Square One Publishers, a house focused on nonfiction and lifestyle titles, is looking to break into the true crime category with a hybrid nonfiction work that looks at the relationship between Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the identity of the legendary serial killer, Jack the Ripper. The house is also debuting works on African Americans in theater and a new memoir based on a past Square One bestseller.
Square One publisher Rudy Shur said his big fall title, The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle: A Journey Into Madness & Mayhem by the father-son team of Daniel and Eugene Freeman (November), looks into the history of the famous creator of Sherlock Holmes to find clues to the identity of Jack the Ripper. The authors, both medical doctors, open the book with an account of Doyle, in 1910, conducting tours of the London districts that were the scene of the killer’s notorious murders and mutilations in the 19th century.
The book alternates accounts of Doyle’s life with fictional chapters that survey each of the killer’s murder sites. According to Shur, the authors have found “discrepancies” in Doyle’s accounts of the killer, and thanks to today’s technology, have been able to search comprehensively through Doyle's personal notes, letters and other primary sources, including materials at Scotland Yard. The result, Shur said, is a “compelling” account of Doyle’s life—Doyle has been accused of being Jack the Ripper before—that ties him to Jack the Ripper in new ways. The book will also include illustrations by comics artist John Romita Jr.
Shur is also publishing After Woodstock by Elliot Tiber (August), a new memoir based on Tiber’s 2007 bestseller Taking Woodstock, that retells his life as a gay man during the rise of the AIDS epidemic. The house is also publishing Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way by Stewart Lane, a detailed look at the development of black theater from the 19th century and minstrel shows through the many racist obstacles erected to keep African Americans off Broadway stages. The book has more than 250 images and Shur said details how “God-awful it was to be black and trying to become an actor in New York.”