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Interview with Molly Carr, author of the female Sherlock Holmes series and the Watson biography In Search of Dr Watson

The Sign of FearThere are few Holmes writers that are as immersed in the life of Dr.Watson than Molly Carr. A fan for most of her life she even has a distinction in Watsonian studies. Her writing career started with the first two adventures in the “Female Sherlock Holmes” series which sees Mrs.Watson and her side-kick Emily Fanshaw take centre stage running a detective agency of their own.

‘The Sign of Fear’ was extremely well received amongst Sherlockians and the followup ‘A Study In Crimson’ had the fans chuckling again at the ladies exploits. A brief interlude in the Watson and Fanshaw series saw Molly release what many regard as her seminal work ‘In Search of Dr.Watson’ – a very comprehensive biography of Watson that appealed to fans of Holmes and the Victorian era alike. Molly’s writing style is easy to jump into, quirky and fun. The level of canonical detail is excellent which comes from her fanatical obsession with Watson.

In a very rare interview Molly gives us, as is her style, short sharp answers to our questions – after all, she tells us, the next in the Watson and Fanshaw series isn’t going to write itself…….

What was the main inspiration for the book?

Serendipity. the art of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident! Word coined by Horace Walpole (1717-1797) from a fairy story ‘ The Princes of Serendip’ (Ceylon, now Shri Lanka).

Which is your favourite character and aspect of the book?

Emily Fanshaw. I particularly enjoy the sharp exchanges between the two women.

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

The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, because Holmes actually shows some wit when he says Lestrade’s description of a man seen escaping  from the house could almost fit Watson. He knows, and so do we, that it IS Watson.

When did you first become interested in Sherlock Holmes?

From the age of about ten. And I hope you’ll be very gallant if you are trying to work out how long ago that was!

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

Were you ever in Beverley Minster? I’m sure he was, and this might clinch it. Although, for reasons apparent in “The Sign of Fear”, he may prefer not to answer the question.

What are you reading at the moment?

Piccadilly Jim by PG Wodehouse. Also reading ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’ by Umberto Eco (about writers and publishing. A book within a book) and ‘A Fine Balance’ by the Indian writer Rohinton Mistry. This was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and according to the Spectator is “extraordinarily funny”.

How do you view the new adaptations of Holmes – the BBC’s Sherlock and the Guy Richie directed movies?

Noisy, confusing, but an up-to-date take on what could become a tired old theme – although you wouldn’t think so from all the Holmes books coming out of the MX stable at present.

Which other modern day Holmes writer do you most enjoy?

The Curious Case of 221B by Partha Basu.

The Sign of Fear, A Study in Crimson and In Search of Dr. Watson are all available from good bookstores in over a dozen countries, like Amazon USA, and in many formats such as Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books and on iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

 

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Interview with Felcia Carparelli, author of Murder In The Library, which features Sherlock Holmes

Murder In The LibraryFelicia Carparelli is a widely acclaimed Chicago based writer with pieces published in Nit and Wit, Rockford Review, Mediphors, Cybergrrl, Feminsta!, Red Booth Review, Chicago Sun Times, Library Journal, American Libraries and others.

We caught up with Felicia ahead of the publication of ‘Murder In The Library’ this month to find out more about her and the book.

What prompted you to base your thriller in a library?

My first real job was as a library page when I was 14 years old at the Evergreen Park Public Library.  I worked as a library assistant when I attended the University of Illinois.  I received my degree in library science when I was 22 and have been working in a variety of libraries my whole life, including the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Schools.  Libraries have a lot of light and shadows, nooks and crannies and can be very silent, foreboding and mysterious.  Library staff and patrons can also be very colorful.

Why the connection with Sherlock Holmes?

When I was a child, my mother, Christine, introduced me to great classics on film and in books, like Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Miss Marple, and anything by Poe with Vincent Price.  I love Holmes, I love his brilliance and his fits of boredom, the way he lives life on his own terms.   I wish I could have been him in another life.

Who are your favorite Sherlocks on film?

I think my absolute favorite is Jeremy Brett, but I love Basil Rathbone and am absolutely smitten with the new Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman Holmes and Watson. Sherlock in the 21st century- it works!

Your love of Chicago comes out in the book, how long have you lived there?

I was born and raised on the south side and ended up living on the north side now for many years.  Chicago is a great city and there is a wealth of unique places to write about.

Who or what was your inspiration for your characters Violetta and Mick?

I love sparring couples-  I suppose I was aiming for a combo of Scarlett and Rhett, Nick and Nora, Lord Peter and Harriet and Abbott and Costello.

Who will enjoy the book the most, the gals or the guys?

Of course, I have to say Murder in the Library has something for everybody!  Romance, dead bodies, dudes and dandies, the opera and nods to Zorba the Greek, Sherlock and Watson and southern belles.

How long have you been writing fiction?

I have been writing for almost 30 years. I have written young adult books, two plays, short fiction and a couple of romance novels.  Murder in the Library is my first mystery.

Any plans for future books?

This year I am going to start work on my second mystery, Murder at the Opera.
More Sherlockian plots and temperamental tenors.


Murder In The Library is available from all good bookstores (including Amazon), and in all electronic formats including Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and others.

 

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