Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: Bait & Switch: A sci-fi Sherlock Holmes by Ashley Marie Bergner


Bait & Switch: A sci-fi Sherlock Holmes by Ashley Marie Bergner

This is a review of the Kindle version.

The author, Ashley Marie Bergner is a fan of the science fiction genre and Sherlock Holmes. This book successfully combines both these components and the end product is a delightful Sherlock Holmes pastiche with a sci fi flavor.

There are a total of 6 cases in this pastiche. The first one begins with Sherlock Holmes and Jaymie Watson meeting at building 221 in Quadrant B. A woman disappears shortly and our duo is off on their first case together. The second and third cases have Holmes solving the murder of an actress and the theft of a precious diamond respectively.

The final 3 cases have Holmes piecing together the pieces that would help him stop a criminal mastermind with unlimited resources and power at his command.

Click on the link below to buy the book:


Here are the things I liked the most:
  1. Good representation of the Canonical Holmes – Calm with a dry/sarcastic sense of humor. Some of his exchanges with other characters are similar to those of Cumberbatch’s version.
  2. Nods to classic Holmesian traits – Conducting experiments, operating outside the law, thorough knowledge of London, lack of respect for social titles and designations, breaking into buildings as part of investigations, using his memory to store facts only when needed, knowledge on poisons, Holmes’s penchant for adopting disguises and accents.
  3. Lestrade is featured heavily in this pastiche. As can be expected, there are familiar jabs by Sherlock at the efficiency of the Official Police force and the “little sallow, rat-faced, dark-eyed fellow” in particular.
  4. Good sci-fi flavor to the Legendary Detective – All the familiar settings and characters but cast in a different universe. Couple of examples: London is Loudron and Scotland Yard is Civic Security Station.
  5. My favorite character is Miles Zawker. To reveal more will be spoiling the fun and I will leave it at that!

Ashley Marie Bergner
Ashley Marie Bergner
Canonical References
  1. When Watson first meets Holmes, the latter is conducting a chemical experiment.  A very similar scenario happens in A Study in Scarlet.
  2. This line from the pastiche - “… his eyes quickly darting about the room like a praxit cat’s, taking in every detail.” is a nice variation on following observation made by Dr Watson in The Sign of the Four: “So swift, silent, and furtive were his movements, like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent..”.
  3. There is a reference to this line in The Adventure of the Three Garridebs – “The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain.”
  4. One of the characters refers to Holmes as a meddlesome, far-too-nosy busybody. Readers familiar with the Canon will recognize the “Holmes, the busybody!” line spoken by Dr. Grimesby Roylott in The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
  5. Sherlock Holmes cautions Watson against judging her date based on his (seemingly) nice behavior. Reference to The Sign of Four - "It is of the first importance not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities… The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning."
  6.  I especially loved "room No. 1893". Very subtle and yet very satisfying!

I found some nods to the current Sherlock Holmes adaptations:

Guy Ritchie directed movies
  • Holmes pastes pictures, words and thoughts on his bedroom wall. He calls the wall his "association map". This is similar to the diorama maintained by Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes in Watson’s office.

Sherlock Holmes Diorama from the movie 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'
Diorama from the movie 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' 
  • Holmes enacts his plans as a digi-drama in his mind before things happen. This reminded me of the Holmavision of Robert Downey Jr.'s version.

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) performing his Holmesavision
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) performing his Holmesavision 
  • The plot of Case # 4 has some similarities to the first movie.
BBC series Sherlock
  • The sci-fi version of Holmes is verbose and wears a trench coat and scarf.
BBC Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) in his signature trench coat
BBC Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) in his signature trench coat
  • Anderson, Sherlock's nemesis in the Scotland Yard is referred to indirectly.

Anderson in 'A Study in Pink' BBC Sherlock
Anderson in 'A Study in Pink'
Some things that did not work out:

  1. In Case # 1, Holmes guesses some things about Watson. This is a significant departure from the Canon. In The Sign of the Four, Holmes makes the following observation - "No, no; I never guess. It is a shocking habit - destructive to the logical faculty." But to the author’s credit, this is a rare misstep.
  2. Case # 5 - I personally found it to be considerably less involving than the rest. There is not much mystery or suspense in this section and the main focus is on Watson’s date with another character.
  3. The final case contained some melodramatic elements and the resolution was a bit clichéd.
  4. Too many times, the words “meddling” and “meddler” are used with reference to Holmes. I can only guess that the author likes Scooby Doo a lot!
In conclusion, this pastiche is a good example of how to give a futuristic update to the Victorian settings of the Canon. It is an excellent homage to the legend of Sherlock Holmes.

Click here to read all my posts about Sherlock Holmes.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Image Sources: Amazon, Fanpop, GQ Magazine

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

You might also like:

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes novel
Bending the Willow

Friday, November 16, 2012

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 7 - "One Way to Get Off "


Aidan Quinn, Jonny Lee Miller and Callie Thorne in CBS Elementary Episode # 7 One Way To Get Off
Aidan Quinn, Jonny Lee Miller and Callie Thorne in CBS Elementary
A copycat killer has sprung up and Captain Toby Gregson (Aidan Quinn) promptly contacts Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) for assistance. Holmes is convinced that something more sinister is afoot as he deduces way too many similarities to previous crimes committed by one Wade Crews (Keith Szarabajka) now serving his jail sentence.

In the previous episode, it was revealed that Sherlock was involved with Irene Adler back in London. Sherlock is still hesitant to share any details and even conducts his investigation alone.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Episode # 7 One Way To Get Off
Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) hands over Irene Adler's letters to Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller)
Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) however is persistent and visit Hemdale Rehabilitation Facility to find out more about Sherlock’s past. She finds out that Sherlock has not revealed a single aspect of his life to any of his handlers. His only confidant/friend is Groundskeeper Edison (Stephen Henderson), who happens to tend to bees as well. Edison hands over some stuff left behind by Sherlock. These include letters sent by Irene to Sherlock.

Gregson’s old partner, Terry D'Amico (Callie Thorne) who worked with him on the Wade murders is back, thanks to Sherlock. Gregson believes that Wade is guilty. Holmes seems to have reservations. Is Holmes correct in his thoughts?

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 1:



Jonny Lee Miller continues to impress as Sherlock Holmes. Miller presents a version of Holmes that is faithful to the Canon. His sense of humor is fast becoming the signature trait of this version of Holmes.

Here are the Canonical references:
  1. Miller’s Sherlock knows a lot of details about the Wade murders. This seems to surprise Gregson, considering that these murders took place almost 15 years ago. Dr Watson made the following observation about Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet – “Sensational Literature. -- Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.”
  2. Interestingly, Miller’s Holmes also contradicts what we know about the Canonical Holmes. Miller’s Holmes recognizes a couple of lines spoken by a character as being written by Leo Tolstoy and Oscar Wilde. In A Study in Scarlet, Dr Watson lists Sherlock’s knowledge of Literature as Nil.
  3. Miller’s Holmes uses Social Engineering to obtain information about a hotel guest. The Canonical Holmes used similar tactics to obtain information from Milverton’s housemaid in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.
  4. Miller’s Holmes changes his voice to gain entry into a hotel room. This is the closest I have seen this version of Holmes come to acquiring a disguise as part of an investigation. The Canonical Holmes adopted many disguises on a regular basis in a number of cases.
  5. Miller’s Holmes indulges in lock picking to enter a hotel room. In the story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, Holmes displays his burgling kit, complete with keys, glass-cutter and a jimmy.
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Episode # 7 One Way To Get Off
Jonny Lee Miller makes a remarkable Sherlock Holmes
I also liked a couple of other things:
  1. Miller’s Holmes speaks fluently in Russian. He was also seen conversing very freely in Chinese in one of the earlier episodes. Though there was never any mention in the Canon, it is not a far stretch to assume that the Canonical Holmes would have been fluent in many languages.
  2. Miller’s Holmes asks to use the "Lavatory". Gregson has to explain to the puzzled American character that Holmes is actually looking for a bathroom. This was a nice touch and emphasized the very British nature of Miller’s Holmes.
As much as I liked the way Miller portrayed Holmes, the episode dragged throughout its running time. Despite a twist in the climax, this was one of the weakest episodes with a boring screenplay.



Callie Thorne as Terry D’Amico in Elementary Episode # 7 One Way To Get Off
Callie Thorne as Terry D’Amico, Gregson's old partner
CBS, better luck next time!

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Image Source: CBS

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

You might also like:

Elementary - Flight Risk
Elementary - The Rat Race

Monday, November 12, 2012

RIP Kwashi (1982 - 2012)


Kwashi Silverback Gorilla Cincinnnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Kwashi (1982-2012)
Kwashi, a Silverback Gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden passed away recently.

We had the opportunity to see Kwashi during our visit to the zoo. He appeared calm and meditative (like many of his species do).

RIP, Kwashi. You will be missed.

Kwashi Silverback Gorilla Cincinnnati Zoo and Botanical Garden


Kwashi Silverback Gorilla Cincinnnati Zoo and Botanical Garden 


Click here for more information. Click here and here to watch our videos of Kwashi.

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

You might also like:

Gorillas in the Mist
Save the Mountain Gorillas

Thursday, November 8, 2012

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 6 - "Flight Risk"


Sherlock and Joan with Gregson and Bell in Elementary Episode # 6 Flight Risk
Sherlock and Joan with Gregson and Bell in Elementary

Holmes discovers about a plane crash by listening to the police scanner. The detective in charge of the investigation, Miranda Molinari (Reiko Aylesworth) makes it perfectly clear that NYPD and associated “consultants” are not welcome at the crash site.

Holmes cheerfully disregards this and proceeds with his investigation anyway. He deduces that one of the passengers was killed before the plane crashed.

All the passengers were working for a law firm and were involved in a lawsuit against a company for causing cancer. Soon one of the suspects seems to be on the run and as expected Holmes catches the culprit.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 1:




The mystery is good but is overshadowed by the other subplot about Sherlock’s past.

Holmes’s father wants to have dinner with Sherlock and Joan. Sherlock is not appreciative of the idea and confidently predicts that his father will not turn up. In a way, Sherlock Sr. (Roger Rees) ends up having the dinner with Watson and this was the most hilarious scene in the episode.

Joan does some deductions on her own and tracks down “Sherlock Sr.” for some additional information about Sherlock’s past. And what we get is a doozy – Irene Adler aka The Woman.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 6 Flight Risk
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes

Jonny Lee Miller finally delivers a solid performance. This is the first episode where Miller’s performance has started to grow on me. It also helps that Miller and Lucy have a great chemistry. Miller's Holmes has the right combination of humor and assertiveness, that makes him a good on-screen version of the Canonical Holmes. 

It is heartening to see Miller establish his credentials as a credible Sherlock Holmes, after Stephen Moffat and some fans of Sherlock had written off this series so prematurely. As Holmes said in A Scandal in Bohemia: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Lucy Liu continues her amazing run as Joan Watson. If the previous episode focused on her past life, this time it is Sherlock’s past. Since Miller’s Sherlock has never been happy to discuss his past, Joan has to do some investigation herself and she does not disappoint. Full credit to Lucy for giving us one of the best Watsons.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 6 Flight Risk
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson

Roger Rees made a fine impression and I look forward to his (hopefully) further appearances on the show. The discussion between “Sherlock Sr.” and Joan in the library about the definition of friendship was executed nicely and very Sherlockian in nature.

To the best of my knowledge, this episode had the least number of Canonical References:

1.   The dinner meeting of Sherlock Sr. and Joan Watson reminded me of the following line from The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone – “My old friend here will tell you that I have an impish habit of practical joking”.

2.   Irene Adler – It would be interesting to see how Irene fits in this adaptation and which actress is cast for the role.


I thought this was the best episode so far. Well done, Guys.

Reiko Aylesworth as Miranda Molinari in Elementary Episode # 6 Flight Risk
Reiko Aylesworth as Miranda Molinari

Click 
here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Image Source: CBS

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

You might also like:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 5 - "Lesser Evils"


Jonny lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 5 Lesser Evils
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in CBS Elementary

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) discovers that someone is killing victims with terminal diseases and passing them off as natural deaths. The killer is injecting Epinephrine into the victims to cause their deaths.

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) runs into her old friend, Dr Carrie Dwyer (Anika Noni Rose) who also works at the same hospital. Joan is concerned about Dr Dwyer's current patient, but her pleas fall on deaf ears.

Jonny lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 5 Lesser Evils
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes
Holmes and Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) interrogate a list of suspects and zero in on a doctor. Does he turn out to be the killer? Can Joan save her friend's patient before it is too late?

Miller is showing continuous improvement in his performance. CBS recently ordered a complete season for the show. Hopefully by the end of the first season, Miller would have carved his own niche among the pantheon of actors to have portrayed the detective.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 1:




Joan not only stands up to Sherlock’s quips, but helps Holmes in the case as well. Joan started learning the skills of observation and deduction in the previous episode and I like her continuing character arc as the show progresses. Lucy Liu has given her best performance in this episode.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 5 Lesser Evils
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson

Here comes my favorite section of the review – The references to the Canonical stories:
  1. Miller’s Holmes discovers that there are 2 different handwritings in a patient’s consent form. Sherlock Holmes made a similar deduction in the story – The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle.
  2. Miller’s Holmes and his friend visit the same beekeeping chat room. In the story His Last Bow, Sherlock mentions he is writing a book on Bee Keeping entitled “Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen”.
  3. In the opening scene, Miller’s Sherlock is conducting an experiment on a corpse. In A Study in Scarlet, Stamford informs Watson about Holmes’s habit of beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick.
  4. When Joan Watson asks Miller’s Holmes about having sushi for dinner, Miller’s Holmes mentions about mercury poisoning and explains that Anisakis is a worm can infect human beings. In A Study in Scarlet, Watson make a list of topics on which Sherlock Holmes has knowledge. In this list, Watson mentions Holmes as having variable knowledge in Botany and is well up in poisons generally.
  5. Miller’s Holmes shuts himself inside the hospital room to make sure no one tampers with the scene of the crime. In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes expresses his regret at the lack of prints on the pathway to the scene of a crime due to the movement of people – “If a herd of buffaloes had passed along, there could not be a greater mess.”
This episode had lot of humor injected throughout. I especially loved the elevator scene with Holmes and the janitor. That was pretty funny.
The only downside was the excessive use of medical terms. Given the nature of the murders, this was understandable.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 5 Lesser Evils
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson

In conclusion, this was one of the better episodes in the show.

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Image Source: CBS

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

You might also like: