I'd said once before, though I can't guarantee it was on this blog, that my first encounter with anything Holmesian was when my dad showed me Young Sherlock Holmes. Recently, I bought a Kindle, so as to read the Holmes material, (and a few choice others,) that don't seem to be available in any kind of print form, much to my chagrin. I still find it weird to 'turn a page' by pressing a button. Yes, I have the old Kindle version, not something like Kindle Fire.
Anyway, so as to not get too sidetracked by Kindle talk, I had downloaded a free version of The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and was reading the Adventure of the Empty House. As I was going through Holmes's version of how he survived Reichenbach and managed to 'come back from the dead,' a memory stirred, to quote Javert. I remembered being a little kid, probably no more than six, and my dad telling me about Holmes and Moriarty in the Final Problem, and them both going over the Falls. Then he told me there were still stories after that, because the one writing them had decided the main character survived. (Yeah, I don't think he told me the names of the characters yet. I think that came later.)
When I was a kid, my Nana and my uncle lived in a house on Staten Island. Across the street from their house was what the neighborhood kids, (specifically, my best friend, Dolly,) called Muddy Mountain. I wish I had pictures of this place. I'm glad I have a videotape of it somewhere, because they completely changed it and now a row of houses are opposite what used to be my Nana and uncle's house. Anyway, though, Muddy Mountain was called that because it was basically this huge, (well, huge to a kid,) hill. It extended the entire block, pretty much, but there were so many trees around there that there were only two places you could really climb up and get to the top, where it even out in a wide enough space for a path. The one place, it was pretty easy to climb up because it was rockier, had more trees to grab onto, and that one led up to a bigger plateau where someone had hung a rope swing. Anyway, if you followed the path up a bit, it led to another hill that was pretty much just loose dirt. Imagine a snow covered hill you can sled down, and just take away the snow.
Okay, now that I've probably digressed to the point of losing anyone reading this, the above paragraph had a point. When my dad was telling me about Holmes surviving the fall at Reichenbach, I imagined something like Muddy Mountain, only with a waterfall. And I remember imagining Holmes grabbing ahold of clumps of weeds, or random roots to catch himself before falling to his death.
I suppose I'm thinking about the Great Hiatus lately, not only because Amy Thomas has written about it in her blog recently, but because it's when another Holmes novel that I have in the works takes place.
I have the series of five: Rendezvous, Answer, Jack of All Trades, my Holmes-Dracula one that I'm debating naming The Darkness Within, and Finding Camelot. After that, I've got three short stories in the works that I hope will be long enough to turn into a book. But I've also got another novel I've thought up.
Without giving too much away, the beginning shows a parallel between a present time person, and Holmes at the moment he and Moriarty go over the side at the Falls. I'm going to do this in standard Holmes fashion and have it be narrated completely by another character. No Holmes first person in this one! It's definitely going to take him out of his element, however. Something that he hates, and throughout, he desperately tries to cling to the old fashioned, Victorian style that he's accustomed to.
It's going to be a challenge to write. It's going to be a very different sort of novel. Difficult. I'm going to be poring over the Canon throughout probably every page I write once I actually sit down and begin attempting this thing. But if it turns out even half as good as I'm imagining, I'll be happy.
Look for my next review, A Crack in the Lens, by Darlene Cypser, up in several days!