Retro Zone -the fine art of precis/ synopsis : SHERLOCK HOLMES


Chapter 1 – M Sherlock Holmes

The tale opens as Dr Watson is telling the reader that last night an interesting walking stick was delivered to the famous detective’s department while he and Holmes were away.

They found the stick late the next morning and examined it to see what kind of owner it had. The name was a Dr Mortimer and the lettering indicated it had been a present from his colleagues in the C . C . H.


Holmes asked Watson about how the stick had been used, and he replied since it was dented and uneven for the most part – clearly it had been used by a former owner a great deal.


Holmes agreed with his friend’s opinion and postulated that the stick was given as a present originally – Dr Mortimer must have been a successful and renowned gentleman.


Then the duo attempted to find what C C H stood for. They remembered the Charing Cross Hospital and that someone with the title of ‘Doctor Mortimer’ had been an employee there.


There were some bite marks on the stick that resembled those of a dog. So the man in question could have had a dog, and in turn allowed the pet to handle the stick.


Holmes quickly realised that the dog must have been a curly-haired spaniel/ This left Holmes bemused.


.. Holmes explained that a dog was regularly at the front door of the apartment and the name-tag was on its collar, claiming that it belonged to Dr Mortimer.


Soon the owner knocked and was told to come in/ He mistook Watson for Holmes and when he realised he told Holmes the curious fact – he had a priceless skull upon his person!


The peculiar visitor was told to sit down. He admitted that he was rather disorganised and panicky and said that Holmes was the best man that he could approach for assistance.


Holmes was ready to help the gentleman. Looking at the visitor closer – he noticed he had a crooked back and shining spectacles. He now wanted to know the full nature of the man’s problem.


Hell-Hound -52

 Chapter 2 – The Curse of the Baskerville

 Dr Mortimer announces that he has a book with details about the incident. The earliest details he is just about to share when Holmes suddenly declares his intuition that the information is from the 18th century. He is incorrect about the precise year by 12 years – the actual time being 1742.


Only the beginning and end have been written in recently by Sir Charles Baskerville who only a few days ago was the victim of a brutal and tragic murder.


Holmes crossed his legs over and Dr Watson stood intently by the fireplace as Mortimer read out the account. ‘Long ago lived the notorious and disliked Sir Hugo Baskerville, who in his youth was a wild and unruly ne’evedowell ‘


One day he spotted a pretty maiden and a kidnap plan formed in his mind. So at night  Baskerville crept into the girl’s home at the farm and two accomplices’ help managed to grab her before she could scream. They marched her up to Baskerville Hall and slammed her into an upstairs bedroom. Then with some fellow trouble-makers Hugo had a party downstairs. The noise generated by all the shouting and swaring made the maid dreadfully unhappy; finally she couldn’t bear it any longer. So she escaped by climbing out a window and down a sprig of ivy.


Soon Hugo found out and sent the bloodhounds after the damsel. He himself rode faster than anyone else till he was out of sight.


Hugo’s friends came across a fear-stricken peasant who managed to utter that he had seen a giant hound chase after Hugo. Seconds later Hugo’s horse ran by – riderless.


Now nearly everyone was afraid but then three of the bravest and maybe also most foolhardy decided to press on. They arrived at a place which was like a funeral pyre. For in front of two giant slabs lay the runaway maid – dead! The exhaustion generated by her escape and her fear combined with a lack of stamina had been too much for her. As she lay prone on the slabs, the moonlight illuminated her bod.


A few metres away was Sir Hugo’s body lying on its back. However what made the riders’ hair stand on end was a shadowy giant beast. The hound, which had killed Sir Hugo!


The monster had just torn an artery out of Hugo’s throat; upon seeing the rescue party it snarled and lunged forward. Terrified, the men pulled the reins tightly and rode their horses away faster than ever before.


Dr Mortimer put down the manuscript and asked Holmes his opinion.


“For the interest of a man collecting fairy tales” he replied, not taking the story as truth.


Dr Mortimer said that he would now produce something more up-to-date. He learned from the butler, Barrymore – that Sir Charles had been on one of his regular evening strolls around the grounds on the night of his death.

However he did not return at the normal time and Barrymore grew increasingly anxious. Then at midnight he finally took a lantern and went outside. There, a few yards away on the moor, was his master’s body – face-down with a hand lying out-stretched.


Sherlock now knowing the basic fact pressed Mortimer for the last time that he had met Sir Charles alive.


He took a breath and “I went one day to his abode and knocked at the door. Charles stepped out onto the threshold when a loud baying sound could be heard”.


Seconds later Sir Charles stood ridged – his eyes staring in terror at something behind Dr Mortimer#s shoulder.

He then shifted out of his fearful gaze,s till a bit shaken.


Holmes then returned to the subject of the body and Mortimer a little nervously told Holmes. “I haven’t told anybody else, but when they were taking the body away, I saw some footprints.”


He then toned down his voice to a whisper – “Mr Holmes they were — were the size of a massive hound”



Retro Zone – Creativity focused on the Tragedy of Thomas Becket and Henry II

(Disclaimer – this is depicting an alternate mediaeval reality where newspapers existed in 12th century and were read widely)



Norman Star December 30 1170


Foul Murder of Archbishop Upsets the Church Community


Our kindly benefactor Archbishop Thomas Becket has sadly met demise in Canterbury Cathedral. The evil perpetrators behind the murderous act are said to be fully honoured knights that have connections with the royal court. One would rather describe them as ‘rogue elements’ that have chosen to twist directives from Henry II to their own ends. We have accounts from both Edward Grim, who sustained injury himself and William of Canterbury.

Turning to E Grim‘s narration of the circumstances:


‘Four tall knights burst into the cathedral. Three were dressed normally but one had a black helmet on his head, which gave the impression of an executioner. I know their leader went under the name of ‘Fitzurse’ but the other names are not to my knowledge presently.

After finding Thomas they demanded that he restore the excommunicated priests but he firmly refused. After struggling to avoid being taken outside, the archbishop began to pray. Fitzurse savagely bashed the holy man with a strike of his broadsword. The revolting consequence was that Becket lost the top of his head. I myself am now lacking the full use of two fingers – the tips being sliced off by that very same strike Fitzurse executed. Of the fours knights, only one refrained from the savage deadly strikes of the already toppled Archbishop. Thomas briefly was able to bravely face death, crying out that he would die and he was ‘not afraid’.

The maiming and grievous injury that Thomas suffered is something that I am still too shocked to reveal at length, but I know that his blood spilled onto the floor. Another wicked man arrived, though he was not a knight but a cleric, of all people!

He then proceeded with a foul crime – that of decapitating the archbishop’s head fully of the torso. That such a learned and pious man should do this deed is to my mind a crime ten-fold the severity of any of the knights’. My he suffer forever in Hell when his life in turn comes to an end!!’


We also interviewed the monk William of Canterbury.


His account is roughly the same but here are a few differences:

*Fitzurse gave a warning of ‘run away’ and showed some hesitancy in the beginning, before going on to strike out in a crazed manner.

* William ran away to a safer place in the building so his vision was somewhat limited.

*Richard Brito – another knight of the quartet actually broke his sword in the process of killing Thomas.

*The fifth assailant (the cleric) shouted at the dead body of the Archbishop.


In both accounts, a cleric who interferes with Becket’s body is mentioned. We have not received his name as yet, but if you are a witness or know someone who was privy to these dread events, please contact us here at the ‘Norman Star’… and a reward in good coinage will be offered in compensation.


Further info:


Legacy of Becket


Poems. (Autumn 2011).


I was transfixed. I saw my own name.

Written down by a pro, who could spell my surname.

Someone gave vent. With the force of a lorry.

           And I needed a fix. An alarm clock fix.

Having too many dreams could make me miss tricks.

This woman needed something very different.

Some milk in her tea, and she’d be more efficient.

And her friend too was glum, with matters askew.

Seeing others’ clothes to wash – that’s not a fine view.

I’m now in my car, but it’s not a lark.

I fend off impatience, while trying to park.

Tea loving friend must run away quick.

Saw XI is out – it could really make her sick.

The snooker champion and that scribe.

Do not believe in the slightest it’s good to be snide.

Tea lover is worried, as she sees a spy.

Edgy looking, he doesn’t belong – the wrong kind of guy.

I’ve got this all down, and not had a frown. It’s been fun.

But I must keep mum, or else I’m heading on an epic run.

Doctor Who: Mini Reviews of the Classic Series – Revelation of the Daleks

Along with ‘Space Pirates’ and ‘Image of the Fendahl’ this is Classic Who’s stab at Doctor-lite. This is  a term that denotes a story where the title character plays a role in the story’s resolution but has far less screen time and direct influence throughout the story than normal.

Everyone is well-cast in this – and unlike some fans I do count Tasembeker and the D.J. T

There is a clever and fascinating plot, which although dense is quite easy to follow.

The steady opening episode gives way to a hectic but coherent closing episode. The black humor is wonderful.

Like ‘Genesis’ the Daleks get little to do directly but are a very scary concept .

And Davros is just awesome, for me Molloy really pushes Michael Wisher hard for best performance of this iconic villain. In some ways I wish he didn’t show up in Remembrance as its a definite step down in that story.

The Cancellation Crisis.

It comes as a surprise for many that Colin Baker’s first full run of shows ends so well, but then an announcement is made that the program will not return in January 1986 as most had come to expect.

Some feel that the damage had been done with ‘The Two Doctors’ and one or two other stories in the season which had poor storylines. Relatively poor ratings compared to other primetime shows in Season 21 also played their part and a far from enthusiastic controller for BBC1 decided to omit Doctor Who altogether.

I will write my reaction and perspective on this interim period between seasons 22 and 23 in a future post.

The final act of a Grand Knight

— Some further reading:,_starting_in_1985

Doctor Who: Mini Reviews of the Classic Series – The Twin Dilemma (Colin Baker’s debut)

A very different TARDIS crew from the one that opened the run of stories in 1984.


A really unremarkable storyline but some great acting from Baker, Kevin Mcnally, and Maurice Denham help matters considerably. Mestor is pretty poor as a design but has some pretty nifty powers and the whole sequence of his demise – and Azmael’s at the same time – is actually very good. One of the few stories in Classic Who that does improve with each episode, but remains very mediocre all the same.

(As a kid.….

I  got this as an exclusive VHS release from Woolworths about 22 years ago… and I quite liked it, certainly more than the Krotons. The need for some follow up to the open ending of ‘Caves of Androzani’ meant that I was very intrigued by this new, and remarkably fickle version of the title character. The production values being poor did not bother me as they have since gone on to do. However even at the age of 9 I felt some moments were pretty laughable) …..

A perhaps generous 6/10.