Eight Arms of the Law
Ideas for books sometimes come from strange places. This book’s idea came to me in
a memorable dream years ago, after my first mystery novel was published.
In my dream, I was in Manhattan
for a meeting with my editor at the offices of my publisher, a major New York publishing house. We were talking about my “screwball
noir” Crime of Fashion Mystery series. My editor at the time was telling me that the manuscript I had just submitted for my next mystery
novel, featuring my sophisticated fashion reporter sleuth Lacey Smithsonian, was “fine,” but she said what the publisher was really
looking for now was books about a “crime-fighting octopus.”
“They want WHAT?!” I awoke with a start and
shook my sleeping husband Bob, complaining loudly, “Now they want a CRIME-FIGHTING OCTOPUS!"
only half-awake, “Well, I guess that must be Sherlocktopus Holmes.” And he went right back to sleep. (I told him all about my
My thanks to my husband for that name and to my then-editor Genny Ostertag for that spark
of an idea, although Genny wasn’t really there (and Bob wasn’t really awake). The idea sat simmering for several years on that back
burner all busy writers have in their heads. One key element this idea was waiting for was the right artist.
Jacqueline Berkman-Glatigny was born in France to a large artistic family and has always created art and worked with children.
She has taught, organized, and directed Montessori programs in Belgium, Switzerland, and the United States. As an artist she has worked
in painting, drawing, woodworking, sculpture and collage, and her current media of choice are pastels, watercolors, and acrylics.
Jacqueline's playful sense of color and shape helped to bring Sherlocktopus and his watery world to life for me. Every page is a blast
We meet Sherlocktopus Holmes and his starfish sidekick, Doctor Flotsam, as they begin their career
as undersea detectives. They’ve collected a few classic detecting tools, like a pipe and a magnifying glass and just the right hat.
Now all they need is a mystery to solve: their first case! Their adventure is full of color and motion, and their story
is told in rhyme and meter and even a few “big words,” to introduce young readers to some amazing sea creatures and basic concepts
in mystery and detection. Our big words have funny rhyming definitions to make learning new words fun (and never boring).
SHERLOCKTOPUS HOLMES, Eight Arms of the Law, is now available from my new imprint, Ellen Street Books, through Amazon, Barnes &
Noble and many other independent booksellers. You’ll find it in both hardcover and trade paperback editions. My crime-fighting octopus will
amuse both young readers (ages five or six to ten and beyond), and older readers (like their parents) who might be reading this book
at bedtime, storytime, or anytime. And remember...
“There are wondrous things down deep in the ocean!
always in motion!”
All website contents © Ellen Byerrum, except as specified. All rights reserved.
BUYING MY BOOKS
My books and plays are available from online booksellers and traditional bookstores. Click on the stack of books at
the right to go to my Book Shopping page. Most of the links there take you directly to my books. Thanks for shopping!
Here I am, just after unboxing the first shipments of my new Sherlocktopus books.
On the right, I’m holding up the trade paperback
edition, front and back.
Below, I’m checking out the hardcover edition. I hope you’ll enjoy this new adventure with my very
colorful crime-fighting octopus.
Some suggested discussion questions for young readers are now available HERE!
And here’s one of my favorite rhyming definitions from the book. This is for the classic mystery term, “red herring”:
HERRING is a fish
That’s silver or blue.
A herring that’s RED
Can never be true.
Don’t chase a RED HERRING!
It’s an UNTRUE CLUE!