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The Affair of the Contentious Contralto – Review

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London 1910. Not long after has Watson returned into Baker Street due to the loss of his wife Mary  he and Sherlock Holmes are summoned to the final concert of Irene (Adler) Norton. Irene is still married to Godfrey Norton (from Scandal in Bohemia) and is the mother of a 20something daughter, Sophie, who is to marry a young James Doyle. Irene isn’t convinced of young James and feels Sophie should reconsider. Tension rise between mother and daughter but this will not delay the concert. As Irene Adler takes to the stage one final time she is suddenly stricken dead and Sherlock Holmes suspect murder, but by who and why?!

I found this story to be an enjoyable read. Writing a Sherlock Holmes story can be very hit and miss and I think Fiona-Jane Brown did a nice job. Canonically is fits in well with Doyle’s original stories with some twists. The setting and pacing of the story is not what you would find in a Canon Doyle story, but that is not a fault. The story has a unique tone and pace. Early on in the story we get a sense that everyone is a little older. The Victorian era is over and Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are not the young men they once were. While old habits remain the same they have aged. Still there are plenty of deductions and bafflements, nods and easter eggs, and familiar faces. 

Long time Holmes fans will find familiar territory being tread within the story as you dive into the Sherlock Holmes/Irene Adler mystery. There is always intrigue when it comes to the relationship between Holmes and Adler and what, if any, further encounters might have been after their original meeting. For anyone unfamiliar with Doyle’s original stories or the plethora of pastiches this story would be a nudge to venture in to those works. 

Further Thoughts And Spoilers: 

Professor Moriarty has survived the great fall from Reichenbach and as the fates twist his son, James, is preparing to wed young Sophie Norton. The story revolves around the return of Moriarty who wishes to kill Irene Norton’s daughter believing her to be the illegitimate daughter of Sherlock Holmes and Irene. Moriarty will not have his son marry the possible daughter of Sherlock Holmes; he fails in his attempt to kill Sophie and Irene takes the hit. I am ever on the fence about the return of Moriarty. I’ve seen it done many times and often I am not a fan, but that is simply down the the readers preference and in no way reflects the quality of the story. Personally I might not have chosen to bring Moriarty back. That said it does add to the many ways in which he returns bent on revenge against Sherlock Holmes and this is certainly one of the more interesting ways I have read. There are some hints that Sophie might be the daughter of Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes, but this is neither confirmed nor denied. There is always speculation that this has happened and even the great Detective Nero Wolfe is sometimes said to be the child of these two. I enjoy ambiguity when it comes to Holmes and Irene and I am glad Fiona-Jane left it as such. 

Pick up a copy on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Further reading check out

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

 

The Great Game – Breaking A Sherlock World Record

In the continuing effort to raise support and awareness for the Undershaw Campaign over a hundred Sherlock Holmes fans came to UCL to show their support in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Sherlock Holmeses in One Place.’ It also happened to take place on the birthday of Benedict Cumberbatch who currently stars as the title character in BBC’s hit series SHERLOCK.   

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Undershaw was Conan Doyle’s former home in Surrey where he resurrected Sherlock Holmes from the dead and where he wrote his gothic horror the Hound of the Baskervilles. For many years this wonderful building has stood in a state of decay. There was concern for some time that the house would be redeveloped into town houses therefore destroying its historical and literary significance. Thanks to the efforts of The Undershaw Preservation Trust the house was saved from redevelopment and has since been purchased by Stepping Stones who will turn it into a school for kids with learning difficulties. Much of the original features will remain the same and Conan Doyle’s legacy will live on in this school. There is a lot of work to be done on the house, and even though it has been saved the mission is far from over. UPT is working with Stepping Stones to help raise further awareness and see this great outcome fulfilled. 

Stepping Stones have said: 

The building is currently in a very poor condition and we intend to carry out a full restoration so it can be fully appreciated as Conan Doyle intended it to look. We will completely respect all the listed features in the building and will do the minimum alterations necessary to make it fit for our purpose. The restoration of the building alone will cost more than £550,000 without any of the other improvements needed.

With your help we hope to completely restore Conan Doyle’s study to how it may have looked when he lived there. It will serve as the Head Teacher’s office and may be visited during open days. The lovely stained glass windows will also be repaired and will be seen in their glory once more…We very much hope that the Undershaw Preservation Trust will want to use these new facilities to hold events to celebrate the life and times of Conan Doyle. Subject to planning approval, we very much look forward to welcoming you to Undershaw in the autumn of 2015 when you will be able to see for yourself what has been achieved. READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE

For further updates regarding Undershaw follow UPT on Facebook. Take a moment and pick up a copy of any of my titles (with some proceeds going to Undershaw).

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

 

Doctor Who Experience – The End of 11

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I was quite fortunate to take a trip to Cardiff and visit the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff before they close their doors for a serious regeneration! With Matt Smith’s 11th (12th?) Doctor recently regenerated into his 12th (13th?) self everything Doctor Who is about to change.

In 2011 I visited the original Doctor Who experience in London. Your first time walking in and being pulled through the crack in time and space is quite unforgettable. Boarding Starship UK to gaze upon some relics to all of the sudden find yourself boring and flying the Tardis, landing on a Dalek ship, and finally running through a forest of Weeping Angels before saving the Doctor from Pandorica 2; it’s quite the thrill. What big eyed kid, or adult, wouldn’t get a kick out of this? Suppose if you hated Doctor Who and found yourself there against your will then you may, but that wasn’t the case with myself. Having done this already, doing it again was still fun! Nothing has drastically changed in the Experiences move from London to Cardiff save a few additional scenes in the promotional video before the ‘experience’ begins.

As before, one you complete your adventure with the Doctor you step out into a huge exhibition with costumes, gadgets, Sonic Screwdrivers, TARDISes (what’s the plural for TARDIS – TARDAE? Oh well) Consuls, aliens, miniatures, and more.

It would be fun if Experience offered exclusive contact from upcoming series. For example it would have been great to have Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in the long line of Doctor’s, and maybe a few extra tidbits. After you finish the exhibit you find yourself in the most terrible, horrifying place; a place where all inhibition fails, where judgement is thrown out the window; a place no human should ever have to go: the Doctor Who Experience Shop! If you can get out alive without a substantially lighter wallet good on you! So I guess good on me! Pause while I pat myself on the back: *pat *pat *pat.

Having been to the Experience twice in London and now once in Cardiff I was quite impressed that each time felt, generally, like a new experience. With consistent changes to the exhibits you aren’t seeing many things twice; that you don’t already want to see twice or thrice.  What would be a welcome addition to the fun is if Experience built the set for whichever TARDIS interior was currently in use. And if I’m extra greedy, have a Tardis that you can stand inside of with the false backdrop (yes the it’s not actually bigger on the inside, sorry!). What could have done with an update was the walk-through. While the walk-through at the start was still fun and enjoyable – running through a forest of Weeping Angels will never get boring! – I think an update to coincide with the whatever current series is running would be a much more attractive thing, and encourage re-attendnace more! The ride currently is been based off Series 5’s Pandorica which now very out-dated. Alternatively, they need a more neutral ‘adventure’ that doesn’t have any significance to any current series or even any companions.  But this is an adult talking, a kid probably isn’t going to care all that much! Still, the idea of either a neutral adventure or series by series update is something to consider.

The shop – well, that’s like any other shop you’ll go to. Some truly amazing things at a truly price. If you want to buy an episode or series box set, go to Amazon – here you’ll be paying £47.00 for the blu-ray for the compete series 7, £20.00 for a single episode from the classic era, £10.00-30.00 for a poster, £40.00-50.00 for a Tom Baker Scarf, just to name a few. While it’s tempting to give in and hand over your hard earned cash, it wasn’t something I was prepared to do as it didn’t make any logical sense at all to do so. But when have general shoppers ever been logical (Tickle Me Elmo flashbacks!). Still, if you can go take on last peek at the experience before it closes in August for regeneration do so! Otherwise start saving your pennies for it’s come back!

Order Tickets HERE

Doctor Who returns to BBC One August 23rd

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In the meantime check out my Sherlock books which are for sale now!

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Penny Dreadful Series One Review

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I went in to Penny Dreadful really excited. There’s a host of horror classics like Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Vampires, and the dark gas-lit streets of Victorian London; the setting couldn’t be better for a gothic horror! But does Penny Dreadful live up to the hip that it created?

The story is Timothy Dalton’s character, Sir Malcolm Murray, is looking for his missing daughter who was apparently kidnapped by some type of ancient Egyptian Vampire. Dalton needs a group of abled bodied/minded people who are happy to look the devil in the face to save his daughter. So with his gang of horribles go on the hunt to find her and bring her home.

Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) is something of a right hand to Dalton’s. She starts off eerie and interesting but soon you realise she is nothing more than a demon possessed whore, more emphasis on the whore than the possession. Her character is meant to be ‘rich’ and ‘deep’ and ‘tormented’ but she comes across annoying, greedy, selfish, and whorish. Her main aim, it seems, isn’t to help find the missing girl it’s to get off with everyone, including the devil. I mean when we are treated to a scene where a naked Eva Green is furiously humping the air believing she is having sex with Satan one has to wonder what the writers were doing. I reckon there was a contractual obligation to show Eva naked and having sex so many times as possible, hence the reason most of her scenes are her doing just that.

Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) is a gunslinging American who is recruited by Sir Murray. He falls in love with Brona Croft (Billie Piper) a girl with Consumption. Teases with Vanessa Ives a bit, and helps teach Victor Frankenstein how to shoot a gun. He is a bit of an outcast, and when his girlfriend gets upset decides to have sex with Dorian Gray.

Brona Croft (Billie Piper). Her dreadful Irish accent wasn’t worth the penny. What more can be said about her? She was rather redundant and used to fill space when needed, and there’s a lot of space filled in this series.

Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) gosh, his character, I’m not sure why he’s even in this show other than to have sex with every character he can. Surprised he didn’t try getting off with Frankenstein’s monster just for kicks. He tries to be a philosophical voice in the show but it doesn’t play off at all. Get rid of this character!

Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and The Monster (Rory Kinnear) were probably the most interesting characters in the series. Frankenstein has created a new monster that is more at ease, less grotesque, and doesn’t loath the world he was brought in to. When things look bright Frankenstein’s new creation is destroyed and laid waste by his original creation! The battle between the two and the torment the creature brings upon his creator drives the series more than the main plot of everyone seeking the missing girl. The creature is starving for affection and sets out the plan found in Shelley’s original story for Victor to make the monster a bride. Good thing there’s a prostitute dying of Consumption right? Still, by the end of the season there is a dramatic turn between these two characters. These are the two characters that make you come back for more in this dreadful show.

Overall I found Penny Dreadful to a bit too Dreadful for what it’s worth. With more emphasis on sex than anything else the show just didn’t match up to what it was advertised as – a gothic horror. By the end when they finally locate Sir Malcolm’s daughter only to find her partly transformed into a vampire and when she nearly kills Miss Ives, Malcolm shots his daughter in the head. I was left rolling my eyes wondering what the point of the first 7 episodes. The strange relationship between Dalton and Green never played like a Father/Daughter so for it to suddenly jump to that at the end felt somewhat lacklustre and confusing. I’m not sure what season two could offer if they do one, but I’d rather see more proper horrors than overindulgent sex scenes. There’s still plenty of gothic horrors to explore, let’s hope we really see them next time. And can someone please get Eva Green a chastity belt?!

 

Checkout some of my own Penny Dreadfuls:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Sherlock Holmes Studies In Legacy Giveaway

Studies in Legacy Front Cover

Head over to Goodreads where you can enter to win a copy of my latest novel Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

If You don’t wanna gamble on winning you can purchase my titles below:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

A Sherlock Holmes Guiness World Record

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Something big is happening in London on July 19th 2014! It’s even had a nice mention in The Radio Times! What is it? My Publisher, MX Publishing, has ambitiously taken on the task to break the Guiness World Record for Most Sherlock Holmes’ in one place! Imagine a sea of Deerstalker wearing, pipe and magnifying glass wielding, and cloak wearing people. It sounds a bit crazy, but isn’t that what the Guiness World Record is all about, insane feats that need to be broken simply because they can be! All of this is in celebration of the release of Two, To One Be – a book that surmises the efforts of the Undershaw Preservation Trust, and the thousands upon thousands who stood behind them, in the fight to #SaveUndershaw the former Home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from redevelopment.

This will be a very exciting event and one you don’t want to miss!

Order you tickets on Eventbrite Here!

In the mean time enjoy some of my own Sherlock Holmes adventures!

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

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Phil and Jake In Conversation – Podcast Review of X-Men Days of Future Past

Phil and Jake In Conversation  - podcast review of X-Men Days of Future Past

I’m back with Phil and Jake for another film review! This time we discuss X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST! You may have already read my review but our conversation covers a lot more. Listen, share and follow!
Listen Here!

More!

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

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