The genius of S1 & S2 was that they took the Doyle original stories and found the elements that were the same then and now so they were updated without significant changes. S3 & S4 seem to focus on changing what makes the story’s work. Instead of being about the case they focus on the character *at the expense of the case*. So Dying Detective becomes Lying Detective and is all about Watson’s grief over the death of his wife and Holmes’ guilt over his part in that death. That stuff is not just screenwriter invention it goes against the basics of how the original stories worked.
Today over at BlackGate.com, it’s a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic, taking place at 221B Baker Street. At over 11,000 words, it’s a full-blown Holmes short story. Click on over!
It is with a certain sense of misgiving that I relate the following tale, which took place during the Christmas season of 1902. I had moved out of our Baker Street lodgings earlier that year, having married only a few months before that most festive of holidays. I now had rooms in Queen Anne Street and was quite busy with my flourishing medical practice. A newly married man, I once again found myself as head of a household, with all of the duties thereof. I saw Holmes infrequently, but had found the time to visit him the day before Christmas. Certain that he would have no plans of any kind, I extended to him an invitation to join my wife and I for Christmas day.
Holmes rebuffed my attempts to have him share in the holiday spirit with us. “Watson, I have no use for the Christmas season. Is it rational to believe a man rose from the dead? And even if it were, do you not see the hypocrisy of it all? For one day, a man will give a beggar a farthing, because it is Christmas. He would pass by that beggar 364 other days and pay him no mind. That is Christmas?”
I could not recall Holmes being so churlish. When we had roomed together, he had not been an avid celebrator of Christmas, but he did accommodate my warm feelings towards the season. Now, left to his own devices, it seemed that his natural contrariness was shining through. I made one last effort to have him spend a pleasant dinner at the Watson household. It was to no avail.
Gardner is best known as the Perry Mason guy, but I prefer Cool and Lam, myself. Bertha Cool and Donald Lam appeared in 29 novels over 31 years and they are a joy to read.
And just last week, Hard Case Crime released the never before published second novel in the series! I just got my copy and am excited to read it.
Head on over to Black Gate.com and check out my two-weeks of Hard Case Crime and Cool and Lam.
If you read my weekly column over at BlackGate.com, you are probably aware that I am a huge fan of Douglas Adams. While I really like The Hitchhiker’s Guide books, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is my favorite.
The BBC miniseries starring Houdini and Doyle’s Stephan Magnon wasn’t bad.
Unfortunately, the new Gently miniseries on BBC America is a festering pile of crap. As I wrote this week over at BlackGate.com, the show has nothing to do with Adams’ character and isn’t any good on its own merits, either. I’ve watched the first three episodes and don’t see much point in continuing on. It’s that bad.
UPDATE – I watched the first ten minutes of episode 4. So, an FBI agent, shot by the alien-like clone beings, was turned into a mouse, while one of the clones became his doppleganger. The mouse was then, apparently, eaten by a girl… who thinks she’s a dog.
That was it. I erased it from the DVR and cancelled the series (only from my DVR, sadly). This is just about the stupidest show I have seen in my life. What a wasted opportunity to bring Douglas Adams to television.
Happy Halloween! To get into the spirit of things, today over at BlackGate.com, I’ve got a post with some recommended Holmes stories to celebrate the day. I’m a big Robert R. McCammon and F. Paul Wilson fan, but I don’t do a lot of horror. Too creepy for me.
But there’s a mix of scary and supernatural in today’s post.
And click on the story directly below mine: John O’Neill (my editor) and Black Gate won a World Fantasy Award over the weekend!
I have been writing the Monday morning post over at BlackGate.com since March of 2014. ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ has covered a wide range of topics while still focusing on the greatest private detective of them all.
September was by far my best month there, as I had three of the top ten most-viewed posts. Interestingly, all were gaming-related and had nothing to do with Holmes or the mystery genre. Of course, since it’s a fantasy website, that’s not a huge surprise.
My post looking at why I chose Swords & Wizardry (old school) over Pathfinder (modern school) for my current RPG campaign turned out to be the second most popular post of the year so far. I’m a Pathfinder fan and I’ve got a couple of posts coming on why I still think that is a fine system.
The #7 post for the month, RPGing is Storytelling, looked at how growing up Dungeons & Dragons (along with reading mythology) helped me become a writer (to the extent I am one).
And at #9 was my post on prolific pulpster Lester Dent’s formula for writing a pulp story – with plenty of additional insights from Michael Moorcock.
My post on James Edward Holroyd’s two entries in Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Library came in at #48.
While I’m going to continue to keep writing about Holmes and mysteries (I have GOT to finish an essay on Erle Stanley Gardner’s Cool and Lam series!), I’m going to be writing more gaming stuff over the course of the next year. I enjoy it and people seem to like it.
Makes sense to me!
So, over at BlackGate.com today, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes looks at a fifth book in Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes library. This one is from S.C. Roberts, an accomplished bookman who had a life-long impact on Cambridge.
This is a nifty little collection of essays written by Roberts and a nice addition to a Sherlockian bookshelf. I’ve long been fond of his pastiche, “The Strange Case of the Megatherium Thefts.”
There are a few names that stand above all others in the Sherlockian world. Edgar Smith, founder of the Baker Street Irregulars, of course. Christopher Morley and Father Ronald Knox loom huge.
Vincent Starrett, one of the great bookmen of the twentieth century is another. Today over at BlackGate.com, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes looks at two Starrett collections – The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and 221B: Studies in Sherlock. Both were part of Otto Penzler’s classic Sherlock Holmes Library.
Starrett was a huge Solar Pons fan and even wrote introductions to two of the short story collections. One is an intro that should be looked at as a standard in the field.
And he was a great supporter of Derleth in the latter’s battle with the Doyle brothers in publishing The Adventures of Solar Pons.
This week, I actually managed to tie my favorite band into my Monday morning post over at BlackGate.com.
Included with the Beach Boys’ 1972 album, Holland, was an EP. For you youngsters, that stands for ‘Extended Play’ and it was a bonus record: less music than a regular album but more than on a 45. Mt. Vernon and Fairy: a Fairy Tale, was an odd piece of music, singing and spoken verse, telling the story of a young prince and a magic transistor radio.
I talk about this rather unique piece of Beach Boys history, so head on over to Black Gate and check it out.
I enjoy a good Western, though I don’t watch a lot of them. So, back in November of 2011, I decided to watch the first episode of a new television series on AMC. It was called Hell on Wheels.
Well, that show just wrapped up its fifth and final season a few weeks ago. It turned out to be a pretty darn good Western Noir, set against the backdrop of the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
I wrote a bit of a retrospective last week in ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ over at BlackGate.com. After Justified finished things up and BBC’s Sherlock went into the tank, Hell on Wheels became my favorite TV drama. It had a great cast, excellent cinematography and an evolving story line. Check out my post, then go check out the pilot. You might just like it.