“Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.” –Dr. John H. Watson, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.”
A client forsworn, a threatened town, and a Goliath of unimaginable proportions. . .
Gretchen Altabef has authored her first pastiche novel, Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses. Released by MX Publishing, London. Sherlock Holmes is sixty days away from A. Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Empty House.” He has survived a three-year vendetta against him by Moriarty’s remaining henchmen. Wounded and bleeding, with Mycroft’s help he clandestinely boards a steamship headed for the Atlantic.
At the close of his great hiatus, Holmes finds sanctuary at Vassar Women’s College. This radical challenge entangles him in the web of a nefarious mystery. Its unraveling involves New York’s most revolutionary residents: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. To pluck his client from danger, he drafts the twenty-year-old Harry Houdini in outrageous sleight of hand. Four villains embroil the plot. The lives of everyday citizens inexorably rise to heroism. And it all begins when a twelve-year-old girl matches wits with Sherlock Holmes on Market Street.
Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses is a daring adventure in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As Professor Sigerson the pansophic gentleman of justice, Holmes is confronted by the evil that lurks within the smiling and beautiful countryside.
Craig Stephen Copland, author of New Sherlock Holmes Mysteries: “Of the hundreds of Sherlock Holmes, pastiche mysteries available to the Sherlockian, very few can match this book for a depth of historical research and a heart-stopping thrill of a story. The plot builds through incident after dangerous incident, culminating with a frantic climax. A great read.”
The Sherlock Holmes Journal review by Mark Mower: “A previously untold adventure of the ‘Great Hiatus.’ From the outset it is a gripping and colourful adventure with lots of action. Clear respect for the Canon is demonstrated in the many neat references and affectionate nods to the characters, stories and intrigues of the original texts. A fast-paced story told with great care and affection.
Wendy Heyman-Marsaw, author – Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen: “Rarely does a pastiche capture so many elements of an original Sherlock Holmes story as Ms, Altabef’s These Scattered Houses…an engrossing story of pursuit and deliverance that is reminiscent of the one in The Sign of Four. Ms. Altabef succeeds dramatically in building a riveting climax to her tale…a most compelling read.”
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.
Ms. Altabef has done a sterling job. Holmes’s voice rings clear and true in this excellent novel. These Scattered Houses is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche written by Gretchen Altabef and published by MX Publishing, London. Set in New York near the end of the Great Hiatus – Sherlock Holmes finds sanctuary at Vassar Women’s College… Continue reading These Scattered Houses Review by Margaret Walsh
Let us establish one fact immediately. Gretchen Altabef is a remarkably talented author . . . she eschews the formulas that so often appear in Holmes pastiches and sets about creating a new format. Let us establish one fact immediately. Gretchen Altabef is a remarkably talented author. In These Scattered Houses, the first book in… Continue reading Harry DeMaio’s Book Review of These Scattered Houses
I looked at him anew, with an understanding I never had before and with awe for the magnitude of such a mind. In a flash I understood the cocaine, his moods, and his genius. MX Publishing has bundled together These Scattered Houses and Remarkable Power of Stimulus. My action packed original story of Holmes alone,… Continue reading Two-fer: 1 Novel + 1 Sequel
“Of the hundreds of Sherlock Holmes pastiche mysteries available to the Sherlockian, very few can match this book for a depth of historical research, finely crafted sentences and paragraphs, and a heart-stopping thrill of a story.” Ms. Altabef takes the reader on a journey during the great hiatus and brings Sherlock Holmes to New York… Continue reading These Scattered Houses Review by Craig Stephen Copland
The author also captured Holmes’s voice very neatly. As I wrote my first three novels from Holmes’s point of view, I know all too well how difficult it is to make that voice sound authentic. The story takes place during The Great Hiatus, that period in Sherlock Holmes’s life when the world believed he was… Continue reading These Scattered Houses Review by Geri Schear
Rarely does a pastiche capture so many elements of an original Sherlock Holmes story as Ms, Altabef’s These Scattered Houses. Written in the first person, we are privy to Holmes’ thought processes, which are also evident in his often poignant journal entries intended for Dr. Watson’s later use. These entries recall the use of a… Continue reading These Scattered Houses Review by Wendy Heyman-Marsaw
The pace of this novel is well-judged. From the outset it is a gripping and colourful adventure with lots of action. Clear respect for the Canon is demonstrated in the many neat references and affectionate nods to the characters, stories and intrigues of the original texts, and some real-life characters, such as Harry Houdini and… Continue reading SHSL Journal Book Review of These Scattered Houses
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