Sunday, July 19, 2015

Largest ever collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories will save Conan Doyle's house

60 authors will contribute to the anthology and all royalties will go towards renovating Undershaw, the former home of Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle. The royalties from the project are to go towards the restoration of Undershaw, which will become a school for children with learning disabilities.

Undershaw is where Conan Doyle wrote many of the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The building fell into disrepair in 2009 when developers tried to carve up the house but were blocked by a determined group of Sherlock Holmes fans who fought the planning all the way to the high court. The group won an injunction in the high court. The developer appealed but that was quashed in 2012.

The new anthology will span three hardback volumes and cover 1200 pages, will go towards the new owners of the building Stepping Stones – a small specialist education provision – who are restoring it back to its former glory, including the restoration of Conan Doyle’s study. One of the pledges from Stepping Stones to their Sherlockian supporters is that outside term time they will be making the house accessible to fans as much as possible; allowing them to visit the study and look out the very windows Conan Doyle did when he wrote stories such as The Hound of The Baskervilles.

My new donated story is titled Blood Brothers and will be found in Volume III. “Blood Brothers” takes place in 1913, after Holmes is supposedly retired. Of course, we know this is not possible, as was made clear in Sherlock Holmes – The Golden Years, with its five new “post-retirement” stories.

Published by MX Publishing, the project is the brainchild of author David Marcum, who has written several collections of Holmes stories himself including The Papers of Sherlock Holmes. He has enlisted authors from all over the world, including Lyndsay Faye, Hugh Ashton and Amy Thomas. The initial target was to beat the previous record of thirty, but it grew to over fifty.

"The response has been incredible," says publisher Steve Emecz. “David insisted all the stories should be new, but traditional in format so they are all set sometime between 1881 and 1929 and feature Holmes and Watson in their original Victorian setting. I don’t think we will ever see a collection on a scale like this again. The authors are so passionate about Undershaw and its new role as a special school, which is why so many have taken part".

MX Publishing has also set up a Kickstarter to help cover the costs of the project. The goal is £2000 and you can pledge here.

The books will be available to buy from October 1st, and Kickstarter pledgers, however, will get them in September.

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