“In those days, Mr. Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street…”
I’ve read that sentence in The Magician’s Nephew countless times over the years. But only until this past month did their meaning actually hit me. (If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve recently become a fanatic Sherlock admirer.) My dad began reading The Chronicles of Narnia to me and my sisters a month ago. When he read the line that mentioned Holmes, my thoughts went something like this: “Wait – Holmes – Sherlock Holmes?? C.S. Lewis mentioned Sherlock in NARNIA and I’ve never noticed until now???” I was ecstatic (okay, to tell you the truth, I shouted out loud). And after that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking of Holmes while my Dad read about Digory and Polly and their adventures.
So when Dad came to the scene in the story where Jadis, the Witch, is roaming the streets of London and the police inspector comes to settle her down, I couldn’t help but think of Inspector Lestrade. It made me smile to think of the bumbling Scotland Yard-er trying to tackle the Empress of Charn. And then something clicked in my brain; I didn’t hear anything else Dad said for the rest of the chapter.
What if the policeman was Lestrade?
What if Lestrade was perplexed at the fact that Jadis, the horse, and the cabby disappeared into thin air?
What if Lestrade couldn’t figure it out? (Big surprise…)
What if he swallowed his pride and consulted someone who could?
What if the person he consulted was the consulting detective himself?
What if Sherlock Holmes investigated the problem of the disappearance?
I was beside myself with excitement. Sherlock plus Narnia? How awesome can you get?? The two stories seemed to blend seamlessly in my mind. I couldn’t help it. I had to write the story. I had to.
Down came all of Conan Doyle’s stories off of my shelf. I wanted my story to sound as if it came straight from Dr. Watson himself, as if it were a case that he recorded but never published. I’m sure that more experienced writers than myself would have a professional, well-laid plan of how to imitate another author’s style. The only way that I could think of to sound convincingly like Doyle was to keep a Sherlock story beside me the entire time I wrote. If I ever found myself slipping out of Dr. Watson’s way of writing, I’d flip open to a random page in my Sherlock book, read for a moment, and go back to writing. I also kept The Magician’s Nephew at my elbow, to make sure that I stayed true to the original idea.
I have never had so much fun writing anything – a ridiculous, crazy, unbelievable amount of fun. Starting out with two tried-and-true classics, firmly established characters, and incredible story lines, I felt like I was hardly creating anything at all. I was re-arranging and mixing elements, and having a fine time doing it. And since I was working with two of the most masterfully written stories of all time, the end result was more professional-sounding than anything I could have hoped for. And not because of my own talent – that has its limits, and I know them oh-so well. In combining the hard work of two geniuses, I was able to reap some of the benefits of their professionalism.
So far, my family and a couple of friends have read The Adventure of the Disappearing Cabby and given it a thumbs-up. I’m so grateful to them for all of their encouragement regarding my story. It is at their suggestion that I now offer my Sherlockian-Narnian concoction for you to try. At the top right corner of my blog is a new feature, “My Book Shop.” It is there that you will find my story, ready for you to download and enjoy. Also, you can reach it by clicking the Adventure of the Disappearing Cabby button on the right-hand side of my blog.
It is my sincere wish that whether you are a Narnia fan, a Sherlock fan, both, or neither, that you will have as much fun reading The Adventure of the Disappearing Cabby as I did writing it.