by Kathleen Kaska
Details on how to win a copy of The Amateur Executioner at the end of this post.
I love reading Sherlock Holmes pastiches. For generations clever writers have taken Holmes and sent him around the world, into the future, the past, into outer space, and even to Texas. They’ve made him a teenager, a woman, a Jack Russell terrier, a rat; given him a wife, a female Dr. Watson, and an alien as a partner. He’s battled Martians, vampires, and Jack the Ripper.
When I discovered a new Holmes series by Dan Andriacco (author of the Sebastian McCabe/Jeff Cody mystery series) and writer Kieran McMullen, I was delighted. Their first Enoch Hale/Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Amateur Executor: Enoch Hale Meets Sherlock Holmes, was released in April. What makes this mystery so entertaining is the historical nature of the plot. In telling the story, he authors have done a masterful job in melding actual historic figures with famous fictional characters.
It’s the early 1920s. The authors have captured the time and setting perfectly. Enoch Hale is an American reporter working for the Central News Syndicate in London. His sidekick and confidant is T.S. Eliot. They often meet for drinks and debates with George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yates, and Ezra Pound. Winston Churchill is one of the suspects in a series of the execution-style killings, wannabe director Alfred Hitchcock accidently drops a clue to the mystery’s solution, and Mycroft Holmes wields his influence and power in getting the murder investigation on the right track; or not.
When an escape artist William Powers is found hanging from the ceiling in his theatre dressing room between performances, authorities chalk it up as a suicide. Enoch Hale arrives on the scene to get a story. Scotland Yard Chef Inspector Henry Wiggins (remember him as the young leader of Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars), who had been attending the show, studies the clues and realizes that Powers’ death did not occur by his own hands. Soon there is a second hanging, followed by a third. The presses are rolling and Hale is determined to find the thread that connects the Hangman Murders before a rival reporter scoops the story.
And Sherlock? Where is he? That’s what Enoch Hale would like to know.
The Amateur Executioner is a true Holmes mystery written in the traditional style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
About the authors:
Dan Andriacco discovered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories at about the age of nine. Not long after, he became acquainted with such greats of the Golden Age of detective fiction as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner, and many more. His earliest career goal was to become a mystery writer. He eventually did, while holding down day jobs at The Cincinnati Post as a reporter and editor (1973-1997) and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as communications director (1997-present). From 1977 to 1982, he wrote a monthly mystery review column for The Post. He also taught non-credit classes in mystery fiction and mystery writing.
He has been a member of the Tankerville Club, a Cincinnati-based scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars, since 1981. That connection is reflected in many ways in his book Baker Street Beat: An Eclectic Collection of Sherlockian Scribblings. Andriacco’s Sebastian McCabe–Jeff Cody mysteries series, set in a small town in Ohio, is very much in the tradition of his Golden Age favorites. You can learn more on his blog.
Kieran McMullen discovered Holmes and Watson at an early age. His father, a university English professor, found his reading skills lacking and so the summer of his eighth year assigned him the task of reading the complete Doyle stories before school started again in September. After a 22 year career in the U.S. Army, 12 years in law enforcement and 20 years as a volunteer fireman, Kieran turned to writing about his favorite literary characters, Holmes and Watson. His first book, Watson’s Afghan Adventure, centers on Watson’s war experience before he met Holmes. His subsequent novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Boer Wagon and Sherlock Holmes and the Irish Rebels, relate the duo’s wartime experiences. You can learn more on his website.
To enter to win a copy of The Amateur Executioner, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, with the subject line “Holmes”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 14, 2013. U.S. residents only.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.