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The Return of the Ripper

Longtime WU contributor Anna Elliott has written a new book —The Return of the Ripper: A Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery — with her father!

How cool is that?

Anna’s first series, the Twilight of Avalon trilogy, is a retelling of the Trystan & Isolde legend. She wrote The Pride & Prejudice Chronicles, her second series, chiefly to satisfy her own curiosity about what might have happened to Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and all the other wonderful cast of characters after the official end of Jane Austen’s classic work. She enjoys stories about strong women, and loves exploring the multitude of ways women can find their unique strengths.

She was delighted to lend a hand with the Sherlock & Lucy series, and this story, firstly because she loves Sherlock Holmes as much as her father does, and second because it almost never happens that someone with a dilemma shouts, “Quick, we need an author of historical fiction!”

Charles Veley, Anna’s dad, has loved Sherlock Holmes since boyhood. As a father, he read the entire canon to his then-ten-year-old daughter at evening story time. Now this very same daughter, grown up to become acclaimed historical novelist Anna Elliott, has worked with him to develop new adventures in the Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery Series. Charles is also a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan, and wrote The Pirates of Finance , a new musical in the G&S tradition that won an award at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2013. Other than the Sherlock & Lucy series, all of the books on his Amazon Author Page were written when he was a full-time author during the late Seventies and early Eighties. He currently consults for United Technologies Corporation regarding the company’s large real estate development projects.

Enjoy learning more about the story below.

Q: What’s the premise of your new book?

Anna E: The world’s most famous detective and daughter must confront the Victorian era’s most notorious serial killer.

Q: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

AE: It’s about identity – not just the identity of the Ripper, whose shadowy figure is on the cover, but also the identities of the main characters – who they are to themselves and each other and who they will become. Lucy is about to marry Jack and move into a new home, and they both have to come to terms with that major change. Watson is looking for fulfillment, and possibly romance, outside the Baker Street milieu. Will this change him? And how will Sherlock react to these changes in those closest to him? Plus, as with every mystery, the identity of the true antagonist is a big question. Of course we hope the answer will come as a surprise.

Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

AE: A diamond mogul pits Sherlock against a ring of smugglers. An alluring woman wants Watson to help raise funds for her charity – which is in dire need of funds. Lucy and Jack are contemplating a big society wedding and starting a new home together. Then a new series of murders begins in Whitechapel, and the Baker Street team learns that they, too, have been targeted by the notorious Jack the Ripper. This is a special challenge for Sherlock, who still feels the sting of not having captured the Ripper nine years before this story opens.

Q: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

AE: Watson and Lucy each write their own chapters in their own voices and they’re of course limited to reporting what they see and think at the moment. That can be a challenge sometimes, to convey to the reader what’s really going on and what the back story has been, while keeping things moving. But in The Return of the Ripper, we hasten to add, the switches in viewpoint work to the advantage of the story. Lucy is kidnapped and imprisoned and Watson’s reporting how the team is trying to find and rescue her. Going back and forth from their two viewpoints created a lot of suspense and was a joy to write!

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

AE: This story ends at a beautiful moment for the Baker Street team, and that moment was its own reward to write. Of course, we feel good about the nice things our readers have said as well!

Readers, you can learn more about The Return of the Ripper: A Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery on the book’s website, HERE, or listen to a fun, extended interview with Anna and her father on Max on Movies, HERE.

Write on.


Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in January, 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~40 regular contributors–including bestselling authors and industry leaders–and frequent guests. You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, or join our thriving Facebook community.

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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.