The Spanish Drums 1st Ed.

 

OUT OF PRINT

 

Synopsis

Dr. John Watson is contacted by a former army colleague from Afghanistan, who has since transferred into the Border Regiment. He appeals to Watson for help and urges him to bring his friend Sherlock Holmes to Carlisle to investigate the daring theft of the Regiment’s most prize possession – the Arroyo Drums.


Publisher: Bookcase
Published Date:  28 October 2003
Format: Paperback
Category: Crime
ISBN : 190414702X

Review

HOW SHERLOCK HOLMES SAVED THE BORDER REGIMENT'S ARROYO DRUMS.

It's a little known fact that the great Sherlock Holmes, the doyen of all detectives,        solved one of his most intriging cases in Carlisle.

It all began when the good Doctor Watson received a letter addressed to 221B Baker Street from his old companion in arms Captain Harry Vaughan of the Border Regiment.

The request was simple: Captain Vaughan sought to commission the services of the redoubtable Holmes in tackling a problem that was a great embarrassment to the regiment. Their most treasured possession, the Arroyo Drums had been stolen.

The regiment, then known as the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment, had captured the drums in a skirmish with the French during the Peninsular War in 1811 and they have proudly paraded their prize on the 28th October ever since.

Sherlock Holmes's response was immediate: 'We shall take the eight-seventeen out of Euston and head for the city of Carlisle, in the county of Cumberland, tomorrow.'

Holmes and Watson arrive at Carlisle Station and an enterprising photographer has captured their image as they walk along the platform - and walk past the unruly Gaol Tap or Prince of Wales public house to stay at the Crown and Mitre.

The following day Holmes and Watson learn that the drums have been stolen from St Mary's Tower on the previous Tuesday. Discipline and procedures have been lax and there are red faces all round. But there is no easy accounting for the dissapearance of the drums.

Holmes sets about solving the mystery with his usual enigmatic acumen. Watson stumbles in his wake as he tries to follow the master's elementary deductive processes. They make their way through the streets of Edwardian Carlisle.

It would be remiss of me to tell what happens next but through a series of intriguing twists and turns and after high drama the mystery is eventually solved and the villains brought to justice.

Martin Daley's first novel is a vivid exercise in historical reconstruction. The old city of Carlisle and many of its familiar landmarks are brought to life. In passing we learn a great deal about the Carlisle of 100 years ago and the history of the Border Regiment.

Holmes and Watson move through the streets just as readily as if they were guided by the hand of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself.

Conan Doyle actually came to Carlisle several years later when he wrote an article about the Gretna Munitions Factory. He too stayed at the Crown and Mitre. The characters he created in Holmes and Watson see to have acquired a life of their own. Enthusiasts still look for the fictional rooms in Baker Street and some report having heard the Hound of the Baskervilles on damp and dismal Dartmoor nights.

Martin has responded to the magic of the great detective. Sherlock Holmes now walks the streets of Carlisle just as surely as he paced across the carpet in Baker Street or stode across the wastes of Dartmoor.

The book will be launched on Arroyo Day, next Tuesday, 100 years after Holmes solved his one and only case in Carlisle. Martin will be reading from his book and signing copies in Bookcase, Castle Street at 7:30pm.

 

Cumberland News
Friday, 24 October 2003