A Seventeen Step Program . . . .
Occasional ponderings about Sherlock Holmes, and maybe a few other things from time to time.
Monday, July 11, 2022
"Let's Start a Club!" - or A Study in Pastichery
[Some pieces of this essay were originally published in two parts as "A Series of Tales" in The Proceedings of the Pondicherry Lodge, (Volume 9, Issue 1 [Summer 2021] and Volume 9, Issue 2 [Winter 2021]), the official journal of The Sherlock Holmes Society of India, Jayantika Ganguly, BSI, editor.]
THE LATTER-DAY LITERARY AGENTS
Old Edgar W. Smith, BSI, said it right:
There is no Sherlockian worthy of his salt who has not, at least once in his life, taken Dr. Watson’s pen in hand and given himself to the production of a veritable Adventure.
This was from Smith’s Foreword to The Return of Solar Pons (1958) - Strong words from the man who shaped The Baker Street Irregulars. And words that should not be forgotten or swept aside or spoke of, save with a gibe and a sneer, by those in the pursuit of the scholarly side of things.
In that same paragraph from that same introduction, Smith goes on to write:
The point that does concern me – and it is a point that all of us who are tempted to emulation should bear in mind – is that the writing of a pastiche is compulsive and inevitable: it is, the psychologists would say, a wholesome manifestation of the urge that is in us all to return again to the times and places we have loved and lost; an evidence, specifically, of our happily unrepressed desire to make ourselves at one with the Master of Baker Street and all his works – and to do this not only receptively, but creatively as well.
“Compulsive and inevitable.” “A wholesome manifestation.” Important words to remember for those who hold pastiches in contempt. Additionally, Smith wrote that creating pastiches should be done "receptively and creatively" – for if one is truly a Sherlockian "worth his or her salt", then there should be no resistance against this need to create or read additional adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. It must be true. Edgar W. Smith, BSI, said so.
At the time Edgar Smith wrote that Foreword, there weren’t a whole lot of actual traditional pastiches to be found, and if Edgar was anything like me, the original sixty Canonical Adventures of Sherlock Holmes were simply not enough. In The Great Holmes Tapestry, the Canonical adventures are the main ropes that support the whole structure – but there is also a whole greater picture built around those sixty ropes, with pastiches serving as smaller threads filling in spaces and nuances and details that would otherwise be sadly incomplete.
There are many people who write Sherlockian pastiches – and Thank God for that! – but some are more prolific than others. Those are the people that I want to specifically highlight in this essay – the ones who return again and again to Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box.
I would suggest that this group of writers, of which I am a part, form a loose society – no meetings required, but with membership as an acknowledgement of this repeated achievement. Maybe we could produce a little newsletter every now and then, highlighting our works. Possibly we could have a pin. This group can be called . . .
The Latter-Day Literary Agents
. . . with the sole requirement of membership being authorship of multiple traditional Canonical pastiches. (No Mind Palace Pushers need apply.) Perhaps there could be a hierarchy based on how many pastiches have been written:
• Adventurers: For authors who have written at least 12 traditional Canonical pastiches.
• Memoirists: For authors of 26 pastiches (The original 24 stories, plus the first two novels)
• Returnees: For authors of 40 pastiches (the original 24 stories, 3 novels, and the 13 Return stories)
• Bowists: For authors of 48 pastiches (The first 40 plus those in His Last Bow and The Hound)
• Casebooks: For authors of 60 pastiches
• Canonicals: For authors who write more than 60 pastiches.
Ideally, for people who pull so many previously unseen adventures from Watson's Tin Dispatch Box, we should be called something along the lines of "The Tin Dispatch Box" - but alas! A fine Sherlockian scion in Maryland - Watson's Tin Box of Ellicott City, Maryland - has already claimed that name.
If you read this and you're interested, let me know. If you read this and find that you're works are missing from this study, let me know. (I've included what I've collected and read and chronologicized, but I might very well have missed something.) I can be reached at email@example.com
The Latter-Day Literary Agents it shall be!
EMERERTI: SOME OF THE FIRST LATTER-DAY LITERARY AGENTS
Not long after the original Canon began appearing, a few additional traditional stories – and a lot of parodies – started to show up. But throughout the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, there were very few actual new Holmes adventures, aside from what the First Literary Agent brought us. William Gillette’s famous play was one of them, but it had several egregious errors: Professor Robert Moriarty? Holmes falling in love at the end? Gillette was the first of that particular and peculiar type of pasticheur who grafts his or her own agenda onto Watson’s notes. In Gillette’s case, he wanted to craft an interesting play – and he certainly did that, as shown by its thousands and thousands of performances over the following decades, as well as variations in the form of films, graphic novels, and radio broadcasts that are loosely based upon it. But he put in pieces that were clearly wrong.
While some have found the absolute joy of writing many pastiches, others might just write one in their entire lives – for example, Vincent Starrett, noted Sherlockian who famously produced “The Unique Hamlet” in 1920. This was a good story, although – and I’m going to say it for the record – not A be-all end-all perfect pastiche. (That story and more about that it can be found in the brilliant volume Sherlock Holmes: A Three-Pipe Problem from Belanger Books, edited by Dan Andriacco and published on the 100th Anniversary of the first appearance of “The Unique Hamlet”, and also the essays in the 2020 Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual, which serves as a useful supplement to the book.)
People who typically spend a great deal of time hating the idea of pastiches will give Starrett’s single effort a free pass, sometimes going so far as to imply that it should be the unofficial 61st Canonical adventure. It’s solid and it rings true – but there are certainly better Holmes adventures out there by other Latter-Day Literary Agents. (As a matter of fact, there are quite a few that are better than some of the original Canonical adventures.)
For all of those who have fulfilled Edgar Smith’s basic requirement that all good Sherlockians worth their salt should write a [single] pastiche, there are others who have written more – many more – and this is to our benefit, because these people are generally very good at what they do, and prolific as well, and there can never be enough traditional Canonical Holmes adventures.
After Starrett’s “The Unique Hamlet” appeared in 1920, there wasn’t much in the way of pastiche for several years – except for the first published appearance of Solar Pons in 1929. (And that’s a completely different essay.) In 1930, circumstances began to adjust in such a way that pastiches would become as normal, expected, and accepted as the stories in The Canon. That was when Edith Meiser worked out a deal with the contentious Conan Doyle brothers, Adrian and Denis, and began to write Holmes radio scripts.
The litigious Conan Doyle brothers, Adrian and Denis, preparing at an early age to face down the United Sherlockian Federation
Meiser believed that the Holmes stories would be perfect for radio, and her efforts were rewarded when Holmes was first portrayed on NBC on October 20th, 1930, in a script adapted by Meiser from “The Speckled Band”.
In that first broadcast, Holmes was played by William Gillette, according to Gordon E. Kelley’s Sherlock Holmes Screen and Sound Guide – and wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear Gillette perform that tale! The show continued after that with Richard Gordon as Holmes, and Meiser kept adapting the original stories throughout the early 1930’s. Then she did a remarkable thing: After going through The Canon several times, she began to write pastiches of new cases, in the manner of the originals, and set in the original correct time period – and all of this with the approval of the Conan Doyle family. (At one later point, she was the one who ironically sued the litigious Conan Doyle heirs – and how nice that somebody sued them for a change! – correctly asserting that it was through her efforts that the entire dramatic perception of Holmes, by way of elevating Watson’s role in the performed narrative, had been changed.) Meiser’s first pastiche broadcast, “The Hindoo in the Wicker Basket”, appeared on January 7th, 1932. Luckily, some of her pastiche broadcasts from that period still survive, either in their original form, or when they were re-done several years later when the series was starring Basil Rathbone, and then John Stanley, as Holmes. Additionally, a number of scripts survive, although they are not readily accessible to the general public.
Meiser deserves immense credit being the first to provide versions of Untold Cases - "The Aluminium Crutch", for instance, and "The Giant Rat of Sumatra". Additionally, she gets infinite kudos for setting her pastiches in the correct time period, and not updating them to the 1930’s – as several Holmes films at that time had done, first as silent pictures, and then with sound, such as The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1929) and A Study in Scarlet (1933). (A curious side-note about the latter: The 1933 film of A Study in Scarlet, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the original first Canonical story, had a major plot point that was also the main and most important part of Agatha Christie’s most famous novel, published under several titles but most commonly known as And Then There Were None. But Christie’s novel, and its famous plot device, was published in 1939 – six years after A Study in Scarlet! Yet Christie still gets all the credit for something original. Robert Florey, the author of the screenplay of A Study in Scarlet, indicated that he doubted that Christie had seen A Study in Scarlet or copied his brillian plot idea, but he regarded it as a compliment if it had helped inspire her.
Edith Meiser (1898-1993)
As mentioned, the Holmes pastiche films being made around the time of Meiser’s radio shows used contemporary settings as a matter of course – current automobiles and modern clothing and all the rest. Sir Arthur would have been proud of Ms. Meiser for keeping things true. After all, he had written in his autobiography Memories and Adventures (1924) about his thoughts on modern aspects shown in the silent Eille Norwood films produced from 1921 to 1923, stating, “My only criticism of the films is that they introduce telephones, motor cars, and other luxuries of which the Victorian Holmes never dreamed.” (If Sir Arthur could see the frantic and urgent attempts to damage Holmes on screen in the present day, and the utterly destructive character assassination that goes far beyond simple modernization or the use of automobiles, he’d roll over in his grave. But perhaps, spiritualist that he was, he’s already seen and observed it. I can hear him spinning now . . . .)
From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Memories and Adventures (1924)
The run of the radio show under Edith Meier’s guidance ended in 1936, but it resumed without her in 1939, due to the popularity of the new Basil Rathbone film, The Hound of the Baskervilles. By that point, the radio show was being scripted by The Saint creator Leslie Charteris (under the sobriquet Bruce Taylor) and Denis Green. However, these two continued to use the exact same format created by Meiser during her run – something that still extends its influence even to the present day. Occasionally these men, and later Anthony Boucher who took over for Charteris, would adapt a Canonical tale, but for the most part, they created pastiches set in the correct time period, although they were bookended by Watson in the “present” 1930’s and 1940’s, recalling what had occurred (despite the fact that Watson had died in 1929). As Meiser, and then Charteris and Green and Boucher, all wrote multiple pastiches, they are included in this essay, and they are the earliest Latter-Day Literary Agents.
Many of these old radio shows are available online or for sale, and a number of them have also been reworked for book publication, either converted to prose form by Ken Green or H. Paul Jeffers, or published in their original script form, as edited by Ian Dickerson:
Additionally, Mr. Dickerson has allowed a number of the old Charteris and Green scripts to be published for the first time in various volumes of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.
After Basil Rathbone left the radio series, it continued for another year with Tom Conway as Holmes, and Nigel Bruce continued as his typical “Uncle Boobus Britannicus” Watson. The stories from that year were also pastiches, and when these actors left, other actors took their place for several more years - reusing many of Meiser's old scripts.
In the published format, 1952 and 1953 saw twelve very traditional adventures appear in Life and Collier’s magazines. Published in 1954 as The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, they were written by Literary Agents Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr. The creative process wasn’t always smooth between these two authors, but the adventures themselves are excellent, and Adrian Conan Doyle, by his involvement in all of them, ironically qualifies for inclusion as a Latter-Day Literary Agent by producing a dozen pastiches (some with Carr, some by himself). Shown below is the first American edition of The Exploits, and a later bargain reprint.
Traditional pastiches appeared sporadically throughout the following decades, often few and far between, and difficult to find. The Holmes television show from 1954-1955, starring Ronald Howard, was made up of mostly original stories, many of which were written solely or in various combinations by a group of screenwriters. Those who wrote twelve or more include Sheldon Reynolds, Lou Morheim, Charles Early, and Joseph Early.
Ronald Howard as Sherlock Holmes and H. Marion Crawford as Watson
THE SHERLOCKIAN GOLDEN AGE
Interest in Holmes remained steady with the release of the 1959 film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles – the first color Holmes film and with a sizeable chunk of pastiche elements – and 1965’s A Study in Terror (which also had a concurrent novelization from Ellery Queen).
This latter was a pastiche, but post-Canonical adventures remained sporadic until The Golden Age of New Sherlockian Adventures was inaugurated by Nicholas Meyer with his novel (and subsequent film) The Seven Per-Cent Solution (1974 and 1976 respectively.). Meyer soon followed with one of my favorite Holmes adventures, The West End Horror, and most recently The Return of the Pharaoh. Nick's work to advance the Sherlockian Cause definitely qualifies hims as a Latter-Day Literary Agent.
The 1980’s and 1990’s saw an ever-increasing number of pastiches, and that has continued to the present. I’ve covered a number of them in different ways in various entries from this blog. They include:
• Sherlock Holmes: Other Canonical Characters http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/2020/08/sherlock-holmes-other-canonical.html
• Shared Universe: Sherlock Holmes Anthologies http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/2020/02/shared-universe-sherlock-holmes.html
• Only Sixty: A Consideration of the Untold Cass of Sherlock Holmes http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/2019/11/only-sixty-consideration-of-untold.html
• A Consideration of Children in the World of Sherlock Holmes http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/2019/03/a-consideration-of-children-in-world-of.html
• The Compliments of the Season: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Stories http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-compliments-of-season-sherlock.html
• Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/2017/02/sherlock-holmes-versus-jack-ripper.html
A SURVEY OF REPEAT PASTICHEURS AND THEIR WORK
What follows is an overview of various volumes in my collection by authors who have produced multiple pastiches - both those Latter-Day Literary Agents who have written over twelve pastiches, and also those who haven't written that many . . . yet.
Shown are photos of many of the volumes that collect these authors’ specific works. I haven’t taken the trouble to photograph every additional separate magazine or anthology appearance where their works also appear. To do that, I’d be pulling, sorting, photographing, and re-shelving for far more hours than this already took. (Assembling just these photographs was quite a task, and all that bending, lifting, and shifting to get the books out and then replace them was as tiring an activity as a day working in my yard.)
If one is interested in seeking out additional adventures of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, what follows will provide some ideas. (Having written that, after looking through these, I’m very glad that I had sense enough to acquire all of these adventures along the way, as I can’t imagine what would be involved in seeking them out now.)
FULL DISCLOSURE: To get it out of the way, I'll mention that I write pastiches. As of today, I've written 98 of them, with plans to pass 100 in the near future. (I've also written 24 Solar Pons storis so far.) Additionally, I've edited around 1,000 Holmes stories for over 5-dozen Holmes anthologies - all to promote the True Traditional Canonical Holmes.
My books are:
• The Papers of Sherlock Holmes
• Sherlock Holmes and A Quantity of Debt
• Sherlock Holmes: Tangled Skeins
• Sherlock Holmes and The Eye of Heka
• The Collected Papers of Sherlock Holmes (77 stories in 5 volumes)
• The Papers of Solar Pons
• The Further Papers of Solar Pons (Forthcoming)
I hope that you'll read and enjoy them.
Beginning in the 1980’s, legendary Master Pasticheur Denis O. Smith started writing what turned out to be an incredible string of perfect pastiches. He initially sold them as small self-produced chapbooks. There were five – which I was very lucky to acquire (top row) – and there was mention of a sixth. Decades ago, I wrote to the address listed inside to ask about that last story, and heard back from Denis that it actually hadn’t been produced. In the meantime, Denis’s stories kept appearing in his own collections from Calabash Press (rows 2 and 3, paperback and hardcover), and in various magazines, such as Sherlock. When I came up with the idea for The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories in 2015, I wrote to that same address from years before – and miraculously Denis was still there. Not only did he write a story for the MX volume, but he and I became friends. And he’s since gone on to write many more incredible pastiches, both for the MX collections and also for his own books. All of his magazine appearances (which are also in my collection) aren’t shown here, but these are his books so far:
Marcia Wilson has written a massive amount of pastiches, but for the most part many have only been published (so far) on fan-fiction websites. I was extremely lucky to discover them as she started writing, and I stayed caught up with them, and I would fight for the right to be called her biggest fan. Her specialty is stories about Inspector Lestrade, along with the other Yarders – Gregson, Bradstreet, Hopkins, and the rest. Marcy’s stories are a gigantic body of interconnected work in which the various inspectors, along with their families and Holmes and Watson, are presented in a deeper and more satisfying way than one finds in a lot of narratives. Lestrade is given an extensive back-story, and after reading Marcy’s stories and books, most other versions of Lestrade appear thin and colorless. (Interestingly, a number of other authors have picked up on some of Marcy's ideas and adopted them as their own. For instance, Marcy named G. Lestrade Geoffrey - not because she thought it necesarily fit, but because she didn't like that name, and in giving it to our favorite inspector, it made her try harder to write better for him.)
I’ve long argued that Marcy has found Scotland Yard’s Tin Dispatch Box. Of course she was one of the first people that I invited to write for the MX anthologies when I had the idea for them in 2015, and she has been an incredible supporter ever since. She’s in the process of getting those past fan-fiction stories and novels into shape and out to the public by way of MX Publishing, and everyone who hasn’t yet read them is in for a treat. My personal favorites are her series of five (still-to-be-officially-published) sequential novels set around The Great Hiatus, telling of Watson and Lestrade’s incredible adventures back in London while Holmes was missing and presumed dead, and their battles with Colonel Moriarty, and the events relating to the tragic death of Watson’s wife, Mary.
Shown here copies of Marcy’s physical books published so far from Lulu and MX, as well as the two massive binders of printed-out stories and novels from the fan-fiction websites. I'm immensely glad that I printed and archived them when I had the chance. People who have read Marcy’s works know: She is one of the very best.
Marcy’s novel You Buy Bones is partially set in Edinburgh, so I took it with me on my Holmes Pilgrimage No. 1 in 2013, so that I could read it in Edinburgh . . . .
One of the finest pasticheurs was Rick Boyer, author of The Giant Rat of Sumatra (shown here in several editions) along with a few other shorter works, some contained in the fine boxed volume, The Quintessential Sherlock Holmes. I truly wanted to recruit him for the MX anthologies, as his Giant Rat is, in my opinion, probably the greatest Sherlockian pastiche. Sadly, I learned that he had dementia, and has since passed away. A true loss.
Sarah Bennett wrote many amazingly excellent pastiches on a fan fiction site under the pen-name “Westron Wynde” long before she started collecting them for book publication or writing more for various anthologies. Below are my binders containing her collected works from the internet, two sets of short stories and a number of novels, all printed and archived for posterity, as they have since been removed – more about that in a moment.
Shown below are Sarah’s two volumes published by Belanger Books (The Secret Diary of Mycroft Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: The Three Brothers). The latter is an amazing story of the events in the days immediately leading up to Watson’s marriage to Mary Morstan, and I was very happy to have read both years ago in their fan-fiction form.
The curious red volume on the right was published on Amazon for just a very little while. I knew that Sarah was preparing some of her fan fiction for publication, and I thought that this was one of them, although I didn’t know why she’d reverted to her pen name. I bought it, along with some other stories published in the same format, and discovered that some blaggard was copying stories from several prolific fan-fiction authors’ online works and loading them up as print-on-demand books on Amazon. Luckily I remembered these stories, and I had my old printed physical copies to verify what was going on. I notified Sarah and some of the other authors, and they were able to have the books removed from Amazon and – hopefully – have the pirate banned. Sarah has since removed her stories from the fan fiction site to prevent this from happening again, and she informs me that she's working to publish those stories as real books in the near future . . . .
In the 1990’s, Gerard M. Kelly wrote a series of Holmes stories which he illustrated and self-published himself. Otto Penzler sold thes pamphlets through The Mysterious Bookshop, and I snapped them up. Not long after, they were collected in hardcover as The Oustanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, initially published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box (BSDB), and then a few years after that, they were republished by MX Publishing. (Gerry, a former draftsman, drew all the covers himself.) Gerry wrote one more e-published story about Holmes and the Ripper, but sadly due to health reasons, he wasn’t able to contribute to the MX anthologies.
(Why Gerry is particularly important to me is that my first book was also initially published by BSDB, and when I saw that Gerry had successfully made the publishing switch to MX, I was interested in doing the same for myself. I wrote to MX publisher Steve Emecz for the very first time on December 12th, 2012, asking if he could pass along my email address to Gerry. Steve did, not realizing that I was going to ask Gerry about the merits of switching to MX. Gerry greatly praised MX, and so I wrote to Steve once again, this time pitching my own writings. Things have gone on from there, quite successfully, and these two emails – first to Gerry and then Steve – were some of the most important and life-changing messages that I’ve ever written.)
Back in the old days, before the internet, one didn’t know when a new book was going to appear. There was a big volume called Forthcoming Books that was printed a few times a year, and copies were kept behind bookstore counters so that one could check and see if a favorite author possibly had something scheduled any time soon - but for the most part, new books were always a surprise. That’s why I was amazed when I wandered into a bookstore in our local mall one night in 1990 and saw the late Carole Nelson Douglas’s completely unexpected first Irene Adler novel, Good Night, Mr. Holmes, sitting there waiting for me. Carole captured Irene perfectly, and she is Irene's definitive chronicler in the same way that Marcia Wilson is the official best biographer of Lestrade and the rest of the Scotland Yarders. Over the course of eight novels and several short stories, Carol’s Irene Adler novels, as narrated by her friend Nell Huxleigh, tell us the true story of a woman whom some would malign as an adventuress, or worse.
I communicated with Carole a number of times over the years, first with questions of Irene's chronology, and later trying to talk her back to The World of Irene with a story for the MX anthologies. Sadly, now that she's gone, there won't be a chance for that, although she did contribute a poem.
Will Thomas burst on the scene with his novels of Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn, who have a detective agency in Craig’s Court, London, not far from Scotland Yard. Although it isn’t specifically stated, Barker is clearly the same fellow by that name, in every aspect, that appears in “The Retired Colourman”. Will's’s Barker has appeared in thirteen novels and one e-published short story. He has also contributed a Holmes story to the MX anthologies. Although Barker isn't Holmes, I consider these part of the Holmes Universe, and therefore Will qualifies as a Latter-Day Literary Agent.
When I’ve made my Holmes Pilgrimages to London, I’ve always stopped in Craig’s Court to see Barker’s office, and in 2016 I was there at night and, through the miracle of modern social media, I was able to share with Will in real time that my deerstalker and I were there on-site:
Andrew Lane had written a number of Young Sherlock Holmes novels and a few short stories when I invited him to join the MX anthology. He went on to contribute several to that set, and some more to other anthologies – enough to later assemble his own collection, The Bizarre Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. (He is one of the authors who wisely makes use of the various anthology opportunities as prompts for him to write more Holmes stories, so that he’ll eventually have enough for his own book of them.) I’m still reminding him on a semi-regular basis to write some more . . . .
I met Andy Lane in 2015 at the MX anthology launch party, and he graciously took Steve Emecz and me to lunch at Simpsons a couple of days later. (Here we are, in the upstairs room overlooking the Strand, with the first three MX anthology volumes. Looking closely, you might see that I’m holding my ever-present deerstalker instead of wearing it. I should have been wearing it.)
[SIDE NOTE: It should be pointed out that the covers for most pastiches these days are being created by Master Artist Brian Belanger. Many of the covers shown from here on out are by way of Brian, and one can see how much he adds to the atmosphere and quality of the books. Thanks Brian!]
Paul Gilbert’s first book, The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes, was initially difficult to obtain here in the United States. I forget now how I finally found it, but I obtained a copy of the large-print edition (in the lower right of the photo), and once I knew that he was writing them, I made the effort to track all the rest of them as new ones were published. Now Paul is an MX author, and The Lost Files has been republished in a much-more-easily-obtained edition (bottom left). Hopefully the rest will soon follow.
Paul was a contributor to the first set of MX books, and when I was in London for the 2015 launch party, held in the amazing skyscraper where publisher Steve Emecz worked at that time, I was able to meet Paul and his wife, Jackie. I was entering the lobby of the building when I saw them from a distance – and since Paul looks quite a bit like Holmes, it wasn’t difficult to recognize him. We introduced ourselves, and I wish that I’d more time to spend with them in person. For photos from that party, here’s a link to the Sherlock Holmes Society of London photo gallery:
Paul has since contributed a number of stories to anthologies that I’ve edited, when he’s not working on his own series of Holmes books - and he's working on another Holmes book even as I write this . . . .
Craig Janacek slipped quietly into the Holmes world in 2014 with some stories that he published as e-books on Kindle. Since I despise e-books – which are nothing but leased electronic blips that can vanish without warning – I only “purchase” them and read them that way when there is no other option. And in Craig’s case, that was all that I could do. But when I “purchase” e-books, I immediately print them on paper for my Archives. I did so with Craig’s early works, and took them with me when I traveled in October 2014 a couple of hours north from where I live to see a play of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I read them while eating lunch before the performance, and then at various other free moments over the next few days. They were brilliant, and I subsequently gave them high Amazon reviews, urging him to publish them as real books.
I was finally able to make contact with Craig and to convince him to start collecting his Holmes stories into real books – but they usually continue to appear as e-books first, and sometimes I can’t wait. I read one – “The Monstrous Blood”, in that e-format on my klunky Kindle while on my third Holmes Pilgrimage, sitting in London’s Russell Square. I sent Craig a picture of it while I was there that morning – this picture, as a matter of fact:
(Just for fun, someone should try to visit where I was sitting and recreate this picture . . . .)
When the MX anthologies began, I was able to recruit Craig, and he’s been a valuable and prolific contributor ever since, and also to other Belanger Books volumes I’ve edited. Sadly, I don’t know who he really is, as “Craig Janacek” is a pseudonym. His biographical paragraphs state that he’s a married father and pediatrician living near San Francisco. He also attended Vanderbilt, but beyond that he is a mystery. (I used to be a Federal Investigator, and I have skills, but I’ve decided to let him keep his secret.) But whomever Craig might be out there in the real world, he is certainly a great Sherlockian author. These are his published physical Holmes volumes so far:
Roger Riccard is another Sherlockian master pasticheur who has slipped quietly onto the scene and has been steadily pulling excellent stories from the Tin Dispatch Box for years now. In addition to a couple of stand-alone novels, he produced the two volume twelve-story set The Twelve Days for Christmas, and if that wasn’t ambitious enough, he wrote twenty-six stories for A Sherlock Holmes Alphabet of Cases. He's now working on a volume entitled The Colourful Cases of Sherlock Holmes. Along with that, he’s a very reliable contributor to both MX and Belanger Books anthologies that I edit, and I’m very grateful to him.
I first heard of Hugh Ashton when he published a Holmes short story as an e-book – another of those that I initially bought in that format, as I wasn’t sure if or when he’d also put it out as a real book. I have to admit – and I’ve told Hugh this – that while it was excellently written, I didn’t agree with the premise that it involved an unknown Holmes sister. (For the purposes of my Holmes Chronology, this sister was listed as a cousin, and the change in Watson’s manuscript to “sister” was attributed to Hugh, the editor.) Soon after that, Hugh began to regularly produce some of the finest Holmes pastiches out there, in very handsome books that just beg to be collected and held and read. Of course I very much wanted him to be part of the MX anthologies, and very happily for me and others, he agreed. He’s since gone on to contribute many wonderful new stories.
When I first began to communicate with Hugh, he was living in Japan, and had been there for many years. When the MX books were launched in 2015, he came back to London for the launch party, and I met him in person – although sadly, it was for only a few minutes. (I was pulled in so many directions that night that my biggest regret that night is not getting to spend more time talking with the various authors who have since become friends, and also not getting more photos made with them.) After that visit to England, Hugh eventually moved back there, where he continues to reside in the Holmesland to the present. I’m quite jealous.
I.A Watson is a phenomenal pasticheur. He’s had stories appear in every issue of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, and also in many anthologies. Ian has an e-edition collection of some of his stories, and shown here are his only two physically published volumes. But just because there are only two of these represented here doesn’t mean that there aren’t lots tales more out there – and thank goodness he’s writing more of them all the time!
Dick Gillman had published a number of e-version Holmes pastiches when I reached out to him in 2015 to join the initial MX anthology books. He wrote and sent a story – and then just kept going, contributing to most of the volumes since then. He’s a retired British schoolteacher who is now very involved in the creation of some truly talented artwork which he shares online, - but when a new anthology comes around, I’ve been very lucky that Watson usually starts whispering too him, and before long a new pastiche exists where one didn’t before. Below are the physical volumes of Dick’s stories, but there are a lot more out there that are still uncollected. He made a specialty for a while of having Holmes battle Julia Moriarty, a clever and evilly effective relative of the Professor, and those stories were collected in several different books, as shown on the top row:
Matthew J. Elliott is a very prolific radio drama and short story author who has written hundreds of scripts for all sorts of series. For this essay, it must be noted that he’s created a tremendous amount of Holmes scripts for Imagination Theater, the noted American radio drama company. In addition to a sizeable number of original stories for The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, he also wrote all of the scripts for Imagination Theater’s broadcasts of the complete Canon. Matthew is the only author to dramatize the entire Canon, and that series also features two (of the four) actors to portray Holmes and Watson in every Canonical story, John Patrick Lowrie and Larry Albert. (The other two, Clive Merrison and Michael Williams, were in Bert Coules' BBC production of the complete Canon.) Matthew is still writing new scripts for the series, and he’s also contributed Holmes stories and scripts to various magazines and anthologies. Shown below are the physical collections of some of his works - one volume also featuring Steven Philip Jones (more about him in a minute) - and there is also an e-book with some of Matthew's other stories.
And speaking of Imagination Theater . . . Jim French was a radio legend who created thousands and thousands of hours of radio drama. In 1998, at the urging of actor Larry Albert, Jim wrote the first of over fifty Holmes pastiche scripts. Larry has portrayed Watson from the beginning, and after John Gilbert portrayed Holmes in the first twenty episodes, John Patrick Lowrie took over and has portrayed him ever since. Gradually, Jim gave the writing of the Holmes scripts over to several other authors: M. J. Elliott (see above), Gareth Tilley, Larry Albert, Matthew Booth, J.R. Campbell, Jeremy B. Holstein, Roger Silverwood, Teresa Collard, John Patrick Lowrie, John Hall, Steven Philip Jones, Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett, Daniel McGachey, and David Marcum (me). A volume of scripts from each of these authors, Imagination Theater’s Sherlock Holmes, was published in 2017 . . .
. . . and in 2019, all of Jim French’s Holmes scripts were published in the three-volume set, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:
Will Murray used to be just a name on paperback books that I bought with great enthusiasm, years ago when he was writing new Doc Savage novels. From what I’ve read, he was living a variation of one of my dreams: He had interviewed the widow of one of his own favorite authors – in that case Lester Dent (a.k.a. Kenneth Robeson), the creator of Doc Savage and author of most of his adventures, and then Will ended up becoming the new Doc Savage chronicler and resident expert. Imagine my amazement when he agreed to contribute a story to a volume of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories. And then another. And another. Eventually he had enough to compile it into The Wild Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Volume I, and soon he’ll have enough for Volumes II and III – Excellent news! Thanks very much, Mr. Murray, for turning your attentions to Mr. Holmes.
I first discovered Daniel D. Victor’s initial Holmes novel, The Seventh Bullet, in 1992 when I was spending several months working in Baltimore, back when I was a Federal Investigator with an obscure and now-vanished government agency. (At that time, the agency put me up in a high-rise apartment overlooking the Inner Harbor. Thank you, American taxpayers – I didn’t want to be there or away from my family and home for so long, but at least I did it in style, at your expense.) There was a mystery bookstore in Baltimore – the name of which is now lost to me – and I found Dan’s first Holmes book there when it was new and read it immediately in my high-rise apartment overlooking the harbor and thought it was great. I was thrilled years later when Dan started writing about Holmes again – this time a series relating Holmes’s encounters with the American Literati. I reached out and recruited him to write a story for the MX anthologies, and he ended up writing so many that he was able to collect them into their own volume, The Literary Adventures of Sherlock Holmes . . . .
Arthur Hall had written four Holmes novels and one short story when I introduced myself to him (by way of email) to see about joining the MX anthology party. Since then he’s been one of the most reliably Canonical and productive contributors around – enough to compile five volumes of his short stories, along with three more additional novels. The top row shows the original editions of his first four novels, the second row the MX editions, and the bottom row his short story collections:
When I first had the idea for the MX anthologies in 2015, publisher Steve Emecz indicated that Jayantika Ganguly, head of The Sherlock Holmes Society of India, wished to contribute. I was very happy that she did, as she wrote a very good traditional tale. Many more have followed for inclusion in a number of anthologies that I’ve edited, and now she has her own MX collection¸ A Continuum of Sherlock Holmes – and I hope that’s it’s just the run of a long series of them!
I first heard of Steve Herczeg when he submitted a story to a book that I was editing, not long after he’d done the same for a different collection from Belanger Books. Since then, he’s become one of the most reliable contributors to various volumes that I edit – with either MX or Belanger. He’s accumulated enough Holmes adventures for his own large collection, The Curious Cases of Sherlock Holmes (shown below in both the two-volume paperback set and the combined hardcover), and there are already more that he’ll be able to collect soon for another book.
I became acquainted with Mark Mower when he sent a story for the initial three-volume MX anthology in 2015. Later that fall, I was able to go to London for that amazing launch party, where a number of the contributors – including Mark – also attended. I only got to meet with him for a few minutes, but we’ve remained friends by email ever since, and he’s also continued to be one of the consistently best ongoing pasticheurs – enough to have five volumes of his collected stories so far. I was worried that the fourth title, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Epilogue, indicated that he was done. . Happily Epilogue didn't mean that he was finished, as he's now produced a fifth version, and is also still sending me stories for upcoming MX anthology volumes.
Geri Schear first came to my attention with the following three novels, which are extremely well written – but they contain an original character whose connection to Holmes I don’t acknowledge – Holmes’s wife. (Geri knows that I don’t agree with her on that.) Like Jay Ganguly, I heard from Geri by way of Steve Emecz when the first MX anthology was being assembled. Geri sent an excellent story, and since then has written a number of others. These collected tales will be published in an upcoming collection.
Besides Geri, there are a number of other authors who have produced many short stories that aren’t quite collected in books yet, but their collections are in preparation. One of these is the prolific and excellent Tracy Revels, whom I first met in 2012 at A Gathering of Southern Sherlockians in Chattanooga, TN. (We shared a dealer's table selling copies of our first books.) Here we are at the banquet later that evening - she dressed as Irene Adler, and me in my authentic Scottish Inverness and matching deerstalker:
Tracy has been a phenomenal contributor to different anthologies that I’ve edited, and her many assembled short stories will be available in book form in the future. Besides her many traditional Sherlockian pastiches, Tracy has also written four non-Canonical Holmes books that aren’t within the purview of this essay: Three Alternate Universe novels, Shadowblood, Shadowfall, and Shadowraith, and also Sherlock Holmes: Mostly Parodies (which is just as described). The latter, from 2008, should really be reprinted by MX (Hint hint . . . .)
Another very prolific pasticheur who should have her stories collected is Deanna Baran. She's been contributing amazing Holmes adventures to various anthologies since the first MX set was published. She has written many by now - although not nearly enough - but as far as I know there aren’t any plans [yet] to collect them into a separate book. Food for thought, Deanna . . . .
Some other prolific pasticheurs who haven't yet collected their works into real books - but really should as soon as possible! - include:
• Naching Kassa
• Kevin Thornton
• Hal Glatzer
• Paul Hiscock
• DJ Tyrer
• Jeremy Holstein
• J.R. Campbell
• Shane Simmons
• Mike Chinn
• Julie McKuras
• Keith Hann
• Cindy Dye
• Sonia Fetherston
• Martin Rosenstock
• John Linwood Grant (a 100% Holmes collection)
• Thomas Burns
• Tim Gambrell
• Mathew White
• Andrew Bryant
Mark Wardecker has written both Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons stories, as well as doing some excellent Pons Scholarship with his book The Dragnet Solar Pons. He's recently published his first story collection The Endeavours of Sherlock Holmes - and as this is going to press, I don't have it yet. But as soon as I get it, I'll edit back into this thing and show the cover. Mark's a great pasticheur, and I can't wait to see the book!
Gayle Lange Puhl had written some unique pastiches where Holmes and Watson intersect with characters somewhat familiar to readers of fairy tales – the left and middle book – but transplanted into Victorian London. I’m very happy that she has been a part of the MX anthologies, and she’s since assembled a collection (on the right) of those stories along and Sherlockian essays:
I first communicated with James Lovegrove after the 2014 publication of his Holmes-in-retirement novel, The Gods of War. The book has Holmes living in a house on the common in East Dean, Sussex. I saw in an interview that James, a resident of nearby Eastbourne, had placed Holmes there because the house, located across from the Tiger Inn, has long had a plaque on the outside wall stating that it was Holmes’s retirement home. I wrote to James, not realizing that he was a famous author, explaining that it was unlikely that Holmes would have actually lived right there on the village green. Where, for instance, could he keep bees?
The East Dean house that James used in the book doesn’t match the description that Holmes provides in “The Lion’s Mane” of his “villa” on the South Downs, and a much more likely candidate is Hodcombe Farm, set inland just a few hundred yards north of Beach Head. (That's the house that I visited on my first Holmes Pilgrimage, and which I use in my own pastiches, and also that I encourage in other author's pastiches.) James wrote back and agreed with me, and I saw later where he gave another interview relating the greater likelihood that Holmes’s villa was in truth Hodcombe Farm. Later I was able to recruit James as a contributor to the MX anthologies for a few stories, and he’s gone on to write a number of other pastiches as well, all published by Titan. (Not shown are his three out-of-scope "Holmes and Cthulhu" novels.)
From 1989 to 1998, Bert Coules was responsible for leading the writing team that brought the complete Canon to BBC in what are probably the best dramatizations of it that we’ll ever have, on screen or radio. At some point after each series would be broadcast in England, the different shows would be collected and sold on cassette tapes in America. I always kept my eye out and bought every one as it appeared. The casting of Clive Merrison and Michael Williams as Holmes and Watson respectively was absolutely brilliantly perfect, and they sounded like the Holmes and Watson I’d always heard in my head for decades before this show was ever actually aired.
Around 1994, I bought the set for The Return of Sherlock Holmes and discovered that “The Second Stain” was missing. There were thirteen stories in The Return, and since the cassettes were sold in sub-sets of four, one story had to be left out. I wrote to Bert, asking if he knew of a way to purchase the missing broadcast, and he replied by sending me a CD containing that specific episode – just another example of general ongoing Sherlockian generosity, and Bert's in particular.
Later, from 2002 to 2010, Bert wrote a sequel series of original stories for the BBC, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Sadly, Michael Williams had passed away by then, but he was replaced by the very capable Andrew Sachs. These stories were quite clever and addressed some of The Canon’s Untold Cases.
In 2011, I became aware of the From Gillette to Brett conference in Bloomington, Indiana. This was the third one to be held, and somehow I’d missed the first two, but when I saw that both Bert and Nick Meyers were going to be there, I resolved to go – my first Sherlockian excursion! I met Bert there in person and was able to have lunch with him, and saw him again at the 2014 From Gillette to Brett, and then again in the fall of 2015 in London at the launch of the first three MX anthology volumes. (He had contributed the script from one of his Further Adventures.) After that, he contributed another one to a later volume, and also his adaptation of “The Blue Carbuncle” to the MX Christmas volume. Shown below are the CD’s containing all the episodes from Bert’s Further Adventures:
Normally my Gmail is a pretty good record of when I started communicating with someone. (See the story about my first email to Steve Emecz, above.) But looking back, I can’t find exactly when Derrick Belanger and I first “met” one another online. (We've since met in person in New York at the 2020 Sherlock Holmes Birthday festivities.) The earliest message that I can find from Derrick was in August 2014, not long after he had reviewed Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street, where I re-worked the Martin Hewitt stories as early Holmes adventures. From that point he’s become a great friend, and a notable pasticheur as well. He and his brother, the aforementioned talented artist Brian Belanger, founded Belanger Books, which has gone on to be responsible for some of the best and highest-quality pastiche collections out there, and with more new ideas popping up all the time. I’m amazingly lucky to be friends with both of them, and to have been invited along for the ride.
Derrick has written nearly two-dozen pastiches, many in various anthologies, and he’s also co-written three books with Brian in “The MacDougall Twins” series for children, along with two other novellas on his own, as shown in the photo below:
Tim Symonds has specialized in Holmes novels that take place around or after Holmes’s retirement. These dense and clever stories, all with very interesting and often-forgotten historical aspects, are well regarded, but he has also written a number of stories for MX anthologies too, some of which are collected in A Most Diabolical Plot.
Mike Hogan told me that he first started writing Holmes pastiches without realizing that other people were doing it too. It was only later that he realized how many others had followed that path. Luckily for Mike, he is very good at it, and his novels and short stories stand out both for their cleverness and how well written they are, but also for the sly humorous tone that permeates so many of them. Shown below are Mike’s many books, and also a photo of when the two of us met in person for lunch when he passed through where I live several years ago – which should be taken as an invitation to other pasticheurs to stop and say hello if they they’re ever going to be in the neighborhood.
Speaking of passing through and saying hello, Tom Turley was born and raised not far from where I was also born and raised and still live. In 2017, he was back home and we were able to meet in person, after already becoming friends online. The left photo shows us in 2017, and the right photo shows 2022, where Tom is holding his book, Sherlock Holmes and The Crowned Heads of Europe, a collection of four interrelated adventures. Tom writes some of the best, most-interesting, and well-researched pastiches out there.
Peter Coe Verbica is a California attorney who entered the Sherlockian world by publishing his collection, The Missing Tales of Sherlock Holmes. I reached out to him in order to see if he’d be interested in writing further stories for the MX anthologies – and he was. In fact, he’s written enough now that he ought to have plenty for another book of his own very soon.
Charles Veley and his daughter, Anna Elliott, have together written many in the Holmes and Lucy James series, and have even started a next-generation spin-off series. As I’ve mentioned to Charles, I don’t necessarily agree with Lucy’s described connection to Holmes – a daughter – but the books shown here and the other (so far uncollected) e-books are first rate and amazingly written.
Craig Stephen Copland announced himself to the Sherlockian world with the amazingly ambitious goal of writing 60 Holmes stories, each matching in some way all of the original Canonical tales, either in the form of sequels or similar adventures. I thought that he would do a few and lose interest, as so many others might. He has not, and God willing, he’ll be finished up with the entire project at the rate he’s going very soon. These aren’t just short stories – most are novellas, and some are outright fat novels.
The first was the volume to match A Study in Scarlet – this one called A Study with Scarlett. It was an absolutely brilliant and traditionally written cross-over providing a Gone With the Wind sequel. Aged Scarlett O'Hara is in London, looking for her long-missing husband, Rhett Butler. Thank goodness I bought it when I did, because Craig was required to issue a new edition without the explicitly stated Gone With the Wind aspects, retitled Studying Scarlet. I have both of them, and I was also able to purchase a copy of the original before it vanished as a gift for my sister – who is quite the Gone With the Wind fan, although maybe not to the degree that I'm a student of Mr. Holmes.
Although Craig is still successfully carrying out this massively ambitious quest, he’s found time to write a number of other pastiches for books that I edit, and I’m extremely grateful. They just get better and better – as does Craig as a writer. Here are his books so far - almost too many to photograph, and certainly a fair amount of exercise to move on and off the shelf . . . .
John Lawrence has recently caused a lot of ripples with his very interesting pastiches that delve into the truth behind various historical events. John spent years working as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Chief of Staff, which gives him a very interesting background and insight. I'll admit that when John sent me his first pastiche, there were some things to be fixed. I didn't know if I'd hear from him again, but he went away and revised and knocked it out of the park - and didn't look back. I've enjoyed every one of them since then.
Mike Mallory has written a number of pastiches featuring Mrs. Amelia Watson. He says that she’s the Second Mrs. Watson, the one from 1902 onward. We have agreed to disagree, as I believe that one was actually Mrs. Watson Number 3. Amelia's narratives are in these volumes, and also collected an e-book. Besides these, Mike has written a number of brilliant non-Amelia Holmes pastiches, published in various anthologies and collections, including The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.
It was about the time that The West End Horror was published that I discovered Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and I began keeping my eye out for new adventures beyond the Original Sixty. In those days, pastiches were rare and difficult to encounter – especially where I lived – but I did find several really fun tales by the late Frank Thomas, who went on to write a number of other volumes:
Gradually, after the publication of The Seven-Per-Cent-Solution cracked open the door, access to Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box became easier and easier. In England, Val Andrews produced a great many tales over several decades, with multiple publishers, and under various pen names (like Willoughby Lane and John North), as shown in this photo. The items near the lower right are a set of five post-retirement tales that were sold as tiny booklets from the old Sherlockian vendor, Magico Magazine. I’m very glad that I have them, once again proving my main Sherlockian rule that you should always buy something when you find it, because if you don’t, trying to find it later will be massively expensive or simply impossible. (The two pamphlets in the lower middle were a couple of Andrews’ first efforts. There are three others in that set that I don’t yet have. These are some of those obscure pastiches which are much more difficult than others to acquire.)
Years ago, I was very fortunate to receive the manuscript for Val Andrew’s The Egyptian Hall Mystery as a gift from Sherlockian publisher Martin Breese. I had written him with a simple fan letter (before email) about the excellent quality of pastiches being published by Breese Books in the 1990’s, and he replied that since I’d simply sent a nice letter and hadn’t asked for anything – like the other correspondence that he normally received – he was sending me a gift.
A month or so later, I received a curious piece of mail: The manuscript, including Andrews’ red-line edits (or Watson’s?), with every page in perfect condition. But . . . the envelope itself was literally shredded. There was nothing left of it but a couple of pieces, one with the address label and the postage. It was all held together in a roll by a rubber band. Somehow the envelope had been absolutely destroyed in the mailing process, but the manuscript miraculously survived absolutely and perfectly intact, every single page – clearly under the protection of a Sherlockian Guardian Angel.
I first learned of Master Pasticheur Barrie Roberts when his 1994 novel Sherlock Holmes and the Railway Maniac was published. In the years that followed, I kept my eye out for each new one as it appeared. (The Harvest of Death, The Man from Hell, and The Devil’s Grail are particularly amazing.) In addition to nine novels, he also wrote eight short stories, seven of which appeared in the new Strand magazine. He passed away in 2007, and when I created the MX anthologies in 2015, I desperately tried in many ways to reach out to any possible family members, or even former employers, to see if he possibly had any unpublished Holmes works still lying around. Alas, I never had any luck. If anyone reading this knows any of Roberts’ associates and could follow up on this, or could have them send me a message, it would be much appreciated. I'm still hoping. Another Holmes story from Barrie Roberts would truly be a treasure, if one exists . . . .
Starting a few years ago, the Davies Brothers suddenly appeared on the scene, writing several excellent pastiches, assembled in handsome little volumes. After much hoping on my part, they have now also contributed to the MX anthologies.
Lyndsay Faye’s first published work was her Holmes versus The Ripper novel, Dust and Shadow (2009). I remember reading it while on a short vacation with my son to Asheville, NC to visit Biltmore house, and I found it to be well-written, and a good addition to the extensive Holmes-versus-The Ripper body of work.
Over the next few years, Lyndsay wrote a number of other pastiches, many for The Strand, and others for various anthologies. (She was one of the first to say “Yes” when I was initially sending out invitations to the first MX anthology volumes.) In 2017, she revised and expanded a number of her previously published Holmes stories for The Whole Art of Detection, and late 2021 she released another set of revised previously published adventures in Observations by Gaslight. It includes a version of The Gospel of Sheba, as shown below, a previously uncollected stand-alone featuring Lomax the Librarian. (I have both the little hardcover and the paperback.)
I discovered these rather rare books by Clive Brooks by way of early days on the internet, searching and searching for pastiches, and originally I ordered them through interlibrary loan at the University where I’d returned to school to get a second degree in Civil Engineering. (Between studying and some really bad night jobs to go back to school, I had a lot of time to be a Sherlockian back then – tracking down and reading new stories, creating my own Canon and Pastiche chronology that’s now well over 1,000 dense pages, etc.) At some point I was able to replace my Xerox copies of the books with the real thing. Sadly, Mr. Brooks didn’t write a second volume of Moriarty tales. (If anyone knows him and if he’s still around, ask him to confirm that and let me know . . . .)
Donald Thomas wrote a number of short story collections and one novel. He’s an author that I’ve always wanted to invite into the MX anthologies, but somehow he's slipped away from me. Like Mr. Brooks (above), if anyone knows him or how to reach him, let me know and I’ll ask if he still has a Holmes tale to tell that he’d like to send me. It’s been a while since his last one . . . .
John Hall was another author that I first discovered by way of his Breese Books novels. He has also published some short stories in The Strand and the now-defunct Sherlock magazine. He also wrote scripts for Imagination Theatre. Of course when I began inviting authors to the MX anthologies, I wanted him to be a part of it. By way of mutual friends in England, I was able to obtain his address. I wrote to him and he was very willing to join the party – in fact, his contribution was the first story in the first MX volume. He went on to write two more after that. We had hoped to meet when I was in England on my Holmes Pilgrimages but we couldn’t work it out. I haven’t heard from him in a few years, and I hope that he’s doing well. It’s definitely time to try again and send him another letter – he doesn’t have email. He is a very fine fellow indeed. (Shown here are his Breese books, along with some of his scholarly work - in this case, his research into Sherlockian Chronology.)
N.M. Scott (also known as Nigel Scott and Monty Scott) is a mystery to me. I discovered his pastiches several years ago, and for the most part they’re very good. (Sadly, his sole Holmes novel, Disquiet at Albany, veered way off into the Alternate Universe weeds.) I’ve poked around several times over the years, looking for information about how to invite him to write for the MX anthologies, but still no luck. If anyone knows him, have him send me a message . . . .
In the 1990’s, as I scoured the world for pastiches, I found some titles published by Players Press, including this set of fourteen plays by Stanley S. Reyburn. Almost all of them deal with Holmes at various locations all over the world during The Great Hiatus, and he’s usually in disguise under a variety of names – not just “Sigerson”. As far as I know, he never wrote anything else Holmes-related, but these are enough to make it into this essay.
Eric Monahan produced a number of short stories (published in chapbooks), and also some Sherlockian essays. Many of these were collected in his volume, Disjecta Membra. All were well written, and once again, I’m glad that I grabbed them when I did.
June Thomson wrote a steady series of traditional pastiches over a number of years – six volumes of short stories, and one novel. (She also wrote a Holmes biography, Holmes and Watson.) I was very happy to be able to correspond with her when assembling the initial MX anthologies. I had tracked her down and tried to recruit her to write a new pastiche. She countered by offering the text of a Holmes speech she had delivered a few years before. Sadly, that didn’t fit the scope of the books, and I was unable to use it, but we continued to correspond. Her novel The Lady in Black is her most recent Holmes adventure and sole long adventure.
L.F.E. Coombs wrote a couple of Holmes collections, many of which have Holmes interacting with his own original character, Superintendent Shershay. Coombs also contributed a Holmes and Shershay adventure to the first MX set. He and I emailed some, and he shared with me a Holmes essay (still unpublished as far as I know) regarding his opinions about mistakes that authors make when writing pastiches, but he’s since dropped from sight, and I don’t know if he plans to share any more Holmes adventures.
David Hammer was a noted Sherlockian, who wrote both Holmes travel books and pastiches. The travel books are mentioned in my blog entry “Holmes Pilgrimages: Planning a Great Hiatus” . . .
Hammer’s pastiches were Canonical, although a bit short, and many addressed Untold Cases:
Thaddeus Tuffentsamer now has a couple of Holmes collections, and he’s also edited a set from Belanger Books featuring Alternate Universe Holmes-es and Watsons.
NOTE: Thad has used a couple of paintings by John Atkinson Grimshaw for his covers – something that is a long-established Holmes publishing tradition. For more about Grimshaw and Holmes, see this entry from my blog:
The late and famed Edward D. Hoch was an incredibly prolific mystery short story author – and he found time to write a dozen Holmes pastiches too:
I’m afraid that I don’t know much about Ted Riccardi, except that he was a retired Columbia University professor who passed away in September 2020, and that he wrote two volumes of Holmes adventures, The Great Hiatus: The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes and Between the Thames and the Tiber: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I regret that I didn’t reach out to him when I had the chance about writing more of them.
Daniel J. Darrouzet has written two collections that I know of. I read the first one while on my first Holmes Pilgrimage to England in 2013 and enjoyed it very much. I’m afraid that the second volume has drifted into the use of a few bad habits that are common to some pastiche writers – such as having Holmes and Watson use each other’s names in every sentence when they’re in a conversation between just the two of them, which is something that two friends talking would never do. I’ve tried to reach Mr. Darrouzet numerous times over the years, but he doesn’t respond to messages. Hopefully one day I can recruit him . . . .
Steven Ehrman has produced a Baker’s Dozen of short Holmes novels, and also a short story for the MX anthologies. There haven’t been any new titles lately, but here’s hoping that will change sooner rather than later!
I first saw Jack Grochot’s pastiches in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, and they were later collected in the following volumes. Jack has also contributed several times to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.
David B. Beckwith is an Australian author who has written five volumes (so far) of pastiches, along with one tale for a volume that I edited for Belanger Books, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: The Early Adventures . . . .
Peter K. Andersson is a Swedish historian who has written two volumes of very excellent traditional pastiches with MX, and a couple for the MX anthologies. Peter: If you see this, please write some more!
Bob Bishop is another of those pasticheurs that I’ve discovered by poking around on the Internet and Amazon for more Holmes adventures. Thank goodness his books provided an email address, so that I was able to write to him. He’s written two pastiches for the MX anthologies, and I hope to convince him to return many more times. He’s very good, and very authentic.
I became aware of Luke Benjamen Kuhns when he published as an MX author. I met him on my first Holmes Pilgrimage in 2013, when he ran the book-signing for my first MX collection at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel in Baker Street. Later, when I had the idea for the MX anthologies, he was the first person to send me a story – giving me the idea that this whole thing might work after all. When I was back on Holmes Pilgrimage No. 3 in 2016, he guided me down to Undershaw, the school for special needs students in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home which receives the author royalties from the MX anthologies. So far we’ve raised over $100,000! – For more about the house, the school, and the books, check out this entry from my blog:
Here's when Luke and I were at Undershaw in 2016, holding his book, Welcome to Undershaw:
Luke seems to have retired for now from writing pastiches, but I hope that he will get the bug again at some point in the future . . . .
Nick Cardillo has two collections available, The Feats of Sherlock Holmes and The Improbable Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. I first became acquainted with Nick when he reached out to interview me for his high school newspaper, and he happened to mention that he’d written a pastiche. I asked to read it, and it was so good that I subsequently included it in the MX anthologies. Since then, Nick has continued to dip into The Tin Dispatch Box and grow as a writer, and I’m very glad that he’s a part of this overall pastiche community.
Another great pasticheur is Subbu Subramanian. I was first “introduced” to Subbu electronically by our mutual friend, Sherlockian Wonder Roger Johnson, and ended up using a number of his stories in various anthologies. He is one of the nicest people and a wonderful pen-pal, and I truly hope to be able to meet in him in person someday. Shown here is his new volume of pastiches, A Baker Street Dozen, along with a matching book of his collected essays, Sherlock Ho!:
Several years ago, Bianca Jenkins began a very prolific run of Tales From Scotland Yard under the sobriquet Bemj11, with stories on a fan fiction site with stories about the Scotland Yard inspectors. I’ve printed and archived all of those stories in the two binders shown. She self-published one of these stories under the name B.E.M. Jenkins. Now under her real name, she has her first true collection, Tales of Scotland Yard: Lestrade, as published by the Orange Pips imprint of MX Publishing. Should she happen to read this: Please consider submitting a story for consideration to one of the Holmes anthologies that I edit.
Alan Stockwell wrote a couple of volumes of very excellent and traditional Holmes adventures, as well as a novel. Unfortunately, as I learned when I wrote to him about writing more of them, he felt that his Holmesian well has run dry. But there’s always hope for more someday . . . .
Lyn McConchie has written quite a few Holmes pastiches, originally published as e-titles, and then collected into books. I invited her to participate in the initial MX volumes, and her story featured the original characters of Miss Emily Jackson and her cat, Mandalay. She went on to write a number of stories about them, collected into additional books. There are listings of additional future books, but no signs of them yet. Lyn has gone quiet, and I hope that all is well and that I’ll hear from her soon.
There have been a number of one-volume collections that have enough stories to qualify for inclusion in this essay. Among these are:
• Sherlock Holmes: The Lost Cases – Alvin F. Rymsha
• Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Furies Collection – Pennie Mae Cartawick
• Sherlock Holmes: Solutions From the Sussex Downs – Balaji Narasimhan
• Dead Ringers: Sherlock Holmes Stories – Robert Perret
Worthy of mention is author M.J. Trow, who has written seventeen books and a short story about Lestrade – his own unique version of “Sholto” Lestrade, as Trow calls him. In these tales, covering events ranging from 1879 to 1923, Holmes is sometimes presented as a figure of ridicule, although inconsistently, as during others he’s given more respect. Although some aren’t quite traditional Holmes stories, I’m including them here.
Pablo Riera Adrianza is a new pasticheur. He has written a Holmes-versus-The Ripper novel and sixteen shorter pastiches (as of this writing). This series, known as The Lost Memories of Sherlock Holmes, initially appeared on Amazon in Spanish, and then they were published a few weeks later in English. All sixteen have been collected in two larger volumes, and new stories are now being published in Spanish . . . but no signs yet of them being translated into English. I’m trying to reach Mr. Adrianza about being in future anthologies. Stay tuned . . . .
Another more recent pasticheur is Liz Hedgecock, who has written the volumes shown below, containing traditional adventures. (She’s also written several that fall more in the Alternate Universe category.) She’s contributed to the MX anthologies, and I hope for more in the future.
Magda Jozsa wrote a couple of Holmes novels and a couple of short story collections over a number of years. I initially discovered her when she posted a single traditional pastiche for free online, before these print-on-demand books appeared. She is another that I haven’t been able to invite to contribute to an anthology, so if she sees this, or if anyone knows her, the door is open . . . .
Phillip J. Carraher self-published four volumes of Holmes stories, three of which are set in New York when Holmes stayed there for a time under the name “Simon Hawkes” during The Great Hiatus, and the fourth being a group of stories in London after his return there in 1894. I had hoped to convince him to write more, but he told me that his connection to the Tin Dispatch Box has – hopefully temporarily – lapsed.
I found The Continued Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, a solid collection of traditional pastiches by J.A. Roberts, as a print-on-demand title that has since apparently vanished. The book is extremely hard to read, as the type size is approximately size 1.5. Roberts – whomever he or she is – wrote a few other volumes that I cannot recommend, but the stories in this book are quite good – although probably difficult or impossible to find these days.
Colin Bruce wrote a couple of collections – and as far as I know these are the only Holmes books he’s produced – wherein Holmes and Watson are involved in mysteries that tangentially explore scientific concepts and paradoxes, within traditional Canonical settings. (NOTE: For the Professor Challenger fans out there, he can be found here.)
Sometimes an author surfaces with a batch of stories and then vanishes again, never to be found. Sometimes his or her book vanishes too. Shown on the left is the self-published The Portfolio of Sherlock Holmes by Joel P. Jorden – with nothing written on the cover to give you a clue what it is. (Also shown is the title page.) As near as I can tell, this book of over a dozen adventures has long since disappeared, not long after it first appeared. I’m glad that I grabbed it when I did.
Another pair of authors that surfaced with a collection of pastiches way back in the 1990’s was Alan Downing and Ronald Downing. Shown below is their collection, Armchair Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, printed and collected for a binder in my collection back in the 1990’s.
Amazingly, as of this writing, these can still be found online at this link:
Way back in 1994, Laurie R. King gave us an amazing novel, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, providing a view of Holmes from his young apprentice, Mary Russell, during the years during and after World War I. It really is an incredible book. All of the volumes after that – shown here, along with a couple of peripheral titles – are also incredible . . . except they have the much older Holmes, in his sixties, married to Russell. At least, that’s her story. I’ve found Russell to be a very unreliable narrator. In fact, while she claims the existence of this marriage, there’s no evidence of it whatsoever in any of the other hundreds of narratives that cover this same period by other Latter-Day Literary Agents. (Mary Russell’s myrmidons cry is “After 1914, he’s ours!”, but there are, in fact, an overwhelming number of other Russell-less adventures in this same period that negate this claim.) I can only conclude that, in spite of how well written these stories are, Mary Russell, with her claims of marriage, must have been delusional. Or even insane. I discuss Russell’s “Descent into Madness” in this entry from my blog:
Thomas G. Waddell and Thomas R. Rybolt, both chemistry professors at The University of Tennessee branch in Chattanooga, TN, (just a couple of hours south from where I live near the main University campus in Knoxville), wrote a series of Holmes adventures that initially appeared in The Journal of Chemical Education – shown in the binder on the left from where I printed them and saved them. A few years later, they collected and sold them as a book, shown on the right.
In 2015, I heard from Séamus Duffy when he contributed to the first set of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories. He published three volumes, Sherlock Holmes and The Four Corners of Hell and Sherlock Holmes in Paris, and now Sherlock Holmes and the Sixty Steps with MX Publishing.
A few years ago, Sherry “A.C.” Croyle wrote four Before Watson novels, narrated by Priscilla “Poppy” Stamford. These were set during Holmes’s university years, and then during his Montague Street residency. Holmes and Poppy had a romantic interest in one another – and I’m not one to agree that Holmes was an emotionless asexual automaton. Like Mr. Spock, he had emotions, but he worked to suppress them as they would be a distraction from his chosen life’s work. Through the four books, Poppy pined for Holmes, but in the end their relationship was fated for failure. Sherry Croyle and I disagreed about Holmes and Poppy – she thought that Poppy was Holmes’s only true love, and in fact there have been a number of other pastiches where Holmes also nearly lost his heart to several other women before he strictly kept to his more logical life choice. This series ends in early 1881 when Poppy marries another and leaves England, while Holmes is being introduced to a returning Afghan war veteran in a Barts laboratory.
Kim Krisco initially contributed a Wiggins story to the first MX anthology set in 2015, and he was then inspired enough to keep writing them. That first story was included in Irregular Lives, and then he went on to write The Golden Years, The Celtic Phoenix, and The Magnificent Madness of Tessa Wiggins. Three of these four have just been collected in a massive Tessa Wiggins trilogy volume:
Brenda Seabrooke has written a number of stories for Holmes anthologies, and thankfully she's collected the first of them in her new book, Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories:
Chris Chan has also contributed to several anthologies, both Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons. His new story collection, Of Course He Pushed Him, is shown here with his previously released book of Sherlockian Scholarship, Sherlock and Irene:
Gregg Rosenquist has contributed to several anthologies - enough to now have two volumes of his stories: Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death and Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Jeweled Falcon:
Mark Sohn had written a few online-only Holmes short stories when he became part of the MX Sherlockian family upon the publication of Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Murders, diving into the extensive body of work documenting one aspect of Holmes’s battle with The Ripper. He followed up with The Absentee Detective, and also reworked a couple of his online stories for use in the MX anthologies.
Christopher James is an award-winning poet, and he’s contributed several poems to the MX anthologies. On a larger scale, he’s also written three Holmes novels, The Ruby Elephants, The Jeweller of Florence, and The Adventure of the Beer Barons.
Margaret Walsh has been a part of several recent MX anthologies with some excellent traditional short stories, and she’s also turning into a reliable novelist with The Molly-Boy Murders, The Perplexed Politician, and The London Dock Deaths, and now her first collection of Holmes short stories, The Adventure of the Bloody Duck. I hope that there are more on the way . . . .
Phil Growick has written a short story for the MX anthologies, and also two well-regraded novels, The Secret Journal of Dr. Watson, and The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes. He has gone on to curate the four volumes of The Art of Sherlock Holmes – large books with stories mostly taken from the MX anthologies and matched with new story-specific paintings by painters of different styles and methods from all over the world. COVID has suspended these books – as the gallery showings that went with them are paused – but hopefully they’ll return with a vengeance when things around the world get better.
Johanna Rieke has written a number of Holmes novels in her native German, and five of these have so far been translated into English and published by MX. They have inventive and enjoyable plots, and I look forward to the rest of them soon. They include The Cornwall Affair, The Mystery of the Three Monks, The Thames Murders, The Egyptian Tomb Murders, and The Crystal Palace Murders
Martin Daley first delved into Holmes pastichery with Sherlock Holmes and the Carlisle Adventure of the Spanish Drums, alternately published as The Adventure of the Spanish Drums. From these, he has spun off four volumes (and counting) of the adventures of Carlisle’s Inspector Armstrong – and he’s started contributing stories to the MX anthologies too – with my thanks!
Michael Hardwick, along with his wife Mollie, were long involved in the Holmesian world when they wrote scripts of Canonical adaptations for British radio. They went on to write The Sherlock Holmes Companion, one of the very first Holmes reference books I ever owned. (Later, Hardwick wrote the related The Complete Guide to Sherlock Holmes.) Their first pastiche the novelization of the film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Hardwick went on to write three exceptional Holmes novels, The Prisoner of the Devil, The Private Life of Dr. Watson, and The Revenge of the Hound. (A new version of The Revenge was rumored a few years ago, and a friend of mine read an advance copy, but I’m unaware that the project was ever completed or published.) Sadly, Hardwick went off the rails with his Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes – another pastiche where Moriarty was not evil and The Great Hiatus never happened – something that has also been proposed by Nick Meyer and Michael Kurland.
Newer to the scene is Christopher Abbott, who has published several books so far, with more in progress:
Allen Sharp wrote eight amazing pastiches, each in the form of Watson’s journals, complete with sketches and photos. I’m quite glad to have found these, as they’re always fun reads: The Buchanan Curse, The Gentle Conspirators, The Frightened Heiress, The Baffled Policeman, The Man Who Followed Himself, The Howling Dog, The Silent Canary, and The Devil’s Hoofmarks.
In the mid-1970’s, riding the wave of the Nick Meyer-induced Golden Age, Nick Utechin and Austin Mitchelson wrote two epic Holmes pastiches, Hellbirds, telling one of Holmes and Watson’s World War I adventures, and The Earthquake Machine, showing just what Professor Moriarty was truly capable of doing. Shown here are both the original paperback versions, and the later reissued hardcovers by publisher Ian Henry. In addition to an incredible Sherlockian career with hundreds of essays, Nick has also written several short stories for anthologies I’ve edited, and forewords too. Through our correspondence, we established that we’re both Rathbones – each of our mothers was named Rathbone, so we’re cousins, somehow. I’ve been thrilled to meet him a couple of times – once in Oxford when he gave me an amazing behind-the-scenes tour, and again at the most recent From Gillette to Brett conference in Bloomington, Indiana.
Here we are - two Rathbones, in this photo from the last time I saw Nick in person, at From Gillette to Brett V in 2018. (He’s holding his incredible volume The Complete Paget Portfolio.)
Liese Sherwood-Fabre has an ongoing series of the adventures of Young Sherlock Holmes: The Murdered Midwife, The Murdered Gypsy, The Deceased Scholar, and The Purloined Portrait. She’s also contributed short stories to the MX anthologies and has written several volumes of scholarly essays (also shown here).
I normally don’t read e-books unless the story simply isn’t available as a real book. This was the case for the longest time with Richard Radek’s excellent first Holmes novel, The Problem of the Singular Stradivarius, but finally after a long wait, it came out as a real book, followed by a second, The Tragedy of the Salopian Roses. Richard has contributed one short story to the MX anthologies, and I hope that there are a lot more in his future . . . .
Years ago, before the internet made writing, publishing, and buying pastiches so much easier, one had to wait and find them in bookstores, usually by surprise, as delivered way of the old-paradigm publishers who dragged out the process for years. Often finding a pastiche that way was pure serendipitous accident – you certainly didn’t know about it months before publication. In the case of L.B. Greenwood’s first book, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Raleigh Legacy, I found it in 1987, just a year after its publication while on an early date with my future wife. She introduced me to a remarkable bookstore that I hadn’t previously discovered, and they had a linear foot of Sherlockian titles that I didn’t know about – including this book. It was excellent, as were the two novels that followed, The Case of Sabina Hall and The Thistle of Scotland. Ms. Greenwood also wrote one other great short story in The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories about how Holmes and Watson ended World War I – and then nothing more. That’s too bad.
Barry Day wrote five clever pastiches over just a few years, The Shakespeare Globe Murders, The Alice in Wonderland Murders, The Copycat Murders, The Apocalypse Murders, and The Seven Deadly Sins Murders. There were a few problems – he sometimes referred to “Dr. James H. Watson” – but overall they were enjoyable reads. He also assembled a Holmes biography of sorts, using just quotations from The Canon . . . .
Wayne Worcester was (and may still be) a journalist and professor who wrote two Holmes novels. These straight-to-paperback books truly put Our Heroes through the ringer, and there were some brutal events, especially in the first one, that would not have been published in The Strand. Worchester also wrote one Holmes short story, and I communicated with him back when these were published, but couldn’t find him when recruiting for the MX anthologies. Hopefully he will see this and get in touch . . . .
Daniel McGachey, mentioned above, has produced one volume of stories so far, Sherlock Holmes: The Impossible Cases, but in addition to this book, he has written several scripts for Imagination Theatre, and he’s also contributed additional stories to the MX anthologies.
Another author who has written one volume so far is Tony Reynolds. His really great The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes (shown here in hardcover and softcover, with a revised 2nd edition containing a bonus story) perfectly capture Watson’s voice – and also provide some incredible Paget-like illustrations. Tony has written one additional short story since these were published.
Other one-volume short-story authors include: • Sherlock Holmes and the Midnight Bell – David James
• The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes - Alex Prior
• The Scrapbook of Sherlock Holmes – Archie Rushden
• The Investigations of Sherlock Holmes – John Heywood
• The Irregular Casebook of Sherlock Holmes – Ron Weigell
• The Remains of Sherlock Holmes – Paul W. Nash
• Sherlock Holmes in Mysteries Suspended – Richard Stone
• Sherlock Holmes: The Soldier’s Disguise and Other Stories – Malcolm Knott
• The Mark of the Gunn – Brian Gibson
Then there’s Sherlock Holmes: Mysteries of the Victorian Era by Rock DiLisio and The Secret Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Paul E. Hensinger . . . .
. . . and Secret Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Duncan Wood and Darryl Webber. Despite implications that there might be a Volume II, there was not, although one e-story was later published related to this collection, and Mr. Webber has also contributed to the MX anthologies.
A few other authors who have published one Sherlockian volume so far include: • The Unusual Sherlock Holmes – Jerry “B.P.” Briggs
• Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Wild West – John S. Fitzpatrick
• Sherlock Holmes and The Web of Death – Thomas Perrin
• Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls – Elizabeth Varadan (It should be noted that Elizabeth Varadan has also written an additional Imogene short story set in the Holmes Universe.)
• The Apocryphal Case of Sherlock Holmes – R. Wolfgang Schramm
• The Unforgotten Cases – Holly Tuckey
In addition to several short stories, Carole Buggé (C. E. Lawrence) has published two fine Holmes novels, The Star of India (1998) and The Haunting of Torre Abbey (2000). It's time for more (Hint hint . . . .)
In 1993, John Taylor wrote six stories for the BBC's The Unopened Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, and in 1994, these excellent tales were published as a book. In 2015, Taylor wrote four more stories, The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, which were issued directly on CD's. The former stories were fully dramatized, while the latter were performed by Benedict Cumberbatch. For those who have wondered what it would be like if Benedict Cumberbath were to actually play Sherlock Holmes, this is the only place that he's done so. Cumberbatch would probably make a good Holmes, should he ever be given the chance.
Herman Anthony Lintzinger wrote the obscure and excellent Traveling with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson . . .
. . . and Alan S. Mosier produced Tales of Sherlock Holmes.
M.J.H. Simmonds has written Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Pigtail Twist, as well as several short stories for volumes that I’ve edited.
In addition to providing an incredible service by collecting a number of parodies and pastiches from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in his invaluable 221B Casebook series, Bill Peschel has also written a few pastiches, collected in The Casebook of Twain and Holmes:
David McGowan wrote a set of Sherlockian Tales . . . .
. . . and then there was Sherlock Holmes: Some Unpublished Cases (Robert A. Kisch), Watson’s Sampler: The Lost Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (William F. Watson, Jr.), and Doctor Watson’s Trunk (Robert Douglass Armistead III).
Other single-volume authors include Sherlock Holmes in Canterbury (Miles Elward), Sherlock Holmes’s Personal Journals (Nino Cirone), and The Unexpected Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Amanda Knight).
A well-done volume was Holmes Redux, with three stories by David Scott:
A pseudononomous pasticheur who originally published a number of excellent Holmes novels online, "Ember Pepper" has recently started releasing them as real books on Amazon.
Linda Stratman has recently published a couple of Young Holmes novels, with more on the way:
A few years ago, nine practically perfect pastiches were sold as e-books, with the author listed only as “Anon.” These were finally collected into a tidy little book, My Name is Sherlock Holmes – but I still have no idea who the author might be. The following might be something found in the agony columns, but it’s sincere: If you are Anon. – send me a message.
Gerald Frow wrote a couple of Young Sherlock books, The Mystery of the Manor House and The Adventure at Ferryman’s Creek to supplement the Young Sherlock television series. The two books and the DVD’s are shown here:
Australian author Kel Richards wrote six short Holmes novels that are geared toward younger Sherlockians . . .
• The Curse of the Pharaoh
• The Headless Monk
• The Vampire Serpents
. . . and in a three-volume edition:
• Footsteps in the Fog
• The Waters of Death
• Wolfman of Dartmoor
Richards also wrote some short solve-them-yourself-type mysteries that were used at the old Classic Specialties website. There was talk years ago about collecting those in a book, and the late Joel Senter asked me about it and sent me some files to read, but the book never happened. Several years ago, I managed to track down Mr. Richards (by email) to invite him to contribute something to the MX anthologies. His immediate response was how much would he be paid. When I explained that the royalties go to a school for special needs children, he indicated that he had no interest in being part of such a project. Vaya con Dios, Mr. Richards.
I’ve written on my blog about a number of books either written about Holmes’s boyhood, or series related to The Baker Street Irregulars and other children in Holmes’s world. The essay, “A Consideration of Children in the World of Sherlock Holmes”, can be found here:
Another series for kids that’s getting a lot of attention now, related to a recent Netflix film that’s very loosely based on the books, is Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes. (Another film is in production.)
• The Case of the Missing Marquess
• The Case of the Left-handed Lady
• The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
• The Case of the Peculiar Pink Ran
• The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline
• The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye
• Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche
These purport to be the stories of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes’s unknown much-younger sister, but as I don’t agree that they had a sister, I read them as if she was an orphaned cousin taken in and raised by the Holmes family.
Lloyd Biggle, Jr. wrote two exceptional novels about one of Holmes’s apprentices, Edward Porter Jones, The Quallsford Inheritance and The Glendower Conspiracy. I really wish there had been a lot more of these.
Jake and Luke Thoene wrote four novels about a version of The Baker Street Irregulars:
• The Mystery of the Yellow Hands
• The Giant Rat of Sumatra
• The Jewelled Peacock of Persia
• The Thundering Underground
They are enjoyable, but somewhere in the middle of each one, like in Kel Richards’ books, they’ll hit you over the head with a religious lesson . . . .
Holmes books for kids often take the form of Baker Street Irregulars adventures, including the three-volume set by the late actor Tim Pigott-Smith (The Dragon Tattoo, The Rose of Africa, and The Shadow of Evil) . . .
. . . and the two-volume Raven League series by Alex Simmons and Bill McKay (Sherlock Holmes is Missing! and Buffalo Bill Wanted!) A third volume, The Yellow Man, was promised for 2019 on Alex Simmons’s website, but it hasn't yet appeared, and I’m still waiting . . . .
Robert Newman wrote nine novels about a version of the Baker Street Irregulars, but Holmes was only in the first. After that, the characters didn’t mention Holmes again – but they’re still in the World of Holmes (and well-written), so I still enjoy them. The books – each The Case of – include:
• The Baker Street Irregular
• The Vanishing Corpse
• The Somerville Secret
• The Threatened King
• The Etruscan Treasure
• The Frightened Friend
• The Murdered Players
• The Indian Curse
• The Watching Boy
Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin wrote four Irregulars books: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas, The Mystery of the Conjured Man, In Search of Watson, and The Final Meeting:
Ray Ziemecki has written several volumes – some normal-sized, some huge – featuring both Holmes and Wiggins:
• Sherlock Holmes Passes the Torch • The Phantom of the Cobblestone • The Escapades of Sherlock Holmes • Holmes and Watson: The Twilight Years • Sherlock Holmes: Gone in the Fog
Ian Grant has written two (so far) novels about grown-up Wiggins:
Likewise, H.B. Lyle has also written several novels about grown-up Wiggins:
There have been quite a few novels related to other characters in The Canon. I write about this in my blog entry “Other Canonical Characters”
Gerard Williams wrote two Dr. Mortimer novels, The Aldgate Mystery and The Barking Man Mystery, and a third was promised, The Carved Head Mystery, was promised, but when I communicated with the publishers, they informed me that Mr. Williams had died before it could be published – but I still hope for its eventual appearance . . . .
Several authors have written about Mrs. Hudson, including Sidney Hosier (Elementary, Mrs. Hudson, Murder Mrs. Hudson, The Game’s Afoot, Mrs. Hudson, and Most Baffling Mrs. Hudson) . . .
. . . and by Martin Davies (The Spirit’s Curse, The Malabar Rose, The Lazarus Testament, and The Samarkind Conspiracy) . . .
Susan Knight has specialized in stories about Mrs. Hudson, with two novels so far, Mrs. Hudson Investigates and Mrs. Hudson Goes to Ireland. I hear that more are in the works, and she’s also started contributing some really great traditional Holmes adventures to the anthologies that I edit.
Barry S. Brown has also written seven Mrs. Hudson novels which have a little bit in common with the idea behind the Holmes-related film Without a Clue:
• The Unpleasantness at Parkerton Manor
• Mrs. Hudson and the Irish Invincibles
• Mrs. Hudson in the Ring
• Mrs. Hudson in New York
• Mrs. Hudson’s Olympic Triumph
• Mrs. Hudson Takes the Stage
• Mrs. Hudson in the Wild West
Along with several short stories for the MX anthologies and Titan anthologies, Amy Thomas has written four volumes about Holmes and Irene Adler:
• The Detective and the Woman
• The Detective and the Woman and the Winking tree
• The Detective and the Woman and the Silent Hive
• The Detective and the Woman and the Pirate’s Bounty
The late John Gardner laid claim to chronicling Professor Moriarty. The first two volumes, The Return of Moriarty (1974) and The Revenge of Moriarty (1975) appeared right at the start of the Holmes Golden Age set in motion by Nick Meyer’s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. The final volume, simply Moriarty – written decades before but never published – finally appeared in 2008, a year after Gardner’s death.
Gardner’s Moriarty had a twist – the Professor wasn’t actually the Professor. Michael Kurland’s approach with five Moriarty novels and a few short stories is that the Professor isn’t actually all that evil – just misunderstood, with his own sense of justice, and sometimes a Robin Hood-like approach. They’re truly incredible novels, from the first one I found as a lad as a paperback original on the grocery store rack, to the later hardcovers. For several years, Mr. Kurland has indicated that he might contribute a new Moriarty tale from his pen to the MX anthologies. My fingers are constantly crossed . . . . His novels (shown here with a couple of his books containing Moriarty short stories) include The Infernal Device, Death by Gaslight, Who Thinks Evil, The Great Game, and The Empress of Evil
Anthony Horowitz has written two Holmes novels – The House of Silk and Moriarty – and a short story, and the latter novel is obviously about Professor Moriarty. The difficulty with these books is that Mr. Horowitz – as he’s stated in many interviews – is under the false impression that he’s the only author of new Holmes stories since ACD died in 1930 – and this attitude spoiled my reading of both books. He bragged about all the research that he had done, and then he filled the books with glaring Canonical errors and incorrect assumption and assertions. I’m glad to have them in my collection, and they were tolerable books, but they’ll never rate as highly in real life as Mr. Horowitz ranks them in his own head.
Another author who has featured in enough stories to be included in this essay is Sean Wright, chronicling the affairs of Mycroft Holmes. For years, Enter the Lion was the only Mycroft tale from Michael P. Hodel and Sean M. Wright, but then a few years ago Mr. Wright began submitting new Mycroft stories to the MX books, which thrilled me immensely!
Famed basketball player and essayist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – with Anna Waterhouse – has written three Mycroft Holmes novels, Mycroft Holmes, Mycroft and Sherlock, and Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage. (They also wrote an unlikely Alternate Universe Mycroft comic book, but it’s far too far into the weeds for me to consider.) I haven’t heard anything at all about a fourth Mycroft novel, so maybe they’re three and done. (I'm very grateful to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar for contributing a foreword to the MX anthologies.)
More obscure but excellent Mycroft tales have been written by Glen Petrie – The Dorking Gap Affair, The Monstrous Regimet of Women, and The Hampstead Poisonings . . . .
. . . and Maryam Wade has written seven short print-on-demand Mycroft adventures:
• The Giant Rat of Folkestone
• The Red Leech
• The Canary Trainer
• The Dark Man
• The Plume Hunters
• The Royal Orphan
• Black Moon
Mycroft Holmes’s further adventures, as narrated by his irritating assistant Paterson Guthrie, appeared as four books, published yearly from 1998 to 2000, by “Quinn Fawcett" (the combination of the writing team of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Bill Fawcett): Against The Brotherhood, Embassy Row, The Flying Scotsman, and The Scottish Ploy.
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has also written a couple of Holmes novels, A Sherlock Holmes Story and The Case of the Discrete [SIC] Madame
Sometimes authors create their own original character to go along with Holmes. Dan Andriacco, along with Kieran McMullen, wrote three Holmes and Enoch Hale novels, The Amateur Executioner, The Poisoned Penman, and The Egyptian Curse. Andriacco is also the author of the excellent McCabe and Cody series, and he’s written some Holmes pastiches, including a short story in Baker Street Beat, all from MX Publishing, and also two other Homles novels, House of the Doomed, and The Sword of Death Dan also edited Sherlock Holmes: A Three Pipe Christmas (see above from Belanger Books), the definitive volume concerning Vincent Starrett’s pastiche, “The Unique Hamlet”, and also contaning “The Blue Carbuncle” and the Solar Pons story, “The Unique Dickensians”. (I’m proud to have an essay about Solar Pons in this book.)
In addition to his novels with Dan Andriacco, Kieran McMullen wrote three Holmes novels of his own, The Irish Rebels, Watson’s Afghan Adventure, and Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Boer Wagon – all collected in the hardcover volume Holmes and Watson: The War Years:
Mick Finlay has written about Arrowood - not mentioned in The Canon, but he's in Holmes's London at the same time - and he doesn't like Holmes very much.
David Francis Curran has written two volumes, A Sherlock Holmes Trilogy, and A Sherlock Holmes Sextuplet (which contains the three stories in the first volume).
Oliver St. Gaudy (should that be his real name) wrote three short but fun books in his Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series: The Case of Lithuania’s Lost Lion, The Case of the West London Wives, and The Murders at Hobson’s Coal Hole and The Prospect of Whitby.
In book form, Martin Loughlin wrote three stories, The York Minister Mystery (retitled on Kindle as The Whispering Voice Mystery), The Prague Castle Mystery, and The French Quarter Mystery. He also had a couple just published as e-books, The Great Orme Mystery and The Railway Compartment Mystery. (I have them, because that was the only way to get them, but I hate e-books.) Mr. Loughlin is another author that I would have liked to recruit for the MX anthologies, but I could never find him.
J.R. Trtek has written two volumes, the massive Thirty-Nine Steps from Baker Street, related to Richard Hannay and The Thirty-Nine Steps, and The Hapsburg Falcon, a much thinner book concerning Holmes’s involvement with a certain famed falcon statue years before it would cross Sam Spade’s path . . . .
Andrew Salmon originally wrote a few Holmes pastiches related to boxing, and during the process, he developed his own character, Ebi Stokes, who has her own special skills, and has gone on to be an agent within Mycroft Holmes’s shadowy organization. Andrew has written several Holmes and Solar Pons pastiches for books that I’ve edited, a number of stories for the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective series and other anthologies, and his own full-length Ebi Stokes novel is approaching completion, as of what I'd last heard.His Holmes novels include Work Capital, Blood to the Bone, and A Congression of Pallbearers.
Vasudev Murthy has written two novels of Holmes’s Great Hiatus travels, with possibly more in the works: Sherlock Holmes – The Missing Years: Japan and Sherlock Holmes – The Missing Years: Timbuktu.
Another single volume of Holmes’s travels is Alex Auswak’s Sherlock Holmes in Russia:
In addition to three excellent online-only Nero Wolfe pastiches, Alan Vanneman wrote two hardcover Holmes pastiches, The Giant Rat of Sumatra and The Hapsburg Tiara. They are essentially good stories . . . but what I still remember most after all these years is a strange and unpleasant episode where Watson has a rather urgent and sweaty foot fetish. I wish that Mr. Vanneman hadn’t felt the need to graft this onto Watson’s manuscripts.
I first met Bonnie MacBird in 2013 on my first Holmes Pilgrimage, when I’d invited Roger Johnson and his wife Jean Upton to lunch at the Sherlock Holmes Pub, and Bonnie came along. I had no idea then that she had a previous famed Hollywood career. She stated then that she was working on a Holmes pastiche, but no matter how much I hinted, she didn’t let me read it early. I next saw her on Holmes Pilgrimage No. 2 in 2015, when she came to the release party in London for the first MX Holmes anthology volumes. At that point, she’d just published that first Holmes pastiche, Art in the Blood, which I purchased and read while there in England. In the nearly ten years since I first met her, she’s written four Holmes novels: Art in the Blood, Unquiet Spirits, The Devil’s Due, and The Three Locks. A fifth, What Child is This?, is to be published in late 2022, and there's possibly another one at some point that was teased in a previous book, The Serpent Under.) She's also written a couple of short stories and contributed poems to the MX anthologies.
Rich Ryan has written six Holmes novels and one short story. The novels are: The Vatican Cameos, The Stone of Destiny, The Druid of Death, Through a Glass Darkly, The Merchant of Menace, and Three May Keep a Secret:
Larry Millett popped onto the scene in 1996 with Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon, in which Holmes and Watson journey to Minnesota and are involved in the 1894 Hinckley fire. (In this book, Larry did what I did in a couple of my early Holmes stories: Have them travel to the United States and then on to my home town. If I wasn’t able to get to England and visit where Our Heroes had walked, then I had them come here and visit where I walked.) In many of these books, Larry has Holmes and Watson interact with his own original character, Shadwell Rafferty. He followed up his first book with a number of other volumes and several short stories (including one for the MX anthologies).
• Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon
• Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders
• Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery
• Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance
• The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes
• The Magic Bullet
• Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma
• Rafferty's Last Case
Like Larry Millett (and me), Steve Leadley has sometimes had Holmes visit his American hometown - in this case, Cape May, NJ. Leadley has written three Holmes books, Sherlock Holmes in Cape May, Sherlock Holmes: Death by Misadventure, and Sherlock Holmes: The Circle of Blood. As is the case with several authors in this essay, I haven’t been able to get in touch with Mr. Leadley about contributing to the MX anthology. Should you know him, please pass on a message to get in touch with me . . . .
Ronald Weyman wrote three volumes where Holmes visited Canada, and he then turned them into scripts:
• Sherlock Holmes and The Mark of the Beast
• Sherlock Holmes and The Ultimate Disguise
• Sherlock Holmes: Travels in the Canadian West (revised as The Hanging Judge)
Another author who brought Holmes to Canada was Stephen Gaspar. Quite a while ago, Stephen used to post stories online on his blog, and he also sold his first book, The Canadian Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, as a download file. (It might have been the first book that I ever bought that way.) Later he sold it as a book version, and then he published his online novel, Cold-Hearted Murder as a real book too. (I highly recommend real books.) More recently, he published Sherlock6 – which curious contains several pastiches, some of which have appeared in MX anthologies.
For a number of years, Titan has been reissuing older pastiches, and when those were mostly caught up, they turned their attention to new stories. Some authors who have joined the party include Philip Purser-Hallard (The Vanishing Man and The Spider’s Web), Mark A. Latham (Betrayal in Blood – the best Holmes and Dracula pastiche ever because it isn’t supernatural – and The Red Tower), Guy Adams (The Breath of God and The Army of Dr. Moreau), Cavan Scott (The Patchwork Devil and Cry of the Innocents), and George Mann (The Will of the Dead and The Spirit Box). Some of these authors have also written a few short stories, and in George Mann’s case, some audio scripts. Like much of Titan’s recent Holmes novels, some of these are traditional and Canonical, and others definitely cross the Alternate Universe line, with Holmes dealing with actual supernatural or steampunk events. Consider yourself warned.
Another Titan author is Stuart Douglas, who has written four novels (along with some short stories for the MX anthologies.) His books include The Counterfeit Detective, The Albino’s Treasure, The Improbable Prisoner, and The Crusader’s Curse. He's contributed to the MX anthologies, and I want some more of his short stories!
In 1994, Sam Siciliano wrote The Angel of the Opera, a handsome hardcover novel with a version of Holmes versus The Phantom of the Opera. It was narrated by Holmes’s cousin, Dr. Henry Vernier. Later, this was reprinted by Titan, and since then, there have been six more, with another coming in early 2023
The books are interesting, but must be read with a pretty hefty grain of salt, as Dr. Vernier is a very unreliable narrator. In fact, he’s a flat-out dishonest one, and quite irritating, too – although that likely wasn’t Siciliano’s intent when he created him. Henry Vernier is painfully jealous of Watson, and he falsely has Holmes saying things like, “Dr. Watson and I are not quite so close as he has portrayed. In fact, Henry is my preferred companion.” I write more about these books and their unsuspected connection to the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes in this entry from my blog, “Actually, That Wasn’t Watson”:
In my quest to stay caught up on acquiring all traditional Canonical pastiches, I check Amazon and other sites weekly to find new pastiches, and I was happy a few years ago to find Maurice Barkley’s well-written stories. He’s also gone on to write a few for the MX anthologies.
Years ago, there was no internet, so finding Holmes books came down to either seeing something new and surprising in a bookstore, or receiving catalogs from different booksellers, including The Mysterious Bookshop, Classic Specialties, and Sherlock’s Home. These three volumes of short stories by Douglas Moreton were discovered and purchased that way: The Papers in the Case, “After You, Holmes . . .”, and The Rising Ransom (which also contains A Fatal Mistake by Hugh S. Scullion).
Another vendor still around from the pre-online days is The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, which had these pastiches from Patrick Campbell: Shades of Sherlock, Tides of the Wight, and Holmes in the West Country . . . .
For a while, Breese Books did an incredible job at providing new pastiches. Some authors (mentioned in the previous essay) like Val Andrews and John Hall produced a lot of Holmes adventures. These authors haven’t done quite as many, but this is really good stuff. These include Ian Charnock (The Elementary Cases of Sherlock Holmes and Watson’s Last Case), Ian MacLachlan (The Adventure of the Bloody Tower and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Crippen), Edmund Hastie (Sherlock Holmes: The Disappearing Prince) and Matthew Booth (Sherlock Holmes and the Giant’s Hand). Matthew has also contributed several stories to the MX anthologies, and a few other works.
Breese also published a pair of volumes by the late Eddie Maguire, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Mission and Sherlock Holmes: The Tandridge Hall Murder and Other Storeis. These were in addition to several chapbooks containing individual stories, “The Strange Affair at Glastonbury”, “A Voice From the Ether”, “A Death at the Cricket”, “The Croydon Ghost”, and “The Irish Professor:
A few years ago, Robert Hale published a number of handsome hardcover pastiches. (I understand that their main market was selling direct to libraries.) Three by Steve Hayes and David Whitehead included The Queen of Diamonds, The Knave of Hearts, and The King of Clubs. (It might have been a challenge, but I wish that they’d kept going with the rest of the cards . . . .)
In 1987, Ian Malcolm Earlson wrote a small two-story collection, curiously published as Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1987 – not to be confused with the one from a hundred years earlier. (It also contains “The Blue Carbuncle”).
Newcomer Geoffrey Finch has written The Uncollected Cases of Sherlock Holmes:
M.K. Wiseman as added two volumes to The Great Holmes Tapestry: Sherlock Holmes and The Ripper of Whitechapel (with additional information about the vastly complex Ripper investigation) and Sherlock Holmes and the Singular Affair:
Alex Prior recently published The Lost Case Files of Sherlock Holmes:
Orlando Pearson (aka Edward Howard) has written eight volumes of his Redacted Sherlock Holmes series. Some of the stories fall within the purview of this essay: They are about the traditional Holmes in the correct time period. In others, Mr. Howard goes rather far afield, with Holmes and Watson interacting with historical figures and in historical events far outside the correct span of their lives, or occasionally involved in some sort of Alternate Reality. I start each of his stories without knowing if I'll find that it's about the correct Holmes - and thus I'll finish it - or if it goes off a cliff, I'll quit in the middle. The correct stories are good - I just wish that they were all correct.
From Daniel Gracely came to obscure little volumes, The Giant Rat of Sumatra (about one of Professor Moriarty's most ambitious plans) and Strange Doings, which tells more about what happened to James Ryder:
Jay Shakley wrote a welcome three-story chapbook called The Villars-Manningham Papers:
Dan Kilcup wrote a two-volume set, Chinese Box Mysteries, but actually Holmes is only in the first book . . .
. . . and Bill Paxton wrote a two-volume collection, The Hidden Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, with illustrations by his wife:
Ann Margaret Lewis’s two volumes are quite different. The first, Murder in the Vatican, has – as advertised – a few of Holmes’s cases that were involved with the Catholic Church. One feature of interest is that Father Brown is involved in one of them. A number of pasticheurs have included Father Brown in various Holmes tales, but this is one of the better ones. The second book, The Watson Chronicles, is a novel made up of loosely connected short stories, set in the years around Holmes’s retirement. I was fortunate to meet Ann years ago at the 1911 edition of From Gillette to Brett, not long after her first books was published, and she sent me the second in manuscript form to read years before its book publication. She’s also written a few stories for Holmes anthologies that I’ve edited.
For years, James R. Stefanie had only written two Holmes stories, the excellent novel The Charters Affair, and a short story in one of the Curious Incidents collections. Finally, in late 2021, he collected that short story with several other new adventures in The Montague Memoirs.
Jane Rubino is very good at capturing the Canonical style, but for years, Knight Errant contained her only Sherlockian stories. But for the last few years, thank goodness, she’s been writing more of them for the MX anthologies.
Steven Philip Jones’s first Holmes book, The Adventure of the Coal-Tar Derivative, contains a number of related tales set during the Great Hiatus. However, he’s written about Holmes before, producing both scripts for Imagination Theatre, and also stories for the MX anthologies – all of whom have connections with the stories collected here:
Another good collection is Allen J. Heiss’s A Sherlock Holmes Trilogy. I’m unaware of any other stories by him, which is a shame.
A few other one-shot volumes – all dealing with Holmes’s travels away from London – include Dale Furutani’s The Curious Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in Japan, Amy Craddock’s The Travels of Emile Sigerson, and Philip van Wulven’s Sherlock Holmes Investigates – The Hampshire Expedition
In the early 2000’s, Classic Specialties offered copies of Holmes of the Raj by Vithal Rajan. According to emails that I had from them, only 100 copies of this book were ever printed, and they were hand-bound. I ordered one, and Joel and Carolyn Senter sent me two copies, shown here – each with different-colored cloth and decorations making up the bindings.
A really neat set of three stories by Tony Lumb were published as chapbooks by the Briton Press, based in Featherstone, England. These stories tell of Holmes’s three investigation in Featherstone . . . .
Jeff Falkingham has written two interesting Holmes-in-America pastiches, Sherlock Holmes: In Search of the Source, and Sherlock Holmes and The County Courthouse Caper. I see Mr. Falkingham sometimes on social media, but strangely I haven’t yet reached out to him to ask if he’d contribute a story to the MX anthologies. Maybe this is a good nudge that way . . . .
Tom Cavenagh has written four Holmes books: Sherlock Holmes: Reports from the Dark Side, Sherlock Holmes: Doctor Watson’s Rucksack, Sherlock Holmes: End Justifies?, and Sherlock Holmes: The Insidious Succession:
Donald W. Holmes – probably no relation – has written several Holmes short stories related to Florida in the collections Indian River Trilogy and The Lure of el Rio d’Ais.
John Rodda has self-published three volumes, Sherlock Holmes at He-Goats Ridge, Sherlock Holmes and the Bible Killer, and Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Ghost:
Allison Evans has completed two volumes of Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Memoirs:
William Todd is really good at channeling Watson’s voice – and that’s what it’s all about. In addition to several stories for books that I’ve edited, he’s published four books of novels and short stories, A Reflection of Evil, Murder in Keswick, Elementary: 4 Mysteries from the Case Files of Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Broken Window. (I must admit: I spent far too much time crawling around and looking for the latter to include in this photo. Amazon showed that I’d bought it in 2016, and I was getting worried. Where could it be? Then I went back and saw that it was an e-book, never published as the real thing. So Bill: May I suggest strongly that you re-publish this one as an actual book. It needs to be on my shelves.)
Darlene Cypser has written several short stories (available as e-books), and also three novels exploring the younger days of Sherlock Holmes – The Crack in the Lens, and the first two volumes of her The Consulting Detective Trilogy – Part I: University, and Part II: On Stage. I’m looking forward to the eventual appearance of Part III.
Gen Schulze has written a Holmes short story for the MX anthologies, and also five Holmes novels, Gray Manor, Asylum, The Ring and the Box, A Matter of Royal Deception, and My Mother's Diary. She's told me that she's retiring from writing about Holmes - but maybe she'll change her mind . . . .
Kelvin Jones (known online lately as “Siger Holmes”) is a Sherlockian legend, publishing a series of brilliant monographs in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and then resuming in the last few years. But in addition to those, he’s also the author of a number of horror tales and Sherlockian pastiches. In addition to a number of Holmes short stories, he has three novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Women, The Baskerville Papers, and Sherlock Holmes: Plagues of London:
Several years ago, Barry Clay wrote an excellent e-version short story, “The MelRoy Theater Ghost”. Then he went on to bring us another short story for the MX anthologies, and three novels, The Darkened Village, The Leveson-Gower Theft, and The Medium of Death. Additionlly, he's written A Mistake, Two Incidents, and a Murder, with a novel and three short stories.
Robert Ryan wrote four big hardcover novels of Watson’s adventures during World War I – Dead Man’s Land, The Dead Can Wait, A Study in Murder, and The Sign of Fear. He also wrote a much-less known collection of short stories that were only available as an e-book, The Case of the Six Watsons.
James Moffett has produced two books so far – The Trials of Sherlock Holmes and An Element of Deceit, and he’s also contributed to the MX anthologies.
A couple of much more obscure Holmes novels by Stanley Shaw are Sherlock Holmes at the 1902 Fifth Test, and Sherlock Holmes meets Annie Oakley – They’re well worth seeking out.
The late Bill Lawler wrote two Holmes novels, Mystery at St. Andrews and Treachery in Torquay. He and I exchanged emails and then signed copies of our first books years ago, and he shared with me then a copy of the agreement he’d signed with the greedy Conan Doyle Estate, allowing them to collect a piece of his first book forever – although they had no rights to do so or to demand it. I learned a valuable lesson from that, and very much appreciated “knowing” Bill, even though we never met in person. I dedicate this essay to him.
TO SUM UP . . . .
These various volumes are all examples of what happens when someone reaches into Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box for a single adventure . . . and then the siren call compels one to do it again, and again, and again . . . .
This is a sampling of what's out there. I didn't show all that's in my collection. For example, there are dozens of great pasticheurs who have only shared their stories online, or by way of ephemeral e-books. To have listed all of them and provided photographic examples from the 175+ binders that hold all of these printed stories would have really gotten out of hand. Then there are the magazines - way too much trouble to pull each of those out for a photo. But I highly recommend tracking down all of these titles - and I also advise that all of those authors who have so far only published e-versions make the leap to real books. So many of the stories that I printed and archived years ago are now lost and gone from the internet, and only by producing physical copies can they be truly immortal in some way.
Apologies if you feel that you and your works belong here, and that you've written enough traditional Canonical pastiches to be included. No doubt – if that’s the type of story you write – I probably own your books or stories, but making these photographs involved a lot of bending and crawling and reaching and moving around and photographing, and then putting things back, and finding new things to include that I hadn’t remembered, and I’m sure a few were missed.
Send me your info and I'll update this essay.
And more importantly, let's see about establishing THE LATTER-DAY LITERARY AGENTS as a real supportive and driving force for the promotion of pastiches.
Hopefully, all of the pasticheurs who are still with us – whether they’ve written one adventure, or one dozen or one hundred, with go back to the Tin Dispatch Box for one more. And then one more after that, because – as I constantly preach as a missionary for The Church of the Canonical Holmes - there can never be enough traditional Canonical Sherlock Holmes adventures.
Keep up the good work, and thanks for letting me tag along on so many incredible adventures!!!
© David Marcum 2022 – All Rights Reserved
“Marcum could be today’s greatest Sherlockian writer . . . .” – Lee Child, New York Times Bestselling Author
“David Marcum is the reigning monarch of all things Sherlockian . . . .” – John Lescroart, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Among the best I must number David Marcum, who, by this point has written more Holmes stories than Doyle himself. Characterized by unflagging imagination and ceaseless ingenuity, along with felicitous prose, these tales continue to provide what we all crave: more Sherlock." - Nicholas Meyer, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Marcum himself again demonstrates his gift for emulating the feel of The Canon . . . ." - Publishers Weekly
David Marcum plays The Game with deadly seriousness. He first discovered Sherlock Holmes in 1975 at the age of ten, and since that time, he has collected, read, and chronologicized literally thousands of traditional Holmes pastiches in the form of novels, short stories, radio and television episodes, movies and scripts, comics, fan-fiction, and unpublished manuscripts. He is the author of nearly 100 Sherlockian pastiches, some published in anthologies and magazines such as The Strand, and others collected in his own books, The Papers of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and A Quantity of Debt, Sherlock Holmes – Tangled Skeins, Sherlock Holmes and The Eye of Heka, and The Collected Papers of Sherlock Holmes (77 stories in 5 volumes - so far). He has edited over sixty books, most traditional Sherlockian anthologies, such as the ongoing series The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, which he created in 2015. This collection is now up to 33 volumes, with several more in preparation. The books have raised over $100,000 for the Undershaw school for special needs children, located at one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former homes.
He was responsible for bringing back August Derleth’s Solar Pons for a new generation, first with his collection of authorized Pons stories, The Papers of Solar Pons, and then by editing the reissued authorized versions of the original Pons books, and subsequently additional volumes of new Pons tales. (His The Further Papers of Solar Pons will be published in late 2022.) He has done the same for The Adventures of Dr. Thorndyke. He has contributed numerous essays to various publications, and is a member of a number of Sherlockian groups and Scions. His irregular Sherlockian blog, A Seventeen Step Program, addresses various topics related to his favorite book friends (as his son used to call them when he was small). He is a licensed Civil Engineer, living in Tennessee with his wife and son, and since the age of nineteen, he has worn a deerstalker as his regular-and-only hat. In 2013, he and his deerstalker were finally able make his first trip-of-a-lifetime Holmes Pilgrimage to England, with return Pilgrimages in 2015 and 2016, where you may have spotted him. If you ever run into him and his deerstalker out and about, feel free to say hello!
His Amazon Author Page can be found at:
and at MX Publishing:
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