Writers Who Read Interview

I’ve been interviewed by the lovely GG Andrews for the Writers Who Read Blog series. Check out the full interview here, featuring Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and the Baker Street Babes.

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How to get my newest book:

(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

How to get the previous two books in the series:

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

Top 5 Watson Actors

1) Martin Freeman

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2) Martin Freeman

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3) Martin Freeman

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4) Martin Freeman

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5) Martin Freeman

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I think that about covers it. (Honorable mention to Jude Law.)

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How to get my newest book:

(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

How to get the previous two books in the series:

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

Top 5 Holmes Actors

The other day at my knitting group, someone asked me who my favorite Sherlock Holmes actor is. After about half an hour of trying to answer, I had given her about a dozen different responses. I don’t really think I could get it down to one, but here are my top five, in no particular order. (Note: Jeremy Brett does not show up on this list. While I fully acknowledge his expertise and legacy, he’s not a personal favorite, which is what this is about.)

1) Basil Rathbone

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He’s got the look. He’s got the feel. Even when he’s in a totally AU time period, he’s Sherlock Holmes through and through. Basil Rathbone is, without a doubt, my favorite Holmes of the early years.

2) Barrie Ingham

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The voice of Basil of Baker Street, Ingham fully embodied the world’s only consulting detective mouse, and he did it with an incredible amount of panache, making The Great Mouse Detective not only a fantastic children’s film, but also a worthy part of the Holmesian film canon.

3) Peter Cushing

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I don’t hear the illustrious Peter Cushing mentioned in connection with Holmes as often as with his other work, but he deserves to be. His portrayal is cerebral, complex, and compelling, a treat to watch from a time when Holmes adaptations were in transition from the propaganda films of the Rathbone era to the deconstructionism of the 60s and 70s.

4) Robert Downey Jr

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At this past 221b Con, I was much encouraged, at one point, to find myself in a room full of people who all appreciate Mr. Downey’s take on Sherlock Holmes. RDJ Holmes appreciation can sometimes be a lonely island in the Sherlockian world. And yet, in my opinion, the man who reminded us that Holmes is funny, physically adept, and extremely psychologically complex deserves a place in the pantheon of Holmesian greats.

5) Benedict Cumberbatch

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It almost goes without saying at this point in time. “That guy from ‘Amazing Grace'” who made me want to check out that new Sherlock Holmes show (though I doubted a modern adaptation could work) has become a household name in Britain and the United States. Other Holmeses will no doubt come and go, but it’s hard to imagine a future in which we look back without seeing the tall, spare figure of Mr. Cumberbatch looming over them all.


 

How to get my newest book:

(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

How to get the previous two books in the series:

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

Project #221BeeWell: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Review

Maybe I expected too much, or maybe it’s that when something is described on imdb as “slightly parodic,” it’s a warning one should heed. After all, how can something be a parody and not a parody at the same time? Therein lies my chief problem with Private Life. It’s not that it’s a film devoid of great moments, nor is it lacking in very funny ones. The problem is the mixture, or lack thereof, of these elements.

Lest I seem callously unaware of the historical context of the film, rest assured that I do know why it was groundbreaking. Going away from the Rathbone propaganda thrillers, it dared to frame Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as real-life humans. The very fact that we now consider such down-to-earth characterizations normal is a testimony to how influential the film was and is. And yet, just because something is important doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Parodies work if they go all the way and skewer their subject on every front. Dramas work because they take themselves seriously. There can certainly be successful humor in dramas, but too much pointing and laughing back at itself can tank a drama faster than a fake Loch Ness Monster. It’s as if Private Life wanted to have its cake and eat it too–to be as witty and wink wink as a Pink Panther-esque parody of Sherlock Holmes, but to simultaneously tug on the heartstrings and engage the mind. At some point, too much was too much, and I lost the ability to respect Holmes at all, which would be fine if we were supposed to stop caring about him.

Excellent moments and witty one-liners notwithstanding, this film isn’t going on my favorites list. I appreciate the door it opened for future artists to reimagine the possibilities inherent in the Holmesian world, but from now on, I’ll appreciate from afar.

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How to get my newest book:

(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

How to get the previous two books in the series:

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

 

 

Project #221BeeWell : Asylum Holmes Liveblog

Now, Children, begins the magic union of narcotics and possibly the single greatest piece of Sherlockian media of all time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes by The Asylum.

I had major surgery last week. I bet it hurt less than watching this will.

….

1940. There is music and effects. Dr. Watson is still so awesome or stupid that he stays at the window to watch bombs. Miss Hudson is his minder. What a subtle sledgehammer of a nod to the canon.

I’m thinking this part is probably better than the flashback coming up.

Dude says this is Holmes’s greatest accomplishment. I think he means “greatest accomplishment on a set costing less than ten quid.”

Ohmyword, I see someone’s train station model that they dug out of their basement.

Surely the meds are making me hallucinate the horror of this soundtrack.

There is a man smoking and looking at water. The lower sailors look dressed like Edwardian schoolboys.

If you shake the camera, it really adds something. Namely, it adds confusion so the viewer can’t see how bad the shots are.

Gareth David-Lloyd, baby, why? They couldn’t possibly have paid you more than a perfectly legitimate Pepcid commercial.

Holmes has already said “Elementary.” So far, the “subtlety” is the most impressive thing about this.

Holmes is very, very short and speaks like someone doing a camp impression of a camp impression.

You’d think a doctor’s salary would spring for clothes that at least sort of fit. But no. The Asylum is too pure for such things.

Mr. Styles’s idea of acting is to stare with a wide-open mouth.

Lestrade looks like bloated Kenneth Branagh.

I think this would be a lot better if it was about Lord Byron impersonating Sherlock Holmes, which is what it looks like to me.

Actual sound editing would have been grand.

Mycroftian reference. Also, apparently The Asylum only pays for your face to have expression when you’re actually speaking.

Did they actually pay Gareth to act more terribly than ever? This man is a good actor! What happened?

I don’t even understand what “take” this is on Holmes other than Sherlock Keats. He’s so soft and emo and pointless.

Surely short pants were all the rage for the grown men of this period.

There is a dummy in some water. Watson, plastic puppets can’t talk. You should know this.

Watson yells like a girl.

There are ropes, and this scene is boring and endless, and Holmes is unbelievably lame.

This East End set looks like they redressed the vestibule of the studio, and this blond boy looks like a lost member of One Direction.

The lesson here is that if you solicit prostitutes, you will be eaten by dinosaurs. This film is more pro-social than I expected.

London, that vast metropolis that consists of one street and Big Ben.

Holmes has the hair of an infant boy whose mother is too sentimental to take him to the barber.

Also, I’m sure black bow ties at breakfast was standard in 221b.

Watson is the skeptic. Ok…

They have exactly four extras.

Ohmyword, there’s a man hopping around screeching. And no one cares.

Watson, your waistcoat is positively pre-Revolutionary French.

Holmes and Watson run and run some more. There is much staring about a wooded area. How can this be so actiony and so boring at the same time?

Oh look, our chase results in…

DINOSAURS

There was this place we went when I was a child that had large animatronic plastic dinosaurs. I think this film borrowed them.

Now Watson walks around and looks at a heritage site for ages.

If this was a Doctor Who episode, it would be a lot less terrible.

Dinos are stealing water pumps! This is right up there with Milverton, let me tell ya.

Ohmyword, this girl looks like a goth wedding cake threw up on her.

I could do better hairstyles than this.

Surely this actress is American. Her accent is so horrendous.

Sherlock Keats skips in, after writing “Ode on a Plastic Dino.”

Holmes is such a little twerp.

Watson’s little gut pooching out under his waistcoat is its own character.

My church’s Easter Production sets look much like this.

I cannot believe I’m only halfway. Send help.

Watson has a gun. I’m not sure he knows how to use it.

Oh look, another dinosaur. I think that’s #4, but I sort of lost track.

Sherlock Keats hates the hospital. Good thing Watson is magic.

This child Newsie is wearing an outfit currently available at my local Hot Topic.

Gothic cake girl’s costume isn’t even fastened in back. We’re reaching new levels of not giving a care.

Ok, I’m ready to punch Holmes for his affected way of talking.

Artfully dirty dude.

Suddenly Holmes is a crusader for social justice suddenly. Or something.

Someone wrote this script and got paid for it. I had to take a moment to remind myself.

There’s a guy and some gears. Maybe he’s coordinating a steampunk event.

Dinosaur #infinity

That right there is the fakest fake blood I’ve ever seen.

The edits are so incomprehensible as to be incomprehensible. Yep.

More running, this time in The Country. I thought the new Russian series had a weak soundtrack. This is making that sound like John Williams.

“Show, don’t tell” is just a silly rule. The Asylum does not follow silly rules. Obviously. Since they just have Sherlock Keats tell us everything.

And now we see that they managed to get permission to film in a castle. But only if they used no lights?

I have read that it takes like two weeks to film these things. I’d have said two hours.

Poison gas. Because no one’s ever done that in a Holmes story before.

The real villain of this piece has to be Watson’s tailor.

Oh look, another dinosaur. It’s like in Nicholas Nickleby, when Mr. Crummles tells Nicholas that he’s bought a tub and some pumps, so Nicholas has to write them into a play as much as possible.

There is a robot made of what looks like gold-painted paper. I did not imagine this could get worse. Silly me.

The robot is Mycroft. *cries*
Hey, what??? Mycroft called Sherlock “Robert.” WHY?

Did they even call them corticosteroids and immunosuppressants at this point?

Mycroft: I control the movements of this synthetic arm…with my mind!

I’m going to use this from now on. “I eat this cup of applesauce…with my mind!”

Mycroft is styled like it’s 1983, just incidentally.

Why is Holmes named Robert? *cries more*

If someone would just punch Mycroft, this would all be over. If someone would just punch me, I would be happier.

Um…so he’s calling him Sherlock now?

Holmes is seriously so fail. Like, Watson could just do it all himself really.

Goth cake girl is evil. I’m *so* shocked.

Well, this Mycroft is certainly not asexual. But he kisses terribly.

Oh, it’s a “gyroscopic device,” is it?

So basically, the dinosaurs were virtually pointless to this overall story. Given the sheer excellence of the rest of this production, I’m sorely disappointed.

Holmes has decided to be useful. For once.

Oh, the feels. I feel for the strain on Watson’s waistcoat.

A bird died just now. Ok.

And a dude is playing an accordion.

Here we are! Here! It’s the moment of Holmes-in-dirigible!

Flying fighter dirigibles. Doyle really missed an opportunity here.

Oh hey! They’ve dressed up the whole crew to make it look like London has at least six inhabitants!

These digital effects, they are special.

Wow, eyebrows.

There’s a flying metal dragon atop Buckingham Palace. This truly is the greatest adaptation ever.

Gothic cake girl appears to be a robot. That explains the horrendous acting.

Gothic cake girl has been deactivated!

Mycroft has crashed and exploded but is somehow still alive. And is shot by Holmes. Which would be a moment of great pathos if anyone could act.

Sherlock Keats stands contemplatively, considering his “Ode on a Fighter Dirigible.”

Holmes and Watson never spoke of this again? Because it was so lame?

Ok, so the whole explanation is that his name was Robert Sherlock Holmes? Ok.

Old Watson died from telling that. It literally bored him to death.

Ok…gothic cake girl rides again.

Well, I made it. There you go, the greatest adaptation starring tiny waistcoats and romantic poets posing as detectives.

221 Bee Well (Adaptation Mania!)

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On Wednesday, May 7, after a long battle with Crohn’s Disease, I’m having major abdominal surgery. The picture above is of my recovery mascot, Mycroft the Bee.

In order to keep Mycroft from getting bored (he holds a minor position in the knitted bee government), I’ve decided to use my recovery to watch and review Sherlock Holmes screen adaptations.

Here’s where you come in. I need YOUR suggestions of which adaptations I should watch. Maybe it’s your favorite. Maybe you’ve never seen it but would like to read a review. It’s all fair game; just leave me a comment or tweet me @Pickwick12 or use hashtag #221BeeWell

Remember, the happiness of Mycroft the Bee depends on you (and I appreciate you too).

p.s. I’m planning to start this off by liveblogging Sherlock Holmes by The Asylum (aka the greatest adaptation ever) while on post-op painkillers.

Running list of suggestions:
Granada Series–Master Blackmailer & Six Napoleons
Psych
Rathbone Films
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
They Might Be Giants
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
No Place Like Holmes
Mary Morstan Mysteries
Arthur Wontner Films
Soviet Series
Star Trek TNG Holmes Ep
Ducktales Holmes Ep
Murder By Decree
A Study in Terror
Cushing Series
Wishbone Episode
BBC Radio Series
Without a Clue
Douglas Wilmer Series
Sherlock Holmes’s Smarter Brother
Zero Effect
Sheldon Reynolds Series
The Mask of Death
My Little Pony Episode
Jim French Devil’s Foot

Big Finish Audio Series

 

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How to get my newest book:

(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

How to get the previous two books in the series:

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

Book Review: Jewel of the Thames

 

 

Jewel of the Thames

I’m a happy book reviewer. A lot of times, when I review Holmesian literature, I come out with one of two perspectives: Either a book is a respectable pastiche but lags or is stilted in writing style, or it’s entertainingly written but comes across as disingenuous or anachronistic. It is rare, I repeat, extremely rare, to come across a book that is hugely enjoyable in style as well as being authentic and believable in content. Jewel of the Thames is that kind of book.

As the subtitle clearly indicates, this book is not a direct pastiche. It’s about a female protagonist named Portia Adams, with mysterious connections to Dr. Watson, who inherits 221b Baker Street in the 1920s. Portia is an effervescent, charming, and engaging character. Sadly, it’s still quite rare to come across self-actualized, intelligent, and healthy female protagonists, especially in mystery fiction, but Misri has created an absolute classic in the genre.

Even though Jewel is not a pastiche, it is an homage, peppered with references to characters and situations from the Doyle stories that will delight die-hard fans. It’s not just a vehicle for admiring Holmes, though. It’s the beginning of an extremely creative and well-researched mystery series in its own right.

Jewel is being marketed for young adult readers, but any fans of Holmes who enjoy entertaining and very well-written stories will enjoy it. At the same time, it is certainly appropriate for younger readers who have the maturity to comprehend the content, and Portia Adams is an unusually positive role model.

I’m encouraged by the trend toward a positively feminist voice in the contemporary world of Sherlock Holmes, and Jewel of the Thames is, in my opinion, one of the best contributions to this cause that I’ve ever encountered. It carries my strongest recommendation to fans of Holmes and would be an outstanding way to introduce new fans to Sherlock Holmes.

One top of being a great book, Jewel of the Thames carries an almost ridiculously reasonable price tag, so you have absolutely no reason to miss it. Get it here.

The above-reviewed work was provided for consideration by the author. All opinions expressed are the reviewer’s own.

 

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How to get my newest book:

(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.

How to get the previous two books in the series:

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.