The Celtic Phoenix
by Kim Krisco
An enigmatic jewellery case, holding human remains, arrives at the cottage of Sherlock Holmes, enticing him from his retirement refuge in the Sussex Downs. Holmes sets out on the trail of the murderer taunting him, joining forces with one of his former Baker Street irregulars, Tessa Wiggins. The two find themselves battling forces arising from a time before England was a country—when the Celts were fighting for survival.
Though set in 1919, The Celtic Phoenix is steeped in the enigmatic culture of the ancient Celts who reigned over much of Europe three thousand years ago. It was a time when the bond with Nature was strong . . . when people walked in the olde ways . . . and when women were the equals to men as warriors, priests, and poets. The Celtic Phoenix is the journey of three women who rise from the ashes of their past like fearsome phoenixes and shake the rational foundations upon Sherlock Holmes built his life and career.
It’s 1919 and Sherlock Holmes has retired to a South Coast cottage where he is using his past cases to compile a definitive work on crime and criminals. This is interrupted by the arrival in the post of a decorated jewellery case/casket inside which are a pair of testes. Is this a warning or perhaps a challenge, maybe from a murderer?
Back in London, at Scotland Yard, there is an investigation following a murder that has links to Holmes’ unusual package. An acquaintance of Dr Watson’s has been killed, his suspected murdered a young woman with a sad past. It’s claimed that the young worker, under the care of the Salvation Army, killed her master. The victim, like Holmes, had received something in the post that disturbed him.
The symbols on the casket (of testes) are Celtic in origin. The Celtics lived thousands of years ago, with a sacred and respectful view of nature, and equality between the sexes. Women, the birth-givers/creators of life, often took on leading and important roles, such as priests and warriors. Given the contents of the casket sent to Holmes, was this sent by a woman with a Celtic link?
One legendary cult of women warriors, the Sisters of Scathach, are making a return, and it could be timely. With slavery, sexual abuse, violence and discrimination rife, there’s plenty for such a group to fight against. But is this a welcome social justice campaign or criminal plan for revenge for modern crimes against women?
A former Baker Street irregular, Tessa Wiggins, teams up with Holmes – and to some extent Inspector Walls - as they attempt to prevent more killings and restore order, whilst serving justice. There are several strong female characters in a book which explores feminist issues that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.
There are hidden items, secret codes and historic lore, making for an interesting adventure. A well told story from a writer comfortable with the Holmes canon.
About Kim Krisco
His lifelong fascination for master storyteller, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and his creation Sherlock Holmes, is what inspires Kim Krisco to write his new Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
As a reader, Kim always wished he’d learn more about Holmes’ inner life. Where Doyle was not able to do that in short stories, Kim could allow for more detail and in-depth character development in his novels and novellas.
Kim endeavours to capture the authentic feel of the Sherlock Holmes novels, placing them in historical settings, oftentimes interacting with real historical characters. This is what makes Kim’s Sherlock Holmes books unique historical mysteries.
Aside from writing, Kim and his wife Sara followed their dream to experience more profoundly the beauty of nature by surrounding themselves by it. Abandoning most of their material possessions, they feel happier than ever in their cabin deep in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.