January 12, 2015
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to publish a Mycroft Holmes novel
by Nick Davies
With the Supreme Court ruling that Sherlock Holmes will remain in the public domain, the door has been opened for superstar athletes to craft their own stories based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has obliged. Alexandra Alter writes for the New York Times that the NBA hall-of-famer will soon publish a novel about Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft Holmes.
For our bookish readers unfamiliar with the world of sport, Abdul-Jabbar is a famous basketballist (that’s the word, yes?), a 19-time NBA All-Star and a record six-time MVP. More recently, he’s found success as a nonfiction author. His 1983 autobiography Giant Steps was a bestseller, and he’s written books about figures from the Harlem Renaissance and an all-black battalion in World War II.
The upcoming Holmes book—fittingly titled Mycroft Holmes—is Abdul-Jabbar’s first novel, set both in England and Trinidad, with Sherlock’s less known, brainy brother working for the British Secretary of War. As Alter repots, the book follows Mycroft as he “learns from his best friend of troubling events occurring in Trinidad — mysterious disappearances, dead children and strange, backward facing footprints in the sand” and decides to travel there to investigate.
Abdul-Jabbar says he became interested in Sherlock Holmes during his rookie year, and developed a particular interest in Mycroft later, when he read Enter the Lion: A Posthumous Memoir of Mycroft Holmes, by Michael P. Hodel and Sean M. Wright. Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement to the press that he was intrigued by the possibility of expanding on the character: “I realized more could be done with this ‘older, smarter’ character and his window onto the highest levels of British government — at a time when Britain was the most powerful country in the world.”
Abdul-Jabbar wrote Mycroft Holmes with the help of screenwriter Anna Waterhouse; it will be published by Titan Books this fall.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.