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Sherlock Holmes

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

A strange beast is stalking the Devon moors and Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr Watson must determine exactly what has caused the death of Sir Charles Baskerville before his nephew meets the same fate. With an escaped convict also in the area, this could prove to be an incredibly dangerous task for the detective.

This is the next installment in the Easy Classics series which aims to introduce classic works to a younger audience. I have read some others in this series (The Empty House, A Study in Scarlet) and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this was no exception. Superbly adapted and illustrated by Stephanie Baudet and Arianna Belluci, this captures the essence of the Conan Doyle classic, retelling the story in a way that is accessible to younger readers without ever compromising the plot.

This is a superb series, one that I thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting to introduce younger readers to Sherlock Holmes. Unfamiliar vocabulary such as hansom cab is also explained, meaning that these are books that children can read independently.

With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my copy.

The Empty House by Arthur Conan Doyle

It has been three years since Sherlock Holmes plunged to his apparent death in a confrontation with his nemesis, Moriarty, at the Reichenbach Falls. His companion, Dr Watson, is continuing to solve mysteries in his absence and he is about to face the toughest one yet: the locked room murder of Mr Adair. Little does Watson know that help is about to come from a most unexpected source…

This is a fantastic adaptation for children by Stephanie Baudet of the classic Sherlock Holmes story. Despite it being aimed at the younger market, however, I found it a super read and enjoyed it just as much as another of this series, A Study in Scarlet, that I read a while ago. The story has been simplified for younger readers but it has lost none of it’s excitement and sense of mystery. The illustrations also capture the text perfectly, bringing the story alive.

This series by Sweet Cherry Publishing is a perfect way of introducing children to the work of the great Arthur Conan Doyle. It can be purchased from https://www.books2door.com/ at a great price!

With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my ARC.

**PUBLICATION DAY PUSH** Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman

The famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes has been tasked by Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to assist in the hunt for the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. Initially reluctant to join in the investigation, Holmes has to go it alone due to the recent marriage of his faithful partner, John Watson. The case takes a sudden turn, however, when the detective identifies a possible prime suspect – none other than Watson himself…

As someone who has a huge interest in the Jack the Ripper case and is also a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, this book ticked all the boxes for me! Over the years, I have read many takes on the identity of the Whitechapel murderer, and thought that everything that could have been written on this subject has already been done. I was pleased therefore, to see a new slant and was intrigued to see how the author would mix fictional characters with such a well-documented case.

This is a well-written pastiche of Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories which could almost be written by the author himself. The style and language took me straight back to the likes of A Study in Scarlet with one difference – this case is penned by Holmes himself, the usual scribe, Dr Watson being the subject of much of the detective’s musings.

We discover quite early on that Holmes has suspicions about his friend and I really like how the author keeps you waiting until near the end to discover whether these suspicions are well-founded. Like Holmes, I could not believe that Watson could possibly commit such heinous crimes, but the evidence definitely seemed to fit… You will have to read the book yourself to see the outcome!

Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel is quite a short book so if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes who is looking for a quick read with an engaging plot, then this could be the book for you. Thoroughly enjoyable.

With thanks to M K Wiseman and to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources.

 

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sherlock-Holmes-Ripper-Whitechapel-Wiseman-ebook/dp/B088P92XWC

US – https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Ripper-Whitechapel-Wiseman-ebook/dp/B088P92XWC

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I was hoping to read a few more books than last month, but I’ve really struggled even though I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read. Hopefully you’ve had a more productive month than me!

Books I Have Read

Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman

As a fan of the original Conan Doyle books and someone who has an interest in the Jack the Ripper case, this was right up my street! Written very much like a Conan Doyle, we see Holmes investigating the famous case, fearing that the perpetrator may be his friend, Dr Watson. Review will follow as part of the publication day push.


A Song For the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

The latest in the Rebus series is another fantastic read from Ian Rankin. When his daughter’s husband goes missing, the ex-detective finds himself involved in a case that is very close to home. This is a series that is showing no sign of losing its touch.


The Body on the Island by Nick Louth

When an unidentified body is found, Detective Chief Inspector Craig Gillard has his work cut out with not only working out who the man is, but trying to determine the cause of death. With the most bizarre MO I have read about in a while, this is a great addition to a brilliant series.


The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

Another superb dual timeline novel from Kathleen McGurl takes us back to the Victorian era and an incredibly dysfunctional family. A great plot with some heart-wrenching moments, I really enjoyed this book. Review will fllow as part of the blog tour.


Books I Have Acquired

It has been three years since the death of Sherlock Holmes. Watson is now solving mysteries solo and he’s about to face his toughest one yet: the impossible murder of Mr Adair. What Watson doesn’t know is that this curious case will unearth secrets from beyond the grave …

The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection: Creatures, Codes and Curious Cases:

Sherlock Holmes returns! Facing beastly creatures, catching curious criminals and uncovering deadly secrets from beneath the sea are all in a day’s work for this world-famous detective and his faithful biographer, Watson, as they face their final (and most dangerous!) cases.

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE?

Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide


Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .


THEY KNOW WHAT YOU DID
You receive a call, an email, a text – someone knows your secret and they want to ruin you.

AND THEY’RE OUT FOR BLOOD
If you don’t do what they say, they’ll tell everyone what you’ve been hiding.
They will come after you, destroy you, and they aren’t afraid to kill.

IT’S TIME TO PLAY THE GAME


I’m currently reading The Searcher by Tana French which I’m really enjoying. A slow burner and I can’t wait to see where it leads.

Keep safe everyone!

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries by John Taylor

My next foray into the world of the audio book has brought me to Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries by John Taylor. Based on the well-known stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and read by Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock himself – my interest was immediately piqued!

I was looking for something short to listen to and at just over two hours for four stories, this was just the ticket. The cases, An Inscrutable Masquerade, The Conundrum of Coach 13, The Trinity Vicarage Larceny and The 10.59 Assassin were all very much in the style of Conan Doyle  and definitely captured the essence of the original stories. There were a range of crimes on offer including murder and theft, each plot showcasing the talents of Holmes and Watson and we even have a short cameo from Inspector Lestrade.

Of course, having BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, reading the stories is what makes this even better. His superb narration of these tales, complete with multiple accents, made this a joy to listen to.

If you are looking for a bit of escapism for a couple of hours, then I can definitely recommend Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries by John Taylor.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes and so when I saw that a series had been published, aiming to bring the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to a younger audience, I couldn’t wait to read it. After reading a few books with some grisly moments in them, it was also a much-needed lighter read than some of my recent ones!

As many people will already know, the mystery starts with the baffled police summoning consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, to the scene of a murder. A man, believed to be E. J. Drebber, has been found dead in an empty house, with no obvious cause of death. It is up to Holmes and his new companion, Dr. John Watson, to discover the truth about the death and solve the case.

Although this is a book that is targeted at children aged 7+, I admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it, the story sticking to the plot that we know and love yet simplified for a younger audience. I loved the illustrations from Arianna Bellucci and also the explanations of terms that children may not be aware of, such as ‘hansom cab’.

I am pleased to see that this is part of a series – The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection, and would definitely recommend it to anyone with children who are beginning to express an interest in crime fiction. Or, if you are like me, you might just enjoy it yourself!

With thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing and Net Galley for my copy.

 

The Mile End Murder by Sinclair McKay

61dkqcjG65LIn 1860, Mary Emsley, a 70-year-old widow of substantial means, was found bludgeoned to death at her home in London. Although she lived a fairly simple life, Mary was a wealthy woman due to the numerous houses she rented out around the London area, but this wealth brought its own problems. Seemingly disliked by many of her tenants, she employed a few trusted men to collect rents on her behalf although it was not unknown for her to venture into the roughest parts of town to receive the payments herself. Was her death at the hands of a disgruntled tenant or was the cause much closer to home?

With the body remaining undiscovered for several days, clues were limited. It was thought, though, that due to the woman’s distrust of strangers, and there being no evidence of a forced entry, the killer must have been admitted to the house by Mary herself. The police struggled to find a culprit until someone known to the murdered woman came forward with some information. On investigating this tip-off, the police found that there case had suddenly opened up – they now had a firm suspect for the first time.

The Mile End Murder sees Sinclair McKay re-examining the evidence (or lack of) and coming to the conclusion that a huge miscarriage of justice led to the execution of an innocent man. This was a view shared by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the infamous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. He would, some years later, write his own thoughts on the case, The Debatable Case of Mrs Emsley. Miscarriages of justice were not uncommon in the Victorian era, but it is still shocking to see how a man could be sentenced to death on a small amount of circumstantial evidence. The author has come up with another possible culprit although, again, lack of evidence would not see a modern jury find them guilty.

Victorian crime is something I have always enjoyed reading about and Sinclair McKay has written a very readable book dealing with not just the murder but also the social history of the period. The Mile End Murder has been well-researched and will appeal to anyone interested in historical crime of the Victorian period in general.

With thanks to Net Galley and Quarto Publishing Group – Aurum Press for my copy of The Mile End Murder.

 

 

 

Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox

Conan Doyle for the DefenceIn 1908, an 82-year-old spinster, Marion Gilchrist, was found bludgeoned to death in her own Glasgow home. The police soon had who they believed was the culprit – a German Jew called Oscar Slater. Despite having an alibi, Slater was convicted and sentenced to death before having his sentence commuted to life imprisonment in Peterhead Prison. Seventeen years later, William Gordon, a fellow inmate, was released, taking with him a smuggled message from Slater to someone who he thought could help him to clear his name – the writer Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the story of how the Sherlock Holmes writer helped to free the man who had become the subject of a huge miscarriage of justice.

In recent years, mainly thanks to the BBC Sherlock series, there has been a renewed interest in the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The TV adaptation of Arthur and George by Julian Barnes also introduced the public to how, although Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, Conan Doyle was certainly not and, he too, dabbled in detection.

Conan Doyle for the Defence has police corruption, ineptitude and racial prejudice at its core. Shortly after the elderly woman’s murder, those responsible for finding the culprit had their sights firmly set on Oscar Slater. Despite him having an alibi, having no knowledge of the dead woman and there being no evidence whatsoever, Slater was arrested, tried for her murder and subsequently sentenced to death. This was commuted to life imprisonment and he would spend the following decades incarcerated in one of the toughest prisons in Scotland. Conan Doyle would spend many years trying to help to free him and even published The Case of Oscar Slater in 1912.

It is clear that the author has done much research into the case and, as a result, has provided a comprehensive overview of the trial, incarceration and release of Slater. The transcriptions of correspondence between himself and his family were particularly moving and really brought home how his family, themselves suffering due to the First World War, never gave up hope that, one day, justice would finally prevail.

I found Conan Doyle for the Defence a fascinating read, leaving me with a sense of despair that the justice system allowed this to happen. Highly recommended to those who enjoy reading true crime and any Sherlock Holmes fans.

With thanks to Net Galley and Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books for my ARC.

Purchase the book here: Conan Doyle for the Defence

By Gaslight by Steven Price

GaslightThe year is 1885 and there is a seedy undercurrent running throughout the city of London. Detective William Pinkerton has a lead on the elusive thief Edward Shade but now that lead is dead, her severed head having been discovered in the Thames. Another person has been looking for the same lead but for entirely different reasons: Adam Foole has returned to London in search of his lost love only to discover her fate. When the two men cross paths, both are forced to confront their pasts, dredging up some memories that would be better off forgotten.

In By Gaslight, Steven Price has succeeded in creating an incredibly atmospheric view of Victorian London that is very reminiscent of Arthur Conan Doyle. You can almost hear the sounds of the horses and the smell of the Thames, such is the description. It was no surprise, therefore, to learn that the author is more well-known as a poet. It is not just set in London, however, as the story moves, occasionally, back in time, dealing with the likes of the American Civil War and the South African diamond trade. Although these parts were integral to the plot, I enjoyed them the least, preferring any chapter that was based on Pinkerton’s pursuance of Edward Shade.

Towards the end, when the plot lines all converge, it was hard to put down as I was eager to know the outcomes of all the main characters. I would have, however, liked to have known what became of Molly, Foole’s child accomplice. Despite her being on the wrong side of the law, she was a very likeable character with a harrowing back story.

My only criticism of this book would be the length – at 730 pages long, I felt that some of the text could have been omitted. Another small criticism would be author’s understanding of the value of money in 1885 – twice a messenger was paid £5 to undergo a simple task. In 1885, this would have been a huge amount of money; it would have been unlikely for this amount to have been given!

If you enjoy the Anthony Horowitz Sherlock Holmes novels, then this book is definitely for you.

With thanks to GoodReads and Oneworld Publications for the copy of the book.

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