Friday, September 23, 2016

Echoing Sherlock and in great company

HALLIE EPHRON: This week the most lovely package arrived: my very own leather-bound limited first-edition copy of ECHOES OF SHERLOCK, an anthology of stories inspired by the Holmes canon, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger.

It's gorgeous, and signature sheets from all the authors are bound into it. Mysterious Bookshop has done a spectacular job. 

Publisher's Weekly named it a TOP 10 MYSTERY pick for the fall.

The hardback edition is available October 4, and it can be ordered now.  
The book has stories in it by three Reds, and today we're treating you to a taste of each.

  • "Understudy in Scarlet" by me (about a movie actress who once played Irene Adler is now cast as Mrs. Hudson)
    It's not an open casting call, Angela Cassano realizes as she takes in the emptiness of director Glenn Lancaster's outer office. The gloomy space, on the second floor over storefronts on Santa Monica in Beverly Hills, has rough stucco walls painted off-white. The furnishings are chrome and ebony and black leather, and the stale air smells faintly of cigar. Her appointment was at two. At three she's still waiting for Lancaster to emerge from his inner sanctum. "They want you," her agent had said when he called, sounding as surprised as she was that a remake of A Scandal in Bohemia was afoot...
  • "The Adventure of the Dancing Women by Hank Phillippi Ryan (in which Annabelle Holmes follows a trail of pictogram emails to a missing fiancee)
"It's the end of literacy as we know it," I complained. I leaned back in my swivel chair, plonked my black boots on my desk, and glimpsed the last of the Wednesday sunrise, wisps of pale lavender, still visible behind the coppery foliage of our towns famous beeches. This morning, however, I was lured from our front window and the glorious autumn by the curious email that had pinged onto my computer. I studied it, perplexed. I recognized the sender, but there was no subject line, nor were there words in the message section. The page showed only a colorful jumble of tiny graphic symbols.
  • "The Case of the Speckled Trout" by Deborah Crombie (featuring Holmes's cheeky goddaughter)
My name is Sherry Watson. It's a crap name, Sherry, I know. But what can you do? It's not like I had a say in the matter. My parents, to give them credit, were trying to do the right thing--a sentimental gesture I wondered if they were sorry for after.
Deb and Hank were at the official launch party at Bouchercon in New Orleans ... I was not (sigh.) That's Les Klinger to the left of Deb, and   in front of him is Laurie King. Catriona McPherson rear left and Meg Gardiner front right. Off camera about a half-dozen other wonderful authors of short stories in the collection. 

Here's a list of the other authors whose wonderful stories appear in the book:

Tasha Alexander
Dana Cameron
John Connelly
Cory Doctorow
Meg Gardiner
William Kent Krueger
Tony Lee & Bevis Musson
Jonathan Maberry
Catriona McPherson
Denise Mina
David Morrell
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Michael Scott

Every year, hundreds of Holmes-inspired books and stories and TV scripts and movies are created, and the canon goes on inspiring. I, for one, can't wait to see what fresh hell the BBC's Sherlock gets up to this season.

How do you explain the lasting influence, and for the writers out there, how do the stories inspire you?


  1. Thank you for the wonderful glimpse into “Echoes of Sherlock Holmes” . . . now I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories the three of you have written!

    As for Sherlock’s lasting influence, perhaps it’s a combination of his vast knowledge and his intellectual approach to solving the mystery. The detective may be eccentric, but those very eccentricities are what, in large part, make the character so appealing . . . .

  2. Ooooh, congrats to everyone, especially the Reds involved! Can't wait -- what a treat for after I turn in my manuscript.......

    And of course can't wait for the TV show. Benedict Cumberbtch -- swoon!

  3. this sounds like such a lovely book--of course your openings are fabulous! I see Christmas presents everywhere...

    For all three of you--how did you ever decide what kind of story might fit into this collection?

  4. I agree with your assessment, Joan.

    For me, I knew I couldn't write historical, or set in London, or use the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- in other words I really had to stretch "inspired by." So mine is set in present-day Hollywood and it takes its inspiration from Scandal in Bohemia (even though the name, Understudy in Scarlet, echoes Study in Scarlet.) And I got to write about how actresses in Hollywood aren't allowed to age the way men are, and that directing films is a men's club. I always loved Irene Adler, so she's the character I'm channeling more than Holmes.

  5. Hallie, Hank and Deborah: Congratulations on having your stories published in this anthology. Very cool. I can't believe I did not see this panel on the Bouchercon schedule! NOLA was great, but was too big. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I only saw Hank in person, and not Rhys, Susan or Deborah?! Crazy.

    As far why Sherlock Holmes endures, my take is that is the classic all-knowing, eccentric flawed detective (like Hercule Poirot), with a great, loyal sidekick who solves tricky puzzles with his deductive reasoning. And I agree with Susan...Benedict Cumberbatch, sigh.

  6. I love Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock... but I do find I have to watch each show twice to get it. Stuff flies by so fast, and I don't have a TV so big that I can read text messages on it from across the room.

  7. Ooo, I've been waiting for this. Excellent! Congrats to all the Reds in it.

    I've liked every incarnation of Holmes for different reasons (yes, even Robert Downey, Jr.). I think the lasting influence is what everybody has said. Holmes is a master puzzle-solver. And the challenge is for the reader to get there before (or at the same time) as Holmes.

    And he's such a flawed character. Not really likable, you know? He's egocentric, a drug user, and dismissive of people who don't "measure up" to him. Yet, we are fascinated by his genius.

    At Bouchercon, I only saw Hank very briefly outside the elevators and Rhys across the crowded bar. Pity.

  8. Mary, I agree with you: unlikable, egocentric, a drug user, and dismissive of people who don't "measure up" to him (AND WOMEN, my add). And yet.

  9. What a lovely book, the dust jacket is evocative, the cover is beautiful. It reminds me of the books designed during the era of Conan Doyle.

    Why is Holmes still popular? In my opinion because a. The language is still accessible. b. the stories are "puzzle" stories with very little bloodshed. c. Holmes & Watson make a nice yin yang of total character. d. Sherlock Holmes is a character in the public domain. Publisher's do not have to pay royalties. 6. Holmes bridges the late Victorian to the golden age of the detective novel.

    At some point, I am going to stop reading and start house cleaning. Y'all are continuing to offer the pleasures of the former.

  10. Having read these stories, I can say that they are all fabulous - esp those by our dear Reds. I loved this new take on the Holmes canon and think it will appeal to both fans of the original and just fans of short stories in general. Great stuff here!!

  11. 'Inspired by' is so much more interesting than trying to reproduce Sir Conan Doyle's writing style. A pet peeve of mine is when, after an author's death, someone is hired to continue their series. Sorry, folks, just can't be done! In a great series, there's a familiarity, an ease, to the work. Anyone else trying, it's just mimicry.

    Love all these takes on Sherlock--an anthology sounds like the perfect book to ease into fall reading! Thanks, Reds!

  12. The presentation volume is gorgeous, isn't it, Hank and Hallie? I had the ARC, and I think most of us who did the group signing at Bouchercon bought the hardcover (which is also gorgeous) from a dealer who had early copies. Then, on Monday, the presentation copy came in the mail. So I'm reading a copy upstairs and a copy downstairs and am loving everyone's stories. All so different and so clever.

    My inspiration was the the last episode of Sherlock, The Abominable Bride (which I was watching for at least third time and am still not sure I got it all.) At the end, Sherlock is boarding a plane. He's being sent away by Mycroft, probably to his doom, and he asks John and Mary to name their baby after him, assuming of course that the baby is a boy. Watson says, "It's a girl," and at that moment I had Sherry Watson's voice in my head. It was so much fun to write her!

  13. Yay, a fresh season of Sherlock and Masterpiece Mystery in general! Somehow, I missed the launch of this anthology altogether while at Bouchercon.

    For me, Sherlock is mysterious--we get how his brain works, his troubled family relations, his drug addiction--but don't you get the feeling there's so much more to learn about him? Don't you somehow hope to learn more? Doyle created a character who is suspenseful all by himself, and we'll never know him completely--this is why I never get tired of him. He's an open-ended story.

  14. I have an ARC and a hardback copy of Echoes of Sherlock Holmes, and I can't wait to start reading the stories. With so many of my favorite authors, it's sure to be an outstanding collection. Thanks for the snippets from the three Reds who have stories, Hallie, as I plan on reading those first. And that gorgeous leather-bound copy you have, Hallie, is an enviable possession indeed. A few of us were wondering about the red leather-bound ones and the blue leather-bound ones. A friend of mine ordered this limited edition and received a blue one, but the authors we've seen with the edition have red ones. So, Hallie, can you tell me if the red leather-bound ones are only for the authors of the stories.

    And, of all the signings I missed, I had to miss the group signing for Echoes of Sherlock Holmes. I have Laurie's and Les' signatures, but it would have been awesome to have the others (or most of the others).

  15. Deb, I love your story about your inspiration. Why "Sherry"?

  16. Hallie, "Sherry" was as close as they could come to a female version of "Sherlock." :-) I suppose they could have named her "Sheryl" but not as much fun.

  17. And of course I'm thinking, maybe they drink sherry. Duh.

  18. What a great book! I wonder what Doyle would think to find out his Sherlock not only still lives, but inspires.

    I doubt Holmes was the first (I could research that I suppose, but hey, not today) amateur sleuth to hit the pages, yet he's the one who lives on. Maybe because he was so flawed that readers couldn't help but identify, even today. Doyle tired of him and tried to kill him off--the public refused to let go. That's a tribute happening as it did in the writer's life.

  19. This book is THE BEST. You all will love it.

    ANd my story is based on Conan Doyle's Adventure of the Dancing Men (get it?) and although it stands on its own nicely (if I do say so myself), it is extra fun if you know the original