I was very excited to call in at a local Waterstones and see my book on the shelf – so excited I even took a picture. Various people did look across and wonder if I was slightly mad but that didn’t stop me!
I went back to basics with these stories, even though this is rather counter to recent Sherlock Holmes trends. A lot of current literature, pastiche and dramatisation focuses heavily on Holmes as a man, above Holmes the detective. They forge out into previously unacceptable territory such as Holmes having sexual relationships and falling in love (Elementary, Warner Bros), his relationship with brother, family and friends (BBC Sherlock) and how he deals with dementia and old age (upcoming film A Slight Trick of the Mind).
I looked at these things with my first novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, and got admired and panned for it in equal measure. I felt quite brave for going where others feared to tread, how times have changed…
But with Charlie Milverton I just wanted to keep things simple. I did upgrade the themes and settings to modern day but besides that I stuck to creating five traditional stories showcasing what Holmes does best – detection. No romance, no autism, no in-depth analyses of his psyche. Each story is based on the canon – we experience and learn about Holmes’ character through watching him work and interact with his only friend, the ever-loyal Watson. I tried out the less-is-more principal with this one.
Steven Moffat said in response to criticism about the direction series three went into, that Sherlock isn’t a detective story, it’s a story about a detective. I think this summed up his interpretation very well and also the current way of looking at Holmes. I enjoy this approach and have contributed to it myself, but hope we don’t lose sight of the simple essence which is the core of Holmes – he was a bloody good detective! And the stories Doyle wrote to demonstrate this were some of the cleverest, most imaginative detective fiction you might ever read.
Some quotes from recent reviews of Charlie Milverton:
“In contrast to the deeply researched social history of her novel Barefoot on Baker Street, Charlotte Anne Walters has written a witty quintet of short stories, updating five cases from the canon, in Charlie Milverton and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories – the others being ‘The Premier Bachelor’, ‘The Leaping Man’, ‘A Question of Identity’ and ‘Abbey Strange’. Perhaps she was inspired by Sherlock, but her approach and style – and indeed the set-up – are rather different. The stories are clever and good fun.” Roger Johnson writing forThe Sherlock Holmes Society of London
“The stories are set in our modern high-tech world, but within a few paragraphs we recognise Holmes and Watson as our very own, thanks to Ms Walters’ skill. Entertaining, clever and witty.” The Baker Street Society
“Each of these tales is carefully crafted and all are satisfying as well as amusing. The author tweaks the beaks of 21st Century social media freaks and brings the problems of the 19th Century right up to date, proving that people remain people as Sherlock remains Sherlock across the Centuries.” – Sherlockian scholar and reviewer Philip K Jones
“The style of the writing is fast-paced and very plot driven. Readers won’t find themselves getting bored” – Author Amy Thomas, Girl Meets Sherlock Blog
“Charlotte’s stories are light-hearted, intriguing and humorous, and allow insight into how these characters and their plotlines might adapt to modern day life.” – Amazon review