Blog Tour – Five Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Maurice Barkley

#thewritereads blog tour!

Genre: Short stories, Mystery

Similar to: Classic whodunnits like Agatha Christie, or…you know… Arthur Conan Doyle

Could be enjoyed by: Everyone! I found these stories really enjoyable and suitable for all ages

Publication date: 6th July 2017, according to Amazon (which seems weird but ok)


I’m going to say this right at the start – I’ve never actually read any Sherlock Holmes stories before. I’m vaguely familiar with some of the TV adaptations but the actual novel seems to have passed me by. So, it was with some trepidation that I began to read this book.

I have to say, I was really impressed! I found the stories very engaging and I was immediately drawn into the world of Victorian London. All of the stories feel like classic tales of murder, intrigue and suspense and I thought that the overall tone of what I’d expect a Sherlock Holmes novel to be was captured really well. If you’re not familiar with Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing then the nearest thing I could liken it to was Jonathan Creek.

There was no backstory given as to how Holmes and Watson began their partnership or who they even were as people (what is Watson a doctor of? How does Holmes support his somewhat lavish lifestyle?) but even with my limited knowledge I was able to piece together their working relationship. It was nice to see familiar places and phrases pop up, although there was no “elementary, my dear Watson!” which I was waiting for. I did spot one tiny Americanism which I found somewhat jarring but overall I thought that the book was well written and completely evoked the feeling of foggy, repressive Victorian London.

My only real issue was that every time Baker Street was mentioned, that bloody sax solo kept popping into my head:



Overall, I really liked the Sherlock Holmes short stories. Perhaps the characters could have done with a little more fleshing out and maybe Watson could have done a little more than stand there wetly with absolutely no idea of what was going on but these are minor criticisms. I found the stories to be nicely bite-sized chunks of mystery, murder and suspense, very cleverly written and easy to read. A great little book to dip in and out of if you need to immerse yourself in another world – and let’s face it, we could all do with a bit of that right now.


Four “I cannot get this song out of my head”s out of five.

Really well captured, a great addition to the cannon.



Please note that I read this book for free in exchange for an honest review courtesy of #thewritereads. Thanks Dave!


Review: The Birds: Short Stories by Daphne DuMaurier

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of short stories, but I am a fan of Daphne DuMaurier and as I received a VMC copy of this book (see here for my love of these editions) I thought that I would give it a go.

The stories included in this volume were:

The Birds
Monte Verita
The Apple Tree
The Little Photographer
Kiss Me Again, Stranger
The Old Man

I really loved the initial story (The Birds). I’ve never seen the film so I can’t compare the two but I can see why Alfred Hitchcock used it. The sense of foreboding is palpable and the level of suspense and dread is beautifully built to a fantastic cliff hanger ending.

I thought Monte Verita was quite an odd little tale, but still an interesting addition to a short story collection. It was almost borderline fantasy (which I would never have expected from DuMaurier) but it somehow worked quite well within the boundaries of this book.

The Apple Tree was classic creepy DuMaurier (about, believe it or nor, a malevolent tree) which again builds layers of suspense to fairly terrifying ending.

The Little Photographer was my favourite story in the collection. I thought it was beautifully written, glamorous and sexy with a wonderfully dark undertone, reminiscent of The Talented Mr Ripley. Very enjoyable.

Kiss Me Again, Stranger was a ghost story that kept me guessing to the end. For such a short story it was very cleverly written – small but perfectly formed.

Out of all the stories, The Old Man is the one that stayed with me the most. It’s very hard to categorise – quite frankly it’s just a weird little oddity – but as the most thought provoking tale I thought that it was a great way to end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection of stories a lot more than I thought I would. I thought they all hung together nicely and had enough variation to keep me interested.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

I read this book as part of Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 #22 Read a collection of stories by a woman and the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge #23 Read a book with a red spine.