Martin is a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes and of the work of Arthur Conan Doyle. The character of Holmes, and the literary voice of Dr Watson, are so entrancing that it is easy to understand why writers from Mark Twain, O. Henry, and Holmes’ friend J.M. Barrie in the past to Anthony Horowitz, Stephen Fry, and the writers of Sherlock in the twenty-first century love to follow in the footsteps of Conan Doyle and write Holmesian pastiches. And so does Martin.
Just as the best Holmes stories that Conan Doyle wrote are nearly all short, rather than novel length, so the majority of the best pastiches are short stories. Of course, there are exceptions, but the Holmes pastiches that Martin has written have all had central ideas that seemed to suit the short form. The first was written in 1997, when Mike Ashley was putting together a new collection, and commissioned “The Case of the Suicidal Lawyer” for The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures, a book which enjoyed a good deal of success, earning numerous reprints and translations.
Martin enjoyed writing the story enormously, and as a result, from time to time he has responded to further commissions, notably for the late, lamented magazine Sherlock, and a modern American incarnation of the Strand Magazine. Trying to emulate the Conan Doyle style is a challenge, but also a pleasure, and a good way of taking a break from writing contemporary crime novels. Martin also wrote a special short pastiche to form part of an after-dinner speech which he gave at the annual conference of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, held at Gladstone’s Library in 2013.
2014 has seen the publication of his The New Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, which contains all the pastiches he has written to date, together with a variety of special features and articles. David Stuart Davies, one of the world’s leading experts on Sherlock, has kindly contributed a generous foreword in which he says:
“One only has to read a few pages to realise that Martin Edwards has not only caught the style and quality of the originals, but the characters speak with Doylean voices. In short, Martin Edwards knows his Holmes, and he puts that knowledge to great effect in this set of cases…all the tales presented here are finely constructed mysteries in which Holmes is able to demonstrate his brilliance as a detective. This is partly due, of course, to the fact that Edwards is a fine crime writer in his own right and has great experience in conceiving puzzles to confound his readers… This is a gem of a collection, a Blue Carbuncle or a Borgia Pearl of a volume. I recommend this trip down Baker Street guided by the safe stewardship of Martin Edwards.”
The Greatest Detective
The Red-Headed League
Martin was commissioned to write the introductions to two collections of Sherlock Holmes’ finest cases, published by Arcturus in luxury slipcase editions.