"It was evident from his first book Eliminate the Impossible that Alistair Duncan writes well, that he writes with knowledge and enthusiasm, and that he thinks about what he writes. His subsequent books, Close to Holmes and The Norwood Author, did more than just confirm that impression: they established him as an important commentator on Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous creation. After exploring the years when Conan Doyle lived in Norwood - surprisingly neglected by previous biographers, even though it was then that he became truly famous - Mr Duncan has turned his attention to the author's next decade, perhaps the most turbulent of his life. Undershaw, the house that Conan Doyle had built at Hindhead, was his home from 1897 to 1907. He wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Nigel, The Return of Sherlock Holmes and much else at Undershaw. The house saw the end of his first marriage and the beginning of his second. He was resident here when he became Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Yet, despite its cultural and architectural importance, Undershaw currently stands empty, vandalised and neglected. Read An Entirely New Country and you'll understand just why the Undershaw years were so important."
The most important book on Conan Doyle in 2011? - undoubtedly.
The biggest Holmes seller this Christmas will probably be The House Of Silk - the new Holmes 'official' novel from Anthony Horowitz and we understand too well the importance of pastiches as the most popular form of new Holmes books for publishers. However, we hope that at least one person that reads An Entirely New Country has a spare £million or two to invest in preserving an important part of Conan Doyle's history before it is lost forever.
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