Book Title: A Case of Madness (Or the Curious Appearance of Holmes in the Nighttime)
Author: Yvonne Knop
Publisher: Improbable Press
Cover Artist: Ksenia Spizhevaya
Release Date: March 20, 2023
Genres: Adult Contemporary M/M Rom-Com
Tropes: Opposites attract, Emotional scars, Grumpy/sunshine
Themes: Coming out, friendship, mental illness, love
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 82 000 words/272 pages
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
A world-weary Sherlock Holmes scholar loses his job and his sanity when the great detective materializes in his flat to help solve a mystery that involves a handsome male stranger. What ensues is a thrilling adventure in literature, London, and love.
Andrew Thomas just got sacked. He’s permanently drunk. He’s got cancer. Is inescapably gay. Was hit by a bus. And he’s fallen in love with a stranger whose life he saved.
As a newly-unemployed Sherlock Holmes scholar, Andrew knows only Holmes can help him untangle the madness his life has become, but Holmes isn’t real. Except he absolutely appeared in Andrew’s house, told him he’s in love with a man he just met…and then in a fit of pique Andrew sent him away.
Sure Holmes is probably a hallucination or a specter or a ghost, but now Andrew desperately needs his help. So to find the answer to his case and the man of his dreams, Andrew takes to chasing a fictional character through London with his very own Watson.
While strolling amid the students and scholars rushing into the University of London, I ignored the urge to check my pocket watch.
If there was ever a day to dawdle, it was today. The first day of summer that actually felt like the season it claimed to be. And the day of my personal disaster.
It wasn’t a ‘this train will split at the next station and you just sat down with your meal deal’ disaster, but it was equally inconvenient. After decades of laboring in academia, I was about to become involuntarily unemployed. Apart from that – and this might be even more important – I was also going to die.
To delay the confrontation a bit longer, I looked for a shaded place to smoke and then took long, luxurious drags on my cigarette. A cough struggled to tear itself free from my chest, but I suppressed it. Not now. Focus.
Few people knew my name or my publications. But some such people existed – people who were as fascinated by a very specific man as I was, and who seemed to value my works more than I did. The man I wrote about lived in Baker Street, and he was partly to blame for my situation. Though I liked to think of myself as a charmingly anachronistic gentleman, I increasingly felt I was just a dafter in a fine suit who lurked around public buildings. Instead of engaging in modern life, I was immersed in the world of Sherlock Holmes and all things Victorian, with the natural effect of many acquaintances leaving or going extinct. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the company of others; it was that I struggled in the company of others. And they struggled in the company of me.
You see, the fact that I knew my dearest detective had appeared on-screen in over two hundred and twenty adaptations did not give me much hope I would find out what people did for fun. But what of fun? What about achievement? Holmes is the most filmed novel character of all time – among humans, at least; Dracula has been filmed even more often. This connection filled me with joy, and I believed it could be combined in a curious way. Dracula Holmes: he investigates at night because he’s not just a detective, no – he’s also a vampire. Greedy for blood and knowledge.
I finished my cigarette and stepped from the shadows only to immediately collide with a young man in the most colorful trainers I’d ever seen. In a split-second knockout victory, he fell to the ground covered in the flyers he had been holding in his hand just seconds before.
I bent down immediately to help him. “I’m so sorry,” I said, quickly picking up his flyers from the pavement. At least those which hadn’t fallen into the grey puddle right next to us.
“It’s okay,” he said, and he looked at me. His blue eyes seemed friendly though his gaze was intense.
I quickly looked down again. To my surprise, the flyers weren’t gig announcements or takeaway adverts. In fact, they were promoting something very dear to my heart. “I like theater,” I said, handing him back a few of the flyers. “I thought theater was dead for young people.”
He smiled. “Most young people get run over by perfect strangers.
That’s why so few make it to the stage. Anyway…I’m still alive.”
That he was. Alive, handsome, and holding a slim stack of remaining flyers. Slightly crumpled.
“I’m far from perfect,” I remarked, thinking of the trouble I had caused him.
About the Author
Yvonne is a bi and nonbinary writer who dedicates their free time to extending the secret Gay Agenda – in part through their debut novel A Case of Madness.
Although born and raised in the north of Germany, Yvonne’s passion for Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, their sassy humor, and aversion to talking on public transport made them suspiciously British from early on.
As a natural matter of cause and effect, Yvonne moved to London in 2014 and started to write (a novel for the drawer). No word was written until 2017 when the sudden question of ‘What if I could talk to Sherlock Holmes?’ came up to them.
Conducting PhD research in the world’s most extensive Sherlock Holmes collection, located in Minneapolis, USA, was a great help for answering that question. The result was not a PhD, but their debut novel A Case of Madness, originally written in German and in a bold move translated by the author themselves when nobody in Germany understood a word they were saying.