Sherlock Holmes.