Data, Data, Data

Maybe what we need, before we start this journey, is a little context to add some framework to what’s to come.  

Why Sherlock Holmes?

My mom liked to tell this story: Dad decided before I could even talk that I was going to be a lawyer.  He would sit with me in front of our tv, watching “The Mac Davis Show,” planning out my brilliant legal career.  My dad – the ex-Marine, the cop, the guy who read Joseph Wambaugh novels and watched “Hill Street Blues” – introduced me to the world of crime and punishment in the hope he could turn his eldest child into Clarence Darrow.  What he did instead was instill a lifelong love of procedural dramas and mystery fiction.  

I was watching cop shows when most kids were still watching Reading Rainbow (though I watched that, too).  My dad’s job fascinated me.  The whole world of it did.  And when I got my first set of Nancy Drew novels for Christmas, I was instantly hooked by the concept of people outside the sphere of law enforcement investigating crime and solving mysteries, too.  That is what also drew me into Batman comics and media.  Sherlock Holmes was a natural next step in the progression.

But my involvement with the great detective remained cinematic until early adulthood.  I didn’t actually read any of the Holmes canon until after I graduated college.  By then, I already thought of him as a well-known friend, but the books opened up a whole new world of him.


I have a few.  In no order of importance:

  • Favorite story: The Sign of the Four. I know that’s an odd choice, but I’m a sucker for anything with the vaguest hint of a locked room mystery (it sort of is), and I find infatuated Watson adorable.
  • Favorite character: Maybe it’s too obvious, but it really is Sherlock.  He is a wonderfully complex and intriguing person, which is partly why he’s endured in the public imagination as long as he has.  And, for all the things Watson tells us about the man, there’s so much we still are left to guess about.
  • Favorite adaptation: I actually loved both of the Guy Ritchie films, and I’m not ashamed to say it, either.  No, they didn’t really have a good grasp of Irene in either, and they did completely fridge her in the second one, and their take on Holmes and Watson both was a bit more action hero than is strictly normal, but I loved them all the same.  My heart entirely belongs to the BBC Sherlock, however.  It’s just so brilliant.
  • Favorite villain: In the canon?  Millverton.  He’s a bastard.  An unrepentant bastard.  In adaptations, the brilliant evil and madness and true nemesis quality of Moriarty is unbeatable.  

What made you decide you wanted to write Holmesian fiction?

It’s that thing I mentioned up above, isn’t it?  That grand empty chasm in our knowledge about who Sherlock is.  Some people write pastiches because they want to fill in the blanks of the mentioned but never shown cases.  I write it because I want to finish putting the puzzle together.

I made him a woman because…well, because there’s no reason he shouldn’t be, and because writing about a Victorian woman trying to make herself heard in a world that doesn’t want to listen intrigued me.  Sherlock has always been a bit of a square peg in a very round hole; Charlotte just takes that to a whole new level.

So that’s that.  The real adventure begins on Monday.  At least now you know a bit more about the person leading you down the rabbit hole.

So, funny story

I belong to a local reading for writer’s book group.  Our book for January was Julie and Julia. As part of the takeaway of the experience, we, the group members, challenged each other to take on a year-long task and blog about it. I write (and hope to publish) Sherlockian pastiche, so the immediate and easy thought was “I need to reread the canon anyway, so why not give myself extra incentive?”

So, that’s the challenge: the entirety of Holmesian canon in a year. Fifty-six short stories, four novels, in fifty-two weeks. A blog post in reaction to each. Doable, right?

Let’s add an extra degree of difficulty: a piece of related flash fiction after each story/book, 500-1000 words, because I like to torture myself.

So, that’s my challenge, starting February 1st. Which also happens to be my 40th birthday, but let’s not dwell on that. My impending midlife crisis isn’t the point. 🙂