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Book reviews for "Booth,_Lavaughn_Venchael" sorted by average review score:

Blood Pearls
Published in Paperback by Xlibris Corporation (January, 2002)
Author: Pat Booth-Lynch
Amazon base price: $22.99
Average review score:

A true love story with action/adventure, too.
I read love stories, but they have to be more to them than two
talking heads. Blood Pearls is the best of two worlds. I got my romance and I got a lot more as well. This book has so many twists and turns I couldn't put it down. It's a real page turner.

Blood Pearls
I enjoyed this book very much ...Pat Lynch does a great job of telling an intriguing story that keeps you reading !!! she describes places in such a vivid way , that y the reader feels like they have been there ...she brings all of this into her story & it is very good ...with a little love story & mystery story combined.
This is a very interesting story
Susan Manning

Fast-paced international intrigue
If you like your action set in exotic locales, Blood Pearls is a definite must-read. The author exhibits a real knowledge of China and its people and government. Corruption, violence, murder, and a steamy romance between a Chinese cultural guide and a hotshot American businesswoman -- this book has it all!

The Complete Fawlty Towers
Published in Paperback by DaCapo Press (23 October, 2001)
Authors: John Cleese and Connie Booth
Amazon base price: $12.60
List price: $18.00 (that's 30% off!)
Average review score:

It's Like Reliving the Shows on Paper
If you love the show "Fawlty Towers," than this book is for you. This book contains the complete scripts to every single episode that was out. I was very surprised that such a thing even exstisted, and I was very happy to purchase it since I love the show so much.

This is a great read for many reasons. If you love the show, then you will love reading the scripts. It is very much like reliving the show. I still found myself laughing while reading, although it is funnier seen on screen, so I do not suggest that you get this over the shows. This is only for fans of the show who have seen all of the episodes.

Another reason why I liked this so much was because the shows were so chaotic and rapid, it was hard to catch every single word. Basil would mouth off to his wife in a very low and quiet tone, so it would be hard to get every single word. The accents also make it hard to understand what they're saying sometimes.

My favorite episodes, both in here and the shows themselves, are: "Gourmet Night," "The Hotel Inspectors," "The Germans," "Communication Problems," "Waldorf Salad," "The Builders," and "Basil the Rat."

All in all, a very funny companion to the show. I really enjoyed reading this, and I am sure that I will read it over and over again. Every page is filled with nothing but some of the funniest lines you will ever read on paper. Just imagine John Cleese verbally and phsyically abusing Manuel, and you've got yourself a great time! Filled with witty humor, razor sharp comeback, the most outrageous situations, and the most memorable characters, "The Complete Fawlty Towers" is a fine companion to the show and is a must-have for all fans. If you love the show, get this book. I don't think you will regret it.

A perfect companion to the fabulous series
If you love "Fawlty Towers", or know someone who does, this book is an absolute must. It contains the scripts from all 12 epsiodes, as well as still pictures from the show. If you've ever found yourself missing a hilarious line due to an overachieveing laugh track, these scripts are just the thing you need to ensure you don't miss one hilarious word!

In some ways I prefer reading the scripts to Monty Python's Flying Circus over watching the original TV series (e.g., your imagination does not have the severe budget limits of the show). But reading the scripts to Fawlty Towers, while a fun experience in itself, is not as good as watching the show. The show did have as good of a set as it needed, and the script loses something without getting to see the wonderful physical comedy of the Basil Fawlty and Manuel characters. I don't honestly know if I would find the book as funny without picturing John Cleese's expressions from various episodes from memory. As a result, while I give the book 5 stars for its side-splitting humour, I would still recommend getting the videos instead.

American Gothic: The Story of America's Legendary Theatical Family: Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth
Published in Paperback by Touchstone Books (November, 1993)
Author: Gene A. Smith
Amazon base price: $12.00
Average review score:

one of the most fascinating books I have ever read
Truly spellbinding, nicely paced, and perfect length. After you read this book you will be amazed at what is left out of the history classroom. Don't miss a chance to read it.

A Gripping Read!
Gene Smith is a well-known historian who sticks to the facts. Yet his writing keeps his readers intrigued every step of the way. Of course, he is working with a family of thespians and a thick plot to begin with, which always helps. But Smith refuses to include any heresay or rumor - his writing is respectable AND creative. Smith remains unbiased, which is unusual with such a heated set of events. I have read dozens of books on the Booth family, and this is by far the best!

If only history classes were taught like this!
All I'd ever heard about was Booth the assassin of Lincoln. I had no idea he came from such a fascinating and talented family! So many details are given of his life and the lives of those surrounding this one event in history and yet his life is generally summarized in a few sentences. This book (and audio tape which I highly recommend) should be filmed and shown in schools, it's that interesting. Hearing it read brings up images as from the days of radio programs, only more rich in color and depth. I like this book so much I'm trying to find a copy. It must be better the second time around.

Cooking With Colorado's Greatest Chefs
Published in Hardcover by Westcliffe Pub (May, 1995)
Authors: Lynn Booth, Marilynn A. Booth, and John Fielder
Amazon base price: $14.98
Average review score:

A wonderful addition to my cookbook collection.
Ms. Booth gathered an extraordinarily versatile collection of very capable professionals willing to share their memorable recipes. Those of us fortunate enough to have received this book as a gift can leisurely savor diverse meals we were unable to enjoy while scurrying through the mountains during our hurried ski vacations. Anxiously awaiting a sequel...please.

must have cookbook for those special occasions
We have tried about ten recipes so far from the book and have been pleasently surprised in the outcome. In addition, the photography puts you there. Highly recommended!

Easy to use, quick, delicious recipes!
This cookbook combines the ease and speed of preparation with beautiful pictures of Colorado. Most ingredients are readily obtainable at my local supermarket. The dishes taste great and never fail to get me compliments from my guests. Ms. Booth has done a remarkable job of getting some of Colorado's best chefs to let us in on some of their best recipes.

Larry McReynolds, the Big Picture: My Life from Pit Road to the Broadcast Booth
Published in Hardcover by David Bull Publishing (09 October, 2002)
Authors: Larry McReynolds and Bob Zeller
Amazon base price: $17.47
List price: $24.95 (that's 30% off!)
Average review score:

I read books at the gym while getting my cardio in, and this book was an awesome read! I'd start, and the next thing I'd know it would be an hour later, and couldn't wait to get back to the gym to keep reading it.

Larry Mac is why you love NASCAR- Hard working, tell-it-like-it-is. I loved his stories about "visiting" the NASCAR trailer, finding that extra edge, the drivers he raced with, and his account of his career and history with racing from the beginning to the broadcast booth. I have great appreciation for someone who worked that hard, with that much dedication, intensity and passion.

Larry Mac tells it like it is, and like the other reviews, he does it with professionalism and dings the people needing dinged, even himself without being malicious. That is what I liked most about the book-Larry's way of telling the story how it should be told, not censored. It reads like Larry is sitting next to you, telling you the stories.

Ironically, we heard at the Winston Cup preview after meeting some crew members of various teams, how some people in NASCAR's negative attitude is towards Benny Parsons, only to come home and read what he said to Larry Mac. Well Larry, it's the passionate and colorful people like you and DW that makes the Fox broadcasts so awesome and fun to watch. You "done good"

TV Sports
I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting, fun, and full of anecdotes about NASCAR. His "Big Picture" includes the 18 months he spent with my favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt. Part of the book is what we see on TV, but the better part is how NASCAR and broadcasting work behind the scenes, and what it does to family and friend relationships. A really great read. I didn't want to put it down.

Great Insider Info
Larry Mac's story of his decades in NASCAR is a true joy to read. He doesn't hold back but is not also out to flame everyone.

He tells it like it is with everything from drivers to owners to how he bent or broke the rules.

All in all, its a great insiders perspective of the sport.

Possum Come A-Knockin (Dragonfly Books)
Published in Paperback by Knopf (August, 1992)
Authors: Nancy Van Laan and George Booth
Amazon base price: $6.99
Average review score:

possum for youngsters
I have read, and read, and read this story to my class of Kindergartners so many times they can say it from memory. We all love the funny illustrations but our favorite thing about this book is the language. The dialect is so fun to read and to listen to. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a vivid repeating story that is fun to read aloud.

My Number One Kids' Book
Over the years I have bought at least a half dozen copies of this to give as gifts. I don't even have kids, but it's one of my favorites. You have to read it aloud--and with a southern accent if you can.
I love the drawings too--kind of primitive which suits this book well. The possum has very cute and devilish expressions on his face.
I stick up for poor misunderstood possums anyway and was happen to have one star in such a cool book.

Possum Come A-Knockin
I love this book. We read this book to our children when they were younger. It was my husbands favorite to read. Somehow the book was given to charity. I have been looking for it at book stores , because I really wanted to replace it. I'm so glad you have the book and I will order a couple. We'll be reading it to our grandchildren someday. The book rhymes bueatifully and just flows when you read it. It's a great read out loud book.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
Published in Hardcover by HarperCollins (March, 1993)
Authors: Renni Browne, Dave King, and George Booth
Amazon base price: $20.00
Average review score:

I seized my magic marker. I writhed with shame.
"Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" literally had me writhing. At least my toes curled and I kept saying, "Ouch," as chapter after chapter critiqued yet another one of my cherished writing habits ('Tom Swifties' for one). I have two suggestions for potential readers: (1) bypass "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" completely if you have a delicate ego; (2) if you do read it, stock up on several different colors of magic markers and keep your manuscript nearby. It will soon be streaming with color.

Renni Browne and Dave King also explain why self-editing, "is probably the only kind of editing your manuscript will ever get." Many publishing houses have eliminated the tedious step of editing a promising manuscript to bring it up to its full potential. If they like it coming in the door, the manuscript is published 'as is'!

I'm sorry, Renni and Dave. I had to use an exclamation point to end that last sentence. Your book explains why I've been struggling through so many bloated fantasy novels, lately. The editors who used to take a red pencil to them are now gone missing, probably in the interests of 'cost cutting'. And if there is anyone out there who still believes fantasy novels do get edited, read "Rhapsody: Child of Blood" by Elizabeth Haydon.

"Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" is not just for the unpublished. The authors take examples of bad dialogue mechanics or second-hand reporting right out of the classics and show us how to rectify them. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and P.D. James all take their lumps in this book, and once you've seen how Renni and Dave improve these authors' paragraphs, you will probably agree with them (I did). You also get to practice on "The Great Gatsby" yourself in one of the exercises that follows the chapter on "Dialogue Mechanics".

Each chapter except the last in "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" has a checklist that you can take to your own manuscript. I used all eleven of the checklists on mine, and all I can say is, thank God for the 'cut and paste feature' in word processors. This novel of mine originally started out on a typewriter, and I would have been forced to commit hara-kiri if I'd read this book before 'cut and paste' was invented.

Seriously, this is a most helpful book for would-be 'published' authors of fiction. I'll give it five stars for now, but I'm going to hack in to and up its rating to seventeen stars if I actually do get published. Right now, I've got a few more changes to make to my manuscript....

Top editing advice from the pros
A lot of succesful published authors could learn from this book. It's written by two gifted editors who worked for major publishing houses and edited writers like Erica Jong and Sol Stein. I'm a professional writer (nonfiction)and writing teacher with a master's in language arts and I learned more about writing fiction from this text than any other source. It can't give you what you don't have in the way of ideas or talent, but it can make your writing much better and help you avoid the kinds of 'errors' (or weaknesses, shortcomings, and distractions where the author gets in the way of the story) that authors like Jane Smily, Le Carre,and Ruth Rendell DON'T make but that some popular writers I've really enjoyed (like Mary Higgins Clark and Ridley Pearson) DO sometimes make. Applying Browne and King's techniques has made my fiction so much stronger and given me answers to questions I've had for years about how to show characters' emotions without 'telling,' how to handle attributions and 'beats,' and other points of craft that can be learned. This is a wonderfully written, succinct, even brilliant book from people who really know what they're talking about. If my novel gets published it will be in large part because of the editing and final polish I was able to give it after studying this book. The first two editors and one agent I have approached want to read more chapters, and I think that's because of the improvements SELF EDITING showed me how to make.

A must reference for any writer aspiring to be published.
After you've written the best story you possibly can and you're ready to send it to an agent- read this book and go back to the drawing board. Don't let the comic book illustrations fool you, this is a serious writing tool. The examples and techniques given by Renni Browne and Dave King in SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS are priceless. It will highlight the amateur mistakes unwittingly made by many first-time authors, which are screaming red flags to agents and an acquisitions editor. Your manuscript will then gain that extra mark of professionalism. The distinction between a first draft and a story they want to see published. I found the chapter on characterization and exposition most beneficial. I learn something new about my growth as a writer and areas I can excel each time I read it. I consider it to be as valuable a reference as my dictionary or thesaurus. I hope to see more collaborative efforts from professionals in the field of editing and publishing for the benefit of writers in the future that are as easy to understand and readily applicable.

Blood on the Tongue
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Pocket Books (01 September, 2003)
Author: Stephen Booth
Amazon base price: $7.50
Average review score:

Atmospheric, character-driven mystery
Detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry take on a series of seemingly unrelated events - an apparent suicide, a beating, the murder of an unidentified man, a missing infant - in this character-driven mystery. All the cases keep leading back to frozen, snowy Irontongue Hill, where the wreckage of a Royal Air Force fighter plane that crashed there during World War II still remain. Meanwhile, the pilot's granddaughter has arrived from Canada seeking to clear her grandfather's name - and Ben finds himself intrigued by the story and by the woman who is so relentless in pursuit of the truth. Eventually the intertwined nature of the past and present mysteries becomes clear in a surprising ending.

The strength of this novel is in its characters: the pensive Ben, adjusting to moving out of his family's home; brusque, businesslike Diane, who seems not to feel at home anywhere; the Poles who fought for England in WWII and their descendants; and the numerous, perfectly sketched supporting characters who provide a sense of real community. There is apparently some sort of history between Ben and Diane - she is inexplicably annoyed by almost everything he does; he is very ambivalent about revealing himself to her - but its nature is never made clear. The vividly portrayed wintry landscape almost becomes a character as well. If you have read Stephen Booth's previous books, you will probably be pleased to spend time in familiar surroundings with old friends. If not, you will find an introduction to a world worth returning to.

The surprising thing about this author is that he isn't recognized more widely.
His writing is absolutely first-class, and his use of the
English language surpasses almost any other writing most us
encounter. In this narrow field of the "psychological thriller," his command of the language, and his fresh use of
the metaphor and simile, is unparalleled.
A serious reader will have to re-read some of his passages just
for the pleasure of how the mental picture developes as the
words are flowing.
In this outing, his "heros," Ben and Diane, remain at personal
odds, and they have a difficult time working together on their
rural Derbyshire Constabulary, but a series of crimes brings
them together again to work their particular magic on violent
A couple of dead bodies are found, apparently unrelated, but
investigation leads back to a WWII crash of a British bomber
in the rural mountains, and an amazing series of crimes begins
to unfold as evidence points to an ever-widening story of crime,
deception at multiple levels, and family relationships. The
details presented and analyzed will hold the reader's attention
throughout the book.
This author also has an unusual insight into how crime victims
react to the assaults on them, and some readers will almost
shrink from absorbing the details of that process.
This story is one that should not be missed by anyone reading
in the "crime" or "thriller" field, and we also learn a lot
about life in the rural England of today.
Rush to grab this one.

BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is another fantastic novel from Stephen Booth. Not only another fantastic novel, but one with old friends, and even some new ones. Reading BLOOD ON THE TONGUE felt like coming home again.

It is in the middle of the coldest part of the year in the Peak District. The time of the year for cold, frozen feet and red, burning ears. When snow flurries blow hard, and the snow banks along the roads grow so high that they hide all kinds of secrets. Perhaps even a dead body, or two.

Ben Cooper and Diane Fry find themselves together again, at the Edendale Police Department in the midst of a crime wave. Young men are beating each other, people are being found frozen in the snow, and there is a terrible shortage of help. To make life just that much more unbearable at the moment, Diane has a new nemesis, DC Gavin Murfin. A completely, in Diane's mind anyway, uncivilized brute who drives her nuts with both his disgusting eating habits, as well as just him simply breathing. Everything about Gavin disgusts Diane.

To top everything off E Division is getting a new Detective Chief Inspector. Stewart Tailby is retiring to a desk job at headquarters, and DCI Oliver Kessen is taking over.

In the middle of this chaos a young woman arrives from Canada in search of information concerning her grandfather, Daniel McTeague. The problem with this is that Pilot Officer McTeague has been missing since his RAF plane went down 57 years earlier in the peat moors around Irontongue Hill. It was reported at the time that Officer McTeague had survived the accident, and had left the wreckage, walking away from his military career and past life, never to be seen, or heard from again. His granddaughter, Alison Morrissey does not believe this, and is insistent that the police open the old case again and investigate.

Because of political pressure, the Chief Superintendent agrees to speak to Morrissy concerning her grandfather, but doesn't really have his heart in the whole thing. After all the disappearance was 57 years ago, and all of the evidence surrounding it seems pretty sound.

But Ben cannot, and will not let it alone. He has to find out what happened almost 60 years ago.

BLOOD ON THE TONGUE, like the previous books by Mr. Booth, is full of atmosphere and personal relationships. He does this in such a way that you actually feel that you are in the story. The way Mr. Booth describes the Peak District landscape, and the people of
Edendale draw you into the story.

You feel the cold wind against your face, burning your ears, and making it difficult to breath. As you look up at Irontongue Hill you will see it is, "tongue shaped with ridges and furrows. Reptilian, not human, with a curl at the tip. Colder and harder than iron. Darker rock laying on broken teeth of volcano rock debris." And 'you will' see it. All of this you will see and feel, along with people who you cannot forget, their lives entwined and yet separate. Mr. Booth brings both the land and the people together into a story that is completely unforgettable. One that will haunt you and make you want for more. And when you finally get that next story, Mr. Booth does it again, leaving you satisfied, and yet already yearning for more.

BLOOD ON THE TONGUE weaves the past and the present into one. Brings the story full circle. Every character and scene is woven so tightly that you cannot separate them, and yet they remain individual. The characters are everyday characters with lives, feelings, and personalities of their own that you actually can feel and touch. The scenes are so real that they will haunt your dreams at night. The mood, while dark, is absolutely balanced with enough humor and light that it doesn't depress you, but instead keeps you turning those pages to learn more.

BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is an absolute winner, and Mr. Booth has proven himself again as a literary giant. All I can say is that BLOOD ON THE TONGUE will leave you craving for more from this outstanding author.

As with Mr. Booth's previous books, Black Dog, and Dancing with the Virgins, BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is a book that you will want to read slowly, because you want to savor each and every word. It is a book you will not want to rush through. I took my time, knowing that when I turned that last page I would want the next episode and didn't want to have to wait for a long time. Now that I have turned that last page, I am looking forward to the next book out of Mr. Booth, knowing that he again will outdo himself, just as he has with BLOOD ON THE TONGUE. Until then my dreams will be full of the sights, the sounds, and the smells of the Peak District and the people who inhabit it.

Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan
Published in Paperback by Kodansha International (July, 1996)
Authors: Alan Booth and Joshua Sitzer
Amazon base price: $10.50
List price: $15.00 (that's 30% off!)
Average review score:

Journey through Japan
I wish I could write as entertainingly as Alan Booth. This book will not disappoint you, especially if you like traveling and are fascinated with Japan. And if not, it's still a great read anyway.

The most brilliant thing about this book is that the author combines Japanese history into his narratives as he traces three historical figures and/or locations in Japan by foot. The way he makes the characteres he meets along the way of his journey come to life is outstanding. I really enjoy this book and wish that he had written others before he died. The only thing that bothered me somewhat and makes me feel unsympathetic towards him, however, is that he drank too much. But who am I to judge? This is a great book. Highly recommended.

Sadness Over the Horizon
Will some publisher PLEASE print a collection of Alan Booth's outstanding newspaper articles? These would be a wonderful complement to Looking for the Lost and Roads to Sata.

Looking for the Lost is an oddity. A book that I remember few details of, yet I remember with great vividness that I was moved by a intangible sadness that was always just over the next horizon of his journeys. Alan Booth was a writer of invincible good humor. Too much so to speak of his own impending death (though his newspaper writings about his trials with the Japanese medical system are classic). But the alert reader is constantly aware of an impending passing of life, seemingly inseparable from the passing of beauty in this country.

I was in Japan during the final years of Alan Booth's life here, pretty much in the same circles. It is my deep regret that I never took the trouble to make his acquaintance.

an outsider's inside look at Japan
This is a facinating book. You get unusual and fresh perspectives on national/racial identity and the travel book. The story of how Alan Booth came to Japan, and his unique viewpoint as a foreigner who speaks the language, and knows as much or more about Japanese culture than many of the natives, is woven throughout his accounts of walking through different areas of the country. The way the people he meets view him, and the way he reacts and responds to them is often funny, and just as often instructive and meaningful. This a great book, and reveals much upon repeated readings. I only wish there more from him.

The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Minotaur (February, 2000)
Author: Martin Booth
Amazon base price: $6.98
List price: $27.95 (that's 75% off!)
Average review score:

Nicely Ties Together All Of The Strands
This is a solid and very readable biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. All of the elements are here: growing up poor in Edinburgh, with a disillusioned, distant and alcoholic father and a strong and loving mother; going to medical school and getting started in a medical practice; his growing success as a writer of short fiction and historical novels; his first marriage, to a woman who developed tuberculosis early on and who died in middle age; Conan Doyle's falling in love, while still married to his first wife, with Jean Leckie, the woman who became his second wife (the relationship wasn't sexual until Conan Doyle's first wife died and he had married Jean); his fascination with, and public enthusiasm for, spiritualism. Some of the information presented is well-known, such as the interest in spiritualism and Conan Doyle's growing tired very early on with writing the Sherlock Holmes stories. But I'm guessing that, unless you are a rabid Sherlockian who has read tons of material on the creation and his creator, you will find much of the information the author presents to be interesting and fresh. Mr. Booth shows the adventurous side of Conan Doyle- his early hitch on a whaling ship and another trip, as a medical officer, on board a merchant ship which travelled down the western coast of Africa. We learn about the difficulties involved for a young doctor in setting up a medical practice. You had to spend money to make money, as the practice had to look like it was flourishing even though it was just getting started. With his limited funds, Conan Doyle did a nice job of furnishing his consulation room. He had to hang up a curtain, however, so patients couldn't see into the rest of the house- which was pretty much devoid of any furniture or decoration. We learn that Conan Doyle was physically fit and an avid athlete- playing cricket, rugby, soccer, golf, etc. Mr. Booth tells us of Conan Doyle's meetings with other writers, such as Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, and P.G. Wodehouse. While not a fan of Wilde's unorthodox lifestyle, Conan Doyle admired the man's intellect and work, and was charmed by his personality. (Both men were wined and dined in August 1889 by the editor of "Lippincott's Monthly Magazine," and agreed to write something for the magazine. Conan Doyle came up with "The Sign Of Four" and Wilde's entry was "The Picture Of Dorian Gray.") Mr. Booth sprinkles abundant examples of Conan Doyle's humor and with throughout the book- regarding the heat along the African coast,Conan Doyle remarked "(It was) hot enough to render the weight of a napkin upon your knee at dinner time utterly unbearable."; and on hitting upon Reichenbach Falls as the place to kill off his famous creation, Conan Doyle wrote "(It was) a terrible place, and one that I thought would make a worthy tomb for poor Sherlock, even if I buried my banking account along with him." Mr. Booth is very good at describing Conan Doyle's contradictions and character flaws: he was stubborn and would never admit he was in error about anything; he believed the white race to be superior to other races; he wanted to liberalize divorce laws to make it easier for women to obtain divorces, but he was vehemently against women being allowed to vote; he was extremely curious and adventurous- he embraced the newfangled motorcars when they first appeared and made an ascent in a balloon- but was very conservative in his attitude towards women ( he felt their job was to maintain the home and that they needed to be "protected") and he was horrified by any kind of modern art. Conan Doyle was very generous with his time and money. Throughout his life he wrote many letters and articles in support of causes he thought were right and on behalf of people he felt had been wronged, plus he put his bankbook where his mouth was. Many people know that Conan Doyle grew tired of writing the Holmes stories and had to have a lot of cash waved in front of his nose to convince him to bring the character back. What I didn't know, and which Mr. Booth explains, is that Conan Doyle was a prolific writer of short stories (horror, fantasy and science fiction) and historical novels. He wanted to be remembered for his historical novels- he did a lot of research and worked hard to make those books realistic. He gradually had to face the fact that posterity was going to remember him for Sherlock Holmes. (The money helped. It gave him a comfortable living and enabled him to support spiritualism and all of the other causes.) With all of the above going for it, you might wonder why I'm giving the book 4 stars rather than 5. There are 2 reasons. Although the style is fine and certainly not boring, things seem a bit hurried. An awful lot of material is crammed into 350 pages. And although we get a very good picture of Conan Doyle, the book is a bit weak on his relationships. We don't get to see much interaction with his spouses, children, friends, and colleagues. Still, this is a very good book about a man who was charismatic, energetic, funny and very interesting.

"He could be more humble, but there's no police like Holmes"
This biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tells that he was far more than the creator of "Sherlock Holmes". He was trained as an MD, and started writing to supplement his income. His literary skills brought him great wealth and fame. He had enormous self-confidence, the courage of his convictions, and was never afraid of controversy. He vigorously campaigned on behalf of prisoners wrongly convicted. This book is well worth reading about this paradoxical and versatile man.

His experiences in the Boer War showed him the British Army was antiquated and in need of immediate and drastic reform. The cavalry was outdated; artillery should be diversified and camouflaged; rifle drill was more important than parade drill. Officers should not wear distinctive uniforms, and should end their luxorious habits that made it hard for a poor man to accept a commission (p.237). He advocated a civilian military reserve of well-trained citizens, and nationwide rifle clubs. By 1906 there was a national federation of rifle clubs. The British won the Boer War thru a scorched earth policy, and placing Boer women and children in concentration camps. ACD defended the British in a pamphlet that was widely distributed. He was later made a knight bachelor and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Surrey (p.241).

ACD introduced Norwegian skiing to Switzerland in 1894 (p.172), memorialized in a plaque in Davos. When he visited America he just missed meeting Oliver Wendell Holmes, who he admired (p.200). He introduced golf to New England (p.201).

In 1886 he got the idea of writing about a detective who would solve cases by his scientific methods, and not by the folly of the criminal. He was inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Emile Gaboriau, and the vast number of murders and crimes reported in the national press. Page 107 discusses the possible origins of the names of his heroes. "Sherlock" is Old Norse for "fair-haired". Page 190 discusses the possible models for Moriarity. "Vintage Victorian Murders" by Gerald Sparrow (p.40) tells of a Sayers, the barrister who ran the London underworld for twenty years; his profession gave him the world's most wonderful cover.

ACD was raised as a Roman Catholic and educated in a Jesuit school. He later became an agnostic, then a believer in Spiritualism. G.K. Chesterton once remarked that a man who believes in nothing could wind up believing in everything.

A victorian success story
I have been fascinated by this well written biography of A. Conan Doyle. The account of his difficult childhood and poverty reminds me of Charles Dickens life. However,he was helped to get a formal education and became a successful doctor. Doyle's father was an alcoholic who ended his days in an asylum. It seems that Doyle inherited some of his father's creative ability. Doyle was a man of wide interests-unfortunately we only know him for Sherlock Holmes. His historical novel, the White Company,was very popular. This is an impresssive account of an unusual man, who rose from a disadvantaged childhood to become one of England's most popular authors.

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