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Archive for April 20th, 2022

Liese Sherwood-Fabre: Exploring Sherlock Holmes’ French Roots (Contest)
Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…Beverly!

I want to thank Delilah for giving me the opportunity to share about my new release, The Adventure of the Purloined Portrait, the fourth case in my Early Case Files of Sherlock Holmes series. It’s available for a special price ($2.99) for a limited time.

This series offers an origin story for Sherlock Holmes. The original tales had little about his past other than his father was named Siger, he had a brother named Mycroft, and his ancestors were country squires. He also tells Watson his grandmother was the sister of the French artist Vernet, which gave him “art in the blood.” As Sherlock matures through this series, he develops his skills as he solves mysteries at the family estate, London, and now France.

In The Adventure of the Purloined Portrait, the Holmes family travels to Paris to visit their French relatives along with some purpose known only to Sherlock’s mother. The true reason for the trip becomes apparent almost immediately when they witness a murder on their first night in the city. A carriage runs down the artist of a compromising sketch of Sherlock’s mother. The hunt to bring the killer to justice sends Sherlock into parts of the city off the beaten path and into danger.

In addition to a visit to the Louvre (after all, their ancestors had paintings hanging there), the evidence sends them to such sites as the Mont-de-Piété (now the Crédit Municipal de Paris), the state-run pawn shops; the Hôtel Drouot, an auction house; the headquarters of the Surete (the French equivalent of Scotland Yard); and Montmartre, a sleepy village on the outskirts of the city in 1868. As I completed my research for the book, I found myself longing to return to the city to actually visit the places I’d only read about in books or online. Even Montmartre, a place I’d visited before, now holds new meaning to me.

I’m giving away a $5 Apple or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice) to one randomly selected person leaving a comment. Let me know of your interest in Paris. Do you want to visit the City of Lights? What would be on your list of sites there? If you have visited the city, what did you enjoy the most?

The Adventure of the Purloined Portrait

A long-buried secret. A stolen portrait. The artist’s murder. Can Sherlock discover the connection between the three before he’s stopped permanently?

Sherlock can’t shake his apprehension about a family trip to Paris. His mother’s unflappable confidence vanished months ago, and her anxiety has set the whole family on edge. His greatest fears are realized when they witness the death of one of Mrs. Holmes’ former suitors.

As Sherlock seeks to unravel the reason behind the artist’s murder, he unearths a long-buried secret about his mother and survives several attempts to keep him from getting to the truth.

Can he bring a killer to justice before he’s buried with these hidden secrets forever?

Excerpt from The Adventure of the Purloined Portrait:

I stared over the ship’s railing and spoke to my brother Mycroft without glancing at him. “I feel this trip may be a mistake.”

I saw him turn toward me from the corner of my eye. “The crossing’s almost over. You’ll feel better when you get on dry land.”

“That’s not what I meant.” I glared at him. “Mother hasn’t been herself since Easter. Out of the blue, she announces we’re going to Paris while you’re still recovering from a gunshot wound. And she’d been distracted even before that.”

Mother had always been the family rock. I’d rarely seen her rattled, but even granite can break under pressure.

During our Easter holiday in London, she appeared preoccupied by matters she never explained to me or my brother. At the time, I’d put it down to concern over my father’s efforts to invest in a business venture with an old school chum as well as Mycroft’s wounding at the hands of our kidnappers. Both, however, were now behind us. The investment had produced a modest return, and I saw no lingering problems related to Mycroft’s injury. All the same, we’d barely arrived home from school before she’d packed our trunks and shuffled us all off to Newhaven for the steamship ride to Dieppe.

“I do believe bringing the entire family is a ruse,” he said after his own inspection of the sea.

“Including Uncle Ernest in the trip did surprise me.” Her brother rarely left the estate or his workshop. “Perhaps she thinks it will do him some good. They report being happy growing up there.”

He glanced at the smoke trailing the ship. “If she was so happy there, why doesn’t she show it?”

I ran through all the scenarios—from something as benign as a sudden bout of nostalgia to a fatal illness calling her back to see her French relatives one last time—and shook my head. “Without more information, I would only be speculating. You yourself have said that can be counterproductive. Whatever the reason, something has truly unnerved her.” I turned back to the ocean, seeking any indication of the coastline. “And whatever it is lies in Paris.”

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About the Author

Liese Sherwood-Fabre knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD, she joined the federal government and worked and lived internationally for more than fifteen years. Returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career, garnering such awards as a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest and a Pushcart Prize nomination. A recognized Sherlockian scholar, her essays have appeared in scion newsletters, the Baker Street Journal, and Canadian Holmes. She has recently turned this passion into an origin story series on Sherlock Holmes. The first book, The Adventure of the Murdered Midwife, was the CIBA Mystery and Mayhem 2020 winner.

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