Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Victorian/Edwardian era…
The original Cthulhu Casebooks trilogy is complete in and of itself. The three volumes (Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows, Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities and Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-devils) together tell a single terrifying story.
I thought I was done with that particular world, but then a new idea emerged from the swirling murk of my subconscious, and lo and behold, Sherlock Holmes and the Highgate Horrors came slouching into life.
This one’s a standalone adventure whose action ranges across the length of Holmes’s professional career and beyond, right up until the aftermath of the First World War. The story dovetails around that of the trilogy, but the novel can be read independently.
It’s also a bit of a beast in terms of size, nearly twice as long as each of the other books in the series. I didn’t plan this, but as I was putting the plot together, I got more and more excited and just kept adding bits. There was too much good stuff to leave any of it out. The synopsis alone, in fact, weighed in at around 17,000 words, or 34 single-spaced A4 pages, pretty much the length of a novella.
There’s alien horror here. There are reanimated corpses. There’s a sinister shapeshifter. There’s a gruelling voyage aboard a whaler to the frozen north. There’s a journey to the edge of our solar system. There are appearances by a number of secondary characters from the canon, several of them in strange, unusual guises. There’s a secret society, a disturbing conspiracy, and a whole lot else besides. Not forgetting plenty of Holmesian deduction and derring-do.
I put a lot of work into this book and I’m very proud of it. And if, as is very possible, it’s my last ever Holmes story, then I’m happy to go out with a bang, having produced a sprawling, epic tale that spans three decades and encompasses everything that I love about Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft. Ending on a high(gate) note, you might say.