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Tag Archives: sherlock holmes pastiches

The most exciting time for Sherlock Holmes fans and book publishers in modern times?

There is a real sense of excitement amongst Sherlock Holmes fans as we enter autumn 2011. The filming of the new series of the BBC’s Sherlock promises the next episodes in the spring, and teasers for the new Guy Richie film ‘A Game of Shadows’ get shared almost the instant they are made public.

It is wonderful time to be a Sherlock Holmes publisher as well. The resurgence of Sherlock Holmes through the films and BBC series has created a whole new era of fans, and has meant that we will end up having published around twenty new Holmes related books in 2011, including those from a dozen new authors. To put that into context, in previous years, that would be more books than we would publish in total. We have a host of new books coming out in the next couple of months all of which are listed below, but first a quick summary of what has happened this year so far.

It certainly has been our best year in the Holmes genre. We were privileged in the spring to have two of our books shortlisted for the 2011 Howlett Literary Award (Sherlock Holmes Book of the Year) and for The Norwood Author (Alistair Duncan) to have won it. The other shortlisted MX book, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and Devon did Paul, Brian and Sadru proud getting nominated. The book also got nominated for Devon

An Entirely New CountryBook of the Year. Sherlockian history is where we started as a Holmes publisher and remains central to our publishing strategy. Any Sherlockian interested in Conan Doyle will have already added Alistair Duncan’s fourth book An Entirely New Country to their Christmas list. It comes out early December and covers the time ACD spent at Undershaw – the timing being important as Undershaw faces destruction [you can find out more at the excellent website Save Undershaw]. A big thank you in particular to Alistair, Paul and Brian. Having three of the most important Holmes historians in our fold is a very important part of MX’s progress in the field.

History is vital, but as you can imagine it is the new mysteries and pastiches that are proving to be our best-sellers with their wide appeal among Holmes fans old and new. Both short-fiction and novels are proving popular, with short-fiction probably the higher sellers as they are often seen as the most accessible.  The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes (Tony Reynolds) is our top seller with more than half of the sales on Amazon’s Kindle. Another new short-fiction collection The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (Gerry Kelly) came out at the end of May and is starting to get a following as well.

Murder In The LibraryFollowing the launch of our US office and website our US author base grew significantly this year. Felicia Carparelli’s Murder in the Library is a modern mystery set in Chicago which has just been picked up for translation into Italian, and Kate Workman’s first (of five so far) novel Rendezvous at The Populaire tackled the tough type of pastiche, the cross-over with Holmes taking on The Phantom of The Opera. The next in the series from Kate, I Will Find The Answer sees The Phantom return and the introduction of Dr.Jekyll. A more traditional pastiche, is Keiran McMullen’s excellent Watson’s Afghan Adventure which has drawn a big fan base for the high level of military detail – his blog, and especially his series entitled ‘The Many Watsons‘ has been extremely popular. Molly Carr took a brief break from the Watson and Fanshaw series (The Sign of Fear and A Study in Crimson) to deliver In Search of Dr. Watson a very detailed biography. The next in her female Sherlock Holmes series is due out in the spring.

ShadowfallTracy Revels from South Carolina pleasantly shocked many Holmes fans with her fantasy pastiche Shadowfall – the dark story surprising many as although it is a fantasy pastiche, it’s quite dark and has already become one of our bestsellers – helped by a very haunting cover. In June we were joined by Dr.Dan Andriacco with a real treat in Baker Street Beat. Not only a book, but a quite wonderful blog [BSB Blog] it’s a collection of in his own words ‘scribblings, ramblings and general Holmes stuff’. The book contains not only a very strong pastiche, but advice on how to write your own. The London Society described reading the book being like “chatting over a drink with a knowledgeable fellow Holmesian.” High praise indeed.

June also saw the most important mystery of all finally put to rest. The Case Of The Grave Accusation tells the story of the real life murder accusation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and undeniably father of all modern crime fiction. Told in the form of a very funny pastiche, where Holmes and Watson travel forward in time to clear the name of their creator, the book also includes all the evidence required to finally refute the terrible charges that ACD committed murder, adultery and plagiarism of his close friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson. A wonderful collaboration between cartoonist Dicky Neely who wrote the original pastiche and esteemed historian Paul R Spiring make for mandatory reading for all Holmes and ACD fans.

So what’s coming up this autumn? Well, a good mix of new authors and new titles from existing authors. First up on the 5th September is A Case of Witchcraft coming from an expert on witchcraft, Joe Revill who weaves a great pastiche in with his specialist subject of the occult. Also in September (20th) is an epic, and we don’t use the term loosely, Barefoot on Baker Street. Charlotte Anne Walter’s debut novel covers the entire life of workhouse orphan Red who, during her tough and crime filled life encounters Holmes while she is working for the criminal mastermind Moriarty. Simply stunning.

October sees the first book with MX from an established Holmes bestselling writer Thomas Wheeler. We are so happy to get this one as its pretty special. See The London of Sherlock Holmes is a mammoth 400 page opus that includes every single London location related to the Holmes stories, as well as a full character listing. The really clever part of the book, is that it includes street level co-ordinates and Googlemap links so that all electronic versions will enable the reader to ‘walk in the steps’ of Holmes at all the locations. Google’s streetview means that you can jump into any of the locations from the stories and see the real life London streets in front of your eyes – understandably this book took Thomas years to put together and will we are sure become an invaluable exploration tool for all Holmes fans.

On the 2nd November a new author arrives called Gerry O’Hara with his debut Holmes novel Sherlock Holmes and The Affair In Transylvania. Calling Gerry ‘new’ is a little misleading as Gerry is a former film producer with literally hundreds of film and TV credits to his name, including episodes of The Avengers. This is one of three books Gerry has out this year including his autobiography entitled ‘She Called Me Mediocre’, the title having come from Joan Collins with whom Gerry worked. You may not be surprised that there is already film company interest in his take on Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. He has a detailed website showing all his projects at GerryOHara.com.

9th November sees Dr.Dan follow up the success of Baker Street Beat with his debut novel – No Police Like Holmes. It’s not a pastiche, but a modern mystery and the introduction of a new hero Sebastian Mcabe. Holmes fans are going to love (or hate) the first outing as it takes place in a Sherlockian event (deerstalkers and pipes abound) where there has been a murder and Dan pulls no punches with the Holmesian stereotypes that are the prime suspects of the foul deed – very, very funny.

A big thankyou to the growing fan base of the Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle Books group on Facebook and the tens of thousands of fans on Twitter. You make us smile every day ladies and gentlemen and we look forward to delivering quality Holmes fiction for decades to come.

 

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The Bookbag Reviews Shadowfall a novel of Sherlock Holmes

Shadowfall

Shadowfall

It’s a rare Sherlock Holmes novel that gets 4.5/5 stars from The Bookbag, but we already knew Shadowfall is a rare gem. The reviewer says that the sequel is going to be on his ‘most wanted list’ and he’s not the first to say that;

“You remember Sherlock Holmes, yes? Deerstalker, pipe, leetle grey cells… (Oh, sorry, that was Poirot, but same kind of deductive ability), naked winged-woman on, or at least floating above, the sofa in Baker Street… wait a minute? Seriously?

Well, ‘seriously’ is probably not the word to be used to describe this delightful pastiche, but I can happily tell you that mixing Sherlock and Watson with Titania, Spring-Heeled Jack, Charon, and other lesser known tales works surprisingly well. Chiefly this is because Tracy Revels manages to capture the tone of Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals fairly faithfully, just with the twist that Sherlock is only half-human. And looking at his detective skills, it’s a wonder we hadn’t figured that out before.

The characters come at us fast and furious here, and part of the pleasure is there’s no need to spend any time establishing them. We know what to expect from Holmes and Watson, Revels shows us enough to realise that this is still the recognisable duo, despite Watson’s shock at finding out about his friend’s true origins, and that allows the majority of the book to be spent throwing ever-more bizarre obstacles at the pairing and watching them stretch themselves to their limits trying to overcome them. Full marks, as well, for a Watson who is significantly more of a man of action, as in the original stories, than the bumbling fool found in some of the pastiches……”

To read the full review you can visit The Bookbag site.

Shadowfall is available in paperback from all good bookstores including Amazon, in Amazon Kindle, Kobo and iBook (ipad/phone) format. You can follow Tracy Revels Blog for her latest news.

 

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The Bookbag Reviews The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock HolmesTo get a four star review from The Bookbag is impressive, and all the more so if it is your debut book. Gerry Kelly gets a very solid thumbs up for his collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories;

“I’ll spare people the details of Holmes and Watson as crime-solvers – I’m assuming anyone likely to pick this one up is probably familiar with the Victorian duo. This is generally very faithful to the Arthur Conan Doyle originals and the best stories in this set of thirteen sound authentic enough to take their place alongside some of the canon.

The strong points of the collection are numerous, chiefly being an excellent attempt at capturing Conan Doyle’s style of writing which makes Kelly’s Watson convincingly close to the original for the most part. There’s also some ingenious plotting in some of the stories – my personal favourites being The Mayfair Strangler, The Mysterious Death of the Kensington Verger, The Mystery of the Locked Study, and The Adventure of the Black Arrow. Holmes is also given plenty of opportunities to dazzle both his companion and the reader with observations about people he’s only just met, which were always some of my favourite moments in the original stories and raise just as much of a smile here…”

You can read the whole review at The Bookbag website.

The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes is available through all leading bookstores worldwide including Amazon, via Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, and iBooks (iPad and iPhone) and various other formats. If you’d like to stage one of the stories as a play you can get in touch with Gerry through us here.

 

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Review of The Case of The Grave Accusation, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

Philip K Jones, aka The Ill Dressed Vagabond, is one of the USA’s leading Sherlock Holmes reviewers. He is the first to review the new The Case of The Grave Accusation book about Holmes.

“Mr. Neely published the main portion of this book in The Coastal Bend Sun, a defunct Texas newspaper, in 2002.  For this book, he made adjustments to the story and added illustrations.  Mr. Spirling added a section of comments that summarize the contacts between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bertram Fletcher Robinson between the publication of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and Robinson’s death.

The basis for this pastiche was a series of allegations by Rodger Garrick-Steele issued in 2000.  These were essentially that Doyle plagiarized the Baskervilles story from Robinson and then, when Robinson threatened to ‘expose’ him, Doyle seduced Mrs. Robinson and conspired with her to poison her husband.  Of course, these charges caused a minor furor but, eventually, died from a lack of any proof and all the evidence of a continuing friendship between Doyle and Robinson.  Mr. Neely wrote the novella in 2002 as a response to these allegations.  Mr. Spiring, credited as Editor, compiled and listed a series of citations that indicate the continued long-term good relations between Doyle and Robinson up to the time of Robinson’s death in 1907.   

The fictional element of this book has Holmes and Watson recalled from honorable retirement as fictional icons to investigate a matter that is vitally important to their existence.  This is the charge of plagiarism against Doyle, which cast the entire literature of Sherlock Holmes into doubt.  The investigation is carried on in the 21st Century, so Holmes and Watson need to orient themselves and to adapt to the information sources and other technologies available to them in this time and place.

Surprisingly, the investigation is carried out in a typical Sherlockian fashion, with Dr. Watson manfully but confusedly helping Holmes and a Scotland Yard Inspector providing the necessary back up.  The adjustment problems Holmes and Watson face are taken in stride and the ‘Standard Doyle cast’ make guest appearances.  The villain of the piece is a fictional character who is nursing several problems along with a need for recognition.  He is induced to recant and to channel his energies into more acceptable efforts.

Mr. Spirling’s efforts have produced a careful list of public appearances, comments and citations that illustrate the friendly and extended relations that existed between Doyle and Robinson.  There are also personal communications, shared events and joint appearances of various sorts that occur all through the period between the publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles and the death of Mr. Robinson.  So the thesis that Robinson had become upset with Doyle is contradicted time and again, right up to his last writings before his death.

The book is short, but well done.  It will effectively nail the lid onto the coffin of any plagiarism charges against Doyle for using Robinson’s local tale as an inspiration for his story.  Robinson was fully and completely credited as the source of the ‘Baskervilles Legend’ and used that credit, from time to time, to promote his own career, rather than holding it against Doyle.”

The Case of The Grave Accusation is available from all good bookstores like Amazon, via Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, iBooks (iPad/iPhone) and several other formats.

 

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Review of Shadowfall a novel of Sherlock Holmes by Tracy Revels from The Ill Dressed Vagabond

Shadowfall

Shadowfall

A history professor at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Tracy Revels has been a Sherlock Holmes fan since 5th grade. She teaches a class on Sherlock Holmes called “The Game’s Afoot!” along with more conventional courses in Civil War and women’s history. Shadowfall is her first novel and already a bestseller amongst Holmes fans since its launch last month.

“This book is a first Novel by Ms. Revels.  She has previously confined her Sherlockian efforts to a series of parodies, many in the form of radio scripts, which were recently published as “Sherlock Holmes: Mostly Parodies.”  She has a patently wicked sense of humor and is a great favorite among the readers of “The Gaslight Gazette.”

This novel begins with Dr. Watson unexpectedly walking in on Holmes while he is being solicited for help by Titania, the queen of The Sidhe.  The fact that Titania is beautiful, nude and fully winged adds to Watson’s surprise.  From that point on, the book varies sharply for the commonplace world of Victorian London.  It is full of lively, entertaining, fearsome and frantic characters.  In fact, the ‘feeling’ of the book is very much that of “The Sign of Four.”  Odd persons wander in and out of the tale, mysteries abound but Holmes always seems to know what he is doing.

There are at least four characters drawn directly from traditional accounts who dominate the action of the book.  Each has individuality and oddities of nature and each was pivotal in their own time and place.  Further, the fantastic nature of the events and subject matter do not really penetrate the reader’s sense of time and place for some while.  These odd events are happening in the familiar London of the Canon; foggy streets, seedy theatres, steel rimmed carriage wheels and all.  Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson are preempted by The Government and Holmes and Watson are summoned to Windsor castle by a faithful retainer to receive their orders.

It is only in the late chapters that the oddities at last become overwhelming.  Until the final scenes begin to unfold, we could be in the midst of any Canonical adventure except for the occasional oddity along the way.  The ending is both technically satisfying and emotionally unsettling.  The magical inconsistencies now become wildly apparent and Holmes has become an object of some wonder and fear.  Watson, however, remains Watson, British to the core, as he quietly completes his obligations and his narrative.

This is a comforting and disquieting book all at the same time.  The sense of ‘1895’ is so strong that it overwhelms the strangeness introduced by the preternatural elements for most of the narrative.  Holmes and Watson work together with the familiar combination of trust and knowledge that fill the Canon but are finally separated by their own natures and circumstances.  It is odd and familiar, comfortable and unsettling.  It is just, as I suppose, as the author planned it to be.”

Shadowfall is available in paperback from all good bookstores including Amazon, in Amazon Kindle, Kobo and iBook (ipad/phone) format. You can follow Tracy Revels Blog for her latest news.

 

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Interview with Dicky Neely the author of The Case of The Grave Accusation, a Sherlock Holmes mystery

Dicky Neely is an internationally recognised illustrator from Texas and life-long Sherlock Holmes fan. His first book, The Case of The Grave Accusation covers Sherlock Holme’s most important mystery ever. We caught up with him in between scribblings to ask him about the book and his passion for Holmes.

What was the main inspiration for the book?

I was surfing the net some years ago and I came across the story about a man who was attempting to discredit Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning his authorship of the Hound of the Baskervilles as well as accusing him of wife stealing and murder concerning Bertram Fletcher Robinson and his wife Gladys. The man’s premise for his claims seemed pretty thin to me and I immediately thought “This sounds like a case for Sherlock Holmes!”

Which is your favourite aspect of the book?

I enjoyed thinking about what Holmes might have accomplished with modern contrivances such as computers, cell phones and other such things. I had no doubt he would be a computer geek if he had the chance.

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

The Hound of the Baskervilles is my favorite. It combines all of the elements of Holmes’ abilities and methods along with the supernatural tales of the West Country wilderness. I found that fascinating.

When did you first become interested in Sherlock Holmes?

I was an avid reader as a youth and the Sherlock Holmes movies, such as the 1959 Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and of course the movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce sparked my interest which led me to the written works.

If you could meet Arthur Conan Doyle, what would you ask him?

What effect did your invention of Sherlock Holmes have on his life? Was it for personal good or ill?

What are you reading at the moment?

The Autobiography of Mark Twain.

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

I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to make a small contribution to the body of work of Holmsian authors.

Which of the Sherlock Holmes stories do you feel is the best and why?

I think the best story is “The Blue Carbuncle.” This story is a bit more light hearted than most of the canon but it has charming qualities and illustrates Holmes’ powers of deductions at their finest.

Who is your favourite support character in the Holmes stories?

That would have to Dr. Watson. He is, after all, the teller of most of the stories and he clearly is a fine and honest person and is wholly dedicated to his friend Sherlock Holmes.

What is you most treasured illustration and why?

I guess you mean my own illustrations?This was my first illustration and I had never previous considered doing any Holmes pictures. It was fun, just as was the writing of my story.

The Case of The Grave Accusation is available from all good bookstores like Amazon, via Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, iBooks (iPad/iPhone) and several other formats.

 

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Review of Rendezvous at The Populaire a Sherlock Holmes Novel by Kate Workman from The Ill Dressed Vagabond

Rendezvous at the PopulairePhilip K Jones is one of the USA’s leading Sherlock Holmes reviewers. Here he casts a comprehensive eye over Kate Workman’s debut novel (the first in a series of five) pastiche ‘Rendezvous at The Populaire’. New Jersey based Kate is getting much acclaim for the novel and Phil admits “she has talent” and overall seemed to enjoy the book saying it is ‘readable’ and inventive’.

This is the first book in a projected series of Sherlockian tales by Ms. Workman.  This tale has a small number of editing errors, mostly misused words or terminology.  In any case, editing is not a major concern, as it has been for so many new authors lately.  Another characteristic is that the book ‘reads’ as if it had been translated from the French.  This is odd, but it has the ‘feel’ of a number of Sherlockian tales I have read that were so translated.  Also, a few of the terms used were ‘out of context.’  

The author credits Sam Siciliano’s “The Angel of the Opera” which involves Sherlock with ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ as an inspiration, but I found this book to be more interesting.  On the other hand, I never really enjoyed Mr. Siciliano’s effort in the first place.  For Sherlockians, the Holmes they meet in this book is a new person.  The utter self-confidence and disdain for others that pervades the Canonical Holmes is absent here.  This Holmes is chastened and unsure of himself.

I have never read the original “Phantom of the Opera,” by Gaston Leroux nor have I ever seen any of the Plays built on the character.  From that viewpoint, this is a relatively new story for me, so I have no preconceptions or emotional ties to the tale.  This book has an original approach to the classic tale and draws serious lines between the characters of Erik and Sherlock.  I am unsure of the degree of culpability that Erik’s original had, but this book presents him as a sympathetic character whose violence is only used to protect others or to prevent his own destruction.

The plot moves right along and the characters are mostly well drawn.  One almost feels that the heroine is really more than a pretty face attached to a pretty voice and the hero actually attains a sort of stature at the end.  I must admit that it took a while to see him as a serious person and I’m not sure that the impression will last.  Mostly, this book concerns Holmes and Erik so that their confrontations, both with their own inner demons and with each other are the actual tale told here.  The other supporting cast members are mostly interesting and even attractive, in a perverse way.  I especially liked the managers, for whom the phrase “dumb as a box of rocks” may have been invented.

As a first effort, this book is good.  As a Sherlockian pastiche, it is readable and inventive.  The author’s vision of Holmes in the grip of misfortunes is compelling. Although it contradicts the Canonical presentation, it presents a number of intriguing points and it seems to have a good amount of legitimacy if one accepts the author’s premises.  It has become common practice for authors to submit their manuscripts to a group of knowledgeable fans for discussion and error checking before publication.  This author would benefit from wider early exposure and discussion.  She has talent and good ideas but could use more active discussion in advance of publication.

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

 

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Review of ‘In Search of Dr Watson’ from Molly Carr by An Ill-dressed Vagabond

An Ill-dressed Vagabond is one of the most respected Sherlock Holmes reviewers in the USA. Here is his review of Molly Carr’s fascinating biography of Dr.Watson from May 2011.

“This book is a study of the sources and uses of John H. Watson as presented in the sixty Sherlockian tales written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The author examines the relationship between the characters of Holmes and Watson in a careful fashion to determine why Doyle chose to create Watson as both a foil and a counterpoint for Holmes and how that choice affected the style and development of the stories over the forty years in which they were written. In addition, similar characters in Literature are discussed and analyzed to provide examples of alternative methods and the problems involved in using such figures.

While this seems to be a simple task, it is really anything but simple. The unique nature of Sherlock Holmes as an Archetype of Literature, ‘The Great Detective,’ is actually dependent on the methods Doyle used to present him. These methods all come down to using Watson as narrator, question asker, foil and stalking horse. The two personas of Holmes and Watson together allow the author to select the data to be presented to the readers in a very careful fashion. Holmes can maintain his own counsel without revealing answers before the author is ready. In addition, space and time can be devoted to various items of byplay between the two that constitute ‘filler’ for the stories that would otherwise be rather dry and dull.

In addition to a discussion of the methods Doyle used in writing and the uses he made of Watson, the author needs to discuss the many controversial features of the Sherlockian tales. These include time and dating problems, names of both persons and places, and identification of real events and persons, either included in or excluded from the tales. Most of these discussion items are familiar to Sherlockians, but are presented here in a comprehensive fashion with analyses of several different approaches and aspects. Total agreement is not really possible, but the author works to untangle the mare’s nest and to explain many of the sources of the problems.

Finally, the inspiration for names and places mentioned is examined and several ideas are offered that may help readers to understand what might have been in Doyle’s mind at various times. Several surprising triggers are identified and others proposed as real world inspirations for places, persons and events that showed up in the tales.

This is an interesting and well-written summary of the data available about John H. Watson. It covers a lot of territory and does so in a readable and interesting fashion. Experienced Sherlockians will recognize many points of discussion and readers new to ‘The Grand Game’ will find a strong introduction to Sherlockian ‘higher criticism.’”

In Search of Dr Watson is available from all good bookstores and in all formats worldwide including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books and iBooks (iPad/iPhone).

 

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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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Interview with Gerard Kelly, Author of The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock HolmesGerry Kelly’s collection of 13 (a Baker’s Street dozen as he calls it) Sherlock Holmes mysteries first came to light in a limited edition hardback volume a few years ago and garnered a lot of praise from Holmes societies around the world. The collection is back in new updated edition being published worldwide and we caught up with Gerry to ask him abou the collection’s second outing.

What was your main inspiration for the book?

When I was a young man I was, (and still am) a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. All too soon, however, I had read the complete collection and wanted more! So I tried reading some of the pastiche Holmes stories that were out there at that time. I’m afraid I was bitterly disappointed. Almost all of them had the authentic style and dialogue of the originals, but were woefully weak on the plots. I thought to myself, ‘I could write better stories myself, than some of these pastiches’, so there was my inspiration. In modern times the choice is much better and the bar has been raised by authors like Tony Reynold (Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes).

What is your favourite aspect of the book?

I like the fact that although each story can be read on its own, there are links between them and the first story is definitely linked to the last.

What is your favourite story from the collection?

I would have to say that possibly The Chamber of Sorrow Mystery because I found it so moving, that I actually wept during the writing of it.

What book are you reading at the moment?

THE 4% UNIVERSE, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality. By Richard Panek. As you may tell from this choice, my other passion, apart from Sherlock Holmes, is science. My heroes are Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Steven Hawking etc. I love cosmology, palaeontology, geology and those related subjects.

What is the best part of being a Holmes pastiche writer?

The fact that the characters already exist and are all household names. Everyone knows them and therefore my task of characterisation is almost totally eliminated.

The most famous pastiches of the current generation are the BBC’s Sherlock and the movies from Guy Richie – what do you think of them?

I enjoyed the BBC’s Sherlock and thought it a novel twist to set it in the present day. However, I am still a traditionalist and prefer the original settings. I’m afraid I haven’t seen the Guy Richie film yet.

Illustrations were an important part of the original stories in The Strand – is that what encouraged you to add in some throughout your collection?

Yes indeed. The Strand Magazine illustrations, by Sidney Paget, were the inspiration for my own humble attempts to replicate that same format. I hoped that the drawings would add an extra dimension to the narrative. They certainly did in the originals.

Do I have any plans for more stories?

Just a couple, but no where near enough for a full book at this stage. I am still hoping for inspiration.

Which of Conan Doyle’s characters is your favourite?

My favourite character, apart from Sherlock himself and Dr. Watson, would probably be the American, Jonas T Rimmer. As well as being a protege of the Napoleon of Crime, Rimmer is a cunning psychopath, very nearly as clever as Moriarty, and is Holmes’ ultimate nemesis in the book. All the world loves a lover, but many people are drawn to an arch villain too, and that includes me.

What question would I ask Conan Doyle if I were to meet him?

How on earth did he manage to come up with so many plots for his stories? I struggled to find thirteen. I would also like to say to him that I hope he would not be offended by being copied by pastiche-writers like me, and that he would be of the opinion that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery!

What else are you working on at the moment?

I would dearly love to see one of my Sherlock Holmes stories acted out on the stage, and so to this end I re-wrote one of the mysteries, The Mayfair Strangler in the format of a stage play. No easy feat, as other writers out there will testify if they have tried the switch from author to playwright! The result, I thought, was pretty good, so I sent it to Neville Roby, Theatre Manager at the Garrick Playhouse in Altrincham, near to where I live. He was not as enthusiastic as I was, but offered me some hope by saying, …With some more work on the script it may merit a further look in due course and we invite you to submit it again for consideration at a later date. Please let us know if it is presented at some other theatre and we will make every effort to come and see it in order to get a better idea of its suitability for this theatre. Not the worst rejection I’ve ever had…… Suitably encouraged I wrote again to Neville suggesting another story from my book called The Chamber of Sorrow Mystery. This time, however, I didn’t go to the trouble of actually writing the stage play, I just sent him the story, with the promise that, if successful, I would then write the stage script. At this moment in time the story is being considered by the Play Selection and Casting Committee, at the Garrick. Wish me luck!

The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes is available through all leading bookstores worldwide including Amazon, via Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, and iBooks (iPad and iPhone) and various other formats. If you’d like to stage one of the stories as a play you can get in touch with Gerry through us here.

 

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