Wednesday, October 28, 2015

book review

-- Product Review -- 

While I rarely do book reviews anymore (I was a professional book reviewer for 7-8 years, reviewing an average of 500 books a year in many genres from young children to novels and non-fiction), I could not resist MX Publishing’s invitation to review 5 different books in the Sherlock Holmes genre.

I received:

Sherlock Homes – Tangled Skeins; Stories From The Notebooks

Sherlock Holmes And The Sword of Osman

No Better Place: Arthur Conan Doyle, Windlesham and Communication with the Other Side

The Final Problem – A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

These books were delivered to my doorstep August 11th or so in an appropriate sized cardboard shipping box, with no additional or unnecessary packaging -which is great for the environment.

I have been reviewing each book separately and have hyperlinked the titles of the books I’ve already completed in the list above. The last book I will review in this list is: Sherlock Homes And The Sword of Osman written by Tim Symonds.


This novel has Sherlock and John traveling abroad to represent the crown’s interest by wooing, protecting and detecting for someone they don’t particularly like. While the theme of the missing royal sword and betrayal where you least expect it, the author interwove an early 19th century Ottoman Empire royalty romance that will leave some readers (like this one) shaking their heads. Yet despite all this, I found myself wanting more… the story-line seemed disjointed somehow, combined with the author’s overly descriptive writing style – it certainly left a taste of yearning that one feels with unfinished work. I’m sure other readers will salivate over the scene descriptions; this is truly only my personal opinion. That aside, I did truly enjoy the relationship Tim created between the lead characters – watching them interact, finding humor in surprising places and “hearing” John Watson’s voice in my head as he narrated the story. 

The book made me very curious about the Ottoman Empire so I looked it up online to find that there are many similarities between the historical facts and buildings, and Tim’s story. He obviously did immense research for this book and he pays tribute to some of the real people that once existed in the Notes From The Author section near the end of the book. You’ll also find a glossary of some of the lingo used in this book via the Lexicon section at the end of the book. 

The author, Tim Symonds, was born in London although he spent some of his life in Canada, the US and Africa as well. He holds a degree in Political Science and is a Fellow with the Royal Geographical Society (people considered to be achievers are awarded this honor). 

This paperback is about 230 pages, weighs roughly 12.6 oz. and measures approximately 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches. You can find it on - $14.95 (US) for the paperback and $7.69 (US) for the e-book. Alternatively visit where you can purchase the e-book for $9.99 (CDN) and the paperback book for $19.87

2 (CDN). 

The publisher - MX Publishing - is the world’s largest specialist Sherlock Holmes publisher, with over a hundred and fifty titles and eighty authors creating the latest in Sherlock Holmes fiction and non-fiction. MX Publishing also has one of the largest communities of Holmes fans on Facebook with regular contributions from dozens of authors. Interestingly, MX titles are licensed around the world including Japan, China, India, Russia, Italy, Spain, and Poland – and many of their books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. The company itself is based in London, UK. Sadly, I could not find any information about the publishing company regarding environmental responsibility, in-house purchasing, or printing policies (i.e. SFI certified paper, veggie inks, acid/bleach free paper, etc.). However they do support social causes – for instance they have a group of authors who are donating the royalties to the restoration of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home, Undershaw. The building was in terrible disrepair and was saved from destruction by the Undershaw Preservation Trust (patron Mark Gatiss; Today the building has been bought by Stepping Stones (a school for children with learning difficulties) and is being lovingly restored to its former glory. Steve Emez, MX’x Managing Director, also is very involved with charitable causes and has done many awareness campaigns via his skills with swimming. Find out more about this company via:

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet:


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