Narrelle M Harris on LJM Owen
The Only One in the World: “Prince Ha-mahes and the Adventure of the Stoned Mason” by LJM Owen
Almost as soon as I pitched the idea of The Only One in the World to Clan Destine Press, I began to pester Dr LJM Owen about the idea of a Holmes from ancient history – an area of particular expertise for a writer who also had a degree in archeology. I knew from her Dr Pimms books that she had the necessary socio-historical expertise and was skilled in spinning a cracking mystery yarn.
Stories by other writers set in the canon can be very serious, but Conan Doyle’s tales can be very funny too, especially in conversations between Holmes and Watson. People might remember that the first time they meet at St Bart’s Holmes is conducting experiments on blood stains, but few seem to recall that Holmes is utterly thrilled to report his success to the visitor. He chuckles, claps his hands and generally spends a lot of the time dragging Watson over to his worktable to joyfully share how it was done and is animated with glee.
One of the things I loved about LJ’s story is how she captures Sherlock’s rather manic, mad delight while conducting his experiments. I appreciated, too, the level of detail she put into how she named the characters, matching meanings and, when possible, phonemics, to bridge the worlds of Ancient Egypt and Victorian London. I recommend reading the notes at the end of LJ’s story to truly appreciate how clever she is!
If you’re intrigued, take a look at LJ’s interview about her story on Clan Destine Press, where she answers three questions about writing her story – the most unexpected thing she learned while writing it, her favourite thing about writing it, and what is quintessentially Egyptian about her Holmes and Watson.
You can buy The Only One in the World at Clan Destine Press right now.
More about Dr LJM Owen:
LJM Owen has degrees in archaeology, forensic science and librarianship, speaks five languages and has travelled extensively. She brings all of these skills together to write crime fiction. Her crime novels include three books in the Dr Pimms archaeological mystery series: Egyptian Enigma (2018), Mayan Mendacity (2016), and Olmec Obituary (2015). Her most recent book is the chilling The Great Divide (2019) set in Tasmania. LJ founded the Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival, a celebration of literature and literacy in Tasmania, and runs the Booklove Tuesday Bookclub on Facebook.
Follow LJM Owen on Twitter