Murder Mayhem and Magic
An anthology of Victorian murder mysteries. A publisher called 'Rock & Roll Saved My Soul'. An actor best known for playing the greatest detective that never lived. A fundraiser for BipolarUK. How on earth is all of that connected you ask? Well, let me explain.
The idea for this project was born when Stevie and I re-watched the Granada production of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and its follow-ups. It of course starred Jeremy Brett as the great detective and David Burke as his Watson, followed after the first season by Edward Hardwicke in the same role. It occurred to us that the 12th September 2015 would see the 20th anniversary of Jeremy's passing. We wanted to do something to commemorate our favourite actor, the great man he was and the legacy he left behind.
Stevie created the 'International Celebration of Jeremy Brett's life, love and laugh', a get-together of Brett enthusiasts on the anniversary of his death. It was agreed that the event would take place in London, in Clapham Common, to be more precise. It it there that Jeremy lived before he died. It is also where a tree was planted in his honour.
Jeremy and his portrayal of Holmes inspired us to write our own Victorian detective stories but we did not want to write just another Holmes pastiche, so we went one step further and created our own investigating double act: Alistair Gordon and Jerome Garibaldi. We made Alistair a fan of Holmes and his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, both to show our appreciation for the source material and to inject some humour into our stories.
As we planned the 'International Celebration of Jeremy Brett's life, love and laugh', we tried to come up with ways to make the event a memorable affair. Should we have T-shirts printed? Have special event passes made? A poster maybe? All of the options that flashed through our minds had one thing in common: they cost money. Then we thought: What if we didn't spent money on this but tried to raise some instead? Not for ourselves but for a course Jeremy would have approved of.
Among Brett fans it is a well-known fact that Jeremy suffered from what at the time was referred to as 'manic depression', a condition which today is more commonly known as 'bipolar'. Bipolar is defined as:
'A mood disorder that characteristically involves cycles of depression and elation or mania. Sometimes the mood switches from high to low and back again are dramatic and rapid, but more often they are gradual and slow, and intervals of normal mood may occur between the high (manic) and low (depressive) phases of the condition. The symptoms of both the depressive and manic cycles may be severe and often lead to impaired functioning.'
In a touching radio interview, which was recorded shortly before he died, Jeremy talks about his illness and calls for support for a charity called 'The Manic-Depression Fellowship'. This fellowship became the organisation which is now 'BipolarUK'. You can listen to Jeremy speak about living with manic-depression here:
Our path was suddenly clear. We set up a JustGiving page, aiming to raise 250 Pounds for Bipolar UK. We also thought about our stories. As publishing a book is comparatively easy these days thanks to Amazon, CreateSpace and other platforms, we decided to compile our Victorian Murder stories and release them as a book. The proceeds of any sales would of course be donated to BipolarUK as well. So we needed a publisher, who had experience with charity releases. Rock & Roll Saved My Soul came to mind immediately. Both Stevie and I had previously worked with them on their various anthologies and approached Kate about it. We were greeted with much enthusiasm.
Our work will be published by RRSMS, the proceeds will go to BipolarUk, a charity which Jeremy Brett supported. We have come full circle. All the elements of this projects have been linked together. We hope you join us in our quest not only to honour the memory of a very talented actor and compassionate human being, but also in trying to make life for people living with bipolar disorder a little better by donating and spreading the word.
Below you'll find links to our fundraiser, the BipolarUK website and social media and other organisations aimed at helping people with bipolar disorder from other countries. If you know of any in your country which is not listed here, please do not hesitate to leave a link in the comments.
(This is not a complete list. A quick Google search will reveal more resources in your neighbourhood.)