McKean Helps Holmes with his Homework

Holmes' HomeworkIn his first case, “A Study In Scarlet,” Sherlock Holmes invented a chemical test for detecting bloodstains, hence the title. The hero of my mysteries, Dr. Peyton McKean, is likewise an inventor of forensic tests. In fact, he is so accomplished at the task that he has invented dozens of commonly used blood tests, DNA tests, and you-name-it tests. Being such an expert, he’s most often summoned to murder scenes not so much to perform DNA tests, but to act as an expert examiner when DNA tests go wrong.

Peyton McKean is the top expert in his field, just as Sherlock Holmes was before him. And just as Holmes could be relied upon to bring the utmost brain-power to any problem, nowadays that lot usually falls to Peyton McKean. That’s why, in my first mystery in the Peyton McKean series, The Jihad Virus, I billed McKean as “The Greatest Mind Since Sherlock Holmes.”

The scene above, with apologies to Sydney Paget, portrays the moment when the eminent English sleuth asks the equally eminent American sleuth, “What do you make of this?” while he shows McKean a page of odd DNA test results he’s admittedly baffled by. If McKean’s intellectual trend runs true, he’ll quickly surmise a weakness in technique or an ambiguity in the sample that was tested, and come up with a new hypothesis for Holmes to factor into his prodigious process of deduction. It was McKean’s formidable skill in biotechnology that enabled him to succeed where others had failed to solve the mysteries I recorded in The Ghost Trees, A Dangerous Breed, and Blood Tide, the last of which was originally published in the anthology, Seattle Noir, and will soon appear as a stand-alone short story.

Ah, if only Peyton McKean had existed in Holmes’ times. What a team they would have made!

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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2 Responses to McKean Helps Holmes with his Homework

  1. I’m a Holmes fan from way back, so I’m going to seek out this McKean dude to see what he’s up to! Very intriguing premise . . .

  2. Tom Hopp says:

    Thanks Jane. The short story, “A Dangerous Breed,” might be a good place to start. It’s Peyton McKean’s equivalent of Holmes’ “Hound of the Baskervilles.” It’s clickable at right. On paper, you can find “Blood Tide” in the Seattle Noir anthology or, though it’s out-of-print right now, the original novel-length story, The Jihad Virus can probably be found as a used book. Comparatively speaking, Peyton McKean’s adventures tend to be a little more scary than Sherlock Holmes’ stories, but otherwise there are quite a few parallels, including a scholarly sidekick to tell the tales. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

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