MX, Undershaw and the Guinness Book of Records

You may have spotted a recent article in the radio times, doubtless inspired by the success of the Sherlock TV series and the patronage of its writer, Mark Gatiss.

A little about Undershaw. The house was designed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and built so that he could look after his ailing wife, Touie, who was suffering from tuberculosis at the time. Living there for ten years – from 1897 until 1907 – he wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles while in residence, along with the stories that made up The Return of Sherlock Holmes. After a number of uses, the house fell into the hands of property developers, whose plans appalled many fans of Doyle and Holmes, and the Undershaw Preservation Trust was established in 2009 to protect it from exploitation. This pressured the developers into selling, and although the local Borough Council declined to step in, it was acquired last year to restore it as school – Stepping Stones – for children with hemiplegia, anxiety, and autistic spectrum difficulties.

Concerning the books.

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories started, I believe, as a single volume of stories written to raise funds for the Undershaw Preservation Trust. There are some impressive Sherlockian names attached to the project – Molly Carr, Michael Kurland, Andy Lane, James Lovegrove and Bonnie McBird, to name but a few – and it has blossomed into a three volume series of canonical short stories told in chronological order.

By virtue of its size, the book qualifies as a mammoth piece of Sherlockiana, capturing a veritable cornucopia of stories from many contemporary Sherlockians. Released in November, it promises to be one of the must-have collections of the year.