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The Adventure of the Engineer's Tongue: 9 (The Unexpurgated Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

By NP Sercombe

Dr. Watson was the chronicler of every Sherlock Holmes adventure published in The Strand magazine between 1887 and 1927.

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978-1-999696184 [G23]

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 He reported them with honesty in the bluff, army-style of a military doctor, so frank in their account of human behaviour that they were too risque for the morals of Victorian England.

George Newnes, the editor, purged each story before its publication. Newnes also replaced Watson's jocular illustrations with Sidney Paget's more innocuous portrayals. Newnes deleted everybody's backgrounds but in these accounts Watson reveals Holmes's family: his father, Professor Julian Cornelius Bortzoy Holmes; his wife, Wendy; his sister, Rachel, as well as Mycroft. Watson also exposes Mrs. Hudson's property empire and he tells us how Professor Moriarty became "the Napoleon of crime." Some of this new material is shocking, even by today's standards!


Book 9 synopsis, Holmes and Watson attend Ascot Races as guests of Lord Coventry. On the first day they lose all their money but, luckily, next morning they are engaged by a new client - an engineer who has had his thumb sliced off by a German chopper. When he describes how something more intimate has been bitten off in a scene of such horror it puts Watson off his breakfast, they go in pursuit of the villains.

Meanwhile, at Ascot, Dr. Watson is befriended by The Prince of Wales and given a hot tip by The Jewish Chronicle in the Gold Cup. If the horse wins it will not only recover their losses but also pay the rent arrears at 221B Baker Street. Quotes from the author "I have been racing at Royal Ascot for 43 years. When Conan Doyle sent Holmes and Watson in that direction, to solve the mystery of the engineer's thumb, I had a chance to feature Ascot Races in 1891. What fun to write about this unique racecourse! In those days we didn't have Frankie Dettori, but we have the badly-behaved Prince of Wales instead - Bertie - who embraces Dr. Watson and uses him as a bookie's runner." "When I read the original story I was underwhelmed by the character of a rather naive engineer. He has a grim night in a local house where he is attacked because of his nosiness. I decided to turn up the volume and made sure that his experience was a scene of such horror it could have been in a Roger Corman movie."

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