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 entertaining…clever, 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? Aren’t 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.