I'm the author of The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, and my new book The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession is being published this week by Knopf Doubleday.
I'm excited to be blogging (something I've never done before) this week at Powell's about the new book and things related to it. It contains a dozen true stories. Although Holmes is the subject of just one of them, about the curious death of the world's foremost Holmes expert, all 12 contain elements of intrigue. Many of the protagonists are sleuths: a Polish detective trying to determine whether an author planted clues to a real murder in his postmodern novel; scientists who are stalking a sea monster; an arson investigator who is attempting to prove that a father about to be executed for setting a fire that killed his children may be innocent; and a con man who suddenly suspects that he may be the one who is being conned.
Unlike Holmes, the protagonists are all mortal: they can observe, but they don't necessarily see. Pieces of the puzzle often remain elusive. Their stories do not always end happily. Some of the characters are driven to deception and murder. Others go mad. Part of Holmes's appeal is that he restores order to a bewildering universe. But it is the messiness of life, and the human struggle to make sense of it, that drew me to the subjects in this collection. As the week goes on, I will talk more about some of the stories and their origins. Please feel free to shoot me questions by leaving comments below. As Holmes would say, "The game is afoot."
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Books mentioned in this post
David Grann is the author of The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession