A new book, The Adventures of Felicity Holmes – a literature hack of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – is stirring up controversy among traditionalist Sherlock Holmes fans. That's probably because author Jeffrey Baumgartner has changed Holmes and Dr Watson into women, while leaving the original mysteries largely untouched.
The Adventures of Felicity Holmes - cover
PR-Inside.com: 2016-10-13 14:05:48
The Adventures of Felicity Holmes is stirring up controversy among fans of Sherlock Holmes. That's because Felicity Holmes is a female version of the famous, fictional detective; and Dr Watson has become Dr Elizabeth Watson in the new book to be published in October. Although the main characters have changed into women, the stories, settings and other characters have remained the same. Felicity Holmes uses the familiar reasoning skills and logic to solve the seemingly unsolvable cases that made the Sherlock Holmes stories famous.
The Adventures of Felicity Holmes is a mash-up – or “literature hack”, as author Jeffrey Baumgartner likes to call it – in which the original stories, all in the public domain, have been rewritten in order to change the sex and back stories of the two main characters. The mysteries and other characters in the beloved stories remain unchanged.
Not surprisingly, some Sherlock Holmes fan clubs are less than amused by the change and have refused even to look at review copies of The Adventures of Felicity Holmes, according to Baumgartner. “However, many clubs have expressed polite interest and a few have shown outright enthusiasm,” he explains.
Asked about the challenges in hacking The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Baumgartner says that it was more complicated than it might seem, but the real challenge was not so much Felicity as it was the Doctor. “Dr Elizabeth Watson was in many respects the most difficult character. Holmes, whether Sherlock or Felicity, was an eccentric genius, so it was not so difficult to imagine a very capable, logical and observant woman, who was indifferent to what others thought of her, succeeding as a private detective simply because she was brilliant.
“Dr Watson, on the other hand, was always a more conforming member of society and, in order to have practised medicine, she would have needed to go to medical school – something women were not permitted to do in England in the late 1800s.” In the new book, Dr Watson had to attend medical school in Paris.
Also problematic, in the Victorian era, would have been two middle-aged, professional, upper class women sharing a flat together. At the time, such a woman would have been expected to get married or stay a spinster and look after her parents. Running off to London to do a man's job, such as being a doctor or detective, would have been very strange indeed. And in the book, Elizabeth Watson hints that there are rumours that she and Felicity are inverts – the term for lesbians at the time. According to Baumgartner.
Such details greatly change the flavour of the stories, though the mysteries and Miss Holmes's investigation style will be familiar to lovers of the original Sherlock Holmes stories as well as anyone who enjoys a good, period mystery.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is published by Bwiti bvba and will be released in paperback on 31 October. Kindle and epub versions are available now.
For more information, please visit www.FelicityHolmes.com
Or contact Jeffrey Baumgartner jeffrey@CreativeJeffrey.com
Telephone: +32 2 305 6591