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Forty years ago I called him the best and wisest man I had ever known. And he was. But as I think back on my life with him, I regret that my great literary undertaking – a well-intentioned amalgamation of fact and fantasy – may have sullied his reputation. I have, therefore, written out this story which may be a shock to some, but will hardly surprise my more perceptive readers – the story of my life as the wife of one of England’s greatest heroes, Mr Sherlock Holmes.

-CWH 1932


May. 1st, 2012 11:21 pm
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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
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About two years ago, before my mother died, she showed me an autobiography she had been working on over a course of about ten years. She wanted me and my family to read it, because it was in honor of our father, and their marriage—which we only observed first hand near the end. But she also wanted me to know because she felt it should be published, and she knew she had no energy to find a publisher and edit it any more.

When she died, I did not want to edit it—the pain was too fresh, and I felt as if it would be an attempt to profit from her death, though my reason told me it was not so. I did not know the trajectory of world politics at that time, or perhaps I would have tried to honor her request more promptly. As it was, the world was plunged into war, and for six years, editing a manuscript from a different era—a different world—was not high on my list of priorities.

The world has changed, now. So perhaps it is too late to publish this, but then, perhaps this is the perfect time. What better time than now to see where we have come from.

So, here is my mother’s story.

Anne-Marie Holmes, July, 1953


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May 2012

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