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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

by Susanne M. Dutton


GENRE: Mystery



The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. August 1920 finds him filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.



Watson writes:

Not for the first time, I felt a surge of gratitude for Holmes’ unspoken understanding that his digs at Bolt Cottage couldn’t suit me. No doubt his cottage fit his needs precisely, but it was no place for a visitor, perhaps purposely so. Some might say it was no place for any inhabitant at all, full as it was with apparatus meant for Holmes’ scientific inquiries, not to mention the maps and almanacs, the world’s newspapers, and of course, his library. Books lined shelves and the stairway to the sleeping loft. Books invaded the corner of the ground floor room usually devoted to meal preparation, too. They filled the unused icebox, the pots that never knew soup, and lined most of the cupboards. Books climbed the walls, stacked and somehow tracked in their positions with ribbons that hung from the center pages in a festive display—red, black, gold, green, purple, blue, white. Holmes claimed his color-coded system was modern and flawless. I never grasped it.


Guest Post:

Detecting Deductions


“You see, but you do not observe,” Holmes berates Watson in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia.” More than once, while writing Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable, I found myself pondering that Holmesian assertion. I decided to teach Watson the difference between “see” and “observe.” The words are often used interchangeably. The dictionary I consulted said that “to see” is to perceive with eyes. To observe is to watch. So, what would you rather have your pet sitter do, see your dog? Or watch her?

An even trickier distinction arising in the world of Sherlockian language, and at the bottom of many a delicious nerdy argument, is the difference between a deduction and an induction. Holmes never jumps to a conclusion, unlike Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Holmes goes through a reasoning process that prohibits any rash judgment based on societal norms and expectations. He crawls on the floor with that magnifying glass, paying attention to stains, to smells and dust patterns. Examination of hard data (or clues) counts more than prior experience of similar situations. In fact, according to Holmes, trying to ‘deduce’ the truth based on similar situations can mislead. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the original Sherlock Holmes adventures, seems to have lumped the deduction and induction processes together, naming Holmes as a master of deduction. Here is my own example of the difference:

Holmes and Inspector Lestrade walk into London’s Criterion Pub at ten on a Friday night. Strangely, it's empty except for a seated chap slumped over the bar, and another who stands on the other side, wiping it. Lestrade is pleased they have the place to themselves. What unusual good luck! He decides on a pint of ale. Holmes’ mind is on something else entirely. He wonders where everyone's gone, whether the man on the stool still has a pulse, and if the man with the cloth is getting rid of gory evidence. And yet, even now, Sherlock Holmes is not ready to theorize. It’s time to gather more data.



Susanne Dutton is the one who hid during high school gym, produced an alternative newspaper and exchanged notes in Tolkien’s Elfish language with her few friends. While earning her B.A. in English, she drove a shabby Ford Falcon with a changing array of homemade bumper strips:  Art for Art’s Sake, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Free Bosie from the Scorn of History. Later, her interests in myth and depth psychology led to graduate and postgraduate degrees in counseling.

Nowadays, having outlived her mortgage and her professional counseling life, she aims herself at her desk most days; where she tangles with whatever story she can’t get out of her head. Those stories tend to seat readers within pinching distance of her characters, who, like most of us, slide at times from real life to fantasy and back. A man with Alzheimer’s sets out alone for his childhood home. A girl realizes she’s happier throwing away her meals than eating them.  A woman burgles her neighbors in order to stay in the neighborhood.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Susanne grew up in the SF Bay Area, has two grown children, and lives with her husband in an old Philadelphia house, built of the stones dug from the ground where it sits.







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  1. Thanks for hosting and thanks to Goddess Fish for helping me to get the word out! Susanne

  2. The book cover is very dramatic and rich looking.

  3. The "Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable" blog tour marches on, deep into the hot and humid summer. Thank you for participating, Victoria. Susanne

  4. Propertius Press gave me a choice of four. I asked my daughter which she thought I should choose. She said, "Make sure you can see it across a book store!" There was another choice that tempted me, with a scene much like one in the book. However, this clock and time itself are both important to the story. Thank you for participating, Linda. Susanne

  5. Sounds great, thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you for participating, Rita. Susanne

  7. Sounds like a very good book.

  8. Thank you, Sherry. It's strange that by the time I finished the book, I had no clear sense of how "good" it might be. For me, writing is so personal. That's when outside input helps. And of course, the ideas of editors helps...