Natalie Conyer's tale for The Only One in the World takes place in Poland. We asked Natalie what was the best part about writing "The Adventure of the Disappearing Village" for our Sherlock Holmes anthology.
What is the most unexpected tidbit you learned while writing your story?
Growing up, my brother and I were told bedtime stories about Chelm, a village whose inhabitants are very foolish. They get up to all sorts of crazy things, like trying to float millstones downstream, or to capture the moon in a glass of water.
While writing my story I learned that Chelm is a real, quite sizeable town in Poland today. I’d love to visit.
What was your favourite thing about writing for The Only One in the World?
My favourite thing was having fun with the ‘rules’ of Sherlock Holmes and his world, and using my world to turn them upside down. One of the best things about writing crime fiction is to test the genre’s conventions, to play with them and see how far they can be bent.
What is quintessentially Polish about your Holmes and/or Watson?
Holmes and Watson are less quintessentially Polish than quintessentially Jewish, in the sense of Jews who lived in small villages in Eastern Europe in the 19th century.
My grandparents (my mother’s parents) came from Eastern Europe, and I imagine their grandparents lived in villages like the one in my story (only, I hope, not quite so silly). So part of the joy of writing this story was the connection with my family and my childhood.
More about Natalie:
Natalie Conyer hails from Sydney, Australia. She’s a swimmer, TV fanatic and crime fiction writer. In fact, she loves the genre so much she did her doctorate on it. Natalie’s short stories have won several awards in the annual Scarlet Stiletto competition, run by Sisters in Crime Australia. Her debut novel, Present Tense, is a hard-boiled police procedural set in Cape Town. It was published in 2019 by Clan Destine Press. She’s currently working on a sequel, provisionally entitled Taking the Gap.