It was the World Fantasy Convention of 2009, San Jose, California. I’d never been to that part of the States before, and so I headed out exploring. I was gone a couple of hours, and was finally making my way back to the hotel when I ran into a fellow conventioneer, writer and editor Charles Prepolec, who happens to be a total Sherlock Holmes fanatic. And Charles sprang a question on me that left me genuinely stunned.
“I’m editing a new collection of Sherlock Holmes stories at the moment –
supernatural ones. So, would you like to try submitting one?”
What? I thought, although I did not say it.
Because – don’t get me wrong, I love the great detective just as much as the next reader – but it had never occurred to me to personally sit down and write a Holmes tale. But I decided to go away and think about it. On and off over the next couple of months, I thought about it quite a lot. And every time I did that, I could see a problem. Namely, that I don’t write period fiction. I’m simply not an author who is wired that way. The stories that I write are based on places I have been, things I have encountered, people that I’ve met, all reflected and distorted into fantasy in the dark mirror of my imagination. So how to get across that hurdle? I finally saw a possible solution, and it went like this.
Back in 1893, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle finally tired of writing about Sherlock Holmes and killed him off in a story called ‘The Final Problem,’ sending him on that infamous plunge down the Reichenbach Falls. But he misjudged the fervour of his audience. The great detective’s fans were having none of it, and pestered Doyle constantly, begging him to bring their hero back.
And so eight years later, in 1901, Sir ACD put into print perhaps the best of all his Holmes stories: The Hound of the Baskervilles. He revived the character, in other
words. Dragged him back out of the grave. And I thought: Okay then, so he’s effectively immortal. Which means that he could still be around in the present day.
So I sat down at my laptop and began writing my first modern-day Holmes
tale. I finished it fairly quickly, emailed it to Charles, and it finally appeared in his
anthology next year. But that was hardly the end of it, because I absolutely loved writing that tale. I saw fresh new possibilities, and didn’t want to stop. And since Holmes now had an eternity to go on fighting crime, I couldn’t see any slightest reason to confine him to just one location. I had him solving cases all over the globe, in the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, Paris, Amsterdam, Japan and Hong Kong, and even Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century is that slew of fiction, gathered into one big book and topped off by a last adventure in which Holmes is called back to his native London.
Get your copy of The Astonishing Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century HERE!