Monday, March 28, 2011

Holmes and more Americans and The Sign of Fear by Molly Carr

Murder in the Library coming April 28th.  The library game is afoot!

In the Adventure of the Yellow Face, Americans again play a part.  When Grant Munro asks Holmes to investigate the mysterious stranger living in a cottage near his home, Holmes deduces that Munro's wife, Effie, must have hidden her first husband there.  She had said her husband and child had died from the yellow fever in Atlanta, Georgia.  This is one of Holmes' less notorious cases, and one can surmise that this is due to the fact that this case is one of his "failures" and also due to the racial overtones of the story.
A daring tale of mixed races for the times, perhaps the sympathy that Doyle shows in his writing is due partially to his Jesuit education and artistic temperament.  This story deserves another read by all.

In The Sign of Fear author Molly Carr presents a Holmes adventure unlike no other.  Watson's wife, Mary, unhappy at being left so often by Watson as he pursues adventures with Holmes, decides to do a bit of sleuthing on her own.  She is a strong character with decidedly un-Victorian views of a woman's behavior and sexuality.

She investigates a jewel theft and the murder of a Duke with some assistance from Raffles and Miss Jane Marple's mother!  This Sherlockian pastiche is a roller coaster ride of characters, shifting points of view and plot twists.  The story has a decidedly Travels with my Aunt feel to it so if you are a Graham Greene fan you will enjoy The Sign of Fear by Molly Carr.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Holmes and Americans and is Irene Adler the original Jersey Shore Girl?

Murder in the Library is coming on April 28th! The library game is afoot!

While a dedicated observer of life with many viewpoints and opinions Holmes maintains a solid, multicultural approach to different nationalities and races.  He observes the differences of each culture, without casting judgment.

Henry Baskerville has spent time in America and in Canada farming.  He comes to England to accept his new position and proves to be pleasant, pugnacious in strength and character and unwilling to be frightened by the drama lying over his inheritance.  He is perhaps the most benign American to be found in the Holmes oeuvres.

With a more sinister persona Abe Slaney from The Adventures of the Dancing Men comes to reclaim his Elsie, while wreaking havoc upon her health and the disposition of her new husband. Slaney comes from Chicago, which at the turn of the 20th century was already a hotbed of crime, corruption and a fertile ground for the emerging crime syndicate.

Dangerous men abound everywhere in the U.S. and the Mormons, as portrayed in A Study in Scarlet, are particularly vengeful.  Even though Doyle later apologized for depicting the religious group as violent and inflexible, the group which left Illinois on a pilgrimage for religious freedom definitely had a strict agenda. 

The KKK in the Five Orange Pips gives certain Americans a very bad name, especially southern men who fought in the Confederate Army.  Holmes leaves out the racism and focuses on the supremacy and corruption of the Klan members.

And Irene Adler, also a singer like Sinatra, left New Jersey to seek her fame and fortune.  Notorious and glamorous, they both warbled their way into the hearts of many.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Libraries as places of murder and mayhem?

Libraries make a great place for murder and mayhem.   Is it the perpetual silence that motivates mischief?  Do the books emit the spirits and personalities of their characters?  Possibly.  If you stand next to a copy of A Study in Scarlet will you begin to warble beautifully like Irene Adler?  If you stand next to The Hound of the Baskervilles will you start to change into a snarling, vengeance seeking hound?

Agatha Christie placed a corpse in The Body in the Library.  Lord Peter Wimsey investigated a ransacked library in Gaudy Night.  Sherlock Holmes is a great student and researcher.  His musings and studies are goal directed and are intended to increase his knowledge about a particular subject.  Books and papers litter 221B.  His personal filing system defies a librarian’s neat sense of order but it works for him.

A library is a living, breathing organism of knowledge and capable of inspiring and motivating passion, evil and even death.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Murder in the Library

It is very exciting to be a new author for MX Publishing.  Combining the elements of a tradtional mystery novel with the amazing brilliance of Sherlock Holmes is a heady experience.  Murder in the Library is my first effort at a modern day murder novel inspired by one of the great cases of Sherlock Holmes.