Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Brand of the Flying Four by Craig Stephen Copland

“…murder most foul, and romance most enticing.”

A Reverend Ezekiel Black Western Mystery Book 2

This case all began one quiet evening—very quiet; bordering on boring—while we were sitting by the hearth in our rooms in Kansas City. A few weeks later, a murder, perhaps the most gruesome I had ever witnessed in all my born days, took place in Denver, immediately above our heads. By the time it all ended, justice, of the frontier variety, not the courtroom, had been meted out. If you want to know how it all happened, you’ll have to read this story. 

Jim Watson, M.D. Denver, 1883

Reverend Ezekiel Black received a call to provide pulpit supply for a church in Denver. Soon after his arrival, a beautiful young nurse from his congregation seeks his help in finding her long lost father and in solving the mystery of the anonymous notes and boxes of gold nuggets she has been receiving in the mail.

The story is inspired by “The Sign of the Four” by Arthur Conan Doyle, and like that story it combines murder most foul, and romance most enticing. 

Dear fellow Sherlockians: The first day of every month has been declared, by yours truly, as New Sherlock Day. On that day every month, for one day only, all ebooks in the new Sherlock Holmes Mysteries will go on sale for only 99 cents. Watch for this, and stock up on the series.

Now, about me. it elementary, my dear reader. What else, after fifty years of enjoying the stories of Sherlock Holmes, is a recently retired gentleman to do with his time but write more stories about the world's most beloved detective.

Craig Stephen Copland confesses that he discovered Sherlock Holmes when, sometime in the muddled early 1960s he pinched his older brother's copy of the immortal stories and was forever afterward thoroughly hooked. He is very grateful to his high school English teachers in Toronto who inculcated in him a love of literature and writing, and even inspired him to be an English major at the University of Toronto. There he was blessed to sit at the feet of both Northrup Frye and Marshall McLuhan, and other great literary professors, who led him to believe that he was called to be a high school English teacher.

It was his good fortune to come to his pecuniary senses and abandoned that goal and pursued a varied professional career that took him to over one hundred countries and endless adventures. He considers himself to have been and to continue to be one of the luckiest men on God's good earth.

A few years back he took a step in the direction of Sherlockian studies and joined the Sherlock Holmes Society of Canada--also known as the Toronto Bootmakers. In May of 2014 this esteemed group of scholars announced a contest for the writing of a new Sherlock Holmes mystery. Although he had never tried his hand at fiction before, Craig entered and was pleasantly surprised to be selected as one of the winners. Having enjoyed the experience he decided to write more of the same, and is now on a mission to write a new Sherlock Holmes mystery that is related to and inspired by each of the sixty stories in the original Canon.

He currently lives and writes in Toronto, New York, the Okanagan Valley, and Tokyo, and looks forward to finally settling down when he turns ninety.

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