Holmes is alive! Whether you are a Sherlock Holmes fan or simply a fan of historic fiction, Bonnie MacBird’s Art in the Blood is superbly researched and a delight to read
On 10th September 2015 members of Westminster Library, Sherlockians and Bonnie MacBird’s fans were treated to a reading from Art in the Blood, Bonnie’s first novel.
Westminster Library hosts an impressive collection of Sir Conan Doyle’s works – and on the night Sherlock Holmes illustrations painted by Bonnie were on sale to support the collection.
Bonnie managed to make Sherlock come alive once again on paper, and thanks to meticulous historic research in London and Paris (Bonnie is based in Los Angeles), she used a gap in Conan Doyle’s canon (December 1888) to start her narration.
Years of Research Brought to Life
It was fascinating to see pictures and paintings of Paris in 1888, including a picture of the half-built Eiffel Tower and the original venue of Le Chat Noir, the famous bohemian cabaret venue in Montmartre beloved by Toulouse-Lautrec, Verlaine, Debussy.
Alternating slides of her Parisian and UK trips with photographs and illustrations to reading from her book in a variety of accents, Bonnie painted the picture of Sherlock as a Janus-faced genius with an artistic temperament and addictive personality.
Friends of the author Robert Arbogast and Paul Denniston, Los Angeles based actors, posed as Holmes and Watson respectively for the book cover and illustrations. After taking photographs with the actors in character in a number of scenes from the book, Bonnie painted the illustrations in the style of Sydney Paget.
Some real historic figures feature in Art in the Blood: Toulouse-Lautrec makes a special appearance (and a funnily inebriated one, beautifully rendered by Bonnie in a mock heavily French accented English), Dr. Henri Bourges (Lautrec’s personal doctor and friend) and Eugène Vidocq, who died in 1857 but some artistic licence is allowed!
On a final note, Bonnie talked about a perfume featured in the book: “Jicky” by Guerlain, the oldest perfume still in production since 1889, is a unisex perfume (worn by Bonnie herself) with a whole host of celebrity fans including Sean Connery, Sarah Bernhardt, Brigitte Bardot and Cary Grant.
You can find more fascinating facts here.
About Bonnie MacBird
Award-winning Hollywood screenwriter Bonnie MacBird was born and raised in San Francisco and fell in love with Sherlock Holmes by reading the canon at age ten. She attended Stanford University, earning a BA in Music and an MA in Film. Her long Hollywood career includes feature film development exec at Universal, the original screenplay for the movie TRON, three Emmys for documentary writing and producing, numerous produced plays and musicals, and theatre credits as an actor and director.
Westminster Library organises various literary and non-literary events – for more information check their website. To note: becoming a member of the Westminster Public Library also gives you access to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham Council libraries.