The Game Is Afoot! – Holmes’ world gets weirder with Dracula, Hyde, Dorian GrayThe Game Is Afoot!

The Game Is Afoot! – Holmes’ world gets weirder with Dracula, Hyde, Dorian GrayThe Game Is Afoot!

Christian Klaver knows that there are purists. Those are the readers who think that the saga of Sherlock Holmes ended, not with the legendary detective’s demise at Reichenbach Falls, but with the much less dramatic death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1930.

Christian Klaver

When Klaver decided to write about Sherlock Holmes, he knew his father was the first one he’d have to win over.

“Dad is a huge fan of Holmes, and my leather-bound copy of Doyle’s collected works was a gift from my parents while I was still in my teens,” the Michigan-based author says. “And it had an impact.

“Dad is not, however, always a fan of supernatural things, so he became my first purist to try and convince,” Klaver said by email. “He read all my first drafts specifically to make sure it sounded like Watson and Holmes. I figured if I could get him on board with Dracula appearing in a Holmes story, I could also engage other purists. I’m pretty happy with the result.”

Klaver is about to publish the third volume in his Holmes “Classified Dossier” series. “Sherlock Holmes and Dorian Gray,” released March 12, follows “Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula” (2022) and “Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Hyde” (2023). Much to the delight of this fan, another purist won over by Klaver’s unusual but comfortable take on the world of a favorite detective, the author agreed to answer these questions via email for Hidden Gems.

Michigan author Christian Klaver first brought Dracula into the world of Sherlock Holmes, then Jekyll and Hyde and, on March 12, Dorian Gray enters the picture. (Courtesy Images)

Q. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? Where do you live now? Wife and one daughter, I think?

A. I’ve been in Michigan most of my life, born and raised. I spent about a year in Virginia in ‘94, but otherwise all Michigan. I live in Garden City now, with my wife, Kimberly, but I grew up in Berkley. In fact, I’m still part of a nerd pack from school that still gets together and games on the regular. My daughter, who very much caught my book bug, is now a librarian in Detroit. I’m also running a D&D game for kids at her library.

Q. What book was the first to leave you enthralled, hungry for more — and wishing you could write for a living?

A. All the books made me want to write. The bad ones, the good ones, it didn’t matter. You always find something you love you want to emulate, or barring that, something you want to fix. But important books of my childhood included Narnia Chronicles, Lord of the Rings, Zelazny’s Amber series, and a kids’ book called “The Great Cheese Conspiracy.”

Q. How many series do you have in publication? Can you talk a little about them, please?

A. I have two series out currently: The Empire of the House of Thorns and The Classified Dossier Series with Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, Mina Harker, Mr. Hyde, Jack the Ripper, Dorian Gray and many more. I can’t express the sheer joy it was to write these characters all together.

I’d read a number of similar stories: Saberhagen’s “The Holmes/Dracula File,” Loren Estleman’s “Sherlock Holmes vs. Count Dracula,” Nicholas Meyer’s “Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and the show “Penny Dreadful,” to name only a few. These all had moments of brilliance, but also so many ideas that they didn’t use that I had to write one of my own.

In fact, I wrote the first one and then packed it away. It never occurred to me that I could sell it. I assumed, at the time, that the market for something like that was too small, or would require copyright legal expertise, but that wasn’t actually a problem. Six months later, William Jones, the editor of Elder Sign Press, commented to me at a convention, out of nowhere, that he was looking for a Holmes-Dracula story. I couldn’t believe it. The rest is history.

Michigan author Christian Klaver first brought Dracula into the world of Sherlock Holmes, then Jekyll and Hyde and, on March 12, Dorian Gray enters the picture. (Courtesy Images)

Q. Which of your series came first? And what inspired it?

A. That leads nicely into my Faerie series, the Empire of the House of Thorns. (“Shadows Over London” is the first.) I’d wanted to read (daughter) Katie “Narnia” out loud, but came to the idea six months too late. She learned to read so quickly that she ended up finishing the entire series in something like a week. So I’d been noodling around with a number of novels, but the intro to “Shadows” came from wanting to capture that sense of magical in “Narnia” and is heavily influenced by Lewis on a number of levels. Justice Kasric and her war against the Faerie that have taken over England followed. I imagine her as a cross between Lucy Pevensie and Horatio Hornblower, if that doesn’t make your head spin. Searching my name in Amazon will pull up both series, but I also have a website at

Q. Do you have a favorite genre to read?

A. I spend a lot of time reading something to help me write, stylistically. For Sherlock, of course, there was a lot of required reading. [I] had to reread not only the entire canon from Doyle, over and over again, but also Stoker, Stevens, Wilde, Wells, Poe, etc., while I worked out my ideas. I’m currently working on a sci-fi series that I wanted to have a hard-boiled sort of prose and have been reading a lot of Chandler, Hemingway and Robert B. Parker (one of my constant faves) for that. It helps me get into the writing mood.

Q. How does one come around to the idea that you could take the beloved characters of Holmes and Watson — I love your Watson; he is so very Watson — and toss them into situations with characters like Dracula and Mr. Hyde? And once you get that idea in your head, is the potential as unlimited as it seems it might be?

A. It was the many other authors trying their hands at Holmes and Dracula that made me want to try my own. It’s terrifying, the responsibility of doing justice to so many iconic characters, but also a thrilling ride. I’d write these even if I couldn’t sell them. They’re just too much fun.

It started with Holmes, Watson, and Dracula and just grew from there into an ensemble cast. Dracula and Mina, for instance, appear in the first book, but also in every book thereafter. Additional characters like the Invisible Man, Jack the Ripper, Kitty Winter, and Dr. Moreau all make appearances in the first three books.

Two interesting things came out of this. One was that I had to modify certain fantasy elements. I decided early on that this was a Holmesian world, one where logic had to work; so no magic. This means that vampirism, among other things, had to have a scientific basis. A deal with the devil, ala Stoker, doesn’t fit in Holmes’ logical world, but mad science, if you will, not only fit, but also fit thematically with so many other characters. Moreau, Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde, for instance, all hit that same fear of mad science note, so it all goes together surprisingly well.

There are three of these so far, but I’m hoping to write more. I have pitches in for the next three, which would include Captain Nemo, Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, and a return of the Invisible Man, among others. Other ideas come faster than I can write them.

Q. Is reading a shared passion with your kid(s)? And if so, what are you reading together?

A. So much! Did I brag about my daughter, Katie Button, children’s librarian, yet? We have a constant dialog of books, shows and movies we read, watch, reread, re-watch, together. She’s now introducing me to so many cool new series faster than I can read them. It’s pretty awesome. I think “Gideon the Ninth” was the last book we read in tandem, though we’re currently also doing a re-watch of Buffy. It holds up! But we knew that. Buffy is Katie’s formative TV, like Star Trek for me.

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