Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Static vs. Developing Detective Heroes

Holmes Sweet Holmes, the next mystery novel in my Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody series, will be published by MX Publishing on May 1. I'll be interested in how fans of the first book react to developments in the second.

One of the points I plan to make in a talk on April 20 at "A Gathering of Southern Sherlockians" in Chattanooga, Tenn., is that some detective heroes develop and some are static -- with Holmes decidedly in the latter category.

To a remarkable degree, the Sherlock Holmes that we meet in A Study in Scarlet is unchanged 40 years later in The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes, Watson, Baker Street, Lestrade and Gregson -- with a few exceptions, all of that is present in the late stories as well as in A Study in Scarlet. The character and methods of Sherlock Holmes are fully realized from the first story, as is the general pattern of the classic Holmes story.

Similarly, Nero Wolfe and the entire W. 35th street menagerie vary little from Fer-de-Lance to A Family Affair, a 41-year stretch. Some characters leave the series in dramatic ways and some are added, but Wolfe, Archie, and the feel of the books don't change.

On the other hand, the Ellery Queen of his debut novel, The Roman Hat Mystery (1929), shares nothing but a name, an address, and a father with the Ellery Queen of the series finale, A Fine and Private Place (1971). Ellery evolved over the years from a Philo Vance clone to a unique and memorable character.

My main characters, Sebastian McCabe and Jeff Cody, may not essentially change in future adventures, but their life circumstances will. Jeff cannot keep writing unsuccessful mystery novels forever, and his troubled romance with Lynda Teal will not go unresolved for, say, 18 books. In fact, there's a major development in his love life in Holmes Sweet Holmes.

Watch for it May 1.

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