|Angela Misri, author of Jewel of the Thames|
Jewel of the Thames has made me quite smitten with all things related to the Sherlockverse...and tea. Following the death of her mother, Portia Adams is uprooted from her rundown Toronto apartment to London - into the same exact apartment where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson used to hang out and solve mysteries. This transition is facilitated by Mrs. Jones, Portia's mysterious and wealthy guardian. As Portia attends college and gets to know the other friendly tenants in the building, she finds herself swept into into three mystery cases. As she applies her curiosity and logical reasoning to the mysteries, she also learns more about the secrets of her family.
1. Portia Adams has a unique family history, as the granddaughter of Watson. How did you get the idea for Portia Adams as a character?
I've been toying with the idea of a young female detective for a long time - since university really, but originally, I had imagined Portia just renting the Baker Street townhouse and finding herself attracted to detective work just by a kind of osmosis. What sparked the idea for the family connection was a short story I read by Stephen King called 'The Doctor's Case.' It opened the door for me to think of ways to make Holmes and Watson my own, while still very much respecting Conan-Doyle's original writings - which King did very well in his short story.
2. The setting for most of the novel is London in the 1930s. The writing and descriptions of clothes, trains, and the socio-economic class structure in Britain created an impression of what the era was like. How did you do your research on 1930s London?
Extensively. I watched movies made in the ten-year span, read books published at the time, read political speeches written in London at the time (later made into packaged anthologies) and read as many history books on It as I could get my hands on.
3. The characters drink much tea, and there is a scene on a train in which Portia and some companions drink several pots of tea as they work out a mystery. What's your favorite tea?
Ha! I like Earl Grey and Jasmine teas myself ; )
4. Have you been to London before? And if so, have you visited 221B Baker Street?
Yes, I was born in London (a little burrough called Croydon) and lived there till I was six. I have been back many time as my brother still lives there. Yes, I have visited 221 Baker Street and the museum many times.
5. Which is your favorite Sherlock mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and why?
'A Scandal in Bohemia' because Adler is an absolute favorite character of mine.
6. What is your favorite Sherlock adaption (play, film, TV series)?
The one you list below in question 7. is my favourite, though I also like the Robert Downey Jr. movies.
7. The BBC Sherlock series has become quite popular worldwide. Have you seen it, and how do you feel about the modern adaptation of Sherlock as a high-functioning sociopath?
I love it! My senior thesis in my English degree was a paper in which I postulated that Sherlock Holmes was bipolar, so as an avid reader of the original canon, I could not agree more we the BBC interpretation.
8. I'm so excited to read more! Are you working on the second installment of the Portia Adams Adventures? How's it going? :)
I've actually finished my first draft of books 2 & 3 at this point (and am halfway through 4) so I'd say it's going rather well ; ) Portia is one of those characters who is both loud and busy, so she's constantly in my ear whispering ideas.
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Jewel of the Thames by Angela Misri