Diane Gilbert Madsen: The Dog That Did Not Bark in the Night Sunday, Jun 15 2014 

Please welcome Diane Gilbert Madsen, who will tell readers about her newest book: The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper


Published May 22nd 2014, MX Publishing, London
3RD IN THE DD McGil Literati Mystery Series

Doyle final-jacket-cover

When everyone else my age was screaming for Elvis Presley and his swiveling hips, I fell head over heels for Sherlock Holmes, the lanky, taciturn, brainy detective whose hips would never be caught swiveling. I adored his aristocratic nose and his cold, impersonal, logic-driven, detail-oriented scientific mind. He was the polar opposite of Elvis – but to me, the British-to-the-core Mr. Sherlock Holmes was irresistible. I’m crazy about him still. His character was so fascinating that he quickly became famous world over. People everywhere not only recognized his name, but also they claimed to “know” what he looked like due to the wonderful drawings accompanying the serialized magazine stories.

My brother Albert was also a Sherlock Holmes addict. Over the years we often discussed why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had never written a story in which the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, matched wits with the world’s most fiendish murderer, Jack the Ripper. Sherlock Holmes, we knew, would definitely have solved the case. But such a match up was never to be. Why? We suspected that Conan Doyle’s silence was something like Sherlock Holmes’ observation about the dog that did not bark in the night.

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.
– Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze

When I was searching for a subject for my third Literati Mystery, my brother Albert and my husband Tom both urged me to write “The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper” to uncover clues and answer the question of why Conan Doyle was silent about the Ripper. Sherlock Holmes concluded that the dog was silent because the dog knew the intruder. In my book, I uncover some facts and clues to help explain why I believe Doyle may have deduced the identity of the Ripper but never revealed it. The book is more about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and what he knew than about Sherlock Holmes. However, throughout the book I use the Sherlockian “Method” – his famous technique of close observation, careful analysis and keen deduction. This “Method” was based on the uncanny abilities of Conan Doyle’s mentor and colleague, Dr. Joseph Bell, a surgeon and lecturer at Edinburgh University who was in fact the “real” Sherlock Holmes. Bell was renowned for being able to analyze a patient’s illness before the patient uttered one word about his symptoms.

Almost everyone in the world knows something about the Jack the Ripper case in which a person unknown to this day murdered at least 5 women in the Whitechapel District of London between August and November of 1888. An entire school of Ripperologists exists to debate the details of the case and write about their theories. Over 170 suspects have been named as Jack the Ripper, according to the Guardian newspaper, ranging from the most humble to royalty. Some have even accused Lewis Carroll and others have named Conan Doyle himself. There’s also a Jill the Ripper theory in which a woman or a man disguised as a woman commits the murders with impunity.

With all this material available, I decided to examine the case from the police and eye-witness perspectives, using news reports, Ripper letters, noteworthy events and other theories on the identity of the Ripper. I then assembled a series of clues – clues I believe that Doyle – and by extension Sherlock Holmes – would have used to help solve the case. A major one of these clues is the Royal Pardon, hastily issued by the Queen and Parliament immediately after the fifth and last murder, giving a pardon to anyone connected with the murders who came forward with information. The Royal Pardon had never been given before or since – especially to an UNNAMED suspect. It was completely unique.

“MURDER. – PARDON. – Whereas on November 8 or 9, in Millers-court, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, Mary Janet Kelly was murdered by some person or persons unknown: the Secretary of State will advise the grant of Her Majesty’s gracious pardon to any accomplice, not being a person who contrived or actually committed the murder, who shall give such information and evidence as shall lead to the discovery and conviction of the person or persons who committed the murder.
CHARLES WARREN, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, Metropolitan Police-office, 4, Whitehall-place, S.W.,
Nov. 10 [Saturday], 1888.”

I believe that vital intelligence was obtained after the last murder and that is why the Royal Pardon had to be issued. The police acted upon this intelligence and very shortly thereafter, the case was closed for all intents and purposes, and the police patrols were called off in the East End.

This key clue led me to ask the central question — which of the suspects would warrant a Royal Pardon? This question immediately eliminates many of the main suspects who had been identified. It is difficult to see a Royal Pardon being issued in connection with a butcher, schoolteacher or painter. The Royal Pardon shines the light on only a very few possibilities – including suspects who might not have been named at the time — suspects who had connections of such a high ranking that were too important to be named.

With an idea of the identity of the Ripper, I was faced with the task of putting it into the form of a Literati mystery. All the action takes place in the current day using continuing characters from my Literati mystery series, including the rare book dealer Tom Joyce, the Scottish Dragon Auntie Elizabeth, the twins Glendy and Lucille, and the City of Chicago itself which I consider an ongoing character in my books. This segue was neatly handled for me by the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle had visited Chicago in 1894 when he was touring the United States. It was at that time he sold one of his favorite manuscripts, “The White Company,” to David Gage Joyce, a Chicago lumber baron. The manuscript now resides in the Newberry Library in Chicago. The manuscript and the lumber baron both play important roles in the mystery.

As for who was Jack the Ripper – you’ll have to read my book, “The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper.” I hope you will enjoy learning the secret.
DGM w Corona #3

Diane Gilbert Madsen is the author of the award winning DD McGil Literati Mystery Series. She’s the former Director of Economic Development for the State of Illinois where she oversaw the Tourism and the Illinois Film Office and later ran her own consulting firm. She is listed in the World Who’s Who of Women and Who’s Who in Finance & Industry.
Diane is a member of several Sherlockian Associations including the Pleasant Places of Florida. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Association of Crime Writers, the Chicago Writers Association, and Florida Writers Association. She has published articles in The Hemingway Review, Mystery Scene Magazine, Mystery Reader’s Journal, Sisters in Crime Newsletter and The Write City Magazine.
Diane lives with her husband Tom and Angel, their Japanese Chin, at Twin Ponds, a 5-acre wildlife sanctuary on Cape Haze in Florida.

Website – http://www.dianegilbertmadsen.com
Link to book trailer – http://youtu.be/k7M5F-GPihw
Twitter @DianeMadsen
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/diane.g.madsen

A Bag of Goodies: Robertson, Entwistle, Parks, Sigurdartdottir, & Hawley Sunday, May 11 2014 

Auntie M wishes all the mothers reading this a very Happy Mother’s Day.
Today she’s going to give you a really mixed bag of goodies to choose from for your reading pleasure.MoriarityReturnsLetter

First up is Moriarty Returns a Letter by Michael Robertson, the continuing saga of brothers Nigel and Reggie Heath, whose law firm is located at 221B Baker Street. Its rental comes with the added burden of herding the mail that arrives addressed to Sherlock Holmes.

This innovative series is pure delight, and opens with an exhibition of vintage letters to Sherlock Holmes going on display at the Marylebone Hotel. Reggie and his fiancee Laura are set to leave on an engagement trip, a precursor to their long-anticipated wedding.

Then Darla Rennie turns up, a troubled young woman convinced Reggie is Sherlock Holmes and that she is the descendent of Moriarty. With the single-minded determination and cunning abilities of the evil Professor, Darla manages to turn up at unexpected times and places and generally throws a substantive monkey wrench into the proceedings.

The history of her gripe has its seeds in the death of an 1890’s Pinkerton officer from America working undercover in England. His story and one from the 1940’s add to the storyline as the contemporary 1990’s events unfold.

Nigel and Reggie prove an interesting pair of protagonists in the series, not quite Holmes nor Watson, but certainly with shades of each in their makeup. A fine addition to the series.

Keeping with the Sherlockian theme, the next offering is Vaughn Entwistle’s The Revenant of Thraxton Hall, which goes back in time to the days immediately after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Holmes in his story in The Strand Magazine, setting off a public frenzy that saw people sporting black arm bands in mourning and pelting the author with rotten tomatoes when they recognized him out in public.

When medium Hope Thraxton asks Conan Doyle to attend her, the young heiress informs him she needs his help to stop a murder–hers. Despite misgivings at leaving his ill wife at home, the author jumps at the chance to leave town,an dis accompanied by his good friend, Oscar Wilde. Together the two venture to Thraxton Hall for the meeting of the Society for Psychical Research, a group of supernaturalists who each have a motive for wanting young Hope’s death.

Spookiness abounds, with weird happenings and nightly seances, acts of levitation and the pronouncements of a russian mystic of the revenant, or returning spirit, who haunts Thraxton Hall. All of the action is lightened by Wilde’s breezy patter and affectations. The two men will attempt to figure out the real motives of those at the gathering before murder can occur. The first of a planned series, these feature Conan Doyle’s real-life absorption with the paranormal and promise to be filled with whimsy quirks and fantastical plots.


Leaving England for Newark, New Jersey, brings us to Brad Park’s newest Carter Ross mystery, The Player. Told in first-person narrative with Ross’ wry humor at the forefront, this caper revolves around strange illnesses affecting the residents of a small neighborhood, a story that sets Ross’ antenna quivering.

As he uses the skills of a new intern to augment his work, Ross fends off the odd relationship he’s developed with his editor and former lover, Tina, but a new wrinkle has them revisiting their roles. The story he’s working on goes beyond a supposedly smarmy developer and equally suspicious crime boss.

But his poking around sets off alarms and he soon finds himself embroiled in the people who might benefit from a class action lawsuit and finds he’s found himself a brand new enemy.

Park’s humor keeps this series from bogging down while he tackles serious issues and gives outsiders a real perspective of life inside a newspaper and of blue collar Newark.


Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdartdottir already has a following for her mystery series featuring lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir. She returns with a new a ghost story, I Remember You, that will wrap you up in its eeriness and leave an impact long after the last page has been turned.

Three people arrive in the isolated village of the Icelandic Westfjords, set to start work on renovating an old house. Bought by two male friends, one has died suddenly, leaving his widow to accompany the other married couple as they set to work.

The remoteness and debilitated condition of the house add to the spooky atmosphere as weird things start to happen. It soon becomes evident that some otherworldly force wants them to leave the house.

The story runs alongside the saga of a divorced physician who becomes involved in investigating the suicide of a woman–a woman he discovers had become obsessed with his own son, who disappeared and is presumed dead.

This scary thriller who have you on the edge of your sheet and looking over your shoulder. If you like stories that raise the hairs on the back of your neck, this one’s for you.


Noah Hawley has created and written screenplays and television shows and several previous novels. Now he brings A Conspiracy of Tall Men to the reader in the same way controversy followed him for The Good Father.

In this offering, Linus Owen teaches conspiracy theory on the college level and follows his own ideas on the subject with two dedicated theorist friends in his off-time. He and his wife, advertising executive Claudia, have an ideal life and have decided to start their family after her return from visiting her mother in Chicago.

Then two FBI agents arrive with startling news. Claudia has been killed in a plane crash–but the plane was headed to Brazil. What she was doing on that plane and how she got there form the basis of the investigation Linus pursues.

From the get go, he sees the list of passengers he’s received is not complete. Then he learns Claudia’s fellow traveler was VP of a large pharmaceutical company. With his conspiracy radar pinging on high, Linus sets out to unravel the mystery of his wife’s death, with the help of his friends, to devastating circumstances.

Linus’ rambling thoughts and asides provide black humor for the book, but it will be the unusual reader who will not find themselves buying into his rants and ideas as the action unfolds. Entertaining and different.