The Once and Future Muse

“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell” (COPP).

       Beginning with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the first to write his stories. As a muse, Sherlock Holmes has lived over many lifetimes and inspired generations of writers, performers, musicians, and artists. He leads us on with the excitement of the chase and the joy of the adventure. As long as there are muses, he will be heralded as the most prolific. Something wakes me early, “The game is afoot!” And I run to the computer, to key in the dialogue spouting in my head. Holmes is a worthy friend and gentleman with a keen sense of justice tempered with mercy. Some say he never lived, I beg to differ.

        To create from reality and imagination, one must accept an invitation to leap the cliffs of commonplace thought and trust in the wings of intuition. I am usually found scribbling on the run to attempt to catch up with him. As Jeremy Brett said, “He keeps me fit. Every time I think I get somewhere, he’s a field ahead of me.” And like Dr. Watson, I am an author who writes Sherlock Holmes’ stories to set the record straight and bring a little justice into the world.

        I play the Game. Like most Sherlockians and Holmesians, there are two histories I live by the history of Victorian/Edwardian times, and the one created in the Sherlock Holmes stories referred to as the canon. They begin with these immortal words: “Being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H. Watson MD, late of the Army Medical Department” (STUD). We tend to take Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s word that Watson wrote the stories and refer to Doyle as Watson’s literary agent. I’d find this disconcerting if it were me, but we Sherlockians and Holmesians are still a bit touchy about the waterfall.

A mystery writer has to decide whether they will bring more darkness or light into the world. I choose to define the darkness and light the lantern my hero carries to determine the way in and the way out. And yes, Sherlock Holmes is alive still.

Schatell, Norman. “Holmes, you cheated!” The Armchair Detective, 10, No. 3 (July 1977), 209. Thank you for your Reichenbach bungee jumping Sherlock Holmes.

Gretchen Altabef is an MX author of Sherlock Holmes novels. Mondadori Publishing has contracted to translate her novels into Italian. Ms. Altabef strives to emulate Dr. John Watson’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary style. The first, These Scattered Houses, is in Holmes’ own voice and resourcefully chronicles the last two months of his ‘great hiatus’. The second in the series is, Remarkable Power of Stimulus. After 3 years away, Holmes finds London awash in murders, No. 221B under siege, anarchists threatening Paris, and the return of Irene Adler. Fully aware he is being watched by Moriarty’s men, Holmes steps out of the cab into Baker Street knowing he will find Watson’s friendship and unerring aim are as dependable as the British Rail.

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