Followers here know that this novel has had a long, tortured birth process but, today, you can finally judge for yourself if Steve Savile and I did a good job. Titan Books has released The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Murder at Sorrow’s Crown and what follows is something we wrote for Westfield Comics back during the solicitation cycle. We think it does a good job setting the stage and hopefully whetting your appetite.Should you buy the book and read it, please drop us a line or, better yet, post a review at Amazon and/or GoodReads.We thank you.
By Robert Greenberger and Steven Savile
Why does Sherlock Holmes endure?He wasn’t fiction’s first detective but he was fiction’s first enduring private investigator. All due credit to Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting detective was featured in a large, evolving body of work which captivated audiences first in England then the United States.There’s a cleverness to the plots and mysteries, a flawed lead character who seems to overcome his antisocial mien and potential drug addiction to do what an ill-equipped Scotland Yard fails to do time and again.That he was in print just prior to the advent of radio and motion pictures certainly helped as he was one of the first prose works brought to these new mediums. New audiences were captivated by these tales, most of which sharply deviated from Doyle’s own words but more than made up for that with fun performances.Then things seemed to feed on one another as more people rose to produce their own Holmes adventures long after Doyle died in 1930. Today alone we can glory in Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in the modern day version of the series or Johnny Lee Miller’s stiff-necked rendition on the CBS series Elementary and Robert Downey Jr’s Holmes filtered through Guy Ritchie’s lens, lock, stock and two smoking barrels, and Sir Ian McKellan’s aging Mr. Holmes wrestling with his last case even as his great mind deteriorates, finally betraying him.Not so long ago the quintessential Holmes was Jeremy Brett, but for many the definitive one never showed his face on screen. Clive Merrison is the only actor to record the entire Holmes cannon, his performances for the BBC Radio spanning fifteen years of broadcasts. Rupert Everett, Matt Frewer, Patrick Mcnee, Sir Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Peter Cushing, Peter O’Toole, Ian Richardson, Tom Baker, and Orson Welles, the list of actors who have donned the deerstalker and smoked the meerschaum pipe is a veritable who’s who. But perhaps the one who had such an enduring impact on how we see the Great Detective was Basil Rathbone who owned the role in the 1940s. How many other roles have attracted such diverse and undoubtable talent to them down the years?For those who still love the written word, pastiches galore have filled the shelves for decades, creating a bit of a cottage industry. No less a personage than Kareem Abdul Jabbar made headlines with his exploration of Holmes’ brother Moriarity for Titan Books.Titan has two lines of Holmes books, and our Murder at Sorrow’s Crown is a part of their Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. As a result, our challenge was not only to come up with a cracking good mystery but to come as close as possible in tone and voice to Doyle himself.The first part was easy as we mined the history of Holmes’ early days and found a few nuggets worthy of exploration. We used John Watson’s army experiences as some inspiration along with headlines from the day and came up with a missing soldier from the Boer War. A seemingly simple missing persons case becomes something far deadlier as the investigation continues. Holmes and Watson realize they’re also fighting a ticking clock with more lives endangered if they don’t unravel the mystery in time. There are so many challenges to writing a book like this, with the weight of history behind it, right down to the minutia of the real world and that pesky history that just refuses to have liberties taken with it. Some of it can be amusing, like trying to pin down when Burberry of London became ‘of London’ rather than just Burberry, or how ranks within the developing Civil Service and Admiralty were changing, the role of the Mandarins, their training, and so much more. They’re all, each and every one, avenues of exploration down which the impossible may just prove itself to be possible, no matter how unlikely.We had a lot of fun with this one, mucking about the research and sending passages back and forth and asking that one question that all writers have in common with the Great Detective himself: what if?The book’s available for order now and we hope you like it.