Haverhill writer Chris James' latest novel is set to be published next week
As it nears its publication date, Haverhill writer Christopher James’ has joked that his latest novel has enabled him to combine two of the loves of his life.
His book, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Beer Barons, will be published on September 17 by MX Publishing.
It is his third full-length Sherlock Holmes novel, following The Adventure of the Ruby Elephants in 2015 and The Jeweller of Florence, published in 2016.
The book is set almost entirely in the Midlands brewing town of Burton upon Trent, the place where Chris and his wife Maria got married in 2006, and a town he has regularly visited since because her family lives there.
Chris, who works as the brand and ambassador manager at the Scouts and who lives in Broad Street with Maria and their three children, said: “I was particularly pleased to do this one because I’m a big fan of beer and a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and it was a good way to combine the two things.”
The story for his new novel, set in 1899, begins when a beer barrel containing the body of a man is delivered to the door of 221b Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes.
Together with Dr John Watson, Holmes travels to Burton upon Trent to investigate the poisoning of a regiment in India from a contaminated batch of pale ale.
But Holmes is not the only one working the case, as a new rival detective enters the fray in the form of Miss Gertie Cresswell, described by Chris as an ‘1899 equivalent of girl power who is very much his match’.
Chris is currently also working on a sci-fi novel set in the 1920s and a Sherlock Holmes short story given a local setting, in nearby Sturmer.
Of his new novel, Chris added: “It’s a real labyrinthine mystery, as ever. It was really enjoyable to do and of course this one had been a long time coming.”
Pre-publication copies are already available from the publisher at https://mxpublishing.com/products/sherlock-holmes-and-the-adventure -of-the-beer-barons
This year Chris has also been the runner-up in the Crabbe Suffolk Poetry Society competition for his poem about George Orwell, called Return to Southwold.