From Rohase’s Goodreads blog:

‘I’ve just had a perfectly splendid idea’ announced Charlie a few weeks ago – ‘isn’t it thirty years next April since MDH was published?…’
Blimey, I thought, is it? I checked the publication date in my battered old scrapbook, where I keep various newspaper clippings and reviews pertaining to MDH and ‘The Coward Does It With A Kiss’ (including the famous ‘Sherlock Homo!’ article from The Sun), and there it was – ‘Published 14th April 1988’, courtesy of The Gay Men’s Press. That’s a whole generation ago …

… and how times have changed! I’ve written in earlier blogs about the reaction my modest offering received from the press, the Sherlock Holmes Society and the Conan Doyle Estate, so I won’t repeat myself here except to say that from a present-day perspective it all seems rather surreal – I wouldn’t expect to be asked on live radio in 2018 ‘why I had to drag this nasty little element of homosexuality into a perfectly normal friendship’; that ‘The Woofter of the Baskervilles’ would be suggested as a sequel in the popular press; or that I’d be accused of harbouring a ‘dangerous urge to update the past’ just because I’d written a (romantic, non-explicit) novel exploring the possibility that Watson was in love with Holmes. It’s unthinkable today … (isn’t it? I seem to recall that a mere seven years ago the Conan Doyle Estate brought pressure to bear upon Guy Ritchie & Co not to insert any ‘element of homosexuality’ into ‘A Game Of Shadows’ following the already rather camp overtones to his ‘Sherlock Holmes’).

Anyway be that as it may, a 30th Anniversary Edition is currently in production, and this means that Yours Truly is having to type up the whole thing from scratch since no file exists from those prehistoric times and all I have is the actual book. There’ll be some Extra Features – the exploratory essay about the Gothic and Decadent influences on Conan Doyle’s most famous character that I’ve already used as a basis for blogs, initially written soon after the book itself and finally published in the Baker Street Journal’s 2015 Winter edition, plus a brand new Foreword – but rest assured, the storyline remains unchanged. I wouldn’t and couldn’t interfere with a narrative that actually did seem, all those years ago, to unfold of its own accord, as though I really were discovering what John Watson, if not Arthur Conan Doyle had been wanting to write all along.

It’s an interesting experience, re-reading one’s own work from an older and wiser perspective. Not only am I unable to resist tightening up a line or two of clumsy dialogue, adding a word of explanation here or subtracting an annoying repetition there – well I guess I’m perfectly entitled to edit my own work as long as it doesn’t change the narrative – but I can also look at it with a critical eye, mindful of the comments and critiques of reviewers over the years.

‘Everyone in this book is gay!’ complained one reviewer back in the day. Well, there are heterosexual characters as well, surely?… Lord Carstairs in ‘A Discreet Investigation’ and, er … then in ‘The Final Problem’ there’s Mycroft, Moriarty, and (presumably) Mrs Hudson. That’s four straight characters. Too many? Oh, sorry, that wasn’t the problem… well, the difference between then and now is that now we have a Genre. Gay Romance, as a sub-heading of LGBTQ Fiction, if officially a Thing, and readers presumably know what to expect.

‘This book is just pieced together from old stories …’ well, duh, The Final Problem is supposed to be the unexpurgated version of ‘The Adventure of the Final Problem’ and its aftermath. But when it comes to ‘A Discreet Investigation’ – ‘there’s no real detective story here, it just hinges around the fact that Everyone is Gay.’ Ouch. Okay, so I’m not a crime fiction author. But I did think I’d managed to insert a bit of misdirection and an element of surprise … what with Miss D’Arcy … talking of whom, she’s aged twenty-nine, fair complexion, ‘fine light eyes’, who does that remind me of? Surely I wasn’t so vain as to try and put a self-description into my novel? Oh dear – the Arrogance of Youth. And here’s something you won’t know – I was very naughty with the name ‘Maria Kirkpatrick’. Hopefully the two people of whom she is an amalgam have never read the book. Or if they did, they’ve declined to comment, for which I am truly thankful.

If all that’s managed to whet your interest, there’s not that long to wait. April 2018. Put it in your diary, and think of me slaving away …