Our local paper, the Lichfield Mercury, just ran this story on me. Very pleased to see this.
By ANDY KERR
A LICHFIELD author who pens Sherlock Holmes stories is pursuing his most challenging case to date – matching the number of official adventures starring the fictional detective.
Hugh Ashton, who works with a digital security and forensics company, writes in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and his books have sold thousands of copies internationally since the publication of his first Sherlock story in 20 I 2.
Married Hugh, who lives in Lichfield with wife Yoshiko, has already published 37 short stories and two novellas featuring Holmes.
But within the next five years Hugh, 63, hopes to complete a further 19 short stories and two novellas – the equivalent of more than four per year.
Hugh, the secretary of Lichfield Mysteries CommunityArts, which produces adaptations of medieval mystery plays across the city, admitted the challenge was far from elementary.
“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle produced a total of 56 short stories and four novellas about Holmes,which is a prodigious achievement for any writer” said Hugh.
“I greatly admire Sir Arthur and his works, and as such I have made it my professional ambition to follow in his footsteps a little further.
“It won’t be easy, but with hard work – and a little luck – I hope to complete that objective and match Sir Arthur’s output by2024:’
Hugh, an alumnus of Christ’s College, Cambridge, is no stranger to criminal investigations, having previously worked on the production of a cyber-investigative software training manual used by police forces and intelligence agencies around the world.
He has also worked for major organisations including the NHS and, in Japan – his wife’s home country – for Yamaha, TEAC (Tokyo Electric Acoustic Company), and two of its Prime Ministers.
He currently works as an associate with a London-based firm that provides digital forensic and security services, and is studying for a master’s degree in forensic psychology with the Open University.
He has since added another 35 short stories and two novellas – The Death of Cardinal Tosca and The Darlington Substitution to his expanding Holmes collection, which have been collected together in his ‘Deed Box’ and ‘Dispatch-box series. Most of the adventures, which are based on the fictional premise that Hugh received the boxes containing Doctor Watson’s notes on untold cases of the great sleuth, have hit the top 10 bestsellers in their genre on Amazon UK and Amazon US.
They are all new stories, but are written and produced in the same authentic style as Sir Arthur’s originals, even down to the use of 19th-century typography in the printed editions.
Like the originals, all are set in the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras, with the majority based on “untold” stories mentioned briefly by Dr Watson it his accounts of Sherlock Holmes’ cases. Hugh is also a regular contributor to the MX Collections of Sherlock Holmes adventures, which is the world‘s largest publisher of Holmes pastiches. Proceeds from the sales of these anthologies go to Stepping Stones Undershaw, a special needs school based at Sir Arthur’s former home in Hindhead, Surrey.
Now Hugh is planning to “leave his stamp” on the genre by writing a total of 21 new stories over the next five years.
One of those stories, The Bloody Steps, will have its roots in the infamous murder of Christina Collins in Rugeley, between Stafford and Lichfield, in 1839.
In it, Holmes will visit Rugeley and investigate the legend, which endures today, of the “bloody steps” – a flight of stone stairs up which Christina’s body was carried to rest at the nearby Talbot.Inn.
Hugh, who is planning to publish The Bloody Steps, along with a new Sherlock novella based on the untold case of Baron Maupertuis mentioned by Watson in The Adventure of the Reigate Squires, later this year, said: “I have my work cut out, but my reward comes when I uncover a little more about the life of the world‘s most famous detective and can share it with the thousands of Sherlock Holmes fans around the world.‘
There may be more later – watch this space.