A few years ago I was browsing the shelves of the “Old Book Shop” in Morristown, New Jersey when I picked up yet another dusty hardcover from the fifties. And I giggled when I saw the author’s name -- “Cordelia Watson Holmes.” My first thought was what a hilarious coincidence it was that the surnames of Arthur Conan Doyle’s two most famous characters were in the same name... after “Cordelia,” no less. When I saw the title -- Cordelia: The Autobiography of a Detective’s Wife
-- I assumed it was an over-the-top pseudonym appended to a poorly written Holmesian pastiche. But the name of the editor -- Anne-Marie Holmes -- piqued my curiosity enough for me to decide to pay the five dollars for it.
I’ve never been happier with a purchase. It’s given me a new interest -- I wasn’t a a Sherlock Holmes aficionado at the time, but I have since become one. And it’s led me to new friends -- I was determined to track down Cordelia and Anne-Marie’s relatives. None of them still bear the Holmes name, so it took me over a year, but it’s done. And it is with their encouragement that I am undertaking this project. Over the next few months I will be making her work available to Holmesians around the world at this journal.
Sixty years ago a woman published her mother’s long neglected autobiography. She hoped to honor her mother and father by publishing it, and she put a lot of time into editing the original manuscript, and trying to find a publisher. It seems that “the world was not prepared,” as its author might have said, because the book sold very poorly, and never received a second printing. My hope is that the world is ready to hear her story now.
-AJW, May 2012