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Q&A: Will Murray and Sherlock Holmes

Victorian Musings and Ripping Yarns

We recently had a chat with pulp authority Will Murray regarding his work on new stories regarding iconic detective Sherlock Holmes. Enjoy!

Q: What will you be doing with Holmes in your forthcoming stories?

A: Basically, putting him through his usual paces in short stories typical of the type Conan Doyle used to write. I have written two crossovers, though. "The Adventure of the Imaginary Nihilist" finds him encountering the real-life inspiration for Doc Savage, Colonel Richard Henry Savage, and solving a mystery torn from Savage's semi-autobiographical novel, My Official Wife. That appeared in Moonstone's first Sherlock Holmes Crossover Casebook. For IFWG's upcoming Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not collection, he encounters H.P. Lovecraft's Herbert West in "The Adventure of the Reckless Restrictionist." It's a poignant tale of the Great Detective at the end of his storied life.

Q: Can you tell our readers about your previous Holmes Stories?

A: "The Adventure of the Glassy Ghost" and "The Problem of the Bruised Tongues" have appeared in recent MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories anthologies, whose proceeds go to the restoration of Undershaw, one of Doyle's surviving dwellings. The first is a creepy ghost story, but with a logical solution, while the second delineates a fiendish and untraceable murder method that leaves victims with blue tongues.

Upcoming in a future MX anthology is "The Singular Adventure of the Extinguished Wicks" and "The Unsettling Matter of the Graveyard Ghoul" which will appear in a collection of sequels to original Holmes tales. The first delves into the enigma of Spontaneous Human Combustion, while in the other, Holmes has to figure out who is leaving disinterred corpses on his doorstep––and why!

I just started another story, "The Adventure of the Throne of Gilt," and have plans for another crossover.

Q: Which extended universe works about Holmes do you feel stand out?

A: Cay Van Ash's novel, Ten Years Beyond Baker Street, wherein Holmes encounters Fu Manchu is at the top of the list. Beyond that, I haven't read enough of Sherlock crossover stuff to comment.

Q: Is Holmes currently in the public domain?

A: Not exactly. The character is, but some of the later stories are still under copyright, so there are some restrictions there. But the courts have ruled that Sherlock Holmes is not trademarked, and so it available for use in new works.

Q: Do you have any advice for writers attempting to tackle their own Holmes stories?

A: The character is impossible to improve upon. Writing him is just a matter of capturing his essential nature and getting Watson's voice right, since he narrates most of the tales. Whether a writer is simply adding new adventures to the ever-growing canon, or updating him to the 21st century, Sherlock Holmes is the quintessential detective, and always will remain so. That said, the MX anthologies are wide open for contributors.

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