Tag Archives: sir arthur conan doyle

The Case of the Missing Book

“Holmes!” I cried,
I have tried
To deduce who took
My book.
I gave it to a girl, that she might read
And by so doing her mind feed.

She works in a store,
And would, I thought handle it with care,
But, on my return I discovered it was no longer there.
I fear it will be seen no more
And is forever lost somewhere in that store”.

My dear Watson, someone took
Your book,
While it was left lying around
By a shop girl, in a well known store.
I agree you will see it no more.
It is a problem too profound
For the great detective to solve.
Therefore resolve
To neither a borrower nor a lender be,
Else you will see
Another book
Get took
By the light fingered kind.
But quieten your mind
For it was in all likelihood
Taken by one who thought your poetry good!”

Norwood’s Literary Heritage

I moved to the Norwood area (Upper Norwood to be exact) in 1997. Norwood possesses the advantage of being high above sea level which means the air is much fresher than certain other areas in the sprawling mass which constitutes greater London. The name Norwood derives from “The Great North Wood”, vestiges of which can still be glimpsed by residents and visitors alike.

Norwood has a fascinating history including a rich literary heritage. Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor and the Queen’s Hotel which stands some 10 minutes walk from my home has a plaque commemorating the French novelist, Zola’s residence, (Zola fled France at the time of the Dreyfus Affair. He advocated for Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer falsely accused of spying for a foreign power).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sets one of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, “The Adventure Of The Norwood Builder” in the area, (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/AdveNorw.shtml). In “The Norwood Builder” the former lover of the mother of a local solicitor fakes his own death and attempts to frame her son. However, in his usual brilliant manner Holmes proves the innocence of the son and the builder is apprehended.

There is a fascinating article on the history of Norwood here, (http://www.norwoodsociety.co.uk/articles/68-on-the-trail-of-norwood.html).

The Strand Is Dead, Long Live The Strand!

As a lover of the Sherlock Holmes stories I was interested to learn that The Strand Magazine, in which 56 of Conan Doyle’s Holme’s adventures first appeared has been revived in print and online formats, (http://www.strandmag.com/hist.htm). The revived magazine (The Strand began publishing in the 1890’s and folded in 1950 due to falling circulation figures and lack of finances) aims to continue the original publication’s venerable traditions by publishing the best in crime and other genres.

I wish The Strand well and am considering subscribing to the online edition. I do wonder though how, in a world in which so much fiction is provided free online, a paid for periodical of this nature can survive? Having asked the question I will attempt to answer it.

The growth in free online content has not killed the ebook (indeed the format is thriving. Witness, for example the success of Amazon). Many of my own stories originally appeared on this blog. This has, however not prevented readers from downloading them from Amazon. Perhaps the inclusion of stories on an author’s blog (either as extracts or in their entirety) attracts followers who, in turn will download the author’s work when it becomes available on Amazon or other sites. I am cautiously optimistic in terms of both the Strand and paid writing more generally.