Our Authors

Roger Riccard

Roger Riccard

Roger Riccard’s family history has Scottish roots, which trace his lineage back to the Roses of Kilravock Castle near the village of Croy in Highland, Scotland. This British Isles ancestry encouraged his interest in the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at an early age. He has now taken pen in hand, (so much more poetic than ‘sat down at his keyboard’) to compose his own foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes.

Having earned Bachelor of Arts Degrees in both Journalism and History from California State University, Northridge, his career has progressed from teaching into business, where he has used his writing skills in various aspects of employee communications. He has also contributed to newspapers and magazines and has earned some awards for his efforts.

He currently lives in a suburb of Los Angeles, California with his wife, Rosilyn and their Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Tootsie Roll.

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Val Andrews

val andrewsDuring his life Val Andrews wrote over thirty new Sherlock Holmes adventures and was always at his best when writing about the world of entertainment, in which he worked as a writer and performer for fifty years. From a theatrical background, he had been in his time a professional vaudeville artiste, ventriloquist, magician and scriptwriter to Tommy Cooper, Benny Hill and other comedy legends of stage and television. He could even count among his friends the likes of Orson Welles.

Val Andrews was born in Hove near Brighton on the 15th February 1926 only a few hours after Valentine’s Day and hence his Christian name. He was the son of an architect and indeed it was his father who introduced him to magic, a fascination that was to last a lifetime and was to result many biographies on the great magicians and numerous writings on magic in general.

He died from a heart attack on the 12th October 2006 and will be missed, but at least his name will live on through his books that continue to thrill old and new murder mystery enthusiasts alike.

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Abbey Pen Baker

abbey pen parkerAbbey Pen Baker is the great niece of Faye Martin Tullis. She divides her time between Yellow Springs, Ohio where she lives with children, animals and the title of Professor of English and New England, where she eats too much good food with good friends and collects rocks and sea glass on the coast of Maine. She is very busy editing the notes and previously published novels first penned by her great aunt.

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Matthew Booth

matthew boothBorn in Manchester in 1974, Matthew has had a fascination with, and a love for, crime fiction since the age of 11. It was perhaps inevitable that he ended up writing within the genre himself, especially since he is a graduate in Drama and English and in T.V. & Radio Scriptwriting.

The creator of former criminal barrister Anthony Rathe, Matthew’s stories and articles on detective fiction have appeared all over the world from Great Britain to America and Canada. His main area of expertise is the Sherlock Holmes canon, although his knowledge of all areas of crime fiction is extensive. He was a member of the Northern Musgraves Sherlock Holmes Society for more than a dozen years, and was on the Society Consultancy for eleven of those years.

Matthew is a member of the Crime Writer’s Association, and in 2007 Matthew was elected to the Association’s Committee (for more information please visit their website, www.thecwa.co.uk.). Matthew is also the Co-Founder of The Mystery Men, a literary performance group, whose aim is to educate and entertain on such subjects as Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and the legend of Count Dracula.

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David Britland

David BritlandDavid Britland is a freelance writer and consultant specialising in all areas of deception, including psychology, magic, the paranormal, con tricks and illusion. He has written books on magic for magicians and worked as a researcher, writer and producer in British television, including Channel 4’s alternative magic show, The Secret Cabaret and Granada’s James Randi: Psychic Investigator. For HTV he developed two series of Something Strange and a long running Meridian/Anglia series The Magic & Mystery Show – this before The X-Files turned the paranormal into a bandwagon.

He has also taken a more serious look at the paranormal in several science documentaries developed for Channel 4’s Equinox series, ranging from the world of the superpsychic to the technology employed in theme parks and a sceptical documentary about hypnosis entitled The Big Sleep. David Britland is also the force behind the BBC3 series, The Real Hustle that he developed along with Matt Crook and Objective Productions, and is a consultant producer for the hugely popular Derren Brown shows.

In 2005 he was awarded a Literary Fellowship by the Academy of Magical Arts.

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Ian Charnock

Ian Charnock says that he would prefer not to write about himself save that among his many activities he is an art historian and an authority on the work of El Greco, an international car rally driver, and a red Bordeaux enthusiast!

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Jason Cooke

Jason CookeJason Cooke received a Masters Degree in Modern History from the University of Birmingham. Following this he spent five years living and working along the North Norfolk coast, where the bulk of his first novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Morphine Gambit, is set. He now lives with his wife and three daughters in Kent and works in London. He has been a keen student of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for many years.

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Martin Daley

Martin DaleyMartin was born in Carlisle in 1964 and lived much of his childhood at Botcherby, attending St Cuthbert’s School.

By his own admission, as a youngster he was not a passionate reader but a one book he read remains his favourite book of all time. Alexandra Dumas’ The Three Musketeers has it all: action, adventure, romance, intrigue, betrayal. It’s just a fantastic book that I keep going back to.

After leaving school and having a couple of jobs, he started a seventeen-year career with the Post Office, which included a ten-year period living and working in Cheshire. It was when he was living there that he first ventured into writing, publishing his first book in 2000 – an event he describes as ‘a road to Damascus moment’. The book itself was about his inspirational great-great grandfather Isaac Scott and proved a watershed in his career: he left the Post Office and moved back to Carlisle, determined to develop his writing further.

Another inspiration to Martin has always been his home city and its history, which always features heavily in his books. In 2005, he found himself embroiled in an event that will be studied with interest by future historians. He and his wife Wendy lived near the centre of Carlisle at the time and theirs was one of 6,000 homes affected by the infamous floods in January of that year. In an attempt to make a positive out of a heartbreaking negative, he wrote a memoire of their painful experiences. The book – riddled with gallows humour – proved popular with many who had suffered in the extraordinary event.

Apart from Dumas, he lists Bill Bryson, George MacDonald Fraser, Simon Schama and Nial Ferguson amongst his favourite writers and historians; ‘…as my favourite literary characters are Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, I would have to include Conan Doyle in that list too’.

His fifth book, Anonymous Heroes was published in 2009 and is the second in a series linking his interests in local and family history, with the wider social, political and military history that most people are familiar with.

The Adventure of the Spanish Drums is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche set in Carlisle and was published in 2010. In the book, Martin introduces his own detective, Inspector Cornelius Armstrong. The first volume of Armstrong’s own adventures will be published soon.

Martin currently works part time for the Local Authority and is a governor at his former school, St Cuthbert’s. He lives with his wife Wendy, near Carlisle.

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Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan DoyleNot one of our contributors but without him we would not exist!

Arthur Conan Doyle was born on 22nd May 1859, in Edinburgh, to an English father of Irish descent, Charles Altamont Doyle, and an Irish mother, née Mary Foley, who had married in 1855. Conan Doyle was educated at Stonyhurst College, but by the time he left the school in 1875, he had rejected Christianity to become an agnostic.

From 1876 to 1881, he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and following his term at university, he served as a ship’s doctor on a voyage to the West African coast. In 1882, he joined former classmate George Budd as his partner at a medical practice in Plymouth, but their relationship proved difficult, and Conan Doyle soon left to set up an independent practice. Arriving in Portsmouth in June of that year with less than £10 to his name, he set up a medical practice at 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea. The practice was initially not very successful; while waiting for patients, he again began writing stories. His first significant work was A Study in Scarlet, which appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887 and featured the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes, who was partially modelled after his former university professor, Joseph Bell to whom Conan Doyle wrote “It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes … round the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man”. Future short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes were published in The Strand Magazine.

In 1885, he married Louisa (or Louise) Hawkins, known as Touie, who suffered from tuberculosis and died on 4th July 1906. He subsequently married Jean Elizabeth Leckie in 1907, whom he had first met and fallen in love with in 1897, but had maintained a platonic relationship with her out of loyalty to his first wife. Jean died in London on 27th June 1940.

In November 1891 he wrote to his mother: “I think of slaying Holmes . . . and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things”. His mother responded, saying, “You may do what you deem fit, but the crowds will not take this lightheartedly”. In December 1893, he did so in order to dedicate more of his time to more important works: his historical novels.

Holmes and Moriarty apparently plunged to their deaths together down a waterfall in the story The Final Problem. Public outcry led him to bring the character back; Conan Doyle returned to the story in The Adventure of the Empty House, with the explanation that only Moriarty had fallen but, since Holmes had other dangerous enemies, he had arranged to be temporarily dead also. Holmes ultimately appeared in a total of fifty-six short stories and four Conan Doyle novels including his best known work The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Following the Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century and the condemnation from around the world over the United Kingdom’s conduct, Conan Doyle wrote a short pamphlet titled, The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct, which justified the UK’s role in the Boer war and earned him a knighthood.

Conan Doyle was also a fervent advocate of justice and personally investigated two closed cases, which led to two men being exonerated of the crimes they were accused of. The first case, in 1906, involved a shy half-British, half-Indian lawyer named George Edalji, who had allegedly penned threatening letters and mutilated animals. Police were set on Edalji’s conviction, even though the mutilations continued after their suspect was jailed. It was partially as a result of this case that the Court of Criminal Appeal was established in 1907.

The second case, that of Oscar Slater, a German Jew and gambling-den operator convicted of bludgeoning an 82-year-old woman in Glasgow in 1908, excited Conan Doyle’s curiosity because of inconsistencies in the prosecution case and a general sense that Slater was framed.

After the death of his wife Louisa in 1906, and the death of his son Kingsley, his brother Innes, his two brothers-in-law (one of whom was E. W. Hornung, the creator of the literary character Raffles), and his two nephews shortly after World War I, Conan Doyle sank into depression. He found solace supporting Spiritualism and its alleged scientific proof of existence beyond the grave. His book, The Coming of the Fairies (1921) shows he was apparently convinced of the veracity of the Cottingley Fairies photographs, which he reproduced in the book, together with theories about the nature and existence of fairies and spirits. In his The History of Spiritualism (1926), Conan Doyle praised the psychic phenomena and spirit materialisations produced by Eusapia Palladino and Mina ‘Margery’ Crandon.

Conan Doyle was found clutching his chest in the family garden at ‘Windlesham’, Crowborough, on 7th July 1930. He soon died of his heart attack, aged 71, and is buried in the church yard at Minstead in the New Forest, Hampshire. His last words were directed toward his wife: “You are wonderful”.

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Emanuel E. Garcia

Emanuel E GarciaEmanuel E. Garcia has published numerous articles on the history, practice and application of psychoanalysis, which include investigations of the composers Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Delius and Scriabin. As an offshoot of his psychotherapeutic work with classical musicians he introduced a method of practice designed to enhance the performance of string players which appeared in the American String Teachers Journal, on whose editorial board he serves.

A native of Philadelphia, he currently practices psychiatry in New Zealand and continues his work with creative artists, lecturing to students and the faculty at the New Zealand School of Music and members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

The works of Edward de Vere, P. G. Wodehouse and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have been perennial sources of joy.

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J. M. Gregson

J M GregsonGregson is that once common but now relatively rare phenomenon among crime authors, the academic turned detective novelist. He taught for thirty years in schools, universities and colleges, and wrote books on Shakespeare and War Poetry. He was a Director of teacher training before taking early retirement to concentrate fully on writing. He is now the author of thirty-five published detective novels.

‘The estimable J.M. Gregson provides plots full of seething emotions which are not allowed to impede nifty pieces of craftmanship.’ (Gerald Kaufman in The Scotsman)

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John Hall

John HallJohn Hall spent many years in the civil service before becoming a professional writer specialising in crime fiction. His book Death of a Collector, introducing Freddie Darnborough, won the Sherlock magazine’s competition for the best new fictional detective. Freddie has since appeared in short stories and a couple of radio plays. John’s other favourite fictional detectives are Peter Wimsey (before he married that dreadful woman!), Poirot, and of course Sherlock Holmes.

John has a long association with the Sherlock Holmes world, but has other interests as well, including a large collection of tobacco pipes. John is a member of The international Pipe Smokers’ Hall of Fame.

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Edmund Hastie

Edmund HastieWhen Edmund Hastie wrote his first book, Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Prince (published in 2000), he was just fourteen. In the review by H. R. F. Keating his work was described as a ‘triumph’ and as having potrayed Holmes with ‘all his characteristic arrogance and all his inevitability of success’. Edmund has been writing since the age of seven and was inspired to do so after having discovered Doyle’s great detective at his local library. More recently Edmund has been busy following more academic pursuits having graduated in Law from Durham University.

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Fergus Hume

Fergus HumeFergus Hume was an English lawyer and prolific author who spent a number of years in New Zealand and Australia where he began his career of more than thirty years writing detective stories, including his first novel and international best-seller The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886).

Fergusson (Fergus) Wright Hume was born 8 July 1859 at Powick, Worcestershire but by 1885 was working as a solicitor’s clerk in Melbourne, Australia. It was at this time that he became bent on becoming a dramatist; but having only written a few short stories he was a virtual unknown. So as to gain the attentions of the theatre directors he asked a local bookseller what style of book he sold most. Emile Gaboriau’s detective works were very popular and so Hume bought them all and studied them intently, thus turning his pen to writing his own style of crime novel and mystery. The result was The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, the publishing rights to which he sold for just £50, but still retained the dramatic rights from which he soon profited following long Australian and London theatre runs.

Hume returned to the UK and except for short trips to France, Switzerland and Italy, in 1888 Hume settled and stayed in Essex, where he died of cardiac failure at his home in Rosemary, Grove Road, Thundersley on 11th July 1932.

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Roger Jaynes

Roger JaynesRoger Jaynes has spent his entire life writing about a multitude of subjects in a variety of ways. As an award-winning sportswriter for the Miami Herald, Gannett News Service and The Milwaukee Journal, he was the recipient of over forty-five national writing awards including his being chosen as the top Sports News Writer of The Year in the United States by the Associated Press Sports Editors Association in 1977.

After leaving journalism in 1988, Roger served as the Director of Public Relations at Road America, the largest motor sports road course in North America, and at the same time continued to be a contributor to numerous magazines, including Inside Sports, Indy Car Magazine and Auto Racing Digest. From 1999 to 2003 he served as Vice President, Corporate Communications, at the Experimental Aircraft Association, which annually hosts the largest recreational aviation event in the world.

Roger has also written an Indy car novel, Speedway, and currently lives in Oshkosh, WI, with his wife Mary.

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Eddie Maguire

Eddie Maguire was born in 1950 and turned his hand to writing and publishing in the late 1980s after falling prey to the scourge of disability (in body if not mind and spirit). At first he produced a series of five short stories that were later followed by novel length works. Eddie has always been fascinated by the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and historical research, and it is therefore not surprising to find that certain historical figures feature in his Sherlock Holmes adventures with the greatest care being given to recreating the atmosphere and characters of the era. If proof were needed no less than Freddie Trueman, the noted cricket expert, said of Eddie’s A Death at the Cricket that ‘This story really brings to life the big house cricket matches of the 19th century’.

Eddie is married and lives in Somerset with his wife Mary and their six cats.

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Miles Richardson

Miles RichardsonMiles Richardson trained at the Arts Educational Drama College where he received the college diploma and Best Actor award 1982. He has appeared in numerous plays including the acclaimed Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure at Sir Arthur Sullivans in which he played the title role. He also appeared in the film The Return of Sherlock Holmes for 20th. Century Fox and acted alongside his father, Ian Richardson, in The Final Cut for BBC Television.

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William Seil

William SeilWilliam Seil has worked as a writer for more than 30 years – first in journalism and then in public relations. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a journalism degree, he went to work as a newspaper reporter. Bill currently works as a writer in the Seattle area.

Seil’s first mystery novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Titanic Tragedy, drew acclaim from reviewers. The Baker Street Journal, the quarterly publication of the Baker Street Irregulars, said Sherlock Holmes and the Titanic Tragedy “may be the most entertaining and well-written pastiche since The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.” A review in the newsletter of the British Titanic Society said Seil’s mystery novel is “excellently researched and a good story…” The Chicago Sun-Times called it “A night to remember and an adventure to relish.”

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Nikki Sims

Nikki SimsNikki Sims obtained a degree in textiles from a London College after which she worked as a freelance textile designer exporting to the USA and Europe, and working with royal designer David Emanuel on his collections assisting with colour and fabrics.

Nikki branched into interiors as a consultant designer which lead to her vocation, fine art, where she draws on past experience and her knowledge of colour and design to produce art work for the private and corporate interiors. Nikki currently produces work for shops restaurants and galleries in London, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex, and also works on private commissions spanning from abstract to modern figurative and portrait work which followed television appearances on ITV.

Nikki is delighted to be working with Antony Richards for Breese Books illustrating the latest book covers for both the Sherlock Holmes series and Inspector Morse guidebooks.

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David James Smith

David James SmithDavid James Smith was born in south London and has been a journalist all his working life. His definitive account of the James Bulger case, The Sleep of Reason was published in 1994 by Century, Random House. He wrote for the monthly magazine Esquire before joining the Sunday Times Magazine for whom he has travelled around the world writing cover stories, investigative articles, reportage and profiles. It was an article for the Magazine that led to his second book, All About Jill: The Life and Death of Jill Dando, which was published by Little Brown in 2002. Supper with the Crippens, about the notorious Edwardian crime, was highly acclaimed when it was published by Orion in 2005. One Morning in Sarajevo made a gripping non-fiction thriller out of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in June, 1914. It was published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in June, 2008. David’s latest book, Young Mandela, was published in the United Kingdom by Weidenfeld in June 2010. He continues to write for the Sunday Times Magazine and has been a finalist several times in the feature writer of the year category at the British Press Awards. He lives in Lewes, East Sussex with his partner and their four children.

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Nick Utechin

Nick UtechinNick Utechin is a free-lance radio presenter and producer. On the staff of the BBC for twenty years, he produced Today, Any Questions?, Straw Poll, Feedback, Call Nick Ross, All In The Mind and many other series and programmes. In another life, he is on the council of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and was editor of the society’s journal from 1976-2006 and as a Holmesian bonus, he is distantly related to Basil Rathbone. Nick is married, with two children, and lives in Oxford.