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, July 2, 2014

A 21st Century Writer With a Touch of Holmes


As a writer of modern mysteries with a Sherlockian twist, I’m always interested in . . . modern mysteries with a Sherlockian twist. Such a book is The Mystery Surrounding Watson’s Lost Dispatch Box by Gary Livosi (MX Publishing), about the murder of a young man who appears to be the descent of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler. I recently asked Gary Livosi about his writing and his interest in Holmes. 

Q - There’s a lot of internal evidence in The Mystery Surrounding Watson’s Lost Dispatch Box, beyond the storyline, that you have more than a passing familiarity with Sherlock Holmes. When did you first become acquainted with the gentleman?
             Yes, I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes reader, fan and book collector for decades. Along with my other writing, I have written non-fiction books and articles on Holmes, also collecting the pastiches, and quite a few stories and one novel. I’m a lot like Juan and the “old man” Viejo, in my novel. I am filled with the joy and wonderment of the Doyle stories and characters, and even the pastiches, which I feel offer so much more to fill in the missing spots in Doyle’s (and Watson’s) narratives.

Q - What have you written about Holmes?
            Quite a few things – various non-fiction articles and books that concern collecting Sherlockian books and material about the stories, and in 2013 I edited an anthology of new Holmes stories here in the US for Wildside Press, The Great Detective: His Further Adventures. I have had various Holmes pastiches appear in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, The Strand Magazine (the new version), and some anthologies, one of which “The Adventure of the Missing Detective,” was nominated here by the Mystery Writers of America for the Best Short Story in 2005. It and others are collected in two books published by Ramble House: The Secret Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and More Secret Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
            My story “Professor Challenger’s Challenge,” teaming up Holmes, Watson and Doyle’s other hero, Professor Challenger, is out now in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine (#12). I have also written one Holmes pastiche novel, Sherlock Holmes: The Baron’s Revenge (Airship27 Publications, aka The Plot Against Sherlock Holmes, in the U.K.). And now I’ve broadened my vision with this new contemporary crime novel very much in the Holmes style and tradition. The Mystery Surrounding Watson’s Lost Dispatch Box is my first Juan & Viejo mystery  -- two fun characters in a rousing adventure murder mystery.
            So I have been rather busy but totally enjoy all my writings about the Great Detective in whatever guise it appears. More information about these books, and my other works, can be found on my website: www.gryphonbooks.com.
Q - What are your interests and limits as a collector?
            I have been a Holmes collector for decades and have amassed quite a nice and large group of items. I basically collect books about Holmes, all types, fiction, non-fiction, by Doyle and pastiches -- but some other items as well. I even wrote a large book about the pastiches in paperback a few years back that is sold out now.
Q - The relationship of the older Anglo (62) and the young Hispanic (18) is certainly much different than Holmes and Watson. How did that come about?
            Juan and Viejo are a very different team, even an unlikely team, but the stories of Sherlock Holmes tie them together and both use Holmes’ methods and ideas from the Doyle stories to help them live their lives -- and solve a murder. They each have Holmes and Watson living in their hearts and that is what makes even a contemporary crime novel work in the Sherlockian realm.
            I love the relationship between these two men, their great decency, their friendship for each other, their gentle chiding of each other, and their dogged determination to solve Adler’s murder and see justice done. I think there is a nice match between these two men of vast differences in age and experience, and yet they are in many ways so similar. In some ways they are the young cocky version of myself and my present older and more careful self. It’s great fun to do a book like this.

Q - Which came first -- the characters or the plot?
            Hard to say; it all pretty much came together all at once. I write like that. I know what I want to do, where I want to go with the story and who I want to ride along with (the characters). The characters are real to me, they live and breathe right next to me as I write about them. They’re here right now!
Q - Can you remember what triggered the plot?
            It wasn’t that complicated. I began with an older man who owns a small bookstore. Simple enough. He has a customer come in one day and sell him something very rare and extremely unique. The story just took off from there and the characters took over. The old man (Viejo) wanted to find out some information about the item and so needed to track down the mysterious seller, and to do that he needed help. So when he met a young man named Juan, the two teamed up in the best Holmes and Watson tradition.
Q - The ending of the book is a set-up for a sequel. Is that in the works?
            At the end of the book it does seem like another adventure of Juan and Viejo is in the cards. It’s not in the works yet, but I do hope to bring back Juan and Viejo again in another book. I think they’re great fun characters.
Q - What question that I not asked would you like to answer?
            Now that’s a good question! I think what I’d like to say is that anything I write, but especially anything related to Sherlock Holmes, is written from the heart, with respect, and in the Doyle tradition. I think of these stories as kind of love letters to an author and his creations that have given us all so much joy and wonder.

The Mystery Surrounding Watson's Lost Dispatch Box: A Juan and Viejo Mystery is available from all good bookstores including  Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository .

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