Tag Archives: review

shelock homes watson afghan adventure book cover mx publishing Kieran McMullen

Book Review: Watson’s Afghan Adventure

One the enduring mysteries of the Sherlock Holmes canon is how Doctor Watson came to become injured. Anyone who reads the original tales is aware that he was an army Doctor, that he served in Afghanistan* and that he took bullets from a jezail to the leg and shoulder. The specifics of his service are not covered in any more detail than that, mainly because Watson’s narrative is focused on the current exploits of Holmes rather than his own past.

The concept behind this book was therefore intriguing to me as, in whatever medium Holmes is seen, I have always had a soft spot for good old Doctor Watson and always wondered about the story behind his wounds. This book delivers that tale as Watson, following a mysterious visit from an old army buddy, is called upon to relate it to Holmes in order to explain some discrepancies noted in previous telling. The bulk of the book covers Watson’s telling as he describes a treasure hunt in the wilds of Afghanistan against the backdrop of a war with the dissident tribes of that region.

The ‘war journal’ style may be the greatest weakness of this work. The information within is very well researched and many details of the war are presented – troop movements, names of regiments and commanders, results of battles and so on. All well and good if one is looking to write an essay on the military of the period but much of it is portrayed in a very bland style. Of course, this helps to maintain the periodicity (it certainly fits the style of contemporary war journals) and the fiction that this is Watson’s account of the events as he is likely to have told them to his friend, but when reading this there is a tendency to gloss over these largely irrelevant details in search of the next piece of the plot to find the treasure. There is also the fact that this is a story set in the Holmes universe in which Holmes does not make a significant appearance. He is there at the start, in order to persuade Watson to tell his tale, and he closes the book with some observations but that is all he contributes. The publishers, no doubt aware of this fact, are therefore careful to not label this as a ‘Sherlock Holmes adventure’ to avoid any confusion.

If you accept that this is a story without Holmes, then there is a rather good adventure story here. There is no great mystery to solve (and one suspects that had Holmes been there the location of the treasure would have been deduced in a matter of moments and therefore reduced the tale to a mere footnote…) but there is intrigue, tension and a travelogue of India and Afghanistan to enjoy. When starting this book, I had entertained the expectation that maybe there would be a situation established where Holmes and Watson were faced with a mystery in their present day which linked back to Watson’s military service and the telling of the tale would give Holmes a clue as to the current dilemma. This is not the case, Watson’s tale is all we get. Perhaps a missed opportunity or maybe McMullen was keen to focus on his central concept rather than digress.

In all, an interesting if risky premise – telling a Sherlock Holmes tale without Sherlock Holmes in it and potentially dabbling in the canon in a way which might annoy purists**. Enjoyable and interesting if you are curious about the background of one of the heroes but still leaves you wanting more of the eponymous detective.

*A neat little correspondence that Stephen Moffat uses in the modern remake, the fact that Watson has a modern war in Afghanistan to come home from…

** For example, Holmes quickly ascertains on examining the bullets that were taken from Watson’s wounds that they were not from a Jezail at all…

You can purchase this book from MX Publishing directly or in book or Kindle format at Amazon.

sherlock holmes and the whitechapel vampire cover mx publishing dean p turnbloom review

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes & The Whitchapel Vampire

There has certainly been a great deal of cases over the years where Sherlock Holmes meets Jack The Ripper. I would hazard a guess that there have been more cases than there have been years elapsed since the initial murders (124, for the mathematically challenged). Sherlock Holmes & The Whitechapel Vampire is the only one to date that I’ve seen that crosses Sherlock Holmes, Jack The Ripper and vampires.

The fact that Holmes and Watson aren’t introduced until page 20 is a worrying indicator of how the book will turn out. Instead, we are introduced to the author’s own creation (for the purposes of this book Dracula wasn’t in the public domain) in a brief two chapters that introduce the sub-plot with the framed Italian youth. However, due to how they were written, it was more like the literary equivalent of what TV Tropes helpfully defines as “twenty minutes with jerks” than something I particularly cared about.

Since I am not recommending this book, I can speak freely without fear of spoilers. The central character, Baron Antonio Barlucci spends a bit too much time impersonating Edward Cullen for my liking and as in Twilight, the prose seems at times like it was written by a twelve year old. One particularly annoying part of his writing is his tendency to write IN CAPITAL LETTERS when Sir Charles Warren is shouting or emphasizing a PARTICULAR word.

For any readers looking for a great “Sherlock Holmes meets The Ripper” story, this is not it. In that case, I would direct them to the far superior The Whitechapel Horrors by Edward B. Hanna. As it is, this piece has too many flaws to make a serious recommendation.

Having said all that, there are a few points in favour of the book. It seems to be very well researched, offering up explanations for the established Ripper phenomena that tally with our best guess about him. It also provides an interesting reason for the story to remain hidden for so long. Not necessarily the best one but certainly an interesting one.

And I suppose the barometer for any book’s quality must lie in its readability. Whatever its faults, this book certainly kept me reading. Who knows? You may enjoy it far more than I did.

You can purchase this book directly from MX Publishing or via Amazon UK.

Book Review: The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes

It was Holmes himself who told us that “Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson…it was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.” Now at last, Tony Reynolds can join the legion of authors who have written under Watson’s name to bring the true facts of the case to light, along with seven other cases that for whatever reason didn’t see publication.

Although there are a few elementary errors of dating (even though there are disagreements among Holmes scholars on a clear and coherent timeline for Holmes’ exploits, they’re all in agreement that The Mystery Of The Missing Rubies cannot take place in 1893), the tales themselves make for interesting reading. I wonder what the conclusions would be if somebody much more qualified than myself took apart these stories by “playing the game”.

My main complaint about this book is that out of eight stories, two of them had the same type of villain be responsible for the crime of the hour (a disillusioned wife or servant who fell in love with somebody from her homeland, who convinced her to commit the crime). When you realise that a quarter of the stories have that resolution, that’s unacceptable. It doesn’t help that one of them (The Adventure Of The Eminent Collector) was very similar to a story I read in Richard Lancelyn Green’s collection of Holmes pastiches (The Adventure Of The Unique Hamlet). Conan Doyle’s stories wouldn’t be anywhere near as appreciated if he had fifteen stories with the same resolution so I don’t see why this one should get away with it.

The best one of the eight stories was The Giant Rat Of Sumatra, which is a shame as that’s the one that starts off the book. Watson provides a valid reason for the story to be hidden for all this time and the ending was very well done. If that particular story was at the end then my opinion of the book would be a better one as it would end on a high.

However, despite its flaws, this book is at its core another collection or original Sherlock Holmes stories. For some sections of the target audience, that will be enough. It is a beautifully illustrated book, for what it’s worth; the images capturing the spirit of Sidney Paget’s originals. These illustrations raise the book above the ordinary and make it definitely worth a look.

The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes is available for purchase here.

 

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes-Shadowfall

d7631748-36cc-416b-8fa5-08e6ca197f85

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most enduring characters in all literature, having appeared in numerous adaptations in a variety of media ever since first being written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most recently, he has come to the attention of the noughties in two major forms – a series of Hollywood films starring Robert Downey Junior as the eponymous hero and a BBC TV series by Doctor Who show runner, Stephen Moffat, which places Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes in a more modern context.

Such a plethora of interpretations has, by necessity, led to a lot of variation in the way the character is portrayed and many of these stray from the original texts by a great deal. In Shadowfall, Tracy Revels takes what may be the greatest leap away from the canon by introducing the world of Sherlock to magic.

It is a brave gambit. While Conan Doyle was a committed spiritualist who sought evidence of the supernatural in his real life and there were occasional Holmes tales in which the great detective investigated such things (the Hound of the Baskervilles being the prime example), Holmes was always seen as a rationalist – a man who applied his knowledge of science and great deductive reasoning to problems, solving them with a cool head while others panicked and attributed things to supernatural origins. The example of the Hound of the Baskervilles is cited in this book as just such an example – the supernatural hound having been revealed to be nothing more than a large beast with its teeth painted with fluorescent paint.

Presenting us with Sherlock the half fae Magician may therefore seem a tad too ridiculous to work effectively. However, oddly enough, it works reasonably well. It is possibly due to Revel’s otherwise well written and researched material which mimics the style of Conan Doyle well enough to allow us to accept the discrepancy.

The plot follows a typically complex case for Holmes, seen as ever through the eyes of Dr. Watson – our ever present and possibly unreliable chronicler. A number of artifacts of cultural import have been stolen (the Ravens from the tower of London and the Stone of London, among others), along with a number of bodies from Highgate cemetery and the crown of Titania, queen of the fae. Holmes is bullied into investigating by the usual combination of appeals to his vanity and downright threats, including Titania conniving to steal Watson’s soul and holding it ransom. Their adventure takes them to various places in London, introduces them to various interesting new characters and ends with a suitably dramatic resolution with magic, zombies and other shenanigans.

Revel wears her influences on her sleeve here. Not only do we have a clear love for Holmes (with many references to the original tales) but there are a few nods to other heroes in here. At one point Holmes quotes David Tennant’s 10th Doctor from Doctor Who with the line ‘Allons-y Alonso’ in a way which is too close to be a coincidence and some of Holmes’s mannerisms are more at home with the most famous of Time Lords than the most famous of detectives to the extent that I would love to see what she would do with the Doctor and hope that she gets given the chance sometime. There are also many references to obscure facts about London and mythology which show that she loves getting geeky about her research. But then, I suppose I should not be surprised as her blog lists her as a professor of History.

This is good pulpy fun and, as such, not something to read if you are serious about your Holmes fiction. I can imagine them cringing at their hero performing spells. This is best accepted as an alternative universe Holmes and therefore far removed from the rationalist we have come to love. If you can get over the magic and faeries then you are assured a fun read.

You can purchase a copy of Shadowfall at the MX Publishing’s page for the novel, it is also available on Amazon.

cb-bh-s4-e86

Being Human Review: The War Child

“These eyes have looked upon Pharohs and the son of the carpenter, now they have to look at you”

“Most things die when you blow them up”

“Always be polite and kind and have the materials to build a bomb”

“Oh, Hal, you weren’t hiding. I was merely giving you the afternoon off.”

The above are just a few samples of the best quotes from this week’s episode, The War Child. This series finale gives much in the way of snarky comments by vampires and things that go boom and brings things nicely full circle. The pre-credits teaser, showing us another glimpse into the future, sets things up nicely with Mark Gattis in seriously evil form as Old One* Mr. Snow and gives suitably cryptic hints as to the Vampires’ true intentions for the War Child, Eve. Gattis is good at playing very refined villains with extreme self confidence who are in no rush to get what they want, knowing that they will always win in the end. His emotionless and abstracted delivery of every well written line really give us an impression of an immortal sociopath and have resonance with Hal’s mode of speech. My only complaint about him is that I really would liked to have seen him earlier, even if only as a brief cameo in one or two episodes, in order to make more of the sinister foreshadowing of his appearance.

Events in the modern day pick up more or less at the end of Making History. Annie is returning from her harrowing visit to the future and Hal, Tom and Alex are on their way home from Cutler’s trap in the nightclub with plans to get their revenge on the idiosyncratic Vampire. The plot unrolls from then on with Annie needing to make a hard decision about the fate of Eve and both Hal and Tom being visited by enemies making them each an offer they cannot refuse. The resolution of this is well conducted with a confrontation between our heroes and Mr. Snow where we see exactly where their loyalties lie and the very rarely seen sight of Annie really pushing her powers to the limit. This scene (and similar scenes like it, such as the one at the end of season 1) might go some way to explaining why Annie is normally not the one doing the physical combat in Being Human. She is clearly incredibly powerful and when something riles her up enough to overcome her natural tendency to be passive rather than aggressive not even the oldest Vampires in the world can stop her. Were the writers to allow her to overcome this reluctance more often it would likely get boring very quickly. Conversely, when they do occur they are magnificent and this is partly due to that rarity.

In the meantime, while our heroes are facing down ‘the big bad’, this episode also sets things up for the next series. The failure of Cutler’s plan is key to this set up as the viewers (but not the characters) discover the reason why none of the nightclub attendees who witnessed Tom’s transformation managed to post the evidence to You Tube. By the end of the episode it is clear that Being Human is likely to move into the ‘sinister Government conspiracy’ area in season five. This is I think promising as it suggests a return to the lower key themes of seasons one and two, and is reminiscent of the Inquisition plot line of season 2. Now that the big doom that was the Old Ones is out of the way, we are left with the chance to get back to a format where it is more about the characterization and interaction of the heroes than the monsters. This is where the strength of the programme lies.

There are some flaws in the episode. It is never, for example, fully explained why the Old Ones are standing inside rectangles of what I assume to be salt poured on the floor of their lair. I presume some ritual or warding effect is in operation here but nothing seems to come of it. Why bother with it if there is no reason? There are also some issues I have with the way the prophesy finally plays out. The Prophesy predicts that all Vampires would die, but this does not actually happen. However, the flaws are outweighed by the good stuff and are barely noticeable unless you really look for them or start nit picking time paradoxes (the Grandfather paradox being especially to the fore here). The ending is satisfying and provides closure for ‘Old Being Human’ while paving the way for the exploration of ‘New Being Human’.

Overall, this season of Being Human has been a mixed bag. It has had the unfortunate fate to have been overshadowed both by past excellence in seasons 1 – 3 and its own arc plot, which seriously impaired a lot of what Being Human is good at which is ‘three supernatural creatures living together’. A lot of the mundane that contrasted so well against the fantastic in past seasons was lost in the early episodes, and though much of it was clawed back as the season progressed it never really quite got there. There is hope now, however, that season five will see the show back to full strength.

*THE Oldest one, it seems….

Bond at 50: Goldfinger

As Shirley Bassey belts out the eponymous lyric and the first of the series’ iconic theme songs, it marks the moment where all the elements that make a formulaic Bond film fall into place. After two films of picking up pieces here and there, it finally gets what Bond is all about. Hell, this dictated what Bond is all about.

While my personal favourite James Bond film is Goldeneye (something that elevates it far above the rest is the presence of Famke Janssen), the one that I feel is objectively the best is Goldfinger. It set a template that would last for about 17 more films before being abandoned in favour of the gritty realism seen in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace (not to mention The Bourne Trilogy, which they’re very similar to).

Gert Frobe’s Goldfinger remains one of the best villains (and there have been some dodgy ones in 50 years of Bondage) of the entire series despite speaking almost no English whatsoever. Come on, he strapped Bond to a table and almost sliced him in half with a giant laser! Of course, Bond didn’t die but the scene remains very effective. Another point in favour of Goldfinger is that he came up with a very clever plan to damage the gold of Fort Knox without actually removing it. In fact, Bond foiled his plan but he would’ve got away if he hadn’t accidentally shot himself out of the fuselage of a plane.

There is some controversy when watching the film back today, as Bond basically sexually assaults Pussy Galore into going hetero for him. One of my favourite Bond legends is that when Pussy Galore introduces herself, Bond was supposed to say, “I know, but what’s your name?” And of course, if you like the Beatles (which, to be honest, I don’t) you can’t help but object to the cheap shot that Bond takes at them in an early scene.

For the record: “My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!”

In the unlikely event that you’ve somehow managed to stumble though life without seeing a single Bond film, then I’d highly recommend starting with this one. This is when the series kicks off big time. While most of them have something to recommend them, this one is one of the most critically-acclaimed and for good reason, as it’s a solid action film that stands up well even by today’s standards (and anything that doesn’t can be taken as a slice of its time).

Dirk Gently: Episode Two Review

Computers are surely one of man’s most important discoveries.

Through computers people are able to communicate with people from all around the world, start businesses, do taxes and most important, play solitaire. But often in speculative fiction thought have been given as to what the next step might be for these machines that are now integrating themselves into every waking moment of our lives.

One of the biggest future achievements would be a computer that has intelligence and is able to learn and adapt to it’s surroundings. That way rather then a computer becoming a cold machine that interrupts data it would become an instrument capable of so much more.

It is this aspect of technology that the latest adventure of Dirk Gently (Stephen Mangan) and Richard Macduff (Darren Boyd) focuses on, as Dirk returns to his Cambridge roots to help the one person who he felt believed in him, Professor Jericho (Bill Patterson) who hires Dirk on as a security expert.

Of course, soon afterward while Dirk is looking for the paperwork for his expulsion from St. Cedd’s, the university’s robot is stolen and then Jericho is murdered, leading to all sort of hilarious happenings.

This episode is miles above the first episode of the series as everyone seems a bit more solid and well drawn in the script this time around. Dirk’s romantic scenes with Jane (Lydia Wilson) are entertaining and believable and the supporting cast are just fantastic, making the episode move without feeling like the script is overlong like last week’s installment.

There is also a nice nod for the Douglas Adams and Doctor Who fans in attendance as St. Cedd’s is the same university used in the televised footage shot for Douglas Adams’ Doctor Who script Shada, so it is a nice homage to Dirk’s creator and a nice treat for observant science fiction fans.

Yet again the mystery side of things is not all that it could be, I think you will most likely figure out the solution to the problem at hand fairly quickly but the episode itself is enjoyable enough without having to strain your brain cells to work out some masterful dizzying twist.

Macduff however is beginning to feel a but stale and repetitive to me as time goes on. It seems that being the Robin to Dirk’s Batman is simply a matter of standing around, complaining about how Dirk refuses to name him openly as a partner in the Holistic Detective Agency while making the occasional cup of tea. He also get to argue with his girlfriend Susan (Helen Baxendale), who also seems to be there just to take pot shots at Dirk.

While the staleness of Macduff and Susan would possibly not be such a big deal in a longer series where we get to know our main characters over a much larger chunk of television, here it really makes the programme a little less enjoyable and a little more shallow in terms of character development.

On the flip side of this is how much this episode brings out a bit of a different side of Dirk Gently as it lays out, both the hurt and vulnerable Dirk that was expelled from St. Cedd’s and the Dirk Gently that gets to show a bit more of his passionate side with his fling with Jane.

When all is said and done Dirk Gently continues to be an entertaining way to send an hour a week, but it’s lack of development for it’s main players and it’s lack of quality sleuthing might make viewers feel glad that doses of Dirk come in short blasts rather then long series.

Being Human: Puppy Love Review

“Don’t tell me you’re still on MySpace.”

“We’re more Ceefax people…”

So went one of the best lines of this week’s episode of Being Human and a line which, apparently, got the word ‘Ceefax’ trending on Twitter – thus completing the cycle of alpha and omega in interactive social media.

Well, maybe not. Let’s not entertain any pretensions here. Still, it is good to see that the old Warhorse that is Ceefax still has some oomph against today’s upstart social media hotshots.

Puppy Love continued the trend of the last few episodes of series four by being an entertaining standalone episode which explores the interactions between the characters and the minutiae of the supernatural world rather than focusing on the dramatic arc plot. Here we see Hal begin to come to terms with his desires by demonstrating a greater degree of trust in Tom and facing the challenge of going on a date with a woman, the very modern and forward Alex, and not killing her.

Tom, by comparison, has his first ‘proper’ normal relationship with geeky werewolf student, Allison. In both situations, the two men act like nervous virgins – Hal because he is afraid of hurting his intended by returning to the predatory bloodsucker he once was and Tom because he actually is a nervous virgin.

The juxtaposition of the two relationships is interesting to see and the ending of one is reminiscent of a certain Bogart classic, while the other is turning into a potentially interesting ongoing plot. This latter point is good to see in a series which has so far been full of ‘one hit wonders’ in terms of female characters.

Alex’s assumption that Hal is religious because of his combination of happiness and sexual repression is a spot on comment about the character and hopefully more of that will be seen. Allison, played by Ellie Kendrick, is an interesting character through all this too. Though sometimes she (or maybe the script) overdoes the geeky elements of her character, making them more like a caricature than a truly rounded whole.

This is another ongoing trend in this series which may be a major flaw in the writing. Several characters (Allison, episode three’s Michaela, episode five’s Yvonne) seem to have been written in broad strokes with no subtlety. The writers may need to learn to trust the audience to get that a character is a geek, a goth or a prim school Mistress without such blatant clues.

The third relationship in this episode is possibly the odd one out. Annie’s attempts to help the ghost of elderly man, Emrys, find his unfinished business feels like a B plot as it seems to have little to do with either the arc plot or the main plot.

While the story of the cantankerous old coot is entertaining and amusing it feels as if Annie, the one remaining original cast member, has been sidelined and reduced to nothing more than a babysitter with a bit of a side plot thrown at her to keep her occupied. Thankfully, hints about the next episode shown in the ‘next week’ segment suggest that she will have a more active role in the next episode.

With regards to the Arc plot, this is thankfully an episode with lots and lots of my favourite character, Cutler. Here he may have met his match in terms of ‘UK Operations Manager’, Golda, who is amply played by Amanda Abbington and accompanied by her two comedy thugs.

While Cutler loses out this episode in terms of his trademark killer one liners, there are plenty of opportunities for him to show his devious side and the fact that he is playing a very subtle game between werewolves and Vampires and has a specific plan involving Tom becomes even more obvious here. Tom’s growing trust in Cutler, fuelled no doubt by his increasing trust in Hal, is likely to set things up for a heart wrenching betrayal in the future.

Even more so with the clues mounting that Hal is the ‘nemesis with the burnt arm’ and next week’s episode potentially seeing Hal and Cutler encounter each other and having a past together.

Overall a good episode which sets things up nicely for the final two which will between them see the finale of this story arc.

dirk gently episode 1 screencap dirk macduff pic

Dirk Gently: Episode One Review

A detective who can pull answers out of thin air from seemingly random observations…a partner who assists the great detective and asks the relevant questions that keep the viewer informed of the plot…

What did you say?

No, Sherlock has not come back earlier then expected, this is the return of Dirk Gently!

This is the creation creation of Douglas Adams not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And it is written by the best genre writer this side of Steven Moffat, namely one Howard Overman, who created the Misfits and is responsible for some of the best Merlin episodes as well.

But although comparing Dirk Gently to Sherlock is apples and oranges in so many ways, it really cannot be avoided as although Dirk is the anti Holmes,the premise is the same, just imagine Sherlock in dire need of funds and with a bit funnier hair.

Past that, the first of three new episodes of Dirk Gently is a fun viewing experience all the way through as we are lead back into a world where such random things as horoscopes and the pentagon can play integral parts in both in the murder of one man and the reason behind another’s affair.

Howard Overman really has delivered here with the script, it is clever, laugh out loud funny at times and although some of the clues and revelations were easy to spot, you will not have figured out all the twists by the time you are lead up to the big reveals. It is a worthy successor to the one off pilot that proved to be so popular in 2010.

The returning actors seemed also to jump right back into their characters, with Stephen Mangan flawless at Dirk, Darren Boyd an effortless Macduff and although it is still odd seeing Jason Watkins as DI Gilks after three years of being cop vampire leader Herrick in Being Human, I guess I can deal with expecting him to have black eyes and fangs every time he steps out of a police car.

Dirk’s unpaid secretary Janice (Lisa Jackson) is a nice minor supporting character (Or is she a ‘minor’ character judging by Macduff’s reaction to..oops..spoilers!) who provides wonderful little moments each time Dirk and Macduff pass by into Dirk’s office.

What flaws there are are minor but the biggest one is the length of the show, which at least for this episode could have been cut down a bit with needless scenes that really did not move the plot forward or make any significant developments at all. Also, a refresher about the relationships of the main characters might have been in order as well, especially as it could have made those overly long bits that should have been left on the cutting room floor have a bit of purpose as well.

At the end of the day Dirk Gently is something that any fan of Doctor Who, Sherlock or the works of Douglas Adams should enjoy. Just mind the smell of brie.

 

Being Human Review: Hold the Front Page

Despite his much trumpeted return tonight’s episode Hold the Front Page wasn’t really about ‘filthy little oik’ Adam (Craig Roberts) dirtying the guest room sheets at Honolulu Heights.

That’s no fault of Roberts who plays the loathsome, creepy, sex obsessed 47 year old trapped in 17 year-olds body perfectly – though it might not be everyone’s cup of tea he mines each dirty pun for all its worth.

No, tonight was all about his love-struck relationship with 47 year-old former head teacher and brand new ‘Type Five’ Yvonne (Selina Griffiths) whose feminine charms turned out to be self negating traits of a succubus – albeit one that can boast of A-List suitors.

While the idea itself is a great way to keep a character already permanently trapped as a teenager as obnoxious as he was in Series Three there’s something missing from the core of their relationship that makes the episode miss most of its emotional targets.

Perhaps its skittishness about playing the oddest of odd couples in any other way than for laughs but if we’d only seen that ‘sweet’ side of Adam or learnt a little more about how they met (after all any other dewy eyed suitor is seen as an annoyance) then it might have made their eventual reunion at the end more powerful.

What works better is the comedy between Hal and Tom as they too become enamoured by Yvonne – the moment Hal causally stakes Tom is shocking and adds much to his dangerous, impulsive side despite being a dream.

There are a few minor quibbles: Why were we left waiting for an explanation as to why Yvonne could see Annie?

Regardless of not paying the audience the lip service of a temporary answer, wouldn’t the presence of a supernatural in a house containing Eve not set alarm bells ringing?

Also, why were they so panicked about Adam’s photograph? After all it was, as the episode later pointed out, just an image of a window. Tabloid furore is always out of touch with the general consensus but even My Schoolboy Lovers a Vampire! Is stretching it a bit too far. Unless the photographer works for the Daily Star.

Speaking of the photographer, poor old Pete’s entrapment plan wasn’t the best thought out of designs; Why, after going to the trouble of painting a crucifix on the door did he not wear one himself for protection.

Hell, he really needed to have a ‘Duncan’ of his own to stand any chance of surviving.

What’s bad news for Pete (Sacha Dhawan) however is good news for anyone following the Werewolf Threat arc as Cutler – perhaps the best supporting character so far this season – finally begins to set his plan in motion.

Its still not clear exactly how his: ‘Hey, I’m a Vampire but ignore that cause you should see these Werewolves’ plan is going to work – he had quite a bit of trouble convincing one photographer that vampires weren’t the more interesting angle but his character is compelling enough to overshadow the minor complaints – something that too goes for this episode which was a massive improvement on last weeks episode.