May 25, 2021

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

 


Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

by Susanne M. Dutton

Mystery



The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. August 1920 finds him filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.


Excerpt:

Holmes speaks, Watson answers:

It’s clear, Watson, that you have come to trust this man, never mind your fancy knot work.” He let a hand rest briefly on Joubert’s shoulder, and then snatched it away. “The charade you two gentleman have just now performed causes me to question myself. You are evidently in collusion.”

I said, “We were that obvious?”

I’m afraid so,” Holmes said. “In fact, when I have time, I will publish a monograph on what I will call ‘body language.’ Today’s performance will serve as a prime example. I watched you usher this Frenchman across the cottage—your hesitation, your caution lest you cause him the least pain, was evident. Your care was exactly as you would grant a lifelong patient going through a complicated procedure. You watched his every backward step, lest he trip. I noted the commiserating tilt of your head—and the lines of concern on your brow. Without a single word, you managed to signal your sympathy. To sum up, between the gun and the man you pointed it at, I detected at least a hundred yards worth of high-grade Watsonian scruple.

Holmes glared down at the top of Joubert’s head. “No doubt the entire Punch and Judy was your conception, Pierre, but you could not hide your concern for Watson, how you sought to assure him that it was all for a worthy purpose. Indeed, I saw you shudder and sweat, but you were in no fear for your life—in no dread of John Watson, at least. I submit to you both, that what I have witnessed just now was more a dance than an arrest.”


About the Author


Susanne Dutton is the one who hid during high school gym, produced an alternative newspaper and exchanged notes in Tolkien’s Elfish language with her few friends. While earning her B.A. in English, she drove a shabby Ford Falcon with a changing array of homemade bumper strips: Art for Art’s Sake, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Free Bosie from the Scorn of History. Later, her interests in myth and depth psychology led to graduate and postgraduate degrees in counseling.

Nowadays, having outlived her mortgage and her professional counseling life, she aims herself at her desk most days; where she tangles with whatever story she can’t get out of her head. Those stories tend to seat readers within pinching distance of her characters, who, like most of us, slide at times from real life to fantasy and back. A man with Alzheimer’s sets out alone for his childhood home. A girl realizes she’s happier throwing away her meals than eating them. A woman burgles her neighbors in order to stay in the neighborhood.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Susanne grew up in the SF Bay Area, has two grown children, and lives with her husband in an old Philadelphia house, built of the stones dug from the ground where it sits.


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Publisher bookstore link to book


GIVEAWAY

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

 

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43 comments:

  1. Oh, my! Can the Sherlock Holmes series be made even better? This novel sounds like it accomplishes that feat!

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  2. A good Sherlock Holmes story is always a treat. This sounds great.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jeanna. My goal was to create a Holmes that is true to the original and yet revealing that he is exactly the "best and wisest" man (as Watson said) in a way we never expected.

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  3. I love Sherlock Holmes stories. I already knew about cocaine being legal until 1920 but while reading your description info and that being mentioned it really astounds me

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    Replies
    1. Hi Katie. Yes, after WW1, when many soldiers were given cocaine and became addicts, the necessity of restriction became obvious. No more coca in your baby's teething medicines or your ten your old's cough drops, either.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rita. From the time Watson entrains for Holmes' cottage to the end, it's mystery after mystery, not only in Holmes' life, but in the lives of everyone in the story. In other words, even the bad guy has to detect, as well as Watson and Mrs. Hudson--and Holmes' doctor.

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  5. I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan, so I know I will enjoy this read.

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    Replies
    1. I guess "Sherlock" means different things to different people. He's been around well over a hundred years, after all. I do hope you enjoy it and I hope for your feedback. susanne@inside22b.com

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  6. I like the blurb. The drug part sounds interesting. Thanks for the chance.

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    Replies
    1. I found the drug part interesting, too. I really got into that research. You will probably enjoy the introduction to the treatment program at Le Dieppe Clinic, as well. Lots of surprises in this adventure.

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  7. sounds interesting

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    1. I was inspired to write the story when I walked into an exhibit of 18th Century French artists here in Philly and realized that several were related to Holmes, according his "biographer," Sir William Baring-Gould. It was like being kidnapped by a story idea! Then I had to go home and figure it out. But as Holmes is famous for saying, "Art in the blood takes the strangest of forms."

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  8. Author, What book is currently on your bedside table?

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  9. Replies
    1. Hello Victoria Thank you. The writing is unpredictable. What a strange road. In the beginning, the book was only an image. Then when the image moved, a plot began to stretch itself out and I followed, carefully. Still, I had to learn to edit and subtract somethings OUT of the story. It's called learning to "kill your darlings" as a writer. I have quite a file of them, though I keep hoping I might resuscitate some of them one day, and bring them to life in another story. That can happen!

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  10. "The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends."

    I've never heard of that term before, the better every day world. It sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. "From his rural cottage, Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees."

    I didn't know he lived in a rural cottage or studied bees. How exciting. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  12. This sounds like an awesome book and I an really looking forward to reading it!

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  13. "August 1920 finds him filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast."

    LOL, sounds like a good idea. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  14. "England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely."

    Wow, what a bummer, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic."

    Sounds like Sherlock alright. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  16. "His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert."

    Sherlock never was a man of wordiness, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  17. "The doctor is right."

    The doctor is always right, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both."

    Wow, that's a complicated situation. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Holmes speaks, Watson answers..."

    Isn't that the way it always is, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  20. '“It’s clear, Watson, that you have come to trust this man, never mind your fancy knot work.”'

    I wonder what the knot reference is about. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  21. "He let a hand rest briefly on Joubert’s shoulder, and then snatched it away."

    Sherlock always has smooth moves, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  22. '“The charade you two gentleman have just now performed causes me to question myself.'

    Great sentence. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  23. "You are evidently in collusion.”

    You can't fool Sherlock Holmes, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  24. 'I said, “We were that obvious?”'

    Yes you were, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  25. "“I’m afraid so,” Holmes said."

    Nothing gets by Holmes, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  26. '“In fact, when I have time, I will publish a monograph on what I will call ‘body language.’'

    I would love to hear him speak about body language, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Today’s performance will serve as a prime example."

    Holmes is always teaching. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  28. "I watched you usher this Frenchman across the cottage—your hesitation, your caution lest you cause him the least pain, was evident."

    You can't fool Sherlock. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  29. "Your care was exactly as you would grant a lifelong patient going through a complicated procedure."

    Sounds like Holmes. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  30. "You watched his every backward step, lest he trip."

    Holmes is clever alright. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  31. "I noted the commiserating tilt of your head—and the lines of concern on your brow."

    Of course Sherlock noted that, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  32. "Without a single word, you managed to signal your sympathy. To sum up, between the gun and the man you pointed it at, I detected at least a hundred yards worth of high-grade Watsonian scruple."

    Holmes is so perceptive.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "To sum up, between the gun and the man you pointed it at, I detected at least a hundred yards worth of high-grade Watsonian scruple."

    Sherlock is funny.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "Holmes glared down at the top of Joubert’s head."

    I can picture this.

    ReplyDelete

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