East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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133 years in scarlet

It was on the first of December 1887, in Beaton’s Christmas Annual, that Sherlock Holmes made his debut with A Study in Scarlet, changing the history of popular literature forever.

I will refrain from talking about how Holmes was a central character in the building of my growth as a reader, as you can probably find other Holmes-related posts linked below through WordPress’ handy algorithm.
To celebrate the birthday, anyway, and to start the Christmas season in the right mood, here’s the BBC 1968 adaptation of A Study in Scarlet, featuring Peter Cushing as Holmes.

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Sherlock Holmes & the Occult Detectives

I am happy to report that the massive two-volume collection published by Belanger Books and presenting a wide selection of mysteries and adventures featuring Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives is available both in paperback and ebook through Amazon.

In these stories, Holmes must work with some colleagues of his that are better versed in the ins and outs of the occult and the supernatural, while not relinquishing his powers of observation and deduction.

The first volume includes my story The Case of the Manchester Mummies, the first outing of the delectable miss Valerie Trelawney. More adventures of miss Trelawney will hopefully see the light in the future. But it all starts here.

I hope you’ll check out these books – they are absolutely fabulous.

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Kickstarting Holmes and his Occult Colleagues

I am very pleased to announce that the kickstarter for Belanger’s Books new anthology, Sherlock Holmes & The Occult Detectives is now live, and seems to be going quite nicely. The books are coming, and by backing the kick, you can get them at a special reduced price, with some added extra perks thrown in

The massive two-volumes anthology will collect 21 new stories featuring the Great Detective and a small army of his unusual, eccentric and occult colleagues, from Carnacky to Hesselius to Van Helsing, and many more – including my very own Miss Valerie Trelawney, in The Adventure of the Manchester Mummies.

Because we all know that Holmes does not care for the supernatural, but there are cases when, if you eliminate the impossible, you still need the help of a specialist in things that go bump in the night.

The Kickstarter offers many perks and extras for those that will feel like putting a higher figure on the plate, in the form of a number of other collection of Holmesian apocrypha.

Check out the page of the Kickstarter for details.


Hating John Watson

In five days I need to deliver the final draft of a Sherlock Holmes pastiche that I pitched a while back and the editor wants to see finished. It’s a big opportunity – to break in a new market, to make some money, to reach new readers and to please an editor I hope will buy more stories of mine.
In the last three weeks I wrote five different versions of the story, and scrapped each and every one.

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Conan Doyle’s Birthday

It’s the 160th birthday of Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who gave us Sherlock Holmes, then took him away from us, and then gave him back to us.
And as a way to celebrate this day, I think I’ll spend the rest of the evening to work on my Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
Who knows, maybe ACD’s ghost will come around and inspire me.
But I doubt it.

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Sherlock Holmes, maybe

I first went on a Sherlock Holmes bender when I was in middle grade – I was twelve or thereabouts. The national TV had ran a cycle of old Basil Rathbone movies, and I checked out the Holmes stories in the school library. I was by then a solid science fiction reader, but as a reformed mystery fan, I enjoyed Conan Doyle’s stories a lot. I came back to them later, in high school, and I have been a sui generis Sherlockian ever since.

This morning, the postman delivered a paperback copy of The Best of Sherlock Holmes, a selection that includes the 12 stories that Conan Doyle himself had singled out as his favorites, plus other eight chosen by editor, critic and mystery writer David Stuart Davies. Published by Wordsworth Classics and sold for two bucks and a half, this 460-pages book is the perfect thing for anyone in need to refresh the basics, and whose complete Sherlock Holmes is buried somewhere in a box in the attic.
At the tail of the long Sherlockian winter I have been through, in the next few weeks I’ll have work to do on Holmes, and this selection is just what the doctor (Watson, of course) ordered.

And in the meantime it’s been pointed out to me that Conan Doyle’s prose might be off-putting for a teenager. It’s over a century old, and not so easy.
Which, given my experiences, left me somewhat baffled.

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