Reviews of Jeff's Book Talks
Below are selected Reviews (of various length) on a few of Jeff's Book Talk programs, both for Adult audiences and for Young Adults. A complete list of the more than 100 places at which Jeff has appeared can be found at Venues (pull-down button under Talks).
+ In December of 2019, Jeff Falkingham and fellow author Carl Brookins teamed up to entertain more than 40 members of a local crime writers’ group at their annual holiday gathering. Here are excerpts from a Facebook post the following morning by the group’s outgoing president, Timya Owen:
"What a FUN night we had at the Twin Cities ‘Sisters in Crime’ year-end celebration! We had a great time with our guest performers, Sherlock Holmes (also known as Carl Brookins) and Dr. Watson (aka Jeff Falkingham), and I highly recommend Jeff's Holmes presentation for any library, Friends of the Library, or book club gathering."
+ In September of 2014, Jeff gave back-to-back Book Talks in Sartell, Minnesota (near St. Cloud). This was not unusual; Jeff once gave nine Book Talks in five days, including three in one day, for the Kitchigami Regional Library System in northern Minnesota.
On this occasion, one Book Talk was for the residents of Country Manor (a senior living facility), the other for patrons of Drakes Fine Food and Spirits (both part of the Waterford Apartments development). Dennis Dalman, a veteran news reporter and editor, covered the event. His in-depth report to readers of The News, the local Sartell-St. Stephen newspaper, can be found HERE.
+ In April of 2019, Jeff gave a Book Talk to nearly 300 middle school students in far northwestern Minnesota. His portrayal of Dr. Watson was upstaged by the performance of local school teacher Kari Hepner as Sherlock Holmes. Their presentation was featured on the front page of the Crookston Times.
You can read about it HERE.
+ In October of 2011, Jeff helped kick off a Teen Read Week “Focus on Sherlock Holmes” program for students in Grades 6-8 at a middle school in northeastern South Dakota. The event was featured in the November-December issue of the South Dakota State Library “Cornerstone” e-newsletter, and later won a Jan Stauber grant for the school from the Beacon Society in Boston, which promotes programs that “bring the magic of Sherlock Holmes to life” for students in their homes, their schools and their communities.
You can read school librarian Janelle Kelly’s testimonial HERE.
MURDER in Minnesota!
"The stories are well-researched, capture the local flavor of life in both small towns and cities in late 19th century Minnesota, and are excellent Sherlock Holmes mysteries. For those who don't mind seeing the great detective outside of England, this is a must-have collection.
"In Sherlock Holmes and the County Courthouse Caper, 12-year-old Petey Smith makes for a fun narrator, giving us a child's eye view of a complex mystery. Imagine if Wiggins had narrated part of The Sign of the Four, and you get an idea of the tone for this tale. Falkingham does a particularly good job of blending in historical facts about Minnesota and includes an authentic historic railroad map of Western Minnesota which is important to the story. Falkingham also has good knowledge of Sherlock Holmes lore.
"The second adventure, Sherlock Holmes: In Search of the Source, takes place ten years after the Courthouse Caper. Petey is still the narrator, but he is older, on the verge of getting married. This story feels much more like a traditional Holmes adventure. Peter, at 22, sounds much more like a young Watson, and the adventure plays out more like a typical Doyle story. I give this adventure five stars.
"Falkingham is a talented writer, and I hope he writes more Holmes adventures with Petey Smith."
Derrick Belanger is an educator in Colorado. He also is a writer, editor & publisher with Belanger Books. Excerpts here are taken from a Book Review he posted on the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere website on July 29, 2019.. To read the entire review click HERE.
"Local color, well-crafted story, and inside jokes to delight"
"Jeff Falkingham is a Minnesota resident well-steeped in local history. In his County Courthouse Caper, he uses that expertise, as well as his Sherlockian knowledge, to craft a purely delightful story, particularly refreshing (or at least different) by being told by a child, Peter Smith, rather than by Dr. Watson.
"Falkingham also has fun with it, for there are inside jokes in this little book that will delight the reader, particularly those of his and my vintage (we're children of the 1960s) and those from Minnesota (or at least from Browns Valley). But two of them lept up into the face of even this easterner, and I laughed out loud. You need not be a Sherlockian to enjoy this book. It's a lovely adventure in the American northern midwest."
Henry Zecher, a native of Maryland, retired to Wisconsin with his wife, artist Gay Zurich. Mr. Zecher counts William Gillette, America's Sherlock Holmes among dozens of published scholarly works. Like Jeff Falkingham, Henry Zecher began his career as a sports writer, but eventually grew out of it. He posted this Review to Amazon.com on August 19, 2009. .
1. Beacon Society
Sherlock Holmes and the County Courthouse Caper
"Too many writers attempt to copy the Doyle-Watson style, and fail, often because they have no real knowledge of the late Victorian London. The bold few, who know their Holmes well enough, put him in a historical setting that they are thoroughly familiar with.
"That´s what Jeff Falkingham has done. He can bring old Brown´s Valley to life for us, because he knows it so well. And, I should add, because he´s a damned good storyteller. Sherlock Holmes and the County Courthouse Caper is a real page-turner -- a cracking good read."
Roger Johnson lives in England. He wrote this review for The District Messenger, "Official Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London" (Issue 278, 17 December 2007), when he was editor of that publication.
3. Roger Johnson
5. Henry Zecher
Reviews of Jeff's Books
Reviews of Jeff Falkingham's tales about the world's greatest consulting detective have been offered by several prominent Sherlockians, across the nation and around the world. Below, in alphabetical order, are a few examples (followed by Reviews of his Book Talks).
AN ELEMENTARY INVESTIGATION
4. Philip K. Jones
In February 2019, MURDER in Minnesota! Two Sherlockian Tales was added to the list of books recommended by the Beacon Society for young adult readers (teens & near-teens) "to enjoy and use for research purposes." The Beacon Society, based in Boston, promotes local programs and resources that "bring the magic of Sherlock Holmes to life" for students, in their homes, their schools and their communities.
This is the second time the Beacon Society has recognized Jeff’s work; he earlier shared a Jan Stauber Award for his school Book Talks program. You can read about that in the Reviews of Jeff's Book Talks section below. You'll find Jeff's book listed among "Pastiches" on the Beacon Booklist.
2. Derrick Belanger
Sherlock Holmes: In Search of the Source
"It is quite odd to find Holmes at ease with a foreign environment, yet it is also natural, given his professional detachment and his observer's view of the world. He always seems to accept the society around him at face value and to see the current situation as a modestly interesting example of Genus Homo in action. The author has perfectly captured this aspect of Holmes so that he never seems appalled, affronted or shocked by behavior, but rather mildly curious and interested in this particular set of eccentricities. His investigation is careful, thorough and conducted with as much cooperation with the local police as can be managed.
"The historical characters that wander through the book are true-to-life without being idealized. Their achievements come along with their oddities and even the several fictional characters seem as alive and as real as the historical ones. The mystery is well constructed and not easily solved while the characters are interesting and have a reality about them that is rare in a Sherlockian pastiche."
Philip K. Jones lives in Michigan. He is the author of The Punishment of Sherlock Holmes, and is a prolific book reviewer. He submitted this Review to Amazon.com in April 2009.