This is my review of the audio book Memoirs of Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The version I listened to was a librivox one. There are 12 short stories in the collection and the last one is where Sherlock confronts his arch enemy Professor Moriarty. After a chase across London and then the continent they end up in Switzerland where they stay at Meringen. From there they fatefully decide to take a walk which will include a visit to Reichenbach Falls, a local natural wonder. Once there, a boy appears and hands Watson a note, saying that there is a sick Englishwoman back at the hotel who wants an English doctor. Holmes realises at once it is a hoax although he does not say so. Watson goes to see about the patient, leaving Holmes alone.
When he reaches the Englischer Hof, the innkeeper has no knowledge of any sick Englishwoman. Realizing at last that he has been deceived, Watson rushes back to Reichenbach Falls but finds no one there, although he does see two sets of footprints going out onto the muddy dead end path with none returning. There is also a note from Holmes, explaining that he knew the report Watson was given to be a hoax and that he is about to fight Moriarty, who has graciously given him enough time to pen this last letter. Watson sees that towards the end of the path there are signs that a violent struggle has taken place and there are no returning footprints. It is all too clear Holmes and Moriarty have both fallen to their deaths down the gorge while locked in mortal combat. Heartbroken, Dr. Watson returns to England.
The day after I listened to this I watched Michael Portillo's Great continental railway journey, where he ended up in Switzerland, and went to see the Reichenbach Falls, which is now a major attraction having been made more famous by the Holmes story.
An enjoyable listen making the miles traveled go by quickly. This was book 42 week 30 fiction 40 (12 on audio) non fiction 2
This is my review of the book The Chamber by John Grisham, which I have read recently.
I have had this book sitting on the side for nearly a year, waiting for the courage to read it just in case the ending did not turn out the way I would like. I can't disclose if this was a necessary precaution or not as that would give the game away.
So like all good thrillers this has a finite time line, in this case the death sentence – death by gas, and the book makes great emphasis on letting us know how many days are left before the fatal time of one minute past midnight, every couple of chapters or so.
Our hero is Adam Hall a recent graduate and now in his first year at a top Chicago law school, and his prospective client is on death row for the murder of two Jewish Children in a horrific bombing 20 years before.
All is revealed as to why does Adam wants this case and his relationship with the accused. The plot line cleverly weaves between the past and the present whilst at the same time gives interaction between all the various family members.
I liked the way John also explores the relationship between the accused and his warders, especially as he has been waiting on death row for a number of years and they have become his pseudo family, making up for the problems and issues with the real ones.
The description of how they test out the gas chamber before the big event is fairly gruesome, and really makes one feel for the characters being described. It is a very compelling book as one wants to get to the end to see what happens – does he get off or not?
It was a good book and I certainly related to the characters described within it. This was book 41 week 30 (I did finish it last week but we are recording when I actually get round to writing the blog article) fiction 39 (11 on audio) non fiction 2
This is my review of the book The Island of Sheep by John Buchan.
The Island of Sheep is the fifth book in the Richard Hannay series, and continues the theme that Hannay and his friend Sandy are the prototype super hero of all espionage fiction.
The action takes place across various locations in Britain, and then moves to the fictious location The Island of Sheep, which is situated in the fictional area called Norlands, which is based on the Faeroes.
A large amount of the story is based around chasing from one place to another. I particularly enjoyed the description of his route going North to Scotland, mentioning the local villages around where I live. They do make it to the more easily defendable bolt-hole of Laverlaw, Clanroyden's seat in the Scottish borders. But then have to move from there back to the Island of Sheep to defend it and keep if for Haraldsen.
But I must not spoil the plot, all I will say is that the story revolves around a long-forgotten promise made by Hannay in his days as a mining engineer in South Africa. He had sworn to defend the interests of Marius Haraldsen, a wealthy Danish gold-prospector and expert in Norse lore, against a group of unscrupulous former business associates and assorted desperadoes. Hannay, Pienaar and fellow Englishman Lombard join Haraldsen at his camp on a Rhodesian plateau, and in a scene worthy of Rider Haggard, they beat off an attack on their hill-top redoubt with timely help from local tribesmen. However, that is not the end of the matter. Some thirty years later, with Haraldsen now dead, Albinus, the surviving member of the original gang and Troth, the son of one of the others, decide to take the vendetta to the next generation.
It was an enjoyable read as book 40 week 28 fiction 38 (11 on audio) non fiction 2
This is my review of the book Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith
When I was reading this I asked Pauline, which characters do you like best, and interestingly though we did overlap on some others also appealed. This is what makes this series of books so clever, they appeal to lovers of different genres of writing equally.
One of the characters that we both agreed was a favourite, was Bertie. Maybe an alternative title of this should have been Bertie's adventures in Paris, or even his encounter with the police. The characters are so rich that though there is no beginning and end that does not matter. It is a humorous tapestry of life, that could just be real.
So having said all that – which bits appealed to me most. Matthew and the Glasgow gangsters – Aloysius O'Conner. Bertie-Pierre de-constructing Jean- Francois Francois with the principles of flight. The kidnapping of Cyril and his subsequent repatriation were I thought some of the best bits.
All in all this was a very enjoyable book, and I look forward to reading the next one. This was book 39 week 27 fiction 37 (11 on audio) non fiction 2
Summary -This is my review of the book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by by Arthur Conan Doyle
I listened to this as a Librivox recording over the last few days whilst I have been coding a website. One of the enjoyable things is that evidently over the years I have either heard, seen or read some of these stories before, as I was able to sort of recognise the stories as I listened to them. It then became a must to have guessed the result before the reveal and get points if I got it right. (I got more right than wrong).
It is claimed that the title character of Sherlock Holmes was named after famous American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. The stories were originally published in the Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. They were then collected together into a book of 12 stories as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
I found these an enjoyable distraction and will listen to some more. This was book 38 week 26 fiction 36 (11 on audio) non fiction 2
This is my review of Elizabeth George's book – With No One as Witness. What a mega tome – over 650 pages of twists and plots. A very different sort of book as the majority of it was about the lives of the three main detectives leading the murder hunt.
This is the continuing saga of Acting Superintendent Lynley and Barbara Havers who is now reinstated. Could be described as a venn diagram of plots and twists all based around a central serial killer (and a serial killer copycat, just for extra complication). This leads to an epidemic of killings, the last of which is a very sad tragedy.
Elizabeth manges to bring her characters life and makes one really feel for them as they try and do their job, in very difficult circumstances, whilst bringing humour into the mix as well. I think the scene where Barbara saves a life with a frying pan is brilliant – Also the discussion about parking the Bentley and not wanting to scratch it – Plus all the comments about the tabloid reporter but cant say too much more otherwise would ruin the plot.
A good book and an enjoyable read on the whole, though parts were not that pleasant, but if one is talking about a serial killer then the serial killings are not going to be pleasant so it is to be expected.
- book 37 week 25 fiction 35 (10 on audio) non fiction 2
Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar Michel Strogoff is a novel written by Jules Verne in1876. I listened to it as a librivox recording
Michael was a courier for Czar Alexander II, who is sent from Moscow to the besieged city of Irkutsk, where the governor, brother of the Czar, has taken his last stand against a Tartar rebellion led by the fearsome Feofar-Khan. When telegraph lines are cut between the Russian Far East and the mainland, Strogoff must make his way through hostile territory to warn the governor of the return of the traitor Ivan Ogareff, a disgraced former officer who seeks vengeance against the Tsar’s family by the destruction of Irkutsk
Sadly things go wrong for Michael and he suffers terribly. Jules goes into great detail describing the journey across the country and the cruelty poured out by the Tartar rebellion. It made very interesting listening as an account of live in at the time. Made even the more so as we listened to it travelling up and down the motorway, and able to compare the two different modes of transport.
An enjoyable book that is readily recommended. The web claims that critics consider this one of Jules' finest books.
An enjoyable read as book 36 week 25 fiction 34 (10 on audio) non fiction 2
I know that I have already read First Family by David Baldacci and reading Split Second is reading them in the wrong order. But prequels are all the rage. This book gives the story of how our two detectives start working together.I did not think that it mattered that I had read a book that comes later in the series before reading this book.
The two heroes of the story are Sean King and Michelle Maxwel and they both were working for the Presidential Protection Service when things go wrong on their respective watch's. Even though there is an eight year gap between events, it comes to light that they are linked together, and the plot weaves an intricate pattern slowly revealing how.
The story evolves, like slowly peeling back the skin of an onion, and manages to keep one guessing right to the end. The only thing that is certain is that our heroes will be OK, even though everyone is out to get them as we know they are in the next book.
An enjoyable read as book 35 week 24 fiction 33 (9 on audio) non fiction 2
The Code of the Woosters is the ongoing saga of Bertie Wooster, and the chaos he seems to cause.
He is called to Totleigh Towers to pour oil on trouble waters, as the lovers match between Madeline Bassett and newt loving Gussie Fink-Nottle seems to be in trouble.
Unfortunately Aunt Dahlia comes into the scene instructing Bertie to steal an antique cow creamer from under the watchful nose of Sir Watkyn Bassett. Sadly his situation is complicated further by the presence at Totleigh Towers of Stiffy Byng, Sir Watkyn's anarchic young ward, who draws Bertie into her plan to marry the local curate, another old pal of Bertie's named "Stinker" Pinker, and a certain leather-covered notebook of Gussie's, in which he has lovingly and extensively detailed Sir Watkyn and Spode's many character failings, and which has escaped Gussie's possession to roam freely about the local community.
Bertie seems to get into deeper and deeper trouble, and the theft of a policeman s helmet could be his final undoing, but this is only a situation that Jeeves can unravel.
An enjoyable read - this was book 34 week 23 fiction 32 (9 on audio) non fiction 2
The Three Hostages by John Buchan is the fourth instalment in the Richard Hannay Stories, and deals with his adventures after World War 1.
Set seven years after The Thirty-Nine Steps, it pits Hannay against a charismatic rising star of the political firmament, Dominick Medina.
The three hostages of the title are the victims of an international conspiracy, with Medina at its centre, to hypnotise members of the families of important public figures and then manipulate them for criminal ends.
In this story he is joined by some familiar faces, notably his feisty wife Mary, and the Scottish laird, adventurer and master of disguise, Sandy Arbuthnot. When Hannay is first asked to help find the hostages, the only clue as to their whereabouts lies in some cryptic lines of verse which the malefactors have left dangling tantalisingly in front of their pursuers. Hannay is forced to wrestle with obscure classical and literary references in order to track them down and the recollection of an equally arcane Latin quotation overheard by Sandy finally leads to Medina.
To get to this end Hannay has to allow himself to seemingly become taken over by Medina, as he tries to use his mind bending tricks to gain control of his subjects.
A very enjoyable book and certainly as good as the first three, though probably not as well known. This was book 33 week 23 fiction 31 (9 on audio) non fiction 2
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.