Uncle Otto’s Prometheus

Along with being the birth of our nation, in my family, the forth of July has always been the celebration of my sculptor uncle, Octavio Mastrovito, better known as the man who built the golden statue of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center in New York. He also named me Gretchen. And I have always felt the kinship that artists share. He was a spectacularly talented, tall, dark, handsome and generous gentleman. We were very close in my formative years. Yet, he left the east to pursue his career in the west when I was 5. Probably why I discovered Sherlock Holmes the next year. He would have been 110 today. I have immortalized him as one of the main characters in my novel, These Scattered Houses.

The sculpture was installed in 1934. Paul Manship is the sculptor. But my uncle built it for him and cast it in bronze, gilded by hand in 24K gold leaf. So we feel it’s ours.

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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