Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: William S. Shepard


Professor Moriarty glowered through his one-way mirrors at the four men who had assembled in the anterooms of the study of his mansion in the West End. He stared at each in turn, waiting to see if anyone was intimidated. That would certainly be a disqualification. Anyone who was intimidated by plush surroundings would certainly not be up to the task of murder. And certainly, such a person would not be up to killing Sherlock Holmes!

It had taken Moriarty a lot of time to arrive at his decision. As with any businessman, Moriarty allowed for some losses—spoilage or shelf time, if you will. But crimes, which were detected, and thus unsuccessful, were an unacceptable risk when your business was masterminding the majority of crimes in London. And the fact that it was inevitably Sherlock Holmes who, along with his sidekick Dr. Watson, spoiled Moriarty’s crimes meant that the problem was localized. Get rid of Sherlock Holmes, and the problem was solved.

The question was how to go about it. Moriarty could, of course, undertake the task himself. However, his rule had always been to have some underling, well-trained and briefed, commit the actual crime. That created a very public deniability for Moriarty himself, who could always produce many eyewitnesses to show, if the police inquired about his whereabouts, that on the night of the robbery or murder, he had been at Covent Garden enjoying the music, or was having supper at Simpson’s on the Strand. It was a proven formula which had worked more than once. All the more reason to have someone else kill Holmes.

But that was no reason to be careless in his preparations. Moriarty had decided not to let the men see one another, so that each would know as little as possible about his plan. Clearly only the man who measured up would be chosen for the job, but that didn’t mean there should be eyewitnesses to the actual selection. That would be inviting trouble. No, Professor Moriarty would interview each man in turn, give each a week to prove himself, and then after the selection, make a final arrangement to see the selected assassin and complete arrangements.

The four men he had chosen to meet were Herman Houlihan, Ed the Bludgeoner, Morris the Ascot Dandy, and Fastidious Fred Fielder. There had been several criteria for this selection. First, none of the men was generally known in London. Scotland Yard did have its informants throughout the islands, but police detection was not yet a very exact or national science, and it was possible for a criminal to be relatively unknown far from his usual haunts. And each of the four, Professor Moriarty had it on good authority, was an experienced murderer... <\p>

William S. Shepard

Now residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Shepards enjoy visits from their daughters and granddaughters, ocean swims at Assateague, Chesapeake Bay crabs, and the company of Rajah and Rani, their two rescued cats.

Prize winning mystery writer William S. Shepard is the creator of a new genre, the diplomatic mystery, whose plots are set in American Embassies overseas. That mirrors Shepard’s own career in the Foreign Service of the United States, during which he served in Singapore, Saigon, Budapest, Athens and Bordeaux, in addition to five Washington tours of duty.

His E-books explore this rich, insider background into the world of high stakes diplomacy and government. He evokes his last Foreign Service post, Consul General in Bordeaux, in Vintage Murder, the first of the series of three “diplomatic mysteries.” The second, Murder On The Danube, now also available on Kindle, mines his knowledge of Hungary and the 1956 Revolution. In Murder In Dordogne Robbie Cutler, his main character, is just married, but their honeymoon in the scenic southwest of France is interrupted by murders.

“More Coffee Break Mysteries: The Sherlock Holmes Edition”

This collection of twenty short mysteries ranges from British cozy mysteries, to the American hardboiled mystery school, just the thing when the reader has only fifteen minutes of free time and wants a diversion. It is the second collection in the Coffee Break Mysteries E-book series.

The mysteries begin with five stories featuring the immortal characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, Dr. Watson, and Mrs. Hudson. The reader is invited to match wits with Holmes and Moriarty! This group of mysteries has been specially authorized by the Conan Doyle Literary Estate for publication.

The E-book, like the diplomatic mysteries, is available on Amazon.com, at http://tinyurl.com/d46qq2y.

1 comment:

Kaye George said...

This sounds like such an ambitious project, but fun!