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Casualty of the Bidding War

by Jack Bates

About the Author: Jack Bates is a three-time finalist for a Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society. In 2007 he co-wrote WHITE OUT, a horror screenplay that had its option picked up twice by Triboro Films in New York. His stories have appeared at crime sites such as Near to the Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, Beat to a Pulp and many others. He has also appeared twice before in Mystery Weekly. Most recently his short, ‘The Fakahatchee Goonch’ was included in the Bouchercon 2018 anthology, FLORIDA HAPPENS.


The occasion upon which I found myself in Manhattan came about over the proposed publication of my second folio of stories involving my good friend, Sherlock Holmes, who, unfortunately, was not immediately available to accompany me as he was in the Crimea with Lady Penelope Ashton and her band of rogues on another matter. A bidding war raged over what Holmes often referred to as my ‘dime store dreadfuls,’ which were as accurate of an account of our exploits as could be written. The offers outdid one another for months through correspondences with three notable publishing houses, those being Gray Coyne Books, Brady Hall Publishing, and Mangum House.

To be truthful, of which I always am, our escapades had become a tad pedantic to the general public of the British Empire; however, our popularity in America continued to grow. I thought it best to travel to the States as quickly as possible before the three major distributors lost interest in me or, worse yet, the Yanks grew restless waiting for my tales to be told and turned to someone else like Stephen Crane or that blowhard, Mark Twain. The publishing world can be a tad frenetic. Like a struck match, the slightest change in direction can quickly extinguish the flame.

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