Format: Paperback, E-book
Author: John S. Fitzpatrick
The Montana Chronicles
by John. S. Fitzpatrick
For the first time, here are the long-lost records of four intriguing mysteries solved by the famous English detective Sherlock Holmes when he traveled to Montana in the late 1800s. Using his inimitable eye for clues, his astounding deductive reasoning, and – when necessary – clever subterfuge, Holmes solves a very public murder at the famous Opera House, a supernatural theft of gold at a mine near Georgetown Lake, the disturbing threats to Copper King Marcus Daly’s most famous racehorse, and the sudden odd behavior of a miner’s wife.
As usual, these cases were recorded by Dr. John H. Watson, Holmes’ affable companion and chronicler, but Watson’s accounts were lost for more than a century. They were recently discovered in an old safe in Anaconda’s Hearst Free Library by researcher John. S. Fitzpatrick, who edited the manuscripts for publication. Not only are the actual crimes unique and challenging, but the stories are filled with fascinating details of life in early-day Montana—details that amply illustrate Holmes’ superb powers of observation.
This immensely entertaining book is certain to delight all fans of detective stories, mysteries, and Sherlock Holmes.
John Fitzpatrick is a native of Anaconda, Montana. For the past thirty years he has worked as a lobbyist for the metal mining, telecommunications, and utility industry. He resides in Helena, Montana, with his wife, Connie. They are the parents of two sons, now adults, with families of their own.
In New Book, the Great English Detective Sherlock Holmes Solves Crimes in Frontier Montana
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle probably didn't know it, but his famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his affable sidekick Dr. Watson solved several cases in Montana in the late 1800s-or at least that's the premise of an entertaining new book by first-time Montana author John Fitzpatrick.
"I'm a longtime fan of the Sherlock Holmes genre," Fitzpatrick said, "and I thought there ought to be a way for him to be in Montana. It's been a lot of fun figuring this out."
The book, "Sherlock Holmes: The Montana Chronicles," appears to be "written" by Dr. Watson and "edited" by Fitzpatrick, who claims he found the Watson manuscript in a dusty old safe in Anaconda's Hearst Free Library where it had languished for years.
In the book Holmes uses his legendary powers of observation and deductive reasoning to solve four puzzling cases involving mines and miners, jilted lovers and murderers, and even famous racehorses and ghosts. Copper kings Marcus Daly and F. Augustus Heinze figure prominently in a couple of the tales.
In keeping with the Holmes' tradition, readers are given subtle clues as a story goes along before Holmes brilliantly solves each case at the end. In addition, the book includes so many authentic details of early-day Montana that it becomes a fascinating historical book as well. The writing is fast paced and lively, and Watson (or Fitzpatrick) accurately captures Holmes' language and character.
Fitzpatrick, who said he just might "find" another Holmes manuscript in the future, lives in Helena. The $12.95 paperback is published by Riverbend Publishing of Helena and is available at bookstores or by calling the publisher at 1-866-787-2363.
Anaconda writer weaves truth with fiction in Holmes' book
By Erin Nicholes 06/05/2008
ANACONDA - John Fitzpatrick was sitting in the Opera House Theater Co. in Philipsburg when, mysteriously, creativity struck.
"I said to myself, 'Why don't you try a stage play, a Sherlock Holmes stage play, set in an opera house.' I thought, 'You need to write the story first, then adapt it into a stage play.'" Six years later, Fitzpatrick is the author of a published work of fiction: "Sherlock Holmes, the Montana Chronicles," a collection of four classic Holmes mysteries.
The book joins Fitzpatrick with writers who have kept a literary legacy alive by continuing to pen fiction based on Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Dr. John H. Watson.
"They're almost always predicated on the idea that these long lost manuscripts have been discovered," he said.
In Fitzpatrick's book, a manuscript is discovered in a vault in the Hearst Free Library in Anaconda; it's written by Watson and records Holmes' Montana adventures in the late 1800s.
"It's all fictional," Fitzpatrick said.
Some things are real. Not everything, though. Some locations and characters in the book are real.
"I think it's great that the library is a character," said library director John Finn. "Marion Geil who is also the character is still currently on our library board. She's actually a real person." The book's four mysteries are stories of jilted lovers and murders, famous race horses, ghosts, and of course, mining. Copper king Marcus Daly even makes appearances in the text.
"If you're going to write a story set in the 1890s in Montana, it's going to be about mining in some form," Fitzpatrick said.
He has personal experience with mining, too. A former government affairs representative for Pegasus Gold, Fitzpatrick now has a similar job with NorthWestern Energy.
While his career and hobby may seem oddly matched, they're not so far apart, he said.
"My job is basically that of a communicator," he said. "I've become a synthesizer of ideas. That has probably facilitated my ability to write." Fitzpatrick, an Anaconda native living in Helena, started writing fiction for fun about eight years ago. He filled his evenings, spare time and airport waits writing radio dramas about a sheriff in a mythical Montana county. He then tried a novel.
But the Sherlock Holmes idea came naturally, as he is a longtime fan of the genre.
"The thing I liked about the Holmes stories is the detection, the problem- solving. I do not like mystery stories that are full of sex or violence." After a challenging journey trying to find a publisher, Riverbend Publishing of Helena accepted the project.
"The whole process is tremendous mental therapy," Fitzpatrick said, adding he's still interested in a stage play. "I had no expectation of ever ... getting published. I just hope those that have bought the book are enj oying it." As a published author, he has more writing ideas.
"I've got another novel set in Anaconda; I've written the first draft," he said. "It's built around my great grandfather, sheriff of Deer Lodge County between 1884 and 1898."
The Midwest Book Review September 2008
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes is the best known and most popular detective in literature. The Baker Street Irregulars is a major Sherlock Holmes fan club whose members have written a number of impressive post-Doyle tales of their crime-fighting hero. In "Sherlock Holmes: The Montana Chronicles", John S. Fitzpatrick has provided the legion of Sherlock Holmes fans with an anthology of newly discovered Sherlock Holmes tales as reported by his trusty and trusted assistant, Dr. John H. Watson. Now we have five new tales of deductive reasoning and high adventure to add to the Holmes cannon: The Discovery; The Opera House Murder; The Tammany Affair; The Ghosts of Red Lion; and The Mysterious Woman. This new compendium of Holme's crime solving activities is enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of an 1897 map of Southwestern Montana; plus fourteen historical black-and-white photographs. "Sherlock Holmes: The Montana Chronicles" is a welcome and highly recommended addition to personal and community library Sherlock Holmes collections -- and a 'must' for every dedicated Baker Street Irregular!!
From “The Midwest Book Review” September 2008
"Fitzpatrick's book about Sherlock Holmes in Montana is a must read for
—Elisha Foster, Hastings Book Manager
Ineffable Twaddle: Librarian's Corner (This is a pdf document)