Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula
Stephen Seitz and Sherlock Holmes
Stephen Seitz is a newer author of the 2010s who has recently entered the world of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, MD. Scores of pastiches have been written about this duo and some of them are pretty lukewarm. Dozens of television and film productions have honored them and some of them are pretty bad.
At this writing, we can see Holmes and an Asian-American Watson on broadcast television in the show Elementary. The show is quirky and quite entertaining, complete with the Holmes brother Mycroft. At the same time, the BBC has sent Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (villainous elsewhere, as in Star Trek: Into Darkness) and his own Watson, Martin Freeman (a Hobbit in other productions).
This pair play the detective partnership as men in their late 20s, although both actors are near 40. This TV show is also quite good and Mrs. Hudson has more to do in it that in most of the Conan Doyle stories. Other pastiche series have not done so well (Young Sherlock Holmes).
Seitz's book, Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula, is similar in caliber to the two television series mentioned above. It sould be a reboot that might start an entire new series of Holmes and Watson suspense novels.
Rationale: Stories From Watson's Unpublished Journals
Seitz claims to have written Sherlock Holmes & the Plague of Dracula after falling upon a hidden a cache of unpublished journals and letters. These belonged to the kind but occasionally bumbling Dr. John H. Watson, Holmes' sounding board and partner in detection.
This is a usual author's rationale for writing new Sherlock Holmes stories, but Seitz can be forgiven, since his story is good. As found with many film viewers, suspending disbelief in the rationales and premises that begin a novel can be fun for the reader.
Seitz is a journalist and author that has written two Sherlock Holmes books and invented his own mystery series based in his home state of Vermont. He is busy at present researching nonfiction topics for screenplays as well, which goes well with his work as a film critic. Among other talents, he works also as a reporter and radio host.
The second novel in the Seitz series, Never Meant to Be, involves time travel ala H.G. Wells and may be better than his first book.
Setiz Recalls Bram Stoker To the Reader
Many author and screenplay writers have produced additional accounts of Holmes and Watson confronting the legendary Count Dracula. Some of these writers give hints that Dracula and Sherlock Holmes are cousins.
Some stories are as silly as the Abbott and Costello Meet Dracula and many Dracula rip-offs turn literary stomachs. Bela Lugosi is the anchor Dracula in the theater and in 1930s films. If such a film would pit Basil Rathbone's Holmes and Lugosi's Dracula against one another, it could have been a winner.
Many of the pastiches mentioned above are quick reads or shorter films and fun, but Seitz's work holds my attention, because it is more substantial and has a grittier story line. I can see Rathbone and Lugosi acting it.
Stephen Seitz presents the personal experiences, opinions, and world view of Dr. Watson, Jonathan Harker, and Dr. Seward side-by-side and it's a very entertaining method of writing. I love the journal entries of Dracula by Bram Stoker and whenever I re-read the Seitz book, I feel I am reading a continuation of that account by Stoker.
Holmes and Dracula
Author Seitz's format closely follows Bram Stoker's Dracula, as a set of letters and journal entries that include dates and settings in Europe.
The first selection begins with Mrs. Mary Watson's disappearance and John Watson's fear iof the worst possible circumstances and Mary's possible death. However, she is discovered at her mentor and employer's home - that of one Mrs. Cecil Forrester. It is here that she feels safest, after having suffered what reveals itself to have been a vicious vampire's attack.
Other familiar characters contribute lively portions to the story, including Mina Harker, Mycroft Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, and Doctor Van Helsing. Transylvania is a character itself, as it was in the original Dracula.
From beginning to end, Sherlock Holmes simply does not believe in vampires or anything supernatural at all.Then he is attacked. Several vampires attack him and he suffers some of the usual consequences of their bites, but he survives and does not become undead.
Dr. Watson is much less the bumbler throughout this story and this is good to see. His intelligent thoughts and insights are quite good to read via his letters and journals. I cannot say enough good things about this book.
The Seitz Series Continues
Perhaps Seitz can help ease the pain of losing the BBC's Jeremy Brett as Holmes prematurely, at the age of 59. Perhaps the Seitz books will become screenplays.Much of the viewing world deeply misses Jeremy Brett in his uncanny portrayal of the detective. His own battle with bipolar disorder and its symptoms played directly into the characterization of Holmes that Conan Doyle's writing suggests.
The last chapter of Seitz's refreshing first Holmes novel is "The Great Hiatus." It accounts for Sherlock Holmes's returning from the dead, and not from Reichenbach Falls - from a vampire attack.
Sherlock Holmes & the Plague of Dracula creates a new branch of adventures for Holmes and Watson that we hope to follow for many years.
Theme: "221B Baker Street'
Additional Stories by Newer Authors
The Sherlock Holmes stories have taken on new life given to them by new authors. You can see all the iterations of Holmes and Watson in the goods avaialable at Amazon and especially on eBay. Some works of newer Holmes writers are avaiable as eBooks online as well. Many of them are interesting and entertaining,
One very enjoyable volume of stories was written by the author that originally was involved with the old Sherlock Holmes radio series during WWII. As a boy, Ken Greenwald listened to the radio broadcasts of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce on the radio on the nightstand beside his bed. As an adult he was able to write them all down professionally and see them in print, reliving the memories of his childhood that he adored. He had gone into the broadcasting and writing business and did to imagine the old radio shows to come his way again.
Television: Similarities Between Holmes and House, MD
By observation and matieral from interviews with the stars, we know that television's House is based on Sherlock Holmes and fulfills the devotee's desire for more Holmes in addition to Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett reruns on PBS, and Elementary, but House is a much nastier sort than Sherlock. I prefer Seitz's Holmes and wonder if Hugh Laurie would consent to play him next?
Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula recounts the circumstances of Dracula's activities in joining forces with Dr. Moriarty to disrupt the London banking system for selfish gain. In addition, the story includes scientific research findings into several aspects of vampirism. It also includes a missing racehorse and an interesting subplot concerning Watson's marriage in turmoil. It is all clever, well researched, and refreshing. It begins a series of books to read and keep.
© 2007 Patty Inglish