Over My Dead Body: Dave Warner on resurrecting Sherlock Holmes

Today we welcome Dave Warner to discuss his new novel Over My Dead BodyPlus, thanks to Fremantle Press we have 2x ebook copies of this new novel to giveaway – entries open worldwide.

Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.

Over My Dead Body, Dave Warner on resurrecting Sherlock Holmes

Dave Warner is an author, musician, screenwriter and an award-winning crime writer. He first came to national prominence with his gold album Mug’s Game, and his band Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs. Since then he’s been the recipient of a Western Australian Premier’s Award for Literature and a Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Novel.

Over My Dead Body: Dave Warner on resurrecting Sherlock Holmes

In Warner’s latest book, Over My Dead Body, cryogenicist Dr Georgette Watson has mastered the art of bringing frozen hamsters back to life. Now what she really needs is a body to confirm her technique can save human lives. Enter the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, snap frozen and ready for defrosting after 200 years.

Over My Dead Body brings Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous detective `back to life’. Were you daunted by writing a story involving such a famous character?

I first conceived this story back around 2001 as a film and wrote up a screenplay. At that time, I was more excited than daunted, as films often play with famous characters from literature and Holmes had already featured in a few that were a big departure from the original Conan Doyle stories.  We cut films slack when it comes to playing with famous characters. But when I decided to write the book, yes, I was more circumspect. I wanted to be true to what we knew of Holmes via Conan Doyle but I also wanted to break new ground, to excite myself and readers.  I didn’t want to just write something as an imitation of the old stories but I wanted to do right by Holmes and Watson too.

So then what were the challenges in achieving that?

There were many that didn’t present themselves when I’d written a screenplay. Firstly, whose point of view should it be? In a film we may follow a main character but we also have scenes from others’ points of view, or objective scenes. A book is different. We are inside somebody’s head a lot of the time. In the original stories everything is from Watson’s POV. So, I asked, should I do the same?

But then one of the most interesting aspects of my book would be Holmes himself – revived after one hundred and thirty years on ice.  How would he feel? What would he miss?  This was what I found truly exciting, his humanity. And then once I started exploring that and made “Watson” a woman who was both intelligent and loyal, what about the prospect of romance?

In the end I chose to write the first two thirds of the novel largely from Georgette Watson’s POV but to then drill down into Holmes’ psychology in the last third.

The second major challenge was tone.

I wanted there to be a playful note about the story…

…after all, reviving a character who has been on ice for one and thirty years is a large conceit – and Holmes’ character would, I thought lend itself to some fun.

How would he react to cocaine being banned, smoking frowned upon, women police officers? It was fertile ground for humour. I worked hard to maintain that sense of fun, and images I had in my head of Holmes driving a horse and carriage through New York. (Central Park came to the rescue).

At the same time, I didn’t want it to be a parody.

There had to be a lot at stake, and so I worked equally hard to imbue the story with a chill darkness of blood, murder and mystery. It is a delicate balance and I think with the aid of my fab editor, Georgia Richter, we got something that I was happy with. Hopefully many readers will feel the same.

You have written ten crime novels but this is the first one set entirely outside of Australia. Was there a reason?

Usually my novels begin with an idea; a What if? Or wouldn’t it be fun to write … And so, it just depends on the story. When I wrote my first novel City of Light there were very few Australian crime novels and pretty much none out of Western Australia, so I chose to set my story there, where I had grown up. Before it Breaks was set in Broome and Germany because I wanted to write a novel where the location was in itself a main character.

When I wrote the screenplay for Over My Dead Body back about 2002 (then it was titled My Dear Watson) I thought that such a famous character as Sherlock Holmes should come back into a location that felt right for the film, and New York just seemed like the obvious choice as I had seen other films with huge conceits (Splash for example) set there. But I hadn’t been to New York for thirty years, so after doing as much on-line research as I could I went last December for three weeks to get a real feel for the place.

What is next in the pipeline?

I have just completed a biography of indigenous Australian footballer Marlion Pickett and that will come out around November 2020.  I have a volume of audio short-stories that I am publishing one at a time and I am also well into my next novel which is a return of my character Dan Clement and set in the North-West of Australia.

After that I could be heading to San Francisco with `flowers in my hair.’

Over My Dead Body Book Synopsis

Over My Dead Body by Dave WarnerCryogenicist Dr Georgette Watson has mastered the art of bringing frozen hamsters back to life. Now what she really needs is a body to confirm her technique can save human lives.

Meanwhile, in New York City, winter is closing in and there’s a killer on the loose, slaying strangers who seem to have nothing in common. Is it simple good fortune that Georgette, who freelances for the NYPD, suddenly finds herself in the company of the greatest detective of all time? And will Sherlock Holmes be able to save Dr Watson in a world that has changed drastically in 200 years, even if human nature has not?

Praise for this novel:

‘Not just for fans of Sherlock Holmes, the original premise and interesting mystery should appeal a range of crime readers.’ — Book’d Out

‘… Over My Dead Body is a witty, enjoyable tale that provides a new take on the Sherlock Holmes canon.’ — Murder, Mayhem and Long Dogs

(Fremantle Press, October 2020)

Get your copy of Over My Dead Body from:

Booktopia (AU) Amazon Kobo Book Depository

Worldwide eBook Giveaway

Thanks to Freemantle Press we have 2x Apple Book copies of Over My Dead Body to giveaway.

The winners will be emailed a single-use promotional code for Apple Books. So to download the book, winners will need to have access to an Apple device, i.e. iPhone, iPad or Mac computer.

Entries open worldwide, close midnight 30 October 2020.

See entry form below. Ensure you scroll to the bottom of this form and press submit to register your entry. You can improve your chance of winning by:

The lucky winners will be randomly selected and announced on our Facebook Page.

SORRY, ENTRIES CLOSED – See winners announcement.