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SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE
MYSTERIES OF THE CHESS WORLD
Chess PI Mystery
BY LENNY CAVALLARO
A Strange Enigma Is the Chess World
The origins of the Royal Game go back centuries. And throughout its diverse and multi-faceted history, controversies and mysteries have arisen. Some have been resolved; many have not.
Did Alekhine really succumb to a piece of meat that was stuck in his throat? And Paul Morphy passed after a walk on a hot New Orleans afternoon? What if the great Sherlock Holmes – and his successors – applied ironclad logic to these and other instances of Caissa’s conundrums? Might we be closer to sorting out the truth?
You are invited to join Holmes, Watson and their descendants as they focus their investigative skills on seven decidedly curious cases from the chess world. Premature deaths. Strange games and match results. And more…
Author Lenny Cavallaro has channeled his creative passion for chess into this wonderfully entertaining collection of short stories featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. And if you have not already realized it, you may discover that the chess world is indeed a strange enigma.
1. How did you get started writing?
I began as a music critic for The New Haven Register and found I enjoyed writing. A friend later connected me to Viktor Korchnoi, and I became co-author of the grandmaster’s book about his match for the world chess championship. With one title published, I was “hooked,” and some years later I wrote my first novel, Trojan Dialogues. The rest, as they say…
2. Does a reader need to play chess to follow your Sherlock Holmes tales?
No. Of course, chess players will have a better sense of the historical events discussed, but I’ve “tested” the stories on some non-chess players, and they followed the narratives quite easily.
3. How can Holmes and Watson solve mysteries that extend across three centuries?
I use six different Watsons, including a great-grandson who is a rabbi and a great-great-granddaughter. I use only three Sherlocks, but the last is 92 years old at the time of his latest appearance (when he locks horns with Dr. James Moriarty IV, the great-grandson of the original!). The original Holmes and Watson appear only once; their descendants assume those roles in subsequent mysteries.
4. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
I am wrestling with the proof copy of Paganini Agitato, which I edited and revised from an unpublished manuscript left behind by my mother, Ann Abelson. Fomite Press will release it at some point during the spring.
I have also recently completed The Ibbur’s Tale, a “Jewish paranormal” novella with some “Jewish roots” mixed in with the supernatural element (the ibbur). I shall almost surely self-publish.
I am sketching one other project and shall state only that it is fiction.
5. What genres do you write in and why?
I’ve co-authored two nonfiction works, both essentially about history. I have also written a couple of short plays.
My fiction includes a novel based on the Trojan War myths and a novella about a bare-knuckle boxer. And then there’s a series that crosses many genres: The Passion of Elena Bianchi. Readers will find romance, classical music, hard-core kinky sex (WAY beyond Fifty Shades!), the Holocaust, the Mafia, the psychic/occult, a two-thousand-year-old curse, and an esoteric notion of reincarnation called “soul fractions.”
Sherlock, of course, falls under “mystery,” and Paganini Agitato is again historical fiction (and classical music). The Ibbur’s Tale is supernatural and Jewish.
Why do I write in so many different genres? Who knows? Maybe I’m suffering from some sort of multiple personality thing: go figure!
6. What is your favorite part of writing?
I love the process of making something out of nothing. I am happiest any time I can create, whether literature or music, for that matter.
7. What is your least favorite part of writing?
I absolutely loathe the “marketing/promotion” part of the business. I am also deeply distressed by the perverse censorship that increasingly rears its ugly head these days, and I have written about this on my substack.
8. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Literary and dramatic ideas come to me in my dreams. So, too, do musical themes. I am sometimes uncertain whether I write or am “being written.” In a way, this relates back to my Zen training. Where Descartes might say, “I think, therefore I am,” a Zen master would say, “Thought exists, but no thinker.” Perhaps I can suggest that “writing exists, but no author.”
9. Tell me about your ideal reader.
For Sherlock, I see two groups of people: those who love mysteries and those who enjoy chess. I’m sure there is also some overlap, and those would be my “ideal readers.” For my other works, the question is far trickier. Permit me to explain.
The Passion of Elena Bianchi is a “hard sell,” because it appeals to groups of readers that may not necessarily overlap. Some may love fiction that deals with classical music but have no interest in the sexual or supernatural elements. Some may enjoy kinky erotica but get “turned off” by the musical or spiritual elements.
Will non-Jewish readers enjoy the story about an ibbur? Will non-musicians want to read about a legendary violinist? I hope so, but…
10. Many writers garner disappointing financial rewards and almost no recognition. What advice can you offer them?
Keep writing: not for fame or glory, and not for financial rewards, but merely to express the Voice within.
Lenny Cavallaro is a “Renaissance man” steeped in the classics: Greek tragedy, Shakespearean drama, and classical music. He has also boxed, earned a third-degree black belt in karate, run marathons, and practiced hypnosis and reiki professionally.
Cavallaro is the author of Trojan Dialogues: The Memoirs of Diomedes and The Greatest Champion Who Never Was. His interests in Shakespeare and Sophocles spawned Two Oedipal Plays — two dramatic efforts: the one-act Hamlet, Revisited and Odysseus Acanthoplex (based on fragments by the Greek tragedian).
Cavallaro has also “edited and revised” Paganini Agitato, a novel by Ann Abelson, which is slated for release by Fomite Press in 2023.
White Bird Publications released the first two volumes of Cavallaro’s series, The Passion of Elena Bianchi, in 2022, and (following the publisher’s demise) he self-published the last two in January.
An accomplished pianist and composer, Cavallaro performed Bach’s Six Partitas to the highest critical acclaim in Carnegie Recital Hall and achieved even more recognition as a composer, notably for a conjectural “completion” of Bach’s unfinished masterpiece, The Art of the Fugue, and various works for English horn.
Links to Lenny’s website, blog, books, #ad, etc.
Contact Info: https://www.lennycavallaro.com/contact
**Special Giveaway** Lenny will give away up to FOUR copies of another book (U.S. Only) he’s written. It’s another “mystery,” but nonfiction: Solved: The Mystery of the General Arnold. (PDFs are available to anyone who requests it.)
It deals with the ill-fated Revolutionary War brigantine. 72 men froze to death in the most gruesome loss of life suffered by either side during the nation’s struggle for Independence. To enter, comment on Lenny’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.
Thanks, Lenny, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!