A New Venture – Autumn and Beyond

http://onlinebookclub.org/ Is a great place to go to find books that may have escaped your radar otherwise.

I am getting a bit of new work to tide me over and enjoying speaking to fellow reviewers, aspiring writers and those hardy souls who have gone and achieved published status.

Very soon I will have a review of a short story collection called ‘Holding Fire’, which I would probably not know about without the Book Club.

Red Dwarf -Series 1 Grades

Prior to some more in depth material on this great British show, I will list my grades for each and every Grant/Naylor episode (1988-1993(

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SERIES 1 –

The End – *B+* – Does a fine job of establishing the show’s premise. Lister is immediately likable and Rimmer the perfect foil for him. The Cat gets very little to do here owing to the structure of the episode, but still makes a notable impact. Better was to come, but this is must-see viewing.

Future Echoes – *A – * A clever story with many great jokes. The regulars are settling and Holly gets to provide many dead pan one liners that hit the mark well. This episode took some very careful planning and timing to achieve the right effect, and yet the beauty lies in the simplicity of the concept. A very intriguing ending too that opens up all sorts of routes to take Lister’s character to.

Balance of Power – *B* – A special episode for me as it was the first one I viewed more than twice out of impatience before the next repeat showing in the early 90s. VHS was the bomb! But looking at it now, there are some labored jokes and it all gets a bit too maudlin at times. The Kochanski storyline though is very well done.

Waiting For God – *B-* – The weakest episode thus far, but still somewhat underrated IMHO. The Cat gets a whole lot more backstory added, although still much room for character development persists. The ‘Quagar’ subplot is a bit too painful to watch, with Rimmer’s desperation for being alive again striking sympathetic chords with the audience. The Cat Priest stuff though is great – satirical yet moving also.

Confidence And Paranoia – *C-* – By no means bad, but definitely the weak link of the maiden season. Much of it seems thrown together, and the contrivance to have new guest stars on the ship isn’t achieved via an interesting sci-fi idea at all. Paranoia is played very well and forms a great double act with Rimmer. Confidence is however grating and not really reflective of Lister, with quite a nasty edge to him. The closure of the main storyline is quite rushed too. However the cliffhanger involving the real contents of Kochanski’s hologram box is the best joke of the whole episode.

Me 2 –  B+ * — Mostly hilarious, and with some crucial character development for Rimmer as we learn of both his death, and the reasons for his last words. Lister and the Cat have also developed a stronger bond by the final scenes. Chris Barrie really plays a blinder by having two subtly different versions of Rimmer. Yet this is marred by over-egged scenes where the new Rimmer turns into a mental torturer; for which I blame the writers. Wonderful last scene though where Arnold J tells all and then has to endure taunts for the months to come.

Retro Zone — Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes – THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES

Chapter 7  -The Stapletons of Merripit House

Watson told Sir Henry about the sobbings that he had heard during the night. They then discover it was Mrs Barrymore who had been weeping. The evidence of tear stains were clearly visible on her face.

Sir Henry had lots of papers on his desk and so Watson left to find out more about the telegram, which had been requested by Holmes. The reply was that Barrymore was at the Hall but that his wife took the telegram on his behalf, as he was in the attic at that time.

Watson soon after left, and proceeded along the moor – where he encountered Stapleton. The naturalist explained that he knew about Watson and Sir Henry, and then said that both he and his sister were very sad because of the demise of Sir Charles. Stapleton thought the reason for the death was down to Sir Charles running away from an ordinary animal in a petrified manner. He then asked for Holmes’ opinion; startling Watson somewhat. The eventual reply to the question was that Holmes was making his own conclusions, but was still back over in London.

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Watson then took up Stapleton’s suggestion of a walk back to Merripit House. During this journey. Stapleton stopped to indicate the Great Grimpin Mire, and remarked upon its deadly nature. However he knew some special paths that allowed for a safer route. As to why he would go to the Mire in the first place, Stapleton explained how he had a keen interest in catching rare butterflies – which was par for the course for someone of his profession.

Soon a terrible choking cry was heard and the duo saw a pony fall victim to the mire. But that unpleasant surprise was overshadowed by the blood-curdling cry of a hound – or something <like
a hound. Stapleton  dismissed it as merely the sound of the bog that can be emitted by the mire. And suddenly he was distracted by one of his obsessions ; proceeding to chase a  very rare butterfly with his <net across the moor.

Watson admired Stapleton’s nimble footwork across the mire. He then had his own form of distraction in the shape of a rather pretty young lady. Watson greeted her, but the response he received was overly serious.  She told him that he must leave the Moor altogether and go back to London. It was clear to Watson that she mistook him for Sir Henry!

Soon enough Stapleton returned, but on this occasion he did  not make a successful addition to his collection. He realised Watson’s awkward situation and resolved it by telling the woman – his sister – that she had been mistaken.

After seeing Merripit House and learning more about why Stapleton lived by the moor, Watson decided to leave. His day had been quite eventful enough, even by the standards of a typical investigation with Holmes.

As he took the path back to the Hall he was then stopped by Miss Stapleton, who gave a sincere apology for her behaviour in mistaking him for someone else. She also was sure to warn him that the Moor was very dangerous for Sir Henry. Watson detected a rather superstitious aspect to the young woman, who queried him on his knowing the tale of the Hound.

It became clear that her brother was anxious that Sir Henry should stay.
Upon telling Watson these things, she then made her departure – leaving a final remark that she had ‘done her part’.

Sherlock Holmes – Hound Of Baskervilles – Chapter 6 – Baskerville Hall

The duo arrived at the railway station on the planned day, and Holmes told Watson that he should only report the facts ? to the people around the moor.

He himself had tried learning them but had failed.

Watson suggests removing the butler and his wife, but Holmes says that that would  be unwise and it would be better to keep those people on the list of potential suspects.
The other people of note needing to be found quickly were Stapleton and his sister, as well as Mr Frankland.

Holmes checked that Watson was sufficiently armed, and told him to be on alert at all times. They meet their friends who say that they had kept together as well as evading any signs of trouble. Also they say that they split up yesterday afternoon.

Holmes found the latter statement of concern, and thus advised Sir Henry to be accompanied
whenever he should set food around the area, and furthermore to stay indoors during nightime.
The three board the first-class train and Watson enjoyed a swift and comfortable journey.

Sir Henry explained that he never saw Baskerville Hall as a boy since he was in his fathers’ cottage far away so the sight would as new to him as it would be to Watson.
The first sight of the bleak moor appeared to fascinate Sir Henry and then Watson could see how true was his reputation of being a suitable descendant in the long line of his proud forefathers.

The train stopped by a small field so they could go on a wagonette to take them to the hall – they noticed two stern soldiers as they moved their luggage.

Sir Henry seemed to enjoy the countryside but Watson did not quite agree, the season of Autumn had made its downbeat mark.

Mortimer noticed another soldier on a hill and asked the driver Perkins where it was. He said warders were after an escaped prisoner, who was most likely a madman. His name was Selden , the Notting Hill murderer. People would not give details for they would be killed if the prisoner should find out.
Everyone was chilled thinking about the ..cast-out man. Through the now infertile country the driver pointed out Baskerville Hall. Judging by the lool of the building, Henry could tell why his uncle felt danger was near.

The butler stepped out and greeted Sir Henry. He then handed the bags to his wife. Mortimer turned down the offer of dinner by Sir Henry and said he needed go to his house.

Watson and Sir Henry sat down in a spacious apartment. where the fireplace crackled. Barrymore came in and told them dinner would be soon, before going on to shakily explain that his wife and he wished to leave when suitable, THe death of Sir Charles  was one reason, but also the large amount of money they had acquired meant that they could go off and establish a new business.\

The bedrooms looked bright and modern, so helping to relieve the gloominess of the Hall.
However the dining room was dark and mysterious. The black beams and the silent statues made it truly sombre.
Sir Henry reflected and stated that there woud be a more cheerful feel upon the following morning.

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At night, Watson gazed at the moor, before closing the curtains and the door and finally lying down on his bed.
Closing his eyes, the wailing and sobbing of a lady suddenly made him shift. He was kept alert for half an hour but the weeping did not continue from thence on.

The only  noises came from the ticking of the clock and the ivy rustling outside

SHERLOCK HOLMES – Latest Chapters

 CHAPTER 4- Sir Henry Baskerville

 

After hastily clearing their breakfast to prepare for the meeting, Holmes and Watson noticed their guests arriving at the very moment that the clock struck 10.

The appearance of Sir Henry was of a man about thirty years of age, with broad eyebrows and the look and feel of a man who spent most of his time outdoors.

After being introduced, Sir Henry told Sherlock about a letter which would have sent him toward Baker Street in any case. The message was forbidding, telling Sir Henry not to go to the moor.

The presentation was strange, for although all other words were printed; ‘moor’ was written in ink. Holmes deduced and demonstrated that all the printed words had come from articles in a newspaper.

The last word had to be written in ink, for it was not in the newspaper.

The layout also meant that the letter was written in a hotel, and was done hurriedly – so as to reach Sir Henry.

Sir Henry then remarked that when he last put his brand-new boots to be cleaned, one had mysteriously vanished. Holmes said that it was pointless to steal just the one, and that it would be discovered eventually.

When Mortimer and Henry left, the detective told Watson that they must hurry after them. A suspicious looking cab stopped by, and when a bearded man’s face peered out of a window Holmes knew at once that it was the writer of the letter!

 

Holmes told Watson that this man had been spying on Sir Henry and was most clever and sly in his methods. Even though the number of the cab was now known, it was to be of no immediate use.

 

The duo then called in at the district manager’s office and asked for Cartwright – a boy who had helped them before on a previous case. Holmes told the boy to visit all of the hotels in the Charing Cross area and to pay a shilling to each manager in return for help with finding a telegram that had become lost. However the real assignment was to actually locate the newspaper used for the letter.

 

Now all that remained to be done was the identification of the cab-driver’s name by using the number – and to drop in at Sir Henry’s hotel.

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CHAPTER 5 – THe Broken Threads

 

At the hotel, Holmes made an enquiry into the register and learnt that a couple more people have booked rooms after Sir Henry had so done. Holmes reckoned that he knows who these people are, and that they are spying on him likewise then they will be trying to keep themselves out of his way.

The duo walk upstairs to meet a flustered Sir Henry, holding a black boot. This time an older boot has been stolen on its own. A waiter nervously says that it had been searched for thoroughly but remained unfound. Sir Henry was advised to remain just a bit more patient for a short time.

Holmes says to the heir of Baskerville Hall that this business is very complicated and that there would be various paths to take, with just one of them proving to be the correct one. Holmes also told Sir Henry that a bearded man had been following him. Barrymore was ‘one such man that fit the description’ was the reply Holmes received.

Sherlock then said that they would send out a telegram to learn if the butler was at the hall. Sir Charles had given out large sums of money. A lot of that had come Sir Henry’s way.

Holmes then told the knight that he would need to be accompanied over at Devonshire,  and put a hand to Watson’s shoulder stating that the good Doctor would willingly be that companion.

 

Watson was startled but also was clearly keen at the chance of some new adventure.

The boot that was lost suddenly is found under a cabinet, but the waiter states that this development was unknown to him.

 

Then Holmes and Watson made their way back to Baker Street, and Holmes proceeded to use the cab’s number to send for the driver. Soon enough the mysterious man enters the detective’s home,  upon which he was given half a sovereign to talk. He told his name and address. Holmes enquired about his passenger’s title, and the reply – shockingly – was ‘Mr Sherlock Holmes’.

Holmes is startled but now knew how clever their adversary was – the cabman says that he drove this man to Waterloo Station. The detective asks for a description, but gets a basic one at best: ‘a square-cut beard, and a pale face’. Holmes tells the man – called Clayton – that he will give him another half-sovereign for any more details.

 

Before he came to see Holmes, Clayton had received a pair of telegrams. One was from Sir Henry, saying that Barrymore was at Baskerville Hall the whole time. The other was from Cartwright, reporting that no cut-out newspapers had been discovered.

 

So all three threads of enquiry were now broken. Holmes could only wish Watson to be more successful over n Devonshire. However once the case would be resolved, he would happily await his friend’s return back home.

 

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Sherlock Holmes – my second stage of precis on HOUND/BASKERVILLES

Chapter 3 – The Problem

 

Dr Watson admitted that when he heard the words he was chilled by them.

Holmes coolly pressed Mortimer concerning the marks, and was informed that they were a fair distance away from the body and were on the main path. There was no sign of *anything* on the grass, and thus nothing to indicate an approach towards the corpse in any way.

 

Mortimer revealed that he could tell that Sir Charles had stopped by the locked wicket-gate for 5 to 10 minutes. The evidence for this was the cigarette — an item that had disassembled itself into two small piles so it must have dropped twice.

Holmes praised Doctor Mortimer and now well and truly was interested .. but also cross that he could not be himself present at Baskerville Hall at the time.

 

Mortimer then said that before Sir Charles’ death a few people had reported that they had seen a large beast roam the fields ; which was possibly supernatural.

The description was quite similar to that of the infamous hound.

All of Charles’ brothers were now deceased, and of those only one had left an heir. His name was Sir Henry and he was the very last member of the Baskerville clan.

 

Mortimer then said that the young gentleman would arrive in London from Canada tomorrow, but was unsure if Sir Henry should go to a place where all his forefathers had met their ignominious fate.

Holmes thought that it would be right for Henry to go to Baskerville Hall and to face his destiny – hopefully in a more positive fashion (!). He also told Mortimer that he would make a decision in the space of a single day.

He finally requested that Mortimer return to his study tomorrow, at 10 am , and bringing Sir Henry along with him. They then would be able to then discuss the whole case in further detail.

 

Holmes said goodbye to Mortimer outside the flat after asking one last question, and then came back inside to talk to Watson.

Watson left for around an hour to come back from Bradley’s – – finding a smoke-filled study. Holmes explained that he had been in the process of crossing the astral plane to visit Baskerville Hall – in spirit form!

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Then the genius sleuth rolled out a map showing the dwelling around the hall, pointing out a hamlet, Dr Mortimer’s base, two farmhouses and a house belonging to a naturalist that Mortimer had mentioned.

After wondering what category this demon hound belonged to, the two friends  then talked about Sir Charles standing by the gate.

Holmes thought that the late aristocrat was waiting for someone else, and went on to take fright from the gloomy moor that night.

But now all the duo could do was to wait until the scheduled meeting the next day with Sir Henry.