Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable is “a meticulously constructed and engagingly presented homage to the Holmes myth” * (four quick reviews)

The game is not afoot as WWI ends. Holmes no longer provokes the Yard’s envy or his landlady’s ire, but neither is he content with the study of bees. England’s new 1920 Dangerous Drugs Act leads him to a nearly defunct French clinic where he aims to quit cocaine entirely. Confronted by a question as to his treatment goal, he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but 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.

Dutton seems to almost live this story, and she makes we readers do the same. A little strange (not Dr. Strangelove-like strange) well-written and a good read.  Our Town Book Reviews

*The language and overall style are convincingly antique, similar enough to Doyle’s prose to pull the reader back into the Holmes world. At the same time, there are delightful modern touches. The author shows us that Holmes is a celebrity at the level of Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt. The detective is disgustingly famous. His escapades are well known, and when it seems he may have a new case, all sorts of people are eager to get involved. Lisabet Sarai’s Beyond Romance Reviews

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

The characters are all truly well thought out and developed. I would recommend Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable to all fans of Holmes and Watson.” The Avid Reader Reviews

I fairly flew through this book, slowing down only to savor the story for a little longer. It’s extremely well written and the main players match my match my memories of the originals while at the same time developing as only the best characters can.

Surprisingly, the ending left me both incredibly satisfied and a little sad. It felt like the perfect epilogue to a brilliant character’s lifelong accomplishments, and I honestly wasn’t ready for the book to end. SHRI is a fantastic love letter to Conan Doyle’s original works, and a wonderful representation of literature’s most inimitable detective.

I most definitely recommend picking it up.

Witty and Sarcastic Book Club

Susanne Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. 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.

Purchase links . . .

Print or ebook at Propertius Press:

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

OR

Print at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Remaining-Improbable-Susanne/dp/1678075310/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2HDJMH2ZIOOLO&dchild=1&keywords=sherlock+holmes+and+the+remaining+improbable&qid=1631654300&sprefix=Sherlock+Holmes+and+the+Remaining%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-2

“A wonderful representation of literature’s most inimitable detective…*

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What’s it about?

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural home, 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 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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in ages . . . a wonderful job of sharing a possibility of what the esteemed detective’s later years might have to offer. Nancy Fraser’s Notes from Nancy

A well-crafted, entertaining diversion. I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment by detailing the twists and turns of the plot, or previewing the characters who turn up to play a role in the tale. If you’re a Holmes aficionado, you’ll recognize some of them, while others are clever re-imaginings from the original stories. (I particularly liked the nineteen-twenties version of the Baker Street Irregulars.)

The language and overall style are convincingly antique, similar enough to Doyle’s prose to pull the reader back into the Holmes world. At the same time, there are delightful modern touches. The author shows us that Holmes is a celebrity at the level of Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt. The detective is disgustingly famous. His escapades are well known, and when it seems he may have a new case, all sorts of people are eager to get involved, just for the excitement and the glory.  Lisabet Sarai’s Beyond Romance Reviews

 I enjoyed the surprises and twists, and a generational view of Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. I found the doctor’s notes and Sherlock’s journal entries a different way to give clues. I recommend this story. Iron Canuck Reviews and More

*. . . I fairly flew through this book, slowing down only to savor the story for a little longer. It’s extremely well written and the main players match my memories of the originals while at the same time growing and developing as only the best characters can. The additional characters (there must be suspects, after all) are all fantastic, quirky without being over the top. The mystery itself was fantastic. It wasn’t forced, the final solution made perfect sense in response to the clues, and it was very clever.”

Surprisingly, the ending left me both incredibly satisfied and a little sad. It felt like the perfect epilogue to a brilliant character’s lifelong accomplishments, and I honestly wasn’t ready for the book to end.

I most definitely suggest picking this book up. Witty and Sarcastic Book Club

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.

Propertius Press (ebook and print)

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

OR

https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Remaining-Improbable-Susanne/dp/1678075310/ref=sr_1_3

Thank you!

“Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable” is a fantastic love letter to Conan Doyle’s original works, and a wonderful representation of literature’s most inimitable detective . . .

“I fairly flew through this book, slowing down only to savor the story for a little longer. It’s extremely well written and the main players match my memories of the originals while at the same time growing and developing as only the best characters can. The additional characters (there must be suspects, after all) are all fantastic, quirky without being over the top. The mystery itself was fantastic. It wasn’t forced, the final solution made perfect sense in response to the clues, and it was very clever.” Witty and Sarcastic Book Club Reviews

What’s it about?

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural home, 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 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.

“A huge imagination . . . Think all this (given the blurb) sounds like psychological dissertation? Well it isn’t, and it doesn’t read that way. Susanne Dutton seems to almost live this story, and she makes we readers do the same.” Our Town Book Reviews

“There is plenty of mystery and suspense to keep the pages turning as Holmes and Watson work their case. The characters are all truly well thought out and developed. I would recommend Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable to all fans of Holmes and Watson.” The Avid Reader Reviews

Sherlock fans looking for a unique story about their beloved hero should check this out!

Susanne M. Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. She’s 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.

For ebook or print:

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

OR

For paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Remaining-Improbable-Susanne/dp/1678075310/ref=sr_1_3

Thank you!

Holmes on “How to Live” VS. Watson on “How to Live with Holmes”

“Mr. Holmes, at age 167, what basic life advice can you offer?”

1) Your brain has only so much space. Be on guard against unnecessary information. I refuse to know about the solar system, for instance.  

2) Romantic relationships only drain your energy for better things. I mean it. Don’t even pretend to indulge such a thing unless you are disguised and or it’s necessary to solve a crime. If you have to convince yourself of this, you are lost already.  It goes without saying that you can and should love your queen—from a safe distance.

3) Dogs are more likely to be reliable. Rent one if you need one.

4) Never draw easy conclusions. Don’t assume. Check it out. The so-called “obvious truth” or “what people say” is nonsense. You must gather the facts yourself. Until you have assembled those facts you are only gathering data. Leave it at that, unless you want to be as inept as Scotland Yard.

5) Live alone, unless you can’t afford it. If you must “share rooms,” choose an easy-going person unlike yourself, one who is likely to be useful to you.

6) As an afterthought to #2. If your logical brain goes wonky and insists on a relationship with a soon-to-be-married opera diva from New Jersey, limit yourself to witnessing her wedding–in disguise.  Afterward, you may allow yourself to retain a photograph of the woman. Do not buy, steal, or purchase the photograph.  As the lady had a last maidenly fling (or a dance, anyway) with a king too ashamed of her to marry her, that gentleman has a photo he will let you have if you ask politely.

“And you, Doctor Watson?”

1) If you share rooms with a stranger who takes dangerous drugs when he’s bored, adores the queen, and sets up toxic chemistry experiments in the one common room you share, adapt as best you can.

2) If that same fellow claims to be the one and only consulting detective in London (population 6.7 million in 1896), humor him.

3) Agree to help your detective on his cases and write them up. You will share in his success. Some of his glory will be mistaken for yours and you will find yourself meeting attractive, grateful women.

4) If you find yourself marrying any of these women, be sure it’s well known what happened to each of them before you marry again. Otherwise, history–and millions of Sherlockians–will wonder. These people pay exaggerated attention, so be specific to avoid confusion. Ditto for your vague, wandering war wounds.

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural home, 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 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.

ebook/print link:

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

or print link:

https://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Remaining-Improbable-Susanne/dp/1678075310/ref=sr_1_3

Susanne M. Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. She’s 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.

A Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

The aged and still cocaine-addicted Sherlock Holmes submits entry forms at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic, naming a peculiar goal: “No more solutions, but true resolution,” and finds that his worst enemy has left him the key to his wish, if he can give everything in return. Can his friend Watson stop the clock that has been ticking toward Holmes’ demise, or will he be forced to sit powerless and watch as Holmes walks straight into danger? (Taken from Amazon)

Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable is available for purchase now.

I am very picky when it comes to Sherlock Holmes and how he’s represented. I am not an expert or anything like that, but I’m a big fan of Conan Doyle’s famous detective and have read the original mysteries more than once…

View original post 254 more words

Advice from Dr. Watson, the Man Who Lives (on and off) with the Hero of My Book

In “Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable” I aim at a believable Dr. Watson, and a recognizable “best and wisest” Holmes. I found that handing a character a key to 221B doesn’t make him Holmes, however. Asking another to bring the revolver doesn’t make him Watson. They must be true to themselves in a new, outrageous way.

Poet W. H. Auden wrote, “You shall love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart.” As a reader, I hope you say to yourself, “That’s Watson’s comfy, crooked heart and that’s Holmes’ (unacknowledged) crooked heart moving him in that story, doing its best by its crooked neighbor.

The Crooked Tree Photo by Ariel Camilo

Invited to share advice from one of the book’s characters….

I tried a mind meld with Doctor John Watson:

1) If you share rooms with a stranger who takes dangerous drugs when he’s bored, adores the queen, and sets up toxic chemistry experiments in the one common room you share, adapt as best you can.

2) If that same fellow claims to be the one and only consulting detective in London (population 6.7 million in 1896), humor him.

3) Agree to help your detective on his cases and write them up. You will share in his success. Some of his glory will be mistaken for yours and you will find yourself meeting attractive, grateful women.

4) If you find yourself marrying any of these women, be sure it’s well known what happened to each of them before you marry again. Otherwise, history–and millions of Sherlockians–will wonder. These people do pay (exaggerated) attention, so be specific to avoid confusion. Ditto for your vague, wandering war wounds.

5) Looking over a detective’s shoulder as he works, you can’t help but feel inspired. You see the good in the man expressed in his work. The truth is, he finds both your dedication to your own profession and your gentle courage as inspiring as you find his genius-driven adventures in detecting.

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton, available at Propertius Press* and Amazon.com*

The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

*https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

*https://www.amazon.com/dp/1678075310/ref=cm_sw

Susanne Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. She’s 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.

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. 

“Can’t Believe How Fast I Finished it Up! $17.95, Please.”

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

Writers and Word Counts (Just my thoughts)

For me, the question is more about pace than numbers. “Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable”– and its research–took three years, but I did write and publish two other long short stories, as well as poems, in that time. I have been a member of three excellent writers’ groups, The Muse Center in Norfolk, Virginia, Charlotte Writers in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Kelly Writers House at U Penn in Philadelphia. Writers talk about word counts, of course. My way is to find the pace that suits you, rather like letting your horse adapt the right pace for that horse’s health, the rider, and the particular journey. Experiment. If my horse has a steep hill to climb, slower is only right. Are fast dances better than slow dances? Are sculptures in soft materials better than those in slow, hard-to-work stone? The danger in either too fast or too slow is that the pace might defeat the story and the writer. If I were to write only a couple paragraphs a day, I’d lose any sense of my characters and their challenges. It might be like stringing out a message to a friend, a few phrases a day.

I can’t imagine wearing a button saying either, “This novel took me ten years. It must be worth at least $17.95, paperback,” or “I’m amazed how quickly I finished this up! $17.95, please.” 

Links Below!

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.

Susanne Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. She’s 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.

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. 

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1678075310/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_J3EJWBA5ASJJ2KCJCYR3?fbclid=IwAR3cmhWfllK0UaaT4WHbjZGXnBuhTvnyJ74clHMcAu3_d5voz9mGCU2hLYw

Six Gems of Advice from Sherlock Holmes, the Hero of My Book

Sketch from Punch Magazine, June 1894

He saved lives and stymied many a cruel plot, but he’s not what’s known as a people person. I draw each of these guidelines from Holmes’ own behavior in Conan Doyle’s original stories. Keep in mind that my hero does the best he can with the gifts he has to make life better for all of us. Who can do more?   

1) Romantic relationships only drain your energy for better things. I mean it. Don’t even pretend to indulge such a thing unless you are disguised and or it’s necessary to solve a crime. If you have to convince yourself of this, you are lost already.  It goes without saying that you can and should love your queen—from a safe distance.

2) Dogs are more likely to be reliable. Rent one if you need one.

3) Never draw easy conclusions. Don’t assume. Check it out. The so-called “obvious truth” or “what people say” is nonsense. You must gather the facts yourself. Until you have assembled those facts you are only gathering data. Leave it at that, unless you want to be as inept as Scotland Yard.

4) Your brain has only so much space. Be on guard against unnecessary information. I refuse to know about the solar system, for instance.  

5) Live alone, unless you can’t afford it. If you must “share rooms,” choose an easy-going person unlike yourself, one who is likely to be useful to you.

6) As an afterthought to #1. If your logical brain goes wonky and insists on a relationship with a soon-to-be-married opera diva from New Jersey, limit yourself to witnessing her wedding–in disguise.  Afterward, you may allow yourself to retain a photograph of the woman. Do not buy, steal, or purchase the photograph.  As the lady had a last maidenly fling (or a dance, anyway) with a king too ashamed of her to marry her, that gentleman has a photo he will let you have if you ask politely.

Available Now from Propertius Press and Amazon at links below~

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.

Susanne M. Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. She’s 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.

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

OR

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1678075310/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_J3EJWBA5ASJJ2KCJCYR3?fbclid=IwAR3cmhWfllK0UaaT4WHbjZGXnBuhTvnyJ74clHMcAu3_d5voz9mGCU2hLYw

Thank you!

Poetry Leaks and Imaginary Friends Stick Around

My friend Gina, back when she was partly imaginary, and me.

 From Reviews and Interviews

 by Blogger and Author

Lisa Haselton

(with a couple expanded answers)

Do you ever read your stories out loud?

Always. I favor sentences that sound good, and sound good next to one another, though mine don’t always measure up. It’s only a goal leaking over from my poetry, or the poetry I enjoy, anyway. Stories are composed, just like music, as are sentences and paragraphs. This has nothing to do with “rose” and “toes.” Also, it’s absolutely the best way to catch mistakes.

Can you tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her?


My main character was invented by Arthur Conan Doyle based on Joseph Bell, a professor at the Edinburgh medical school Conan Doyle attended. Of course, that’s only part of it because hundreds of writers and many actors have contributed to the Holmes mythology. It would be fair to say that my inspiration was a piece of the Holmes story that seems missing to me and that I haven’t seen anywhere else. So I wrote it. I was ambushed by the idea as I walked around a Philly art museum and into a room full of 18th C French art. Although my Holmes is the classic guy, I knew this idea could bring something new to Conan Doyle’s stories, though it’s not mentioned in the official Holmes biography by William Baring-Gold. (Yes, Holmes has an official biography. I suppose Holmes authorized Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street—in so far as a made-up fellow can authorize anything.)

Do you listen to music when you’re writing?

I listen to the sounds on the street, like the garbage truck and the sanitation workers kidding each other. I hear the regional rail go by, squirrels scrambling over the tile roof, wind, and dogs barking.

Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
Not in the sense that I had to leave extra space on the subway bench or save half my sandwich. I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that all of my friends have been imaginary–but only at first and only partly. After all, my best friend is someone I got to know slowly over time. If we are to stay friends I have to let go of some of what I initially imagined about that person. Then the imaginary parts change into the reality and the realities morph into new realities. That’s a good question for a friend. What did you imagine about me when we met?

Do you have any phobias?
For a long time I had just one phobia: very large crowds. I left town when the Pope came to Philly and found myself sitting at a hotel bar in San Diego, watching it on television, thrilled at a distance. The second phobia came about when I was served a spinach salad at a tiny little restaurant near my home. I suffered for hours that night. I go back to the pub, no problem, but I hold all spinach responsible, forever.

Tell us about your latest release.
Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable* is a Sherlock Holmes mystery, but the game is not afoot. WWI has ended. The glory days the 1890’s are gone. No one believes any longer that the world is “getting better in every way, every day.” In response to the rise in cocaine addiction, the Dangerous Drugs Act has made the drug illegal and Holmes aims to quit. He fills out entry papers at a rundown clinic on the coast of Normandy. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, realizing his real goal far exceeds anything any clinic could do for him. His scribbled answer, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” strikes his doctor as more a vow than a goal—and the doctor is right. Very soon the little phrase churns up a far-reaching, desperate, interlocking mystery that changes the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.

Link to Propertius Press:

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

 

“Men see through a change of dress long before they see through a lack of it.” Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable” by Susanne Dutton

“… my turn that way is in my veins, and may have come with my grandmother, who was the sister of Vernet, the French artist. Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.” Sherlock in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.

French artist, Carle Vernet (1758-1843) Holmes’ ancestor, portrait by Robert Lefevre (1755-1830)

Watson writes:

Joubert spoke eagerly to Holmes. “You have managed a disguise?”

 “Yes. Simple, but effective. I am half naked and barefoot. I have torn away one leg of my trousers entirely and, otherwise, kept my vest. The cinders work well to dirty my hands, arms, legs, and feet. A rag, held in place by a piece of the fishing net, serves as a kind of veil. Do not doubt it! Nakedness is one of the finest of disguises. Men see through a change of dress long before they see through a lack of it.”

I couldn’t help a burst of laughter, but when Joubert glared at me, I nodded my acquiescence. His attention reverted to Holmes.  “I hunch forward,” my colleague explained, “and affect an exaggerated limp, dragging my right leg . . . Moving to the edge of the crowd . . . I follow a man who has lost both legs from the knee down. He pushes himself along in a flat, small-wheeled cart, jeering as heartily as the rest . . . He wears a military jacket—split up the sides and faded, held to his chest with what might be a gentleman’s stocking. Across his thighs is draped a flag of the republic, doubtless torn from its place outside one of the big city houses . . . but I pass easily in his wake, for I am bizarre, but not so remarkable as he. The mob grows, and yet we two seem to be able to move through it, into the center. Everyone fears our filth, our stench—and the disease they presume. . . A boy with a drum joins the crowd. . . Then the same chant.

Susanne Dutton is a Philadelphian writing fiction and poetry. She’s 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.

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. 

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036