Holmes’ New Home: The Strand Magazine in Profile
By Charles Prepolec
The Original Strand Magazine
Sherlock Holmes and The Strand Magazine have been irrevocably linked since a fateful July in 1891 saw the first publication of A Scandal in Bohemia within its pages. A happy union that brought together the magic of Arthur Conan Doyle’s words with the splendid illustrations of Sidney Paget, creating the model of Holmes that would influence generations to come. Right up until Conan Doyle’s death in 1930, he was a regular and frequent contributor to the magazine, which featured not only his Holmes tales but also a wealth of his other short fiction and serialized novels. While The Strand was a perfect vehicle for Arthur Conan Doyle’s fiction, it also featured the work of contributors such as Rudyard Kipling, W. W. Jacobs, Agatha Christie, Grant Allen, and even the Right Honorable Winston Churchill. The combination of fiction, current events, informative articles and the promised ‘picture on every page’ proved a winning formula for the magazine, which enjoyed a 60 year run, finally ending publication in March of 1950.
Nearly 50 years later, a new quarterly incarnation of The Strand Magazine has quietly made its appearance on magazine racks. Taking a nod from the original, Sherlock Holmes is, of course, a key fixture. The basic format includes new short fiction, critical and informative articles, as well as a selection of artwork and photographs. The first issue appeared in 1999 and featured a new story by one of the very best Sherlock Holmes pastiche writers, Denis O. Smith. On the non-fiction side was a splendid article on Conan Doyle’s Captain Sharkey stories by Christopher Roden and an analysis contrasting Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey by Chris Wills. With the inclusion of book reviews, the format was nearly complete.
By the second issue, The Strand Magazine had begun to attract a higher profile and featured a new Inspector Ghote story from H. R. F. Keating, as well as a piece by Michael Gilbert. Adding to the mix this issue was the introduction of a regular interview feature. In this case with the creator of Paddington Bear and Monsieur Pamplemousse, the charming Michael Bond. Fans of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes were also not disappointed as Denis O. Smith provided another first rate pastiche and Christopher Roden continued his look at ACD’s non-Sherlockian stories with a look at The Round the Fire Stories. The artwork by Chris Senior added a stark graphic style to the material (Although I have to wonder why he used scenes and characters from Doctor Who and Hammer Films to illustrate new detective fiction).
Cover design copyright © The Strand Magazine 2001
With the format clearly established, The Strand Magazine has continued along fairly fixed lines for the past three years, only changing to finesse its appearance and vary the artwork. A recent switch to glossy paper has given the magazine a more streamlined and mainstream feel. The standard of fiction is consistently first rate, as are the celebrity interviews. Among those interviewed have been David Suchet, John Gielgud, Michael Cox, the aforementioned Michael Bond and Sir Peter Ustinov. The current issue (Aug – Nov 2001) features an 8-page interview with actor Christopher Lee.
Christopher Lee Interviewed
So if the detective fiction genre is your cup of tea, I don’t think you’ll want to miss an issue of The Strand Magazine. While it has an incredible history and tradition to live up to, I’d say its made one hell of a good start.

The Strand Magazine should be available from all good booksellers and magazine dealers, but you can also find further ordering and subscription information at The Strand’s own website www.strandmag.com
Visit The Strand Magazine website for more information here.
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