Thursday, 22 September 2011

Doctor Watson and Ross-on-Wye

    I felt so encouraged by the news from MX Publishing today that I took time out to trace John H. Watson's movements when he was left behind in the hotel at Ross while Holmes and Lestrade went to Hereford Jail to interview young McCarthy in what the Doctor has called 'The Boscombe Valley Mystery.' There's quite a lot about this investigation in my latest book to be re-issued: "In Search of Doctor Watson" but, alas, not mch remains of what he saw in the  'pretty town' after crossing 'the broad gleaming Severn.' The Great Western Railway Locomotive Engine Shed is now a cafe 'which is part of a garden centre, but the Station and the 'Hereford Arms' have completely disappeared under an untidy Industrial Estate. The old weighbridge and the Coal Office is now a recycling centre, but it is still possible to see the remains of a viaduct at a junction called Five Ways in the centre of the Town; and in a garden nearby preserved examples of broad gauge (7ft.) and standard gauge (4 ft. 8 inches) track.
    'Yellow-backed' novels were sold at all railway bookstalls and Watson, after seeing his friend off and wandering for a while round the streets,  is left at the hotel reading one while he waits for Holmes to return from Hereford. "But the puny plot of the story was so thin, however, when compared with the deep mystery through which we were groping...that I at last flung it across the room." 

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