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Orlando Pearson and The Redacted Sherlock Holmes – Author interview

Orlando Pearson has published fifteen new Sherlock Holmes stories in the first three books of his series, The Redacted Sherlock Holmes.

Volume IV, with five more stories, is being published in October. His stories have been described as marvellously entertainingclever, thought provoking, terrific fun by the Church Times and they have started to appear in German and Italian.We caught up with him at his home in South West London.

Mr Pearson, why is your series called The Redacted Sherlock Holmes?

The stories cover cases that were too scandalous to publish in Holmes’s life-time and had to be held back or redacted– so they cover political events, Holmes’s espionage work in both World Wars including his involvement with the code breakers at Bletchley Park, and human activities which Watson was unable to set before the conservative public of his lifetime.

We are fortunate that the embargo on their publication can now be lifted

What can you tell us about the latest book in the series?

As with Volumes I to III, there is a mixture of inspirations.

There is the true story of a 1930’s tennis player imprisoned by the Nazis and also featuring Hermann Göring, price comparison websites, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Brexit, and a sequel to The Hound of the Baskervilles set twenty years after the original story.

Brexit? Price comparison websites? Arent they a bit anachronistic?

I think Sherlock Holmes is a bit like the Bible and Shakespeare – relevant at all times and in all places.

That applies in particular to the Brexit story where, after a vote to leave the Entente Cordiale in 1904, Holmes tries to negotiate the union of the United States and the United Kingdom which he proposed in The Noble Batchelor first published in 1892.

Maybe involving Holmes in events with a modern-day parallel is to invite criticism, althoughThe Alcock Report, a story about an investigation into a war in the Middle East, was hugely popular in Volume II.

Personally, I welcome controversy as that means that people have read my work! I am amused that the two reviews on Amazon of A Study in Red, White and Blue express diametrically opposed opinions of it.

And price comparison websites?

For the price comparison websites story, the great economist, John Maynard Keynes, plays a starring role in Holmes’s investigation of what price comparing publications were up to in the first decade of the 20th century.

The practices described in On Constant Luck are entertaining but obviously have no relevance to the better ordered second decade of the 21st century in which we are lucky enough to live.

And the Hound is back?

My sequel is set in 1909 – so twenty years after the events in the original story.

I think my approach to Sherlock Holmes in this story is much more iconoclastic than that in the two stories with modern inspirations, as The Hounding of Peers Baskerville calls into question Holmes’s handling of the original Baskerville case.

And there is a music story?

I am a big Classical music fan and so each of the books published by MX has a music story – one on Bach and Vivaldi, one on Mozart, and in Volume IV one on Holmes’s role in the composition of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Holmes was a superb violinist and wrote a monograph on the motets of the 16th century Dutch composer, Orlando de Lassus, said by experts to be the last word on the subject.

He is thus well suited to conduct a musical case.

What are you doing to launch your book?

There will be a launch party at 6.30 pm for a 7.00 pm start on 28 November at Truckles in London WC1A 2JR and launch events at The Haselmere Bookshop – only a few miles from Undershaw – on 2 December and at Barton’s Bookshop of Leatherhead on 9 December.

There is also a prize of a free copy of Volume IV for the first person who can identify all the faces on the cover above. Write to me at OrlandoDLPearson@gmail.com.

What else have you been doing?

All the stories from Volumes I to III are now available as audio books in about thirty different voices read by the brilliant Steve White. It has been fantastic working with him and we are busy on Volume IV.

I am also writing stories for what I hope will be a Volume V next year.

The Redacted Sherlock Holmes (Volume IV) is available for pre order from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

redacted sherlock holmes

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Interview with Kate Workman, author of Rendezvous at the Populaire where Sherlock Holmes tackles the Phantom of the Opera

Rendezvous at the PopulaireWe caught up with Kate Workman from New Jersey ahead of the May launch of her debut novel ‘Rendezvous at the Populaire’ in which a badly injured Sherlock Holmes is coaxed out of retirement to tackle the Phantom of the Opera. Kate explains that pitting two literary giants against each other was too tempting to resist.

What was the main inspiration for the book?

My main inspiration for Rendezvous at the Populaire was simply that I love the idea of Holmes and the Phantom not only matching wits, but potentially joining forces.  They are both giants in the literary world and any novel that features them both has the making of one incredible novel.

Which is your favourite aspect of the book?

My favorite aspect of my novel was being able to get into Holmes’s and the Phantom’s heads.  As Watson writes in the last segment, “The only thing I knew for sure was that Holmes and Erik understood one another. They were both remarkably similar men, outcasts of, yet so well-known within, their worlds.” Being able to write either about, or from the perspective of, these characters was an incredible, and incredibly challenging, experience.

Of all the Holmes stories which is your favourite and why?

Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I’d have to say The Final Problem and Hound of the Baskervilles. Of other authors, I think The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls by John R. King is my favorite.

When did you first become interested in Sherlock Holmes?

I was about ten and my dad showed me the movie Young Sherlock Holmes.  I was hooked, but it was years later before I started reading Holmes stories and bought the Canon.

If you could meet Arthur Conan Doyle on his forthcoming birthday, what would you ask him?

I just finished reading The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore, which focuses on a period in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life, so I would probably ask Conan Doyle how much in there is true.  If Sherlock Holmes did become an absolutely hated character who overshadowed everything else Conan Doyle wrote and felt was of more merit than Holmes.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading the first in a trilogy by Lisa Scottoline called Mistaken Identity.

What’s the best aspect of being a Holmes author?

Let’s be honest.  Everyone who writes a novel using a character already in creation is basically writing fan fiction.  At least, that’s how I look at it.  And within that, the best part of writing this is the challenge of keeping the character ‘in character,’ while putting him in a situation that we think up.

How do you view the new adaptation of Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock?

The BBC’s Sherlock is absolutely amazing.  I love it, I think they did an incredible job modernizing Holmes, and I can’t wait till more episodes come out, because they left off on the worst (or possibly best) cliffhanger I’ve ever seen.

Which other modern day Holmes writer do you most enjoy?

John R. King, Laurie R. King, Sam Siciliano, and Edward B. Hanna.

Rendezvous at the Populaire is available from all good bookstores including Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and iBooks (iPad and iPhone).

 

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