Doug Elliott

Author of the historical thriller The Link, featuring private investigator Augustus Parker

About me

I'm an Australian-Canadian living in Sydney. I started my writing career by penning (does that verb still work in this keyboard age?) historical pieces for magazines but changed my focus a few years ago to concentrate on book-length projects.

In that vein, I have co-edited a couple of books and have written a novel, the first in a planned series. Read more about them below.

Of course, real life tends to intrude just as you are making plans to the contrary, so I've had the unexpected opportunity as well to write some short pieces relating to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his legendary creation, Sherlock Holmes.

I'm currently hunched over my keyboard working on the next Augustus Parker novel.

My books

Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook (contributor)

Edited by Christopher Sequeira

It is the year 1890. Sherlock Holmes’ fame has spread even to the colonies as he and his stalwart chronicler, Dr John Watson, are swept up in an array of mysteries "down under". They find themselves summoned from location to location, traversing all corners of the strange island continent of Australia, challenged with mysteries and a geographical and cultural landscape with which they are unfamiliar.

From eerie shadows on cave walls, to an actor’s most grisly curtain call, an abduction by a demon, and an inexplicable drowning, to the odd affair of the reputed biggest man in Australia, a purloined bunyip, and to sinister, bearded bushrangers, the tales within this collection provide fresh perspective to the Holmes phenomena and will intrigue, delight and entertain readers.

As a rule I avoid that literary form known as the pastiche: a story written in the style of another: in this case Sherlock Holmes's biographer, Dr John H Watson. But when I learned about the other people participating in this wonderful anthology, I put my hand up right smart. I've contributed a short story called "The Adventure of the Flash of Silver," a tale that could only happen in Australia. I hope you like it.

Other contributors include Kerry Greenwood, Meg Keneally, Lucy Sussex, Kaaron Warren, Robert Veld, and L.J.M. Owen.

The book will be available November 1, 2017 from Echo Publishing Australia.

Sherlock Holmes: Volume 2 (Introduction)

Race Point Publishing

I'm delighted to be part of the second volume (2015) of the Knickerbocker Classics Sherlock Holmes series, featuring the exciting adventures of the world's most famous pipe-smoking detective and his companion and biographer, Dr Watson, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This volume includes the short stories of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) and the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).

I wrote the introduction to this volume, in which I describe these stories in the context of the rest of the Holmes tales, and talk about the life of the author as he wrote them.

Sherlock Holmes: Volume 4 (Introduction)

Race Point Publishing

And since you can never have too many editions of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I'm pleased to be part of the fourth and final volume of the Knickerbocker Classics Sherlock Holmes series.

Included are the short story collections His Last Bow: Some Later Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes (1917) and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927), making this an indispensable classic for every home library. This elegantly designed cloth-bound 2016 edition features an elastic closure and a new introduction by me.

These four volumes now contain every one of the 64 short stories and four novels  written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: the complete Sherlockian Canon. Together and separately these handsome productions are the perfect "complete" Holmes collection for budding Sherlockians.

The Link

The Link is an historical thriller set in England in 1912. The fictional action centres around a monumental real-life discovery: a unique collection of human fossils that became known as Piltdown Man. Forty years later, it was discovered that the entire collection of bones had been carefully faked. But in 1912, everyone thought that Piltdown Man was the greatest scientific discovery ever to come out of the ground in England.

What would have happened, I wondered, if someone had actually spotted the fake back in 1912? Well, that is exactly what happens in The Link. This revelation kick-starts a chain of events that includes not just deception, but murder as well.

One of the few men who has held the Piltdown fossils in his hands has disappeared. London's Natural History Museum dispatches an odd pair of investigators to find him: Stephen McKay, a young Museum worker, drawn into the affair against his better judgement, and Augustus Parker, an enigmatic former Scotland Yard detective with a reputation for unorthodox methods. As the two track the missing man and work to unravel the fossil fraud, they stumble upon a horrendous double murder. They are attacked, their lives threatened. A mysterious woman dogs their steps.

How do a local amateur archaeologist, a reclusive landowner, a British Museum director, a famous author, and a bone collector figure in the deepening mystery? Which one of them has perpetrated the fraud? Which one has killed to keep his dark secret hidden? Between fakery and murder what is ... the link?

I've been following the Piltdown Man controversy for more than twenty years. I always felt that the fraud - which has never been satisfactorily solved - could form the spine of a great thriller. And who better to write it?

The Link trailer

Australia and Sherlock Holmes

Along with Bill Barnes, President of the Sydney Passengers (the Sydney Sherlock Holmes Society), I edited this collection of the best Sherlockian writing with an Australian connection.

Published in 2009 by the senior American Sherlock Holmes society, The Baker Street Irregulars, it's the third title in BSI's International Series, which brings the best non-fiction Holmesian writing from around the world to a larger audience.

Australia and Sherlock Holmes captures the distinctive Sherlockian voice from Down Under, presenting a selection of articles written between 1959 and 2007 and previously published only in Australia. We include two articles about the larger-than-life Richard Hughes, an Australian journalist who made one of the scoops of the 20th century by obtaining the first interview from Moscow with the Cambridge spies Burgess and Maclean. Popular culture is well represented by Philip Cornell's investigation into the Sherlock Holmes films that were conceived but never filmed; the article is illustrated with his delightful, apocryphal movie posters.

Well-reasoned papers link both Watson's childhood and the speckled band snake to Australia; a fine, perhaps definitive, essay addresses the Holmes short story "The Gloria Scott."

The Annotated White Company

Arthur Conan Doyle's classic adventure novel, set in the 14th century during the Hundred Years' War between England and France, was published in 1891. Now virtually forgotten, it earned an enthusiastic following at the time. Luminaries as diverse as Winston Churchill, US President Eisenhower, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and James Herriott have written in its praise

It's a road epic and a coming-of-age tale, and it is still eminently readable. The problem for modern readers is that The White Company is dense with period language and terminology. And, unlike our Victorian forbears, many of us are not familiar with the historical period. By annotating the unfamiliar terms and providing topical essays, we hope to introduce this brilliant story to a new generation of readers.

My co-editor Roy Pilot is no stranger to Conan Doyle's work: he is the co-editor of the acclaimed The Annotated Lost World (1996) which illuminated another of the author's best-sellers.

The Annotated White Company is upcoming from Wessex Press.

My blog

Shaving with Occam's Razor
Background and thoughts on the Augustus Parker novels

Occam’s razor is a principle generally used in scientific (and detective) deduction. First stated by the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Occam, it basically says that in any puzzle the simplest answer is usually the right one. What Occam actually said was "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate," which of course translates to "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily," but I prefer the modern restatement.

It's a principle dear to Augustus Parker's heart.

Check out my blog for some additional comments on the background to the Parker novels.

The blog »

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Here are some links to sites related to the Parker novels:

Piltdown Man
... at the Natural History Museum
... at TalkOrigins
... at Clark University

Lewes, East Sussex

Natural History Museum


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