Today on the blog, I am delighted to be hosting William Todd, one of my favourite authors. William’s new release, Murder in Keswick, a Sherlock Holmes mystery, is a great read.
You are very welcome, William, could you tell us a little bit about the background to the book?
I always enjoyed the stories of Sherlock Holmes when he left the confines of London. The Final Problem, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Devil’s Foot, and The Disappearance of Lady Carfax are some of my favorites, and the latter introduced me to the English Lake District. Ever since, that rugged and lovely setting has held a great fascination for me. I decided with this story to once again take the great detective and his raconteur to the Lake District.
Keswick was chosen quite by accident, but once I started my research, I realized I could not have picked a better place. All my research initially was done through the usual Google and Wikipedia routes, but I happened upon a kindly gentleman, a retired constable, who lives in the area, and he was an absolute treasure trove of information and even seemed keen to help out a Yank Anglophile like myself. We corresponded by email throughout the story’s writing. He sent me old photos and articles, a history of the area, and just general information I might need to make the story more complete—things I never would have found online. He had also written a book about a terrible accident that happened on Derwentwater at the time my story takes place, which was quite a happy coincidence. I mention this tragedy at the end of the story, and I mention him and his book in my acknowledgments.
This is one of four books I have written on the great detective. My others are, A Reflection of Evil, Elementary, and The Mystery of the Broken Window, which will all be coming out through Spellbound Books over the next few years. My hope is that when someone reads any of my Sherlock Holmes stories, they feel, although not ever being able to completely replicate the master ACD, I have at least come close and that this story and the ones to follow do justice to that great intellect that is Sherlock Holmes.
Murder in Keswick by William Todd
While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite.
As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder which is making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head!
And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves. She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe.
Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy.
Here’s a wee snippet to whet your appetite…
Holmes read my disgruntled countenance when he turned to me. He said, ‘It was foolish to think evil had not yet stained this beautiful countryside. I dare say, Watson, that when it rears its ugly head out here, so far removed from more authoritative eyes, it may even thrive.’
I did not try and hide my disappointment, and I knew that it would be fruitless to try and convince him to leave this to the authorities, so with a sigh of resignation I asked, ‘What is the plan of action then?’
‘We shall check in to the King’s Arms, find out where the constabulary is, and pay the local authorities a visit.’
I nodded solemnly and picked up my baggage.
Noticing the devastated look on my face, Holmes only blinked at me emotionlessly then turned on his heel. Making haste towards the station entrance, he said over his shoulder, ‘come, come, now Watson. Did you not want me to relax on holiday? Well, what could be more relaxing than solving a murder?’
Buy Link: Murder In Keswick
A little bit about William
William Todd has been writing for over 20 years, primarily gothic horror stories in the style of Lovecraft, Poe, and Shelley. Loving all things Victorian, he was keen to read (and later to write stories inspired by) the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. The first book he ever read cover to cover was Hound of the Baskervilles, which also fed his appetite for horror. William Todd has written two short story compilations of gothic horror, Dead of Night and Beyond the Gossamer Veil and one sci-fi/horror hybrid genre Something Wicked This Way Comes. He has also written multiple Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Murder in Keswick, A Reflection of Evil, Mystery of the Broken Window, and Elementary—a short story compilation. Two of his short stories were part of MX Publishing’s New Sherlock Holmes Stories with proceeds going to a charity for special needs children housed in Undershaw, the very home Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles. Writing for the books was a special privilege because his daughter, Alina, has Down Syndrome. In 2022, he just finished his first YA/historical novel The Fall of the Hermit King, which is under review for publication, and in the meantime has started yet another Sherlock Holmes compilation.
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