Have you ever walked a tightrope without a net -- in front of an audience?
Neither have I. But Charlotte Anne Walters did, in a literary sense. To celebrate publication of her novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, she announced on her very interesting blog that she would read and comment on each of the Sherlock Holmes stories on the blog -- one a day until she finished all 56.
That's quite a task. Amid the busyness of life, it's hard enough just to read a set amount per day. To comment on it as well is herculean. But she not only did it, she did it well. Her commentaries are often enlightening and always highly personal. In writing about "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," for example, she recalled the process of writing her novel:
Some weekends I'd be sitting there writing about foggy cobbled streets with hansom cabs rattling along then I'd get a phone call about epic staffing disasters on a make-up counter in a prestige department store and be pulled abruptly back in the the 21st century Sometimes it was hard to make my way back.And how's this for a great opening sentence on "The Adventure of the Three Gables": "Mrs. Klein is the ultimate cougar, and much more interesting than Irene Adler in my opinion."
You can still read the commentaries on the blog, but I'm pleased that they've been gathered into a book along with new chapters on the four Sherlock Holmes novels. If the convenience of finding them all in one volume isn't enough reason to add this book to your library, consider this: The sale proceeds go to the effort to save Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home.
56 Sherlock Holmes Stories in 56 Days is available from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and also now in ebook format including Amazon Kindle and iPad format.