Continuing the exploits of the great psychic investigator Thomas Carnacki, created by William Hope Hodgson.
I remember, as a youth, a series on ITV, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, based on a collection by Hugh Carleton Greene, brother of Graham, former Director-General of the BBC and, incidentally, the man who brought radio back to the German airwaves following the fall of the Nazis in 1945.
Several of the resurrected Victorian and Edwadian detectives resonated with me – Ernest Brahma’s blind sleuth Max Carrados, and Guy Boothby’s Raffles clone, Simon Carne – but the one who stuck was Carnacki the Ghost-Finder, not really a detective at all, and played by the entirely unsuitable Donald Pleasance.
Now, finally, I’ve started writing my own Carnacki stories. These are not cases mentioned in the original, which others have done over the years. They are entirely original but start with the characters created by Hope Hodgson in the first decade of the 20th Century (albeit they start after the author’s death) and they follow on from one another. Hence the series title CARNACKI CONTINUUM.
The Continuum opens with The Saiitii Manifestation, in which the supper circle from Cheyne Walk is reunited after the dislocation of World War I – sort of a last supper, with an uninvited and distinctly unwelcome guest.
The story continues in The Relict. Once press interest in the Putney mystery dies down it falls to Jessop’s daughters to try and establish the truth of what happened to their father, his friends, and of course Carnacki himself. One morning they receive a note signed ‘M Carnacki’, inviting them to call at the flat in Cheyne Walk. But wasn’t Carnacki’s first name Thomas? And wasn’t his flat obliterated in a Zeppelin raid?
Next in the sequence will be The Fourth Sigil, after which we flip back to the very beginning of Carnacki’s career with the ‘origins’ story Maya.
The Relict also includes ‘The Bronze Star’, Part I of WHH:Scenes from a Short Life, my developing annotated biography of Carnacki creator William Hope Hodgson. Other scenes will be added to other stories in the Continuum, but the full critical biography, including assessments of Hodgson’s works and the critical reaction to them, then and now, is currently being published on Wattpad.
I am currently researching Hodgson for a paper I plan to append to the forthcoming Wattpad edition of The Saiitii Manifestation. Extracts will certainly be published here. In the meantime, can I recommend Sam Gafford’s brilliant blog about the man and his work right here on WordPress.