A PORTSMOUTH writer has received ‘an avalanche of orders’ for his latest book after a world-famous author took to Twitter to give it their seal of approval.
Demand for Matt Wingett’s republication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet has soared thanks to a gleaming review from legendary wordsmith Neil Gaiman.
Known for books such as American Gods, Coraline and The Sandman, the creator shared a link to the tome with his 2.59m followers – before later tweeting a picture of it once he had his own version.
He said in a caption: ‘I just got my copy. It looks great. Highly recommended for Sherlock fans.’
Mr Wingett, who lives in Southsea, has hailed the writer 'extremely kind' for going ‘above and beyond for a ‘small publisher’.
‘I am so grateful to him for helping me,' the 50-year-old said.
‘He is an incredibly kind and generous man and often we don’t see that from people in his position because they live very busy lives.
‘He was a journalist, now he writes books, novels and poetry and he’s also worked on comics. Neil goes right the way across the board and I respect him hugely.’
A Study in Scarlet, which was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he worked as a doctor in Southsea in 1887, features the debut of renowned detective Sherlock Holmes.
Mr Wingett reached out to Mr Gaiman, who was born in Portchester, after learning he is a member of the Baker Street Irregulars – the oldest Sherlockian literary society in the world.
‘I thought, if he is such a Sherlock fan, why don’t I tweet him?' Mr Wingett said.
‘So I did, he retweeted my tweet and put with an exclamation mark “a facsimile edition of the original A Study In Scarlet!!”. That caused an avalanche of orders.
‘Because he’d been so kind I asked him if he wanted a free copy, he agreed, and tweeted a picture when he got it.'
Mr Wingett has republished the tale through his company Life Is Amazing in a bid to celebrate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ties to Portsmouth – and hopes A Study in Scarlet’s humble beginnings will inspire a younger generation of budding writers.
‘It's so important we do our bit to celebrate the achievements of people in this town,’ he said.
‘I advise anyone who is struggling to keep going and believe in themselves because what we can all learn from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story is that it could be you one day.’
READ MORE: 25 of the oldest pubs in Portsmouth – listed
Mr Gaiman, who is 58 and now lives near Minneapolis in the United States, has previously described his home city of Portsmouth as a ‘wonderful’ place.
As a youngster, his Bar Mitzvah was held at the Portsmouth and Southsea Synagogue and he returned to the city in 2013 to unveil a road named after one of his books.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is located at the western end of Canoe Lake.
Mr Wingett’s new edition of A Study in Scarlet features as part of an exact republication of the Beeton's Christmas Annual from 1887, where the story first featured.
Readers can buy a copy for £15 from Room 237 and Head Case Curios in Albert Road, Strong Island in Highland Road and Portsmouth City Museum.
It is also available at his website, lifeisamazing.co.uk