Sherlock Holmes and me

My love affair with the great detective started when I was about 11 years old, and my grandmother presented me with what I remember to be the whole Canon, in addition to the Adrian Conan Doyle/John Dickson Carr pastiches. I made no distinction between the two.

I am not sure what drew me to these stories – the character of Holmes himself (as seen through a young boy’s eyes), and the lure of the language. It wasn’t just the little epigrams: .

“[I would draw your attention] to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night.”

“That was the curious incident.”

but the old-fashioned language, verging on the archaic (certainly in the late 1960s, and almost certainly archaic in places at the time it was written), and the plots.

Ah, the plots… who could forget John Clay, industriously digging away to reach the gold napoleons stored there? Or, still on Napoleon, the hiding place of the Black Pearl of the Borgias? And the masterly way with which Sherlock Holmes, armed with brains and physical courage, pitted himself against the villains? A combination of Hercule Poirot’s little grey cells and Richard Hannay’s physical and moral strength that has hardly, if ever, been equalled.

And those stories, mentioned by Watson, but never told, such as the story of

Isadora Persano, the well-known journalist and duellist, who was found stark staring mad, with a matchbox in front of him, containing a remarkable worm,said to be unknown to science.

So I decided it was time to write them. I was playing Cluedo with the daughters of some friends one evening (the day after New Year) and I mentioned that we all knew about Sherlock Holmes’ smarter older brother, Mycroft, but did we know anything about his smarter younger sister?

My first attempt (which introduced Evadne Holmes) was well-received on Smashwords (The Odessa Business) and so was my second, The Missing Matchbox, where she was not featured. My then publisher, Inknbeans Press, who were preparing to publish my Tales of Old Japanese, decided to publish these two, together with another one, in Tales from the Deed Box of John H. Watson M.D. together with The Case of the Cormorant.

From the initial decision to write The Odessa Business (3 January, 2012) to the publication of the first volume – in paperback – was less than a month, and the book was extremely well-liked by Sherlockians. And then it grew from there. Sadly, the guiding spirit of Inknbeans died at the end of 2017, and the firm ceased to exist. Since then I have been published under my own imprint of j-views Publishing (which also publishes a few other titles).

I now have three series of Sherlockian pastiches out there:

Most of these titles are available in paper and ebook formats, but some are only ebook, and one is only paper. When Inknbeans was active, we also published a couple of hardcover omnibus editions. These will make a re-appearance.