...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Five Facts about Sherlock Holmes, and a few about my cat by Sandra de Helen

by Sandra de Helen

My cat Stanton, a Maine Coon known as the gentle giant of the feline world, is my muse. I've lived with him since his birth nearly eight years ago, and in that time he has encouraged and supported me by sharing his fur, alerting me to spiders and bugs he wants me to put outdoors, always welcoming me home from my travels, and sleeping on my lap once I put the computer away.

He also helps out by writing his own blog (though only when the spirit moves him, he's a muse, not an author). It's called Stanton Advises Writers, and boy does he. He can be a bit snarky when it comes to correcting mistakes and laying out his pet peeves. I think it helps him to de-stress. As a side benefit for me, his writing makes me laugh.

As my published books are descended from A. Conan Doyle's works about Sherlock Holmes, my muse suggested I write something about Sherlock today. Not everyone who reads my books is a huge fan of the great man, although many are, and can probably skip ahead to the pictures and links at the bottom of the page. Or, stick around to see how many mistakes I make, and then tell me about them in comments. I do hope you'll comment, one way or the other!


The character of Sherlock Holmes was based on a former professor of Doyle's. In fact Doyle dedicated The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Joseph Bell, who then wrote to Doyle "...you are yourself Sherlock Holmes, and well you know it."

Sherlock Holmes's greatest nemesis was Professor Moriarty. Moriarty didn't appear in the oeuvre until The Final Problem in which both Holmes and Moriarty die.

Doyle's fans would not let him rest. They wanted more Holmes! So Doyle brought Holmes back to life, explaining his death as a neat trick. Moriarty didn't return from the dead, but he makes another appearance in The Valley of Fear which is written as a prequel to the other story.

Sherlock Holmes was the original CSI. Because of his methods, real methods began to appear: keeping the crime scene clear during investigation, stopping so many bad habits (eating, drinking, tromping around), analyzing blood, foot prints, and so on. Remember, Doyle wrote these stories beginning in 1891.

The phrase "Elementary, dear Watson" was never used in the printed works.


Shirley first got the idea to be a detective because of being teased by her schoolmates about her name. They called her Sherlock, and she developed his methods for investigation at an early. She didn't become a private investigator until much later, but it was always in the back of her mind. When she and Dr. Mary Watson met at a self-help forum, her fate was sealed.

Shirley doesn't have pets. She conducts experiments in her home laboratory, and wouldn't want any pets hurt. She shows her feelings for one animal in particular in The Hounding when she "rescues" a baby chimp from the Portland Zoo.

Dr. Mary Watson, however, is a cat lover. She has only one, Martha Kitty. Mary takes excellent care of Martha, and spends a lot of time with her.

The other animals in The Hounding are trained attack dogs and another dog owned by one of the suspects. No animals are injured or killed in my books. The attack dogs are used to frighten, and they come to no harm.

Although the friendship between Shirley and Mary will continue to grow and change, each of the books stands alone. You do not need to read The Hounding prior to The Illustrious Client.

Both books have free excerpts on Goodreads and Amazon. Both are available in paperback and ebook. The Hounding is also available as an audiobook, and the audiobook is in progress for The Illustrious Client.

Sandra de Helen lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. de Helen is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society, Sisters in Crime, and Dramatists Guild. 
Follow her on Twitter @dehelen 
The Hounding: http://amzn.to/1jFW42X
The Illustrious Client: http://amzn.to/1hKb6AH


  1. Thanks for being here Stanton - and Sandra!

  2. You book sounds great. Everyone loves Sherlock, so you must have a winner!

  3. Thanks for hosting, Sheila! Stanton is acting all blase, but inside he's thrilled to be here!

  4. Stanton is handsome!Great post, Sandra. We look forward to checking out your books!

  5. I've been a Holmes addict since I was a kid. Loved The Hounding too.