Author Thomas Kent Miller of Redlands is announcing a new release and packaging for his three books featuring the character Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes is referred to as his pseudonyms. The reader may not know who he is unless he really knows his Holmes history. He’s not the protagonist; he’s among the characters, but he does actually solves mysteries in every book.
Because of this twist, the series is being re-published under the name “Holmes Behind the Veil.”
“One thing in common with all three of these books is that Holmes is not obvious,” said Miller. “He’s kind of behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz. He’s affecting the story, but the reader may not be aware of that. How about behind the veil?”
There are also mystic qualities, so referencing a veil is appropriate, Miller said.
The Pastiche Genre
MX Publishing lists about 60 Sherlock Holmes pastiches -- books written with the character Arthur Conan Doyle created -- that it has published.
“The whole point of a pastiche is it’s as though Conan Doyle were still writing these books,” Miller said. “For a long time they were being written without permission of the copyright holder, but now there is a formal system through which people can get permission to write the character.”
Generally, Holmes tales are told through the sidekick, John Watson, but Miller wanted to go a different way.
“The very first modern pastiche that started this tsunami of books was “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” by Nicholas Meyer. One of the things that was interesting about (the pastiche phenomenon) was it had Sherlock Holmes meet historical characters. In this case it was Sigmund Freud,” said Miller.
Changing the voice
“By 1987 I was thinking, Wouldn’t it be interesting if Sherlock Holmes were to meet Jesus Christ? I remembered at some point Sherlock Holmes disappeared for three years and nobody knew where he was, and Watson thought he was dead, and when he comes back he tells Watson that he’s been all over the place, including Tibet. There are some folks who think Jesus had gone to Tibet. I looked that up, and sure enough, there’s a story that Jesus and Thomas went to India and from there went to Tibet and there his name was Issa.”
Miller found a connection he could make work. Unfortunately there would be no way to tell that story through Watson, because Watson was not there.
“Then I remembered that another author named (Henry Rider) Haggard wrote “She” about two characters who were in Tibet and I thought Holmes could meet those characters and they could tell the story.”
Another way Miller’s books differ from other Holmes pastiches is they are not written in Doyle’s voice, but in Haggard’s.
“I read a lot of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories to get a clear sense of who Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be, how he would react, the kinds of things he would think and say,” MIller said. “Whenever anything is told through another party the sensibilities of that person change that story. Sherlock Holmes stories all came through Watson. Well, (in Miller’s first book, “Sherlock Holmes on the Roof of the World”), Leo Vincey’s telling his story, so it’s filtered through Vincey’s sensibilities.”
About the Author
Miller, 71, was the editor of ArcNews (Esri’s quarterly GIS magazine) for 20 years until his retirement in 2015. He has bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English, and has lived in Redlands since 1987.
“Sherlock Holmes on the Roof of the World,” has been released by MX Publishing, and is available now through online book distributors. The other two titles, “The Great Detective at the Crucible of Life” and “The Sussex Beekeeper at the Dawn of Time,” will be released in September and November, respectively.