A jogger runs into the Clark County Historical Museum to report an impossible sighting: a team of mules running down Fifth Street, precisely where Army mules were once housed. A resident of Officers Row consistently hears the late-night music of an Army drummer boy shot and killed in 1872 during a drunken brawl at the barracks.
“I love these stories and I love people’s off-the-wall questions,” she said. “I’m never skeptical. I’ve never seen a ghost, but I believe these people are being truthful. When a place is old enough, you’re going to find stories. Whether or not it’s a ghost story, it delineates our history.”
Jollota would love to interview one of the VIP ghosts that keep popping up in this uniquely historical city, she said.
“I think it would be fascinating to talk to Gen. Alfred Sully,” she said.
Sully was a brutal warrior during the Civil and Indian wars, then led a life of increasing melancholy and ill health after his wife and baby died. He died in an upstairs room in the Grant House on Officers Row in 1879.
A gaunt military figure has been spotted prowling around up there in the years since, Jollota writes, even as the place has become a restaurant. A psychic who once visited with a TV crew ran into all kinds of weird problems, including power and cellphone failures.
“Sexual shenanigans” are not what we associate with prim, proper Sherlock Holmes, but author Sam Siciliano usually manages to stir a little spice into his growing series of “Further Adventures” of the world’s greatest detective, published by Titan Books.
“Sherlock Holmes for grown-ups” is how Siciliano described his seven Holmes pastiche novels, all lively variations of the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. The latest, “Sherlock Holmes and the Venerable Tiger,” was inspired by a Doyle story called “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” which also involves an officer returned from India with an exotic menagerie of dangerous creatures.
“An eccentric guy out in the countryside with his collection of animals — that really intrigued me,” said Siciliano, who lives in Vancouver.
Siciliano’s main literary love is the atmospheric Victorian era, he said, and he’s also the author of several vampire novels. He was inspired to try Sherlock Holmes pastiches by “The Seven Per-Cent Solution,” a bestselling Holmes adventure from the 1970s by Nicholas Meyer that became a popular movie.
“The peril of pastiche is, it’s such a small niche,” Siciliano said. “Unlike the author of ‘The Seven Per-Cent Solution,’ I’m not going to get rich on this.”
Siciliano said he’s been criticized for ditching Dr. John Watson in favor of his own sidekick and scribe for Holmes, Dr. Henry Vernier.
“I needed a different narrator because I wanted to do different things with the characters,” he said. While he shares some protective feelings about favorite characters — he’s not crazy about recent “outlandish” movie and TV versions of Holmes either, he said — he doesn’t think there’s much to worry about in his “Further Adventures.”
“Holmes is the most popular and long-lived character in fiction,” Siciliano said. “I’m not going to hurt him.”