Sixty of the world’s leading Sherlock Holmes authors have come together to create the largest ever anthology of new stories about the Baker Street detective. The royalties from the project are to go towards the restoration of Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home which will become a school for children with learning disabilities.
Undershaw is where Conan Doyle wrote many of the original Sherlock Holmes stories and where he brought Holmes back to life after having killed him off at the famous Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland (re-created, of course, by the BBC in the Sherlock episode The Reichenbach Fall). The building fell into disrepair in 2009 when developers tried to carve up the house but were blocked by a determined group of Sherlock Holmes fans who fought the planning all the way to the high court. The group – supported by their patron, Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss – won an injunction in the high court. The developer appealed but that was quashed in 2012.
All the royalties from the anthology, which will span three hardback volumes and cover 1200 pages, will go towards the new owners of the building Stepping Stones – a small specialist education provision – who are restoring it back to its former glory, including the restoration of Conan Doyle’s study. One of the pledges from Stepping Stones to their Sherlockian supporters is that outside term time they will be making the house accessible to fans as much as possible; allowing them to visit the study and look out the very windows Conan Doyle did when he wrote stories such as The Hound of The Baskervilles.
Published by MX Publishing, the project is the brainchild of author David Marcum, who has written several collections of Holmes stories himself including The Papers of Sherlock Holmes. He has enlisted authors from all over the world, including Lyndsay Faye, Hugh Ashton and Amy Thomas. The initial target was to beat the previous record of thirty, but it grew to over fifty.
"The response has been incredible," says publisher Steve Emecz. “David insisted all the stories should be new, but traditional in format so they are all set sometime between 1881 and 1929 and feature Holmes and Watson in their original Victorian setting. I don’t think we will ever see a collection on a scale like this again. The authors are so passionate about Undershaw and its new role as a special school, which is why so many have taken part".
MX Publishing has also set up a Kickstarter to help cover the costs of the project. The goal is £2000 and you can pledge here.
The books will be available to buy from October 1st, and can currently be pre-ordered on Amazon. Kickstarter pledgers, however, will get them in September.