Two new editions, British and American, of a single book have landed on my doormat, and it’s a book of which I have very fond memories. It’s called The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures, and it’s edited by that prolific and accomplished anthologist, Mike Ashley. The book includes the very first Sherlockian pastiche I ever wrote. ‘The Case of the Suicidal Lawyer’.
I was startled to realise that the book originally appeared as long ago as 1997 – how time flies. Mike’s idea was to come up with a comprehensive timeline for Sherlock’s life, and to include contributions that featured on those cases mentioned, tantalisingly, in passing by Dr Watson.
I chose Watson’s mention of ‘the Abergavenny murders’ in ‘The Priory School’, although I decided to give that reference a twist. And, in a dark sort of way, the title I thought up rather amused me – perhaps I was feeling over-worked at the time!
Over the years, this has been one of the most successful short stories I’ve ever written. Duly encouraged, I’ve followed up with a number of other Sherlockian pastiches, for magazines such as ‘The Strand’ and they are always fun to write. As for Mike Ashley, I’ve never met him, but we correspond by email and he’s invited me to contribute to quite a number of his collections. He is a very good editor indeed.
Finally, a quick mention of ‘Crime Fiction Gazette’, a forthcoming crime fanzine to be put together by Paul Moy. Again, I haven’t met Paul in the flesh, but I’ve bought various books from him and he’s very knowledgeable about traditional detective fiction. Worth watching out for.