Throughout the Kickstarter campaign, we will be adding brief interviews highlighting the talented authors who have contributed to the anthology. Today we have the excellent Mark Mower.
How did you first get introduced to Sherlock Holmes?
My passion for tales about Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson began at the age of twelve, when I watched an early black and white film featuring the unrivalled screen pairing of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Hastily seeking out the original stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and continually searching for further post-Canonical stories, this has been a lifelong obsession of mine.
What was the inspiration for your pastiche?
My story features in Part XVI of the anthology and is entitled, ‘The Spectral Pterosaur’. I wanted to relay a story that had a supernatural feel but wasn’t about human ghosts or vampires. As part of a school project, my daughter happened to be researching the life of Mary Anning, the pioneering amateur fossil collector who spent her life discovering ‘curiosities’ like the head of an ichthyosaur and contributed much to the developing science of palaeontology. Fascinated by her work and reading more about nineteenth century dinosaur discoveries, the story emerged quite naturally.
What is your story about? Where and when does it take place?
The tale is set in the 1880s. Holmes and Watson receive an unexpected visit from Inspector Stephen Maddocks of Scotland Yard. The weary detective claims to have seen a terrifying and “unearthly vision” while on guard duty at the British Museum’s Natural History building. When the dutiful inspector then succumbs to an immediate and fatal heart attack, our heroes are prompted to investigate what has given rise to ‘The Spectral Pterosaur’.
What do you believe readers will most enjoy most about your tale?
The story has many period details and is set primarily within what is now London’s Natural History Museum – an atmospheric location for any Victorian tale. As well as explaining the early history of palaeontology, the narrative has a good plot twist and something of a red herring (in this case not fossilised).
Which is your favourite story from The Canon and why?
It has to be ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ for its brooding, visual portrayal of Dartmoor and epic storyline. In my first non-fiction book, ‘Suffolk Tales of Mystery & Murder’, I wrote a chapter about the regular reports of mysterious big cats being seen in the county. When doing some media interviews for the book launch, I was asked about the possible connection between the legend of ‘Black Shuck’ (an infamous East Anglian Devil Dog that was seen in Suffolk during the sixteenth century) and more contemporary sightings of anomalous big cats. It occurred to me then that Black Shuck has a lot more in common with my favourite fictional hound…
Any upcoming projects?
My third collection of pastiches, ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Legacy’, will be published in November 2019 and is already available for pre-order! Beyond that, I’m working on a fourth book with more intriguing tales that are designed to contribute in some small part to the lasting memory of two extraordinary men who once occupied that setting we have come to know and love as 221B Baker Street.
Click here for more details on the Kickstarter campaign.