Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Absentee Detective - the New Sherlock Holmes anthology

So, the new Sherlock Holmes anthology ‘The Absentee Detective’ is, as you might just have heard, my new (And second) book. Due for release November 22nd 2018, it’s available NOW for Pre-Order on Amazon and we’re currently in negotiations for an Audio-Book release. But how to give you, the stunningly good-looking, stylish and discerning readers of my blog a sneaky peaky as it were?. Why, by giving a short synopsis of each of the four stories!.

In The Detective Who Wasn’t, a young boy in World War II Cornwall enlists the aid of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Watson’ when his devoted Collie turns vicious – the only problem being the two are actually actors playing the parts of the famous Consulting Detective and his trusty Aide… despite this, the two try to help young Toby Fairweather, but they stumble upon a sinister plot involving suspected Nazi spies and a secret that could change the shape of the War itself.

The second tale, The Detective Who Wasn’t There features Dr. John Watson in a mystery that arises when a prominent Statesman is found murdered in his stately home. But was the Earl of Aldrington the innocent victim he appears to be? Can Watson – by himself, unravel a plot against the British Empire? And just where is Sherlock Holmes when Britain needs him the most?

Next, a departure in more ways than one… The Unlikely Detective is just that; the unlikeliest Detective you could imagine. Me. Set in England in the early Nineties, this is the story of how I stumbled upon none other than the secret journal of Mycroft Holmes, Holmes’ older and apparently smarter brother. Of all the places to begin a hunt for clues, a car boot sale has to be the most unusual – and the case took on a life of its own, leading yours truly into a maze of Government cover-ups and one of the Cold War’s last – and oddest, secrets.

Finally, we travel to the Hollywood of 1941; the Golden Era of the movies. Everyone will be familiar with the Sherlock Holmes films of Basil Rathbone, but how much do we know about the man himself? His private life and loves? I take you behind the scenes as the man himself records The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes for NBC Radio, as he and his friend and colleague Nigel Bruce are caught up in a plot to destroy America. Controversially, the story includes elements of fact as well as fiction… it is up to the reader to decide what they believe – and whom.

The Absentee Detective is priced at £10.99, $16.95 and 12.99. ISBN 978-1-78705-340-3

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Exclusive!; Author Interview with Mark Sohn

The latest addition to the plenitudinous array of Sherlock Holmes novels is out on Amazon this very week; The Absentee Detective is Mark Sohn’s second Holmesian work, following on from Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Murders, an Amazon best-seller. We’ve managed to secure an exclusive interview with the Author – which, to be honest, wasn’t that much of a scoop seeing as I am Mark Sohn… still, work with what you’ve got, as the Magistrate said to the flasher…

Ahem. So, I decided to ask – erm, myself some searching questions…

So, why ‘The Absentee Detective?’

Well, the book’s an anthology; four stories set in and around the World of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes himself makes an appearance, but only in one of these tales – and you won’t be sure which one until the very end.

Why not just do four Sherlock Holmes stories?; isn’t that the point?

You can get that in a thousand other books; I wanted to go beyond that, to explore what Sherlock Holmes really means – and to do that I had to explore other angles; in one story, for instance, the actor Basil Rathbone finds himself facing danger – not as his famous alter-ego so familiar to millions on the silver screen, but as a flesh and blood man facing a terrible dilemma. If you just want some run of the mill detective fiction, this book won’t be for you, but if you want to go deep into the experience of being Holmes, I think I’ve found a way for you to do that while still giving the readers plenty of good old-fashioned thrills, mystery and suspense.

So the stories place the reader, as it were, in the position of Sherlock Holmes?

To an extent, yes. I’ve used other characters – even myself in one instance, as a kind of metaphorical Holmes; actors that play him feature in two of the stories, while in one Doctor Watson has to work to solve the mystery. How does a ‘normal’ person attempt to solve the sort of crimes only Sherlock Holmes can tackle – how do you go through those legendary thought processes without such a first-rate mind? That’s what you get as you go through the stories.

The theme of airships – I’ve noticed that you keep returning to that… any reason?

Well, since I asked, erm, me – yes; I’ve always been fascinated with dirigibles – airships, blimps, call them what you will – I’d like to see them used more in everyday transportation, for a whole range of practical and environmental reasons… but really, they are just so cool I couldn’t resist ‘popping one in’ one of the tales. As I’m interviewing myself, can’t you ask how I manage to look so sexy or something?

No. No I can’t; the cover of Absentee Detective is fairly striking. Can you expand on that?.

Happy to; a very talented chap named Brian Belanger does the covers for my books, as well as quite a few other writers’ - I spoke to him at length and mentioned I was a huge fan of Saul Bass, the legendary artist who did such striking work on posters such as Hitchcock’s Vertigo. His angular silhouettes struck a chord and Brian came up with a terrific concept where a stylised Holmes stands in silhouette in an open doorway; it really stands out and I think is, if anything, even better than his work on the first book.

Finally; what’s it like interviewing yourself?

Frankly, bizarre; where’s my fee?

Already spent; Mark Sohn, thank you very much…

Friday, 1 December 2017

From the Ministry of Shameless Self-Promotion...

Here's a link to the Author's page... handsome chap, isn't he?... (Whistling innocently)

The Sherlock Holmes Christmas list 2017

Yes, it's almost here, that time of year again. A time of celebration and caring, of giving and pretending you wanted those hand-knitted gloves from Dotty old Aunty Ethel... bah! humbug! I say; I shall be drawing up the drawbridge, liberally spiking the drive with broken glass and retreating to the study with an impressive quantity of Port and Cigars, with some Brandy just in case of medical emergency. But what's this?; there's nothing on the telly and the radio's bust?. Relax - merely reach for one of the books you bought beforehand, you clever, clever thing...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Now in print!; Sherlock Holmes' Practical Handbook of Bee Culture

On a drive in East Sussex, Paul Ashton and his Wife decided to stop at a car boot sale. What he found there has both shocked and delighted the literary World. For just £2, Mr. Ashton purchased an old copy of Practical Handbook of Bee Culture-the Author?, none other than Sherlock Holmes!. It was thought no copies of the Handbook had survived, yet here over 267 pages is the diary kept by the great man, covering events from his 1903 move to a farm near Beachy Head, in East Sussex.

At this time, Holmes was engaged to his former landlady Mrs. Hudson and fulfills his promise of a retirement keeping bees. The book itself contains exhaustive advice for the would-bee keeper (!) as well as original and unique accounts of some of Holmes' final cases. Adjusting remarkably to domestic life, Holmes takes to rustic life with the passion of the city-dweller. Among the former Detective's acquisitions is a box brownie which he uses to great effect capturing images both charming and dramatic.

Just for fun-Holmes showing Watson his Hives (IMAGE NOT IN THE BOOK!)
Holmes' work also includes a litany of current events – as well as their intrinsic value, these serve to give the book a framework and place the events securely in their time, as they happened. In the approved style of Forrest Gump and The Hundred Year Old Man (who climbed out of the window and disappeared) Holmes moves through this period meeting or renewing acquaintance with such luminous creatures as Lenin and Debussy, to name, but two. Old habits die hard though and from time to time Holmes engages his legendary mind on those problems to which is is best suited-an enquiry for a concerned American family here-a poltergeist case there, these include two cases that set Holmes' past crashing into his present.

The rural idyll continues, with Holmes the bee-keeper fully immersed in village life. A visitor!-none, but Watson and the two old friends discuss the atrocious events known as the Whitechapel Murders. Other cases follow- bigamy and blackmail mix with the ever-present trials and tribulations of apiculture.

The book blends Holmes' (fictional) cases with actual criminal scandals of the day in a seamless fashion and as well as solving a Regal jewellery theft with his old comrade-in-arms, Holmes finds the time to champion the cause of Suffrage, foil Latvian Anarchists and attempt to recover a stolen Da Vinci. Ill-health then causes Holmes to break off his writing-or so we are told. The book itself concludes with an intriguing yet informative end-note from Mr.Ashton. For the first time, Ashton reveals that Sherlock Holmes became a Secret Agent, including a stint working on vital matters to foil the Germans at the outset of the Great War.

So, does Practical Handbook of Bee Culture warrant a place on your shelf?. Most assuredly!; it is a gem, a weave of fact and fiction that sets Holmes' later years down for posterity in a unique and rather charming way. As a Sussex resident myself, I was delighted with the Author's knowledge of the area and the whole thing is such an unexpected pleasure I have no hesitation in recommending this fine book to you all.

Monday, 17 April 2017


Here at 221b our interest was captured by a new and most promising author; aficionados may have visited James Moffett's excellent blog where all things Holmes are covered in a refreshing and concise manner. We have been lucky enough to be granted an interview with the man of the hour himself, but first let us share this remarkable site with you;

Now you will be delighted to hear, James has written his first novel, The Trials of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of short stories which can be approached individually or as separate tales. Here is the Publisher's blurb;

It is a cold London morning in 1887, and the discovery of a dead man in an abandoned house plunges Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson into a series of eight trying cases that will test the friendship of the two companions and threaten the safety of the country itself. From a staged murder to an impossible suicide, the theft of a national document to the disappearance of an entire family, London's foremost consulting detective and his faithful companion must seek out the clues and venture into the very heart of each mystery. All the while a sinister force, lurking amid the busy streets of London, stalks their every case, testing their own mental and physical prowess; ultimately they require the assistance of their closest allies, including Mycroft Holmes and the unsophisticated Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade. Will Holmes and Watson be able to avert the approaching threat that appears to be vengefully heading straight for them?

Intrigued, to say the least we tracked down the author and here is the result of our conversings;

James, what inspired you to challenge Holmes with such a dazzling range of cases?.

The idea of 'The Trials of Sherlock Holmes' initially started as a single novel. It then occured to me to try and tackle the whole concept of a collection of short stories from a different perspective. In essence, the book can be experienced either as a single overarching case or collection of separate stories. The way it is written allows for each short story to serve as either a collection of adventure, or one of eight chapters in a series of stories that are ultimately interlinked. That provided for an interesting take on Holmes and his quest to discover the truth.

What got you writing in the first place?.

My passion for writing was in fact something of a recent spark. At a young age I was never much into reading or writing, but there was always a sense of wanting to "create" something of my own. Some six years ago I discovered how liberating and satisfying writing can be and this has led to the creation of a blog and the idea that started the journey to this book's completion.

Which writers inspire you?.

Besides Arthur Conan Doyle and J.R.R. Tolkien as inspiring authors, I much prefer going by genre or book rather than specific writers. Besides the occasional thriller novel, I'm also keen on reading biographies of historical figures, science-related arguments and fantasy stories.
Who is your favourite Actor to play Holmes and why?.

Tricky question! Without being too much of a cliche' I must admit that Jeremy Brett's interpretation is spot on. At the same time, given the modern-day alternative, Benedict Cumberbatch is as good as Brett.

Controversial!... have you any advice for aspiring writers?.

Keep on writing! It's advice I have received and advice I relay to others. Sometimes, having the drive to write something that you want others to read is strong. Yet, there are circumstances when you're not always going to feel good about what you're writing. The trick is to keep at it until you're done. Nothing beats the satisfaction you get once you've completed your own work - whether it is published or not.

We agree there... what are you working on next?.

I am currently hard at work on a long historical fantasy poem, whilst fleshing out ideas for a Sherlock Holmes novel.

We await these with interest. Thank You for talking to us.

James Moffett (Photo Copyright: Author)

James Moffett is a Masters graduate in Professional Writing, with a specialisation in novel and non-fiction writing. He began developing a passion for writing when contributing to his University's student magazine. His interest in the literary character of Sherlock Holmes was deep-rooted in his youth and has recently launched a blog on Arthur Conan Doyle's titular character; the aforementioned

James' book The Trials of Sherlock Holmes (ISBN: 9781787051355) weighs in at 220 pages and is reasonably priced at £9.99. It is published on the 13th of June, but you can guarantee a copy for yourselves by Pre-Ordering here-

-or direct from the publisher;

Monday, 10 April 2017

Dan Andriacco's Baker Street Beat: A Ripping Good Ripper Tale

Dan Andriacco's Baker Street Beat: A Ripping Good Ripper Tale: Perhaps the most overworked of all pastiche storylines is that of Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper. But as well-worn as the trope is...