#BlogTour A Case of Royal Blackmail by Sherlock Holmes

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Case of Royal Blackmail by Sherlock Holmes.

About the Author

Sherlock Holmes was a late Victorian and Edwardian consulting detective, known both for his pioneering work in the scientific aspects of criminology and for his powers of deduction and observation. From his late 20s his many cases were well recorded by his friend and flatmate Dr John Watson and some of his exploits have subsequently been made into feature films and TV series.

About the book

In A Case of Royal Blackmail, the 24-year-old Sherlock Holmes recounts how he untangles the web of blackmail and deceit surrounding the ‘complex romantic endeavours’ of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, those of Lillie Langtry and her various suitors and the morass of ‘scandal sheets’ and libel cases surrounding the Prince’s court of the time.

Set in July 1879, 18 months before he met Dr. Watson, the action takes place in the vividly described London of Queen Victoria. Taken from this own case notes, Holmes also reveals the full story behind two previously untold cases: Vamberry the Wine Merchant and Ricoletti of the Club-foot and the Abominable Wife and a new discovery, The Curious Case of OscarWilde’s Amethyst Tie-pin.

Published with the endorsement of the Conan Doyle Estate, and told in Holmes’s own words, Sherlockians the world over will revel in these new adventures of the world’s favourite consulting detective.

Review

Before Dr Watson started creating a written legacy of the sleuthing exploits of Holmes, there was Holmes himself who decided to put ink to paper. Hitherto hidden to the world and his many fans – we now have the chance to read more adventures.

Adventures that take him into the underworld of the monarchy, which is fraught with manipulation, blackmail and the intention to blacken names and subvert power. A new welcome character who brings a breath of fresh air to the table is Oscar Wilde, which gives the tales a pinch of something new.

As a long-time (many many decades) Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes reader, I think it’s important to note that this book has been published with the endorsement of the Conan Doyle Estate. Much like the Christie Estate has decided to control some of the narrative surrounding the use of the name and material of the Queen of Crime, so it should also be for the material of the author who created the most famous detective in the world. In fact he is so famous, and infamous, that there are still doubts about the veracity of claims in regards to his fictional status.

I loved it, and the cherry on the top of the sundae was the Finder’s Note and the whole fictional story concocted to provide us with the new ‘authentic’ stories forgotten and hidden away by the master of deduction himself. Seriously, what’s not to love about the whole idea? Bring us more. In fact there should be a treasure hunt for further tales by the master.

Buy A Case of Royal Blackmail at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎ Unicorn Publishing Group – Affable Media pub date 1 July 2021. Paperback, £7.50. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird

The Three Locks – A brand-new Sherlock Holmes novel by award-winning Hollywood screenwriter Bonnie Macbird is published by Collins Crime Club, an imprint of HarperCollins, on 18 March 2021.  It is the fourth in her acclaimed series. 

About the Author

Bonnie MacBird was born and raised in San Francisco and fell in love with Sherlock Holmes by reading the canon at age ten. She now lives in London and Lost Angeles. Her long Hollywood career includes feature film development at Universal, the original screenplay for the movie TRON, three Emmy Awards for documentary writing and producing, numerous produced plays and musicals, and theatre credits as an actor and director. In addition to her work in entertainment, Bonnie teaches writing at UCLA Extension, as well as being an accomplished watercolourist. 

She is active in the Sherlockian community in both the UK and the US, and lectures regularly on Sherlock Holmes, writing, and creativity.

Bonnie’s previous three Sherlock Holmes adventures are: Art in the Blood; Unquiet Spirits and The Devil’s Due. Her books are now available in 17 languages worldwide.

For further information about Bonnie MacBird visit: http://www.macbird.comTwitter:@macbirdInstagram: bmacbirdFacebook: SherlockHolmesAdventureSeries

About the book

The year is 1887 and an Indian Summer broils London and Cambridge. A mysterious impregnable box arrives for Watson, locked and with a secret from his past. Then a famous escape artist/conjurer fails to unlock his “cauldron” and burns to a crisp during a performance at Wilton’s Music Hall.  And in Cambridge, three suitors including a priest, an aristocrat and a young physicist vie for the love of a spiteful beauty, who vanishes after her lookalike doll is found dismembered in the Jesus Lock on the River Cam. The cases convolve as Holmes and Watson tangle with clergy, police, academics and scheming siblings, risking life and limb to solve the murders and to keep the innocent from the gallows.

MacBird’s stylish updates to Conan Doyle’s canon bring all the wit, camaraderie and deductions one expects from Holmes and Watson, but with the extended arc of a novel allowing not only more character development but also action, which carries them far beyond the locked room mystery and into danger.

Each of MacBird’s four Holmes books explores a theme. Just as Art in the Blood revealed the perils and gifts of the artistic temperament, Unquiet Spirits uncovered the danger of letting ghosts of the past lie unresolved, and The Devil’s Due touched upon the cost of corruption, The Three Locks examines the risk of keeping dark secrets locked away.  

Meticulous research and attention to period detail enrich the reading experience. The Three Locks is a must-read for fans of the original Sherlock Holmes adventures and for readers new to the genre. 

Review

This mystery begins with a locked box and ends with a locked box, and of course the secret it contains. A secret that takes readers on a path into the past of Dr John Watson and one Holmes is hesitant to let him embark upon.

Simultaneously the master of deductive reasoning and his calm partner and friend, who also endeavours to share their adventures with the world, are drawn into another mystery when an escape artist or illusionist is killed trying to pull of a daring locked cauldron trick. In fact that isn’t the only case they are confronted with. It’s safe to say their specialist skills are pulled in many different directions in this book.

For those of us who enjoy a bit of Sherlock it’s incredibly important to get it right when it comes to revisiting the fictional characters. The nuances have to be on par with how Conan Doyle imagined and created them to be. It’s definitely in the detail. I certainly think the author has tried to emulate the original as much as possible whilst creating new adventures for readers to enjoy.

Obviously revisiting the established favourites comes with pros and cons. Those who love them are less likely to embrace artistic license and at the same time are quite eager to hear just one more story or mystery with Holmes and Watson. The author has taken great care to establish her own voice, whilst bringing an old familiar one to the table. Either way it’s a mystery filled with the idiosyncrasies of the world’s most famous detective and his faithful companion. Just what the doctor ordered in these difficult times.

Buy the Three Locks at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Collins Crime Club pub date 1 April 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Arrowood by Mick Finlay

arrowoodIt’s an interesting concept, viewing Sherlock as the attention seeking famemonger instead of the observant intelligent world famous detective. Arrowood is convinced that Sherlock only points out the obvious, and has just had a really long run of luck. As I said, it is sort of amusing to think of him as the annoying fly in the ointment.

Arrowood considers himself to be equal to Sherlock in every sense, well perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he considers himself to be superior to him. As far as Arrowood is concerned, Sherlock is too interested in fame and being a celebrity. Someone as vane, pompous and enamoured by his own intelligence could never be a decent detective.

Just like the fame-hogging Sherlock, Arrowood has also got a very sensible and capable sidekick. Norman Barnett seems to be more of a general dogsbody and more often than not he ends up in very dangerous situations, courtesy of Arrowood of course.

The main character is certainly the anti-type to Sherlock. In more ways than he might think. Behind all the complaining and the hard-nosed façade there lurks a huge heart, but hey don’t tell anyone, none of us want to ruin his street cred, right?

Finlay has created a detective, who actually represents the dark side of London. Where Sherlock merely dabbles now and again in the murky underworld and streets filled with people trying to survive, Arrowood lives and breathes that stark reality.

It is a fresh and captivating read with a memorable set of characters. Hopefully this won’t be the last we hear of Arrowood & Co.

Buy Arrowood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space

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If you’re a hardcore Sherlockian then you will either love the enthusiasm and creative ideas in this anthology or dislike it with the same passion. Some of these pieces or authors take the global favourites and twist, turn and reinvent them.

Personally I can say some of them spoke to me and others didn’t. However I can appreciate both the idea behind the anthology and the abundance of creativity that has gone into it.

The book is edited and introduced by David Thomas Moore and below are the stories featured in the anthology. I have also added the author of the piece and their websites, so readers can have a look at the writers other work.

A Scandal in Bohemia by Jamie Wyman www.jamiewyman.com
Black Alice by Kelly Hale kellyhale.blogspot.com
The Adventure of the Speckled Bandana by J.E. Cohen julie-cohen.com
The Rich Man’s Hand Joan De La Haye joandelahaye.com
The Lantern Men by Kaaron Warren kaaronwarren.wordpress.com
A Woman’s Place by Emma Newman enewman.co.uk
A Study in Scarborough by Guy Adams guyadamsauthor.com
The Small World of 221B by Ian Edginton
The Final Conjuration by Adrian Tchaikovsky shadowsoftheapt.com
The Innocent Icarus by James Lovegrove jameslovegrove.com
Half There/All There by Glen Mehn glen.mehn.net
All the Single Ladies Gini Koch ginikoch.com
The Patchwork Killer by Kasey Lansdale
Parallels by Jenni Hill

Prepare to be surprised, creeped out, shocked and to have a few laughs. I really enjoyed the way one author put the helpful little old loyal Hudson right smack bang in the middle in a new role.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.