– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Murder In Keswick’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
William Todd has been writing for over 20 years, primarily gothic horror stories in the style of Lovecraft, Poe, and Shelley. Loving all things Victorian, he was inspired to read (and later to write) by Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first book he ever read cover to cover was Hound of the Baskervilles, which also fed his appetite for horror. William Todd has written two short story compilations of gothic horror, Dead of Night and Beyond the Gossamer Veil and one sci-fi/horror hybrid genre Something Wicked This Way Comes.
He has also written multiple Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Murder in Keswick, A Reflection of Evil, Mystery of the Broken Window, and Elementary—a short story compilation. Two of his short stories were part of MX Publishing’s New Sherlock Holmes Stories with proceeds going to a charity for special needs children housed in Undershaw, the very home Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles.
Writing for the books was a special privilege because his daughter, Alina, has Down Syndrome. In 2022, he just finished his first YA/historical novel The Fall of the Hermit King, which is under review for publication, and in the meantime has started yet another Sherlock Holmes compilation.
While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite.
As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head!
And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves. She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe.
Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy.
Follow Holmes, Watson, and the local constable Mr. Wickham as they untangle the mystery surrounding a Murder in Keswick.
Sherlock Holmes was never fond of what he called my ‘over-dramatization’ of his methods, or my ‘sensationalising’ of the facts surrounding a particular case when I put it to paper. As best I could, I would relay to the reader only what was relevant to both story and method, to display Holmes’ unique abilities in deduction and logic. If adjectives were ever needed or more descriptive language employed, it was usually done only sparingly, and to make the story more palatable. There are certain cases, however, that manifest from time to time, so wholly unique, that it is a near-impossible feat not to over-dramatize or sensationalise the facts because they are just that—dramatic and sensational. Customarily, it is these cases that are left out of my accounts of the great detective. There are a few, however, that I feel display the quintessential Holmes ability despite their—in his eyes—garish underpinnings. The following account is just such a case, which, after much debate, my friend has acquiesced to it being put before the public.
It was Wednesday, July 20th, 1898. The train clapped along rhythmically, and the sun shone in fits and starts into our compartment as we rushed along the wooded countryside. We were making good time to Cumbria for a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District after a particularly gruelling stretch for Holmes in London. For six weeks he managed a mere three hours of sleep a night and, on a few nights, none whatsoever, which would be the utter undoing of most. He unravelled four separate cases for Scotland Yard and one for the Crown—a particularly nasty affair, having national implications, that I may never get to set before my readers. At first, he resisted the suggestion of rest in the country, not sharing the bucolic allure, but I, at last, broke through my friend’s defences and convinced him that some time away would rejuvenate him for whatever London’s seedy underground had in store for him upon our return.
Agreeing to the rest did not mean, however, that Holmes looked forward to it. He stared morosely out the window at the passing landscape, having previously kept himself busy with a copy of the Times; however, it had run its course an hour into the journey.
He had been quiet for some time, so I tried to break him from his melancholic reverie. ‘You know, Holmes, this will do you good,’ said I. ‘The fresh country air, the bright sunshine…It will be cathartic to both your mind and body to relax for a few days.’
My friend glanced at me from the corner of his eye but kept his sullen vigil of the countryside. ‘Watson, you know as well as I do that my mind never relaxes, and my body does remarkably well at keeping up. Those slaves are surely used to their master by now.’ He turned and looked upon me directly. ‘Sloth is the murderer of many a good intellect, Watson, and I can ill-afford the demise of mine.’
The Magic of Wor(l)ds