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.
The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Part V: Christmas Adventures, is on presale now at Amazon.com. If you click on the book cover (“Read This”), then go to the table of contents, you can then click on my story, “The Case of the Ruby Necklace.” The entire tale shows up in the preview, which ends about one page after my story does.
So, please go ahead and check it out. And if you like Holmes Christmas stories, go ahead and buy a copy. Holmes for the Holidays has long been one of my favorite anthologies and I’m excited to read through this new one.
And Parts VI and VII will be out in 2017!
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!
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.”
A couple weeks ago, ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ looked at two Vincent Starrett books: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and 221B: Studies in Sherlock. Both of those books are part of the nine title Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Reference Library.
This week, I look at two more books in the series: these from James Edward Holroyd. As with Starrett’s, one (Baker Street Byways) is his own work while the other (Seventeen Steps to 221B) is an edited collection from multiple writers.
Both books are solid additions to a Sherlockian bookshelf, so click on over and check them out.
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.
The following is from page one of Volume III of my own Baker Street Essays:
I have been very fortunate to be included in the ‘four books and growing’ anthology series from MX Books (I’m in Volumes III and IV).
Volume IV was just released in hardback, paperback and ebook formats a few weeks ago and the first three volumes came out as a trilogy in 2015.
The deadline for Volume V, which will be all Christmas tales, is rapidly approaching and I expect that book to be out by the end of the year. And Volume VI is already being put together!
Today over at BlackGate.com, I talk about this very cool series, which has already exceeded eighty stories. That’s a LOT of Holmes reading for you. Head on over and learn about the MX Anthologies. And please feel free to leave a comment.
You probably already know, but I write ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ every Monday morning over at BlackGate.com. I roam afield occasionally, but the subjects are primarily Holmes and mystery related. Type my name in the Search box and see what comes up. I began the column in March of 2014 and have written quite a few ‘extra’ posts. Hopefully you’ll see something you like.
Last August, I looked at one of my favorite, most under-appreciated Sherlock Holmes’, Ronald Howard, with this post over at BlackGate.com. Howard gave us a younger, more humorous Holmes, laying the groundwork for another under-appreciated portrayal: that of Ian Richardson.
When series creator and guru Sheldon Reynolds wrote the first two episodes, he “tied them together” in case the pilot failed to sell. That way, he could splice together a ‘B’ film and market it as a “filler” Holmes movie.
So, this week, I dug into those two episodes with some commentary added. Head on over and check out some more on Ronald Howard.
And this post marks two dozen ‘Holmes on Screen’ entries over at Black Gate. I’ve linked all of them within the post, so go do some exploring.
If you’re totally unfamiliar with the series (which was my first Holmes on screen), Sheldon Reynolds set up shop in Paris, casting British star Leslie Howard’s son as a younger, more earnest, more likeable Holmes. H. Marion Crawford played his not as Nigel Bruce-ish Watson. There were 39 episodes, with only The Red Headed League being a direct translation from Doyle. Though there were plenty elements from the Canon in other episodes. Including a pretty good take on The Valley of Fear (minus the Scowrers).
It employed an ensemble cast, so you saw people in different roles in different episodes. The scripts varied widely in quality, with some real stinkers. But overall, it was a fun series, though it lasted only the one season.
You can usually find the entire thing on DVD for $10 or less and it’s certainly worth a watch.