Friday, 11 May 2012

In Search of Doctor Watson. A Review from 'The Baker Street Bugle'

..."I found [this book] a jolly good read. It begins with a very comprehensive introduction which mentions other fictional detectives. Chapter One speculates on how Watson was created, and if he was based on a real person. The book continues with his time in the army, and there is a mass of information about how military doctors were trained, their experiences in the field, the Northumberland Fusiliers, the Afghan Campaign and other associated matters. We all know how Holmes and Watson met, but the author fills in much of the background in a clever mix of fact and fiction. For example, if you want to know how much policemen earned this book will tell you. And it is noted how many detectives created since Holmes have a rather simple companion as a foil....
   I particularly enjoyed the way the author takes a throw away piece of conversation from the canon and enlarges it. Holmes quotes Goethe, and we have all heard the name, but who was he? Do we know anything at all about the poet Hafiz, and what exactly is a Bohemian?...Holmes says his grandmother was the sister of the French painter Vernet - does that name mean anything to you? It will after you read this boook.Musical references in the canon include Sarasate, Madame Norman Neruda, the De Reszke brothers and Joachim. And what are the Polyphonic Motets of Lassus? Holmes' monograph is 'the last word on the subject.' Read this book and the references will make sense.
   The final chapter looks at other detectives and their often dim companions.For example Poirot and Hastings, Raffles and Bunny Manders, Martin Hewitt and Mr. Brett...and so on. Are all  these derivatives of the Holmes/Watson partnership?
   It is perhaps inevitable that an old chestnut is raised. Were Holmes and Watson engaged in a homosexual relationship? Various authors and commentators have seized on small pieces of the text in an attempt to prove the theory, but the author very fairly quotes other sources who explain that the style of writing in Doyle's time was different to today, allowing more freedom of expression in such matters...
   The author must be greatly complimented on the amount of research that she must have done to write such an interesting and informative book.

An additional comment by Roy Upton Holder, the Founder of  The Deerstalkers of Welshpool -"The only Sherlock Holmes Society in Wales."

   Having read [this] review, I immediately borrowed the book from our Library. I've only read about eight pages and have already decided to buy a copy for my own collection. It is full of information that I might want to refer to - and I can't remember it all!

"In Search of Doctor Watson" is available from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and Noble, in the UK Amazon and with free worldwide delivery to other countries from The Book Depository. It is also available in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks  for the iPad. 

No comments:

Post a Comment