Many years ago there was an independent bookshop in Birmingham by the name of Hudsons. During its declining years they introduced a bargain basement (no doubt to get rid of odd items of stock) where all sorts of goodies could be found. One time I came across a thin coffee table edition entitled THE SHERLOCK HOLMES SCRAPBOOK (dated 1973), edited by none other than Peter Haining, with a foreword by the one and only Peter Cushing.
It was a fascinating book, filled with articles, artwork, ads – in fact any kind of Sherlockian ephemera you can imagine. And it also mentioned new Holmes fiction had continued to be published after Conan Doyle’s death in 1930. That made me sad because I quite fancied the idea of writing a Holmes pastiche, but imagined the day for such things was gone (and I wouldn’t have known where to find a possible market at the time, anyway).
Fast forward to the 21st century, and that daydream finally came true. Not only did I end up writing that Holmes pastiche, I somehow managed a mash-up novel (VALLIS TIMORIS, Fringeworks, 2015), and a couple of shorts for David Marcum’s MX series of anthologies besides (“The Adventure of the Vanishing Man”, “The Adventure of the Haunted Room”) with a third – “The Adventure of the Singular Worm” – due out later in 2020. I even sold a Professor Moriarty story, “A Function of Probability” to Maxim Jakubowski’s THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF THE ADVENTURES OF PROFESSOR MORIARTY (Skyhorse, 2016). And did I stop there? Oh no. The latest to see print is in Belanger Press’s second volume of SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE OCCULT DETECTIVES anthologies, edited by John Linwood Grant: “The Direction of Sunbeams”. Once again proving, it’s never too late.
And if I’d told that impressionable younger person as he bought that original Haining book, I wonder if he’d consider the idea “Incredible!” or “Elementary!”.