Wonderful Watsonians: Gretchen Altabef

Name: Gretchen Altabef

Bullpup moniker: Hamish

Who is your favorite Watson and why?

The gentleman who wonderfully crafted the Sherlock Holmes canon.

As far as those who have portrayed Dr. Watson on stage and screen, Edward Hardwicke. When my son saw him for the first time (knowing of Jude Law), he said, “He is exactly how I see Watson.” Mr. Hardwicke shares the day I celebrate as Dr. Watson’s birthday, August 7. Not only did he play Watson superbly for the Granada Sherlock Holmes series, and in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, but his friendship with Mr. Brett on and off screen to me says quite a bit about the Watson-like gentleman he was. The fixed point in a changing age. Watson would most definitely collect Holmes from the Asylum. (Although if I were writing this story, I would have Watson spring Holmes much earlier.) Edward Hardwicke’s audiobook readings of some of the canon stories are wonderful and enlightening as to his range as an actor. I can go on…

As an author of Sherlock Holmes novels, I see both Holmes and Watson as ever-present and extremely helpful muses. And though Mr. Hardwicke is usually in my head when writing Dr. Watson’s character, others show up to lend aspects of the gentleman. David Burke, Andre Panin, Vitally Solomon, Jude Law. Even Nigel Bruce, occasionally, mostly to help me laugh at myself. Extremely necessary when writing a novel. I am incredibly grateful for John H. Watson in my life and his ability to present and explain the genius of Sherlock Holmes. It is not easy to express the inexpressible.

If Watson was writing a story about you, what would it be titled?

“If Watson Was a Woman.”

Give us an improbable fact about yourself!

Here’s two:

Of an adventurous bent, I became one of the first women in local TV news to race through perilous New York City streets to get to the scene of the crime. For the best shots, preferably before the police and fire companies arrived. I write my novels from a visceral understanding of the dangerous underbelly of crime in the city.

Why is my hair blue? I figure when one’s hair goes white; one gets to pick. I am also an artist: photographer and sculptor. Colouring one’s hair for gallery or museum openings is de rigueur. My favourite reason is it’s a great conversation opener. As an elder, I was invisible to younger folk, now with Teal-coloured hair we talk all the time.

Why did you join the JHWS?

I met fellow JHWS members at the 2018 BSI Sherlock Holmes Birthday weekend, and it was love at first sight, we are such fun together! There are no local Scions around me, so I consider JHWS and SHSL as my Scions. As I share Holmes’ abhorrence for classism of any kind, I cherish the openness of our society. My first Sherlockian article was published in the Watsonian, also my most recent. Photo below.–
Gretchen AltabefMX Publishing Author: Sherlock Holmes: These Scattered Houses Remarkable Power of Stimulus

Editor and Contributor of the history of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes: Jeremy BrettPlaying A Part & Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes by Maureen Whittaker.  

“Gretchen Altabef is a remarkably talented author. She eschews the formulas that so often appear in Holmes pastiches and sets about creating a new format.”  Harry DeMaio, author of the Casebooks of Octavius Bear

“Of the hundreds of Sherlock Holmes, pastiche mysteries available to the Sherlockian, very few can match this book for a depth of historical research and a heart-stopping thrill of a story. A great read.” Craig Stephen Copland, author of New Sherlock Holmes Mysteries.

“A previously untold adventure of the ‘Great Hiatus.’ A gripping and colourful adventure.” Sherlock Holmes Society of London.MX Author’s Page: https://bit.ly/gretchenaltabef
Author’s Blog: https://featuresofinterest.com/

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