Monday, 26 March 2012

Sherlock Holmes And The Dead Boer At Scotney Castle by Tim Symonds

Review by The Mole

In Sherlock Holmes and The Dead Boer at Scotney Castle the great consulting detective comes up against the rich and powerful Kipling League. Dr Watson recounts the extraordinary events which took place on a spacious early summer day in the Sussex and Kent countryside in 1904. None of the earlier stories chronicling the adventures of Sherlock Holmes compares to the strange circumstances which determined Watson to take up his pen to relate this extraordinary adventure against Holmes express wishes. 

This story is one that is difficult to review because spoilers would be so easy to give - but I will try not to.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed by this story because too often Holmes didn't feel like Holmes or Watson like Watson. In addition Holmes tries to win Watson round to seeing his view on the take on events and Watson cannot see it and we seem to hear the same evidence repeated several times. In fact as a reader I became convinced that Holmes was wrong until I realised that his words were ambiguous and what he should have said was not what he did say. (It would be easier to explain if I risked spoilers!). Undoubtedly though the story is an intriguing one but whether the best detective fiction has ever seen is the character who should encounter this tale is another matter - I can imagine other fictional detectives encountering this tale and it being almost in a day's work for them! (STILL avoiding spoilers!). The fact that it is intriguing is one thing but is it the best telling of such a story? Sadly I don't think it is.

Publisher - MX Publishing
Genre - Adult Crime Fiction

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  1. I'm not sure how precise authors need to make the characters of Holmes and Watson conform to the original canon - too precise and they may become parodies. My aim in writing 'Sherlock Holes And The Dead Boer At Scotney Castle' was to offer a good yarn and a chance to show how both Holmes and Watson responded from the particular - a mysterious body found unclad in a wagon-pond in Kent - to immense events taking place in the outside world during the Belle Epoque' period after the Great Queen died and Edward V11 was crowned. I feel Conan Doyle's Holmes was too often up against cunning but not especially brilliant opponents so I constructed the even more mysterious 'Kipling League' to give him the chance to compete against 'the four finest brains of the British Empire'. And because Watson for so long has been treated by many authors as a loyal dunderhead rather than a man possessing a good mind and wide experience gained well before he encountered Holmes that fateful day, I have developed his self-assurance and with it his ability to withstand the way Holmes is inclined to try to steam-roller him into submission.
    Above all, I hope readers across the world will want to come down to Kent and East Sussex (where I live) and visit the two locations - Scotney Castle in Kent and Rudyard Kipling's old home 'Bateman's' (in 'the Dead Boer' I call it Crick's End) - both of which are National Trust properties and open to the public from Springtime to the Autumn. Their souvenir shops may soon have my Sherlock Holmes on sale. Make sure you buy a copy!

  2. Always a pleasure to meet a Sherlockian :)

    I have read "The House of Silk" by Anthony Horowitz and liked it immensely.